THE DIRT SHEET- very bad
Miz and Morrison talk a lot. The short of this is that Miz got Mandy Rose traded to Raw (rant forthcoming). He says he did this not to be vindictive, but to help Otis focus on cashing in MITB, which Miz says Otis has missed several chances to do. Miz and Morrison then start to talk about Otis and Mandy like this means that they’re broken up, saying that Mandy is “over” Otis already, and they say that maybe she’ll get back together with Ziggler.
A few things here:
1. Once again we show that WWE has no idea what a “trade” is, as in order for something to be a trade, the other side has to get something back!
2. They also have no idea how these things work in the world of sports that they are trying to emulate. You NEVER hear that a player was just “traded” to another team without hearing what the first team got back!
3. Miz said he was able to do this because he has earned the trust of the fine folks at USA and Fox. Miz’s logic here was pathetically see-through that it must mean that in kayfabe, the people who run USA and Fox are gullible morons.
4. I love how WWE goes to this “USA vs. Fox” thing whenever they want to play into this “it’s a competition” sports-like thing, but ignore it in every other situation. We were told that USA and Fox were the ones drafting the rosters and they’re now apparently the ones making trades, why aren’t they the ones running the show? It makes no sense that they’d want to compete against each other to try to form the better roster but then want the same person to the matches together on both shows.
5. Yes, what Miz is doing is very petty, but it’s really not that bad. Under normal circumstances this would mean that they would be on different shows and home at different times (assuming they live together) and on different house show loops so they wouldn’t see each other very much, but because of COVID, that’s not happening. There is no travelling. They can be in the same place as much as they want to me, minus the three hours a week that Mandy has to be at Raw and the two hours a week that Otis has to be at Smackdown.
Anyway, Otis charged out to the ring to attack them and it looked very bad. Otis took them both down. Miz tried to escape while Otis was dealing wit Morrison but apparently Tucker had snuck through the non-crowd to be in the perfect place to stop him. Tucker threw first Miz and then Morrison into the ring to beaten up by Otis some more. Otis completely obliterated both Miz and Morrison here all by himself so where is the heat?
This did absolutely nothing for me. Not only did it fail to get heat, but Otis didn’t come off as likable at all. Yeah, Miz said some douchy things, but Otis should know that Mandy isn’t going to run off and start screwing Ziggler just because they went on a date or two six months ago. And if he doesn’t realize that, then maybe Mandy should break up with him, because- as I noted above- Miz’ maneuvering only forces them to be apart for five hours a week, and if Otis doesn’t trust her not to run off and start screwing other dudes at any moment he can’t keep an eye on her, then I’m worried that this is going to wind up like Savage and Elizabeth with Otis locking Mandy in a closet whenever he has to take his eyes off of her. Is that an exaggeration? A bit. But Otis does come off as a cartoonish man-child, and these statements by Miz getting to him this bad do make that seem like a possible direction his behavior might take.
Oh my G-d it’s not over. Otis grabs Miz and beats him up some more, then rips his clothes off so he has to run to the back in his tighty-whities. Michael Cole wants to know “how can you not laugh at that?” Well, Cole, (read as: Vince), it’s because we’re not seven-years-olds
MIZ & MORRISON BACKSTAGE- bad
Morrison doesn’t like this but Miz insists that everything is going according to his plan. Kayla Braxton comes by to ask Miz if he regrets “aggravating Otis.” He pulls out his phone and calls someone and asks “did you see it? Was it enough?” Then he smiles and leaves.
I don’t know the specifics of what is going on here, but it obviously involves Miz manipulating some higher-up, which will result in Miz being able to wield heelish power… which babyface Adam Pearce (or Triple H or Stephanie McMahon for that matter) will make no effort to counter.
MICHAEL COLE PUTS OVER THE THUNDERDOME- It’s a been a month. You’re not selling anyone new on this stupid thing. And I will argue that it is, in fact, not a more “immersive viewing experience” than normal because with this, the people are reacting slower than they would if they were live. It’s also painfully obvious that there is a lot of coaching going on.
Making this even dumber is the fact that what Cole actually called it was “a more captivating and immersive viewing experience than anything in the entire world,” which is a statement so ridiculous it’s not even worth commenting on.
GRAN METALIK (w/Lucha House Party) vs. CESARO (w/Shinsuke Nakamura)-
We were shown a video from earlier today with Kalisto and Lincé Dorado arguing over which of them should give Gran Metalik advice. They managed to do this in such a way that 1) it sounded completely phony, and 2) I wasn’t even sure what point either guy was trying to make. It seemed like they were arguing over who should be allowed to give him advice rather than doing the intelligent thing and have them give him contradicting advice. That way they’re both actively trying to help him instead of arguing with each other about something petty. This made it look like they don’t respect each other enough to think that the other might have been something worth pointing out, which is not what the situation should be with a unit that has been together for three years!
Cesaro and Nakamura got to cut an in-set promo and it wasn’t very good, either.
Nakamura became possibly the first non-“fan” person we’ve seen on WWE actually wearing a mask. A COVID mask, I mean. Obviously Rey Mysterio Jr. and Lucha House Party wear masks. And The Fiend. Also, Retribution. Asuka also has a mask but she just holds it in front of her face instead of wearing it.
The announcers pushed the Lucha House Party story as Kalisto got injured, and while he was off, the other two “found success as a tag team.” I don’t know if this is true or not and I don’t have the time to take too much of a deep dive into the results (if anyone else wants to, Kalisto was injured in December and came back in mid-August), but I can tell you for certain that it absolutely doesn’t feel true, which means that it either isn’t true, or that it is true but WWE has done such a poor job of getting that message across with their booking that the fact that it actually is true is 80% irrelevant.
Lincé and Kalisto annoyed the referee so he ejected them from ringside. The match went on for several more minutes, with Gran Metalik in control of a good chunk of it. He hit a top rope hurricanrana, then went for a moonsault but Cesaro got his feet up, then pinned Metalik cleanly. This did absolutely nothing for any story here, as the Lincé and Kalisto’s bickering in no way contributed to Metalik’s loss, them bickering doesn’t do anything for the story because we already knew they’ve been bickering, and champion Cesaro beating PPV challenger Metalik clean here actually makes the match at the PPV less interesting, because it reinforces that Lucha House Party can’t actually beat the champs without the Street Profits distracting them (Since 8/4, LHP have lost a tag title match cleanly, and Cesaro is now 3-0 in singles matches against LHP, two of them being totally clean and the third being one where Kalisto got distracted by his own teammates. Nakamura is 0-1 against them).
I cackled at Graves and Cole taking a shot at Vince with Graves’ comment about how it’s hard to concentrate on your job with too many people yelling at you, and Cole saying that “sounds very familiar.”
KAYLA BRAXTON INTERIVEWS JEY USO- bad
He says that Paul Heyman told him that Roman stealing his pin last week was just a “miscommunication.” Okay… how about the fact that Roman wasn’t at ringside for a large portion of the match? I mean really! Is Jey a moron? Does he really not see what’s going on here?
And either way, he needs to change the way he cuts his promo. He sounds way too happy for someone about to have a violent street fight.
MATT RIDDLE VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- HORRENDOUS!
This broke any faith I had that they wouldn’t f*ck Riddle up. This has to be one of the worst things I’ve seen on WWE TV in a while. They managed to make him look like a completely uncool cartoon goof.
A MOMENT OF BLISS WITH SPECIAL GUEST NIKKI CROSS- a mixed bag
This was really two segments. The first one was building up Nikki’s title shot at the PPV, and that was great. Bayley explained to us why she would win this time when she has lost to Bayley so many times before (now that there is no Sasha to interfere, so it will be a fair fight, and Nikki knows she can beat Bayley in a fair fight), then cut a great, fiery babyface promo on Bayley.
The second part of the segment was Nikki asking Alexa why she hit her with Sister Abigail and then walked out of their match last week. This was not so good.
Alexa started off by explaining that didn’t know what came over her and she feels a change coming but can’t explain it. This was a fine start, but then Lacey Evans came out and interrupted them and gave an utterly ridiculous reason for why she lost last week (Alexa walking out threw her off). I’m usually fine with heels having bullsh*t excuses for things, but this was just stupid. The bigger problem, though (and, undoubtedly, part of the reason why Lacey coming out her with a bullsh*t excuse wasn’t something I was willing to dismiss as simply being heel here), was the fact that it felt like the real reason Lacey came out was to prevent Alexa and Nikki from going farther into that discussion than the plot wanted them to go (if Lacey was coming out here to claim that Nikki’s win was unfair, why didn’t she come out when that win was the topic of the discussion), and any time a character’s actions feel like they are being driven more by the needs of the plot than by the character’s own motivations, you’ve screwed up as a storyteller.
Barbs were exchanged, and Nikki blew her nose on Lacey’s handkerchief because she’s gross and has the maturity of a nine-year-old. Fortunately, both women were already in their gear so that they didn’t have to run to the back during the short commercial break to change for…
NIKKI CROSS vs. LACEY EVANS- 3.75/10
Alexa Bliss! was on commentary during this match. She has a new podcast that they plugged. If it’s not a fully kayfabe thing, I really don’t like them plugging it. The announcers spent more time talking about this than they did about Alexa’s mysterious actions last week.
Lacey Evans brought a bottle of hand-sanitizer into the ring and sprayed it in Nikki’s eyes right in front of the referee. Somehow, this was not a DQ. Fortunately, Nikki seemed to have recovered astonishingly quickly, as she came back and won the match within two minutes, not selling her eyes at all.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Lacey crawled over the announcers’ table, where Alexa smirked at her. Lacey yelled something about The Fiend at Alexa, who got a far-off look in her eyes, calmly got up, hi Lacey with Sister Abigail, then walked away. So I guess saying “The Fiend” is Alexa’s trigger word that turns her into assassin. Good to know.
PAUL HEYMAN NARRATES A VIDEO PACKAGE ABOUT HOW GREAT ROMAN REIGNS AND HIS FAMILY ARE- very good
SASHA BANKS PROMO- bad
Sasha was way too over dramatic. She talked up how much her relationship with Bayley meant to her, but she incorporated the Performance Center into it in this weird “sacred ground” kind of way that came off as cheesy and overdramatic. I seem to remember them making a similar mistake with Charlotte and Becky in 2017.
The way the PC was incorporated was the sort of thing that I’m sure they liked because they thought it was really artistic, but I think it failed because Sasha was talking about all of these things she and Bayley said and did that 1) the audience never saw, and 2) contradict the kayfabe history of their relationship in NXT (they were never friends. Bayley was always a babyface and Sasha was always a heel). It also went on WAY too long before actually getting Sasha being angry at Bayley… or at least I assume she was trying to be angry, but she didn’t really sound it. She sounded like she was determined and like she was someone who had been kicked to the curb, but based on the attack we saw, Sasha should have been screaming bloody murder and vowing to rip Bayley’s limbs off and smash her head in with them.
This promo also lacked any sort of mea culpa. If this had been the fiery “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!” promo then you can put off on doing that for now, but if you’re going to have Sasha be so reflective, you really should have her reflect on her own behavior, too, and promise to be better, because at the moment, Nikki Cross is really the top babyface in this division, as I have yet to be given any real reason to like Sasha. Yes, Bayley turned on Sasha, but if the whole set-up to this was that they were both using each other then it’s hard to get upset at Bayley for doing something to Sasha that Sasha was presumably planning on doing to her at some point.
Then Bayley attacked Sasha from behind. A bunch of small geeks we had never seen before rushed in to tell her off, and this time Bayley listened. Why? Don’t tell me she doesn’t want to hurt Sasha badly, because she was going to Pillmanize her neck again, and Sasha is already in a neck brace. And even if you ignore that issue, the attack itself established nothing and didn’t accomplish much more than that, either. If you wanted Sasha off TV again, all you had to do was explaining that she is being kept off until her neck is more healed. Isn’t that exactly what Pearce tried to do to Drew on Raw last week?
After a commercial break, we STILL haven’t been able to get any medical personnel to Sasha.
AJ STYLES vs. SAMI ZAYN- 6.75/10
Sami complained about not being introduced as the IC Champion. How has Adam Pearce not said something to him about this? AJ jumped Sami from behind to remind us that this was a heel vs. heel match.
These guys had a very good match while still trying to not do too much. Sami got caught pulling the tights on a pin and argued with the referee, allowing AJ to roll him up for the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Jeff Hardy attacked both guys after the match as revenge for him getting attacked by both of them in recent weeks. Jeff used a ladder in the beat-down. He then cut a promo saying that he was tired of this IC Title situation and offered to defend the title against both of them in a ladder match. G-d forbid we go an entire PPV without a gimmick match.
OTIS IS GETTING SUED- ATROCIOUS!
Heavy Machinery were backstage. Someone came up to Otis, handed him papers, and told him he had been served. Otis, being a dumbf*ck, thinks this means he is going to be given food.
A commercial break gave Tucker time to read the document. Tucker, not Otis, even though it’s Otis being sued, because… umm… because Otis can’t read? I’d buy that.
Miz and Morrison are suing Otis for creating an unsafe work environment, causing emotional distress, wanton destruction of personal property and “ Money in the Bank negligence.” They are giving Otis one week to forfeit MITB to them or else they will move forward with this lawsuit. The fact that “Money in the Bank negligence” is included in there should have tipped off even someone with a quarter of a brain that this was not a real lawsuit, but fortunately for Miz and Morrison, they’re dealing with Heavy Machinery here, so that wasn’t a problem.
SHEAMUS & CORBIN BACKSTAGE- bad
They’re talking to each other about how they’re going to beat up Roman and Jey in the main event. The security guard who set the trap for Big E. two weeks ago- somehow still employed- comes over to Sheamus, who thanks him and tells him he’s got his back if he ever needs anything. The security guard then told Sheamus that his car was being towed, so Sheamus ran off with him
Sheamus found a guy in a security hat standing with his back to him and demanded to know where is car was. It was obvious just from his frame that this was Big E., but Sheamus didn’t notice and just kept asking him questions. Big E. then turned around and attacked Sheamus. On the bright side, at least they had Big E. attack Sheamus face to face. On the not so bright side, Big E. took a HUGE pointless risk there by standing with his back towards Sheamus and hoping that Sheamus wouldn’t recognize him.
Big E. threw some punches at Sheamus… and then just let him run away. That was kind of stupid. Speaking of stupid, that security guard was an idiot for hanging around, as Big E. rightfully turned his wrath on him. Big E. beat the sh*t out of this man, as well he should have. He gave him a belly to bell through the windshield, they locked him in the trunk. Then Adam Pearce came by and ordered Big E. to leave. Why? He seems fine, and no one told Sheamus he had to leave after he did the same thing to Big E. Or Bayley when she did it to Sasha.
This was mostly not good. I’ve gone through the logical issues with it, but I also think that bringing Big E. back this soon was a big mistake. It’s yet another example of what seems to be the complete and total cheapening of what should be big injury angles in WWE by having people come back WAY too soon. First Drew, then Sasha, now Big E., and I’m sure there are more coming, as WWE seems to love their damn ambulances so much.
THE MYSTERY BLONDE FROM LAST WEEK IS STILL GETTING DRESSED- hurry it up, lady!
ROMAN REIGNS PROMO- good
I liked the ambiguously babyface/heel nature of this. We know that Roman’s a heel, but he’s saying babyface things in a way that works because you know he believes them.
SAMOAN STREET FIGHT: Baron Corbin & Sheamus vs. Jey Uso & Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman)- 7/10
If this is a “Samoan street fight,” does that mean the match is happening in Samoa? Because that’s usually how that works. Otherwise it implies that there is a change to the rules from a usual street fight (because otherwise it’d just be a “street fight” or maybe an “Orlando street fight”), so if there is a change to the rules, I want to know what it is?
What this wound up being was a great brawl, and I really liked the finish where they let Jey get one over on Roman by coming off the top rope with the splash after Roman had hit a spear, with Roman having to scramble out of the way to not get hit. I also thought the post-match stuff was great. I found Jey’s little antic with the belt annoying, but it worked because it’s the sort of thing that fits in with his personality, and it really had me wondering whether Roman would attack him not. Instead Roman wound up hugging him, but that look in Roman’s eyes at the end has me thinking that Roman would much rather have punched him.
Despite a great main event, this was another very bad episode of Smackdown… and that’s without even having any Bray Wyatt bullsh*t on it.
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