This Week in WWE – SmackDown (8/16/2016)

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Could Ambrose or Ziggler turn heel? What’s up with the tag-team division? Where are the titles to fight over? These are all questions that arose for me after watching this week’s edition of SmackDown (8/16/2016). All that and more inside!

Ziggler/Ambrose

Is it just me or does Dean Ambrose seem more like a heel in this feud than a face. Ambrose is still cheered, but a lot of the little jabs at Ziggler are a bit low for a face character. Now obviously, both of these guys are going into the match as faces and both will be cheered to a certain extent so that’s moot point. The question I have is, who’s going to make the heel turn at SummerSlam? Will Ambrose turn heel and take the easy way out to beat Ziggler, or will Ziggler turn heel and destroy Ambrose to take the title? It’s a very peculiar dynamic going on right now and I’m really into this match going into SummerSlam. This could be the most unpredictable match on the card. I liked the intensity from both individuals during their promo time at the start of SmackDown and it definitely made me want to see how this plays out. The only thing I’m not high on is Dolph using Triple H’s “That Damn Good” catchphrase. You can’t recycle a catchphrase that was that popular. It will always be associated with Triple H and Dolph using it as often as he does makes it sound cheap.

Tag-Teams

SmackDown needs tag titles in the worst way. I don’t know how many more weeks of showing off every team at once I can handle. American Alpha has been the spotlight, as they should be, but the teams get maybe 5-10 minutes a week. That’s far too low to showcase 12 Superstars. At the end of the day, they’re trying I guess. It’s just hard to care when there’s a 5 minute match with a few rest holds ending in Grand Amplitude every week. There’s no substance to anything that’s going on, it’s just getting everyone on TV. I really feel like SmackDown needs an additional hour, everything seems crammed in and rushed and I hate that. It’s not as organic that way. It’s hard to make anything matter when there’s no title to fight over. Why are these teams even wrestling? It’s just filler right now and that needs to change in a hurry. There are too many talented teams to sit there without a championship.

Orton/Slater

Randy Orton needs to be relentless on Sunday to have any hope of winning over fans going up against Brock Lesnar and Randy did just that on SmackDown. Randy had shades of the 2008/2009 Orton that was reckless. He had an edge. That’s the way Randy’s character is successful. I much prefer him as a heel for that reason. It could be a great opportunity to turn Orton into a massive heel if he were to somehow beat Lesnar at SummerSlam, but I’d be surprised to see that happen.

As for Heath, he finally has a contract, though he thinks it’s with Raw. This could be a nice storyline going into SummerSlam too, but we’ll see how it plays out. The Slater storyline has been surprisingly well-done, if not a bit predictable at times.

Naomi/Eva Marie

Naomi showed up with a seizure-inducing entrance that was one of the cooler things I’ve seen WWE do. Naomi wears ring-gear that glows with the use of blacklights and she hands out glowsticks and things to the fans. This is a perfect entrance for Naomi. The one knock on her used to be that she doesn’t have a lot of personality. This should silence that for good, she has every tool to be a champion. Now, SmackDown just needs a championship for the women.

Eva Marie was stuck in traffic this week. This whole thing is growing on me every week. If she doesn’t wrestler for months, it will all be worth it to me. This has been a fairly creative way to re-introduce Eva and by the time she does wrestle, she’ll be the biggest heel on the roster. I love it!

The Wyatts

If anything is to be assumed, it’s that The Wyatt Family may be over. It’s about time for that to happen in my mind. They’ve been a faction for a long time and Bray hasn’t really risen to the heights that he should be at. Bray should be closer to the championship picture and he never really got that close with Rowan, Harper, and Strowman. If it is over, I’ll welcome it. If it isn’t, I’ll wait and see. The great thing about Bray’s character is that you can take it in a million different directions, it just takes creativity. The other factor here is that Luke Harper will be back eventually and who knows how he will fit in if he does land on SmackDown. So many questions, few answers.

The Women’s Division

We got a nice tag team match between Carmella/Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss/Natalya that was cut short by Eva Marie finally making her way to the arena only to be chased down to the ring by Naomi. Naomi gets sent to the floor and Beck makes Nattie tap. I echo the same statement as the tag team division: why is everything jumbled together? It’s like SmackDown is trying to take some elements of the Attitude Era’s “crash tv” style of booking but it’s not beneficial. These girls get very little TV time and then no one stands out. I really hope that there’s more focus on an actual story for someone who isn’t Eva Marie. It’s like everyone is just going out there to compete just because.

Quick notes/Conclusion

A big plus to giving Alberto Del Rio a main event match. This guy has been lost in the shuffle and it was nice to see him out there against Cena.

If John Cena wins on Sunday and the feud with AJ is over, this whole feud was for nothing. John has nothing left to prove and AJ still hasn’t proven himself a winner on this roster with the way he’s been booked as a heel. A decisive clean win on Sunday would go a long way to making Styles a legitimate WWE star. I’m hoping that will be the case.

Baron Corbin gets relegated to a quick backstage spot with Kalisto again. Could we not have at least seen him interfere in a Kalisto match? I know a lot of SD stars are on oversees tours, but Corbin is a guy who should be built around.

It was a largely forgettable episode of SmackDown. The show is lacking some star power right now and I really hope it doesn’t get to the point that the last brand extension got to where SmackDown was the solid B-show. I think some new titles would help with that as much as I don’t want to add more. I’d much rather the champions appear on all brands, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Regardless, I love a lot of the stars on SmackDown and I’m really hoping that after SummerSlam, the storylines are better orchestrated.

 

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