|Segment||Consider This Alternative|
|Earlier Today: Jinder Mahal at a photshoot with the WWE Championship; Shane McMahon shows up and takes the title; in-ring promo with Shane McMahon welcoming Chris Jericho to SmackDown; AJ Styles to the ring; Kevin Owens to the ring; Owens and Styles brawl||In retrospect, Jinder “absconding” with the belt gave his storyline with Orton some intrigue. It reminds me of Wrestlemania a couple of years ago when they were building to the IC belt ladder match and different people kept running off with the belt in the weeks leading up to the show. You could have the photoshoot, and Shane could come by, but maybe have the Singh Brothers either whisk Jinder away and flee in a limo for the second straight week in a row, or better, kidnap Shane too. I’m not sure the reason why, but the WWE has done some ridiculous things in the past? Perhaps hold Shane ransom in an effort to make Daniel Bryan have the match at Payback be a handicap match – Jinder & The Singh Brothers vs. Orton in exchange for Shane and the belt. Probably a stereotype not suitable for television, but we’re looking at an alternative way to kick off the show.
As for Jericho’s welcome, we know that it will be short-lived due to his touring schedule with Fozzy. I might not bring Kevin Owens out here and just allow AJ to stake his claim for the US Championship. They did the brawl to ban AJ from ringside during the Owens-Jericho re-match, but allowing AJ to be ringside would allow for a DQ finish and Jericho to retain.
Why do that? For me, both KO and AJ should be in the WWE title picture – not the US title. Although that is the belt they will feud over, it seems like a step down for them. They are miles ahead of Jinder Mahal, and I would rather at least eliminate one of them from the mid-card title equation so they could immediately challenge a victorious Randy Orton following Backlash.
|Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ The Singh Brothers); backstage with Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina, Carmela & James Ellsworth||Sami Zayn lays down again. Even though it was by way of interference from The Singh Brothers, I think there are better alternatives to keep Zayn legitimate. Use Baron Corbin for interfering – have him leap the barricade and give Zayn the win off of a DQ finish. This could lead to a brawl, with maybe Luke Harper (the most underused player in the business) coming to Zayn’s aid and setting up a tag team match for later in the show, or possibly even next week. But Jinder pinning Zayn? Even with assistance, I have to believe that Corbin will eventually do the same as The Lone Wolf.
So Natalya has formed the “Welcoming Committee” with her cohorts and wants Becky to join. The Lass Kicker has to think it over – I say do it! Becky Lynch has never done it for me as a top face. With Charlotte’s heel run coming to a close, she has proven that she can play both sides of the coin. Have Becky be the one to go heel, strip the belt from Naomi, and then let Charlotte run through the faction building towards an eventual feud that could rival what she and Sasha Banks pulled off last year.
|Dolph Ziggler and “friends” watching a Shinsuke Nakamura video package backstage; Ziggler trashes on Nakamura and Shane McMahon; McMahon hears the whole thing; Aiden English vs. Tye Dillinger; Dillinger wins via pinfall||We at least got a match-up for one of the two major NXT call-ups. Though we are all patiently awaiting for Nakamura’s television debut, why not do it here? Have him go head to head with one of the members of The Ascension – they are so far down the totem pole that they can be beat in a squash match. They used the same formula with Finn Balor on RAW; although I was initially critical of it, the move at least showcased what he does best which is wrestle. Shinsuke is very similar – wrestling as opposed to the promos/video packages would serve his character well.
Dillinger winning over Aiden English was okay. It seems like English is headed for a re-packaging since Simon Goch got released. The meltdown at the end was indicative of that.
I’m just waiting for what Tye Dillinger’s first feud will be. This could have been a place to use someone like Erick Rowan for interference, possibly causing Dillinger his first loss. Rowan’s power against Dillinger’s athleticism could provide some for some good matches with The Perfect Ten eventually going over.
|Backstage interview with Renee Young & Chris Jericho; Aiden English walks through; Jericho puts English & Young on The List; backstage interview with Charlotte who is then jumped by The Welcoming Committee||Anything involving Jericho and The List is gold. Drink it in while you can because this great run is quickly coming to a close.
Charlotte getting jumped is fine, but maybe have Becky involved had she accepted The Welcoming Committee’s earlier invitation to join. Anything to help establish her heel persona, which in all actuality will never come to fruition.
|Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmela in a handicap tag match due to Charlotte being jumped; Charlotte makes her way ringside and joins the match; Carmela rolls up Naomi for the pin; The Welcoming Committee assaults Naomi & Charlotte; Becky Lynch to the rescue; after a scuffle The Welcoming Committee stands tall||First problem: arguably the weakest woman in the division should not pin the champion. You could have gotten to the melee with either Charlotte or Naomi pinning Carmela. That decision didn’t make sense to me.
The second problem I had was the missed opportunity to turn Becky heel. I have heard rumors that both Becky Lynch and James Ellsworth have been trying to convince WWE officials to let them have a match against one another. This could have been a move in that direction. But all I see is setup for a 6 women’s tag match on next week’s SmackDown. A heel turn would have had much more long term intrigue.
|Dolph Ziggler vs. Sin Cara; Ziggler wins via pinfall||I don’t know. Filler that certainly doesn’t help Sin Cara on his SmackDown debut. Ziggler doesn’t need to get a win here – in fact I wouldn’t even have him in this match-up.
This is where they could have used Aiden English. Have these two actually put on a good match, but have English get DQ’d after using a chair. The Drama King flies off the handle, when all of a sudden, Kalisto runs down the ramp to save the day. The Lucha Dragons are re-born in the SD tag team division – something that would benefit it greatly. Why the Luchas were broken up in the first place I will never understand. Sin Cara wallows in the undercard, and they won’t add Kalisto to the cruiserweights. Why not put them back together and give them a real tag run?
|“The Fashion Files” with Breezango||This was brilliant and I want more of it. This has the potential to be the most entertaining sketch since The Miz & Maryse on Total Bellas BS. I hope next week, they follow up and figure out who exactly the perpetrator was wearing socks with flip flops.|
|Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the US Championship; Kevin Owens wins via pinfall; Owens assaults Jericho after the match||Good match and sad to see Jericho’s year plus run in the WWE come to a hiatus. I will only re-iterate my previous alternative – if you could keep the title on Jericho until a match-up with AJ Styles at Backlash, it would serve to re-insert Owens into the big belt picture. Oh well – Jericho, we will miss you maaaaaaaaaan.|