SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Smackdown this week doesn’t mess around when it comes to the feud between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. They’re so determined and intensely focused on that feud that our main event is going to be Adam Pearce against Paul Heyman and Shinsuke Nakamura is nowhere to be seen.
Smackdown opens with a recap of the previous few weeks, as per usual. I remember when people used to complain when Roman Reigns was in seven or eight segments a night, yet here we are, and it’s glorious. There is some wonderful editing, connecting segments together in a way that makes it really obvious when the WWE are using 4K cameras.
It’s a long, long recap. When you start with nothing new I have to wonder how many people have already turned it off before they’ve really started.
Roman Reigns comes down to the ring in the actual arena with Paul Heyman. Conspicuous by his absence is Jey Uso. The WWE pipes in “you suck” chants. This is vital. If there are going to be fans in attendance at WrestleMania then the WWE needs to start training them now because I’ll tell you one thing, nobody wants to boo Roman right now. He’s a legit badass and his sneaker game is on point.
Did I say it right? I promise I’m down with the kids.
There are other things making it difficult to boo Roman right now. Firstly, he’s not entirely wrong in a lot of his complaints. He has been carrying the company for years. Kevin Owens has been getting chance after chance after chance. Adam Pearce had the chance to give him some new opponents but he didn’t take that option.
Now, I’m not the biggest Roman Reigns fan in the world. Especially if you ignore the fact that I literally write a weekly column in his honor, or how I’ve been one of his biggest cheerleaders for about five years. If you just ignore that you’ll see that I’m not his biggest fan. That said, the man is in serious danger of going on the biggest face run of his career by being such a damn good heel.
The WWE have a problem on their hands, they just haven’t realized it yet.
One quick aside, though. Is a verbal agreement actually legally binding in Florida? If that’s true I technically own a small Mexican restaurant just south of Jacksonville.
We end up with a main event of Heyman vs Pearce. This can’t possibly happen. Card subject to change.
A word on Adam Pearce before we continue. His role as an authority figure has been played perfectly. A large part of that is his seeming reluctance to be in the role. Given that he’s been desperately trying to explain nonsensical storylines on Twitter far better than anyone else in WWE seems willing to do, that reluctance just seems so real.
Also in danger of accidentally going face is Sami Zayn. Literally everything he says is demonstrably correct. He’s not a conspiracy theorist; he’s woke. Again, I am so totally down with the kids.
Heyman and Reigns try to convince us all that the card won’t change in the main event in a backstage segment sandwiched pleasantly in the middle of the show. I’m not convinced. Are you convinced? I know Roman Reigns doesn’t wrestle on Smackdown but methinks this one might be a slightly different situation. Michael Cole refers to the match up as the scrap daddy vs the big daddy and I reached a hitherto unknown level of painful cringe.
Kevin Owens films a selfie video in his car hyping up their Royal Rumble match, and explaining that he isn’t allowed into the building. What Kevin Owens says is also true. At no point has Roman Reigns beaten him fairly. There has always been a Jey Uso. In future there may also be a Jimmy Uso. Owen talks about his family and his grandfathers. He has tattoos on his knuckles, meaning that whenever he throws a punch, they hit you too. I respect that ingenuity.
Our main event starts with yet another recap. Adam Pearce comes down to the ring looking ready. He’s shirtless and his wrists are taped and he’s good to go. Paul Heyman comes down with that Austin swagger, taping his fists as he does. Heyman feigns an injury, which Pearce absolutely should have seen coming. Naturally, Reigns replaces Paul Heyman.
No bell rings, so we can technically call this Roman Reigns still not wrestling on Smackdown. Pearce takes a superman punch immediately but attempts to fight back until Roman delivers a low blow and goes out into the ThunderDome. It’s at this point that help is on the way because Kevin Owens arrives to pick a fight with Roman.
As good as Smackdown has been recently, I don’t think we can debate the point that it’s been quite repetitive. We’ve ended so many shows with Owens and Reigns scrapping at ringside. We’ve started so many shows with the Roman Reigns promo.
This feud has been great but it is definitely time to move on to something new.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REIGNS-O-METER: REIGNS-O-METER #117: Roman corners himself over Royal Rumble opponent