SmackDown React-Down, 9/6: Participation Trophy

Welcome to the weekly SmackDown React-Down

Belated Edition

Sting: Darby Allin Is Always Thinking About Others And How To Make AEW As A Whole Better

Previously on The React-Down: SmackDown took all of the limitless potential unleashed by the glorious Miz (probably not an actual) shoot promo, crumpled it up in a little ball and set it on fire, then pissed on it to put it out, and what arose from the urine soaked ashes was a damn match with Dolph Ziggler.


This week is the go home show for the very first Brand Specific PPV of the New Era, Backlash.

Currently, they have 6 matches scheduled, and one of them is a match to see which one of the tag teams in that match will be in a different match later.

They might want to build a little intrigue, write a twist into the story, give people a reason to tune in away from the opening weekend of the NFL.

And, with one notable exception, they decided not to do any of those things.

Almost literally nothing happened.

Yes, the people who run SmackDown thought it would be enough to just show up.

This entire show gets a Participation Trophy.

Let's begin at the beginning:

Six Degrees of Separation.

Daniel Bryan starts off the night bringing out all the women in the division to talk trash to one another.

Nothing happens.

Carmella gets to be a bitch to everybody, not just the babyface girls, so that's cool.

And hey, look at that, they finally gave the uber-talented Alexa Bliss a microphone.

But apart from that, nothing happens.

Thanks for showing up, Smackdown.

Moving on.

Ziggler on Commentary is more deadly than Cholera.

Take it from me, who covered Main Event & Superstars through the entire month of June, when Dolph had nothing better to do than to sit behind the announce desk, there is almost nothing worse than Dolph Ziggler on Commentary.

It's not as bad as "The Old Day" but it's close.

Apollo Crews gets to look crazy athletic, case in point:

But it doesn't matter, because the end of this match was a foregone conclusion, and even if it wasn't, even if somehow Apollo had won, he wasn't getting added to the IC Title match or anything.

His victory would have changed nothing.

After the match, they continue the story of Miz being a coward, when he sends Maryse into the ring to get her husband's title belt from Dolph Ziggler.

If you keep saying that Miz is a coward, then only show him do cowardly things, thus proving what you're saying, that's not interesting.

That's the opposite of interesting.

I swear, Miz better kick the crap out of Dolph on Sunday or this would qualify as the biggest wasted opportunity in recent history.

Nothing happened here, either.

Thanks for showing up, SmackDown.

Moving on.

Bray-sop's Fables.

I like Bray Wyatt, and I know this was a steaming pile of dog crap disguised as a threatening monologue.

You can't book Bray to lose every feud he's in and also have him think he's a God.

Unless he's insane.

But he's not insane. He hasn't attacked anyone with a hot dog cart yet, and as we all know, that's the true definition of lunacy.

Thanks for showing up, Smackdown.

Moving on.

Six of one, half-dozen of the other.

This is a perfectly fine Six Woman Tag Match, and I am very much interested in seeing who comes out of Backlash as the new Smackdown Women's Champion.

But that's the problem. Nothing about this match made me more interested. I could actually feel my level of interest plateau-ing as the match continued.

A go-home episode before the PPV should make fans either want to see their favorites win even more than before, or want to see the bad guys lose even more than before.

The other weird thing about this whole set-up is that while I'm interested to see who might win, I really don't care who does win on Sunday.

As long as it's not Nattie.

Moving on.


Doing the Tag Tournament stuff out of order, but I think you'll see why when we get there:

Proud Papa.

This would have been the best thing on the show, but it technically wasn't on the show, so it doesn't count.

I want a spin off for little Mary Lou Slater who was born without a tongue. That little girl is as cute as a pail full of kittens.

Forgone Conclusion.

Believe it or not, The Hype Bros were starting to get over with the crowd. So let's kill any momentum they might have by having them stand in the way of everyone's favorite family man getting a contract. Not to mention standing in the way of the world's premiere Cheez Whiz Conoisseur becoming WWE Tag Team Champion.

We all knew that Heath and Rhyno were winning this match to get on the Backlash card. That was never in doubt.

There is less than zero suspense here.

Moving on, and now for the only segment in which something happened.

We say Uce! You say Oh No!

I figured that the Usos would win here, in a close battle, utilizing some slightly underhanded tactics, but hey, gotta get that win Uce.

Then they'd turn full heel on Slater & Rhyno at Backlash, to get maximum heat.

This, what they did instead of that, was fun to watch as it was happening, and gave us a glimpse of the Usos as dirtbag heels for the first time in forever.

The moves they used to injure Chad Gable were just wonderful:


Double ouch.

And at the time, we all thought, "Oh, Alpha's going to be at a disadvantage on Sunday, and they can use that to tell the in-ring story."

Nope. Instead, later, we get Shane McMahon announcing that Gable will be out for 2-4 weeks and they've been pulled from Backlash.

Who will replace them in the match against SlaterRhyno? The winner of a match between The Hype Bros (who just lost to SlaterRhyno like FIVE MINUTES AGO) and The Usos, who are the same team that INTENTIONALLY INJURED AMERICAN ALPHA.

A Heel Tag Team, being rewarded, BY A BABYFACE AUTHORITY FIGURE, for assault with intent to maim, that's a new one even for the 'E.

Now, does anyone actually think the Hype Bros are going to beat the new heel Usos on Sunday to get another shot at SlaterRhyno?

Rusev, do you think that the Hype Bros are going to win that qualifying match on Sunday?

Yeah, me neither. I will also say no to that.

So if your plan was have the Usos face SlaterRhyno all along, why not have them win the match with American Alpha, then continue the beat down after the match?

That way you get to where you're going without the GM and the Commissioner having to step in and make some stupid decision on how to replace American Alpha.

So congratulations, Smackdown, you finally did something.

It didn't make any f*cking sense, but you did it. Good for you.

Moving on.

Storytime with Randy.

Moving on.



A swift kick to the balls.

That's what the video leads to, and that's what this episode feels like.

The saddest thing about this is that if this was the Dean Ambrose we got all the time, he'd be my favorite guy on the roster. He's the most natural guy in the company on the mic. That counts for a lot.

"We don't give out trophies for the face that comes in second place" is a great line.

Hell, that whole rapid fire section about how when you fight him, it's not a wrestling match, its a battlefield, he drags guys to their limits, underwater where they can't breathe, all that stuff was excellent.

It was bullsh*t, but it was excellent.

Wrestling Dean Ambrose isn't a battlefield, it's 15 minutes with a First Grader in a Bouncy Castle.

I wish that wasn't the case, but it is.

So I'll never take him seriously against a guy like AJ Styles. And because AJ will have to sell for Dean's wacky lunatic offense, the match will not be believable. The match will suck.

And I don't want the match in which AJ Styles wins the WWE World Championship to be a match that sucks.

Nothing happens here.

It's two guys having a chat about how each man believes that he is the better man.

Even the kick to the balls doesn't really mean anything.

SmackDown thought they could just show up on Tuesday and get a trophy.

I hope they don't think that on Sunday night.

Until Next Time, I've Been Alex Pawlowski
and this is me watching Smackdown this week

You can follow me on Twitter @pawlowskithe4th

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