SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Walls Closing In
It is really great TV to see the walls surrounding Roman Reigns begin to close in as various challengers and threats all arise and break out of the cycle of line-them-up-take-them-down that Reigns has been in for the past year. It feels entirely possible that Finn Balor, Brock Lesnar, or even Big E could take down the Head of the Table and that makes for a much more compelling main event storyline. This week featured Paul Heyman at his masterful best and a very well produced promo from Balor that added significantly to the impressive aura surrounding the top tier storylines.
The Man,The Key, and the Mayor
The Man was great. The Key was not. The Mayor was. I’m really enjoying the current Becky Lynch heel character and she seems to be having an exceptionally fun time with it and increasingly so as weeks go by. Bianca Belair’s star power is at its highest point right now opposite Lynch, and at this point, the Extreme Rules match is one of the most interesting on it’s card. We’ve come a long way from Summerslam night in a good way.
The mixture of the opening segment featuring Roman Reigns and the Blood Line, Big E and Finn Balor transitioning into a very good tag match felt big enough to be a great start to carry over from the excellent Madison Square Garden show. The world of Roman Reigns is the best element of any American wrestling show and the support cast around the character is the best it’s been yet. Minus Lesnar, the near-full ensemble here was great.
New Title, Same Weakness
You would never know that Big E just had a monumental, career defining win this week with how he was booked on Smackdown. I don’t know of anyone that isn’t happy for Big E, the man, for winning his championship. His character, though, is completely kneecapped anytime any form of progress is taken. “You deserve it” isn’t enough. There was no reason for Big E to be beat down so decisively by the Usos backstage with no help and no ability to fight back. New champion. Same disappointment.
Same Old Silver Seth
The follow up to the big Seth Rollins and Edge match from last week was a major disappointment. It feels so ridiculous to act like the way Seth beat down Edge was all that much more violent than any other typical wrestler beatdown that would include weapons. There was also a near abandonment of the mildly compelling self discovery that Rollins appeared to be on, and we were back to the lame suits and overlong promo. A big miss.
The mid-card of Smackdown is just feeling really tired. From Boogs and Nakamura to Crews and Azeez and even the Mysterio’s, it is all just feeling like daytime soap operas where there is very rare, drawn out developments that make every week feel like they’re the same.
By a Nose
The Smackdown women’s division, outside of the Lynch/Belair program, is a disaster. The Carmella nose bit was the epitome of stupid, and why exactly do we need to see Carmella and Liv Morgan at Extreme Rules? This was all odd and not at all interesting in it’s randomness.