Here’s my five primary takeaways from Smackdown Live last night in Birmingham, Alabama.  If you want match-by-match results or expert full commentary you’re barking up the wrong tree.  These are simply five takeaways of mine based on the show:

♦ In general I’ve liked Smackdown Live more than Raw for some time but must admit I’m starting to tire of the former’s direction of late. It feels like Smackdown’s spinning its wheels in mud.  I’m just about over Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan taking turns making unfair matches involving Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and the rising dissention between GM and commissioner. Unlike the slow burn of a Jason Jordan full heel turn I’m simply not into Shane vs. Daniel pissing contests. Wake me up when/if Bryan’s ever cleared to wrestle and they can settle their beef in the ring.  Until then, let’s get on the same page, boys—your shit’s getting old.

♦ I also, and this stretches to Raw as well have a problem with the Royal Rumble build.  Look, the Rumble is one of the elite PPV’s and doesn’t need to spend much time structuring other programs, especially when you add a Women’s rumble match.  Yet both shows and particularly Smackdown are spending an awful lot of time advancing storylines that don’t involve the rumble match(s).  This is literally the one time of year where none of that is necessary.  Make me believe Randy Orton or Shinsuke Nakamura can win the Rumble because for one PPV per year I don’t care about the Uso’s vs. Gable and Benjamin.

♦ I can’t make sense of or find a single benefit of having Breezango go over on Rusev Day.  Breezango literally never has to actually win a match while Rusev (and Aiden English) need victories to show they’re more than gimmicky advancement talent.  Then again, maybe that’s all they’re supposed to be.

♦ Heel Chad Gable is the best Chad Gable.

♦ Becky Lynch tapped out Riott Squad leader Ruby Riott. It’s pretty apparent the shine is gone from that faction.  Good, because I didn’t like the way they came on the scene in the first place.

Overall I thought for Smackdown’s standards this was an incredibly shitty show.