There’s an atmosphere of excitement on this week’s SmackDown, like we’re on the precipice of something important. Two solid matches grace this show, stories develop, and the existence of Breezango continues to be a joy.
This SmackDown was fresh and original, with the IC match and main event absolutely worth watching– and new NXT faces, to boot. Sami Zayn reminds us why he’s infinitely more interesting when he’s striving.
This is an awkward SmackDown with three matches jammed in the taping before Monday’s RAW: a length of recording that left the crowd so lethargic they were reduced to trash-chanting over a match with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in it.
Any show that opens with a confrontation between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens is worth watching. A much recommended episode of WWE SmackDown, with a genuine feeling of escalating importance as we hurtle toward WrestleMania.
Some months ago, in another WWE SmackDown review, I talked about the idea of a fictional universe inherently needing a system of checks and balances to keep the powers of its heroes drifting wildly out of control. While WWE continues to lack either checks or balances, the quality of combat on the show continues to improve.
The Jericho/Styles sandwich on this week’s SmackDown betrays a painfully depleted roster and the lurking ghost of “wins and losses don’t matter”: but these things are a lot easier to forgive when the wrestling is actually good.