SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Hitting at the Right Moment
The good news for this year’s Summerslam is that, unlike most big WWE shows, the main programs are all hitting their peak at the right time. Reigns/Cena, Banks/Belair, and Edge/Rollins in particular still feel fresh enough for their showdowns this weekend to feel special. Pacing is so important leading into the big shows, and Smackdown has done a better job than Raw in preparing for this moment.
Once More, Only Better
This week’s John Cena and Roman Reigns promo seemed like a redo of last week’s, only without the cute break-the-fourth-wall tactics. That said, it still feels like a major happening to have Cena and Reigns share a ring together, and the goal of this week seemed to be to add some respect back on Reigns’s name. In that regard, the promo was a success. The clunky added stipulation of Reigns leaving WWE if he loses, though, seemed like an unnecessary add-on that did more to reveal a Reigns victory than anything else.
Bianca Belair had a great night. It appears that the combination of being warmly accepted by the live crowds and the return of having Sasha Banks to play off of has done wonders for her confidence and comfort level as a live performer. Some may balk at the idea of her so succinctly defeating Carmella and Zelina, but it worked for me to position Belair as a warrior heading into Summerslam. She left off looking strong and real, two characteristics that make her the – est in so many regards.
The opening promo by Edge was certainly eye catching and attention grabbing. Does it’s seriousness match the actual feud though with Seth Rollins,? Not really. Edge clearly is enjoying the heavy, dramatic monologues, and he’s delivering well enough with them to still be classified as a ‘hit’. I loved the return of the Brood music, but probably could’ve done without the kid’s TV show style blood splatter at the end. This wasn’t eye roll inducing, though, and for the most part was a net positive for the show.
The Feud of the Families or the Feuding Family?
Was this week the most significant sign yet of a brewing issue between Rey and Dominik Mysterio or was it just frustration boiling over in their quest to retain the titles from the dastardly Usos? We’ll have to wait and see. The match between Rey and Jey Uso was an excellent one, and got the momentum for this program back on track heading into Summerslam.
WWE did not do enough with this show to take away any shine from the big moment taking place on TNT. I’m not knocking on WWE for not responding to competition in a dramatic way, but overall the show seemed to lack any real newsworthy items that even made an effort to put up a fight. Perhaps the goal was to no-sell the night away, but it read like a lazier, phone-in effort.
Butterbean in Toupee
Otis was never going to be at the Big Van Vader level of monster heel-dom, but more and more he just looks like Butterbean in a wig. That is not a compliment. I don’t see Otis being able to go any further up than he already is, and the biggest shame of it all is Chad Gable just being sidelined as a support of it.
Here is what I do not enjoy: Rick Boogs clearly not impressing in the ring, the Baron Corbin character, Kevin Owens being wasted as a side piece to the Baron Corbin character, Big E being made a joke-of for the Baron Corbin character, and Natalya unnecessarily putting herself back in the ring so soon after her surgery for a segment that was as pointless they come.