Welcome to the SteelChair penitentiary! Yeah, I don’t sound nearly as cool as the Usos, do I? I’ll stop that. I’m super hyped for one of the best tag teams in the business to get back on track though with Jimmy and Jey teaming up properly for the first time since last year’s WrestleMania. Crazy to think how fast time has passed but also who could’ve seen the journey Main Event Jey Uso would go on? I never thought for a second he’d step up in the way he has. His work alongside Roman Reigns has been top class and I’m sure he’ll bring all that fire back to the Usos as they try to dominate the division again.

The real question is whether Roman will let them. As we know, he’s super manipulative and, generally, it’s all about him. Will he allow Jey to divide his time? Will he sit by and listen to Jimmy be nobody’s bitch? So much is up in the air including who the tag champs will even be. I love that the tag division is getting a piece of the spotlight not only with the Mysterios but this side story with the Usos too. Beyond the tag excitement maybe we’ll get some news from Aleister Black after last week or hopefully another musical treat from Rick Boogs or even another beautiful suit from Seth Rollins. I’m excited so let’s get to it.

Good luck… you’ll need it

The Usos are one of the most passionate, intense, and fiery tag teams out there in the wrestling world. There’s just something so natural about their characters. You listen to them on the mic and you believe it all. Their chemistry is undeniable, obviously being family helps but it’s their knowledge of how to be a proper and successful tag team that truly makes them head and shoulders over so many others. The real elephant in the room is Roman though and he had a few choice words backstage to open the show this week. Let’s just say he’s not entirely clear of where Jey’s loyalties lie at the moment. I hope he doesn’t feel the need to interfere where he’s not needed.

Street Profits vs The Usos

Our first match this week and it’s a phenomenal matchup that wouldn’t look out of place on any WWE PPV card. In fact, despite getting sick of rematches I already want one on an upcoming PPV because these guys are absolute fire together. From their verbal interactions before the match to everything they did in-ring, this was an exceptional effort from all four men that demonstrated why they’re two of the best tag teams in the world. It very much reminded me of the Profits vs New Day in showing how the newer team were stepping up to the veterans and hanging right in there, but the experienced team was definitely not ready to hang up their boots yet.

This match got a really decent amount of time which is always nice and often rare on a weekly show. It makes the titles seem a lot more important when you’ve got two teams of this calibre fighting it out like this. And fight they did with some insane back and forth action where anyone could’ve picked up the win at any time. Montez Ford continues to blow my mind every time he’s in the ring with his confidence and ability, while Jimmy isn’t showing any ring rust whatsoever. I honestly would’ve been happy with either team winning but The Usos picked up a slightly sneaky win. Jey rescued Jimmy from Ford’s frog splash and then took out Angelo Dawkins while Jimmy superkicked Montez straight in the face for the 1-2-3. This is exactly what SmackDown is all about.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya & Tamina vs the Riott Squad (Non-Title)

For all the raving about the previous match which was a perfect illustration of why I love tag team wrestling when it’s done right, it was then followed with a pretty pathetic attempt from the women’s tag division. Now I don’t expect every match to go nearly half an hour or anything but it’s hard to take Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott seriously if they’re going to be treated like this. Not quite a squash match but short enough that it’s incredibly hard to invest anything in. It just felt pretty pointless overall.

I get that Natalya and Tamina want to be fighting champions but there needs to be some effort put into legitimizing some of the other teams so it actually seems like they’ve got potential contenders. At the moment it’s such a weak division which is unfortunate considering the amount of decent female wrestlers they have on the roster. It can’t be that hard to build it up again surely? This is the least I’ve cared about it in quite some time which is a huge contrast to the men’s tag team division on SmackDown. Tamina won again and continues this weird streak of trying to convince people she’s underrated and has been for years. No, I’m not falling for this revisionist history rubbish.

SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs Carmella (Non-Title)

I know Carmella seems to be like marmite online with the fans a lot of the time but I do actually enjoy her, especially her current heel character. I think it fits her perfectly and she’s a lot better in the ring than a lot of people give her credit for. Plus Belair having fresh opponents has to be good for her as there’s no need to have her wrestle Bayley over and over, or inevitably Sasha Banks once she decides to come back again. And Bianca going against strong heel characters like Carmella is exactly what she needs to get the fans behind her more and more going forward.

We were treated to Bayley on commentary which is always gold when she’s sat next to Michael Cole. She mostly behaved herself this week, allowing the action to unfold in front of her while moaning about Belair being a cheat and constantly arguing with Cole. It’s entertaining though, as was the in-ring work from both women who had an enjoyable and competitive effort. Carmella deserves more than just appearing every so often really. While it was a bit sloppy in places, I thought they worked well together and Bianca got a hard-fought victory in front of her nemesis. Cole and Bayley then gave us the highlight of the night as Michael called ‘cover by Belanca’ and Bayley proceeded to shout ‘you stupid idiot’ at Cole. Absolute gold.

Happy Birthday To Me

Oh, Seth. Firstly your latest music rocks. Secondly, your suits are just incredibly amazing. And thirdly, I’m just enjoying this latest incarnation of heel Rollins so much that I can’t wait for you to come on screen every week. They’ve finally found a way of doing this character without it being incredibly annoying fast forward material or trying to pull anyone’s eye out or anything like that. He’s just an unhinged gloating maniac now who dresses incredibly well and I am so here for it. And he’s obviously having so much fun out there every time too so that just adds an extra dimension.

Nothing too groundbreaking from Seth this week apart from him showing off about his beatdown on Cesaro last week and calling him out this week to beat him up again. But of course, he forgot that Cesaro can’t be there this week – what a surprise. He then tries to spin something about having blackouts and forgetting things and so obviously it can’t all be his fault but it’s definitely Cesaro’s. Maybe he has a point if he has a legitimate medical problem. Poor guy. Oh but then he started to blame the WWE Universe and hey that’s not fair. I didn’t do anything. I’ve always been… well, mostly been nice about Seth and his suits. He ended his promo by singing Happy Birthday to himself and I hope he had a lovely time and Becky bought him lots more suits.

Intercontinental Championship – Apollo Crews(c) (with Commander Azeez) vs Kevin Owens

Oh, look at that. It’s a title match where Apollo isn’t wrestling Big E. Who knew that was actually allowed? I’m shocked. What I’m not so shocked about is that he didn’t turn up alone but obviously had that giant bloke from RAW by his side. Apparently, they’ve been lifelong friends or something. Sure, maybe Azeez just blanked out on the red brand a lot and completely forgot about his commanding job or whatever else. Sure WWE. It makes total sense, doesn’t it? If they didn’t entertain me so much as a duo then I might pick apart the nonsense a little more.

It’s good to see Kevin Owens back on track and more focused rather than having to worry about Sami Zayn and his dancing skills and unhinged documentary madness. Not that I mind all of that because it’s always a highlight of SmackDown but sometimes you just need to let Owens be Owens and that means smashing through people and not caring about his own body. That’s certainly what he tried to do this week with Apollo as he was on fire from the moment the bell rang, trying to beat Crews quickly before Azeez got involved. Sadly after a quick and intense effort, Owens hit the stunner but got nailed by the Commander from the outside during the pinfall attempt and only won by DQ. Thankfully, Adam Pearce has granted KO a rematch next week with Azeez banned from ringside.

Shinsuke Nakamura (Rick Boogs) vs Chad Gable (with Otis)

RICK BOOGS. One of the most anticipated performances of the night and I am nearly as excited as Pat McAfee is. Those two together bring me absolute joy and those few seconds are more exciting than a whole episode of Monday Night RAW these days. I can’t wait for the fans to get to see Boogs in person. I’m sure they’ll love it. The good news is Nakamura didn’t have to wrestle King Corbin this week which is nice. The bad news is Chad Gable and Otis are two sneaky bastards, just as much as Corbin, so Otis hit Shin with a slam before anything even started. Oh Alpha Academy, I thought you were such a legit operation. You have as much integrity as old school Kurt Angle.

Thankfully Nakamura picked himself up and managed to fight back against Gable during the match. I’m sure both guys could have a really great match together given the time, but Chad still doesn’t get to do a huge amount these days, unfortunately. And then King Corbin came out to ruin everything by stealing his crown back. It wasn’t enough to cause Nakamura the loss though as he managed to drop Gable and pick up the win and then witness Boogs hit Corbin from behind so that he could take his crown back. All in all a good night for Rick and Shinsuke.

SmackDown Tag Team Championships: the Mysterios (c) vs the Dirty Dawgs

Oh great. Not only is this our main event but it’s the 100000th rematch between these four guys. I get it. They work well together and they want to continue the story but seriously we are so done here. They even tried to inject some intrigue into it by having Rey Mysterio attacked before the match and Dominik going it alone for the majority. I get it. They want to push Dominik and get the crowd behind him more but maybe it could be against someone that isn’t Dolph Ziggler or Robert Roode. Would that be so difficult? For all the high points SmackDown has on a regular basis, the incessant need for rematch after rematch is something that really brings it down.

This wasn’t a terrible match but you would expect the main event to be the best match on the card, and they had no chance of living up to the Profits and Usos from earlier in the night. I would’ve switched the positions if I’m honest but hey I’m not in charge. And I’m not sure if these 2-on-1 situations make the face look strong or the heels weak for not being able to put Dominik away. It’s a fine line. The little Mysterio really hung in there and refused to give up which was impressive, but it was really Rey coming out and distracting the Dirty Dawgs which allowed him to retain those titles. It would’ve meant more if he’d actually done it alone. At least now we’ve got The Usos vs The Mysterios to look forward to and that’s a match I’m definitely intrigued by. Another great week for SmackDown and still all up in the air for Hell in a Cell next month.

The best of SmackDown

  • The Usos – a huge win in their return
  • Street Profits – hung in there with one of the best teams in the world
  • The Mysterios – retaining the titles by any means necessary
  • Rick Boogs – useful as well as musical
  • “Belanca” – gold again from Michael Cole and Bayley

The worst of SmackDown

  • Main-event – less rematches, please
  • King Corbin – trying to ruin a perfectly good match
  • Women’s tag division – needs a lot of work

In summary…

Another really enjoyable episode of SmackDown this week. It really flew by and felt like there wasn’t much time to stop and digest anything or get bored which I like. Everything flowed from one segment to the next and there wasn’t a huge amount I didn’t enjoy this week. They’ve done really well to develop characters up and down the card and I’m invested in most storylines going on at the moment. I’m definitely curious to see where the Roman/Usos thing goes. Will he want them to win the titles? Or would he rather keep Jey by his side for himself? We’ll find out soon I’m sure.

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

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