Thank You, Drake Maverick….Oh and Smackdown – Smackdown and 205 Live Recap – 2/6/2018

This week, we’re starting with 205 Live, because in the two weeks since Drake Maverick (aka Rockstar Spud) was introduced as the GM of the Cruiserweight Brand, this show has been on fire.

All it needed was a little help getting back on track, and Maverick has provided that in spades.  In addition to being absolutely fantastic in promos and in segments where he flexes his authority muscle opposite the 205 talent pool, Maverick has brought the meaning back to these matches.  While I understand that not every match can be incredibly meaningful in the grand scheme of thing, but the best part of early 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Classic was that it didn’t take overthink story lines or promo work, it just put two really talented guys opposite each other in the ring and gave them 20 minutes or so to just do what they do best.  Adding the tournament format, each match is leading to somewhere, and stakes are the most reasonable drama that can be added to a scenario that already requires a substantial suspension of disbelief.  Every match has a Wrestlemania moment at stake and every guy so far has fought with that level of intensity.  They even managed to make a Kalisto match not boring and predictible (which may or may not be thanks to Lince Dorado being awesome).

  • Kalisto def. Lince Dorado via the Solida Del Sol to advance to the second round of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament.  The match featured some great spots, including a moment where I just assumed Dorado had been murdered in the middle of the ring when he got spiked awkwardly on a reverse hurricanrana.
  • Roderick Strong def. Hideo Itami in a bit of a shocker.  I’m not going to lie.  I really assumed that no matter who was in the tournament we were on track for Cedric Alexander vs Hideo Itami at Wrestlemania.  I’m beyond grateful to feel truly surprised.  It was a wonderful match.  Well worth a viewing.  So now Roderick Strong is in the second round of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament and the Number One Contender for the WWE United Kingdom Championship.  Looks like everything is coming up Roddy in 2018.

Another Tuesday, Another Rusev Day


Smackdown Live kicked off with Shane already in the ring.  He then brought Daniel Bryan out because he wanted to discuss the whole Owens-Zayn-Styles situation.  Shane, it turns out, brought Bryan in when he took over Smackdown because the hope was that he’d usher a new era forward where the audience’s voice was heard, and the right people would then be given the right opportunities.

This isn’t the case, as you know, otherwise Zack Ryder wouldn’t have eaten a million losses to Mojo Rawley of late.

It was pretty standard fare from these two, including the AJ Styles interruption to point out that the land of opportunity is really just the house that AJ Styles built.  Then he bailed.

None of that is terribly important.  What is important is that this is yet another segment hijacked by an audience desperate to see Rusev get the push he so desperately deserves.

As Shane was talking about listening to the audience, the room started shaking at the volume of the “Rusev Day” chants, which caught Shane in his tracks and solicited a “duly noted” response.

United States Championship Opportunity:

Rusev would get his opportunity to capture gold during this episode of Smackdown, as we already knew he was getting a United States Championship match per the promotional image on last week’s broadcast.

This match was great, and for the first time since his call up from NXT, Bobby Roode got to be a more than a flashy entrance, short match and comedy relief on commentary.  Rusev and Bobby Roode have fantastic chemistry in the ring, and the more I watch wrestling from all different promotions, even the most talented of guys can simply not mesh well.  They worked one of the longest Smackdown matches in recent memory, getting two different commercial breaks throughout the action.

Bobby Roode retained the United States Championship after reversing two Accolades and finally landing the Glorious DDT.  I can’t stress enough how damn good I thought this match was.  While celebrating his glorious victory, Bobby Roode was on the receiving end of an RKO Outta Nowhere.  I like the idea that Orton has gone rogue and is just randomly attacking people

Rusev even got in on the Mixed Match Challenge fun….without actually being in the match:

As Jimmy Uso and Naomi battled Golddust and Mandy Rose (Rose Gold), Rusev was in charge of the social media feed for WWE.  It was glorious.  #PushHandsomeRuRu.  Rose Gold would take the loss, but I feel like there’s going to be more from this mixed tag match format to come in the future, and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this team.

Some Other Stuff Happened:

  • Charlotte def. Liv Morgan via the Figure 8.  The rest of the Riott Squad was ejected from ringside without actually doing much of anything.  Charlotte informed the commentary team that 1 was down, 2 were left to go.  And now I hope she has to defend the Women’s Championship in a 3-on-1 Handicapped Match, because if AJ can beat two guys, Charlotte can surely beat three women.  Right?
  • In an absolute travesty, Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable def. The Ascension.  I knew it was coming, so I sped through this match on the DVR.  I hate watching The Ascension lose as much as I hate seeing Benjamin and Gable continue to get wins against anyone not named Uso.
  • The Bludgeon Brothers def. more local talent jobbers.  I’m tired of this, give them competition.  As they were leaving the ring area, The Usos emerged a little early for their promo segment.  There was a stare down but no action.  Boo.
  • Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn ended in a no contest.  AJ Styles was on commentary, and Sami Zayn pushed a little too far so the Phenomenal One took it to both competitors, standing tall in the ring until Daniel Bryan emerged to try to screw AJ yet again, scheduling a Triple Threat Match between the three of them at Fastlane, only on the WWE Network (which isn’t true, you know you can still get these things on PPV right?)
  • The Smackdown Top 10 List, a list of the 10 Top Superstars as voted on by….the locker room?  Given that Shane wants to know what the people think, why are we polling the locker room?  And why are the results pretty much everything you’d expect, even with Dillinger being #10 and there not being any Rusev or Aiden English anywhere in the top 9?  Picture who you think the top 9 were, you’d be right.

Overall Grade for Our Tuesday Evening of Action:

I’m going to give the evening an A-.  Between a great hour of 205 Live and the wonderful match between Rusev and Roode, I think it’s a reasonable score for the night.  The MMC match was fairly good, but no surprises on the outcome.  I think when we finally get to an overall payoff in this Shane McMahon-Daniel Bryan story line it’s all going to feel like it was worth it, right?  Please?  It’s been going on forever, just reassure me in some small way that it’s going to have been worth it.