A simple theme for this SmackDown In A Nutshell – It’s a big night before Backlash, and the show’s 1st appearance in Puerto Rico.
Honestly, the fans outside of the United States just bring a special something.
And yes, I know Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. For this discussion, I am referring to the 50 states where RAW and SmackDown are predominantly airing from.
When we get any of those shows from abroad-like the UK tours, and now Puerto Rico-it just hits different.
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Considering how rich the wrestling history of Puerto Rico is…it’s amazing it took us this long to get big WWE shows back to the island.
As for what we can expect? It’s the go-home show, the big night before Backlash.
Final hype will be all over the place.
On top of that, for a good number of Superstars, this will be their last appearance on the blue brand for a while.
After this weekend, the draft-based rosters kick in. Until they are no longer useful…not that we’ve ever seen that…
But for now, we have a big night before Backlash to enjoy, and enjoy it we shall.
Buckle up, it is time for…
Big Night Before Backlash: SmackDown In A Nutshell
Let’s crack open this Nutshell and dive in!
Best Match of the night:
Hard to call this one. The main event mixed tag was good, but the post-match action made it.
Otherwise, I think I am going Nakamura and Kross here.
Worst match of the night:
Imperium versus The Street Profits.
Why? Because it was really, really short.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
No chants worth singling out, because if I tried to, I would use a lot of words.
Seriously amazing crowd. The big night before Backlash sounded awesome on television, I can only imagine how awesome it was in person.
Star of the Night
The crowd, absolutely. I mean, sure there were Superstars worthy too, I will get to that…but the crowd was amazing all night long.
For certain we will hear about this weekend doing big gates.
I am sure we won’t see shows here multiple times a year, but there are definitely markets that WWE should get to more than once every decade for shows like RAW and SmackDown.
Atmospheres like this is why WWE needs to do better.
Wrestler-wise…how about Cody? Heck of a strong promo, and he delivered part in Spanish too.
Some forget he’s got some PR in him too…
Also nice nuance with the Bloodline. Tomorrow could be really big…or not.
Spot of the Night:
Priest and Bad Bunny doing a staredown before the show went off air.
This reminded me of what we had with GUNTHER and I believe Sheamus not long ago…where they just stared down while chaos was around them.
Now, for this one, Priest was in the ring and Bunny was not yet…but the LWO and Judgement Day were brawling around Priest, and he just stood there.
To me, that’s really slick to see. When done right and well, and tonight it was.
Jobber of the Night:
I have to think this was Dom tonight, because as the show closed, Bad Bunny wanted to swing the cane at Damien Priest.
Dom made the save and took the swings.
Upset of the Night:
Nope, not tonight.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Honestly, I don’t have one from the action.
I do have one, though.
As I said elsewhere…given how insanely awesome the fans were, and I am sure they will be on Saturday too…it’s almost criminal that WWE does not run big shows like this in Puerto Rico more often.
Botch of the night:
Can I call the championship tournament a botch?
I think I can. It’s my column, so I am going to.
You literally JUST concluded a brand-splitting draft on MONDAY.
Triple H revealed this title to live on whichever show didn’t get Roman.
So…let the Superstars from that brand, and that brand only, battle for it…no?
Otherwise, have this happen before the draft, and have each brand pick it’s top champion.
LOL Moment of the night:
Cameron Grimes backstage with Baron Corbin. I laughed because we had one guy who wasn’t drafted, busting the chops of the guy drafted last.
In all seriousness, Corbin should be a really good first opponent for Grimes. Even if the two have had similar million dollar gimmicks of late.
This was not from the show itself, but rather it was announced prior to SmackDown.
So, remember that draft we just had? There is a chance, I guess, that we could have a SmackDown Superstar win the tournament and become the first World Heavyweight Champion.
But, if that happens, would they then become a RAW Superstar, since Triple H said it would live on the brand without Roman?
Or could a winner from SmackDown resist that?
I assume the winner will land on RAW, but aside from filling television for both shows, this is a bit weird to me. Honestly figured it would be a RAW only tournament, and now it’s only half RAW.
The tournament. I will not let that one go quietly, I am sorry.
Otherwise…I really can’t complain. It truly was a big night before Backlash.
Amazing show, not necessarily because of great matches or spots, but because of the atmosphere.
The Puerto Rican crowd was en fuego from bell to bell, making this really feel like a big night before Backlash.
And, if the crowd was this amped for SmackDown…Saturday is going to be crazy good.
After the final bell:
Lots of good final hype, lots of good enough action. Crowd was hot, Superstars were loving it.
It was a big night before Backlash, and an electric one.
Nothing left to do but sit back, relax, and wait for Backlash on Saturday.