2) Power Couples Gone Wild – As sappy as it is, it's fun watching Cena and Nikki work together, especially since their relationship has been kept quiet on WWE TV (not talking about Total Divas or Total Bellas). You can see how much they enjoy working this program throughout the segment. Getting to the match, Ellsworth didn't have much of a chance against Cena, Nikki and Cena got to have their fun together, going super of the top with stereo moves. Miz and Maryse then quickly broke up the love and Miz got on the mic, calling out Cena for making Nikki sign a contract to live with him, and petty much saying their relationship is fake. Crowd didn't really react to Miz as much as usual, but he was throwing some heat at those two. Maryse got in her own B-bomb, before dropping the mic.
3) A Hyped Proclamation – Mojo announced he will be the first SmackDown participant in the Andre Battle Royal, Ziggler then slow clapped his way into the segment to bring down the vibe. Mojo shot hard at Ziggler for not having his own "WrestleMania Moment." I guess Ziggler is moving on from Crews and Kalisto, which is perfectly fine with me, he was the star of that story and I'm not entirely sure that was the initial purpose of it.
4) Dead Dean Walkin' – After putting down Hawkins, yet again, Dean went hunting for a lone wolf, as we saw in three separate clips. The third one proved interesting when Corbin threw a dude at Dean to distract and followed it up with a severe beating that included dropping some forklift arms down on him. Hilarious moment when the refs came out to help Dean and actually tried to lift the arms off of him! These weak lemmings can barely move a human, let alone heavy machinery. I'm down with the over-the-top stuff in this feud, it fits both characters ("crazy" and "I don't care about anyone") and helps separate them from the other feuds.
It's said that in times of distress, a referee's strength will increase up to 20 times off adrenaline alone. pic.twitter.com/lodLeZtV7r— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) March 8, 2017
5) Leaving the Door Open – Well, it looks like Alexa Bliss will have a tough challenge at WrestleMania when she has to defend the title against "Every available woman on the SmackDown roster." Much like with Triple H and Rollins, WWE is keeping things vague, just in case Naomi can make it back for the show. Could we also see the return of Eva Marie? Getting back to the women's segment on SmackDown, the promo was all over the place, causing the crowd to not really give them very much. Favorite moment in the tag match was when Alexa was stomping around the ring yelling "I'm the champion, I don't need this!" Tag match had the crowd going, can't say I was overly thrilled with it, partly because it went on a bit long, especially when Natalya just took out her own tag partner and left the ring. The big ending came when Mickie landed a perfect kick to Alexa, quickly ending their friendship; Mickie is coming for that title!
Mojo Rawley – Have to give props to Mojo toning down his gimmick just a bit. He recently acknowledged that his gimmick could turn off some fans, so finding a balance is critical towards his success. WWE has done a solid job keeping him relevant with Zack Ryder out of action by not only getting him into the Andre Battle Royal (I know, not a big deal match, but he could be just left completely off the show), but it looks like he'll have a feud with Ziggler in the near future too.
Carmella – Can we just talk about the awful reaction she received last night? It's definitely not a new thing, but after James Ellsworth flapped his gums, she came out to a Shining Stars-like reception from the crowd. Despite being an absolutely awful person to Nikki Bella, she just hasn't been able to stir any emotions from fans, good or bad, not a great sign for her future. Maybe, whenever the draft comes around WWE could put her back with her guys, Big Cass and Enzo.
Tag Division – I try to pick individuals for this section, but for two weeks straight, it's been eerily quiet. SmackDown is at a disadvantage to Raw since they don't get any of the big name part-timers, so with only two hours to work with they have to bring out their biggest guns each week for the next month. That means the tag division will be pretty much ignored, although, the champions should at least get a Kickoff show match, right?
This Week's MVP
Randy Orton – As much as I wanted to give this to The Miz, it should be considered a big deal when a challenger is finally decided for Bray Wyatt's WWE Championship. The match was well paced (if not a touch on the slow side) but that's okay, I have a feeling these two will meet again down the road and this match didn't pull out all the stops, it left me wanting more between Styles and Orton. The ending was a clever one as AJ pulled back on the springboard to avoid the RKO, went for the 450 splash, missed, then got caught by the RKO to finish the match. So, now here we are, Bray and Randy in one of the best developed stories we've seen in awhile from WWE. It reminds me of back in the day when WWE only did four PPVs and they were forced to extend out their bigger feuds until a PPV rolled around, Randy has been allowed to come full circle to take on Bray. At this point, I'm fully invested, very interested to see where things go over the next couple weeks.
In regards to WrestleMania, we continued on with Ambrose vs. Corbin and the power couples. The Women's title match was (kind of) figured out, the Andre Battle Royal was confirmed, and we now know Orton is going to face Bray Wyatt. A fun, yet unspectacular, show, felt like last week had a few more "Wow" moments, solid performance though as they moved the bigger stories along, 6.5 range should do nicely.
Grade (out of 10): 6.5 (Last Week: 8)
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