Last night was SmackDown’s final episode before the highly anticipated Money in Bank PPV. Obviously, the show hinged upon the men’s and women’s respective briefcases, with Shinsuke Nakamura actually plucking it from suspension to close the show.
The above average episode gave us a few other nice highlights. The New Day’s entrance was a great way to inject the show with some exciting novelty, the RKO is still coming out of “nowhere,” and the Fashion Files contained their hot streak.
But most noteworthy was John Cena’s free agency. WWE made a point to underline this both on Raw and Smackdown. Regardless of how you feel about him, there’s just no use in denying he is WWE’s brightest star. How WWE uses him the rest of 2017 should be a compelling watch.
All of this is re-stating the obvious happenings, though. We’re here for the nooks and crannies. SmackDown had a lot of subtle moments that spoke to the current state of WWE’s product.
With so much content to watch as a fan, there’s no way to catch all of the small developments in WWE. But that’s why I’m here, highly caffeinated and ready to get meticulous. Here are 5 things you missed from SmackDown:
Yet, negativity be damned, that Randy Orton is beloved by live crowds. Orton is a testament to having a popular finishing move. In fact, that’s about all that's left of the Randy Orton's character, the RKO. And when you hit said move on a magic carpet, people will love it.
Orton may not be popular with the IWC, but the man knows how to manipulate a crowd. And in WWE, that’s all that matters.
It’s early in his SmackDown Era, but Sami Zayn feels like he’s building something. It’s no Yes Movement, but it could be a Maybe Movement.
Fans seem to be taking more of a liking to the guy as he was getting an audible “Sami, Sami” chant in a match that featured AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. We’re all aware of Zayn’s babyface potential, but few are ready to take him seriously at the top of the card.
However, a win this Sunday at MITB could change that. Sami is officially the match’s dark horse.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his first appearance on Talking Smack last night. Nakamura’s English is still limited, but his charisma transcends his struggle. The Gettysburg dress would crush him, but luckily that’s not a foreseeable part of wrestling (we’ll see when Cena returns on July 4th).
Renee Young and JBL asked Nakamura to sum up his MITB competitors. When it came to Dolph Ziggler, Shinsuke said, and I'm paraphrasing, that Ziggler would likely be going to Japan soon.
It was an innocent mistake by Nakamura, but it was stated so matter of factly, that it has to (at minimum) have some validity. Maybe WWE already knew about it, but now, we definitely do.
Kudos to Ziggler, I bet Japan will love a Shawn Michaels impersonator.
Another crucial bit of info from Talking Smack!
Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder were the show’s second guest and wasted no time in reminding us (and perhaps WWE) that they are in fact the rightful Tag Team Number 1 Contenders.
About 6 months ago, Ryder won a qualifying match that made the Hype Bros next in line for the Smackdown tag belts. He's been hurt ever since.
But now, he’s back. And Mojo Rawley has been busy. These two could be really great. Let’s hope they get time to shine.
It hurts to say it, but it doesn’t mean it isn't true.
What the hell happened? Since WrestleMania, SmackDown has morphed from Nirvana to the Black Eyed Peas.
What happened to the shoot promos? The individuality? The story?
Now, we’re getting fighting for the sake of fighting and enemas of 8-men and 6-women tag matches. They even are doing an unknown assailant bit!
The show’s foundation, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon have been routinely absent. It certainly didn't help losing the show’s best talkers in Miz and Alexa Bliss, but I'm confident the show will rebound - even if it takes until 2019.