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10/29/21 Smackdown Rundown: Who's the Big Bad Wolf?

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Reverse Hipster's What Mattered

4. Drew vs. Ali

Drew defeated Ali with a kimura lock after Ali answered his open challenge. I thought this match was decent. Ali is moving on from Mansoor and got to wrestle Drew. Plus, he clearly has a new creative direction. I thought Drew sold pretty well for Ali. Drew and Ali had a competitive match until the very end. I'm glad WWE didn't just squash Ali because that wouldn't have been entertaining. Drew was still able to build momentum and look strong in a competitive match.

3. Shayna vs. Naomi

Shayna and Naomi faced off with special guest referee Sonya Deville calling the match. Shayna won the match with a quick count. Naomi slipped on the ropes, but recovered like a pro. I think this match keeps the feud between Sonya and Naomi hot. Sympathy for Naomi is at an all-time high, and I think the people are craving an actual confrontation between the two.

2. King Xavier

King Xavier knighted Kofi and defeated the Usos in a tag team match after they interrupted his royal ceremony. I like that Xavier is building out the lore of his reign, bringing in Kofi as his right hand and giving him a title. I think those unicorn pendants will sell like crazy. However, Xavier definitely needed an opponent, an adversary to focus his creative energy. So, I'm glad the Usos came out and challenged him. The Usos vs. the New Day is always going to be good. The New Day beat the Usos, so maybe we could have new royal champions next week.

1. Shotzi Blackheart

Sasha Banks stepped up to challenge Charlotte for the title. Charlotte denied Banks's challenge because she says she always beats her. However, I think Charlotte was just scared because Sasha always ends Charlotte's title reigns on TV. Nevertheless, Shotzi came out and challenged Charlotte, and Charlotte accepted. They had a few hiccups in the match, but overall it was entertaining. Shotzi looked good and controlled most of the match. The whole crowd was cheering for Shotzi, but in the end, after a miscue with Sasha, Charlotte retained.

Rob's What Mattered

4. Good Gourd Almighty!

Even though I do not love this feud, I thought the Trick or Street Fight (and similar gimmicks) are always a fun treat for the live crowd to see a unique, no DQ style match. I particularly like seeing Humberto Carrillo and Angel Garza get involved because I think they have a lot of potential as a tag team, and I am curious to see what they will do from here.

3. Drew McIntyre Open Challenge

I love that Drew McIntyre without a title is special enough to host his own weekly challenge. He is very good in-ring, and he has a new aura about him on SmackDown. His match with Mustafa Ali was short but sweet, but this could make for an interesting recurring segment if WWE needs something for the Scottish Superstar while they draft up a story for a worthwhile feud.

2. Paul Heyman Promo

It was weird that Roman Reigns was missing on this show. The only piece of Brock Lesnar we saw was a recap and satellite promo with Adam Pearce punishing Brock Lesnar more. However, Paul Heyman carried the feud this week in the way Heyman only can. When asked by a backstage interviewer how he thought Lesnar would respond to the punishment, Heyman got lost in a 2017-esque promo hyping up Lesnar before saying, "Well, at least that is how I think Brock would respond."

1. The New Day vs. The Usos

I loved the Knighting Ceremony of Kofi Kingston this week and the backstage segment with Hit Row. King Xavier Woods is exceeding expectations. He is putting his Ph.D. to good use. One can argue Woods is the kingliest king of all time, pulling out the deep-lore royal traditions and long lost-to-time words. You can never go wrong with the New Day and The Usos. Their promo segment walked a perfect tightrope between intense feud and silly coworkers.

Rob's What Didn't Matter

4. Piped in Crowd Noise?

Early in the night, I noticed that Charlotte Flair opened the night with a confusing amount of cheers. Likewise, Mustafa Ali got almost exclusively boos when he responded to Drew McIntyre's open challenge, a spot that called more for an "Oh wow!" than a "Boo!" Knowing Flair and Ali's reputation with hardcore fans, I find it hard to believe this over-the-top reaction was the norm. If SmackDown is using piped-in crowd noise, it should be highly discouraged by Fox or WWE. It makes it hard to take everything on screen at face value because the crowd reactions seem inorganic.

3. Million Dollar Fines

Adam Pearce decided to fine Brock Lesnar a million dollars, on top of already suspending him indefinitely. I don't know if this is a Vince McMahon-ism. It certainly feels like one, but the common person can see through that this part of WWE is clearly bullshit, and the number is so ludicrous, it is literally inconceivable to the common person. My proposed solution would be to either say they are fining Lesnar a percentage of his income or revoking his income from his last appearance (in this case Crown Jewel). They could also say they are taking him off of the show's promos and WWE's online presence, which they could actually do to give the angle a realistic feel.

2. Sami Zayn

It is sad when WWE shows that even they do not care about certain talent. Sami Zayn was giving a great promo, interrupting Sonya Deville's interview, basically saying he knows she did not mean to leave him off the show, but SmackDown needs him to be great. WWE cut it short to go to the next segment, and even the commentators gave Zayn crap. I know it's part of Zayn's gimmick, but to some extent, WWE needs to take the multi-faceted mega-talented Zayn seriously, or he will move to you-know-where as the rest of the indy darlings did.

1. Shotzi vs. Charlotte Flair

Charlotte Flair kicked off the new season of SmackDown, and Sasha Banks interrupted her. Flair didn't give Banks any ground. Then, we got a surprise interruption from Shotzi, who challenged Flair, who surprisingly accepted. They had a solid in-ring match, but Flair ended up winning after Banks inadvertently distracted Shotzi. The crowd was soundly behind Shotzi all match, and disappointed in losing, she turned heel on Banks. I was upset by this segment because I was watching closely to see if Flair would give in a little to criticisms that she does not put any new talent over. Instead, Flair made Banks look bad in their promo segment, and she made Shotzi look bad, kicking out of multiple cool moves and rollups in the ring. With Shotzi turning heel on Banks, the pressure will again be on Banks to put over the young talent, while Flair appears to be coming out unscathed again. I really wanted to see Banks take the title off Flair before Survivor Series, but I am sure Flair thinks she did everyone a favor with this segment.

Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter

1. Creative Direction

I thought the matches for tonight were all fine, but the creative direction wasn't entertaining. It was often the worse part of each match. The Halloween match was a dead feud with lackluster weapons, where the IC champion was treated like he was a tag team champion. Humberto and Angel interfered in the Boogs and Nakamura's tag match with Madcap and Corbin, but why? Why would they want to target the IC champion as a tag team? Why would they help Corbin and Madcap?

Then, there is King Xavier. I'm glad he got an opponent, but why is it in the tag division? Why can't he have a singles feud with Kofi managing him? Also, I don't particularly appreciate pairing the New Day and the Usos because the Usos will most likely retain their titles because they are rolling with the Tribal Chief. However, that would make the New King look bad losing to them. I'd rather see Xavier in a singles feud.

I was not too fond of the creative direction of the Sonya Deville match either. Shayna is not the wrestler that needs a quick count, so why is she using all this extra help from Sonya? It doesn't mesh with her character. Also, what is she getting out of it? If Sonya was helping her get the title, that would be one thing. But, just being Sonya's lackey for no reason doesn't make any sense. Also, we still don't know why Sonya doesn't like Naomi. That's very important. With Daniel Bryan, we knew WWE thought he was a B+ player, and they didn't want him representing the company. We need the character motivation in this feud, or else it will not reach its full potential.

I wouldn't say I liked Blackheart's direction either. It made no sense for her to turn on Sasha. WWE has enough heels. We don't need a ton more. Why would Shotzi, who had the entire crowd on her side, go heel? It makes no sense. Also, why not pull a Paige and give Shotzi the shock victory. This is Charlotte's one-thousandth reign. It wouldn't hurt her at all to lose and would actually help Shotzi. However, tonight showed me Charlotte won't be punished for her behavior in previous weeks and, in fact, will probably be rewarded as a huge heel champion.

Lastly, but certainly not least, Ali. I was not a fan of his creative direction. He claimed after his match that people only root against him because his name is Mustafa Ali. However, Ali is a known heel who has earned his boos. I think it's a horrible move to use racism as a delusional heel defense because racism is very real, and it affects many people in the WWE audience. It's only night one of this storyline, so maybe they are taking it somewhere else. However, if that's the creative direction, they can keep it.

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