SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This three-segment stretch of opening on Smackdown spotlighting the universal championship Crown Jewel match fall-out was absolutely electric. This felt like an enormously important happening with Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, and especially Brock Lesnar being incredible in their roles to advance their program and still work within the expected confines of Lesnar’s agreement. Bonus points to Adam Pearce for being pitch perfect in his role.
Drew McIntyre received a nice first day on the job at Smackdown by being paired with the ever-excellent Sami Zayn. McIntyre has a long way to go to regain lost connection with the audience, but Zayn is the right person to keep someone like Drew from being booed and get settling into his new home off to a good start.
I loved the Hit Row debut. Everything about it felt fresh and cool and young – exactly what WWE needs. This is a star act in the making and this squash was all that was needed to get the act on the audience’s radar moving forward. B-Fab in particular is magnetic with a clearly bursting-bright future.
Fit for a King
The best part of the coronation of King Xavier Woods was that it was not interrupted. The ‘king’ act is corny and overplayed, but it obviously means a lot to Woods and it is always nice to see a solo member of a group get their kudos. The support from the rest of the New Day when the individuals find success is so genuine and wonderful that it will mean so much if the dynamic ever goes sideways. I’m sure this is a career high for the new king, and that always a great thing to see in WWE.
The Start of Flair/Steamboat 2.0
The seeds of Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks – whom Flair has referred to as her ‘Steamboat’- being sewn is an amazing prospect for the WWE product. The chemistry between the two is tangible and it feels like enough time has gone by where this feels like a major happening. Flair feels like an incredible fit for Smackdown which itself is ironic since her previous trip to the blue brand in a previous draft severely damaged here momentum at the time.
The Era of Old
How quickly things that felt new can begin to feel old. Happy Corbin and Nakamura (with Rick Boogs) already feel played out compared to all of the fresh new happenings on Smackdown. This was not a disaster segment by any stretch of the imagination but it was in general the least interesting and felt like more of the same in a aggressively evolving world.
The title swap was sloppy. In this case, the swap was appropriate since the championships are brand specific, so the argument against that seems odd. It was the performances for Becky and Charlotte that were clunky and didn’t do much at all to actually show importance on the championships. Ego is an ugly thing to watch when it comes into play.