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SmackDown Redux (April 4th, 2017): Closing the curtain

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With the announcement of a Superstar Shakeup taking place on RAW, it may be safe to say that it’s officially the end of an era. Although I don’t expect the women’s division to change dramatically, we’ll more than likely no longer have the original squad together. And that’s a pretty big deal. But before we get onto that, let’s see what the ladies of team blue had in store for us!

Before the show officially begun, some of the Superstars of SmackDown Live were seen somewhat worried about the upcoming Superstar Shakeup.

As Renee YoungRhyno and co. are taking out Becky Lynch’s dreadlocks, the Talking Smack hosts shares her worries about being split from her hardworking team.

Carmella appears to feel pretty confident about the scenario as she declares that regardless of where she ends up, she’s going to be “the most fabulous chick.” James Ellsworth however, feels differently. He expresses how worried he is that Carmellsworth may be split up, and then ends up smashing Tyler Breeze’s apple out of his hand in frustration. Oh Ellsworth, how we love your awkwardness.

The Miz and Maryse sing a slightly different tune as instead of expressing worry, The Miz warns SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan to not split them up. He claims that if Bryan even thinks about splitting up “the it couple,” he will personally make sure that the GM’s life “is a living hell.” They then both flash a smile and walk off. Classy.

Unfortunately, Nikki Bella isn’t on the road with the SmackDown roster as she’ll be taking some time off to heal her neck.

However, the show must go on, so let it begin!

Early on in the night, Alexa Bliss cashes in her rematch clause for the WWE SmackDown Women’s championship! And her demand is SmackDown’s command as she faces Naomi for the belt!

Naomi comes out to a roaring crowd and she finally gets a full entrance with her title belt – and it looks amazing.

Alexa, after losing her title two nights ago at Wrestlemania, is grumpy as ever and angrily struts down to the ring.

The match is very fast paced, and is definitely the best one between the pair. The crowd end up chanting “let’s go Lexi” whilst being duelled with a “Naomi” one as well. It’s safe to say that the crowd are very into the match.

Alexa focuses her attention on damaging Naomi’s leg/knee, aiming to re-injure the same area she did at Elimination Chamber.

Towards the end of the match, it looks as though Naomi is going to take home the win. However, Alexa quickly pulls her leg from the top and bashes her head on the ground. The former champ ruins her chances of winning as she tries to hold onto the ropes as she pins the champ, but the referee sees it. Taking advantage of the situation, Naomi rolls Bliss around and forces her to tap to the Slay-o-Mission (which she’s currently trying to rename).

The champ then takes in all the glory of yet another hometown victory and ends up twerking on one leg. As if we couldn’t fall more in love with her…

On Talking Smack, Naomi takes in the glory once again, but then quickly gets a little more serious once the ‘Superstar Shakeup’ is brought to the table. The champ states that she’d love to stay on SmackDown as this is where she got her opportunity, but is willing to take on all challenges and hurdles. The former Funkadactyl also states that she’d love to take on Charlotte Flair, and the Queen is also okay with this concept:

The Miz and Maryse are our next point of interest as they state that they will head out to the ring to call out John Cena and Nikki Bella. And as soon as the segment starts, John Cena’s music blares through the speakers!

…But it’s really just The Miz and Maryse cosplaying as the now engaged couple, yet again.

The two get into the ring with their over-the-top acting and reiterate everything they’ve said over the past few weeks. “Cena” states that the only reason he gave “Nikki” the ring – in which Maryse is sporting an excessively large stone – is to build his brand. “Nikki” and “Cena” state that they are going to be “leaving WWE” for the sake of “going to Hollywood.”

Miz and Maryse then attempt to leave the ring but are then met with the music of a violinist…whom is playing the theme of the debuting Shinsuke Nakamura!

Thoughts: As the very first “SmackDown Live After Mania,” I expected much more. This is the one episode per year in which we get surprising debuts, shocking victories and huge pushes for future storylines. As far as the women were concerned, this literally felt like a rehash of Wrestlemania.

Regarding the title picture, we got a Singles match with nothing following it. It literally just felt like SmackDown wanted to get Alexa’s rematch clause out of the way and then not have it lead to anything. It’s pretty obvious that Bliss will be moved to the RAW brand, so I understand the reason behind getting it done. However, it doesn’t feel like an important episode to watch.

The post-Mania show is supposed to feel fresh, unmissable and important. It’s supposed to show us something new, yet the Women’s title picture is anything but. And in fact, the division itself is the exact same.

No women besides Bliss and Naomi show up, so the only representation of the division that we get isn’t something that pushes the stories forward. How is Mickie James feeling after failing to remake her mark? What is going on in Becky Lynch’s head after yet another failed attempt at obtaining the goal? Is Natalya going to get a push for being so impressive in the match?

Carmella gets a little bit of storytelling before the show, however, but even then, it’s really not all that much either.

Of course not every woman can be shown, but at such an pivotal point of the show, you’d think now would be the time for it. I mean, even RAW managed to do it!

The Maryse work is also far from revolutionary as well. We’ve seen the pair impersonate Nikki and Cena for what feels like 2000 times. The joke isn’t funny any more. It was hilarious for two weeks, and was a great way to push the Mizanins as heels, but the joke is officially dead. This would’ve been the perfect time to make the pair come across and angry and bitter, rather than just bitter and lame. They could’ve shown their frustration and added a bit of anger to their personalities, but instead they redo what they’ve already done.

The only upside to this show is the indication of Charlotte vs Naomi. With Charlotte moving to the blue brand, we can really see a lot of good matches; Charlotte vs Becky, Charlotte vs Naomi, Charlotte vs Nikki and Charlotte vs Natalya (I don’t care how many times that happens, these girls are incredible together!). Having her join SmackDown could be what the show needs – that is, if this show is any indication as to what the current plans without Charlotte are like, then we definitely need the Queen on board!

What do you think about the episode? Who do you think will switch brands during the ‘Superstar Shakeup’? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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