I thoroughly enjoyed the April 18th edition of SmackDown LIVE, I truly did – alas, I did feel like I was living in a bizarro world. Main eventers AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, and Kevin Owens are battling it out for United States Championship, while earlier in the program upper-to-mid-carders were involved in a number one contender’s match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Meanwhile, amongst all this, I’m wondering why SmackDown LIVE is even looking for a number one contender with the House of Horrors match looming for the Payback pay-per-view (PPV).
Here are my thoughts around all the interesting, yet confusing, activities happening on SD LIVE.
U.S. Title Love Triangle
It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and an excellent storyline. Kevin Owens has established a new layer in his heel persona as the “Face of America” and considering he is Canadian, well this is brilliant. AJ Styles, along with Owens, are helping to elevate that U.S title and Baron Corbin gets to work with these talented main eventers in the spotlight. I found it very interesting that the Corbin/Styles match closed the show as well. There is great work being done my all three men and perhaps this is a situation that many wrestling fans will be talking about for years to come.
Number One Contender Match
So, while three of the competitors in the Six-Pack Challenge on Tuesday night have dipped their toes into main events before (I’m looking at you, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and Luke Harper), for the most part, I would consider these talents upper-mid-card; and that’s even a stretch with the way Ziggler has been booked as of late. For the most part, Erik Rowan, Mojo Rawley, and Jinder Mahal fall in the mid-card talent category … so yes, I was confused by the six-pack of it all. Why not have a four-way challenge or perhaps a triple threat? I think WWE Creative wanted the shock that came to be with the result of the match … and that is, Mahal being the eventual winner. So perhaps, the more talent in the match, the more suspense around the outcome.
As per reports, it seems that the Mahal push is related to WWE wanting to expand into India, which has a huge wrestling fan base. A WWE Shop was opened in the country recently, and they clearly want to connect with this fan demographic. I completely appreciate this idea, and it totally makes sense. I just wish Mahal’s push could’ve been a bit more transitional; it felt like he went from jobber to number one contender in a blink of an eye.
House of Horrors
Which leads me into the confusion around why a number one contender was needed in the first place? Shouldn’t the fall out of Payback and the House of Horrors match come first, before a number one contender for the WWE title is found for Backlash? While fans (myself included to be honest) may have thought that the WWE title was up for grabs at Payback, and it still may be, when I did my research (after the number one contender’s match on SD LIVE was announced) … I noticed there isn’t a mention of the WWE title being on the line for House of Horrors at Payback. Which is a shame, on so many levels. Wyatt never received a rematch from his Wrestlemania loss. As well, the character of Wyatt, and the man behind the persona, finally received a push come the Grandest Stage of Them All and is seemingly being jilted now.
WNZ fans! What were your thoughts on Tuesday night SmackDown LIVE. Were you as confused as I was? Leave your comments below!