Welcome to the weekly SmackDown React-Down, where I tell you the implications of all the happenings on the Blue side of things.
Previously, on The SmackDown React-Down: The Tuesday crew showed marked signs of improvement, but they tried to copycat the Orton #OuttaNowhere-ness with Brock showing up and it fell kind of flat. Also they should probably let the women have an actual match eventually. Also maybe quit highlighting the fact that American Alpha doesn't have any one to challenge them for the top spot in the Tag division. It makes you look bad. And also stop picking on poor Heath Slater.
Did they address any or all of these issues? Let's find out.
But first, if you missed my Uncooked Raw Reaction from yesterday,
in which the wheels came off and the show went careening off a cliff, you can read that HERE.
I don't really have a lot to say about this episode, guys.
But that's a good thing.
There's a saying in the theater world: "No notes are good notes." Meaning, if the director doesn't tell you what you're doing wrong, just keep doing what you've been doing, because you're doing it right. If you screw up, the director will let you know. Until then, just keep not sucking.
And that's what Smackdown did right this week, especially in comparison to that abomination on Raw Monday night. They didn't suck.
At this point, it's clear that Vince McMahon and the powers that be are considering Smackdown to be the "B" Show. But in this case, the "B" stands for "Better."
Let's get to the action.
I like Bray Wyatt. A lot. But it get hard to defend my affection for this nutjob when he comes out and cuts a rambling promo like he did last night. He called himself a God, like ten seconds after saying that ZIggler knocked him out by hitting his head on the steel turnbuckle, because Gods get knocked unconscious from a little conk on the noggin all the time. Zeus used to get knocked unconscious all the time. Look it up.
But the promo is delivered exceptionally well, and I like its core message: Bray Wyatt is not going away. Bray Wyatt will not be ignored. Bray Wyatt believes that he runs Smackdown. It's his world, y'all are just living in it. Now it's up to creative to give him something to do to back those words up.
Dean comes down to interrupt Bray, sounding a lot more coherent than he did the night before on Stone Cold's Podcast. Everyone's been telling me they thought he looked "high," but I just don't see it.
Bray invites him to shut up and get in the ring, but Dean declines. So Dolph comes down and takes up Bray on his offer. Wait, I thought Dean was the reckless one? Isn't he supposed to be a "Lunatic?" I like this slightly heelish, more pragmatic Dean. And Dolph is great as the babyface with a chip on his shoulder. Still a heel turn possible for Ziggles, though.
Deano intervenes to save Dolph and gets beaten down as a result, even eating a errant Ziggler superkick when Bray shoves him in the way of Ziggler's boot.
This is all to set up a tag match for the main event later in the night. It's the "Can the two PPV competitors co-exist to take out a common enemy?" special.
The Lunatic Laughs Last.
The match is fine. No major problems with it, other than Dean almost killing himself on a botched Suicide Dive.
Rowan has improved a lot over the years. Still not great, but his spinning back roundhouse is definitely impressive for a man of his size:
He also is effective in those weird dark room Wyatt promos. All he's got to do is be huge and creepy and he carries it off really well. There is a funny moment in this week's promo where Wyatt says: "You've always been a good soldier, Rowan. Now I'm going to ask you to do what you do best," and I'm sitting on my couch at home going, "Take the pin?"
And yes, that's exactly what he winds up doing, after a Ziggler Zuperkick. But because you just can't trust a guy who wears stretchy jeans, Dean has the last word on the evening's affairs.
I am interested in seeing Dolph vs Dean for the title. Congratulations, SmackDown you did it.
I'd be a hell of a lot more interested in seeing Dolph vs Dean vs Bray for the title, and so would everybody else. Making the match a Triple Threat would make it stand out on the stacked Summerslam card, which could only help the Smackdown brand at this point. It adds an extra layer of intrigue, too. For every fan who thinks there's no way they're putting the belt on Dolph, there's another who totally believes that it should finally be Bray Wyatt's turn, and another who thinks Dean deserves at least a six month reign on top of the Tuesday night mountain.
They won't do it, though, because it's smart and easy, and they don't do those things.
What they will do is have Bray interfere with Dolph vs Dean at Summerslam, attacking them both and setting up a Triple Threat for the title at Backlash on September 11, the first Smackdown-exclusive PPV. Which honestly, isn't a terrible plan.
My hope is that Luke Harper is well enough to participate in the interference, because a full strength Original Wyatt Family would be great as the top heels on Smackdown. Let Bray chase the World Title, and put the Tag Belts on Harper & Rowan, let them play gatekeepers for the new kids, American Alpha. (more on them in just a bit)
I know I said I was upset they weren't letting the women wrestle on Smackdown, but that doesn't apply to Eva Marie. I hope she never wrestles a match on SmackDown. This is gold. Next week have her present the ref with a doctor's note saying she has Laryngitis or something. The heat being created for her is FANTASTIC.
You know what else is fantastic? We finally got to see Alexa Bliss debut! I wish they let her show off her full arsenal of moves, but still, good for her. And I'm all about seeing her in a program with Becky Lynch.
She wins because Eva Marie RE-ENTERS, complete with DIFFERENT NARRATION, and distracts Becky just as she was going all "Straight Fire" on Alexa. To everyone's credit, Alexa didn't just win with a roll-up. She hit her sick Chokeslam STO and then capped it off with Twisted Bliss.
More of this please.
TWO Women's Matches? Is it my birthday?
Yes, they finally gave Carmella her in-ring debut as well, paying off that weeklong feud with Nattie, and Carmella picked up a submission victory, clean as a whistle, using a great maneuver with a terrible name, The Code of Silence.
Like, we get it. She's from New York. Where the Mafia is. But does she have mob ties?
Hold up. Does she? Because we could totally make this work. You've already ruined her "Princess of Staten Island" character by splitting her up from Enzo & Cass, which was the only thing that made that gimmick work in the first place. Her NXT gimmick is never going to get over on the main roster, especially if her rhyming entrance promo doesn't get a hell of a lot better real quick.
So bring in some actor to play a Mob consigliere, like Duvall in the Godfather, who tells her "You father is very disappointed in you. This Moonwalking, this Trash Talking, it has to stop. And "Always ready to go"? Go where? None of this makes sense. Make your father proud. Show the world the real Carmella." So her father, who we should never get to meet, is like a shady Mafia Don, and the "Princess of Staten Island" can refer to her being the youngest daughter of the leader of one of the Five Families. And you can alter her character to be like a femme fatale hitwoman.
Boom. Now "Code of Silence" is a dope name for her finisher.
You can have that one for free, WWE. But the next one is going to cost you.
How To Promote A Match, Part 2.
This video package is stellar. It's almost as good as the one about Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar that aired on Monday night. The people who produce these things for the 'E deserve a raise. Hell, they deserve a company car and their mortgage paid off.
This is how you promote a match on your second biggest PPV of the year. I mean, Cena's still going to win LOL, but now I can't wait to see Cena win LOL.
This is also how you keep Cena and Styles fresh in our minds when they're half a world away co-headlining the Australia and New Zealand tour, which is also why there's no Usos and no Apollo Crews on the show.
And speaking of the #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Title...
Better late than never?
Renee Young did an interview with Miz and Maryse where they showed the above vignette for Apollo Crews, something they probably should have down to build up the kid with the incessant smile back in April when he debuted. The Miz didn't seem too concerned about Apollo; he was more interested in his wife. As a matter of fact, when they threw it back to the studio after the vignette, this was happening.
The Miz and Maryse are doing some of the best Arrogant Heel work since Rick The Model Martel.
It's just too bad they didn't pay off this terrible Scooby-Doo sketch where Scooby locks Miz in the Mystery Machine and steals his brand new Audi, by making a big reveal that it was Apollo in the suit all along. They could have pre-taped it before Apollo had to hop a plane to Auckland.
Now that would have at least given Apollo a little edge. Oh well. Missed opportunity.
How do you say #ViperVille in Spanish?
It's Villa del Víbora. Thanks, Google Translate!
This match is pretty good, actually. I especially like Orton taking serious punishment from the Del Rio chairshots, then shrugging it off to deliver the RKO.
When they first made the match for Summerslam with Lesnar, I was down on it because I thought Orton was made of glass, and wouldn't want to take a bunch of suplexes. He may not want to take those suplexes anyway, but he's definitely not made of glass.
Plus, I don't know if you heard, but Lesnar "sh*ts f*cking opponents." He SH*TS them.
IS IT SUMMERSLAM YET?
That's the oppostite of Stiff Competition, right? Cuz that's what I was going for.
Jordan and Gable crush a Looney Tunes Cartoon Tag Team come to life.
I first watched this match on mute, and this is what I imagined the commentary to be.
Mauro: "Short Fat Bald Guy makes the tag to Unimpressive Generic Guy, Unimpressive Generic Guy gets suplexed out of his shoes! These two youngsters look about as impressive as insert current pop culture reference here, wouldn't you say, JBL?"
JBL: "They're pretty great but not as great as The Von Erichs, Maggle!"
Mauro: "We've been over this, John. My name is Mauro."
JBL: "That's what I said, Maggle!"
Mauro: "No. Sound it out. Mahr-"
JBL: "-Gull. MARGLE!"
Mauro: "Oh, for the love of ..."
Otunga: "I'M HERE TOO!"
Anyway, the main thing about this match is that The Ascension, The Vaudevillains and The Hype Bros all come out to get a closer look at the new kids on the block. (Not to be confused with The New Kids On The Block. That would be weird.) Then after A.Alpha makes quick work of the jobbers, everyone gets in for a brawl, but the Hype Bros are good guys, so they just attack The Ascension because wrestling. Alpha cleans house on the V'Villains because Gotch and English are effectively as important as Short Fat Bald Guy and Unimpressive Generic Guy.
This segment was supposed to convey that American Alpha has a target on their backs, but until there's some real competition that's not, y'know, flaccid, I don't think they have much to worry about.
A Guide To Lone Wolfing, Step 1:
Beat up guys who cost you stuff, especially shots at titles, and especially if they are half your size.
Seriously, this is a great way to keep heat on this feud for this week, and they only had to give it 30 Seconds.
It does seem like there's going to be an awful lot of matches on the Summerslam Pre-Show, though, doesn't it? Now, Kalisto will probably eke out a suprise win with a flash roll-up, but I don't care as long as Corbin beats the brakes off Kalisto after the bell. Keep building Corbin as the guy who murks dudes without regard for allegiances or heel-face alignments and I'm all in.
The Ballad of Heath Slater.
Earlier in the night, there was a segment where he tried to get Rhyno to take pity on him and lay down, just so he can feed his
two fourseven kids. It almost worked, but Rhyno has constituents to impress.
Then, in the match, Heath is so desperate to pay off his very nice above ground pool, he puts his feet on the ropes to try a pinfall, the ref sees it, Heath argues, and turns around right into Gore from Rhyno.
Afterwards, D-Bry and Shane-O Mac are going to reward him with a contract because, y'know, good effort, but Heath ruins that before it can begin.
This is great comedy, to be sure, but there's great pathos here, too. Look at his face when he realizes he's lost a shot at a contract.
"How am I going to explain this to Davey, Billy, Sally, Suzie, Deandre, Q-Bert and Heath Jr.?"
And he's right to be pissed at Bryan and Shane. There were 59 draft picks on July 23rd. Why not just draft Heath Slater, make it an even 60? Why bring in Rhyno and Jinder Mahal and
Shelton Benjaminand Curt Hawkins and Waylon Mercy probably too, when you have Heath Slater available? I'd leave the arena in a huff if it were me, and so would you.
Somebody, please. #SignHeathSlater. Dude deserves it.
And that's all for this week, Blue Team.
Smackdown is better than Raw. I can't believe it.
Sound off in the comments and tell me what I'm wrong about. Love me some constructive criticism.
And come back to Fightful tomorrow for my first ever combination NXT and CWC Reaction, which I am tentatively calling the Triple-Dub, or the Wednesday Wrestling Wreaction.
Until then, I've been Alex Pawlowski
and this is me creating a Go-Fund Me
for Heath's seven kids.
You can follow me on Twitter @pawlowskithe4th