It’s a New Day for The Nerd Hub’s weekly breakdown of WWE SmackDown Live. Yes, it is. This week, Big E of New Day returned yet again. He even joked if returns were title reigns he’d be Charlotte Flair. Cue the Xavier Woods trombone pop. Unfortunately, the rest of the show from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento followed the safe formulaic approach we’ve come to know and hate from WWE. With Super ShowDown just put in the rear view and Stomping Grounds only weeks away, we got rehashing of most of what happened in Jeddah. Let’s break it down.
HEADLINE NEWS: NEW DAY DROPS THE HEELS
Not much new to tell you from the main event. Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn continued to serve as the pimped out fodder for WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. This time, Kingston teamed with his New Day boys, Big E and Woods, to defeat the three B-plus player heels in the main event.
Outside of Big E’s awesome crack at Charlotte Flair, Ziggler ran his mouth some more on how he’s more deserving than Kofi to hold the belt. He also blamed Woods’ interference late in the Super ShowDown match for Kingston’s victory. The Hollywood Heel said Kingston can only beat him with his New Day brethren backing him up. Naturally, this led to Zayn coming out for another tiresome rant on getting justice against hypocrites. As a result, Owens soon followed because he and Zayn are annoyingly tied at the hip again. As expected, WWE creative took the passion and energy Zayn and Owens worked up independently on the mic for weeks after WrestleMania and wasted it. They got placed back in their predictable space again, getting spanked by babyface champions.
Even the match went like most New Day matches you’ve witnessed a thousand times. Big E got them off to a hot start against heel patsy, Zayn. Woods then got his butt kicked for a while. However, Big E came back to save the day with a hot tag that set up Kofi for the big victory. Yet, Ziggler actually handed New Day the victory this time. He thumped Zayn with an errant superkick before Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise for the pin.
As far as main events go, the action during the match went over okay. However, the story remained a dud for me. Nobody believes Ziggler will win the belt at Stomping Grounds. So, it’s a lot of work to set up a match most people aren’t all that excited to see in the first place.
BEST OF THE REST: BAYLEY BUILDS MOMENTUM
The arrow continues to point up for SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley. WWE creative found the formula for what worked for her at NXT and that needs to continue. Nikki Cross, the newfound companion of Bayley’s Stomping Grounds opponent, Alexa Bliss, pushed the champ. However, Bayley fought her way back with a closing onslaught capped with a top-rope elbow for the 1-2-3.
This Bayley seems much different than the milquetoast version of her as Raw Women’s Champ in 2017. She’s outsmarting her opponents, while still formidable enough physically to match up with almost anyone on the roster. It makes no sense for WWE to put the SmackDown belt on a Raw talent like Bliss at Stomping Grounds. So, hopefully they continue to invest more time into this rebooted Bayley as champ. However, WWE often throws smart booking decisions out the window in favor of blondes when it comes to the women’s division. Let’s hope that’s not the case in Tacoma on June 23rd.
BIG WINNER: ALEISTER BLACK
Don’t get too excited. The former NXT Champion failed to escape Promoville this week. However, he dropped a fire and brimstone version with all the aggression on the mic that we’ve come to expect from him in the ring. One of the hardest strikers in the biz lashed out in a big way. He had a backstage staffer open the door to the room in which he was taping his message and then let loose. He vented that his door remains open and he’s ready for anyone who wants to walk through it.
The passion reflects the heart of the true competitor Black is. He’s not received his chance to compete in months. Like a dying man suffocating from a lack of air, Black seemed desperate to field any challenge. Unfortunately, his in-ring work still seems like it’s at minimum a few weeks away. I doubt he makes his way on the Stomping Grounds card, so we likely won’t see what’s in store for him until the Raw or SmackDown after the pay-per-view show at the earliest.
BIG LOSER: THE MIZ
We opened the show with Miz TV and this led to thirty minutes straight of putting over Shane McMahon. I vomited a little in my mouth. It’s bad enough that they had Shane beat Miz at WrestleMania and Money in the Bank and Roman Reigns at Stomping Grounds. However, WWE continues to double down on the use of Shane each week as they overexpose him week after week as the big baddie on the block.
This week, Miz had Elias, Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon on as guests. As you’d expect, it set up in-ring work for this group. However, the twist came in the naming of a gauntlet match for The Miz. He started off with Elias, and managed to win that one because they’ve made The Walking Truth a joke again. However, McIntyre laid out The A-Lister with a Claymore Kick to beat him. McMahon then went to work on the worn-out Miz. Though he fought back valiantly, McMahon won again with a triangle choke. The Best in the World continues to saddle up Miz for a ride to the top.
It’s sad to see one of the best talents in the WWE get used like the Miz has this year. He’s truly had crap booking since the tag team storyline started at the end of 2018. Unfortunately for Miz, there’s no hint he’s headed for anything meaningful in the near future.
Sonya Deville/Mandy Rose – The evil twins doubled their fun this week, tormenting Carmella and Ember Moon. Backstage, Deville and Rose destroyed Moon’s video gaming system. This seems like a tease for a program involving the three in the future. In the ring, the Golden Goddess interfered several times to help get Deville a victory over Carmella. She placed Deville’s foot on the ropes to break up Carmella’s Code of Silence. Then, she twice distracted the Staten Island Princess on the outside. Though Carmella hit a suicide dive and a superkick to take out Rose, she ate a leaping knee from Deville when she got back in the ring for the loss. It’s more strong booking for Deville and Rose.
Nikki Cross – Though she lost to Bayley, Cross continues to get use on both shows after going months without being on TV at all. She’s last remnant of Sanity left on the main roster with any chance of success. Cross has looked great in the ring against some of the top women in the company, but creatively it seems like her character is still being worked on.
Apollo Crews – The rarely seen Superstar received a backstage warning from Zelina Vega that teased a program with Andrade. Crews brought up Andrade’s loss to Intercontinental Champ Finn Balor at Super ShowDown. Needless to say, Crews and Andrade could put on quite a show in the ring. Let’s hope WWE gives us a match between those two great athletes at some point.
Chad Gable – Another MIA Superstar since switching brands, Gable had a cameo during Crews’ backstage promo. He appeared to be taking notes behind Crews. Then, Gable, who had most of his hair cut off recently, later made his 205 Live debut. Not to keep harping, but 30 minutes of Shane is exactly why guys like Crews and Gable get relegated to bit parts backstage.
Aleister Black – There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the former NXT Champion. After weeks of promos seemingly leading us nowhere, it looks like Black appears close to hitting the ring in a few weeks. Let’s hope the commitment made to him with these promos leads us to something more promising than the reboot of Mojo Rawley. In my opinion, I’d rather see someone like Black get a shot at Kofi than Ziggler. However, WWE has yet to prove they believe in Black on the main roster to this point.
Heavy Machinery – Why would we take these guys seriously when the SmackDown Tag Team Champions don’t? We got a brief appearance from Daniel Bryan and Rowan who basically told us Otis and Tucker don’t deserve a championship shot. So, WWE creative goes and proves the point by having them wrestler “local competitors.” They squashed former Tough Enough contestant A.J. Kirsch and Dave Dutra. To make matters worse, the “local competitors” had cardboard championship belts. Nothing to see here, unless you like seeing Otis do the caterpillar.
Elias – Remember when WWE seemed to be building him for something? He and Dr. of Thuganomics John Cena delivered one of the most memorable moments of Wrestlemania. Then, The Undertaker reappeared the next night on Raw in Brooklyn to take out The Living Truth. Now, he’s a mere minion to Shane McMahon. WWE evidently only seems him as a clown musician.
Drew McIntyre – He’s no longer everyone’s edgy pick to clean up the Raw roster and become a main event player. Now, he’s Shane McMahon’s lap dog. Way to neuter someone with a name as cool as Scottish Psychopath, WWE. You know since Roman Reigns lost to Shane at Super ShowDown that McIntyre’s eating a loss at Stomping Grounds for sure. That would make three fat Ls in a row for big Drew against Roman.
Carmella – She spent a good portion of early 2018 as the SmackDown Women’s Champ. Now, she’s running for her life backstage with R-Truth in the 24/7 Championship shenanigans and putting over others. With Bayley getting run as champ, Mandy and Sonya on the rise and Charlotte Flair always lurking, Mella seems out of serious title contention for quite awhile.
The Miz – He’s one of the best talents in the company mired in one of its worst stories. Welcome to WWE creative hell, A-Lister. The one bright spot remains that his fans can watch him, Maryse and Monroe Sky on his reality show, Miz and Mrs.