Well, here we go! The very first in our new Friday Night Smackdown series, “The Deep Dive”. I’ll be covering this for WR and I’m excited to do it. WWE really went out of its way to make this feel like an “EVENT”. The wrestlers (yeah, I said it) were absolutely unavoidable as they talked to anyone anywhere to trumpet the move. Pageantry aside (well, most of it anyway), let’s see how the whole thing panned out, shall we?
A Rock, A King, & The Man
This was fun. Rock came out to a gigantic pop, uttered all of his catchphrases, and he even let Becky have one. She got a huge rub from this and it was well-deserved. Corbin did all he could to not crack up while Rock and Man were coming for him. They got a little blue but that’s what’s happening now, I guess. This was nothing more than a bit to get the crowd going and it absolutely did its job in that regard.
Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks
It’s interesting to me that in this dynamic, Bayley was treated as the least of the competitors. She took a lot of the damage and she did the job. Fun match from all of them though. Gotta give it up to Charlotte’s moonsault too. It doesn’t always work but when it does, it’s great. Sasha also got her mouth busted open – further proof of the hard-hitting action we got in this match. It could have gone longer but there’s a lot more coming so I get it. Good opening match.
It’s a New Day – Yes, It Is
They are a great hype machine and they kill on stuff like this. Another winner of a segment. Their personalities were showcased us and they plugged the match between Kofi & Brock effectively. That’s all that was needed.
This is a friendship that’ll never, ever end
I dearly love all of these. They are the most twisted thing I think I’ve ever seen WWE do. Bray is perfect for this stuff. If you haven’t seen him do the weather (it’s been all over Twitter), you need to see it. It’s a riot. Here, poor Ramblin’ Rabbit and Mercy went at it in the cage with the poor Ramblin’ one dying…again. Bray was his usual twisted self and I loved this from start to finish.
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura…kinda
Of course, The Fiend came out to end this match rather unceremoniously. They do this so well. The sound effect is just chilling. Bray just nails and his match with Seth is one of two I’m most looking forward to. I fear for the HIAC match because I don’t understand why the Fiend should care about a belt. He cares about terrorizing and punishment.
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
No mercy was given in this match. They both really went for it but none of us should be shocked by that. The dive onto Shane who lay prone on the ladder was particularly gruesome but it wasn’t the only ugly thing in this match. Of course, we knew who’d win. There really was no choice. I have to give it to Shane. He’s been an awful heel but he gave all he had on the way out. I loved the final “You’re Fired” and Stunner from Owens to close out the feud.
Paul Heyman tells a story better than anyone in WWE. I could very nearly listen to him talk all night long and I wouldn’t be mad at it. He, of course, completely nailed here. It’s quite simply what he does.
Braun Strowman, Heavy Machinery (Tucker & Otis) & The Miz vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, & Dolph Ziggler
This was pretty quick and the whole thing felt like a rush job. It wasn’t bad, but it felt rushed. It also got everyone on TV so that’s good. We haven’t seen Apollo in a bit and No Way Jose has gone back to his old hairstyle. Braun’s interaction with Tyson was fun too. It’s obviously leading to something. Tyson sold it really well too and it looked great. Wonder what it’ll lead to?
Erick Rowan vs Roman Reigns
It’s really amazing to see how far Rowan has gotten here lately. He’s been given the ball for the first time in WWE and he’s really running with it. The lumberjacks were a nice touch, though I hate to see some of the never-seen guys out there. I mean…I’m glad I saw them but I wish they were all doing more. They’ve got the skills. Loved the involvement of Luke Harper and Daniel Bryan too. Bryan, in particular, has no qualms about being thrown around given his former neck issues. He protects himself quite well too.
Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar
That ended as soon as it began. Kofi lost in mere moments and I don’t know what to think. It felt like a burial but that would make little sense. WWE has its eye on Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar and I think that’s what this was about. Get to that story as quickly as possible. That part I understand now, though I didn’t see it coming. What I don’t get it shoving Kofi to the side so violently to get there. In DD, we were kind of all feeling the same. Lewis said that Kofi deserved better than a few seconds. Dre felt the same way, saying that he should have at least put up a fight. I won’t totally kill this yet as we’ll need to see it play out first.
What a shocking end to the show. There were parts that felt a bit rushed as they tried to do a lot in two hours. The Kevin/Shane match was really good but the selling felt rushed in spots as they both recovered from what should have been devastating spots unusually quickly. The set is really cool and a few of us remarked on how great it looks. Our very own Sovereign S.A.M. was there and he took many pictures that can be viewed in the Dignified Discussion thread. There are twenty-one of them so go have a look. He got some great shots.