BRM Reviews the 9/17/2019 Smackdown (well... they're trying)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 9/17/2019 Smackdown (well... they're trying)

Post by Big Red Machine » Sep 18th, '19, 18:53

THE NEW DAY vs. RANDY ORTON & THE REVIVAL- 6.75/10
A strong opener with a babyface victory, although I’d much rather have just seen Orton get pinned again one of the tag champs take a pin that won’t lead anywhere.


POST-MATCH SEGMENT- mixed feelings
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar showed up and challenged Kofi Kingston to defend his WWE Title against Brock Lesnar on the Smackdown debut on Fox. Kofi accepted. He then got jumped by Brock and hit with an F-5. New Day were not around to save him because Kofi had sent them to the back.
While the mechanics of this segment were good and this would have worked fine in a vacuum, I just can’t get excited for Brock Lesnar in a title match anymore. The match will take place on the go-home show for Hell in a Cell so my guess is that we’ll get a f*ck finish leading to a rematch on the PPV where we’ll get the real finish (although just giving us a clean finish on TV and not having the champion on the PPV would probably be best for the PPV). And if that finish is not Kofi beating Brock cleanly, I don’t think this is a good idea. “Brock Lesnar is the champion but he doesn’t want to be here because he doesn’t like WWE so he isn’t going to show up” has been the storyline for two and a half years now, and it has outlived its welcome by a year and a half.
Yes, I realize that Brock is an important cog in their plan to draw in lapsed fans and they think his MMA cred will draw in new fans and I don’t even think that first part is wrong. But that doesn’t mean that they HAVE to put Brock in the title picture! Have him be a hired gun for Shane to take out a marauding Kevin Owens. Use him to put instantly make Aleister Black a star by getting knocked out early on in a match by Black Mass. Have him face Mustafa Ali and let Ali be his awesome babyface self and get over by surviving Brock. But DO NOT DO THE SAME BORING, DETRIMENTAL THING YOU’VE BEEN DOING WITH HIM FOR YEARS!

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY- okay
Sasha builds up her title match against Becky in Hell in a Cell. She is wrestling Charlotte tonight and Bayley says that Sasha isn’t taking questions about this because “she will answer all of your questions in the ring.” This line was dumb, but I guess it was meant as foreshadowing so we’ll give them some questions.

MICHAEL COLE’S SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW WITH ERICK ROWAN- very good
Cole said that Rowan’s actions have been described by some as “attempted manslaughter,” which I was shocked to find out is an actual crime in some places, because usually manslaughter is by definition an accidental death and thus it’s hard to charge someone with purposely attempting to do someone grievous bodily harm that results in death even though the attackers intention was merely to wound when there was no actual death. And yet according to many news reports I found, it is, in fact, a real crime on the books in many US states.
Rowan claims that he was “only trying to scare” Roman Reigns, to which Cole responds “you tried to kill him!” Cole’s emotion was good, but the circumstances of this being what they are, I just can’t get past the fact that barely two years ago the victim of this assault ACTUALLY DID TRY TO KILL SOMEONE WITH AN AUTOMOBILE AND ACTUALLY DID CAUSE MAJOR BODILY HARM TO HIS VICTIM without even a shred of plausible deniability that he wasn’t trying to commit murder (I believe his exact words to his victim were “I’m going to take you to hell”) and the most criticism anyone in the company could muster was saying that he “went a little too far,” and that person wasn’t even Michael Cole. It turns Cole- and, from a non-kayfabe point of, the company whose views his job is to convince us of- into hypocrites, because their stance is not “vehicular homicide is abhorrent” but rather “vehicular homicide is abhorrent unless Roman Reigns is doing it, in which case it’s fine.”
I thought Rowan’s promo itself was actually pretty great, and did a wonderful job of describing the motivations of character from here on out. He’s tired of being overlooked, yelled, at, and disrespected, and he won’t be anyone’s lackey ever again.
One thing I really liked was that when asked about Luke Harper he told Cole that if he had questions about Harper, he should go ask Harper. They could, of course, pull the rug out from under this and just turn Rowan into a typical lazy hypocritical heel next week by making Harper his lackey, but for the moment, I’ll take this as a sign that Rowan is actually going to be an intelligently thought-out character.

MUSTAFA ALI vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Sami Zayn)- no rating, fine segment
Sami Zayn cut a promo on his way to the ring in which he acknowledged that Ali had beaten Nakamura a few weeks ago, but that Nakamura is now under Sami’s guidance and thus not the same man that Ali was able to beat. That’s all well and good, but it also makes me wonder why this isn’t a title match if Ali has already beaten Nakamura in a non-title match.
Anyway, Sami kept talking and distracted Ali so that Nakamura could attack him and beat him up so that there would be no match.

KEVIN OWENS SHOWS UP IN THE CROWD- The Cassius Clay shirt is a nice but clichéd touch.
This was one of those things where WWE is trying really hard and actually doing one or two things right, so I do feel like I have to acknowledge them. Our first hint of this was not them jumping to Owens but rather seeing the people opposite the hard-cam turn away from the ring and start pointing at something and getting excited. Then they finally got a shot of Owens with a crane-cam rather than having one conveniently placed in the crowd. Because of this, I will go so far as to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the spot light was put on Owens for the benefit of the camera they were shooting him with rather than assuming that they were being idiots like usual and that they had it on him all the time.
But WWE is still WWE, so after this we cut backstage to a camera conveniently placed in Shane’s office to see him watching this on his TV while standing at the usual weird WWE angle where you’re standing at an angle to the TV and turning your head to make sure that both the TV screen and your face and body and visible, even though no one watches TV like that in the real world.
As Shane leaves his office, someone hands him some papers and tells him that he has been served.

SHANE MCMAHON COMES OUT TO DEAL WITH KEVIN OWENS- very good
Now they have a camera over by Owens, but at least Graves was advocating for them to get the camera off of Owens because it “drives up his independent value.” Also, considering what we’ve seen over the course of the past ten years or so with the likes of Enzo, Shane Douglas, the Juggalo World Order at TNA Turning Point 2008 (and probably some others that escape me) leaving a camera on the guy in the crowd just drives hoke that it’s a work. Yes, we know it’s a work anyway, but at least TRY to let us pretend that it isn’t? Please?
Shane comes out with pathetically geeky-looking security and has them bring Owens to the ring, then dismisses them. Apparently Owens has sued WWE for wrongful termination for $25million. Owens is fighting money with money. Fine. He points out that last week when Shane attacked him, Shane was laying his hands on a WWE official, which is exactly what Shane had initially fined Owens for. Solid point.
Owens then says that Shane fired him for being insubordinate. He starts to explain why he actually wasn’t insubordinate but never actually explained why he wasn’t. A better way to put it for Owens would have been something along the lines of describing the supposedly insubordinate actions that he was fired for as refusing to help Shane illegally fix a sporting competition.
Anyway, this is all going rather well, with Owens explaining that he has realized that the best way to both get his job back and to hurt Shane is to sue Shane because the best way to hurt Shane is to damage his wallet and his pride.
Then this all went off the rails with the claim that the lawsuit somehow stipulates that if Owens wins the lawsuit, he gets to fire Shane. WHAT? What kind of lawsuit has a clause like that in it? You’d think WWE has been in enough lawsuits that they’d know this, but apparently not. Lawsuits now apparently work the same way wrestling matches and games of Yu-Gi-Oh, where we can just throw stipulations in that make unrelated matters (in this case, Shane’s employment- it’s only Owens’ employment which is relevant to the lawsuit) hinge on the results of the case. With that bombshell dropped, Owens left through the crowd, triumphant.

“WHO IS AOP?” VIDEO PROMO- GREAT!
Other than the fact that it should be “who are AOP?” this was great. The choice to have them talk was something that I was immediately wary of, but I think having them cut this promo in whatever combination of Albanian and Punjabi they were speaking allowed them to retain the same air of mystery they had when they didn’t talk while simultaneously feeling less othered and adjacent to the “foreign savage” character stereotype. This does mean that they came off as less monster-y, but the execution here traded that in for an air of menace. They now feel less like guys who beat you up because they’re angry and more like guys who beat your up because they’re mean and want to beat you up. They claimed that the reason they haven’t wrestled since Mania is because they’ve been hurting people and thus no one wants to wrestle them, and said that they had to leave MMA for the same reasons. This would, of course, have been better if someone could point to some examples of these injuries, but I still liked this a lot and recommend that everyone else check it out.

CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley)- 5/10
Some local hip-hop artist was the guest ring announcer for Charlotte’s entrance. Despite having been seen backstage with her just minutes ago, Ric Flair did not come out to ringside with Charlotte. They wrestled for almost nine minutes before Charlotte got the Figure Eight and Bayley ran in for the DQ. It wasn’t bad, but it felt completely routine, which is absolutely the opposite of how Sasha’s matches should feel right now. Her big return has already lost everything that made it interesting and special.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- The heels beat Charlotte down until Carmella comes out to make the save and the babyfaces lay out the heels. So yeah. They’re already treating Sasha and Bayley like total chumps.

BARON CORBIN IS CORONATED AS KING OF THE RING- This angle would have been perfect if not for one thing: Corbin beat Gable cleanly last night. If he had cheated then Gable would be the righteous babyface coming out here responding to a lesser man mocking him from an ill-gotten pulpit, so his destruction of the KOTR regalia is symbolic of the fact the prestige of the accolade is not worth anything if it isn’t won honorably. Here Gable is responding to being mocked, yes, and the fact that he was specifically called out to be mocked when he was trying to be the better man makes his violence towards Corbin palatable… but without Corbin being unworthy of the office, Gable’s distraction of the cape and crown afterwards are less righteous anger and more temper tantrum.

HEAVY MACHINERY vs. THE B-TEAM- 2/10
Well… at least we’ve got one team consistently winning matches cleanly on TV to theoretically build up to a title shot.

CLOSING SEGMENT- very good
Daniel Bryan came out and cut a promo claiming that he had been treating Rowan as an equal and that he was the only one who didn’t overlook Rowan’s potential. Rowan came out and cut him off and refuted Bryan’s claim about treating him like an equal. Bryan challenged Rowan to “do something about it,” at which point he was attacked from behind by Luke Harper, who came out of the crowd. The heels beat Bryan down until Roman Reigns came out to fight them but Roman was overwhelmed by the numbers game as well. Obviously we’re building towards Bryan and Roman being forced to team up, which is a nice, logical place to go.

This was a good show from WWE. It felt like they were really, truly, trying to give me a show I would like, but just don’t quite understand where their usual formula goes wrong get. It feels like they’re trying their best to adjust, and thus, despite the failings, I am relatively favorably disposed towards it, and am MUCH more likely to watch Smackdown next week now than I was before I saw this show.


Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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KILLdozer
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Re: BRM Reviews the 9/17/2019 Smackdown (well... they're trying)

Post by KILLdozer » Sep 18th, '19, 22:20

Yeah...I've been saying a lot lately they're beating Sasha and Bailey way too much at almost any given turn...because FACES ALWAYS OVERCOME!
When they come, they'll come at what you love.

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