SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Black Friday Battle Royal
This was actually a newsworthy battle royal, much more so than typical iterations of this gimmick match. From the show long story of who was going to participate to the rebellion of Drew McIntyre to Mad Cap and Corbin turning on each other, it was a very newsworthy match. The bait and switch ending to battle royals is certainly overdone, but in this case, it was a positive to save Jeff Hardy for Roman Reigns for a later date. It is also an intriguing prospect to have Sami Zayn share a moment with Reigns, even if the match doesn’t actually come to fruition. All in all, it was an interesting closing segment for a holiday show.
Adding the Intrigue
I loved the show long theme of intrigue about the state of Brock Lesnar’s suspension. In many ways, intrigue is the key ingredient that has been missing from WWE shows for years and that is a big contributor to fans not tuning in consistently. Kayla Braxton was wonderful this week and has really advanced to being such a solid supporting player to Roman and Paul Heyman. The show closing announcement of Brock’s return is the most noteworthy moment of the show and it benefitted from having the buildup to emphasize its importance.
Is it supposed to be a good thing to be called your mother’s favorite wrestler? If I were Drew McIntyre I wouldn’t think so. With that said, the Hardy/McIntyre vs. Mad Cap/Corbin match was a good one and brought quality action to a show that will feature some families that might not typically tune in due to the holiday weekend. It was the most surefire old-school WWE match on the show with some solid acts.
Here’s the good news about the women’s tag team match – it actually felt like there was a meaningful story attached to the match. That is the first time anyone has been able to say anything about the Smackdown women’s mid card in ages. Here’s another positive: Sasha Banks, Natalya and Shayna Baszler looked really good in there. No, I didn’t forget to name anyone.
Charlotte Flair discussing Becky Lynch feels like a big deal. Charlotte Flair being confronted by Toni Storms feels like a joke. And not necessarily a pie-in-the-face gag. Storm was way out of her promo league this week, and it seems impossible to envision her in this role for long. There was a lot of talk in the segment about ‘levels’. The sad part is that Storm just isn’t anywhere close to Flair’s.
I don’t know about this whole Ridge Holland experiment, and clearly WWE doesn’t know either by having him lose to the ever damaged Cesaro. There is feeling that the entire act is not main stage ready, which is overall fine, but doesn’t seem sustainable either. I assume that Sheamus will be moved up and down the Smackdown card as needed, and I can’t imagine him being saddled with Holland for long, especially during those “up” moments.
Why is it necessary to do a horribly corny holiday themed match every darn holiday show? It doesn’t make the show feel any more special or anything worth sharing with family and friends that wouldn’t otherwise watch. What a waste for Angel to begin this mess, and I’m sorry, Boogs just looks dangerous in the ring at times. Humberto, though, seems to be much more into his heel persona and there is something clicking with Los Lotharios, despite it all.