News SmackDown recap & reactions: Catalyst

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I think it’s fair to be a bit critical of Bayley’s championship reign on SmackDown, especially in the past month or two. It just hasn’t brought anything new to the show at a time when SmackDown really needs new things. Her heel turn character development fell by the wayside as well as she and Banks basically just turned into Mean Girls to bully Lacey Evans for a while.

Now, we’re actually getting something. Carmella was on a Moment of Bliss to open the show, but was quickly interrupted by Bayley who told all three - Carmella, Bliss, and Nikki Cross - off by saying she’s better than them and the role model of this division. She even pointed to that one match in the summer where she beat Cross and Bliss in a handicap to prove her superiority. Look at that long-term continuity.

What I like about this is that her words are actually ticking off a locker room that disappeared for months. Carmella’s actually stepping up to the occasion, and it gave us a fun title match to open the show.

But you all know the real catalyst for this resurgent women’s division, right? It’s Naomi. Her return at the Royal Rumble got this division rolling, and credit to WWE for setting up her title shot quickly and efficiently. Bayley cheated to defeat Carmella and attacked her challenger after the bell when Naomi came out to make the save. It was revealed pretty quickly that Naomi and Carmella will fight next week for the right to face Bayley in Saudi Arabia; and if WWE does what it feels like they should do, Naomi will be winning that match.

I think Naomi’s return has done a lot for this division, and especially Bayley’s title reign. Hopefully, we get a story that continues to elevate the division.


Sami Zayn is so good

This guy hasn’t wrestled in what feels like a decade, but he does so well when he’s given time to get a crowd to react and invest in what he’s doing.

On this show, he was staging a protest for god knows what reason, and it featured him holding a ukulele - which is the most Sami Zayn instrument of all time, isn’t it? - and Cesaro with a cowbell. Elias interrupted them before they could start playing, but Zayn invited him to the ring anyway to hear their protest. This led to Cesaro banging the cowbell and dancing like Will Ferrell, only for Zayn to stop him and demand less cowbell.

That’s brilliant, right there. The crowd chanted for more cowbell, and Cesaro had a great move in faking like he’d start playing before throwing it out of the ring.

This led way to the heels beating up Elias, Braun Strowman making the save and sending Zayn scurrying away, and Strowman launching one of Zayn’s security guys to outer space. His team can’t win a match to save its life, but Zayn sure is good at this wrestling thing.


The Rest

I’m here for Bray patronizing the hell out of Hogan -
I have absolutely no interest in seeing Hulk Hogan on television, but if he’s got to be on the show, making fun of him is about as good as it’ll get.

That’s exactly what happened on this show. Hogan was giving an interview about the nWo being in the Hall of Fame class and Wyatt interrupted in the Fun House to basically mock all of Hogan’s signature moves/phrases. Hogan tried to swing that into talking about Goldberg, but who cares, honestly; it’s just funnier to see Hogan get laughed at and him to essentially go, “grrrr I’ll see you at the Hall of Fame!”

Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan def. John Morrison, The Miz - All you really need to know about this one is that Baron Corbin stood tall in the end because it’s Baron Corbin and god has forsaken us.

Fun match, otherwise.

Otis’ date doesn’t go well - Poor guy was all dressed up in a sleeveless blazer and combing his beard, only to see Dolph Ziggler beat him to the date. Instead of confronting Ziggler, however, he dejectedly dropped his bouquet of roses and walked away.

Poor guy!

Sheamus def. Apollo Crews and Chad Gable - I just don’t get anything about this feud. Where’s it going? What’s the point? Why does it feel like the exact same thing every week?


This was one of the better SmackDown episodes in recent memory. I still wouldn’t call anything on this episode must-see, but it was a solid time if you had DVR at the ready.

Grade: B-

Your turn.

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