So here we are, with the show that has been treated as an afterthought to an afterthought and is now just being treated like a nothing show. There are a few things on the show that could be interesting, but WWE has been acting like Fastlane, as in the show they’re putting on, is just a nuisance that they’re required to cover. Just watch Raw and see how much effort they’ve put into it as compared to promoting Wrestlemania. Hopefully things pick up a little bit and the show winds up being fun. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade

Well if you insists. This has been a great feud so far and one of the best things on SmackDown this year. These guys mesh very well together and this one can serve as the rubber match after their previous big blowoff officially went to a no contest because WWE doesn’t know the definition of a no contest.

I’ll take Andrade to win here as he needs to be elevated a little bit more. Mysterio is already a legend and has been for about ten years now so giving Andrade the big win (again) is the right call. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Mysterio won to give the fans a feel good moment, but at the same time there’s little reason to do it, as Andrade would be hurt by a loss much worse than Mysterio. Andrade should win, though I don’t know if he will.

In case you need their long form version:

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Kickoff Show: New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev

This feels like it has another reason for existing, as the match was added on Friday with no particular reason (or announcement if you ask Xavier Woods). It feels like a reason to have New Day in the building for something later on in the show, perhaps with Kofi Kingston in the main event. It’s not like there’s anything going on here, so it makes as much sense as anything else.

I’m going with Rusev/Nakamura to win here, as they could go somewhere as a tag team and if something bigger is coming for New Day, having them lose early on is more interesting than having them win a meaningless match. The SmackDown tag division desperately needs some fresh blood and Rusev/Nakamura are as good as anyone else. Just getting them on TV more would be a smart move so I’ll go with them here.

See, they promised:

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SmackDown Women’s Title: Asuka(c) vs. Mandy Rose

I figured I’d get one of the easiest ones out of the way first. Rose pinned Asuka in a non-title match a few weeks back because having her beat someone else in a #1 contenders match or winning a few matches in a row and being granted a title shot (like the way things worked for years) just wasn’t in the cards. Asuka is coming in a little banged up so they might have to go with some smoke and mirrors.

That being said, is there any doubt here (a line that has never gotten me into trouble before)? Asuka should steamroll Rose here with a grand total of no trouble because it’s Asuka vs. Rose in a title match. At the moment, Asuka needs an opponent for WrestleMania and I don’t think Rose is going to play into the card, outside of a spot in a big women’s match. Asuka retains, as she should.

Here’s how it all got started:

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SmackDown Tag Team Titles: Usos(c) vs. The Miz/Shane McMahon

Can someone tell me why this is still a thing? Are we really still playing up Miz’s daddy issues (which came out of nowhere) and how great and influential McMahon is to the whole thing? This story hasn’t been well received from the start and that hasn’t changed a bit yet. I have no idea why we’re stuck with something like this when you have other tag teams who could get a rub out of the thing, but logic has never been a factor when the McMahons are involved.

I’ll go with the Usos to retain here because we need to set up Miz vs. McMahon for WrestleMania somehow. I’m not sure what the story is going to be and I’m not sure how WWE thinks they’re going to get people interested in the whole thing, but that seems to be where we’re going. The Usos should be in a big match at WrestleMania, perhaps with the Hardys, which is roughly 194x more interesting than this. At least the Usos should retain, as they should.

These teams just don’t get along:

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Shield vs. Bobby Lashley/Baron Corbin/Drew McIntyre

I’m not going to pretend like this is going to be anything other than a near guaranteed win. The Shield got back together earlier this week and there’s almost no way, other than the team splitting (AGAIN) that they’re losing, especially not to a team including Corbin. It should be a great moment to have the team back together and more importantly Reigns back in the ring, but there’s not exactly a doubt here.

In case it’s not really clear, the Shield wins handily here, hopefully with Corbin taking the fall. The main thing that springs to my attention here though is how McIntyre is now just another guy. He’s stopped being someone all that important or feeling like the hot prospect and is now just fighting random matches on Raw, which is far less than he should be doing. It’s very sad, and yet not surprising in the slightest.

This is what happens when these guys get together:

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Women’s Tag Team Titles: Boss N Hug Connection(c) vs. Nia Jax/Tamina

It’s the first title defense for the inaugural champions and while I rip on Jax and Tamina for various (and what should be obvious) reasons, they’re good choices for the first challengers. They’re physically imposing and work well enough together, so having the champs retain over them is a smart first title defense.

Obviously I’m taking the champions to retain as I should, since there’s really no reason for a title change so early in the titles’ history. The champs will be fine against a team they’ve fought before and hopefully it’s Jax taking the fall to make it seem a little bit more impressive. This isn’t something that needs a lot of thought put into it but Bayley and Sasha Banks fighting from behind is a good way to get things going for their title reign.

The champs are ready:

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Raw Tag Team Titles; Revival(c) vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet vs. Chad Gable/Bobby Roode

This one makes me sad on so many levels. While I was hoping to see DIY getting this spot (on their own that is), I can take Black and Ricochet instead, but it really just makes me think of how sad it is that Ciampa had to get neck surgery. The other problem is how awesome the Revival could have been had WWE not managed to sabotage them, which has been the case for years now.

Regarding the actual match, I’ll take Revival to retain, as WWE seems to think that just having the titles is all that matters and you can have them lose over and over again week after week. Revival needs a win, but even if they get one here I’m not going to be convinced that things are going to be better for them overnight. They’re practically a lost cause, and that’s just sad.

I mean, it could get worse:

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Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte

Now you know Stephanie McMahon is going to be ringside for this, though the more interesting question is will she be on commentary. We certainly need her to explain this story to us even more, because having the McMahons involved so far has only done positive things for the whole story. The deal here is if Lynch wins, she’s added to the WrestleMania 35 Raw Women’s Title match to make it a triple threat. I think you get this one.

I’ll go with Lynch winning, though honestly it wouldn’t surprise me to see her lose so a certain first family of wrestling can come riding in to save her and give the fans what they want. You know, as opposed to just giving the fans what they want. The WrestleMania match is going to be the triple threat no matter what, but WWE is doing everything they can to suck the fun out of the whole thing for the sake of the McMahon, because….fill in the gap yourself.

They’re both a little damaged:

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SmackDown World Title: Daniel Bryan(c) vs. Kevin Owens

The more I think about it, the more interesting this could be. The match itself shouldn’t be that surprising, but the question becomes “What about Kingston?” With New Day being in town for the show, there’s a good reason to believe that something is going to go down. It could be Kingston challenging the winner for WrestleMania or it could be Kingston being added to the match at the last minute. Either way, something is going to happen here and that’s interesting.

I’ll take Bryan to retain, assuming Kingston isn’t added. Assuming Kingston is added, I’ll take Bryan to retain. The important thing is getting Kingston his WrestleMania match, though I’m a bit scared he’ll lose there too for the sake of keeping Bryan hot. Bryan is a great heel and deserves the mega run, but Kingston needs his win soon before he cools off. That win doesn’t come here though, and neither does Owens’.

Now if only Kingston can get in there:

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Overall Thoughts

The show has gotten a little better in the last week or two, but there is just no hiding how little this thing means in the grans scheme of things. WWE has gone out of their way to ignore this show and I hope they learn something going forward. Either treat the show as something that matter or don’t hold the thing, because this has done a lot more harm than good.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1.

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