The Fastlane follow up, the true beginning of the Road to Wrestlemania, and planting seeds for future contests. Tonight’s WWE action had a lot of promise and a lot of potential. Unlike Raw, I don’t think Smackdown cashed in.
*Full result details on wwe.com
AJ and Shinsuke go face-to-face
There was nothing spectacular here as far as promo substance goes but it’s bone chilling to finally see these guys face-to-face. The pipe dream is coming to life. We are getting AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura in WWE at Wrestlemania. For that, I think this promo served its purpose. I also enjoy Rusev still being involved with the big guys even if he is taking steady losses. At least he’s there.
AJ Styles def Rusev by DQ
Nothing spectacular but I like Rusev not taking a clean loss. Shinsuke getting involved was expected but it will be interesting to follow how long he keeps it up. They are bound to turn on each other before too long. It’ll also be interesting to see if WWE decides to make a true heel/face role between the two.
Bludgeon Brothers def Jimmy Uso & Big E
It made perfect sense for Jimmy and Big E to want to join forces despite facing off two days prior. They are just there to fight for their fallen brother(s). The Bludgeon Brothers dismantling them again was the right move and makes them look even more dominant. It seems, thus far, WWE has finally found the best role for Harper and Rowan to play together.
Charlotte and Asuka go face-to-face
This is much the same as the AJ-Shinsuke promo. It was driven by the fact that we are actually getting this match at Mania. Charlotte vs Asuka. It shall be great. Overall this promo wasn’t anything special other than showing Asuka to a Smackdown crowd. If these two are going to do promos in the leadup to Mania it needs to be Charlotte owning the mic. I know it’s not her fault but hearing Asuka on the mic is just cringe worthy.
Orton, Roode, and Mahal
Really could’ve done without this promo. It didn’t get me any more excited for these guys. Bobby Roode is in desperate need of a heel turn. Face Bobby is getting stale. They should’ve just had Bobby Roode vs Jinder Mahal scheduled for the card and had Orton at ringside and call it good. We would’ve missed nothing by leaving this out.
Jinder Mahal def Bobby Roode
Really would’ve been a better show without this match involved too if I’m being honest. This feud really just gives me no level of intrigue. It’s certainly no thanks to Jinder. I think Bobby and Orton could have a good run at it but having Jinder in the mix ruins it, especially with him getting clean wins over both of them. Seeing how boring the World Title picture was when occupied by Orton and Mahal last year, this is not something I want to see again.
Carmella def Naomi
I liked this for the result, not the match. The match was nothing great. I like the more ruthless side of Carmella we’re starting to see. WWE giving her good wins recently increases her credibility, which she desperately needs if she’s going to keep holding on to Money in the Bank. She needs to keep racking up wins to look like a viable contender whenever she cashes in.
KO and Sami annihilate Shane
I’m a little indifferent here. I liked the segment, KO and Sami had every right and reason to want to dismantle Shane like they did, and like I’ve said before, seeing carnage is just fun. What I’m not excited about is that it looks like we’re probably going to be getting a tag team match with these three involved at Mania. Compared to the possibility of seeing KO vs Sami, that’s not really something I desire to see.
I think the best rating I can give this show is OK. It was just OK. None of the matches were that good and the show was dominated by promos that had more awe than substance involved. The last segment of the night was about the only element of the show that was worthwhile. That and the eagerness to see AJ-Shinsuke and Charlotte-Asuka are the only reasons the show is worthy of an OK.
Mixed Match Challenge
Bobby Roode & Charlotte def Rusev & Lana
I think the result was expected and the match wasn’t anything terrific. That’s come to be expected with Mixed Match Challenge matches. The focus is certainly way more on social media interaction than it is the actual wrestling. It’s a shame because if more emphasis was put on wrestling, this tournament could be pretty damn good.
Hideo Itami & Akira Tozawa def Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado
I think I’m starting to like Lince Dorado more and more each time I see him. That guy can just fly. I actually liked this match. Itami and Tozawa have been working well together and a potential tandem is developing in Metalik, Dorado, and Kalisto. These guys know how to serve high spots.
Jack Gallagher squash match
Is it weird for anybody else to read “Jack Gallagher squash match”? This match did fine in developing his character. Drake Maverick on commentary talking him up shows WWE still has plans for him. We’ll see where this goes.
Cedric Alexander def Roderick Strong
This match was great, probably the best match of the tournament. Both of these guys are incredibly talented and this match showed just that. Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak are going to have a hell of a time trying to one up this next week. It won’t happen. Cedric Alexander making it to the Big Show makes me happy.
Another quality 205 Live show. The first match was exciting with a bunch of high spots and then we finished the show with what I think has been the best match of the tournament. There’s not much you can complain about.