Wrestling’s 4Rs: The Right, Wrong and Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown
How the 4Rs of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. The column will run TWO-THREE times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
– Four Corners Match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships- American Alpha d. The Wyatt Family ©, The Usos & Heath Slater and Rhyno to win the titles ***3/4
– WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship- Alexa Bliss © d. Becky Lynch **3/4
– WWE Championship- AJ Styles © d. Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler ***3/4
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships- The Wyatt Family © vs. American Alpha vs. The Usos vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno: It was announced before the match the Wyatts were working under the same Freebird Rules that the New Day were, so it was Randy Orton & Luke Harper defending on behalf of the Wyatts. The first two elimination portions were decent but nothing to write home about. After a beatdown of Rhyno and a short comeback from Slater, some miscommunication led to Slater eating a super kick from Jimmy Uso for the first elimination. Jason Jordan then the victim of a beatdown at the hands of the Usos but American Alpha came back and Gable caught Jey Uso with a top rope sunset flip for 3. The Usos then attacked American Alpha after the match and the Wyatts, who had not entered the match to this point in a great touch, took control. They proceeded to beat the hell out of Chad Gable for a bit but Gable countered a Harper power bomb attempt into a hurricanrana sending Haprer crashing to the floor. Jordan got the hot tag and fired away on Randy Orton. Orton fought back and took a swing at Gable but Gable moved and he took out Harper by mistake. This eventually allowed American Alpha to hit Orton with Grand Amplitude and win their first WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships. The only annoyance for me was the sudden announcement of the Freebird rule so they could insert Harper into the match both to set up the dysfunction post-match and to keep Bray out of the finish. That being said, this match was great. The heat segment on Gable was engaging and brutal with Harper just having a field day tossing Gable around and the comeback led to a super hot final stretch where American Alpha came out of looking like the premier tag team in the WWE. I really appreciate they got the clean win over Orton too, as a strong victory over someone of Orton’s level really puts American Alpha over big time. The whole package was a blast and it was a great moment for a team that has really come on strong since joining the main roster.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship- Alexa Bliss © vs. Becky Lynch: The match opened with some GODAWFUL chain wrestling where Bliss looked green as grass trying to grapple with Lynch and coming out of that sequence I thought that this match was going to be a catastrophe. Turns out I was wrong, once Bliss started working over the back of Lynch and got into her heel shtick, this turned out to be great fun. Lynch started her comeback and then brutally worked over the arm of Lynch, maybe more gruesomely than in any of their previous bouts. She seemed to have total control until some music played and out came La Luchadora, the character Lynch disguised herself as last week. Despite her appearance, Lynch kicked out of a sneaky roll-up from Bliss and the match continued with a series of near falls as Lynch tried everything in her power to finish the match before Luchadora could get involved. Suddenly, Bliss complained to the ref about an injury and it looked like SHE HAD A DISLOCATED ELBOW, which allowed Luchadora to drive Lynch into an exposed corner and Bliss to catch Lynch with a DDT for 3, showing she faked that injury as well. The match progressively got better and I have no problem with the La Luchadora interference, especially since the match kept going after her initial appearance. It’s a cool little mystery angle that will keep Becky Lynch busy and get us away from more Bliss/Lynch matches for a little while. Bliss’ fake arm injury look legit time and that was an awesome and amazingly creative finish that gives you the idea that Bliss is capable of any and all cheap tricks to retain her title. The match recovered nicely after a rocky start and this might have been their best outing together.
WWE Championship- AJ Styles © vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler: Styles & Ziggler double teamed Corbin in the early portion of the match, using their speed and agility to get the better of him and knock him onto the announce table, where they simultaneously jumped off the barricade through the table in the match’s big spot. They proceeded to have an awesome back and forth segment which Ziggler nearly beat Styles’ with a super kick in a near fall that almost everyone in the crowd bought as a potential finish. Corbin rejoined the match and started dominating, taking out Styles with a vicious End of Days for a near fall before turning his attention on Ziggler. Corbin was able to bring Ziggler off the top rope and hit the End of Days on him, but then walked right into the Phenomenal forearm from Styles, allowing Styles to steal the pinfall victory over Ziggler. This was a super hot main event. From start to finish these three just through everything that had at one another. They told simple and logical stories throughout the match and had the crowd buying into every near fall and getting them to believe that Corbin or Ziggler where capable of winning the championship on this night. Everyone came out of the match looking great. Corbin didn’t get pinned and for the second week came up big in a main event as he continues to impress. Ziggler doesn’t look bad in a loss after another amazing performance & Styles stole a victory in a way that puts over his smart and cunning ways and cements him as the man on Smackdown once again. This was a great main event to close out the year.
Backstage Segments: I have to give some praise to the collection of quality backstage segments on this week’s show. Due to the three championship matches and the amount of time they were going to get, many of the other storylines and angles had to get pushed to the side this week. They were all continued in short backstage segments and each one really did an effective job at getting the other angles over. We got good promos from the likes of Nikki Bella & Dolph Ziggler, and we had another intriguing Carmella/James Ellsworth interaction. The best of all were the segments involving the Miz. He rejected an interview earlier in the show, demanding only to speak with Renee Young who slapped him last week. When Young came to interview him, it turned out to be a set-up for Dean Ambrose to lay out Miz, setting up Miz/Ambrose for next week. These were all good, effective little segments and I commend SmackDown for finding ways to keep these other stories engaging even when they were pushed aside for the week.
John Cena ReturnsThis is going to be a very minor complaint. John Cena came out for his return promo and started playing off the boos from the Chicago fans. He did his usual pandering to the crowd and did a bit questioning if the crowd were fans of the Cubs or White Sox. His ultimate point was that Chicago was a city of champions and he returned tonight to issue his challenge to the winner of the WWE Championship triple threat match. He says he’s tired of the New Era and reminds everyone that it’s still the My Time is Now era and that they better recognize Cena. After the triple threat match, Cena confronted AJ Styles and they had a tense handshake where they traded barbs to end the show. There was nothing wrong with Cena’s promo at all, it was simple and effect and it made his intentions perfectly clear. With all the hype and build for Cena’s return, this simple and playful promo really didn’t fit the build and really wasn’t any sort of gamechanger to bring Cena back into the fold. Considering everything else taking place on this show though, it’s fine that Cena didn’t play a bigger role, as I’m sure there’s going to bigger and better things for him in the coming weeks.