By RJ Marceau
Going into Sunday night, I had little expectations for the show because the build was lousy and none of the matches were must-see. SmackDown since the Superstar Shake-up has been worse and I think that is what has affected the show quality and the pay-per-views in general.
The show started with a great tag team match between The New Day and The Usos. This match was good start to finish with great nearfalls at the end. I was surprised they did the title change here but I expect a rematch at SummerSlam with a stipulation. These teams have great chemistry and started the night off with a bang.
Unfortunately after this match the rest of the card fell flat. I was enjoying Nakamura vs. Corbin but the low blow finish was disappointing. I have always hated disqualification or non-finishes on PPV because it screws the fans in attendance. The match was decent but the finish killed the crowd.
Up next we had our weekly multi-women’s match on SmackDown Live. This match featured Natalya, Lana, Tamina, Becky Lynch and Charlotte in a No. 1 Contender's match. The match was a typical multi-person cluster with it going 11 minutes and three of the four eliminations happening in the eighth minute alone. It came down to Natalya and Charlotte. These two had a three minute one-on-one match and I was beyond shocked Natalya beat her clean. The ship sailed like five years ago for Natalya to be considered a championship threat so I feel bad for the fans going to SummerSlam. I don’t think anyone has any interest in Natalya vs. Naomi. Also it sucks for Becky and Charlotte since they will probably be regulated to a tag team match at SummerSlam vs. Lana and Tamina.
Owens and Styles competed in a good match but it was the worst of their previous encounters. I am not sure if it was the crowd or just because it came after that women’s match but it just didn’t come off as good as past matches. Owens winning controversially was good to set up a rematch so I hope their next encounter on SmackDown or SummerSlam is better.
The flag match followed and was painfully boring. I love how Rusev is back but this match was beyond stupid. With them having to retrieve the flag then bring it to the podium was dumb. I guess Rusev was protected because he wasn’t pinned but losing to John Cena felt like 2015 all over again.
Zayn vs. Kanellis was identical to their previous match on SmackDown but Sami went over in a forgettable eight minute match. I like the duo of Mike and Maria but they are making Mike look like a chump who needs his wife to win. I hope they tweak the gimmick in that regard.
Main event time and let me start by saying I have tried so hard to invest in Jinder Mahal. I like his music, The Singh Brothers are perfect in their role and add to the act but he’s decent at best in-ring wise. This was the third match between him and Orton which no one wanted to see again. I was interested in the Punjabi Prison stipulation but the match is boring. They open all the doors and no one gets out until they open the last door. The Singh brothers interfering was predictable even though they choose this stipulation to keep them out. They took amazing bumps, especially the brother who went through the table. The Great Khali returning was the icing on the cake to end this boring match helping Jinder retain. I hope they don’t do Jinder vs. Cena unless Jinder is winning because I don’t want to see John Cena champion since he is a part-timer.
The show as a whole wasn’t good but I wouldn’t go as far as saying worst PPV of all time. Roadblock in December was worse than this show. At least this show had two good matches. That Roadblock show I couldn’t tell you one match from the card it was so bad. WWE needs to realize that Jinder isn’t the champion to carry SmackDown and capitalize with the big Superstars they have. I love Orton but he shouldn’t be near the WWE Championship in 2017. SmackDown should push Breezango and Chad Gable to prominent roles and continue to have Owens and Styles be main event players on the blue brand.