WWE SmackDown – Review, Highlights & Analysis From 07/04/2016

Roman Reigns Slowly Turning Heel? The Vaudevillains’ main roster debut. The Miz and Zack Ryder battle it out in an impressive fight for the IC Title and much, much more from this week’s SmackDown!

Roman Reigns/AJ Styles

Despite the abnormally loud ROMAN chants that were most likely produced by the WWE editing team, Roman Reigns acted like the heel he was always meant to be. He did repeat the same “Not a good guy, not a bad guy” narration that he first came up with on RAW and the commentators  tried to heavily brand THE Guy nickname.

The WWE might be trying to send Reigns in the Cena-sphere where “some love/ some hate” him but in reality, only Cena can get that reaction. Against AJ Styles, Roman is bound to get some real heel heat. His behavior and body language scream heel, as well. That condescending tap on the shoulder on the way out, for example, was excellent heel work. Reigns will rule as a wild, ruthless monster heel.

The Vaudevillains def. The Lucha Dragons

The debut of the Vaudevillains always evoked mixed feelings in me. On one hand, I believe they deserve to be on the main roster – they have both the character, the skills and the experience to be there. On the other hand, however, Gotch and English have a very particular gimmick that might soon be written off as a jobber gimmick in the main roster environment.

The match didn’t disappoint. The most impressive spot in the whole fight was Kalisto’s springboard corkscrew. It was simply beautiful.

It sounds bad for someone’s debut if their opponent delivered the best moment of the match. However, it can’t be said that the Vaudevillains were outshined. I think they left a lot of mystery around themselves at the end of this.

It’s sad that Kalisto is being wasted like that. With his in-ring performance, he could have been a brilliant, memorable US champion. Instead, he just carries the belt as an accessory while competing in tag team matches.

Natalya def. Summer Rae

Finally, Summer’s come out of her shell. The last couple of weeks, she’s been showing more and more of her actual abilities in the ring and she’s been impressive.

Natalya sold well the feud with Charlotte. She did a lot of posing when locking the Sharp Shooter. The demonstrative execution was bound to catch the champ’s attention.

Charlotte vs. Natalya is definitely a rivalry worth investing in. Natty deserves to be the one to dethrone Charlotte.

The Miz def. Zack Ryder

That match showed all the critics a lesson. Quite a lot of people said in the last few days that Zack Ryder is a jobber and that he should have never been given the victory at Mania. His amazing performance last night proved that he has much more in the ring than we could ever expect.

What was predicted to be a boring, short fight ended up, being a truly competitive bout. The Broski Boot has never looked as vicious as when Zack used it outside the ring and that was one picture-perfect elbow drop.

Miz didn’t fall behind. Often accused of being only a face, he upped his game immensely in the IC title match. The thing that makes him stand out is his heel work. He was getting enough heat on his own, but dragging Maryse into it, took things to another level.

It seems like the rivalry is far from over, as Miz and Maryse cheated to get the victory. After that performance, I don’t mind watching Miz and Zack go at it again and again.

Apollo Crews def. Curtis Axel

The Social Outcasts crack me up with their antics. There’s something entertaining about them that just makes you want to hear what they’ll come up with next. However, they collectively might be the biggest jobbers on the roster.

Apollo Crews didn’t break a sweat. Tossing a grown man like Axel over the top rope with one punch was a bit over the top. It was so exaggerated it felt comical. Nonetheless, Apollo delivered as usual and picked up the victory.

Baron Corbin

Unfortunately, there’s no video on the WWE YouTube channel of this but Baron Corbin cut a good promo backstage.

I don’t know what’s come over Baron Corbin but once he set foot on the main roster he immediately stepped up his game. He seems to have improved not only in the ring but on the mic, as well.

Becky Lynch/ Emma

Becky’s eye looks bad, so this feud might need to wait a bit before it gets physical. Once it does, however, it will be awesome.

Emma has been doing some great heel recently, so the story they’ll tell should be good too.

Dean Ambrose def. Tyler Breeze

Breeze didn’t stand a chance. His entrance was longer than the match. Ambrose was angry and ended it quickly.

I’ll suppress my urge to rant about the misuse of Tyler Breeze and I’ll focus on Ambrose. He didn’t address WM and he didn’t do anything meaningful on SmackDown. The WWE might be trying to sell it as Ambrose, being quiet and determined, expressing some anger through violence. However, in reality, it’s more likely to be the case of the WWE not knowing what to do with Ambrose next and that’s sad.

Goldust/ R-Truth

This is still going on?! It’s been months now! This storyline is beyond saving. No one cares about it any more.

AJ Styles & Cesaro def. Kevin Owens & Jericho

It was a solid main event. Cesaro was on a roll. He has so much energy and such fluidity in the ring that you’d think he was never put on the shelf.

Jericho owned the place. He did some great heel work. He started throwing temper tantrums, pulled AJ out of a tag in the exactly right moment and he helped cheat in every possible way, while looking like a frustrated diva through the match. Jericho is perfection when it comes to being heel.

Owens wasn’t nearly as flashy as his partner but didn’t fall behind when it came to playing his role. He’s much snappier and to the point, hitting big moves in a ruthless fashion.

AJ had the least exposure out of all of them. He picked up the victory but he barely was in the match before that and his success was overshadowed by the Zayn/Owens issue.

Speaking about Zayn and Owens, the feud is red hot. When you see the animosity between these two it’s hard to imagine they are best friends in real life. Great work!

 

What are your impressions from SmackDown? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!

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