Shane McMahon and AJ Styles Signed the Contract For Their WrestleMania Match
Did we not just see a contract signing this past Monday night on Raw? This was a solid segment featuring pretty good mic work from both men, but their promos were not the strongest. The program peaked two weeks ago with the parking lot brawl and they've been treading water until the pay-per-view since then. They didn't make me any more excited for their encounter, but I still think it could exceed expectations despite it not being a gimmick match.
Becky Lynch vs. Carmella Ended in a No Contest; SmackDown Women's Champion Alexa Bliss and Carmella def. Mickie James and Becky Lynch
We just saw Carmella vs. Lynch last week and is also ended in a no contest, so I would have been disappointed if the hype for the SmackDown Women's Championship match stopped there. Thankfully, the tag team match immediately followed and it was well-wrestled, helping put heat on the heels. Naomi's surprise return was the best part about this and I'm glad she'll be in action in her hometown in Orlando at WrestleMania. On a side note, I don't understand the frustration regarding their match being on the Kickoff show. What else was going to be bumped instead?
John Cena and Nikki Bella Confronted The Miz and Maryse on Miz TV
Once again, Miz and Maryse hit it out of the park with their impersonations of Cena and Nikki, which might have been even better than last week, and their impersonations of Daniel Bryan and Nikki Bella were legitimately funny as well. I loved Miz going in serious mode at the end, and Cena's subsequent promo was equally excellent. As I've said before, this feud has been way better than it had any right to be, and while I'm likely in the minority on this, I will surely be screaming "Yes! Yes! Yes!" when Cena proposes to Nikk on Sunday. I mean, how could he not at this point?
Mojo Rawley, American Alpha, Heath Slater and Rhyno def. Dolph Ziggler, SmackDown Tag Team Champions the Usos and Breezango
Well, it's official: The SmackDown Tag Team Championship will not be defended at WrestleMania 33, and perhaps it's for the better. There are already so many matches as it is that it would be just overload at this point (implying it isn't already). Instead, they'll be thrown into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with the rest of the losers. I guess this match served a purpose in that respect in hyping that 'Mania matchup, but I can't say I was too invested in the action.
WWE Champion Bray Wyatt def. Luke Harper (Non-title)
I was disappointed this match happened so close to the top of the hour because that meant they wouldn't be given a ton of time. That said, they made the most of the few minutes they had and delivered a good match. I just wish they held off on their first ever encounter for another time where it wouldn't have been an afterthought. Harper hesitating before Wyatt put him away was interesting, though, so maybe that will lead somewhere. The final sell for Wyatt vs. Randy Orton didn't do much for me, along with most of the over-the-top nonsense they've been doing, nor does it feel like a true world title match that's WrestleMania worthy.
Similar to Raw, this was an enjoyable edition of SmackDown Live, but it didn't really move the needle at all in terms of adding to my anticipation for the pending pay-per-view. Thankfully, I'll be in attendance for the event, so I'm amped up either way, but the build to WrestleMania on the SmackDown side has been fairly underwhelming, along with Raw. This show isn't must-see by any means, but Naomi's return was a pleasant surprise and the stuff with Cena, Nikki, Miz and Maryse was the highlight of the night.