The final episode of SmackDown is in the books, and as always, it’s time for another edition of Sportskeeda’s best and worst. The men and women of the blue brand brought their A-game tonight as the show featured some big moments.
WWE is busy setting the stage for Hell in a Cell, with some ongoing storylines witnessing a few twists. While there were several positives, SmackDown also had some negatives.
On that note, let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t on the May 20 episode of SmackDown:
#3. Best: The Main Tag Team Title Unification Event
This week’s SmackDown had a premium live event feel with the title unification match headlining. The Usos made history by unifying the RAW and SmackDown Tag titles by defeating RK-Bro.
Although the match was satisfying, booking made it even better as it was sensible from multiple angles. For starters, The Usos needed to win to add to Bloodline’s unbeatable aura. The Samoan faction looked phenomenal while celebrating with six belts after the SmackDown main event.
WWE made all the right decisions while focusing on the immediate future of The Bloodline and RK-Bro. In addition to The Usos’ victory, WWE also smartly planted the seeds for the rise of a promising challenger for Roman Reigns.
The Tribal Leader interfered in the match and pushed Riddle off the top rope before Jey’s Frog Splash match winner. The angle seemed to set up Riddle against Reigns for Money in the Bank, which looks like a potential show stealer.
Watch: Paul Heyman on Roman Reigns’ next possible opponent, The Usos, The Bloodline domination and more
#2. Worst: Butch vs. Xavier Woods
While we love watching Xavier Woods and Butch play, it gets tedious to watch the exact match on repeat for weeks on end.
New Day’s feud with Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch has been going on for ages. To make matters worse, WWE also has no plans to pull the angle, as this was Woods and Butch’s third singles match on SmackDown since the first week of April.
It looks like the WWE writers are running out of storyline ideas while the fans are running out of patience. This is not beneficial for the talents involved as they do not get favorable reactions. The company is working on a six-man tag team match, and hopefully that will mark the end of this unnecessarily long story.
#2. Best: Gunther’s Debut vs. Ricochet
As seen on SmackDown, Gunther got past Drew Gulak and unleashed a post-match attack following his win. Ricochet took on the former NXT UK Champion and effectively kicked off their feud.
WWE rarely gets it right with any of its secondary titles. To the promotion’s credit, the officials are heading in the ideal direction with the Intercontinental Championship. Stylistically, Gunther vs. Ricochet is a true dream match.
Ricochet needs strong opponents to get fans talking about his reign. A storyline with Gunther is fresh and could possibly spawn some classic matches between the superstars. The One and Only’s unparalleled aerial prowess is a perfect match for Gunther’s hard-hitting offense, and we can’t wait to see them produce magic at a high-profile WWE event.
The whole angle could get even more interesting if Gunther wins the championship. You can learn why the decision might be “best for business” here.
#1. Best/Worst: LA Knight makes his SmackDown debut as Max Dupri
It’s getting hard to keep track of Shaun Ricker’s names in the ring!
IMPACT Wrestling fans knew him as Eli Drake. NXT viewers have come to love him as the LA Knight. WWE’s main roster audience has now been introduced to its new avatar, Max Dupri.
Almost every talent in NXT goes through a name change before they’re called up, and that’s the main reason LA Knight/Max Dupri’s debut also seems a bit odd. On SmackDown, he was unveiled as the CEO of “Maximum Male Models”, meaning he will most likely be a manager.
However, the man behind the gimmick is a gifted performer both inside and outside the ring. The 39-year-old surprisingly overcame a comedic name as LA Knight in NXT. We’re pretty confident that Max Dupri is still a more palatable alternative, and he’ll have no problem making the most of what’s given to him.
The former IMPACT Wrestling World Champion has been waiting a long time to join WWE’s main roster, and despite the odd presentation, Max Dupri could become a popular name among SmackDown fans.
Is Roman Reigns vs The Rock likely to happen? We asked Paul Heyman himself here.