BRM Reviews the 8/28/2020 Smackdown (what the f*ck are they doing?)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 8/28/2020 Smackdown (what the f*ck are they doing?)

Post by Big Red Machine » Aug 30th, '20, 14:12

Oh sh*t! When did The Bullet die?


ADAM PEARCE BRIEFS SECURITY- Maybe this is a nit-pick, but I’d like it to be made clear that these are platoon captains or something like that, because on how completely ineffectual WWE security has been at stomping Retribution, the more likely explanation is that WWE is incompetent and these six dudes are the only guys they have.
Also, it seems like WWE really should have started discussion the possibility that Retribution is an inside job by now, but they don’t seem to have done so.
Also, Vince is here tonight. He snubs Pearce on both a handshake and an elbow bump. And don’t tell me it’s a social distancing thing because they’re standing right next to each other. Vince is a coward, and so he is telling Pearce to go around and get everyone’s signatures. When they advertised a “contract signing,” I figured they meant a segment was booked on the show, not that Pearce would have to go around and play lackey.
Vince tells Pearce that if he can’t find The Fiend, “there’s a Firefly Funhouse tonight” and that Pearce should just “go there” to get Bray’s signature. Remember last week when Corey Graves told us the Firefly Funhouse took place in an alternate dimension? Do you think Vince does? Vince also gives Pearce a mystery outfit to wear while doing this. I can already tell that tonight’s show is going to suck.

JEFF HARDY’S PROMO IS INTERRUPTED BY AJ STYLES- bad
Who comes up with these facts to put on the entrance graphics? For Jeff today they told us he returned at WM 33 to win the tag titles. That’s true, but how about you tell us something RELEVANT instead, like that he beat AJ Styles last week to win the IC Title.
This started off fine, with AJ accusing Jeff of cheating with the knee brace in exactly the way I predicted last week. AJ is even angrier because the same doctor that gave Jeff the brace, won’t clear AJ to compete tonight because… umm…
Yeah, the obvious answer should be a concussion, but they’re not going to use the c-word on TV, which is major-league problematic, and not just due to the cowardice of it. It’s problematic because after Jeff decided to be a dick and tell AJ that he was just about to issue and open challenge (because G-d forbit we have some other idea) for the belt to anyone except AJ, AJ responded by poking Jeff in the chest, to which Jeff responded by punching AJ in the head and AJ went down and sold it big. Did Jeff just concuss AJ again? That makes it seem like I should be really worried for AJ.
Also, why did Jeff have to come off like such a dick in this segment. He was comepletely unlikable with his spitefully cheerful “I’m going to five anyone a title shot except for you!” bullsh*t, and it served no purpose. Just have AJ interrupt Jeff cutting a promo about winning the title before a regularly-scheduled, non-title match with Nakamura. Not only does that make Jeff not feel like an asshole, but you can also advertise that you have freakin’ Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on your TV show!

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Jeff Hardy(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura- 6.5/10
AJ Styles won on commentary for this match. Jeff won clean, but the heels again have an argument that the knee-brace was used as an offensive weapon. Also, Jeff threw Nakamura into AJ, seemingly for no reason other than to antagonize AJ, which again came off as a little bit dickish.
In the middle of the heat, they cut to promo by Cesaro from “moments ago” where someone apparently asked Cesaro is Nakamura accepting this open challenge means that he is “more ambitious” than Cesaro is.
Cesaro apparently left to quickly get some champaign, and Nakamura had disappeared by the time he got back. Cesaro is clearly unhappy with this.
1. This is a silly thing for Cesaro to be upset about
2. What kind of bullsh*t, trouble-stirring question is that, anyway? Did you ask the same question to everyone else who has failed to answer this open challenge?
3. Why could you not have waited until after the match was over to air this?

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Sami Zayn is back!
And he’s got his own IC Title belt, and he’s calling Jeff a fraud, so I guess we know where this is going… except it’s kind of weird to be doing this in the middle of a feud with AJ. Sami and Jeff had a stare-down at the top of the ramp. AJ came to the bottom of the ramp to stare at both of them, and Sami used this lapse in Jeff’s concentration to hit Jeff with his belt.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS SAMI ZAYN- Sami not only calls Jeff a fraud, but says that AJ was a fraud before him. It would have been great if this had ended there, but then Kayla asked him why he hasn’t been around to defend the title for five months… and Sami just blew the question off in a heelish “I have reasons, okay?” manner.
If you’re not going to acknowledge that the pandemic is going on then that’s fine, but we all know that it is, and it still functions as an unspoken subtext for why there suddenly weren’t fans in the buildings and so many wrestlers weren’t around. But if you’re going to do that, you can’t have someone ask a question to which everyone knows that the answer is “the pandemic” and everyone had assumed that the kayfabe answer was “the pandemic” and have the answer be one that portrays Sami as a disingenuous coward. The pandemic is happening. You can not acknowledge it in kayfabe, but you can’t ask people to pretend that it completely isn’t happening when we know that it is and you’ve taken steps that only make sense as measures against the pandemic.

FIREFLY FUNHOUSE SEGMENT- pointless and dumb
Bray’s Universal Title has side-plates that say “heal” and “hurt.” That would be good if the “heal” and “hurt” gloves had ever actually meant anything.
Adam Pearce showed up dressed as a mailman. Theory: Adam Pearce gets stuck in the “dystopian hellscape” that Bray described and becomes Karrion Kross.
Bray signed the contract and said that he was signing Roman and Braun’s “death warrants.” Then the segment ended. Okay… so if signing the contract was originally planned, what was Bray originally planning to show us in this segment? And why didn’t he continue on with his plans after Pearce left?

Cole and Graves are treating this like the match won’t happen if we don’t get signatures from everyone, but that opens up the “why don’t we need contract-signing for every match?” can of worms, which is really not a can of worms that should be opened up, if you can avoid it.

MATT RIDDLE CALLS OUT BARON CORBIN-
Then we cut to a commercial. When we came back, we were told that Riddle was still waiting for Corbin, and Riddle’s music was playing again. That was odd.
Of course, right after the commercial break is when Corbin shows up. That was nice of him to wait for a time when it was convenient for the promotion to spring his trap.
Corbin came out and distracted Riddle so that Chad Gable could jump him from behind. Corbin then accepted Riddle’s challenge on behalf of Chad Gable… and the bell rang just like that, without any word needed from Gable (I can believe that the referee came out during the break because Riddle was challenging someone to a match). So Vince McMahon needs signed contracts to be able to book a match, but Baron Corbin- who has no power whatsoever- doesn’t need consent from another wrestler to book another wrestler in a match?

MATT RIDDLE vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Baron Corbin)- 2/10
Riddle pretty much squashed Gable. Not good.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Corbin tries to attack Riddle but Riddle thwarts him. It’s good that they’re making Riddle look strong, but this is getting painfully repetitive. This should have blown off at SummerSlam.

CLIPS OF BIG E. & MIZ ARGUING ABOUT STUFF- The result of this is Miz, Morriosn, & Sheamus vs. Big E. & Heavy Machinery in a match that was set up because Big E. was being interviewed in the parking lot, and multiple groups of the right people just happened to be walking by. And, amazingly, the heels all came from the side facing Big E., and the babyfaces all came from the side behind him. Can we please not make this sh*t look so phony?

SASHA & BAYLEY BURY BIG E. & HEAVY MACHINERY FOR ACTING LIKE GOOFS BACKSTAGE- Bayley said things that inadvertently made Sasha feel bad. This doesn’t negate the fact that our babyfaces were acting like complete and total goofs. Otis now has a lunchbox with the MITB color scheme. Raise your hand if you even remembered that Otis won MITB this year? This isn’t the first time I’ve forgotten, and he’s only had the thing for about three months.

ADAM PEARCE KNOCKS ON ROMAN REIGNS’ DOOR- no answer
Pearce walks away and the camera follows him, but apparently Kayla Braxton just happened to be standing behind Pearce and Baron Corbin is walking by, so we’ll get an interview from Corbin instead. This is the sort of thing that I can come up with my own answer for (maybe Kayla was assigned to interview Roman after he signed), but when you sh*t like what we got in the parking lot, it makes me a lot less inclined to not think “well, that was way too fortunate a coincidence.”

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS BARON CORBIN- GREAT!
Corbin accepts Riddle’s challenge to a match. Said match will happen at Payback this Sunday. This is the best promo I can ever remember Corbin cutting.

SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY PROMO- meh segment
Bayley once again accidentally says things to make Sasha feel bad. Yes, Bayley is not helping matters, but the fact remains that her initial point here “that even when you have the best of intentions, things don’t always go as planned” is not only correct, but is the most valid interpretation of what we saw at SummerSlam.
They express messages of unity and vowed to defend their tag titles successfully this Sunday at Payback. And, of course, it figures that the only time in recent memory where I haven’t found these two unwatchably obnoxious, they get interrupted via TitanTron promo from TWO WOMEN WHO AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE HERE BECAUSE THEY’RE ON THE OTHER SHOW! But who cares about rules that we ourselves set? We’ve got a title match for belts that no one cares about get over, so we’ll just break the rules all will-nilly. Sasha was great here, but I’m really not looking forward to this match because my choice of outcomes is either more of Sasha & Bayley being annoying, or tag team partners who hate each other.

ADAM PEARCE & ALSO DREW GULAK ARE LOOKING FOR BRAUN STROWMAN- bad
Drew wants revenge on Braun for attacking him for no reason last week. He finds Braun and hits him in the back with a chair. Braun no-sells it, so before Braun can turn around, Gulak tosses the chair to Pearce and then runs away. Braun wants to fight Roman Reigns. Pearce asks him to sign a contract that will allow him to do just that… so of course Braun tells Pearce that he won’t sign it unless Pearce gives him a match with Gulak right now. That’s kind of dumb on Braun’s part, but whatever. Pearce agrees… so why does Drew vs. Braun not need a contract but the three-way title match does?

ZAYN, CESARO, & NAKAMURA BACKSTAGE- Cesaro & Nakamura were upset because Sami didn’t so much as call them. A fair point.
Cesaro points out that they won the titles without him. Sami claims it was part of his plan. He says that he forgives Nakamura for challenging for the fake IC Title because he didn’t know Sami was back. Cesaro and Nakamura tell him to scram so they can finish the conversation they were having.
This segment was well-executed, but based on everything we’ve seen tonight, we seem to have multiple fault-lines here (Sami and the team, Sami and Nakamura, Cesaro and Nakamura), and I’m not really sure who winds up as the babyface. Maybe Nakamura, as he is the only wrong who hasn’t really done anything wrong or unreasonable in this situation, but that would be splitting up the tag champs. We’ll see where they got with it, but there are quite a few situations going around on these shows where no one feels like the babyface, and that’s not good.

DREW GULAK vs. BRAUN STROWMAN- squash
After the match, Braun signed the contract for the title match at the PPV.

LUCHA HOUSE PARTY BACKSTAGE- good, then bad
Kalisto orders Lincé Dorado to “stay backstage and I’ll show you how it’s done.” Then he headed to the ring for his match. This part was very good.
After he left, Cesaro and Nakamura arrived to shove Lincé and Gran Metalik down from behind, for what I think is the second week in a row of this same lame attack. If you want to show that LHP is more vulnerable when they’re not together, you shouldn’t have done this same thing last week when all three of them were there.

KALISTO vs. CESARO (w/Shinsuke Nakamura)- 3.75/10
This was fine for the time it got. As you probably predicted, the finish saw the rest of LHP run out after Nakamura got involved to try to take him out, only for this to distract Kalisto, resulting in him getting rolled up and pinned. I think Cesaro screwed this up by going for the pin too quickly, as there wasn’t much time between Nakamura’s interference and the other two arriving to take him for Kalisto to be distracted by their presence rather than by Nakamura hitting him. Even when rewinding it to watch it again, I still wasn’t clear on who he was yelling at when he was rolled up.
Once again, Kalisto and Lincé argued after the match, with Gran Metalik playing peacemaker.

ADAM PEARCE GIVES VINCE MCMAHON AN UPDATE- bad
He’s got the first two, “but every time I knock on Roman’s door, he’s not there.” This served no purpose other than for Vince to yell at Pearce in a very horse voice.
Why is needing to track Roman down even an issue? You’ve been advertising the contract signing for this match since Raw four days ago. Why didn’t you fax a copy of the contract over to any of these guys between now and then? Or set up a time to come and meet Roman so he could sign the thing.

ALEXA BLISS! WALKS IN ON NIKKI CROSS & TAMINA TALKING ABOUT HER- TERRIBLE!
Why is Tamina so concerned about Alexa? Isn’t Tamina a heel?
Alexa showed up and was all friendly. Nikki Cross points out that she hasn’t seen Alexa wear her hair up in pigtails before. Um… she used to do it all the time. When she was a heel. And I thought that’s what they were getting at when Alexa said she had been thinking of doing a “half-and-half” dye-job on the pigtails (think her old heel Harley Quinn look), but that was me giving them WAY too much credit, as the reason Nikki doesn’t like this hair style is that it reminds her of The Fiend. Yes, really.
Alexa tells her not to be ridiculous, and I’ve got to agree. Then Alexa goes on this rant about how Nikki isn’t being a good best friend and Alexa grabs the mug that she gave Nikki and smashes it on the ground and storms out. Alexa’s behavior here was straight out of some sort of cliché “if your friend is acting differently, it’s a sign he or she may be on DRUGS!” video that they used to make us watch in school.

SHEAMUS, MIZ, & MORRISON BACKSTAGE- bad
They were goofy and made fun of their opponents-

ADAM PEARCE KNOCKS ON ROMAN’SLOCKER ROOM DOOR AGAIN- Whoa! Either Roman’s locker room has its own waiting area, or Roman’s locker room is just a hallway with a couch in it (in which case it’s not really even a locker room at all).
Roman wants to read the contract before signing it. That’s fine on Roman’s part, but it makes WWE look dumb for not sending it to him to look over beforehand. Of course, the real reason for this is because they felt they needed a hook to keep people around past the utterly pathetic main event they put together in which only one of the six wrestlers can even be seen as being in the upper midcard. And I have to ask… is this really an effective hook? We all know he’s going to sign the f*cking contract, so why should anyone stick around? With me, it’s because I’m basically an addict. When I’m done with this I’m going to binge the rest of wXw Shotgun 2020, and then see if I can fit in two of Payback, wXw Shortcut to the top, or yesterday’s New Japan show before I go to sleep tonight, and then watch the third of those, the show for my September “This Day in History Review Series” and try to finish Evolve 7: Aries vs. Moxley on my day off from work tomorrow.

BIG E. & HEAVY MACHINERY vs. SHEAMUS, THE MIZ, & JOHN MORRISON- 4.5/10
Stuff happened for a while. Sheamus got upset because the referee didn’t see him tag in because he was distracted with Big E. and Otis, so yelled at his teammates and walked out, giving the babyface team a numbers advantage. That was exceedingly stupid. What’s the end-game here? To turn Sheamus babyface? WHY? And how does this help that? Who would want to cheer for someone who gets upset at the drop of a hat? (Speaking of hats, remember that time Sheamus’ hat gave Jeff Hardy magical powers. Was that even two months ago? Because it’s been completely forgotten by now. So yeah. That was totally a smart thing to do.)
The babyfaces had the numbers advantage, so they won. That doesn’t really make them look very good, and it’s hard to see how this can be seen as a real victory for Big E. over Miz.

WILL ROMAN REIGNS SIGN THE CONTRACT?- newsworthy
Roman starts to talk, but some idiot decided that even though we were abruptly cutting to the next segment, it was best to do a fade-out for Big E.’s music, so it was hard to hear what Roman was saying. I had raise the volume and stand very close to my TV to find out that Roman had some changes he wanted made, and said he would only sign the contract if the changes were made. You see… THIS is why we don’t leave things like this until less than forty-eight hours before the PPV starts.
Then Roman vowed to win back the title that he never lost in the first place. That’s a great story right there, but the problem is that it loses its power when Roman is already back for an ENTIRE YEAR (February to February) and doesn’t ever go for a world title, or even bring up the idea of wanting the damn belt!
Oh, also Roman is with Paul Heyman now. He lets us all know this by giving Heyman’s “that’s not just a prediction; that’s a spoiler” line. When Roman started to give the line, Pearce’s eyes went wide in surprise, and then camera pulled back to reveal that Paul was sitting right there… which begs the question of how the hell Pearce was so surprised by this if Paul has been SITTING RIGHT THERE THE WHOLE TIME?!

Okay, so you’ve got a hook for the PPV… but once again I am forced to ask “who is the babyface here?” It’s obviously not Bray/The Fiend. It’s not Braun, who is attacking people for no reason and telling us all that he’s evil now, and Roman came off kind of like a dick here, and has also now aligned himself with a heel manager.


This was a bad episode of Smackdown full of some utterly baffling booking decisions. I appreciate that they’re trying to shake things up, but the way they are going out doing it is completely incomprehensible.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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