A split roster of WWE Superstars limited the number of winners and losers from the February 11 episode of SmackDown, but that was far from an indicator of the quality of the broadcast.
The night's biggest winner, Chris Jericho, kicked the broadcast off with a strong promo, then proceeded to team with AJ Styles to defeat The Social Outcasts' Adam Rose and Curtis Axel. If that was not enough, he returned later in the night and dealt Styles his first loss in a WWE ring.
Undeniably the biggest star on the card, he carried Thursday's show in a way few can, making up for the lack of big names with his work rate in the ring and on the mic.
At a time when some will openly question whether he is still the performer he used to be, he silenced his critics with a night of action that sent fans home happy and ignited further interest in the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Era great as WrestleMania 32 approaches.
A tag team that dominated the same era in which Jericho excelled also made headlines, earning the other winner's spot on this week's show while a dynamic Diva suffered from questionable booking en route to the loser title.
Winners: The Dudley Boyz
Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley shocked the wrestling world Monday night on Raw, turning heel and leaving The Usos lying in a heap after putting them through tables. It was a necessary change that could very well heat the brothers from different mothers up in the coming weeks and months.
With a WWE Home Video titled Straight Outta Dudleyville: The Legacy of the Dudley Boyz to be released later this year, it is the perfect time to drum up interest in the veteran performers.
If Thursday's SmackDown was any indicator, the team is going all-in with the heel turn.
First voicing their frustration with all the publication that Daniel Bryan has received since his retirement Monday night, they turned their attention to the tables that fans love seeing them utilize so much. What is the best way to infuriate the WWE Universe? To get rid of the tables, which they did, ordering the stagehands to remove the wooden objects from the ringside area.
Then, to really hammer home the point, they walked the last table up the ramp to a chorus of boos.
It was a brilliant bit of booking in that the team has desperately needed change for quite some time now. The duo had essentially become caricatures of themselves, two 40-something grown men who had not figured out that their heydays were far behind them.
This will force originality from them and WWE Creative and, in the process, help reinvigorate the team and get the very best from the two veterans, which fans have not been privy to since their return last August.
Plus, heel Bubba Ray is awesome, as he proved countless times during his last TNA singles run.
How far has the former Funkadactyl fallen since the Divas Revolution took over WWE and shuffled her to the background? Thursday night on SmackDown, she lost a match to Sasha Banks. While that is not a bad thing by any means, especially when taking into consideration how outstanding The Boss has been, it becomes a problem when one takes into consideration that bookers chose Tamina over her to pick up the win for Team B.A.D. this past Monday night on Raw, pinning Becky Lynch.
Naomi looked good while controlling the majority of her bout with Banks, working over her smaller opponent with a modified camel clutch, but ultimately fell short of victory one more time, as she tapped furiously to the Bank Statement.
There was a time eight months ago when Naomi was the lead heel in the Divas division. It appeared as though she was on her way to a run with the Divas Championship, but then Banks, Lynch and Charlotte were called up to the main roster and her brief flirtation with the spotlight was put on hold.
And by the time she was bumping around the ring for Brie Bella and Alicia Fox, dropping matches to the B-level Divas on the roster, it became clear that any sustained push she once dreamed of was no longer feasible.
Where that leaves her going forward is a mystery, but when she is doing the jobs for Team B.A.D. instead of Tamina, her prospects are not exactly promising.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!