SmackDown Review: An Homage To NWO, Circa 1996

This episode of SmackDown was hosted from Las Vegas, NV, and it continued the quest for Daniel Bryan to seek retribution for being the object of recent Randy Orton attacks. Similar to Brad Maddox on Raw, SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero is also an authority figure not on the side of Bryan.

The MizTV episode, featuring Big Show and Dolph Ziggler was one of the best of its kind to date. Simply because it is giving three people whose stock has diminished—Miz, Ziggler and Big Show—important roles in the main storyline. While Wade Barrett, The Shield and Ryback are assisting Triple H and Randy Orton in ruining Bryan's chances of becoming WWE Champion, the three babyfaces play a crucial role in setting some balance to the lop-sidedness.

It looks like these three will be involved at least to Survivor Series, which will help each of them. This angle also gives me hope that the Miz could rebound from his floundering role as of late and actually turn it around and become a popular babyface.

Randy Orton vs. The Miz was a pretty good match. Like I said before, Miz could actually become a solid babyface if he is booked correctly. Since his face run, we have mostly seen him feud against Wade Barrett, Curtis Axel and Fandango. None of those names will help any push to be a top face. A better option—if the WWE is serious about him remaining a babyface—would be for him to pursue the World Heavyweight Championship and feud with Alberto Del Rio. Until (hopefully) then, he finally has a decent spot on the roster.

RVD vs. Damien Sandow was purposed to propel RVD, but what about Sandow? I understand that having a sudden winning streak after becoming Mr. MITB does not make much sense, but at least give him an opportunity to even be labeled as someone who is worthy of being a world champion. Granted, the 2011 and 2012 MITB winners—Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, respectively—had shameful win/loss records before they cashed their case in, but at least they were credible contenders to win the title. And what happened to giving Cody Rhodes the nod to become a top babyface? Hopefully not, but it looks as if that plug has been pulled.



The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler is simply a good way to further build the storyline, with Ziggler now included. Hopefully this leads to a Ziggler/Ambrose match at Night of Champions, as that contest would certainly deliver. Moreover, Ziggler holding the US title would partially atone for his disappointing 2013 so far. Ziggler's slow build as a babyface has a Shawn Michaels parallel written all over it, and he has the potential to bounce back and become a top guy in the future.

(A despondent Dolph Ziggler after his SmackDown loss vs. The Shield)

Rowan/Harper vs. Tons of Funk shows that the WWE has reached a stagnant point with the Wyatt Family. I understand the power of slow builds, but they are engaged in absolutely no feud at the current time, and all we get are more vignettes and victories against a team who has not had an impressive win/loss record since they formed. At least Kane gave them a mission. Now, no noticeable direction, which could hurt the trio if this continues any further.



Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback was another match that went beyond what we saw. It is geared to continue this seemingly-unstoppable regime, which shows that the WWE is really taking some time and investment in this feud. Overall, SmackDown further added more pieces to the puzzle, which was a job well done.

By the way—nice nWo '96 homage, Randy.

Early prediction: the payoff of this feud is Daniel Bryan winning the Royal Rumble and subsequently the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXX. Do you agree? Disagree? Sound off below.

Follow Chris Featherstone on Twitter @cravewrestling. Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.

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