SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Becky is back, and with her comes a significant amount of star power that immediately translated to Smackdown. It was an unsurprising bummer that Brock Lesnar was not present this week, but Becky instantly brought a feeling of importance to Bianca Belair, who herself looked magnificent standing opposite Lynch. This faux outrage over how Becky won the championship still doesn’t ring true to me considering how we’ve seen Becky win in the past (most notably at the Royal Rumble), and is a good starting point for the program with Belair. If it feels rushed, it’s because it is, but its also what the very shallow women’s division needs at this point.
Storytelling That Makes Sense
I enjoyed the show running story of the doubt that the Uso brothers had towards Paul Heyman and his subsequent nervousness around Roman. It is logical, fair, and it makes sense. I also like that Finn Balor is back, and with back up this time, to avenge his August treatment. Balor is the right ‘next guy’ for Reigns mostly due to both the immediate and long ago history of Balor’s relationship with the Universal Championship. Works for Me.
I liked the Happy Corbin segment! That is shocking in it’s own right, but this fast-tracked advancement of the Baron Corbin character worked because Corbin is such a natural heel. It is fair that many felt he was performing well in the down-and-out days, but he was hardly Meryl Streep out there. The new music, intro video, and outfit is tailor made for him. I wouldn’t think this is still the best place for Big E to be, but he doesn’t exactly fit anywhere else either.
Did we expect him here? No. Does it stand out even more against the backdrop of releases, AEW debuts, and rising resentment over WWE dynamics? Absolutely.
It just doesn’t seem like we are getting anywhere of significance for much of the Smackdown roster. Gable and Cesaro are so world class it’s not even funny, but continue to play background to Otis (including literally Gable’s entrance), who is a character that seems to also have a low hanging shelf life. Add in much of the women’s division, notably all of Belair’s challengers tonight, who seem to just be treading water with no real shot of having anything interesting happen to any of their characters. This leads to a pleasant enough show, but nothing all that memorable outside of the main event program.
The New Favorite Toy
It seems abundantly clear that Rick Boogs and King Nakamura are the new favorite toy of Vince McMahon, but, again, it doesn’t exactly scream of a long-ranging impactful pairing. Sure the entrance is fun enough and it is always great seeing Nakamura in an inspired way, but what is the end game here? A feud between the two where the much less impressive Boogs goes over? The focus at this point should be on adding more depth to the act rather than jamming that already-annoying entrance down the audiences’ throats.
Jury is Out
The jury is still out on the state of the Mysterio family drama, so this is only a marginal miss. Dominik has advanced fine enough and would probably grow significantly working opposite his father, but it all feels a little heavy handed to me without any one really to get behind. It feels for awkward than interesting.