Hi everyone, this is David Spain here with what is going to be a first: a diet episode of the usual door-stopper review. I’m currently entertaining company, and so an in-depth look into a two hour episode of SmackDown is somewhat beyond my abilities at present. So, I present to you, in its place, the Ten Thoughts version.
- Survivor Series is becoming very interesting and personal with SmackDown Live‘s inferiority complex/genuine grievance. I liked Zayn and Owens making their presence felt, setting up a loss for SmackDown without taking anything away from anyone.
- Stop trying to make #UnderSiege happen. It’s not going to happen.
- Kingston’s new crossbody is an interesting choice of finisher. I know some wrestlers have big moves which are just transitions when other superstars do them, but this seems lack the wow-factor of the Trouble in Paradise. I’m also a little concerned about Zayn’s loss record when he’s supposed to be getting revitalised through his heel role; time will tell how that all pans out.
- Rusev is once again denied any meaning and momentum, and Randy Orton is reduced to a single finishing move. What about any of this did either of these two any favours? Rusev presented some intriguing match-ups: against American Hero Kurt Angle? Against Samoa Joe? Braun Strowman? I’d have loved to see it, and we just lost our best shot.
- Props to Ellsworth for being willing to look like that much of an asshole, and props to Becky for briefly bumping for the guy. Intergender matches used to be a fairly uncomfortable experience of men beating up women, and whilst a jester suffering wasn’t unheard of, this managed to be satisfying at the same time as being silly; I didn’t hate it, and I quite enjoyed Carmella’s moment as one of the girls.
- I get keeping the titles on the Usos: whilst I was looking forward to a Shield/Usos match (a disappointment definitely alleviated by the prospect of Shield/New Day, bay-beeeeeee), an Usos/Bar match is going to be just as off-the-hook. Still, why then make Gable and Benjamin look so good if they’re not representing the brand? They could have afforded the loss as they sit out the PPV, and a future title run would have solved all that.
- Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss is a hell of a better match than Natalya/Bliss could be, based more on the characters of the two women involved than wrestling ability. Charlotte’s pride against Alexa’s spite is going to be a great story, and I hope that’s what we get to see.
- Thank God…thank God…Jinder Mahal is no longer World Champion. The sky is brightening. I’m no longer dreading WWE Championship matches. The main event might actually be the main event again. And I love SmackDown: I loved it when I started watching it in the Ruthless Aggression era, with Lesnar and the SmackDown Six and the Cruiserweights. I loved it when I started reviewing it, at possibly its lowest point in history. I definitely love it now, with Styles and Owens and Charlotte and Becky and all the other amazing talents. But I felt almost embarrassed when Jinder Fucking Mahal came out with that Championship to put on either the worst match on the card or to cut the same terrible promo week after week. No part of that man’s title reign has been anything above mediocre: a reign so godawful it warped reality itself to bring the Great Khali back for a single night. I hope Jinder does well and improves, because this is probably his dream and he’s living that dream and I am genuinely happy for anyone who can do that. Maybe he’ll be able to learn and grow in a tag team, or get some well-needed seasoning in a US Championship storyline or something that doesn’t involve any titles but which has a strong narrative to work with. But I don’t want him near the WWE Championship until he deserves it, because we just sat through months of exactly that.
- And fair play to Jinder: that was probably his best match in recent memory. But fair play to AJ Styles: that was probably 80% his doing. Styles having the belt does rob me of the chance of seeing Brock Lesnar literally fuck Jinder Mahal to death whilst swatting away the Singh Brothers like flies, but I’d still take Styles/Lesnar over that in a heartbeat. SmackDown now has its best talent representing it at Survivor Series and going forward. My dream of Styles vs. Nakamura at WrestleMania just got a step closer to existing.
- Not quite related to this show, but we now have our line-up for Survivor Series: Orton, Nakamura, Roode, McMahon and Cena. Like I’ve said, I’d have been interested in Rusev and the potential match-ups we could have had with him, a lot of which have been done with Cena. And sure: Owens would have been a great talent if you could have trusted him, which I guess you can say about Zayn too if you ignore a loss record that’s longer than a big willy. But now we have what should be a great match in place, with the uncertainty coming from two major angles (forgive the pun, please): Kurt’s job and the fact that Zayn and Owens are probably going to go in for some major fuckery. All in all, I’m really excited for a PPV that genuinely seems poised to deliver on some amazing promises.
And just for funsies, here’s a list of what I’d love over the next random period moving forward. Some are likely; some are total wish-fulfilment. Humour me.
- Shield vs. New Day. Almost certain at this point, barring injuries or other such stuff. The character clash would be so damn weird that I doubt it couldn’t work. The Shield just has to show up for a match with someone to get “this is awesome” chants, and nobody can make something work like the New Day. This could be the next Shield/Wyatt match, and we all remember how beautiful that was.
- Styles to go over Lesnar. I know: like hell. Lesnar is the Doomsday that needs a Superman to slay, and that Superman is going to be Roman Reigns if Vince has to write that script whilst being Julius Caesared by the entire IWC. But what an amazing statement if AJ Freaking Styles pinned Brock Lesnar.
- Becky Lynch as Women’s Champion. There are some hints that this could be in the future, unless Team Captain is as meaningless as it has been since the beginning of time in WWE. I’d happily sit through a few months of a Charlotte/Becky feud, particularly as it could be a programme with a lot of emotion and decent storyline to it. Becky’s always been my favourite, so having her reclaim her crown would make me even more invested in the Women’s Division.
- Carmella to literally never cash in Money in the Bank. Okay, this is kind of spiteful, but after Baron Corbin’s total waste of a goddamn year’s worth of briefcase potential, the only way this could be topped is if we see the timing on a contract to run out. Like, Carmella gets injured and has to sit out the last few months of the briefcase being active. Or she gets so invested in something else that she just forgets. I like Carmella, seriously, but this would be. So. Damn. Funny.
- Zayn and Owens to screw over Team SmackDown. This seems pretty likely, considering how the last few weeks has worked out. And the fallout would be absolutely incredible: everyone affected by the decision would be gunning for these two; they’d be the most despised heels in the entire locker room, and that would the environment in which this pair would flourish. Give them this opportunity and it will be an amazing storyline.
Okay, thanks for dealing with a severely reduced column; we’ll be back at full capacity next week!
Tags: AJ Styles, Jinder Mahal, smackdown live