Reverse Hipsters What Mattered
Daniel Bryan is who Edge should be
Daniel Bryan cut a fiery promo at the top Smackdown. He said that he was done putting himself on the back burner and that he found some ambition. He wants to be in mania's main event and feels like he is more deserving than Edge and Roman because he has wrestled more in the last three weeks than Edge and Roman have in the last three months.
Then Roman comes out, and he cuts an awesome heel promo about how Daniel does not love wrestling because he needs it and that is not love. Then he goes on about how he is needed by wrestling. He is the one who truly loves it because he brings something to wrestling. A cage match is made for Daniel Bryan and Jey, and if Daniel wins, he faces Roman at Fastlane for the title.
However, as Daniel Bryan cuts this kick-ass promo and I find myself wanting Daniel to climb the mountain one last time, I ask myself shouldn't I feel this way about Edge? Shouldn't this be Edge's pop? Ever since Edge has returned, WWE has undercut him. He returns, and we have limitless new match-ups for him. He could have been on tv doing first-time-ever matches every week, but instead, he got stuck in a feud with Orton. The feud was not bad, but it cooled Edge off a bit.
He gets hurt, but he does not get a surprise return. No, he has his return and appearance in the rumble spoiled, so his win is cool but not as cool as it could be. Also, he has not wrestled since. Also quiet as kept, Daniel has a better story with Roman and a richer history. However, Edge has had great Wrestlemania triple threats before maybe he can do it again.
2. The Cage
The match between Jey and Daniel was the match of the night on Smackdown. Daniel got an emphatic win leading into Fastlane, but Jey continues to look credible and prove he is talented enough to be put in main event spots and hang with anyone. Also, I have to wonder will Jey be punished for this loss to Bryan. He was explicitly warned about not embarrassing the family before the match.
3. Reginald's new home
If you have been following our reviews, you know that I thought that Reginald was involved in a Carmella scheme, but it seems I was wrong. He was just into Banks. Carmella rudely fired Reginald, which is the most she has done since she lost to Sasha. Honestly, in terms of screen time, Carmella has been Reginald's sommelier.
Reginald ran to Sasha, but she was done with his interference, and she smacked him and threw him to the curb. Kind of heelish but also kind of justified. However, then things took a turn for the best. Nia Jax has taken an interest in Reginald, and it looks like Reginald will be rolling with Nia and Shayna, and I am here for it cannot wait to see what that looks like.
4. Apollo Has Arrived
Apollo cemented his character this week with a good promo. Many people have complained about his accent, but he explained this is the real him, the Apollo we knew was him trying to fit in. Even though he is a heel, his experiences in being in a white-dominated space and dealing with annoying questions, and wanting to fit in were relatable as a Person of Color. I love the humanity Apollo is bringing to his character. His feud with E is growing before our eyes; it may even be Wrestlemania worthy.
5. Sami Zayn is losing it
Sami's wacky conspiracy angle has taken a serious turn. It seems Sami is actually losing and becoming irrationally paranoid, going so far as to beat up a man he hired because he thought he was working for WWE. I do not know how they plan to tell such a serious angle, but I cannot wait to find out.
Rob’s What mattered
1. Daniel Bryan has a road to WrestleMania
Following an electric SmackDown with a cliffhanger ending, this week kicked off with a great promo segment starring Daniel Bryan and a segment between Roman Reigns and Bryan. Bryan did an amazing job framing his career over the past year, how he has taken a backseat to let younger guys take the main event and what it means going into WrestleMania this year. I don’t think this open had to go two segments, but it was unique that it did. They announced a cage match main event between Jey Uso and Bryan, where if Bryan wins, he will face Reigns at Fastlane for the Universal Championship. As a sidenote, Corey Graves had a weird yet effective segment opening the cage match, explaining the rules and emphasizing the brutality of the structure. I would love to see WWE explore this style of highlighting gimmick matches more often to build them up as a dangerous spectacle with stakes instead of just another gimmick match we see every so often. Uso and Bryan went on to have a good not great cage match that was an extremely worthy main event for weekly TV. This was a great spot for Bryan to be in, the perpetual underdog working to carve a new path to the main event of WrestleMania. I love the uncertainty going into Fastlane. In my opinion, the emerging storyline between Bryan and Edge is more intriguing, but I would still predict that Reigns will go on to defend the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.
2. Dominik Mysterio vs. Chad Gable
As soon as I saw this match was booked, I expected it to go in the “What didn’t matter” section. WWE has a bad habit of booking ongoing tag team feuds and continuing them “creatively” by having the members of the tag team compete in singles matches, using 50/50 booking and not progressing a feud. Dominik and Gable quickly proved me wrong. The in-ring action here was electric, and I ended up saying “wow” out loud multiple times. Both superstars showcased creative technical wrestling, ending in a unique pinning combination by Dominik, who I genuinely think is one of the most promising young stars on the SmackDown roster. Rey followed up Dom’s win with a dynamic baseball slide and seated senton to the outside on Otis. I’m not sure what comes next in this feud, but these teams have great in-ring chemistry and a blooming feud. I’d love to see this energy move over to the Tag Team Championship picture on SmackDown.
3. Apollo Crews stock going up
I loved the continuation of the character Apollo Crews introduced last week. He looked like a badass coming out on the ramp with his elite guards and new entrance gear. He delivered another fire promo, the kind that makes you wonder where THIS Crews has been for the past two years. I’m not sure if I love the direction going with the African accent, which feels dangerously close to a combination of “foreign heel” tropes and Kofi Kingston’s infamous Jamaican accent. But I’d like to assume that in 2021 this is Crews’s direction with the character, and if so, I’m willing to see where it goes from here. The confrontation with Big E returning next week should be electric, and we should be headed to WrestleMania with this feud.
4. Ding Dong Hello
Even if it was a short backstage segment, this promo gave me faith that SmackDown hasn’t forgotten about Bayley completely. She is a great piece of the women’s division, and she can develop a feud with anyone on the roster with her character work even without holding the title. I’d love to see Ding Dong Hello used to develop other feuds on SmackDown. Maybe Sami Zayn and King Corbin on Ding Dong Hello next week?
5. Seth Rollins Ring Gear
I promise SmackDown was more good than bad this week, and I’m not just digging for content. Because of the long segments, I ended up having to find more nuanced things in the short segments. Seth Rollins is delivering great heel promo work in this stage of his career, and his return to SmackDown has been very welcome. This week’s all-red ring gear with gloves was downright sexy and satanic, only second to his white and gold gear. Here’s hoping we see it in a PPV match or WrestleMania entrance.
Reverse Hipster's What didn't matter
Natalya and Tamina
I hated their segment; they have looked dominant in the past few weeks, and they have changed their attitudes, and this segment just undercut that big time. They just asked management why they are not getting the title shot at Fastlane. A very valid question as Sasha and Bianca are not only rivals, but they lost; they have done absolutely nothing to deserve a second shot at the titles.
Management just brushes Tamina and Natalya off, and they do not do anything about it. They are two dominant women who are tired of being overlooked. They should not take no for an answer. However, they do; they just get denied, and the segment is quickly over. It was honestly a waste of a segment that did not help the wrestlers involved and made management look incompetent.
2. Ding dong Goodbye
Bayley's segment was also awful. It seemed like she was sent out there to waste time. Her setup was backstage, not even in the ring, and she was reading fan support, and I guess a fan said something mean, and she just stormed off segment over on the second note. This was a waste of time and Bayley.
3. Billy Kay M.I.A
Where has Billy been? One moment she was one of the hottest acts in WWE, and the next, she is off tv. We have not seen her in two weeks, and I do not know why? She is hilarious and pretty damn good in the ring. They should team her up with Bayley, who also seems without direction at the moment. They could be incredibly entertaining together. I'd like to see who would rub off on who. Nevertheless, Billy must be put back on tv soon.
4. Pointless rematches
I see what you are trying to do; Smackdown creative, and you are not slick. Having one-half of the tag teams we just saw fight last week fight in singles competition is still a rematch. Smackdown had quite a few tonight, and I did not see the point in any of them. Sami and Corbin are funny together but do we need another one of these tag team types not saying they would not work together, just that those types of teams are piling up when they use to be unique.
Street profits had two singles matches with Sami and Corbin, and while they were entertaining, they booked 50/50, so nobody gained anything from them, and there was no point in them from the start. The Mysterios and Alpha Academy had Gable and Dominik fight, but they did not say why and Dominik was a 50/50 choice because AA won last week. I do not mind single matches to advance a feud, but they need a storyline reason, and none of these had that.
The same goes for Shayna and Bianca Bel Air. I like both, but they had no reason to fight, and when Bianca won, it felt undeserved Shayna was dominating that match, and it feels like she won more because of the story than what she did to Shayna in the match. They needed a storyline reason to fight and a longer match and a more logical sequence to the finish.
5.Murphy comes crawling back
I hate Seth Rollins Gimmick; It is his most boring side yet. I do not understand his vision. It seems like blustering, and he does not intimidate me. By that, I mean I am not worried about the wrestlers who fight him. I hate that after everything, they had Murphy come back to Seth like the last few months never happened. Also, what was WWE thinking cutting Murphy vs. Cesaro? They are two excellent wrestlers who could have delivered an excellent match if they had more than 5 minutes to wrestle. The only good thing that happened is that Cesaro won and is still on track but significant oversight here.
Smackdown had a hot start and a hot finish but it was very hit or miss in between and had way too many replays half segments and pointless or shortened matches. It felt like this week Smackdown wasn't prepared like they just had things out there to fill time and space.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. SmackDown just okay after last week
I would say last week’s SmackDown was at least a 9 out of 10. It was the closest to perfect weekly TV I’ve seen in a long time. This week, I was hoping for a continuation of that momentum, but I felt like it was just okay. Long segments dominated most of the show, and some promising new feuds from last week felt less exciting this week. Maybe it was never sustainable for SmackDown to deliver like that every week heading into WrestleMania, but it was still disappointing.
2. Everything around Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair match
The match itself was good, and I think it was a fine exhibition match to build Bianca Belair toward her match with Sasha Banks at WrestleMania. I have a lot of problems with everything going on around the match. I didn’t like watching the replay of Shayna Baszler knocking out Asuka’s teeth on Raw. If anything, it made me feel like Baszler may be gaining a bad reputation as a sloppy worker that is too stiff. If it wasn’t scripted, it feels grimy to take advantage of that moment to build Baszler’s character. Even though I understand that temptation, Asuka was genuinely hurt, and I don’t think that’s ever something you should use to promote a wrestler for story reasons.
The team of Nia Jax and Baszler intrigue me, but there has been no development in their team. They started as two monsters of the women’s division, who didn’t get along but forced a partnership knowing they could win when they work together. Where is that dynamic in their team now? I don’t think WWE has shown that progression effectively to say they are a cohesive team now, yet Jax trots out like her and Baszler have been friends for life, prepared to have her back no matter what occurs in the match.
Likewise, why would Banks come out to have Belair’s back? I would have liked it if she came out to do commentary and scout her competition for WrestleMania instead. Then, I learned they are planned to face again for the Tag Team Championships at Fastlane. Didn’t we just see this? And why is the makeshift team of Banks and Belair competing for the championships when they have a feud of their own to build? I agree with Natalya and Tamina backstage. It felt like blatant nepotism and promotion of their match over focusing on the division as a whole and merit of teams in it. I think the first match for the Tag Team Championships was excusable, but this just feels lazy and aimless, even for WWE creative.
Finally, I love Reginald, but it feels like the spark in his involvement is fizzling out. We still haven’t developed the storyline: no rationale for his interference, no big reveals, and no double crosses. I’m hoping we either get this next week or he drops out because he is adding nothing at this point.
3. Not enough time for Cesaro vs. Murphy
In a battle of great wrestlers who lost their first name (this could be a whole category/archetype in WWE), Cesaro and Murphy clearly had the in-ring chemistry but not the time to make a match of the week contender. I know this was just to build credibility for Cesaro heading toward a WrestleMania match with Rollins, but I would have vastly preferred to see this take time from one of the other segments and just try to have a five-star classic on SmackDown. We already know Cesaro will never be billed in kayfabe as one of the best wrestlers on the roster. So why not just give him time and let him win over all the diehard work rate fans? Murphy would have been great in that role too. I can only hope WWE give Cesaro/Rollins 20-30 minutes at WrestleMania, and then I can excuse all the times they shorted Cesaro time like this.
4. The Street Profits vs. King Corbin and Sami Zayn in Singles Matches
Remember what I said above about WWE booking tag teams in singles matches? This was the bad side of that. I don’t think these matches did anything for the competitors. The Street Profits should be competing for the Tag Team Championships, and Sami Zayn and King Corbin are much better as singles competitors. I am intrigued to see where the story goes between Zayn and Corbin. I love that they are two heels who still don’t get along, but I don’t think the feud between them is entertaining enough to head to a singles match at WrestleMania.
Check out Rob @https://stonikro.weebly.com
What did you think of Smackdown?