Smackdown Live! is in the books for the week. The Blue Brand of the WWE is building up towards the Royal Rumble with their brand specific storylines. We saw the first WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Cage Match as well as a special edition of The King’s Court with Jerry The King Lawler. How did the show hold up this week?
The show opened with the announcement from Shane McMahon that at the next Smackdown specific Pay Per View event Elimination Chamber, the WWE Championship will be defended by whomever the WWE Champion is at that point. A simple announcement but something the WWE has not been doing consistently as of late, promoting their events properly. We saw AJ Styles come out and complain that he would have to defend his title in the Chamber match with Shane reminding him that he may not have the title after his match with John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Verbal exchanges like this are a great way to hype a big event and showcase a character at the same time. It was a simple segment that wasn’t overdone but it made it’s point quite well.
During the show, we saw the return of Jerry The King Lawler to WWE Television with his King’s Court segment. He interviewed Dolph Ziggler. The segment was a chance for Dolph to show he’s turned heel more definitively than previous segments have allowed. It ended with him beating down Lawler in the ring for some cheap, but effective heat. This is the proper way to utilize older stars. Some performers get to the point where, try as they might, the fans will not boo them for anything. Jerry Lawler is a bona fide legend in the business. Taking a beating from Dolph Ziggler does nothing to hurt him and everything to make Dolph despised by the fans again. Another well done segment.
After Smackdown Live!, Jerry Lawler revealed on Talking Smack on the WWE Network that he will be calling the Royal Rumble match along with Michael Cole. This may be the last time he does it. When Lawler is working on all cylinders, there aren’t many that are better than him on color commentary. It will be great to hear him call a match again.
Finally, the show ended with the first ever Smackdown Women’s Championship Cage Match between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. The match ended when La Luchadora interfered, revealing herself to be none other than WWE legend Mickie James.
The writing was on the wall in regards to Mickie James when she had a phenomenal match against Asuka at NXT Takeover:Toronto. For too long the WWE has had the mindset that once you reach a certain age, generally over 35, you’re of no use to them unless you’re making them a lot of money. And while the wrestling business needs to introduce new talent on a consistent basis to maintain interest in the product, you need the established talent like Mickie James to help make the younger talent stars. To see her help guide someone as young as Alexa Bliss will do nothing but good for both of their careers.
While this wasn’t a must see episode and one that was a little light on action in the ring, what they did they did quite well. If you get a chance to check out the replay on Hulu or the WWE Network, you will definitely enjoy it.