It's not fair to compare Tuesday's WWE SmackDown to the stellar Raw it had to follow.
SmackDown leaned on high stakes and clear goals for its wrestlers—just as Raw did on Monday. The blue brand introduced new names and catapulted recent NXT transplants—just like Raw. But where Raw generated magical moments and a star-making debut, SmackDown was simply a strong show.
Dolph Ziggler kicked his way into a showdown with WWE world champ Dean Ambrose. Heath Slater fought for a job. Randy Orton whipped out his favorite weapon.
None of that left one with a lump in the throat like Finn Balor's and Sasha Banks' coming-out parties on Monday.
Still, SmackDown showed it's going in the right direction, too. It utilized a good mix of the old and new guard. It kept things focused. Its wrestling-to-shenanigans ratio was excellent.
The show's future looks bright. That's especially true now that WWE announced former intercontinental champion Shelton Benjamin is heading back to SmackDown.
Where did the show most thrive? Where did it stumble? And who shined in the squared circle on Tuesday night? Read on for a full recap and report card for the first SmackDown since the WWE draft.