John Cena/ Alberto Del Rio
This might not be a popular opinion amongst the IWC but Thank God for bringing Cena back into this! The popularity of the US championship dropped drastically when Del Rio took it. First it was the atrocious MexAmerican storyline and then the jobbing League of Legends and the US title was lost in these weak storylines. As hard as it is to accept, the moment John Cena returned, all eyes turned back on the championship.
With the right opponent, Del Rio stepped up his game, as well. It seems like having Cena in the ring gives these superstars an extra reason to prove themselves. Del Rio hasn’t been that invested into a segment since he returned. And Kalisto also got some spotlight out of it. Remember, Kalisto and Del Rio wrestled before but without John Cena to announce it as an actual worthy feud and that had a massive impact on the crowd’s response.
John Cena’s bringing the US title back to life. Whether it’s by taking it himself, or by pushing forward others, he’s the one to thank for the segment being of any interest.
Kalisto def. Del Rio
Kalisto and Del Rio together tell the perfect story of the ultimate underdog vs. the all-powerful villain. The parallels with the Mysterio vs. Del Rio feud are bound to happen and it’s not a bad thing, because Kalisto can very well outshine that rivalry.
However, the booking of the match didn’t suggest that. Kalisto won but he only did so because Del Rio was busy with Cena. Cena remained the center of attention. Although Kalisto might get a title shot, it seems very unlikely that he’ll go into a lengthy feud with Del Rio. It most probably will all circle back to Cena.
Miz TV was expectedly chaotic, as usual. The strange thing was that only midcarders joined the Royal Rumble argument. And there was no throwing people over the top rope, just a tag match. That was a bit disappointing.
The WWE’s using again the confused R-Truth joke. If it’s going to be a reoccurring thing, they should at least make it a part of Truth’s character. He could stumble into a title opportunity in a series of fortunate misunderstandings. It could be a fun storyline to consider.
Ziggler, Goldust, Truth & Neville def. The New Day & The Miz
The New Day got taken out too quickly, setting up the Miz for a loss. I’m not sure whether that was done to protect the New Day or to take them down a notch because they are getting too big, bigger than their entire division.
Ziggler attacking Truth and Goldust after the match was an interesting touch. It wasn’t just a Royal Rumble allusion. It comes to show how close Dolph is to turning. He’s balancing on the edge of breaking down into being a heel again.
Charlotte def. Becky Lynch
Despite a few slip-ups, it was a beautiful match. It was a pleasure to watch Becky and Charlotte in the ring. Obviously, it all ended with a lot of cheating from the Flair side but no one expected the title to change hands on a SmackDown.
The feud between Charlotte and Becky is going at the right pace. It’s not rushed, it had it’s time to develop. The championship probably will change hands at the Royal Rumble.
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose /Double Countout/
Unlike the previous title match, there was nothing pretty about this one. It was brutal, violent and overall, a straight-up fight. Which meant that both Owens and Ambrose were in their zone.
It wasn’t about beautiful moves and eye-catching technique. The match was all about knowing your opponent. It was based on smarts and experience. Everything one of them tried to do, the other one could sense and counter ahead of time. This led to the fight spilling outside the ring and turning into a violent brawl.
The ending of SmackDown was brutal and it felt real. Without a doubt, it was more exciting than anything happening with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Owens and Ambrose just made the IC title the hottest prize in the WWE.
What are your impressions from WWE SmackDown? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!