11/15 WWE Smackdown Review: The Undertaker says he is back, very average effort before Survivor Series


WWE Smackdown Review
November 16, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

With Survivor Series only five days away, the final hype was underway on Tuesday night and we ended up getting a very average effort from WWE.

A majority of this show just felt off. Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, who normally have good chemistry, felt overly choreographed for no reason. Most of the matches felt slapped together with little upside at the end of the night.

I get that a lot of what this show has been presenting the last few months had to be put on hold to hype the RAW vs. Smackdown Live war this Sunday. It just felt like a giant distraction and gives the brand little time to hype up TLC on December 4.

The Undertaker says he is back

This was probably the first Undertaker return in a long time that felt out of no where and overly gimmicky with the “900th episode” tag. What may have been the most surprising aspect of his return was his character making it clear that WrestleMania would no longer determine his legacy going forward and that he was back. So, he’s back? At 51 years old, he’s definitely the last person I expected to make a statement like that on WWE television and even sort of hint at another run. As great of a character as The Undertaker is, this is the last thing this brand needs right now and even more so as it is starting to set itself apart from RAW. Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but it really felt like we were going to get one last hurrah from Taker at WrestleMania next year with John Cena and call it a day. This company really needs to start setting a fresh path and avoid pulling back out old stars to draw attention. A focus on talent growth should be of the utmost importance.

Very average effort before Survivor Series

It’s pretty clear Survivor Series is going to be a distraction for both brands if they intend to make this the one pit stop every year where stars from both shows do battle. This might play better next year with more time with the brand extension. Right now? Not so much. Even the title change between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz felt anticlimactic. The backstage segments felt forced. Kalisto got a random win over an NXT dude. Nikki Bella and Carmella, who’ve been going at it for many weeks, are now joining forces against team red. The Headbangers are still around doing stuff. This show was just all over the place.

Random Thoughts

* It was great to see a reappearance from King Booker.

* Nice job with highlighting some of the bigger moments in Smackdown since 1999.

* Poor Carmella still walks out to crickets during her entrance. Just awkward.

* I loved the shots of Heath Slater and Rhyno taking in the crowd admiration at ringside.

* Never gets old to hear Tony Chimel’s entrance introduction for Edge.

Overall Impression

A rare miss for Smackdown Live this week. Sure we got to see some old faces return in The Undertaker and Edge, but it just felt like a very busy and strangely paced show. I’ll give the company the benefit of the doubt here with Survivor Series being quite possibly the biggest distraction for this brand since the split back in July. Teasing dissension in the ranks with TLC so close could create some fun possibilities at Survivor Series.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you thought of Smackdown in the comments.

Thanks to Paul Nemer for filling in for me last week. I was away covering the 2016 Presidential Election results live on Facebook (for those into politics).

Follow me on Twitter: @adamwrestleview