Smackdown Rundown: Guess Who's Back?!
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
8. Seth Freaking Rollins
I don't know what is happening behind the scenes in WWE but, the acting on Smackdown has gotten so much better recently. Seth Rollins, for example, had an excellent promo this week, and it's not really about anything he said. It's about how he said it and how he acted. He congratulated Edge and said Edge had earned his respect and that he should be more like Edge. However, those are just the words. The demeanor and delivery said that Seth Rollins is losing it, and he is about to do something drastic.
7. Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman was great. He singlehandedly carried the Lesnar feud all night; his acting was superb. He was paranoid about losing his place with Roman forgetting things he does every week, and the best part is Roman didn't have to say anything. Paul's demeanor said it all.
Boogz and Nakamura picked up another tag team win this week. The situation was a little repetitive and without any significant story. However, I am willing to forgive that this week because the match was good, and I'm enjoying Boogz in the ring.
5. Sami Returns
Finally, Sami has escaped catering. Sami is way too good to be kept off of tv. He beat Dominik in his return match. The match was good, but it was a little too long. Dominik and Sami don't have an issue, so there was nothing to justify the length of the match. However, Dominik seems to be edging closer to turning on his father. He didn't let his dad help him up and stormed off after the match. Also, Sami got a win in his return, so it was good overall.
4. Happy Corbin
I wouldn't have gone this direction. I feel like we could have teased out more of a transformation for Corbin than just suddenly being rich again. However, I did like happy Corbin. He is one of the most underrated characters in WWE. His commitment to character and his excellent acting shows that he deserves a big push. After groveling pathetically for weeks, he easily pulled off being happy and arrogant and rich again. I also love the idea of him trying to buy Money in the Bank. Also, incorporating his failed cash-in into the story with Big E was excellent continuity. This story with Big E is clearly going to continue, and I think that's good for both of them. It keeps Corbin and Big E hot.
3. Liv Morgan Returns
Another prisoner who got away during the catering riot was Liv Morgan. She made an immediate impact challenging the Man for the title. However, the Man didn't want to be a fighting champion. So instead, Liv fought in an Elimination fatal four-way, eliminating the most beautiful woman in WWE Carmella before battling the EST.
2. Bianca is Still the EST
Bianca came out and challenged the champ, Becky Lynch. This is a good sign because it means Bianca will get a rematch and a chance to at least have a good match. Also, Bianca came out with lots of fan support. This is also good because the fans still support Bianca and haven't just hopped on the Becky bandwagon. Also, while Becky decided not to defend her title and run away, Bianca took on most of the women's division, and she won. She is still in top form and the clearcut number one contender for the title.
1. Finn Balor Challenges Roman
Finn Balor showed up on Smackdown after being snapped back into existence by Thanos. He challenged Finn to a universal title match next week on Smackdown. I liked how aggressive Finn Balor was. He walked right up and challenged Roman and punched him right in the mouth. He didn't care that Uso's were going to jump him. However, the Street Profits ran out and defended Finn. This is exciting because WWE is building up to Street Profits vs. Uso tag team title match. In the end, Roman once again left his cousins behind to get beat up.
Rob’s What mattered
4. Cesaro is back
WWE has this thing where wrestlers will be red hot, lose a match, and then disappear from TV without an explanation for weeks. This week, Cesaro had a match against Chad Gable with Otis, and I will just say it was good to see him back on TV.
3. Keeping up with the Mysterios
I don’t love this story yet, but I like that they have been working on it and hinting at it for weeks. Something is clearly up between Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Rey keeps giving his son advice, and Dominik continues to lose. Rey thinks Dominik isn’t taking this seriously enough. Dominik thinks Rey is giving him bad advice. It’s an intriguing premise for a story. Certainly, it’s one to watch going forward.
2. Happy Corbin
I’ve been along for the ride of King or Baron or Bad Luck or Happy Corbin since he lost his crown, and I think it has been genuinely enjoyable. This week, he debuted his new entrance and look as Happy Corbin, showing off that he won big in Vegas when he only had the money in his pocket left. I thought it worked so well, and I laughed out loud at the slots entrance and look on his face. The gimmick this week is so relatable because we have all been or witnessed someone who is depressed or down on their luck and just tries to act a different way one day after a quick turn of good luck to see if they can build any momentum and get their life back on track. Corbin has been consistently entertaining in this gimmick and found a way to make middle-upper card matches matter without a title on the line.
1. Finn Balor challenges Roman Reigns
SmackDown’s main event scene is still superior storytelling. I’m glad they didn’t forget that Finn Balor was supposed to challenge Roman Reigns at Summerslam. It seems Balor got out of NXT at the right time, and he’s wasting no time challenging for the top title on SmackDown. Raw is potentially using Sheamus to hold off Bobby Lashley until Goldberg in Saudi Arabia; I think SmackDown would be wise to use Balor until Lesnar’s inevitable rematch with Reigns. Be ready for Balor to have the superior match with Reigns too. Even if his star isn’t as high as Lesnar’s, he seems back and ready to prove something.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair
Let’s start by saying that I don’t care whose idea it was. Turning Becky Lynch heel immediately was a bad idea. Lynch kicked off the show and began to hint at that side of her character, saying she didn’t care if taking the title from Bianca Belair was in bad taste. Lynch is so over that the crowd was generally cheering and booing at all the wrong parts. Belair interrupted her and beat Zelina Vega, Carmella, and Liv Morgan to earn her way to another championship match. It made all the other women look kind of bad. We already knew Belair could beat them. Having Belair have to earn her way back into the championship didn’t get her anymore over. Time will tell if the feud with Lynch will do that or if it would have been a better idea to just invest more in her reign, to begin with.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
Cesaro escaped catering to find out the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Otis destroyed him in his returning match with Gable. On top of a lackluster DQ finish, everything was super dull from the start. We have seen Cesaro face Gable many, many times and seen Alpha Academy attack Cesaro; nothing about this was fresh or entertaining. It's sad because Cesaro was supposed to be establishing himself as someone who could win the title, but after a good title match, WWE has seemingly abandoned Cesaro.
2. The Man
The new character for the man has been unsuccessful so far. She came out as a conquering hero who the fans cheered. It seems the WWE Universe has decided to cheer Bianca and Becky, which is fine for Bianca, but Becky is supposed to be a heel. WWE just can't seem to get the Man right. When she was rising, they wanted her to be a heel and Charlotte to be the face, but nobody else wanted that. Now, after becoming a mother and getting back in shape, becoming champion again, and returning, they want people to boo her, and it just isn't good timing. They should have slow burned her heel turn and taken advantage of the fact that fans wanted to cheer her. Also, her whole heel stick is pretty predictable. Anyone who has watched two episodes of WWE knew Becky wasn't going to accept Bianca's challenge. Also, Zelina low-key stole the segment from Becky as a heel. Zelina was the only one who really got heat. Carmella got a little, but Zelina was clearly the biggest Heel on the show.
Another person who escaped catering to find nothing was waiting on them on the other side was Naomi. Sonya disrespected the hell out of Naomi by saying they didn't have anything for her return, and Sonya didn't even look her in the eye and instead looked at her phone while Naomi was talking like she wasn't even worth her time. It was incredibly annoying that Naomi didn't knock Sonya out on the spot and instead walked away. That should have been a much bigger confrontation. I just don't see the point in returning Naomi like that. Especially when she is married to a Uso, and the Bloodline has the juice on Smackdown. The first lady of the Bloodline and a former Champion should be a priority.
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