SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair program is hitting its crescendo at just the right time ahead of Extreme Rules. There was nothing especially noteworthy this week, outside of the of the KOD to Lynch, but it is all just enough to have allowed the big match on Sunday to still feel special. Especially good was Lynch’s backstage promo. For as odd as the Lynch heel turn has been in the grand scheme of things, it really has worked out nicely for both Lynch and Belair.
First things, first, the ending with the conquering Demon King was fabulously produced and performed. This feels like the real threat to Roman Reigns that we have seen and it feels tangibly exciting. I don’t love the increased frequency of seeing Roman wrestling on Smackdown and Raw. Certainly there is a feeling of needing major happenings on the shows, and Reigns is always a major happening. The pairing with Montez Ford was a good, fresh one to show Reigns’ dominance yet still give a new visual. Ford’s awkward moment and the table botch were unfortunate but the joke from Pat McAfee about his fat ass dancing causing it was an ace recovery.
Happy (for) Corbin
The Happy Corbin character is working and Corbin really nailed the in-ring promo. Kevin Owens is an excellent counterpoint to start the Corbin off against and Riddick Moss being paired with Mr. Happy appears to be the latest in the seemingly random duos that exist on Smackdown. Some of those are turning out quite well (look under Nakamura, King & Boogs, Rick), and here’s hoping this works too.
King Nakamura vs. Apollo Crews sounds pretty standard fair for Smackdown, but the duo put on a very good, crowd pleasing match that felt highly energized. Amazingly, this crowd connection is still linked to the addition of Boogs and Pat McAfee’s spirited call. The intercontinental division of Smackdown hardly is known for it’s richly coordinated storylines, but the work remains worthy of the time that’s dedicated week-in, week-out.
Edge and Seth Ultimatum
The prospect of Edge and Seth Rollins still is more interesting for me than the reality of it, but Rollins’s ultimatum promo tonight was compelling enough to keep the audience. It seems apparent that both acts could use a major facelift, and the big match at MSG should’ve been enough, in theory, to have fast tracked either a double turn or just shifts in character. That has not happened yet, but the hope is still there.
Listen, I’m all for more depth to the women’s division. In fact, it’s something I’ve been championing for a very long time. With that said, the mid-card storyline of the Smackdown’s women’s division featuring Carmella, Liv Morgan and Zelina Vega is jarringly weak. The matches this week between Vega and Morgan and then Nikki and Natalya were in a battle for what felt like the least important component on the show, and that helps absolutely no one.
Don’t Make the Match
Wait who is the heel here? Am I the only one rooting for Sonya after that annoying-beyond-words segment with Naomi? Don’t make the match. Please.