|Segment||Consider This Alternative|
|In-ring Renee Young interviewing Shinsuke Nakamura; Dolph Ziggler interrupts||Best HEELZiggler promo in years.
Can we not refer to Shinsuke as “The Artist”? Despite setting up a stage for what was ultimately Dolph’s promo, I’m still waiting for a match with The King Of Strong Style. Everyone knows that he and DZ have had several dark matches already; why not go with Nakamura’s in-ring debut on SmackDown?
It could still lead to a feud with Ziggler by having The Show Off either interrupt the match, or have him cut the same promo following the match. Dolph on commentary would have even sufficed. But we need to kick off the show with a match if we’re using Shinsuke.
|AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin; Kevin Owens on commentary; Owens interferes but AJ still wins via pinfall; Owens and Corbin assault AJ; Sami Zayn run-in; Zayn takes out Corbin, then Owens takes out Zayn & AJ; Owens stands tall; Backstage interview with Charlotte||Great in-ring work between Corbin and Styles. AJ can make anyone look like gold, but with Corbin’s size & mobility it looks like these two could go on and put together an epic 25-30 minute match. This was hopefully just a taste of something extended that we might get at a future PPV.
Because of Payback, we’re still on this weird hiatus. SmackDown was trying to build the tension between AJ and Owens here, but KO still has to go through Jericho. Even though I liked this segment, it diminishes the US Title match on Sunday and makes it extremely predictable.
I’d use this slot for a Sami Zayn singles match to get him a much needed win. Maybe have Zayn go at it against Erick Rowan, then have Corbin interfere to ignite the feud between him and SZ, and finally have Harper run-in to Zayn’s aid. Then it becomes a tag match with Zayn pinning Rowan after a Helluva Kick. You advance storylines for all 4 men, staging 2 separate feuds, while keeping the US Title picture in proper perspective.
|American Alpha vs. The Colons in a Beat-The-Clock Challenge #1 contender’s match; American Alpha wins by pinfall in 5:17||So later Breezango takes on The Ascension. I would have had that match take place first to set the initial time. I would then have this match exceed the time and have both of these 2 teams melee in frustration.
There is a good feud in the works here with American Alpha and The Colons (formerly “The Shining Stars”). Primo and Epico have been in Jordan and Gable’s business since the duo failed to reclaim their belts from The Usos. Keep this going and make it nasty.
|Rusev remote segment demanding a championship match at Money In The Bank; backstage interview with Becky Lynch; interrupted by Natalya, Tamina, Carmela and James Ellsworth||Good to see Rusev on TV. I think it’s easy to forget how charismatic a heel he can be. I like the idea of him getting back into the championship picture. I’m just not sure I like the angle of him simply demanding a title shot at MITB. I’d rather see him in the ladder match itself and actually winning; Rusev with the briefcase in hand would be entertaining as hell. A timely SummerSlam cash-in would give him a high profile feud that could get Rusev back in the main event picture lasting possibly through the Royal Rumble. Regardless though, putting him anywhere near the title is a boost that I support.
We’re getting a with us/against us angle with Becky, Charlotte and the rest of the locker room. You can see it leading to an eventual alliance with the Lass Kicker and The Queen. I wish it was a little more complex than that. Could Becky work as a top heel? Maybe have her align with Natalya’s faction. Position her as what would be The Rock to Farooq in the old school Nation Of Domination, and have her eventually take over Natalya’s minions, and then feud against what would be the top face in Charlotte. It’s a role reversal that I’d be interested in seeing.
|Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan in a No DQ match; Orton wins via pinfall; Jinder Mahal to the ring; Mahal and The Bollywood Boys assault Orton; Mahal leaves with the title||Since this was a No DQ match, why not have just Jinder (no Bollywood Boys necessary) come out and help Rowan get the win? Call it a terrorist attack if you want – I like that angle better than the “wealthy foreigner that Americans don’t understand” thing that they are doing. Jinder could blindside Orton at every possible moment leading up to his title shot at Backlash. With his track record, I in no way whatsoever buy into his immediate presence on the mic, or in the ring for that matter. He needs to be more conniving; a true thorn in Orton’s side while he is still consumed with Bray Wyatt’s “House Of Horrors” nonsense. You could then save the Bollywood Boys for the Backlash PPV to help Jinder actually win the title, before dropping it at the following Sunday event and inserting someone worthy into the picture.|
|Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boys drive off in a limo with the title; The Ascension vs. Breezango in a Beat-The-Clock Challenge #1 contender’s match; Breezango beats the clock to become the new #1 contender||Eh, the limo bit was fine visually. Kind of lame from a storytelling perspective. The people that steal titles are the crazies like Dean Ambrose; not the flamboyantly rich.
As I already mentioned, I wish this Beat-The-Clock match-up would have happened first. A backstage reaction and interview of Breezango realizing they are the new #1 contenders would have been priceless. Though I don’t think they will put the belts on them (they’d probably clash with their outfits anyways), I am excited about the prospects of giving the Fashion Police more screen time.
|Neville 205 Live promo; Bray Wyatt “House Of Horrors” video package||We could have had a Tye Dillinger or a Luke Harper match here, but no – just promos. At this point, I think the most interesting thing in the “House Of Horrors” match would be if Bray Wyatt appeared dressed up as I.R.S..|
|Naomi vs. Charlotte for the SmackDown Women’s Championship; No Contest with interference by Natalya, Tamina, Carmela & James Ellsworth||I don’t mind the finish, because I think it’s possible that the Naomi/Charlotte feud could extend beyond this. This championship match was too premature as is – a PPV worthy match that they are giving away on SmackDown.
I’m hopeful that next week, Daniel Bryan will announce that Charlotte deserves a second opportunity at Naomi’s belt at Backlash. What I’m dreading is the inevitable 6-women’s tag match with Charlotte, Naomi and Becky taking on Natalya, Tamina and Carmela.
An alternative would be to set up a singles tournament leading into Backlash to establish the #1 contender. That would be most preferable since several feuds could stem from that platform. But I won’t hold my breath.