1) Anger Rising – AJ Styles kicked off the show, first by ripping on Daniel Bryan's "fragile state," then he took his thoughts to the ring, where he aired out all of his grievances, laying out a timeline of how he believed he was screwed over time after time. Amazingly, Styles even pointed out how Orton got away with arson during his rant, "Randy Orton burns down Bray Wyatt's house and he doesn't get arrested! He doesn't go to jail! He goes to the main event of WrestleMania!" AJ made it clear he needed to have a little chat with Shane McMahon about his career later in the night and stormed to the back to wait.
Styles wasted no (and I mean no) time in getting after Shane McMahon once he arrived to the arena. Styles instantly pounced on SmackDown's Commissioner and proceeded to beat the holy hell out him, finishing the sequence by putting Shane's head through a car window! I've been on the fence with this feud, but Shane has always done whatever is necessary to get a match over, we'll see what crazy thing he decides to do this year. That is, if Styles is allowed back after being fired by Daniel Bryan! Two minor notes, didn't really like The Usos scolding Styles in the locker room, right now they don't seem the types to care about what happens to other people. I'm fine with the other wrestlers being freaked out, but thought they could have picked someone else. Also, there just happened to be a camera in the back of that car?
2) What's this?! - With David Otunga filming a movie and Mauro Ranallo caught in a blizzard, we had a chance to experience a 2-man booth with Tom Phillips and JBL holding down the fort. Personally, I like having just two guys at the booth and these two did a solid job together, with their roles well defined for the night. Good showcase for Phillips as it seems likely he will take the play-by-play role at some point down the road. Tom has a mellower vibe, so JBL seemed more in check last night, compared to when he banters with the more excitable Mauro. Otunga is not needed at all, that is well known.
3) Punch You in the Face – After Miz and Maryse kicked off Miz TV, Nikki Bella and John Cena hit the ring, chasing the two loudmouths away from the ring. Nikki gave her rebuttal to Maryse's claims of Nikki manipulating Maryse's career, time, money, whatever. Then things get really fun when Daniel Bryan came out and not only said "Punch you in the face" an incredible amount of times, but he officially booked the tag match between both parties. Overall a solid segment that let the women take the lead, which allowed for plenty of animosity to build between them (and not just Miz/Cena) as we get closer to WrestleMania. One of the more polarizing feuds in the WWE, people either really love or hate this one.
WWE (@WWE) March 15, 2017
4) Guys, It's Just a Title – Wait, Randy Orton heard Sister Abigail's screams? How does that work? Ghost? Still alive? Too many questions? Bray apparently came to us live from the crime scene, where he baptized himself in Sister Abigail's ashes, breathing all heavy and yelling very weirdly. He's been reborn, I guess, I don't know, this particular segment didn't grab me, but I'm still very much into their feud.
5) Meh Event – We went two weeks without hearing a peep from the tag division and then WWE puts out American Alpha vs. Usos for last night's main event. To the surprise of no one, it didn't exactly thrill the crowd, and for the second time in the night, the champions lost. The plus side is it builds up The Usos, which is the best tag team the division has to go up against American Alpha, but it just felt wasteful to haphazardly throw that match out there. For a bit, fans thought maybe Kurt Angle would come out, but instead we got these split-screens of Shane McMahon walking around the arena, making this match feel even less important.
Carmella – Actually enjoyed what she did last night, sneaking into the ring after Becky's victory and laying out both Natalya and Becky, which actually got some reactions! Then she cut a quick promo about how she is going to be the next Women's champion, simple, effective, Ellsworth didn't talk, I liked it.
Maryse – Long promos are not her friend. She plays off Miz really well, but getting the front spot during this segment didn't really work for me. I did see a lot of people enjoying her work on social media, so maybe it just hit me weird. The points and stories she told were fine enough. Possibly, it was just the delivery that fell short.
Mickie James – Haven't been able to get into her matches lately and that streak continued last night when she went up against SmackDown Women's Champion, Alexa Bliss. The match itself wasn't awful, but they just never quite made it to a level where I could get invested. The live crowd didn't really know what to do as they weren't going to cheer Alexa, but Mickie hasn't really captured them either, so it was a fairly quiet affair. Yeah, she won, but that makes me like the match even less, champions shouldn't be losing these kinds of matches.
This Week's MVP
AJ Styles – The guy is money, featured throughout the show and made a huge impact by getting Shane's attention. The whole "firing" angle seems to be a bit much as we all know he'll be back, and Bryan's reaction was excessive considering we have guys like Orton and Corbin running free after committing some pretty serious crimes. Along with Bryan in the Miz TV segment, Styles shined the brightest on last night's show.
This was the "Response Edition" of SmackDown, with a lot of talking and less meaningful wrestling. The matches in total were Natalya vs. Becky, Alexa vs. Mickie, Dolph vs. Mojo, and American Alpha vs. The Usos, not exactly the most thrilling lineup. On social media, a lot of fans thought weather had played a part in this show being somewhat disjointed and aside from the AJ/Shane and Miz TV segment, it was. Hilarious ending when the show ran a bit long and Shane barely got his line out about Styles having an opponent at WrestleMania, if you weren't paying close attention you would have thought it was Chrisley Knows Best.
Grade (out of 10): 5 (Last Week: 6.5)