SmackDown recap and reactions: His name is…
It looks like WWE is promising something big in regards to Sami Zayn’s journey with The Bloodline on Friday Night SmackDown Out of Chicago, Illinois this week. There was every reason to believe Zayn would become a “made man,” as they put it several times.
Or, if not that, some kind of key angle.
There was no major angle.
Unless you count a surprise video appearance from John Cena as a key angle.
There has been some story progression, at least. Reigns explained that it was going to be a big night for Zayn, but changed his mind because Kevin Owens continued to be an issue, seeing as he was holding on to Zayn too much. Sami even slipped up and called him his “friend.”
An error he corrected promptly, but a notable one nonetheless.
Reigns’ plan to handle this is a tag team match, where he will team up with Zayn against Owens and a partner of his choosing on the December 30 episode of SmackDown. This would be the same show that Cena was already scheduled to appear at, and by the time everyone had connected those dots, Cena appeared via video to say that he would indeed be Owens’ partner in that tag match.
It’s hard to see how this would be where the big turnaround happens, but at least they set up a big match with today’s biggest star against yesterday’s biggest star and two minor stars shining together. .
Having said all of that, this show has let me down. Cena was an absolute idiot himself for his video promo, even if you overlooked that his appearance was via video. It was a classic case of Cena doing that thing he can do sometimes – taking a serious storyline and making it look silly.
We met Uncle Howdy on this show:
I think the idea here was to make it clear that Uncle Howdy is not the Bray Wyatt he seems at first, just a guy with a similar build. But this is not what actually happens. It’s not that it can’t be undone and/or used as a way to play more horrifying MIND GAMES with anyone who encounters Wyatt at any time.
For now, it’s LA Knight and while I’m still infatuated with Wyatt in general, I can’t get into all the cinematic scary stories they do with him. It’s a visual journey with him, with smoke and mood lighting and all that.
It just doesn’t feel like pro wrestling enough for me. This is about the best way I can put it.
I think what I learned from this Bray Wyatt story more than anything else is that L.A. Knight is an incredibly talented speaker. To that end, perhaps some credit is due. One of Liat’s main criticisms in the past has been that no one comes out of a feud with him looking better. It’s pretty clear that Knight isn’t profiting from this feud, but if nothing else, he was given the opportunity to showcase how fun it is to give him a microphone and let him talk to you.
So, hell with it, take it as a win.
all the rest
- Damage CTRL retained the Women’s Tag Team Titles thanks to a masked figure interfering from the crowd, kicking Tegan Nox in the face even though she was in control and just dealt with Bayley’s interference. We didn’t get any indication of who he was but he kept tapes with IYO SKY and Dakota Kai. The match itself was sloppy at points but also included some fun spots like Kai voluntarily taking the sunset from the battlefield to the ground outside. I would definitely be interested to see more of these teams get involved. But the focus that came out was less on another round between these teams and who the hell was. Oddly, they revealed that she is Xia Li – in a “digital exclusive” video they released online that was not played during this show. I did not get it.
- Ricochet said his gameplay was to flip GUNTHER all around and use his high flying skills to neutralize the power of the Intercontinental Champion. The match ended up being a really fun contrast of styles, a predictably cool back-and-forth. The crowd seemed to really buy Ricochet winning a beautiful Shooting Star Press top and exploded when he kicked out GUNTHER. Ricochet’s response was even better – instead of flying, he took off his bar and started throwing heavy jabs. He couldn’t win in the air, so he had to win on the ground. But that’s GUNTHER, and he just rocked from there to get the fixation, delivering a thump that sounds like his new finale, what Michael Cole called “The Last Symphony.” This was awesome all the way. It looks like Braun Strowman is next, if that fits your fancy.
- Hit Row won a Triple Threat tag team match to become the new top contender for the titles. They will face The Usos next week. The match was very sloppy, with Top Dolla losing multiple points. It was rough all around but that seemed to be the only option they had in mind they were taping next week’s show right after and The Usos should get ahead of those two and definitely not the others.
- Ronda Rousey and Chyna Baszler beat the garbage out of pretty much everyone in the women’s division backstage and I kind of like that. I’m afraid to be one of the loners, but I don’t care, it was fun. Rossi’s attempts at smart bushings were the best part of it. Raquel Rodriguez has been attacked this week but is still set for next week’s Gauntlet and looks like the clear favourite.
I felt like it was meant to be a big show and it was mostly a disappointment outside of the amazing Ricochet/GUNTHER match.
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