SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Head of the Brand
Roman Reigns is not just the head of the table, as he proclaims. Roman is also the head of the entire Smackdown brand and is proving weekly that he is the factor that determines the quality of the overall show depending on how much he is used. This week’s Smackdown was the worst in recent memory and also featured the least amount of Roman Reigns in months. Coincidence? Still, Roman maximized his time to great effect, particularly in the vicious beat down backstage on Kevin Owens. It’s like he has been teleported in from another universe where the writing is great, but unfortunately the table he feeds is a small one that he deserves.
I liked the positioning of the Sasha Banks and Carmella showdown as the main event, even if it was unnecessarily spontaneous. The work itself was stronger than I expected due in large part to a great effort by Sasha, but Carmella, for her part, held her own and managed to make some of her signature spots look especially devastating on her flexible opponent. All that effort, though, was undermined by a terrible opening segment introducing the match and an even cornier end to the match.
This show was off the rails from the moment Sasha Banks entered the ring and the acoustics were completely out of wack. It was an omen for a poorly written and, in many cases, poorly performed show from beginning to end. Roman Reigns can only do so much to make up for all of the weakness surround him, and on most recent weeks he has been able to with his immediate support cast. This week, though, the check came due. Smackdown has some built in goodwill from the past few months that a quick turn around is possible, but this show couldn’t have come at a worse time with the channel move to FS1 next week and the holidays to follow.
•Raining Cups of Disappointment
The moment when the burst of blue Solo cups shot off mid-match before a commercial break was perfectly indicative of the mismanagement of what should be a quality tag team rivalry. As hard as Montez Ford and Dolph Ziggler might’ve worked last night, the match quality was the least memorable element of their segments thanks to especially poor writing and scenery chewing acting. And since when is Robert Roode the “big guy” when he is the second smallest man ringside?
•A Sad Start
The opening segment of the show was so patently ridiculous that there is little to say other than that Sasha looked like the biggest star in wrestling for the moment of her entrance. After that, the entire segment collapsed. From the lame missing contract to the microphone issues and out of sync dialog to the straight-to-dvd acting of Banks and Adam Pearce, there was absolutely zero redeemable element involved here. Sasha, in particular, has a lot of people rooting for her to succeed right now. This is not a time to waste that support on unnecessarily bad segments.
Tell me exactly how losing to Sami Zayn by getting stuck crawling under the ring for too long helps get Big E to the main event scene. And what is that music and the one-foot-in approach to the New Day days? There is nothing about Big E’s character that I like these days especially the split legged rope gyration that is neither intimidating or impressive. It is just downright obnoxious and that is not a word I’d like to describe a rising star. Looking at Kevin Owens it is obvious that WWE has no problem quickly repositioning an act right now, but this would be a stretch far bigger than that corner split.
•The Rest of the Worst
Kevin Owens’s rambling wanna-be-Foley tribute to the hardcore promo. The pointless women’s tag team match. The Knights of the Lone Wolf aka the Go-Away-Heat-Commission. It was all bad.