I sure hope the rumors are true and Shinsuke Nakamura wins the Royal Rumble because Smackdown could use some excitement. Smackdown isn’t a bad show. They have great talent and interesting storylines, but there’s something missing.
This episode was way better than last week’s and did what it was supposed to do as a go home show, advance storylines and make me want to get the PPV. To be honest, I was gonna watch the Royal Rumble anyway. Too bad RAW had to pack in so much nostalgia instead of actually working on getting people excited about the PPV.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are the best thing on WWE TV right now. Snarky Sami Zayn is the best Sami Zayn. I love AJ Styles, but the idea of WWE co-champions KO and Sami sounds like pure gold. How would that even work? That’s what’s great about it, not to mention the eventual turn and match between these two. Go back and watch their feud on the WWE Network; it’s fantastic.
AJ takes the bait from Sami and KO and accepted their challenge to fight them both in one night. Daniel Bryan continues to give the illusion that he’s stacking the deck against AJ. I somehow think this storyline ends with a big swerve. There’s no way the fans want to boo Daniel Bryan. I see Shane McMahon somehow joining KO and Sami. A heel Shane is easy to boo, especially if he starts to morph into a milder version of Mr. McMahon. If Daniel Bryan does get cleared to wrestle, a Shane O Mac – Daniel Bryan feud could be interesting.
AJ beats Owens, but loses to Sami Zayn. Both matches delivered, and Shane tried to even the odds by trying to make sure AJ only had to worry about one competitor at at time. Great stuff and two storylines advanced at the same time. What a concept! Who knew WWE had it in them? There’s no way RAW and Smackdown have the same writers.
Chad Gable and Jey Uso had a great back and forth match. Gable can do so many things in the ring. I wonder if he’ll get a chance as a singles competitor because he deserves to do more than just be part of a tag team. Gable wins. I wonder if WWE would put the titles on Gable and Benjamin at the Royal Rumble? The Usos are probably the best tag team on the planet right now, but Jey Uso getting a DUI recently might give them a reason to switch the titles.
The rest of the show also delivered. Shinsuke Nakamura beat Baron Corbin by DQ when Randy Orton decided to show up and RKO everyone. Good, physical match prior to that. Earlier, Nakamura gave a backstage interview without his mouthpiece in. Finally! His English isn’t the greatest and that mouthpiece wasn’t helping. It made a huge difference.
Naomi beat Liv Morgan in a singles match that ended with all the Smackdown women in the ring after the match. Liv Morgan had some nice moves and looks to be improving in the ring. She certainly has life after the Riott Squad. Nice tension at the end of this segment when Becky Lynch went after Naomi and tried to put her over the top rope. Every woman for themself.
Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Bobby Roode vs Rudev Day and Jinder Mahal. Pretty good match. Everyone had a chance to look strong, especially Bobby Roode. Woods pins English, and the crowd is happy. Rusev did his thing here, but they need to do more with him. The fans love Rusev Day and this could go far if WWE let it. Rusev should be going for the US Title next. Jinder is done. Let Rusev chase, it’ll be a lot of fun.
Match of the night: AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn
Pop of the night: AJ Styles. The guy is money.
No reaction of the night: Naomi. Yes she glows in the dark, but I don’t feel any excitement when she comes out. Fans aren’t really feeling the glow.