SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Dear reader. I won’t lie to you. A criminal injustice took place on this week’s WWE Smackdown. Roman Reigns, your tribal chief and mine, was in search of a good, clean fight. A good, clean no disqualification fight. Sorry, a good, clean Last Man Standing match. Roman Reigns was trying to improve the product. He was trying to put food on some tables. He was trying to reignite the career of a potential legend.
Truly, there is no respect.
Smackdown this week opened with a recap of last week, with Nakamura getting a chance to shine all over again, before being ignored for the bigger story. We then go to Roman Reigns sitting in a comfy chair. Roman Reigns sitting in a comfy chair is a bit of a theme recently. If I had a graphics guy, I’d be memeing the hell out of that. This week’s comfy chair gets an 8 out of 10.
Paul Heyman talked over the contract provided for Roman’s match at the Royal Rumble. It sounded like filler; the sort of thing that you hear when someone’s jumped in ahead of their queue. It sounded like they were already talking when the camera started rolling. As it turned out, it’s vitally important exposition. Has Paul Heyman ever wasted a second of his life? It doesn’t feel like it.
Roman looked perturbed. He furiously explained to Paul Heyman that this was not acceptable. He said that changes needed to happen. He ranted and raved and threw things too. He does all of this telepathically, of course. Heyman got the message and moved to make changes. As usual, Paul Heyman doing paperwork will be our running thread backstage this week.
Jey Uso is first down to the ring this week. He altered his catchphrase and welcomed us all to the bloodline show. Yes, I have refused to capitalize that. We all know we’re watching The Roman Reigns Show. Jey thinks he’s a big deal. Really, he’s the sidekick to the schoolyard bully. He’s all mouth and no trousers.
Just in case, that’s a very British saying. The feminine variant is all fur coat and no knickers. And people think we’re an overly polite nation.
Jey does volunteer to beat up Oldberg. I’m not sure if they intended that face turn. He then put over Shinsuke Nakamura. Will the push continue after the gauntlet match showing last week? Let’s see, shall we?
Whoa – oh – oh – ohhh – ohhh…
Sorry, I got distracted there. Man, that song is catchy.
Nakamura is a face now. I know that because WWE’s pre-recorded audio tells me so. He’s not a really big deal though because the audio is only kind of loud. Something else is different, but I can’t put my finger on it.
Shinsuke cut a promo. That’s rare. He kicked Jey in the head and then the WWE played his music again. Things are very different indeed. Something else has changed, but I can’t put my finger on it.
Whoa – oh – oh – oh – whoa – whoa…
I’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
A couple of minutes into the match, with Nakamura in the ascendency, Cesaro arrived to back up his buddy. Commentary called them buddies, which naturally makes me suspicious. If you’re a Twitter user you’ll know that suspicious doesn’t quite do justice to the amount of suspicion present on Twitter.
In a slightly protected finish, Shinsuke Nakamura took out Jey Uso and shared a hug with his buddy Cesaro. There is definitely nothing bad coming there.
Whoa – oh – oh – oh… I’ll figure out what else has changed. It’ll come to me in the middle of the night.
Paul Heyman sold Adam Pearce on main eventing the Royal Rumble. He referred to the scrap daddy past. I like that, especially with Smackdown’s daddy standing right there between them. There was a super awkward moment with Heyman talking about Deville’s perfume. She did not seem to like it. Pearce was down with a no DQ match. Roman wasn’t so we re-run a couple of segments later in the night to make it Last Man Standing.
There is definitely one thing to keep an eye on though. Sitting in the background of one scene was Apollo Crews, the former United States Champion who hasn’t done all that much for the last few months. It sure looked like he was about to do something. Roman Reigns now has a hand in the Intercontinental Championship picture and, of course, Big E. The Big Dog has his fingers in many pies. He’s sure making a lot of enemies right before the Royal Rumble.
Our main event segment started off with some very clever camerawork. As Roman walked down towards the ring, Jey Uso and Paul Heyman were behind, slightly blurred because, let’s face it, they’re not as important as the guy in front. Sorry, The Guy in front. Nearly forgot a piece of branding there. I would never have forgiven myself.
Adam Pearce came down without any music, which is just a bit sad, isn’t it? He felt like a generic create-a-wrestler. He looked very nervous as it was a tense situation. There were less than five minutes left in the show, but Roman still killed some time demanding the chair that Adam Pearce was sitting in. It’s just top class heel work. Quietly, both men signed the contract. Roman described it as the last thing Pearce will ever sign.
Suddenly, we have a smart face and a dumb heel. Not a standard dumb heel, that’s not the Roman way, but an abruptly dumb heel. Having made every move he could, Roman believed he had Pearce cornered. In fact, Roman himself was cornered. Pearce feigned an injury and, as per all that legal jargon we were talking about earlier, he chose Kevin Owens to replace him in the match.
You can’t beat city hall, Roman. You can’t beat city hall.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REIGNS-O-METER: REIGNS-O-METER #116: Roman “chooses” his own number one contender to face at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Universal Championship