9/6 WWE Smackdown Review: Very underwhelming go-home show for Backlash this Sunday night


WWE Smackdown Review
August 6, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

With just five days away until Smackdown Live presents it’s first brand only PPV in Backlash this Sunday, I was hopeful WWE would boost interest and keep up the momentum RAW has been able to build over the last two weeks.

Instead we were treated with one of the most underwhelming go-home presentations from WWE in a very long time and easily one of the weakest editions of Smackdown Live since the official brand split took place back in July.

Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles try to boost interest for Sunday

It’s no secret that I’ve been very disappointed with Dean Ambrose and his current run as WWE World Champion. After a very lackluster build and ending result for his SummerSlam match with Dolph Ziggler, it started to seem that WWE was coasting heavily on the decent fan reactions he had been generating over the last year.

While I remain critical of his character and role in WWE at the moment, I do have to hand it to Ambrose. He was able to put together a very good in-ring promo with AJ Styles and actually build some decent interest for the championship match this Sunday. I really like Styles using the John Cena victory as a calling card as well.

WWE may not pull the trigger on Styles this quickly at Backlash, but it certainly seems like we are headed in the general direction as the months progress into October and November. I’m still not really sure what the Ambrose character is and a lot of his in-ring offense leaves a lot to be desired. His run as champion hasn’t been thrilling in the least thus far and maybe a good championship match with Styles could turn the tide in his favor.

Smackdown tag team title tournament changes up

The teams of American Alpha and Heath Slater and Rhyno all advanced to the finals at WWE Backlash this Sunday to crown the first ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions…or so we thought. WWE decided to throw a series of changes to the tournament on Tuesday night including an Usos heel turn that forced American Alpha to be pulled from the finals.

The Usos vs. The Hype Bros were instead booked with the winners moving on to face Heath Slater and Rhyno in the finals. While hardcore NXT fans might be upset by this move and understandably so, it’s clear the momentum is with the story they are telling right now with Slater and Rhyno. So a quick cool down with American Alpha isn’t a terrible thing.

I’ve really enjoyed the story WWE has been telling with Slater and Rhyno the last few weeks. Between the introduction of Slater’s “kids” (which were featured front row tonight and was great) and the odd ball interactions with Rhyno, WWE has actually found a winning formula with this tag team. If you still aren’t sold, I highly recommend checking out a segment from Talking Smack last week featuring Slater and Rhyno that you can view below. While many fans were probably Ready, Willing and Gable, I’m ready to buy a ticket and jump on the Heath Slater and Rhyno train to pure entertainment.

Quick Thoughts

* The opening segment with the women was terrible and hard to watch.

* The backstage segments with Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles were equally cringeworthy.

* Dolph Ziggler hinting the end could be near on commentary was interesting.

* Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton told stories. Here’s to hoping the match is better.

Overall Impression

Outside of the decent closing promo between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles and the Smackdown tag team title tournament shenanigans, this was just not a good offering from WWE tonight and not the best way to head into a Smackdown-only PPV this Sunday. Remember when people said this would be the better show? Yeah, they were wrong.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your Smackdown thoughts in the comments below.

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