The latest edition of WWE SmackDown has had its fair share of highs and lows. However, it was one of the most action-packed shows we have seen over the last few months. The episode witnessed two championship matches unfold on the episode, but only one of the titles changed hands.
Additionally, the main event crowned the next title challenger for the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns.
Here, we look at some of the biggest flops and hits from WWE SmackDown this week. So, without further ado, let’s begin:
#1. Hit on WWE SmackDown: Sheamus
The opening match of SmackDown saw Sheamus engage in a brutal match against Drew McIntyre. The two former world champions battled for a spot in the Money in the Bank match. It was an engaging encounter right from the start, and both superstars took turns dominating the match. The Celtic Warrior looked at his best against the Scottish Warrior as he brought back glimpses of him in his prime in WWE.
Sheamus was creative in his offenses and picked the right moments to showcase himself as a threatening villain throughout the match. He also took a lot of punishment, ultimately making the bout look objectively balanced. Although the match ended in a disqualification, it appeared to be a befitting result following the final moments.
#2. Hit on WWE SmackDown: Drew McIntyre
Ideally, we would group the two superstars on the same point since they faced each other. However, Drew McIntyre’s performance on this week’s SmackDown deserves an individual accolade. He was crafty in his counters, something we don’t often see in WWE babyfaces. There were instances where he taunted both Sheamus and Butch. The match was brutal, but the in-ring antics of the two superstars added a certain flair to the in-ring narration.
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus share incredible chemistry that can be chalked back to their real-life friendship. They are familiar with each other and bring the best out of each other every time they step inside the ring. That’s the biggest reason that despite their past encounters, each match presents something new.
The closing moments of the Money in the Bank qualifier saw both McIntyre and Sheamus picking up a steel chair as a weapon. They swung the chairs at each other, then crashed, and the referee signaled for a DQ finish. The two superstars continued brawling in the arena, forcing several backstage security to intervene. The staredown between McIntyre and Sheamus indicated that things are far from over between them.
#3. Hit on WWE SmackDown: Riddle
SmackDown’s main event saw Riddle lock horns with ‘Honorary Us’ Sami Zayn in a singles match to earn a title shot against Roman Reigns. He had to win his match against the Tribal Chief, whereas Zayn’s victory would have led to Riddle being banned from the blue brand. Paul Heyman took a seat at the commentary desk to watch the singles match unfold, but he wasn’t prepared for what was coming.
Riddle and Zayn again delivered brilliant performances in their high-stakes match on WWE SmackDown. Interestingly, Heyman tried to help Zayn by continuously advising him, but he had different plans. Every time he gained the upper hand in the match, Zayn would waste time taunting his opponent. However, a focused Riddle would fight against all odds to emerge victorious.
Following the match, Riddle’s celebrations were cut short by The Usos. They launched a brutal attack on Roman Reigns’ next challenger, but the one-half of RK-Bro had a score to settle. He entered the ring again but brought a kendo stick with him this time. He then mercilessly attacked the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, sending a strong message to The Bloodline, particularly Roman Reigns. The title match is set to take place next week on SmackDown.
It will be exciting to see Riddle finally get his match against Reigns, especially when he is determined to make the champion pay for his past offenses against Randy Orton.
#4. Hit on WWE SmackDown: Shotzi
SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey put her title on the line in an impromptu singles match against Shotzi. Raquel Rodriguez recently had a similar opportunity to challenge Rousey for the title, and she delivered an impressive performance. The same can be said for Shotzi. She has been on the blue brand for a while now. It was her first real opportunity to make the most of the spotlight.
Shotzi was impressive in her highly physical bout with Rousey. The Baddest Woman on the planet was visibly stunned after some of the brutal shots she took during the match. The champion eventually prevailed, but Shotzi got her much-awaited moment on the blue brand. Hopefully, we will see the creative team book her as a strong heel in the coming weeks.
#5. Flop on WWE SmackDown: Xia Li
Xia Li had open of the best doubts on SmackDown in recent history. Unfortunately, the creative team failed to capitalize on the initial hype surrounding her character. This week, she faced Lacey Evans, who marked her in-ring return on the blue brand. The two superstars locked horns for a spot in the Women’s Money in the Bank match. Evans eventually prevailed over Li to become the first participant in this year’s MITB match.
While the result isn’t a problem, its execution should have been better. Their brief encounter barely did any favors for the two superstars. The match ended before either of them could display a single impressive maneuver. Evans might recover from this underwhelming booking, but the same can’t be said for Li. The latter should be allowed to redeem her credibility on SmackDown moving forward.
#6. Hit/Flop on WWE SmackDown: Gunther’s big opportunity, mistake with Ricochet
This week on SmackDown, Gunther challenged Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship. Despite an underwhelming build-up to the title bout, Gunther and Ricochet locked horns in a brief yet entertaining match. It was the perfect battle between speed and strength, but in the end, the latter prevailed. There were several jaw-dropping spots in the match, and at one point, Gunther’s dominant display forced the arena to burst into “NXT! NXT! NXT!” chants.
Although Ricochet put up a commendable performance, Gunther eventually won the match to win his first title on the main roster. While the match and the results were fine, the storyline deserves criticism.
Ricochet deserved a better title feud before losing his gold. His championship reign has been far from memorable on SmackDown. A compelling storyline would have at least accounted for a respectable end to an otherwise awful title run.
Unfortunately, this also takes away from Gunther’s credibility, who defeated a rather weakly represented champion and still got booed. We hope to see Ricochet get another title shot, and this time, there should be a proper build-up to their championship match.
We asked Stone Cold Steve Austin if he acknowledges Roman Reigns. Find out his answer here.