SmackDown In A Nutshell: Happy WrestleMania 40 Eve Everyone!

It's a big SmackDown in a Nutshell, and with a simple theme this week-happy WrestleMania 40 Eve everyone!

Happy WreslteMania 40 Eve
Credit: YouTubeTV, app, screenshot

It’s a big SmackDown in a Nutshell, and with a simple theme this week-happy WrestleMania 40 Eve everyone!

Read more: Discuss our WrestleMania 40 Eve SmackDown In A Nutshell in our all new Fightline forums!

I like it when we get a short and sweet theme, and that is about as short and sweet as we can get. Everyone is in Philadelphia. It is WrestleMania weekend. The set has been revealed. While I didn’t get the Superstars walking out through a massive Liberty Bell…I don’t hate it. The world is so excited for the biggest WrestleMania ever that the east coast shook today (at least twice as I write this).

Of course, tonight is barely a go home show. Sure, we will get our annual Andre the Giant battle royal, which should happen during WrestleMania itself. There are a few other matches worth watching. Perhaps we get a final curve or two. But the main focus of tonight happens after SmackDown’s final bell: our annual WWE Hall of Fame. Regardless, lots to be excited about. Happy WrestleMania 40 eve everyone…indeed!

So let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the opening night of a busy four day stretch!

It’s WrestleMania 40 Eve!

Now…onto our Nutshell!

Best Match of the night:

This was a tough one. I think I go with the main event, just because it was the easy pick. Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa didn’t have to go too long before things broke down and we had interference. But it gave fans a feel good moment, which probably means our heroes lose on Saturday…ahead of a (hopefully) great Sunday.

Happy WrestleMania 40 Eve
source: YouTubeTV, app, screenshot

Worst match of the night:

Elektra Lopez and Zelina Vega. Just not crisp early on. Elektra looked timid, Zelina looked like she was moving in slow motion. Something was off and it showed. I know both can do better, because I’ve seen both do much better. I blame this on not enough in-ring television time, which does matter, and they could use.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

No specific chants to call out, but Philly brought it and these next three nights should be hotter and hotter. If Friday was any indication, buckle up and hold on because it’s going to be a ride through Monday.

Star of the Night

I loved a lot of stuff tonight. Big win for Big Bronson Reed, hopefully he can build on that. Really thought Ricochet might pull it out, but nope, it was a final fit for the incredible big men in WWE that would make Bam Bam proud.

Beyond that, I give a nod to Andrade, he did well. I do think there’s more with that whole situation.

And though it happens AFTER…a big hat tip to Paul Heyman. Heyman brought me back to pro wrestling as a high school kid in Philly, trekking down to the corner of Swanson and Ritner every month, and I am grateful for it. I am certain his speech will be one of the best ever, and he is incredibly deserving of the induction.

Spot of the Night:

I loved the sequence of JD eliminating Ricochet, and then being quite snarky about it before eating a Tozawa super kick that sent him up, over and out. Tozawa was in another one too, as he excitedly ripped most of his shirt, only to become the middle of a Reed-Ivar sandwich.

Loved Vega locking Lopez in for Andrade’s old finisher, looking over at him and dropping Elektra. Did not get her the win, but it was nice.

Jobber of the Night:

I mean, Tozawa had a good showing, but he got squashed too.

Upset of the Night:

Santos, Dom and Elektra couldn’t be happy that their seemingly newfound friend, Andrade, didn’t stick with them long at all.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

I never thought Andrade was going to fit with the heels (even though he certainly did plenty of work as one). So while it was a short-lived thing and barely a turn-much more a swerve-I loved seeing Andrade turn against Dom and Santos.

Of course, once they confirmed Dragon Lee was out for ‘Mania (a minor bummer) having Andrade take the spot before Carlito ran in to tell him Dragon was out? I feel like there is another turn coming, to be honest. Stay tuned.

Happy WrestleMania 40 Eve
source: YouTubeTV, app, screenshot

You know those rumors of one tag team being removed from the six pack ladder match? After that post-match beating delivered to both New Catch Republic and A-Town Down Under by Judgement Day…does WWE have two surprise teams for us, instead of one? Or is it none, and they just like teasing us?

Botch of the night:

I feel like Tozawa’s elimination was a miss? Maybe. It surely looked like he landed harder than needed, which lead me to think perhaps he was supposed to be caught by Otis, but he was overthrown. Or Otis missed him. Not sure, but just a thought.

Also looked like Ricochet’s exit from the match was a little less graceful than it should have been. His one leg got caught up in the apron, and that could have been a bad thing for the high flyer.

Also, LA Knight cuts a good promo, but perhaps he should not go out there with gum again?

Commentary of the night:

Not calling anything out.

LOL Moment of the night:

How about Waller and Theory being a step too slow, chasing Owens and Orton across the parking lot between the Linc and the Wells Fargo Arena. It was our comic portion of the evening. But considering they weren’t taken out of things yet, they get to have a Happy WrestleMania 40 eve too.

Noteworthy Moment:

No usual stage for SmackDown because WWE sold that many tickets. I did not hate the setup, which was a bit like the Survivor Series entrance, was it not? I presume RAW for Monday will be the same exact setup, which would make sense. Minor bummer of no big stage/ramp/screen for the expected surprises…but it’s pretty awesome. Why awesome? Because they had so much interest they had to shrink the usual set.

I love my hometown. And my hometown loves wrestling. Always has, always will.

Overall lowlights:

I have no complaints tonight really. If I had to say one, here it goes. A lot of the eliminations we saw in the Andre battle royal were predictable. Heck, Los Lotharios looked like at least one of them eliminated themselves. But what was it, 3 tag teams where the pair went out in unison? I’d rather have seen some other singles Superstars in there. Like…where was Bron Breakker? Couldn’t sneak in anyone from NXT?

Overall highlights:

A satisfying go-home show, knowing they wanted to wrap on the early side because they had to prep things for the Hall of Fame. No real complaints, what needed to still happen happened, and now we can get into the biggest show of the year. Happy WrestleMania 40 eve indeed, because TOMORROW is night one.

After the final bell:

I think that really says it all, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s a happy WrestleMania 40 eve, the vibe is strong. There’s a buzz, for sure. And, I am not hunting out any spoilers, but I truly feel like WWE is doing a great job of masking any big surprises for the next two evenings. I can’t remember off hand, but I do feel like some Hall of Famers weren’t shown or there tonight that usually are present (no Austin, no ‘Taker), so maybe that telegraphs it…but maybe not. It’s going to be a great weekend.

Introduced to professional wrestling in the 1980’s thanks to Superstars and Saturday Night’s Main Event, John’s passion for the... More about John Deegan

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