6 MAN TAG TEAM MATCH: BREEZANGO (TYLER BREEZE & FANDANGO) & TYE DILLINGER vs. MOJO RAWLEY, CHAD GABLE & SHELTON BENJAMIN
Questionable Booking: The match.
It’s hard to analyze a match like this when it’s thrown together last minute. We know that Breezango and Gable & Benjamin have had problems in the past, but where does Tye Dillinger and Mojo Rawley fit into this? Even more problematic is the fact that aside from Shelton Benjamin, five of the superstars in this match are newer talent that are all floundering. Especially Mojo Rawley. His heel turn hasn’t panned out at all and seeing the fall of Gable & Benjamin is almost disheartening.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. RUSEV
Good Booking: Rusev is competitive.
This match may have had minimal build and Rusev may have lost, but Rusev’s string of great performances continues. WWE Creative won’t be able to ignore his growing popularity for long. He has this natural likeability from fans that he’s been allowed to show spurts of through his current “Rusev Day” gimmick. If they were smart, Rusev and Aiden English could turn into a successful midcard pair.
UNITED STATES TITLE: BOBBY ROODE (c) vs. RANDY ORTON
Good Booking: Orton makes history.
No disrespect to Bobby Roode, but his reign as the US champion was lacking something. But then again, the US title has been lacking in recent months thanks to WWE Creative playing Hot Potato with it. But with Orton as champion, he can bring some prestige back to the title. With the future of the title bound for a triple threat match with Jinder Mahal, the title can be set on the right path with performances.
WOMEN’S TAG TEAM MATCH: BECKY LYNCH & NAOMI vs. CARMELLA & NATALYA
Good Booking: Carmella gets the win for her team.
For a filler match, this was actually effective for Carmella. While Natalya, Naomi, and Becky Lynch are in limbo for the time being, this is a good time to focus on Carmella and her briefcase. She doesn’t necessarily need to get the spotlight every night, but to focus on her discreetly and have her pick up small wins keeps her momentum going into her cashing in eventually.
SMACKDOWN LIVE TAG TEAM TITLES: THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) (c) vs. THE NEW DAY (XAVIER WOODS & KOFI KINGSTON) w/ BIG E
Good Booking: Using each other’s moves.
The Usos squared off against The New Day for the titles once again. Normally a pairing like this would get stale. But somehow, both teams managed to keep things fresh. Something as small as using each other’s moves is a way to add a fresh new dynamic to their feud. They’ve waged a war of words and they’ve declared respect for each other. So to use each other’s moves adds a personal level to their feud.
Good Booking: The Bludgeon Brothers
There’s a difference between squash matches and what The Bludgeon Brothers did to both The New Day and The Usos. Harper and Rowan squashing jobbers gets old. What they did to The New Day and The Usos was highly more effective. Xavier Woods being stretchered out while medical staff carried out the rest of the superstars. It might be about time that Harper & Rowan carry the titles.
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE: CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) vs. RUBY RIOTT w/ LIV MORGAN & SARAH LOGAN
Good Booking: Charlotte retains despite a strong outing from Ruby Riott.
This match was never in question. Charlotte had to retain the title going into Wrestlemania. Ruby Riott is a great performer. And she will be champion one day. Performances like this are assuring for her. But for the sake of Wrestlemania, Charlotte was the right choice to carry the title. Especially since…
Good Booking: Asuka
Asuka vs. Charlotte is the more appealing title match over Alexa Bliss. Back at Survivor Series, a Queen conquered a Goddess. That leaves a clash against an Empress the more intriguing. Simple, quick, and straightforward.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE 6-PACK CHALLENGE: AJ STYLES (c) vs. JOHN CENA vs. SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BARON CORBIN
Good Booking: Everyone has time to shine.
The big problem with matches like these is its overcrowding and reliance on too many spots. But when each superstar is given time to tell their respective stories, it becomes a highly energetic affair. From Corbin’s brutal offense to Ziggler’s never-say-die attitude to the Zayn/Owens/McMahon saga, the match found time to tell each story. Add in AJ Styles’ ability to tell a story so effectively match outcomes become unpredictable and you get the match of the night.
Bad Booking: Shane McMahon gets involved, but Daniel Bryan doesn’t.
Talk about dragging a storyline on for too long. As good as AJ Styles is with making matches unpredictable, is was clear that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens was not going to be champion. But to make things stranger, where was Daniel Bryan? Why did he not intervene? It’s clear that Shane McMahon is going to be involved in Wrestlemania. But like I’ve been saying; there’s no credibility from beating Shane McMahon. He hasn’t won a match since he’s been back. And being a “wildcard” isn’t enough for him to be considered a threat.
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