Standout Moments

1) Heartbreak City Much like when Finn Balor (who had to drop the title after his shoulder injury) Naomi was forced to do the same last night, thanks to a knee injury she received at Elimination Chamber. I feel like it's good for reviewers to let their biases known when talking about these shows, and in the spirit of that, Naomi is one of my absolute favorite wrestlers in the WWE. Not based on talent in the ring or anything objective, I just enjoy her as a person, if you watch Total Divas, you'll have a good sense of what I'm talking about.

Anyways, with that in mind, it was terrible that she had to relinquish the title, and most likely her spot at this year's WrestleMania, you could tell it hurt, because she cried more last night than when she actually won the Women's Championship. She's been on the short end of the stick when it comes to WrestleMania appearances (losses, quick appearances, or cut completely from the show) and this was, most likely, her big moment. As unfortunate it is for Naomi, Alexa was there to soak up every bit of heat by coming down to the ring and doing what she does best, make people mad. It was a bummer of a segment for this super-fan, but bias aside, an amazing opening to the show, which transitioned right into a title match between Alexa and Becky.

2) Fury Reigns Supreme Live crowd was very much into the title match, Becky and Alexa did their thing, putting on a solid, yet unspectacular match. Not surprisingly, Alexa got the title back after chopping Becky in the throat and getting the roll-up win. I'm curious to see how WWE switches gears with the title match at WrestleMania, with Nikki Bella tied up in that mixed tag match and the fans needing a break from Becky and Alexa, unless WWE decides to split up Mickie and Alexa. it's possible not much will happen.

3) Finisher Her Things didn't last long in the ring as Nikki went for the kendo stick early, taking it to Nattie as the two made their way out to the crowd. For whatever reason, Nikki went for a number of pin attempts very early in the match, which seemed silly as there was no way this would end so quickly. Funny moment after Nattie got kicked near the crowd, the mics picked her up saying "Good job" and then Nikki replied "Yeah? Am I doing a good job?" Commentary didn't help them out at all by staying completely silent during the conversation.

Later, Nikki went for an Alabama Slam on the announce table, which didn't budge one bit, making the impact look that much nastier. Back in the ring, minor mistake came when Nikki got to the ropes during a submission and Natalya broke the hold, even though she didn't have to. The two made their way backstage one final time and Maryse got blasted, yet again, but this time, she didn't let it go as she came out with a lead pipe and beat the hell out of Nikki. Enter Miz, who strangely (for his gimmick) dragged her away, Nattie was able to take advantage, and picked up the win to most likely end their feud. Overall a great match that fully utilized the rules, gave Nattie a nice bump, and got Nikki to her next feud.

4) Rumble, Young Man, Rumble No big surprises early on when Mojo (by Corbin), Kalisto (by Ziggler), Ziggler (by Crews), and Crews (by Corbin) were all eliminated first. The unlikely winners all got a decent amount of time in the ring though before the four went sent out in a flurry. Cena then managed to send Miz out of the ring, with Cena taking away Miz's title opportunities on two occasions; the writing is on the wall. Ambrose got the best of Corbin, who went ballistic, and gave the End of Days to Ambrose on the floor.

While that was going on, Miz jumped back in and eliminated Cena from the match, so now Cena has some solid beef with Miz. Fast forward to all three remaining men teetering on the apron, Harper was able to eliminate Dean with a kick to the gut, getting us to two (Harper and Styles) and well, that ending was pretty awful. I get WWE wants to extend things as much as possible, but at least give the final guys a spot that will actually be tough to tell who hit first. Clearly, Styles hit the floor before Luke, storyline or not, let's not insult wrestling fans' intelligence. On the plus side, we get to see Styles and Harper go at it next week in what should be a fantastic match.

Trending Up

The Usos Some might completely disagree, but I'm all for their current gimmick, not only has turning them heel given The Usos a fresh vibe, but they have 'It's not paranoia, it's The Usos!" as their new line. It's fantastic because they can tell so many random stories before dropping that line on their opponents. The tag division is incredibly weak now, so Jimmy and Jey's best impression of The Briscoes is really making them stand out from the current crop of teams. I wouldn't mind a very lengthy feud between them and American Alpha until WWE can really figure out the other teams.

Trending Down

Dolph Ziggler You saw the promo, and you know exactly why. I'm not sure what was worse: the stupid promo, the stupid background, or the superkick that broke the stupid background.

This Week's MVP

Natalya Not only did she win the Falls Count Anywhere match, but she took some hard bumps along the way. Getting whacked by kendo stick a number of times, taking an Alabama slam on the announce table, and then getting throw face first into a mirror. I still may not be a fan of her current gimmick, but she went to work last night.

Overall Thoughts

A rare night where the ending left me unenthusiastic and the middle parts were quite good. As I mentioned before, SmackDown has a long ways until WrestleMania, tonight they did a great job pushing ahead storylines and making each match feel really important. It's at the point where every detail of the show should be watched carefully, because it actually matters down the road.

Grade (out of 10): 7.5 (Last Week: 6.5)

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