Shane McMahon and other parts of SMACKDOWN that jump out at you

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

For a little while, I thought The Usos were in danger of getting buried.

By rights, they should have been SMACKDOWN’s biggest team after the brand split, except maybe for The Wyatts, if they had stuck with the tag division. The SMACKDOWN tag team division is very weak. I think of most of the teams as “those guys” or “those other guys.” But although The Usos had some amazing matches against The New Day before the brand split, they were suddenly shoved down into obscurity with the rest of SMACKDOWN’s tag division. At least for a little while.

During The Usos’ Tag Team Championship match against those other guys (American Alpha), the crowd started chanting “This is awesome!” It’s not super easy to get the crowd to do that, but The Usos (and actually American Alpha too,) are just very good in the ring.

I don’t know why The Usos, or more likely WWE Creative, messed with The Usos’ gimmick. During their face painting thing, they just had so much more charisma than they do now. Now they’re wearing all black with no face paint and they just don’t stand out. It’s almost like Creative told them to tone it down because they were showing up SMACKDOWN’s entire tag division.

The Women’s Division

Speaking of not standing out. I had to Google what happened with the SMACKDOWN women’s division and I still don’t remember it.

The Women’s Division had been making gains in the past few episodes of SMACKDOWN, but I just have no idea what’s going on now. Part of that is because the story lines are too convoluted (according to Google, anyway. I wasn’t even aware that they had a storyline.)

Slightly complicated storylines are fine in WWE, sometimes even genuinely complicated storylines. But only if the characters are interesting enough to keep the viewers paying attention. Alexa Bliss is mediocre. Becky Lynch is distinct enough that she could probably keep the viewers interested through whatever feuds Creative wants to do. Unfortunately, she has such a minor role now that I had to double check just to make sure she’s actually on SMACKDOWN like I thought.

Cena/Bella and Miz/Marye

SMACKDOWN will probably always have a problem with under utilizing great performers. Jack Swagger was let go when he could have been A-list. We barely even see The Ascension when they could be the guys making the tag division very interesting. But with only two hours and about three matches a week, there are going to be some great wrestlers who just plain get crowded out.

With that in mind, it’s really a shame that John Cena and Nikki Bella have to have so much screen time dedicated to them and their feuds.

The Miz and Marye dressed as Cena and Bella for some epic mockery of these two, and I loved that because it’s so accurate. I loved the parts about Bella using Cena to advance her career, which is exactly what this mixed tag thing they’re doing boils down to. It’s so obnoxious and so painful to watch these two.

But at the same time, I feel compelled to cut Cena a little slack. From what I’ve heard, he was the guy who insisted on letting Bray Wyatt pin him and that does a lot to make me look at him a little better. He also seems to be stepping out of the World Title picture, at least for now.

And judging by the way SMACKDOWN has been booking those women’s division matches and tag team matches, Cena can’t really have too much of the blame for SMACKDOWN’s failure to utilize its mid card talent.

Bray and Randy

Bray Wyatt is never alone.

It’s been established that there is an extended Wyatt Family, beyond just Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. We got a few peaks at them during the early promotions and we saw that they were lurking in the shadows during the Compound Match with The New Day.

But they came out of the shadows Tuesday, wearing the sheep masks, and grabbed Randy Orton.

I’m glad they went for the classic white sheep mask, because WWE has had a few bad ideas about changing those things. This is probably because the original mask, worn by Eric Rowan, was something he just picked up somewhere and they couldn’t copyright the pattern.

With this week and last week’s scene with Bray Wyatt rubbing ashes all over himself, some fans are saying Bray is looking legit scary right now. I’m glad to hear that, but I’m hoping for a little more. I’m hoping we get back to the days when the crowds would start spontaneously singing “Whole World In His Hands.”

It’s too bad this year’s Wrestlemania isn’t in New Orleans again.

AJ Styles and Shane McMahon

Last week, AJ Styles delivered a brutal-looking beat down to Shane McMahon. I wasn’t expecting something that savage from someone who’s name isn’t Samoa Joe.

It’s another example of just how well rounded Styles is. Although he’s a heel and a jerk, he’s always wrestled with finesse when I’ve seen him. (Although I don’t follow other wrestling leagues the way some bloggers do.)

I didn’t imagine Styles could look like a flat out bruiser, just man handling some guy and running his head through a car window, but he did it and he looked legit.

I love Styles’ acting skills too. He’s great on the mic and I love how he played up his anxiety as he forced himself out to the ring to confront Shane McMahon.

And Shane McMahon, for his part, can do things that no other wrestler can do. It’s not just being crazy enough to jump off the top of Hell in a Cell, it’s the distance he can make in his jumps. During his match against Vince McMahon so many years ago, he jumped from the top rope to drop kick Vince, who was leaning up against the turnbuckles on the other side of the ring. Judging from the distance he jumped to drive Styles through the announce tables, he can probably still do that.