By: Frank Hyden
This was the first post-draft Smackdown and the “season premiere” so it featured plenty of big moments. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Opening hype with the roster on stage
Most of the roster was on the stage to open the show. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H were in the ring and ran down some of the new additions and hyped some of the matches tonight. Daniel Bryan got by far the biggest ovation from the crowd but everyone got some reaction. Of course, things quickly turned into a big brawl by the end but it was cool to see WWE making a big deal of the draft results. During the brawl, Jeff Hardy hit Lars Sullivan with the Twist of Fate before a commercial, with their match starting after the break…
GOOD- Lars Sullivan beat Jeff Hardy
This match was okay, nothing great. Sullivan was basically no-selling a lot of Hardy’s offense as they try to get him over as this unstoppable monster. He sort of fits the role but I don’t know. He’s probably going to need a mouthpiece, unless he can talk himself. He’s got a nice enough look but we’ll see.
GOOD- New Day beat Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Sheamus
Before the match, New Day cut an emotional promo about breaking up. It was nice and heartfelt, but it was weird in a sense because it seemed like Kofi talked about getting emotional but when they did a close-up of him, he didn’t actually look emotional. I don’t know if he’s just really good at holding himself back or we have different ideas of what getting emotional is, but it was a nice good-bye for them. The match was standard New Day fare, Kofi selling for most of the match until he can make the tag to either Xavier Woods or Big E. It might be standard but it’s good, I don’t want to give the impression I’m hating on this. These guys work really well together and it’s unfortunate WWE wants to break them apart. We all knew New Day would win but that’s fine here.
GOOD- Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins promo, Mysterios and Murphy attack Rollins
Daniel Bryan came out and talked about how he can’t wait to face some of the news faces in the ring. Seth Rollins came out and they ended up brawling. Rey and Dominik Mysterio came out then Murphy ran out and attacked Rollins. He offered a handshake to Rey but Rey refused to shake Murphy’s hand. This was okay, it was just a refresher on the Rollins-Mysterio feud for the Smackdown audience in a way. Well, maybe reset is a better word, as they didn’t explain any of their feud, just that they are feuding.
BAD- Street Profits vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode ends in DQ
I get that they didn’t want either team to lose just yet, though surely Ziggler and Roode will end up jobbing to the Profits numerous times over the next few months. This gets a BAD because it was so short. It felt like it didn’t even go a minute before the DQ. I don’t think this would even qualify as a tease, more of a waste of time.
GOOD- Sasha Banks signs the contract for Hell in a Cell, Bayley refuses
It’s always weird how sometimes they have these televised contract signings yet other times they don’t. Banks quickly signed but Bayley refused after a fiery promo from Banks who recounted how she helped Bayley retain her Smackdown Title and how they won the tag belts together. Good stuff from both of them, Banks bringing the passion on the mic and Bayley doing a great job with her reaction and saying she doesn’t need to sign anything. Banks vowed that Bayley will sign the contract, one way or the other.
GOOD- Roman Reigns beat Braun Strowman, promo with Jey Uso afterwards
The match between Reigns and Strowman was pretty good. Strowman got in a lot of offense before Reigns made him tap. The match was solid and a nice main event, Strowman tapping being the clincher. It was the action afterwards that elevated things. Jey Uso came out to the stage as Reigns grabbed a chair and said he doesn’t want to do this to Jey, before smashing Strowman across the back. He said Jey is forcing his hand and he’s giving him one last chance. He said that if he can do this to Strowman, imagine what he can do to Jey. He kept repeating that he loves Jey and for Jey to not make him do this. He even set the chair down and turned his back, to give Jey a chance to hit him with the chair. Jey threw the chair down, though he did punch Roman and superkick him. Officials grabbed Jey and then Roman popped up and hit him with the Superman punch, telling Jey that that was his last chance and he’s through holding back. This was a really good segment that drove home the impact their Hell in a Cell match is going to have.
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