Previously on SmackDown! Live: SmackDown! Live’s post-brand separate opening was kind of a dud. This week on SmackDown! Live: Things still aren’t perfect, nonetheless they’re better. Much better.

That’s a blessing and a abuse of examination any wrestling epoch start in genuine time. It’s truly good to be means to see a changes as they start for a show, generally when they’re changes for a better. But it’s also kind of ungainly and frustrating to watch pronounced changes, generally when we usually wish present gratification. And you’re a wrestling fan, so of march we wish present gratification. Luckily, something fascinating happens with this week’s book of SmackDown! Live: WWE indeed learns from a mistakes and missteps, and they change things accordingly. Not usually in terms of SmackDown! Live being opposite from RAW, nonetheless in terms of SmackDown! Live being opposite from customary WWE as a whole.

As it turns out, SmackDown! Live’s trail to feat involves being some-more like a WWE Draft, that is indeed a flattering good plan deliberation how good that was. SmackDown! Live gets a WWE Network after uncover Talking Smack, as good as a Smack Center, that takes a WWE Draft Center suspicion and puts it to good use again with Renee Young. It’s so simple. Wrestlers get their possess mini-stats in their name label (like aged propagandize SmackDown!), finish with listed heights for those wrestlers whose heights WWE has no fear of revealing.

The inconceivable even happens: Commentary stays positively still when Bray Wyatt creates his entrance.

That sounds like a simplest thing to do in sequence to keep a character’s mystique alive, nonetheless this is a initial time a categorical register WWE has finished it. After all these years. Last week’s SmackDown! Live had a lot of problems following a simple “show, don’t tell” principle, nonetheless permitting a assembly during home to indeed watch and knowledge a Wyatt opening nonetheless revelation them “you need to watch and knowledge this” (in “serious” voices), indeed nails it. For all a apparent fan faith that SmackDown! Live will finally do good with a Bray Wyatt character, that unequivocally apparent preference competence be a ultimate proof.

Seriously: Remember when Jerry Lawler would pierce adult how most fans hatred when reason talks over Bray Wyatt’s entrance, during Bray Wyatt’s entrance? It’s extraordinary how mostly WWE tries to annoy a fans over even a littlest things, nonetheless it’s even some-more extraordinary to see how most easier (and better) things can be when they don’t. In fact, this week, not once does JBL scream or even pronounce during an aberrant decibel spin about a “meritocracy” or outward sports. There are a few times when he roughly stairs on Dean Ambrose’s disproportion during a categorical event, nonetheless even that is some-more a outcome of Dean hardly interlude to take a exhale during commentary. JBL is indeed unequivocally dialed behind this week, to a indicate where a usually references he creates are wrestling-related (Mauro still insists on mentioning a West/Kardashian Dynasty), and a reason indeed sounds like correct commentary. Instantly, this week’s SmackDown! Live commentary is light years forward of final week’s stumbling, shouty nightmare.

As forked out in this week’s RAW review comments section, WWE is a usually party uncover where fans are astounded when they’re indeed entertained. It’s something we brought adult early on in my RAW reviews, so it’s overtly lovely to see how WWE has altered for a improved given we started pronounced reviews. we take zero of a credit, nonetheless stepping behind to demeanour during how things have altered creates it rather easier to accept a rough things from usually over a year ago.

Especially given WWE didn’t have AJ Styles and John Cena verbally assaulting any other over a year ago. It positively didn’t have AJ Styles doing all he can to make children cry—even a child with Cena shirt and a Styles gloves—and scornful Nashville, given of, we know, the things and a place. Yes, it’s a shred that has AJ Styles go full-on satire during times when he hits the law “YOU” during Cena. And yes, it’s a shred where a “WHAT?” chants try to harm so many things, as usual. But it’s special, given AJ Styles and John Cena have something special, and honestly, we don’t have adequate disproportion to full constraint it.

It also has a standard “indie guy” contra Cena rhetoric, nonetheless come on: It’s wrestling, and if we can make it good, we can recycle as many stories as possible.

SmackDown! Live also creates improved use of a in-ring time it has this week. The Baron Corbin/Apollo Crews/Kalisto triple hazard compare (to establish who’s confronting The Miz during SummerSlam) is a good opening compare to uncover off 3 young, inspired competitors in a WWE right now. These New Era guys strike mark after mark after mark in this match, hardly negligence down. While that competence sound bad, trust me—Corbin, Crews, and Kalisto clearly enter this compare wanting to make a statement, and they unequivocally most do. That’s a form of thing we should design this SmackDown! Live show and roster, and it doesn’t harm that these 3 labyrinth guys are now concerned with The Miz. Corbin stands high over a other 3 group as a shred ends (and a throng cheers, actually), he looks good, nonetheless he still needs to figure out all of a pieces. Crews and Kalisto both need a lot of work on a impression front, with Crews desperately wanting a impression and celebrity and Kalisto wanting to pierce past his “good lucha thing.” The Miz can presumably pierce a lot out of all 3 of them, and they can also pierce a lot out of any other. So pierce it.

American Alpha (in their categorical register debut) contra The Vaudevillains is unsatisfactory usually in a clarity that a miss of appreciation for The Vaudevillains both in and outward a ring is abrasive during this point. The compare itself is a good showcase for American Alpha, and The Vaudevillains get to demeanour good while creation a debuting tab group stars demeanour good. All 4 group could spike this compare in their sleep. But we will indicate out a impulse during a compare where Aiden English shouts during Gable about how American Alpha aren’t going to make a name off him, and it’s such a specific impulse that explains usually how critical mentor-ship in wrestling is: It’s unequivocally most a Bubba Ray Dudley moment, and it’s a form of training English (and Gotch) apparently got during one of those eight-man tab matches “no one” cares about. It’s a small things, we know?

The Randy Orton/Fandango compare is all clearly a means to a unavoidable Brock Lesnar confrontation, nonetheless SmackDown! Live (and this WWE code split) does merit regard for a timely courtesy to fact and continuity, given this clearly pointless compare is indeed a outcome of Fandango challenging Randy on amicable media. He even prepared for this match! Also, while Randy is unequivocally most in control a whole brief time, Fandango usually loses a compare by disqualification—which doesn’t delayed his and Tyler Breeze’s movement as they hopefully continue to kick adult a Usos. Everyone wins!

In terms of other wrestling classic, a categorical eventuality between a now unequivocally unfortunate (and non-ass-shaking) Dolph Ziggler and (a laser-focused) Bray Wyatt is flattering damn great.

Before we unequivocally get into that though, I’ve got to residence Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler’s initial in-ring promo. SmackDown! Live’s Dean Ambrose is strictly a non-wacky sidekick Dean Ambrose everybody has pleaded for, and it looks oh so good on him, even when he’s kind of a dick. Because child is he kind of a dick to Dolph Ziggler. At a same time: 1. He’s a champ. 2. He’s not observant anything to Ziggler that’s false. 3. He’s next during tweener-dom. 4. His opinion is a compare that truly lights a glow underneath Ziggler’s donkey in this feud, and sparks are going to fly during SummerSlam (and presumably beyond).

In fact, Ziggler’s ascent disappointment around a night is a serious, categorical eventuality chronicle of Golden Truth looking for Pokemon backstage during RAW, and as uncanny as that sounds, it’s unequivocally a good thing. If it weren’t apparent before this week’s show, it becomes apparent during that segment, afterwards around a show, afterwards during a categorical event: Dolph Ziggler is finally going to spin heel again. That’s not a new thing for Ziggler, nonetheless a disproportion is this is a grizzled, pissed-off, kind of washed-up Ziggler, that is most opposite from cheerleader Ziggler (which a Nashville throng pops for during a mention), caddy Ziggler, or even seducer boaster Ziggler. It’s exciting, usually like Bray Wyatt’s explain that he deserves to burst a line usually given we all know Ziggler can’t get it done. we mean, we know someone’s unequivocally distant down when even Bray Wyatt is observant they can’t get a large one done.

And Bray Wyatt is great! The assembly realizes usually how good he is! Bray Wyatt desiring that Dolph Ziggler is distant from estimable for a pretension show, generally given he didn’t indeed kick him in a Six Pack Challenge, is also great! But here’s a thing we brought adult final week: Bray Wyatt matches with Dean Ambrose tend to be literally any thing other than great. Bray Wyatt contra Dean Ambrose—especially with a unavoidable outcome of Wyatt losing large again—aren’t utterly entertaining. I’m not observant they’re this era’s chronicle of John Cena contra Randy Orton, given we’re overtly always one RKO divided from another John Cena/Randy Orton snoozer. But Bray Wyatt’s biggest problem is mostly branch his opponents into idiots… until they kick him when it matters.

And a final thing Ambrose needs is a reason to be incited into a dope again, generally so shortly into his central mutation into The Dude. So while Bray also looks like a million bucks this week on SmackDown! Live, a uncover again creates a right preference with regards to Ziggler being in a #1 Contender spot. It also creates a right preference in carrying Erick Rowan uncover adult to save Bray, given I’m not accurately certain since anyone suspicion a Wyatt Family was over when Bray and Rowan were drafted to a same show.

Ziggler gets to keep a compare he warranted (with even some-more recklessness than before), and a Wyatt Family gets to destroy—sounds like a good proceed to finish another week of SmackDown! Live to me.

As for a SmackDown! Live women’s division: What women’s division? RAW is creation moments in a initial dual weeks with a women, while Becky Lynch is a integrate of seconds away from vagrant strangers outward a locus to punch her, usually so she can feel something again. There are dual women’s matches on a label (Becky Lynch contra Eva Marie, Carmella contra Natalya), and they don’t even happen. It’s storytelling, for sure, and we don’t covet a uncover or WWE as a whole for permitting that to be a case. But that’s still dual women’s matches that aren’t matches, on a register where red flags like no women’s championship and a management figures’ views on women in a business (especially compared to a group in a business) are already unequivocally suspect.

Speaking of views on a women wrestlers, concede me to pierce my viewpoint on All Red Everything into play, given everybody has an opinion on her: we don’t consider she’s good, in any loyal clarity of a word, and she’s eventually a interruption to a multiplication or what it can be.

My evidence opposite a Eva Marie impression and performer is that once we indeed get to a things she has a palm in—the tangible wrestling, a acting, a promos—everything about her indeed falls apart. In theory, as good as in improved artistic practice, a suspicion of Eva Marie representing a final vestiges of Diva-hood is flattering damn brilliant. The thing is, in stream use and with this talent, that’s not usually holding divided time from a women who possibly had to be a Diva’s Revolution’s guinea pigs or suspicion WWE had finally altered past that, that’s holding divided from a fans who wish to see a women indeed wrestle. Remember all a soundbites about how fans indeed come to see a women combat now? Because SmackDown! Live has already done dual weeks value of women’s segments “bathroom break”-worthy during this point. Plus, Eva Marie’s adopt damage is fast busted by her conjunction meaningful how to adopt damage (which is a large problem for a veteran wrestler) or remembering that leg is “injured,” as good as her hardly being means to keep a expression from being a smile. If Eva Marie were during slightest a decent actor, it would assistance so most more. As it stands now, she has a good gimmick, a good opening “theme,” and zero to tangible lift it. Her opponents and everybody else around her, in fact, have to do all a carrying in some form or another (see: Bayley, Corey Graves/Tom Phillips, whoever came adult with a voiceover further to her entrance).

As for a some-more dear figure in WWE, Daniel Bryan has a lot of knowledge about a wrestling business, and it’s something he gets to unequivocally uncover during Talking Smack (see: his viewpoint on a Cena/Styles promo). He’s not accurately a best management figure though, even nonetheless a “Apollo Creed” slip. Neither Bryan nor Shane unequivocally are, given while there’s still all this speak of SmackDown! Live being a uncover about a wrestlers, it’s also a uncover where there are no tab titles or a women’s title, and a Intercontinental Champion is treated like a second difficulty citizen simply given he’s not favourite by Daniel Bryan. Of march a latter is for apparent reasons—and magnify loyal wrestling continuity—but The Miz is still one of Bryan and Shane’s champions, and he kept a pretension on SmackDown! Live instead of vouchsafing a register down. As for a blank championships, as good as it is that Bryan implies that they’ll be introduced, on programs after SmackDown! Live or on podcasts, no central proclamation is being done on SmackDown! Live and it’s not being discussed in segments. It’s tough to usually contend “rewrite him,” given a Daniel Bryan that exists now can’t unequivocally be altered during all. Same with Mick Foley. So, SmackDown! Live continues to have these vivid problems, nonetheless WWE can’t utterly figure out how to make it work yet.

When a second women’s compare on a SmackDown! Live card also doesn’t start and a evident shred after it (no blurb between) is Bryan and Shane focusing on Ziggler’s problems, a suspicion of priorities for these management total come into play again. For management characters who are presumably all about being hands-off so a wrestlers can do their things, they keep adhering their noses into problems that don’t indeed need their attention. Because while Ziggler’s segments are good (just like his heel turn-in-progress), they could simply be with other Superstars, while Bryan and Shane could concentration on a nonexistent groups on their show.

I’ve discussed this before, nonetheless for all a complaints about 3 hour RAWs, that form of presumably “too much” WWE is overtly a form of thing that can concede for some-more calm and improved use of characters here. The genuine problem has always been WWE’s struggles progressing certain amounts of attention, nonetheless RAW is doing a most improved pursuit now than it used to do with a 3 hours. SmackDown! Live obviously advantages from smoothness in segments, like a aforementioned Ziggler frustrations, nonetheless during a same time, removing usually one thing takes divided from a others. Two hours isn’t adequate anymore given WWE indeed gives full-blown matches on radio these days. Two hours (with overrun!) was some-more than adequate in a Attitude Era, where a few matches that hardly combined adult to 10 mins all together were stuffing for backstage and in-ring segments. The same went for a Ruthless Aggression Era, where a SmackDown! Six were carrying superb matches… usually to be surrounded by a people who weren’t in that same category. WWE has combined an expectancy for more—and better—matches, and that’s since a 3 hour format is best for business, when executed properly. It’s a lot to take, and it’s even some-more to routine in these reviews, nonetheless it leaves a lot reduction void now, and it doesn’t need an after uncover to pierce some-more to a show. Because, a 20-plus mins of Talking Smack is apparently kind of a prerequisite right now, in further to a change in SmackDown! Live’s proceed to things.

One some-more thing: The punish from Brock Lesnar should now meant no some-more brand-hopping. Or during slightest get efficient adopt confidence guards, WWE. Sorry, Heath Slater.

Stray observations

  • RESULTS: Apollo Crews degraded Baron Corbin and Kalisto (Triple Threat for #1 Contendership to Intercontinental Championship); Becky Lynch contra Eva Marie (No Contest); American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) degraded The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch); Randy Orton degraded Fandango (via DQ); Carmella contra Natalya (No Contest); Dolph Ziggler degraded Bray Wyatt
  • I’m astounded WWE is so discerning to exhibit Chad Gable’s tallness as 5’8”. Kalisto and Baron Corbin, we know them pity those stats, though—and that’s done even improved by them clearly not pity Apollo Crews’ height. Ah, comical picking and choosing!
  • It’s indeed good that this partial gives an reason as to since Heath can still usually strut into SmackDown! Live: All of a building’s confidence are too bustling perplexing to keep Brock out and strengthen Randy. Logic!
  • Some contend Fandango’s beef with Randy Orton usually started after Randy mocked him (and Jericho) during Battleground, nonetheless I know a truth.
  • The Ziggler/Wyatt finish—as unequivocally predicted as it was—would have been so most improved if a arbitrate hadn’t been looking right during Ziggler as he threw Wyatt into a unprotected turnbuckle. Yet again, TNA’s former “Rudy Charles” strikes again with his poor officiating. (This is not a bit.)
  • My favorite partial of Talking Smack wasn’t that Chad Gable’s mic didn’t work. My favorite partial was that Chad Gable clearly didn’t have a mic at all. And we could hear rustling from wherever a mic he was ostensible to have was. Then they gave him a handheld mic! Then Bryan’s mic stopped working! Scott Steiner would never.
  • In conclusion, each wrestling uncover should be 3 hours long.
  • Who wants to tell WWE.com this is not Dolph?