This Week in WWE – SmackDown (8/9/2016)

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The women definitely played a major role on this week’s edition of SmackDown (8/9/2016). Alexa Bliss got her first win on SD and Carmella stole one from Natalya. I’ll also talk about how good Heath Slater has been, my lack of anticipation for Randy vs Brock, and so much more!

Randy Orton

Randy Orton is a great wrestler and a great personality, but this whole Brock Lesnar feud is just not very exciting. Without Lesnar here every week, Orton is forced to spew out the same Viperville lines every week. It only takes one RKO…we know. I feel like the better choice of feuds for Orton would have been to come back and lay out Dean Ambrose and feud with him for the WWE World Title. It’s a Lesnar match, so there will be a lot of anticipation, but for me, these two are not logical opponents so it makes it very hard for me to be invested in this feud. There’s still no reason why this match was made, it was just thrown together. There was no personal aspect, it’s just Lesnar vs. Randy because Randy needed a comeback storyline. No amount of video packages in the world will make me feel differently. On a side-note, WWE did a good job making Alberto Del Rio and Orton look strong at the same time instead of just feeding Del Rio to the wolves in their match. Alberto got some good offense in and attacked Randy with a chair while Randy got the last laugh with an RKO. It was good booking there as to not bury a good Superstar.

Heath Slater

However many kids this guy has, he’s money. For all the garbage that Slater has had to endure in his WWE career, he’s still one of the most dedicated guys in that locker room. He makes everything work no matter how insane the idea. The free agent storyline has given him new life apart from the many groups he’s been in and maybe being on his own is what he needs. I’ve been a big fan of his comedy bits and in-ring work for a long time. Heath lost to Rhyno and was still going to get a contract before he started insulting Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan so this whole situation looks like it’ll continue for a little while longer. He’s showing up on both brands so that has to say something about him as a performer! Anybody could have been picked for this role, but they chose the best person for it. It’s been an entertaining story and I’m excited to see what happens with it.

Eva Marie/Alexa Bliss/Becky Lynch

Eva Marie definitely has a storyline that is pulling the fans in right now. Whether she can capitalize on this opportunity or not will remain to be seen. A “wardrobe malfunction” delayed her debut another week and I’d love to see her debut delayed for another 8 weeks just to get under people’s skin. Eva has trained with Brian Kendrick and has improved immensely in the ring, but that’s only one component of being a WWE Superstar, the other is personality, and her personality as seen on Talking Smack, still needs some work. Eva tried to act confident, but didn’t know how to answer normal questions. She also tried to fake her way through questions instead of actually giving a decent answer. I still get the vibe that she’s not at all ready for the bright lights and the mega-push that she seems to be getting may be premature. Let’s see how it plays out before making that conclusion though, this is just the beginning of this story.

Alexa Bliss made her in-ring debut against Becky Lynch in place of Eva and actually picked up her first win with Twisted Bliss after a distraction by Eva when she was “ready to compete” again. It was great to see Alexa get some TV time in the ring and a minute on the microphone to show the attitude that made her character so popular in NXT. She’s definitely still small, but fierce.

How can you not love Becky Lynch? Not only has Becky been on the wrong side of a lot of different heel ladies lately which creates some compassion for her, but she has such a unique personality as well. Becky definitely gets the crowd into every match with her entrance and energy. I’m hoping that she will be in a championship picture if/when SmackDown decides to introduce a Women’s Championship.

Carmella/Natalya

This is a feud that is going to be very beneficial for Carmella. You have to remember that Carmella is in no way a veteran yet, but she’s improved dramatically since she debuted in NXT. Being in the ring with someone as crisp as Nattie will help her a lot into becoming an even better performer than she already is. I was shocked that Carmella got the win in this one, but happy with that outcome. The first step to legitimizing someone is booking them to win when people least expect it. Carmella has the persona down and is easily one of the most entertaining women in the WWE. Give her another year and she might be a top star in the SmackDown women’s division. She is definitely one of my favourites right now!

Random Notes and Conclusion

American Alpha stood tall against the entire tag-team division, as they should. It would be nice for them to have a long feud with The Ascension to build those two back up. I didn’t like every team coming out though, we saw that with the women already, it felt like a repeat.

Dean Ambrose plays his part well, I’m just not that into the character now as I was last year. I guess sometimes the chase is better than the chamionship run. I felt the same with Jeff Hardy years ago when he won the WWE Championship at Armageddon.

The Wyatt Family are starting to get a bit played out, I think Bray would benefit from going on his own, there’s no reason for Rowan to be with him anymore unless they plan on bringing Harper back in the fold when he returns.

The Miz and Maryse once again didn’t do much of note. I think Crews is taking that title at SummerSlam, it definitely needs to be defended a lot more often than it is.

It was a decent SmackDown with a lot of character development. I feel like 2 hours is not enough time for all of these characters to get in though. Even Baron Corbin was relegated to a 30 second backstage beat-down of Kalisto. These Superstars need TV time to stay relevant and I wouldn’t mind seeing SmackDown go 3 hours if that would be the benefit. WWE is deep right now and will be for the forseeable future. A man can hope.

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