Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Hello folks, and welcome back to the SmackDown Nutshell! Tonight, we can say Happy Birthday Shane, as The Miz is pulling  off a birthday party for Shane McMahon. Beyond that, plenty of action on tap. With just under 2 weeks left to go, the final pushes, the final hype, it’s all coming together. Lets sit back and crack open this Nutshell!

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Best Match of the night:

I have to go with what the fans chanted for tonight-and that would be Andrade “Cien” Almas and Rey Mysterio. The action was intense, some great spots and hard hitting moves.

Worst match of the night:

Of all the ones on the card, I find it hard to rip any of them. Royce and Kaye served a purpose in their losses, as did Ali in taking the beating. Even Miz and Sheamus was worthwhile because of the payoff. So, I will say…no stinkers tonight.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

This is awesome

AJ Styles

Happy Birthday

Shane o mac

Star of the Night

I think tonight I’d give it to Andrade “Cien” Almas. That match felt like the start of a push, in my opinion. It just had that wow factor. The crowd was into it. Mysterio and Almas were working in some killer spots. Bumping like crazy. And in the end, with Almas victorious, I looked at him and said “I could easily see him as a finalist a week from Sunday”. Maybe not the last man standing, but I can absolutely see him having a nice run in the Rumble.

Spot of the Night:

Shane, flinging Cesaro through his birthday cake and the table it was on.

Several good ones during the Almas/Mysterio tilt too.

Jobber of the Night:

I have a few choices tonight. Billie Kaye and Peyton Royce felt sort of in this role tonight…though maybe just a step above, being fed to Becky Lynch and Asuka respectively.

On the other hand, Mustafa Ali was straight up, one hundred percent pure jobber tonight as Samoa Joe used Ali to send a message to the participants in the Royal Rumble.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Have to give it to a few choices here.

To Samoa Joe for a beating on Ali that was a serious statement. A bit of a surprise though, considering how Mustafa Ali had been built up in recent weeks.

AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan for the concession stand brawl.

And, on the opposite end of things, how about holy [email protected] how bad was the angle with Jimmy and Mandy and Naomi

Botch of the night:

Shane saying he was going to walk into the Royal Rumble this Sunday with The Miz.

Only issue, of course, is that the Rumble is a week from Sunday.

Noteworthy Moment:

Between last night and tonight, it’s nice to start seeing the NXT call-ups…though it would be nicer if most of them weren’t just filler. Only Nikki Cross really got into things in her debut. It’s early, but a month after they were announced, you figured they’d be doing more. Or, if you don’t want them wrestling, then save the reveals until the Rumble matches.

Overall lowlights:

The whole thing with Mandy Rose and Naomi and Jimmy Uso. For starters, I am not a fan of the idea of someone trying to break up a marriage, especially in such a contrived angle. That alone is just bad juju. Beyond that, this segment was up there with the bit between AJ Styles and Shane a could years ago, when WWE had the camera guy IN the car before someone happened to go through the window.

In this case, who expects a WWE Superstar to have a camera or two in her hotel room (OK, let me rephrase…who expects her to have WWE cameras for SmackDown in her hotel room). It’s just impossible to suspend disbelief in such a far-fetched scenario. Sometimes we can, but that was just insanely over the top and silly. That, and I know I am not alone when I say I expected Naomi to show up. Honestly, I was expecting to get a view from inside the room and instead of Jimmy, we’d get Naomi walking through the door. From having the cameras there, to the weird photographer, and then Mandy explaining to Jimmy what she was doing-on TV, cameras rolling, as if Naomi couldn’t rewind and watch it all over again? I mean…some things are starting to feel like we’ve slipped back to the Attitude Era, and not in a good way.

It’s not helping the program between Naomi and Mandy Rose either, which begs the questions: who hatched this idea in the first place, and when are they pulling the plug?

Overall highlights:

Almas and Mysterio delivered an exceptional match. Great way to get Andrade more over.

Overall, the segments all had a purpose, and they all worked to push the Rumble matches forward. Not really a wasted segment on the show (outside of the one I called out).

After the final bell:

Over all, a good show. If we had something other than Mandy Rose and the hotel room,  I might even say great show. Just two more hours of programming until the Rumble, and the big matches have gotten an effective amount of hype.

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