SmackDown – May 19th

This week’s Smackdown seemed to be surrounded by a strange aura. The fans didn’t seem energetic, the wrestlers didn’t seem to have their hearts in the fights, and the whole show seemed to be filling space before Extreme Rules. From time to time it felt as if the audience noise was turned right down, giving quite an eerie feel to the whole event.

For the umpteenth time we saw a match containing two of the four competitors in the Intercontinental Championship match on Sunday. This time it was Cesaro against Kevin Owens. Once again there were interferences, leading to KO winning by a roll-up with a handful of tights. As much as I love these guys, matches like this just have to stop. Hopefully, following a title change, one or two of the men involved will move onto different things, leading to a much cleaner product. Kevin Owens can easily win matches without shenanigans, as can Cesaro and Sami Zayn. The fact that The Miz couldn’t win clean if his life depended on it has dragged the rest of them down to his level. KO and Zayn were fantastic in NXT because it didn’t have the added baggage, and that’s what I would like them to return to: simple, technical wrestling.

The booking of Paige versus Dana Brooke seemed a very strange one for me. On one hand you have a newly promoted women looking to make waves in the division despite not being nearly as skillful as most of the locker room. Then you have Paige who can brag a pinfall victory over the Women’s champion Charlotte already this month. Yet it was the newcomer who took the victory. Not only was the match very short and quite dull, but it seems to be yet another case of getting over someone who the fans clearly don’t approve of whilst burying a legitimate fighter who should be top of the card. Shameful.

Two guys who have arguably over exposed over the last couple of years, yet were sorely missed on this week’s RAW, Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus were on hand to breath a little fresh air into the show. Now I’m not the biggest fan of either of these former world champions, but it was nice to see something a little different to the monotony we have been used to over the past few weeks. A contender for match of the night, Ziggler picked up the win with a sweet Super Kick.

It wouldn’t be a WWE show without a pointless talk segment, this week featuring Chris Jericho inside the “Asylum”. I can’t be the only one who thinks this match looks a little ridiculous. If there was really no escape, why not make it twice as tall and remove the door making four full chainlink sides? It’s a glorified cage match, so I don’t understand what the major difference is. Sure, there’s a few strange weapons hanging up which must surely make way for some interesting set pieces, but that doesn’t warrant the misplaced hype this match seems to have accumulated.

With the tag team division being the most exciting in the company at the moment, surely they can’t go wrong with throwing the biggest names in together… Wrong! The best thing about the division are the matches between two cohesive teams with their own, unique styles. You can’t recreate that when you have The New Day teaming with Colin Cassidy, facing The Dudley Boyz and The Vaudevillans. Its just not a good formula. Who really wins when you can attribute half of your success to the another team who you should be at war with? Predictably, Big Cass picked up the win to continue his own rise in his partner’s absence. The sooner Enzo Amore is back, the better.

The main event saw an interesting match up of Roman Reigns against Luke Gallows, arguably the worse of the two Club members. This was classic big man on big man booking by WWE to make one of the fighters (*cough*Roman*cough*) look big and strong. As with the IC wrestlers, we are used to seeing the big set pieces and a breakdown on the outside, so nothing feels new. Of course Roman won, albeit by disqualification, but the champion just never loses and it gives the feeling that no match with his contains surprises anymore. Even Seth Rollins lost one or two in his time! Following the match, we had the same old script of the past few weeks: The Club beat down Roman, then the Usos get involved, Roman and AJ Styles clear house, then AJ gets put onto the announce table. There is such a lack of creativity here that its becoming painful to watch. If Styles wins on Sunday, we’ll probably get more of the same until the rematch; if Reigns wins, we’ll probably get more of the same with a different opponent. A lack of truly creative writing is taking its toll on the fans, so hopefully they’ll have something up their sleeves come Extreme Rules.

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