WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 11/12: The real king, downgrading a storm, Flair and Lynch fantasy match, more

BY NICK BARBATI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Analysis of the WWE Raw hits and misses

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Hits

The Real King

Roman Reigns wrestling on Smackdown still feels like a big deal. This was a good night for Xavier Woods, who more than held his own with Reigns, and for Smackdown reinforcing its spot as WWE’s most important show. It is really amazing how Roman elevates all around him at this point, and Xavier did not look like half of an act as he has sometimes in the past. The king schtick isn’t great, but there is a confidence that has come with it that has been good for Woods. The lack of clean finish really worked here, and the ending of Reigns with the crown was spectacular. All hail the real king of WWE.

Fantasy Match

Tell me that there is a more anticipated match in the WWE right now than Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, and I will call you a liar. Charlotte’s promo was enough to keep the mystique surrounding the match going, mostly due to the low-blow about mention Becky’s return following giving birth, but otherwise, the WWE is really depending on the backstage coverage to carry the match and allowing the fantasy of it all to carry the momentum. I, oddly enough, prefer them not giving away too much prior to the match, and it will feel more special once Becky and Charlotte share the ring together. Anyone else surprised how much Charlotte had the crowd on her side? Uh oh!

Hardy & Zayn

The dynamics between Jeff Hardy and Sami Zayn this week were great. From the first segment with Hardy’s surprise appearance on, the chemistry worked and that is in large part to Zayn’s constant commitment to his character. Their subsequent match was strong and the removal of Zayn from Survivor Series is a natural progression of the conspiracy theorist character.

Character Study

It is really striking how much WWE is doubling down on emphasizing the character of the acts these days, and it was startling in the mid-card especially with the Boogs/Nakamura, Corbin/Moss, Los Lotharios segment. It feels a bit like a by-gone era, but it is hard to argue that it doesn’t also make the wrestlers more memorable all things considered. Is it a hit? Not really, but it’s not a miss. Lotharios especially are making out better than they were on Raw and bonus points for the new Total Elimination finisher.

Misses

Shaky Start

The six-woman tag was fine enough, at times very good, but the stench of starting off the show with the entire Smackdown women’s roster looking ridiculous as they broke off into a cartoonish fight was hard to shake off. Natalya in particular looked strong, though, and everyone did their part to have the close of the match be more than serviceable but hardly memorable This run of segments did nothing to gain excitement for the Survivor Series, but it did show off some fresh possibilities for the women’s division, which isn’t so bad.

Downgrading a Storm

While I liked the Charlotte segment, what I don’t get is the Toni Storm of it all. Toni’s presence brought down the segment and did nothing for her own cause at all. Toni reads less-than in a big way and hardly is carrying with her the momentum of a great future challenger. Requesting a championship shot that you haven’t earned is one thing, but the gimmickry of her costuming is also just looking too cartoonish by half at this point. This needs a reset.

STOP

What happened to Jinder Mahal? Like really, what happened. Jinder and Shanky….no, stop, this cannot be ‘a thing’.


CATCH-UP: 11/12 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: McDonald’s “alt perspective” report on Reigns-Woods, Banks’ return, Lotharios-Boogs/Nakamura

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