WWE has had a rough week if you've been paying attention. Last Saturday night's Royal Rumble event went over like a led balloon with fans, who were none too pleased with either Ronda Rousey or Brock Lesnar winning the Men's and Women's Rumble matches, let alone both of them winning. The roster also wasn't too happy with the current situation post-Rumble and wasn't hiding it. The company quietly parted ways with Shane McMahon due to his behavior last week. And pretty much everyone is fearing that WrestleMania looks like crap from the outset and won't be getting any better. Can they start to course-correct on this week's SmackDown and actually craft a program worth watching? Let's find out.
We open with The Bloodline, newly reunited with Paul Heyman, hitting the ring, and Heyman, surprising no one, cuts an excellent and passionate promo here explaining why he turned on Lesnar at the Royal Rumble and rejoined the Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
They are interrupted by WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg (whose return was said to be imminent), who announces he will face Reigns for the Universal title at WWE Elimination Chamber in two weeks.
Ridge Holland, with Sheamus vs Ricochet, with Cesaro
So Holland throws Ricochet around for about two minutes, but then Ricochet hits him with a Codebreaker and pins him.
Oh, but we're not done yet, kids. We come back from a commercial break and a tag team match with all four men has manifested.
Ridge Holland & Sheamus vs Ricochet & Cesaro
This is better than the appetizer that preceded it and is much more action-packed, but it's also crazy short and Holland pins Cesaro after only hitting him with Northern Grit. Very weak ending and I wonder if this is some kind of punishment for Cesaro voicing his frustration in the media this week?
Winners: Ridge Holland & Sheamus
Jimmy Uso vs Erik
I guess this counts as build towards a Tag Team Championship match that nobody cares about? Clearly, WWE doesn't want us to care though, as this doesn't last two minutes and Jimmy puts Erik away with a Superkick and a top rope Uso Splash.
Winner: Jimmy Uso
Aliyah vs Natalya
And we're still doing this stupid shit story I guess? Oh well. The match itself sucks pretty bad too, as Aliyah looks greener than Oscar The Grouch but only has maybe half of his charisma. Anyhoo, they beat on each other at ringside as the ref starts counting and of course, again, Aliyah lucks into victory as she tosses Natalya into the barricade and hops into the ring to win by count-out. I don't know who in creative honestly thinks this is benefiting Aliyah in any way, but I guess it holds just as much credibility as any other creative decisions they're making lately.
We next have Drew McIntyre hit the ring and unfortunately, he's still being forced to continue the idiotic rivalry with the even more idiotic Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss on SmackDown. Moss tries to jump McIntyre from behind, but McIntyre has the drop on him and holds him hostage with the sword, and makes him tell jokes before he nails him with a Claymore.
Now we go to footage of Sami Zayn crashing the red carpet of the premiere of Jackass Forever this week and getting zapped with a cattle prod by Johnny Knoxville for his trouble.
This transitions to Zayn meeting with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville backstage and bitching about what happened. They tell him he'll finally get his Intercontinental title match next week, but Zayn says he needs more time, so they give him yet another week, which he agrees to.
They're then immediately confronted by Natalya, who demands to face Aliyah in a "Dungeon Style" match next week, which means only a pinfall or submission can end the match. I'm sure that'll end well…
So we have Rick Boogs out to introduce Shinsuke Nakamura, but his guitar isn't plugged in or something, so we don't hear anything. This show's just soaring with excellence so far!
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jinder Mahal
So they're saying this is a "Championship Contender Match", which I guess means if Mahal wins, he gets an Intercontinental title shot, but Sami Zayn is the number one contender? I don't think anyone even knows or keeps track of what's going on there anymore.
We get Zayn on commentary for this one and he's honestly the most entertaining part of the match. What happens in the ring is slow, boring, and looks terrible. At least it's quick though and Nakamura nails Mahal with the Kinshasa for the pinfall.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
We now go backstage again, where Naomi approaches Pearce and Deville and demands another match with Deville, but she declines because Naomi has a match for the SmackDown Women's Championship match against Charlotte Flair next week.
The New Day vs Los Lotharios
We actually get a really solid tag match here and Los Lotharios continue to look better and better. There are a lot of fun, creative spots here and these four actually have really good chemistry with each other. The action ramps up big time as the match goes and so do the near-falls with it. It actually gets really exciting the later it goes and wakes the crowd up.
Big E and Kofi hit the double team Big Ending to finally get the pinfall and the win of an exciting match that was really a great showcase for Los Lotharios, who should be moving on to bigger and better things after this.
Winners: The New Day
The SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair hits the ring now with Sonya Deville, who tells Flair that Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch said she will be facing Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania and as such, Flair will get to choose her on opponent now. After throwing out insults at Rousey and Lynch, Flair picks Sasha Banks to face at WrestleMania.
This brings out Rousey, who rambles on with a horrible promo. She has zero talking skills and comes across so phony and toothless on the mic. Every time, her promo sounds like a celebrity doing their opening monologue on Saturday Night Live and she has this see-through air about her as if she's doing everyone a favor by being here. Just awful.
So anyway, she threatens Flair (I guess?) and says she chooses to face her at WrestleMania, and Flair kind of hilariously calls Rousey's baby ugly. Rousey is ready to fight now and Deville takes this as an opportunity to lecture her, but Rousey pushes through her to go after Flair, but then Deville jumps on Rousey's back and Flair runs off? What?! Rousey hits her with one of the worst Samoan Drops in history and then locks her in an armbar as SmackDown ends.
What a stupid, awful goddamn ending to a stupid, awful goddamn episode. None of that segment made a lick of sense. Not one damn bit. The only remotely impressive thing about it is how it managed to keep out-stupid itself as the minutes went by. My god…
If you watched this shit last night, my condolences cause you're never getting that time back.
Till next time friends.