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SmackDown In A Nutshell: What Comes After ‘Mania?

Good evening everyone! Or, happy Wednesday morning by the time this one comes across your screens. It’s essentially the conclusion of WrestleMania [1] Week, as SmackDown Live [2] marks the final night in New York City for WWE. We had a big Sunday, and a slightly disappointing Monday. We have a week to go until the Superstar Shakeup [3], so what comes after ‘Mania [4]? Or are we destined to wait for all the goodies and surprises for another week? Let’s crack open this Nutshell and find out!

Best Match of the night:

Not much greatness tonight, but that’s OK. Tonight was as much about basking in glory and celebrating and all that. That’s all well and good, and makes sense on the show after WrestleMania. That said, the main event wasn’t too bad. We got a six man match with The New Day facing off against The Bar and new buddy Drew McIntyre. It was good for what it was.

The tag title match was pretty good too…

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Worst match of the night:

The IIconics match was a throw-away…though I suppose I could give them credit for being heels and going old-school heel. Defending against a team of local enhancement talent is so like, 1980’s Saturday Morning Superstars…so there’s something to be said for that.

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Crowd Chants of the Night:


You deserved it

CM Punk


You can’t wrestle

Star of the Night

It was Kofi’s victory lap, and he capped the night off by scoring the winning pin in the main event. Giving him this spot is easy.

Spot of the Night:

The sequence where Lacey Evans snuck up on Becky Lynch and hit her with another Women’s Right. Last night was even…tonight, aside from Becky telegraphing it by having her back turned, it was all Lacey. Becky sold the punch like…well…a champ.

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Jobber of the Night:

For the most part, it has to be the Brooklyn Belles

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

But I would nominate Matt and Jeff too. Sure, they won the tag belts…but they then had to deal with Lars. So, it was a bit of give and take.

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Upset of the Night:

Nothing of note

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Drew McIntyre on SmackDown (but not RAW). Braun Strowman showed up too. Did they miss the memo that the shakeup is NEXT week?

Also, unexpected and pretty cool to see Matt and Jeff Hardy claim the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Sure, it feels a bit like a token reign before they are done, since they had never held the blue brand belts, but they deserve it.

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Botch of the night:

I have nothing here.

Noteworthy Moment:

Looks like WWE found something to do with Paige. She was shown watching the IIconics during their tag title “defense”, and she declared that she’d have a team of her own next week. Now, that could be anyone, of course. My money would be on either an NXT duo (Sky Pirates? Yes please!), or an NXT UK pairing (A team with someone plus Rhea Ripley could be quite intriguing). Having Paige as a manager is brilliant (and something I and other have mentioned before).

So, it’s like four months overdue, and a week ahead of the Superstar Shakeup, but it looks like they are sticking with their Lars plan. He showed up last night to destroy Kurt Angle. Tonight, it was Matt and Jeff Hardy.

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

And, oh yeah, Matt and Jeff are tag champs again. Eight time champs at that.

Overall lowlights:

I get that Shane is the heel…but I wasn’t a fan of what he did to Hamilton. Like, there is a point where it gets too far, and I think that was it. Without Miz there, it could have been a great chance for someone else to intervene on his behalf (EC3? Ali? Someone…anyone..)

Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Overall highlights:

Compared to RAW, this show was actually a good two hours of entertainment. Sure, we had the RAW return of Sami Zayn and a squash for Undertaker and not much else. OK, fine, we had New Day, but that felt more like “hey we want to celebrate Kofi’s win and we don’t want to wait”, and then it morphed into something else, and it brought us The Bar. But tonight? Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Paige…it just felt like a more eventful and impactful show. Granted, it felt much more like a teaser or advertisement for the Superstar Shakeup too,  but it worked. It really felt like a dramatically better show.

After the final bell:

Tonight was a much better show than Monday, but to be honest, I miss the surprises. I said it at the time, but I will say it again. With the December and February call ups, WWE killed the shows after ‘Mania. It was further hampered by All Elite, since several top flight talents that WWE had hoped to bring in went elsewhere. That said, WWE knew about those things a while ago, so they could have cooked up better surprises (or just done the shakeup this week).