WWE Smackdown Review
September 15, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com
Coming off the first ever Smackdown Live only edition of Backlash on Sunday night that featured a pretty powerful ending, I was hoping to see an improvement in the television presentation this week after a very underwhelming go-home show last week.
While I wasn’t raving about Backlash like a majority of wrestling fans were the last few days, it wasn’t a bad show and it definitely created an interesting scenario of moving on from the Dean Ambrose experiment and pushing forward with a new AJ Styles focused direction.
Better late than never, here are my thoughts on a much improved Smackdown Live.
“I am the face that runs the place”
AJ Styles put forth one hell of a performance on Tuesday night. Not only is he totally nailing this overconfident character presentation, but he showed further depth with the backstage begging and outstanding facial expressions during his main event entrance. Toss in a returning John Cena to the mix and you have the makings of a fun next few weeks leading up to the No Mercy PPV on October 9.
It’s no secret that I was just not a fan of Dean Ambrose and his recent run as WWE World Champion. It did nothing for me and I had absolutely no reason to care or invest in his character. It was just all over the place with no direction and wasn’t interesting. To my surprise, I’m now starting to see a different side of Ambrose in the last two weeks and I’m really starting to like where things are headed.
While I’m sure a collective groan was let out having Cena involved, his return felt well placed and I enjoyed the teasing of wanting to go for the 16-time World Champion goal. Cena was even able to pull something out of Ambrose referencing the very uncomfortable “Stone Cold Podcast.” This is the second week in a row Ambrose has showed some fire on the microphone and I really hope this side of his character presentation continues.
Heath Slater signs his Smackdown Live contract
Another good showing from the first ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions in Heath Slater and Rhyno this week, even with a lackluster tag team like The Ascension. I know people raved about this act on NXT, but it still hasn’t connected on WWE television at all and both guys are just very underwhelming in the ring. We may not get a long run from Slater and Rhyno, but I’ve enjoyed the ride so far and it should make for fun TV for a while.
Bray Wyatt keeps on talking…and losing
The Wyatt Family and Bray Wyatt act has been on WWE television for over three years now. Think about that. Three years. The scary presentation still works, but WWE seems very intent on keeping Wyatt in a role working with talent as a bridge to something else. It could be the flaring up of injuries that is holding them back from really pulling the trigger, but the time is ticking on this act and I’d love to see WWE go for it at least once.
* Very good opening to the program compared to last week’s disaster.
* The Usos are like a brand new act with this new heel run.
* WWE really has a fun thing going with The Miz and Maryse pairing.
* I have no idea what Jack Swagger was talking about in his debut.
* Alexa Bliss winning was a surprise and makes a fresh match up for No Mercy.
* Loved the callback using James Ellsworth on Tuesday night.
This was a very good episode this week coming off Backlash. It’s funny how one small move can really change up the presentation of a show. They just really had to get that title off Ambrose and it was clearly the right call after seeing the delivery of this show. I’m still a bit hesitant with how many brand only PPV events we are getting for the rest of the year, but WWE found a way to create a compelling match up with Styles, Cena and Ambrose.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know your Smackdown thoughts in the comments below.
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