The latest SmackDown episode is in the books, and as always, it’s time for another edition of Sportskeeda’s best and worst. The men and women on the blue brand brought their A-game tonight as the show featured some big moments.
WWE is busy setting the stage for Hell in a Cell, with certain ongoing storylines witnessing a few twists. While there were several positive takeaways, SmackDown also had some downfalls.
On that note, let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t from the May 20th episode of SmackDown:
#3. Best: The tag team
This week’s SmackDown had a premium live event feel with the title unification match as the headliner. The Usos created history by unifying the RAW and SmackDown Tag Titles by defeating RK-Bro.
While the match was satisfactory, the booking made it even better as it was sensible from multiple perspectives. For starters, The Usos had to win to add to Bloodline’s unbeatable aura. The Samoan faction looked phenomenal while celebrating with six belts after the SmackDown main event.
WWE made all the right decisions while focusing on the immediate futures of The Bloodline and RK-Bro. In addition to The Usos’ victory, WWE also smartly planted the seeds for the rise of a promising challenger for Roman Reigns.
The Tribal Chief interfered in the match and shoved Riddle off the top rope before Jey’s match-winning Frog Splash. The angle seemed to set up Riddle vs. Reigns for Money in the Bank, which sounds like a potential show-stealer.
#2. Worst: Butch vs. Xavier Woods
While we enjoy watching Xavier Woods and Butch perform, it’s getting tiresome to watch the exact match on repeat for weeks.
New Day’s feud with Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch has been going on for an eternity. To make matters worse, WWE isn’t planning on pulling the plug on the angle either, as this was Woods and Butch’s third singles match on SmackDown since the first week of April.
It seems that WWE writers are running out of ideas for the storyline while fans are out of patience. It’s not beneficial for the talent involved as they aren’t getting favorable reactions. The company is working towards a six-man tag team match, and we hope it marks the end of this unnecessarily long story.
#2. Best: The beginning of Gunther vs. Ricochet
As seen on SmackDown, Gunther steamrolled past Drew Gulak and unleashed a post-match attack after his win. Ricochet confronted the former NXT UK Champion and effectively kicked off their feud.
WWE seldom gets things right with one of its secondary titles. To the promotion’s credit, the officials are heading in the ideal direction with the Intercontinental Championship. From a stylistic standpoint, Gunther vs. Ricochet is a bonafide dream match.
Ricochet requires strong opponents for the fans to talk about his reign. A storyline with Gunther is fresh and could possibly spawn some classic matches between the superstars. The One and Only’s unmatched aerial prowess is a perfect match for Gunther’s hard-hitting offense, and we can’t wait to see them produce magic at a high-profile WWE event.
The whole angle could get even more interesting if Gunther captures the championship. You can learn why the decision could be “best for business” right here.
#1. Best/Worst: LA Knight debuts on SmackDown as Max Dupri
It’s getting difficult to keep track of Shaun Ricker’s in-ring names!
IMPACT Wrestling fans knew him as Eli Drake. NXT viewers grew to love him as LA Knight. WWE’s main roster audience has now been introduced to his new avatar, Max Dupri.
Almost every NXT talent undergoes a name change before their call-up, and that’s the biggest reason LA Knight/Max Dupri’s debut also feels a little odd. On SmackDown, he was unveiled as the CEO of “Maximum Male Models,” which means that he will most likely be a manager.
However, the man behind the gimmick is a gifted performer both in and outside the ring. The 39-year-old astonishingly got over with a comical name like LA Knight in NXT. We’re pretty confident that Max Dupri is still a more acceptable alternative, and he won’t have any problems making the best of what’s given to him.
The former IMPACT Wrestling World Champion has waited a long time to get to the WWE main roster, and despite the strange presentation, Max Dupri could become a popular name among SmackDown fans.
Is Roman Reigns vs. The Rock likely to happen? We asked Paul Heyman himself here.