The WWE either needs to go to a live version of Smackdown, or they need to cool it on social media, because having all three members of 3MB on last night’s episode was a major hiccup in continuity.
They released 11 members of their roster during this year’s entry of annual roster cuts, including Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre of 3MB. WWE announced this on Twitter this Thursday during the process of making all the cuts. While many fans know that Smackdown is taped on Tuesdays, there are still plenty who believe Smackdown happens on Friday because the announcers and wrestlers say so during the program. If they’re going to publicly announce cuts on Thursday — on a forum like Twitter no less — don’t feature wrestlers that fans know are no longer with the company; it shows laziness on the part of WWE, even if it’s meant to allow those entertainers to have one last appearance on TV.
Moving onto the memorable events of the night: Roman Reigns vs. Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt. The Shield — Dean and Roman — opened the show, with Dean threatening to end the existence of Seth Rollins, while Roman called out an absent Randy Orton, setting up the next feuds for them. They were soon interrupted by Triple H, who notified the duo that only two spots remain (curious, considering there were seven spots initially and now there are six) for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Money In The Bank (MITB) Ladder Match. Triple H flipped a coin and informed the two remaining members of The Shield that Dean would be facing Bray Wyatt later in the night for the chance to be in the PPV match, and followed that immediately by saying Roman had a match against Bad News Barrett.
Those two matches were a revelation of what the WWE will look like down the road, with all four contenders shaping up to be breakout superstars and proving capable of changing the way we see things. The product is already forming into a much more serious, often non-PG, version, much like the days of the Attitude Era. Now, I wouldn’t actually go so far as to say that we’re returning to those days, because the risk of turning away investors is too dangerous to go down that path. But it’s obvious they’re willing to toe the line a little here and there, using much more violence than in recent years and foul language showing its head more frequently, even by the likes of the undisputed face of the company, John Cena.
Reigns vs. BNB was a glimpse into what Reigns’ singles career could be. The action was hard hitting, tensions ran high, but more importantly, they both sold the back and forth of a battle between brutes. Reigns needs to tighten up his skills a little more, although wrestlers like BNB are capable of making him look great while looking like top level talent themselves. After seeming down and out, beaten by Barrett for half the match, Reigns broke out and dominated until 3MB made their way down to the ring, interrupting the match and attacking Reigns. Roman was outnumbered, but not outgunned, and finally managed to break out and finish off the intruders with incredible spears to Drew and Heath Slater.
The main event was Dean vs. Bray for one of the two final spots in the MITB match. This was an extremely satisfying match, with two master manipulators going toe-to-toe for a shot at the most important and powerful title in the business. Going into this, it was obvious that Bray would walk out victorious, but the show these two put on made up for any disappointment in knowing Dean wouldn’t win. Bray needed this win; he needs to be in the hunt for the belt to give him that next step in his career instead of flaming out after a feud with Cena. Meanwhile, Ambrose has benefited from the absence of Rollins in the team, and he’s been able to fully show off his vocal chops and develop the rivalry even further. He doesn’t need the gold, yet.
These four and many others are molding how we enjoy the WWE. I, for one, am looking forward to how things take shape.