WWE SmackDown Review (4/4): Who Won This Week's MVP?, AJ Styles, Naomi, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Miz

Standout Moments

1) Wyatt Family Feud Our new WWE Champion, Randy Orton, kicked things off saying a bunch of stuff that I've already forgotten, crowd was booing him pretty hard throughout his promo. Bray showed up on the big screen to do his usual evil speak and challenged Orton to a "House of Horrors" match for his championship rematch. Without hearing an explanation (they aren't going to use the old House of Horrors match from WCW are they?), Orton just accepted the offer, details to soon follow. Bray got an old buddy back in Erick Rowan, who debuted a new post-apocalyptic lamb mask! Enter, Luke Harper to even up the odds and help chase away Rowan and Bray, cue tag match. Think I mentioned it previously, but Harper is looking to be in impressive shape, think he's trying to take this solo run very seriously, hope WWE doesn't waste his talent (they will).

2) Glowing Fury Alexa wasted no time in using her championship rematch clause, challenging Naomi just two days after tapping out to the champion at WrestleMania 33. Naomi didn't seem quite as hyped during her intro, which made me think initially that she was going to be dropping the title right back to Alexa (she didn't). Beach ball made its way through the crowd yet again, but apparently a group of people were able to catch a number of them and pop them in quick order. Alexa focused on Naomi's knee for much of the match, hindering her offense throughout. Unfortunately for Alexa, Naomi didn't need her legs to lock Alexa into the same submission she tapped out to at WrestleMania. Naomi really sold the knee injury post-match, hopefully that was just from the match and nothing legit.

3) Ten So, Dillinger got the call-up, not a big surprise as he's got crowd support and has a well-defined gimmick that relies heavily on a number. It's basic, but that kind of stuff works with crowds. I'm nervous about his prospects, as guys like Tyler Breeze, Bo Dallas, and Apollo Crews (just to name a few) haven't exactly killed it on the main roster. Tye gets a lot of love from the crowd though and can cut a solid promo, so maybe that will get him to a decent place. He got in a squashing of Curt Hawkins (that poor guy...), nice debut, curious to see how the masses react to him over the next few weeks.

4) The A(J) Show - "This is the house that AJ Styles built." Styles made it abundantly clear that he wanted to stay with SmackDown and went as far as to shake Shane's hand. Fans have been cheering Styles for awhile now, but WWE has him officially acting like a good guy with that move. Rumors were saying he was going to Raw, but that seems just a little less likely after this segment, unless Shane turns bitter and send Styles on his way.

Trending Up

Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin - Why didn't Ambrose and Corbin have this match at WrestleMania? I fully expected their Intercontinental match to receive some kind of gimmick, it didn't, and it was one of the lesser matches of the night. Last night, the two went to war using chairs, belts, and tables almost like they were trying to make up for WrestleMania's lackluster match. Corbin ended up getting his win back, so it seems likely these two will be headed for a third match down the road, hopefully one with another gimmick.

Trending Down

205 Live Promos Austin Aries was given some atrocious lines last night, my goodness. Double vision, triple- I've already lost interest. WWE needs to start mixing those promos up, again, why can't they just catch someone backstage who has something to say? Why not cut mid-fight between two Superstars? It's basic and lazy promotion for a show that needs all the help it can get.

Alexa Bliss Between losing her title at WrestleMania and then again tonight, she's had a rough couple days. There have been whispers of her possibly going to Raw, which isn't a surprise, considering how good she's been since her debut and how she's been booked the past few days. Hopefully, she does get switched up because with Nikki gone, Alexa has already feuded with all of the faces on SmackDown, so seeing her go after Bayley and Sasha would be a lot of fun.

This Week's MVP

Shinsuke Nakamura Now that's a debut! Having the live violin to introduce him was just the cherry on top of an amazing start to Nakamura's main roster run. Crowd went absolutely ballistic for him; the guy just has "it." No need to talk or wrestle. Loved that he interrupted Miz's segment as I can't say that was expected at all. Miz didn't address him, so not sure if he'll be the first to feud with Shinsuke, interesting choice, if so. Even if Miz ended up losing the feud, he deserves to be either in the main event scene or going up against the biggest stars on the roster. Getting back to Nakamura, WWE still needs to introduce him to a section of the WWE Universe, so hopefully he wins a couple feuds before taking on whoever the champion is, anything less for someone with his talent would be a shame.

Overall Thoughts

Solid effort this week, can't say I was blown away by the show as a whole, especially considering it being the SmackDown after 'Mania. Very much looks like WWE just had to stall a bit until next week's show, when we find out where some of the Superstars are going. Dillinger and obviously Nakamura had great debuts this week; we'll see how they are received by crowds infused with more casual fans going forward. Didn't talk much about the main event because it was a letdown to have this show also end with a tag match and have even less of an interesting ending than Raw did. Rowan taking the pin was pretty expected, but Bray teleporting out of the ring felt disjointed and made for a forgettable finish. Even though Raw had its own flaws this week, felt like they were able to put on the better show.

Grade (out of 10): 7 (Last Week: 6.5)


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