Smackdown GO! Gotta Draft ‘Em All!

I know that the title of this recap is probably more appropriate next week but who knows if it will still be relevant next week.  Just like Mauro, I have to mine current pop culture the moment it happens.

I choose you, Brock!

I choose you, Brock!

Welcome to the last taped Smackdown!

I don’t know what I’m going to do not reading the spoilers on Tuesday nights.  I guess I’ll actually watch the show live.

Tonight’s show comes to us from Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of the minor league hockey team The Griffens.  As always, the recap is not in chronological order, just the order that I want to talk about it.

The Last Week of Experiments

This week opens as the last week.  Short pre-taped promos from a handful of the competitors that we’re going to see tonight.  At the same time, this approach seems both fresh and decidedly from the 1980s.  I dig what they’re doing here but I’m not sure everything they’ve been doing is going to be around a month from now.  They’re throwing everything against the wall and is seeing what sticks.

I do believe they have a distinct writing staff and booking agents in place and have had for at least a month now.  Smackdown feels different and it definitely wasn’t the case when I started doing these recaps a few months ago.

The show starts off with Kevin Owens finding a birthday card Sami got little Owen Owens (Ok, Owen Steen but let’s pretend some degree of kayfabe).  By the way, Kev is wearing a sweet Bálor tee.  I’m sure he doesn’t have any advanced knowledge of a call-up but you can tell that he wants him up there.  Anyway, he’s complaining that Sami only gave Owen $20 CAD.  The latest in a long line of insults towards Kev.

Charlotte and Dana Brooke deliver a more wooden promo getting out of a limo.  Something, Something, Sasha wears dollar store jewelry.  Also something about her and Dana are having a rematch again tonight.

The Maryse is doing Miz’s makeup.  They’re going to do an episode of Miz TV with Backlund and Young.

Finally, there’s champ Dean Ambrose.  He looks straight out of a mid 90s action movie with those crazy sunglasses.  He’s going to take on Owens for perhaps the very last time in quite awhile.

Anchored by Two Tag Matches

I normally complain about the unoriginality of Smackdown’s tag matches.  It’s almost like Teddy Long is still running things from behind the scenes.  This week, however, was different.

The Club (Anderson and AJ w/ Gallows) Vs. Enzo and Cass

On paper, this sounds like it might be overdone.  In reality, this was a well-worked match that felt a bit like a classic.  Enzo looked way better than he did last week and so did The Club.  Both Matt and I have thought they looked a little lackluster these past couple of weeks. Perhaps it was the combination involving AJ instead that brought everyone up.  Probably.

The Club used their numbers advantage to excellently cutoff Enzo for his hot tag.  Their timing was perfect.  On top of that, both AJ and Anderson worked Enzo‘s leg to weaken him for the Calf Crusher, which he pretty much taped out to immediately.  Solid match.

I was a little worried about that 6-man tag match but I’m now fully into it.  I think both teams can put on a show that might rival the Shield Triple Threat.

Sambrose Vs. Kevin Rollins

As teased in the cold open, it was supposed to be a singles match between Ambrose and Owens.  However, Rollins came down to do commentary and interfered before the 2 minute mark.  Sami comes out to even the odds and we cut to commercial.

When we come back, it’s an official tag match.  Nothing special, but a lot of fun.  At one point, Sambrose dive over the top rope on their opponents for a nice moment.  Mauro Renallo and Lawler have some nice banter.  It’s an end to an era and a particular fitting way to end it.

And Other Stuff Happened

  • Shane is seen talking to various wrestlers backstage (Ambrose, R-Truth, and Lynch) in what was clearly shot on Monday night.  I don’t believe R-Truth and Becky were there either.  Also, I can’t wait until Becky is done with this Natalya feud and is back on to something I actually care about.
  • Kalisto and Breeze had a singles match that ended with a Salida del sol to Breeze for the win.  This match was really well worked by both guys but it’s a victim of 50/50 booking.  I’m hoping that’s something we see less of going forward.

  • Miz TV. The Miz showed a highlight reel of Backlunds career.  It was something I was really looking foward to seeing actually.  Impressive Bob, impressive.  Miz then showed Young’s career highlights.  They played color bars because he couldn’t find any.  Backlund and Miz are trying really, really hard to put Young over.  He just has no personality.  It’s cool that he’s one of the first openly gay wrestlers and is not relegated to some stereotypical gimmick (Pretty Boy Pat Patterson comes to mind).  I get why they want him to be big.  He just needs something.
  • In another repeat, we have Sasha taking on Dana Brooke again.  Surprisingly this one doesn’t suffer from 50/50 booking.  It does suffer from the fact that Dana isn’t that great a wrestler and it shows.  I’d love to make this match higher up in importance in my recap but it is what it is.  Charlotte tries to interfere but not before Dana taps out once again.
  • After passing the test, Sasha is informed that Charlotte signed a contract for a tag match and that Sasha will need to find a partner.  Everyone has been saying that it’ll be Paige.  But maybe a fun-loving friend gets called up next Tuesday…

This is the End

Overall, a good solid show.  Next week should be special.  The real question is, will it stay that way?