BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 21st, '17, 16:13

BACKSTAGE OPENING BIT- bad.
We start with the four women who lost MITB standing in a line outside of Daniel Bryan’s office and arguing about whose “fault” it is that this happened? If you ask me it’s ALL of your faults because you all didn’t climb the ladder fast enough to win before this happened. But more importantly, WHO GIVES A SH*T WHOSE “FAULT” IT IS?! There is no way that determining whose “fault” this is will prevent it from happening in the future.
Daniel Bryan then came out and promised that he would listed to each of the women in turn, but first he wanted to hear Carmella and Ellsworth have to say. WHAT? Is Bryan an idiot? He shouldn’t need to listen to what any of them have to say because only a moron wouldn’t be able to figure it out already. This isn’t debate club or a student council meeting where everyone is coming up with their own ideas. The question at hand is a simple matter of the interpretation of one point of the rules of a Ladder Match. Either the rules specifically state you must climb up the ladder to retrieve the item to be declared the winner, in which case Carmella’s win should be voided and a rematch signed, or they don’t specify how have to come into possession of the item, in which case Carmella was the first competitor in the match to do so and is therefore the winner. What possible third position is there, never mind a fourth and fifth?
So yeah. We started off this show by making all of the women look stupid and catty, then made Daniel Bryan- the man who they have spent the past forty-eight hours tells us will return to solve all of our problems for us- look even stupider.
But on the bright side, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? (G-d, I hope so).

CARMELLA & ELLSWORTH PROMO- mostly good
Tom Phillips is bringing up the fact that the referees were not “unanimous in their decision” last night as a point of controversy about the women’s MITB match. WHO CARES IF THEY’RE UNANIMOUS OR NOT?! I’m not sure why there even were multiple officials out there during the match, but my general assumption is that in the event of a dispute between officials over a call, we follow the opinion of the Senior Referee. That’s the whole point of having a Senior Referee, isn’t it? And if there isn’t a Senior Referee on Smackdown then Shane and Bryan are incompetent, because that seems like a fairly important thing to have in case of just such an occasion.
Carmella complains because fans have been saying that she “disrespected a historic moment” and “made a mockery” of it and stuff like that. I hope that this is just heel lying because anyone saying that clearly didn’t want the match because it was quite obvious that this was not a premeditated plan on Carmella and Ellsworth’s part, so she really didn’t do any of that. The briefcase got thrown to her and she did the natural thing and caught it, thus making her (presumably) the winner.
She did also say that fans were claiming that she needed Ellsworth’s help to win, so good job Smackdown writing team. It took you to your third try, but you finally managed to find something to claim your fans are saying that doesn’t make them sound stupid.
Carmella actually cut a pretty great promo here (although her being bent out of shape about getting drafted last is a little silly when you look at the list of people who weren’t drafted, which includes Triple H, Undertaker, Samoa Joe, Nakamura, Asuka, Luke Harper, Bayley, and Nikki Bella among others, but don’t get me started on how little sense the mechanics of this roster split have made), until she went off the rails trying to hit what I’m sure are notes they insisted that she hit. Specifically the whole “there are rules in a Ladder Match” thing. This is a major pet peeve of mine. There are ALWAYS rules. Otherwise how would we know when someone won? “No Disqualifications” simply means that certain rules- i.e. the ones pertaining to disqualifications” don’t apply.
The other thing that bugged me here was her bit where she referenced other MITB matches that have had interference leading to the finish. That situation is not analogous to this one because in none of those cases did an interloper ever take down the briefcase. I’m going to give them a pass on this here because Carmella is a heel and this could well just be her trying to argue her case in a dishonest manner, but I’m bringing it up because, based on what the announcers have been saying, I’m getting kind of worried that the people in charge of this show don’t quite understand that the actual controversy is about whether or not someone who isn’t in the match should be able to unhook the briefcase rather than just about unfair (meaning legal but still spiritually unsportsmanlike) interference.

BRYAN & CHARLOTTE BACKSTAGE- It’s going to be a LOOOOOONG night, isn’t it?
Bryan tries to talk to Charlotte about a neck injury she apparently has. She instead (understandably) wants to talk about Bryan’s decision later. Bryan says that Carmella has a point: the match does not have disqualifications in it. Charlotte then argues that this should only apply to the licensed competitors in the match.
Does she have a head injury, too?
1. Interferences has always been a thing in various “no DQs” types of matches. That’s half of the reason why we have a cage for Cage Matches and Hell in a Cell: to allow a no DQs grudge match to occur without having to worry about people interfering to make the fight unfair. It’s the “no one gets in” part of “no one gets in; no one gets out.”
2. Even if we were to apply her stupid idea, it still wouldn’t matter because Ellsworth interfering in the match on Carmella’s behalf would not cause Carmella to be disqualified because CARMELLA IS IN THE MATCH. I mean… what does Charlotte want? For Ellsworth to be disqualified from a match he’s not even part of? If he has no chance of winning and no stake in the purse when what incentive would he have to avoid losing via this stupid disqualification?
The stupidity continues, with Bryan telling Charlotte “that’s a valid point.” NO IT’S NOT! For the exact reasons I just stated above!
Charlotte then whined about how “we were all excited to make history Sunday, and I guess we did.” Were you? Well maybe if instead of being excited about “making history” with big “female first” you had been excited about the chance to win something that all but guarantees you a championship, would have been a little bit more motivated and you might have fought harder and won the match. It’s like Carmella just got done saying: you should stop caring about this “girl power” stuff and start caring about YOURSELF. You want to inspire young girls and make your mothers proud and all of that stuff: BE A WINNER. Fight to the best of your ability and stay within the rules your journey and success will inspire others.
And how about that last bit there? The “and I guess we did” part. Well if you all set out “to make history” and you did make history (you did, after all, get to have your match) then are you so f*cking upset?

We’re getting Dolph vs. Nakamura tonight in yet another pointless match. We’ve seen these guys around each other for two straight months now. Can we please separate them?

NEW DAY PROMO- They just got screwed out of the tag titles, so of course they’re out here making jokes. Compare this to Charlotte, who, as dumb as her logic has been, believes that she was screwed out of a match, and she’s pissed off about it and demanding that the wrong be rectified.

BIG E. (w/the New Day) vs. JIMMY USO (w/Jey Uso)- 4/10
The Usos purposely get themselves counted out of a tag title match against New Day and Bryan and Shane book a f*cking SINGLES MATCH? It would be better to have them not in the same match. Then you could at least have New Day come out and cut a promo about it demanding a rematch. Booking a singles match is basically saying that the authority figures don’t actually care about any sort of fairness or justice, but they are perfectly willing to capitalize on the bullsh*t occurrence that happened last night in order to get ratings for a kinda-sorta grudge match on their television show. In other words, they’re slimy wrestling promoters. The problem with that is that BRYAN AND SHANE ARE BABYFACES.
For G-d’s sake there are TWO OF THEM! It wouldn’t take either one of them more than a minute to send out a Tweet or send a text message to inform the content people at WWE.com that they want to book a rematch for the tag titles, so why haven’t they done so yet? It doesn’t even have to be tonight. You could have had it announced that the match will take place at the next PPV and then there would be no problem with this match.
Or even better, you could do something that actually moves the story forward. Maybe have The Usos- in a match with someone else tonight and New Day can show up and The Usos would run away and then New Day could cut a promo about how The Usos are running away tonight, just like they did at the PPV. They had them beat at the PPV but the Usos chose to walk away and get counted out to retain their titles… so New Day want a rematch, and they want it in a match where those cowards can’t run away! (And, for bonus points, because you knew you were doing that dumb finish in advance you could have actually announced a match for The Usos on tonight’s Smackdown BEFORE the PPV, so you have an excuse for why the authority figures didn’t just book a rematch for tonight. If you’re worried about spoiling the results of the PPV, then have the Hype Bros. cut a promo after their win on the pre-show saying that they are due a tag title shot from the battle royale Mojo won a few months back when Ryder got hurt and thus they want a shot at whoever walks out of MITB with the belts on Smackdown. [And if you’re going to do that you could then do the above angle where New Day show up and The Usos run off, so now The Usos have run away and lost by count-out in two straight title matches, which would lead to the Hype Bros. also demanding a rematch and as well as blaming New Day for running their match, which would lead to a three-way at the July PPV where The Usos would try to avoid the other two teams, and right as New Day have the match won on the Hype Bros. The Usos would run in and steal the pin to set up a New Day vs. Usos blow-off at SummerSlam, which you could do in a cage, which would both play into the whole “Uso Penitentiary” thing and ensure that The Usos can’t run away. It took me about two minutes to think up that whole scenario, and I’m just some schmuck sitting on my couch at 4:35 am. There is an entire team of people who GET PAID TO DO THIS. If I can think this sort of basic thing up this quickly why can’t they?]).
The match was meh. Big E. won. The announcers were all talking about how about this was an important win for New Day in their hopes to “find their way back to a championship opportunity.” WHY SHOULD THEY NEED TO EARN A NEW ONE? THEY BEAT THE CHAMPIONS BY COUNT-OUT IN A TITLE MATCH. That alone should automatically earn you another title shot!

NATTIE & TAMINA INTERRUPTED BRYAN TALKING TO SHANE ON THE PHONE- also bad.
Nattie tries to suck up to Bryan. She apparently has a shoulder injury. My guess is that they’re trying to get over how grueling this MITB match was for these women by having them all have suffered injuries from it and we’re supposed to admire them for being so brave etc. etc. The problem, however, is that they NEVER do this for the men, so going out of their way to point out that the women all got hurt a lot worse than the men seem to when they do the same thing totally flies in the face of this whole “girl power” thing they’ve got going on by showing that the women are a lot more fragile than the men. Whoops.
Tamina finally gets annoyed and tells Dragon to make the right decision and make it soon because “if I have to listen to Carmella run her mouth one more time I’m going to put my foot in it.” Tamina was the only good part of this entire segment.
Bryan assures them he will have a decision very soon. Shouldn’t he have figured out what to do before they went on the air tonight? What has he been doing since Monday morning if not doing his damn job?

Free Agent John Cena returns in two weeks. If he’s a free agent then why is he retuning on Smackdown instead of on Raw the night before?

DASHA FUETES INTERVIEWS NAOMI- Naomi feels really bad for the other women because they worked so hard and yet someone else was the deciding factor in the match. So what makes this any different from any other interference finish? I don’t remember them telling me to feel sorry for Randy Orton when he lost because of the Singh Brothers last month, and that was a freakin’ WWE World Heavyweight Title match! I don’t remember them telling me I was supposed to feel sorry for Becky Lynch when Mickie James cost her the Smackdown Women’s Title, either. But this time is different, apparently, because this match was supposed to be “history-making.” But the history-making aspect of this match was that it was the first time women were competing in a Ladder Match in WWE, and the finish of this match has no bearing on the fact that they did indeed do that on Sunday. So what, exactly, am I supposed to feel so sorry for them about? If the answer is that we got a f*ck finish (and that should be the answer) then they need to come out and say that, and say that about every other f*ck finish we got, because if the end goal justice (in this case meaning every match being decided fairly) then all f*ck finishes are equally abhorrent because justice does not care what division the match took place in, what spot it’s in on the card or whether a title was on the line. If this was so terrible that we need Daniel Bryan to rectify things tonight then the same attitude needs to be applied to last night’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship, WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship, and WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship matches.
Naomi then goes on to say that she doesn’t care who winds up with the briefcase because she’ll retain her title. Then Lana showed up and said “what about me?” That’s right. Lana just quoted Raven.
Lana rightfully points out that she had their match last night won when Carmella out and caused her pointless distraction. Naomi then started to fervently deny this, and as a result our babyface champion came off looking like a gigantic hypocrite. She then said that she would give Lana another shot because she’s a “fighting champion.” Oh yeah? If you’re such a fighting champion then why did you refuse Lana’s initial challenge for a title match on last week’s show? And, now that I think about it, why did you go almost two months without defending your title?
Naomi then threatened to slap Lana so Lana left, and Naomi just smiled like the biggest f*cking jerk you’ve ever seen.

Oh my G-d I’m barely half an hour in?!

TOM PHILLIPS’ SIT-DOW INTERVIEW WITH RANDY ORTON- speaking of hypocrites, Randy Orton says that “Jinder crossed the line” by putting his hands on Randy’s family. This would be the same Randy Orton who has done similar things to John Cena, Triple H, Miz, and probably a few others I’m forgetting as well. Randy said he would “end Jinder’s career” and “break the Singh Brothers’ necks.” That’s a little extreme, but I get where Randy’s coming from. These people have wronged his family so he wants to hurt them. Then he said he would go to India to RKO all of Jinder’s uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents. That right there is first-class heel behavior: threatening innocent people. This, too, sucked. We’ve got to be heading for the worst show ever by this point, right?

It’s currently 5:30 am and I have to go to work in the morning. Maybe if I go to sleep the show will magically become good overnight?

Okay. I’m back.

DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA- 7/10
Wow. Maybe it worked!

DANIEL BRYAN & SAMI ZAYN BACKSTAGE- Bryan books Zayn vs. Corbin for next week. Yes, again. As Sami pointed out, he’s already beaten Corbin a bunch of times. What is there left for us fans to want to see? And, coming off of the events of last night’s PPV, the natural match to book seems to be Corbin vs. Nakamura, not Corbin vs. Zayn. And it’s nice that Bryan is able to book this match, but can’t be bothered to give the New Day the title match they most clearly deserve.
Then Becky Lynch showed up and Sami Zayn told us how sorry he was for Becky that there was a sh*tty finish and how brave and tough she is for competing in this match. This is the sort of thing that I would have been fine with or even liked in a vacuum, but on a show where this message has been repeated in such a heavy-handed way it comes across as both annoying and phony.

DANIEL BRYAN & BECKY LYNCH BACKSTAGE- this was actually pretty good. The most important things that set this apart from the other segments were 1) that Becky established that, unlike the other women in the match, she really did get screwed here as she was about to win the belt when Ellsworth tipped over the ladder, and 2) it wasn’t just Becky being upset at being screwed in this one match. She established a theme, tying the finish of the MITB match into a criticism of the way a lot of things have happened on Smakdown and using a natural and evocative metaphor to contrast that finish with the supposed “Land of Opportunity” that Smackdown claims to be. As someone who has been very critical of Shane and Bryan’s favorite little catchphrase Becky’s complains definitely resonated with me, although I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Becky herself has benefited from this on occasion as well. That being said, her emotion here felt very real, and thus I can certainly forgive Becky for not remembering that in this moment.
Bryan tells her that “it’s complicated” and Becky responds by asking him “is it really that hard to do the right thing?” This was good dialogue in a vacuum, but with the way this show has been presented, it kind of makes Daniel Bryan, the consummate babyface, look like sh*t. This really isn’t a complicated matter, and it shouldn’t be taking Bryan anywhere near this long to make a decision. If you’re so outraged by the finish then why is it so hard to just book a rematch?

They’re bragging that MITB was “the most social show on all of TV” on Sunday night. Yes. A lot of people were talking about your show. The problem is that every single one of them was saying “this show was terrible.”

KEVIN OWENS PROMO- he cut a promo claiming everyone ganged up on him last night. I hate this stupid whiny/delusional heel sh*t. He then says that he’s having an open challenge for the US Title open to anyone to anyone from Dayton. I figured we were going to get Kassius Ohno but AJ Styles came out instead. Kevin Owens pointed out that AJ isn’t from Dayton, so why is he out here?
Out comes Chad Gable, who Owens says isn’t from Dayton, either, but Gable says he just moved here this morning. He gave an address so of course I Googled it and it turns out that the address he gave is the address for this very building. So he’s lying. AJ tells the referee to ring the bell and the referee does, even though both AJ and the referee know that Gable is lying, too, since they would have had to drive here this morning. Owens’ open challenge must have been authorized by Bryan and Shane, or else they wouldn’t have advertised it before this commercial break, right? So that means that the rules Owens set out with Bryan and Shane’s approval need to be followed, and yet the referee is not doing that.
The referee orders the bell to be rung, without even removing the title belt or the microphone- both dangerous foreign objects- from Owens’ hands. Owens turns to yell at the timekeeper and the referee, and with Owens clearly not ready, babyface Chad Gable jumps him from behind. I’m not going to fault Gable too much here, as technically the bell did ring and Owens still decided to distract himself, but on the other hand it’s hard to blame Kevin Owens because why would he expect the match to really start if the referee hasn’t taken his foreign objects away?

WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Kevin Owens(c) vs. Chad Gable- 5.75/10
Despite getting jumped in the beginning, Kevin Owens managed to beat Chad Gable cleanly.

DANIEL BRYAN & THE HYPE BROS. BACKSTAGE- very bad.
They show Bryan footage of their victory in the #1 contendership battle royale where Ryder blew out his knee and say they want their title shot, with Ryder talking about all he sacrificed in that match, leading to six months on the shelf. Daniel Bryan responds by saying “I understand where you guys are coming from, but the tag division has changed a lot since then.” SO WHAT? Why should that negate the title shot that- as Mojo pointed out- they earned?
Bryan continued by telling them that he’ll give them a chance to earn a title shot next week by beating The Usos. NO! They earned the f*cking title shot so why aren’t you giving it to them? And if just “beating The Usos” is enough to earn them a title shot then why isn’t New Day getting one. After all, did they not just beat The Usos on Sunday? F*CK THIS SHOW!
Zack Ryder, having been so beaten down and demoralized by the treatment he has received from WWE management over the years, simply tells Bryan that this is “fair” and thanks him for giving them the chance to go earn something they already earned. What a little b*tch. At least Mojo looked upset, but he still shook Bryan’s hand.
This is all made even worse when you remember that the last segment Bryan was in was the one where Becky Lynch told him that she’s been getting the feeling that this whole “Land of Opportunity” slogan is a load of horsesh*t. And now here is Bryan TAKING AWAY AN OPPORTUNITY THAT THESE GUYS EARNED, while the two stories in the women’s division are that the #1 contender to the title hasn’t even won a single f*cking wrestling match in her life, and this big MITB clusterf*ck that came about because Shane just decided to stick all of the women in a #1 contendership match, regardless of whether they had done anything to earn it. On top of that we’ve got Kevin Owens almost feeling like he has a f*cking point when he says that the babyfaces and authority figures are conspiring against him, babyfaces telling outright lies, and our two babyface champions acting like hypocrites and douchebags. WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON, HERE!

SAMI ZAYN & TYE DILLENGER SHILL FOR SONIC- this was well done, although it probably would have been better to have someone who isn’t supposed to be a top babyface be the one to act like a dork). Also, what was up with piano music in the background?

DANIEL BRYAN MAKES HIS BIG DECISION- the worst yet.
He said that “for the past two days I’ve been holed up with Shane McMahon and other WWE officials trying to sort all this out.” IT’S NOT THAT F*CKING DIFFICULT! Bryan says he was told that he has to “take my emotions out of it, and stick strictly to the WWE rulebook.” Then what’s the issue? It should be a simple decision based on what I said above: The question at hand is a simple matter of the interpretation of one point of the rules of a Ladder Match. Either the rules specifically state you must climb up the ladder to retrieve the item to be declared the winner, in which case Carmella’s win should be voided and a rematch signed, or they don’t specify how have to come into possession of the item, in which case Carmella was the first competitor in the match to do so and is therefore the winner.
Just to waste more time, Bryan then brought out all of the competitors from the women’s MITB match. Also, Ellsworth showed up. Bryan flat-out admits that the rulebook says that Carmella did nothing wrong and that “the first woman to hold the briefcase is the winner of the match.” Well then. I guess it’s case closed, right?
Apparently not. Bryan has decided that the fact that Ellsworth did the climbing and unhooking makes this “uncharted territory.” On one hand he is technically correct, but you can’t make new rules ex post facto. According to rules as they were when the match was signed and when it took place, Carmella was the winner.
Ellsworth gets to get in his promo making fun of Bryan and Bryan tells him to “shut up” and threatens to punch him and fire him. Bryan was upset because Ellsworth was insulting his daughter, but all Ellsworth said was that she was “a little vegan hippy baby.” What did Ellsworth say about his daughter that was either insulting or untrue? NOTHING. The insult was the claim that this has made Bryan “soft,” so Bryan is the one clearly not listening here. But he gets his moment where he gets to fire up on Ellsworth and threaten to beat him up and fire him and gets his big pop… and again, the Women’s Division has become about the men, not the women.

Becky jumps in and claims that Carmella “beat no one.” Actually, I have some pretty vivid memories of her pinning WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Naomi TWICE in the month of May, which is a lot more than Becky herself can say. Nattie, the heel, makes a good point: namely that just because Becky almost won at the PPV does not mean that she actually won. Charlotte then starts in on Nattie, telling her that if she doesn’t shut up she’ll make her look like James Ellsworth… and then Tamina pipes up and uses ALMOST THE EXACT SAME LINE on Charlotte. Really.

Bryan then rendered his decision. He started by noting that they had all made history “by competing in a historic event: the first ever women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match.” If I had a nickel for every time they’ve used some variation of the word “history” in conjunction with this match I’d have enough money to buy this stupid company and book it so that things actually made some f*cking sense. Case in point…
Bryan then continued by saying that Carmella would have another opportunity to make history because she would be “the first woman ever to have to hand over the Money in the Bank briefcase.” Why? “Because I am not going to let somebody like you interrupt one of the most important moments in women’s WWE history.”
1. It’s too late, dumbf*ck! Like you yourself said, THE MATCH ALREADY HAPPENED. You can’t have a second first-ever women’s MITB match!
2. If you were so concerned about this then why didn’t you call the f*cking referees right then and there when it happened and order the match restarted, with Ellsworth being fired if he interferes?
3. Bryan is making this decision purely on emotion. The rules care nothing for how “historic” a match is. So, to recap: Daniel Bryan came out here and said that he was ordered to “take my emotions out of it, and stick strictly to the WWE rulebook.” Then he came out here and said that, according to the rules, Carmella won the match… but he’s still going to void the results and order a rematch, based purely on his emotions. F*CK THIS SH*T! Daniel Bryan should be fired!
Even more frustratingly, there was actually a rather simple out here. The only problem is that would require WWE Creative to actually put more than five seconds worth of thought into the things they write. The two instances of interference in MITB that Carmella brought up earlier were Kane helping Rollins win in 2014 and Bray screwing Roman in 2015. Both of those matches took place when The Authority was in power, and both of those were outcomes The Authority wanted: in 2014 their chosen competitor won, and in 2015 the guy who they didn’t want to win didn’t win, so they- being heels and not bound by a desire to enforce fair play, had no reason whatsoever to order a rematch. Bryan could have pointed this and declared that he believes that MITB is too important to be allowed to be marred by interference and thus interference in MITB matches is not to be tolerated and therefore a rematch must be booked… and from here on out, anyone who interferes in an MITB match will be subject to harsh disciplinary action, up to or even including the termination of his or her contract (why MITB should be treated different than any other Ladder Match or really any other match is a big can of worms that I don’t think should be opened, but I’ll discuss that later on in this review). The answer was right there in front of them, but they didn’t take the two minutes worth of thought it took me to make this connection and figure out how to work it into this segment.
And then, of course, there is possibly the most damaging part of all of this: They just did a PPV in which they spent so much time hyping up, then went and voided the result of the match in order to do to a rematch on free TV. Thanks for giving us your money, marks. Here’s a nice, hardy “F*CK YOU!” in appreciation of your support. This is TNA-level bullsh*t right here. This is the sort of sh*t you should NEVER, EVER do.
And they didn’t even do anything to prevent Ellsworth from being able to interfere again, thus not even solving the original problem.
Bryan yanks the briefcase and walks away. Carmella shoves Becky, so everyone bears down on Carmella, and yet somehow this results in a minor five-way schmoz. We wind up with Carmella “trapped” between the two babfaces because she’s apparently too dumb to realize that she can move in more than one dimension. Charlotte, like a total heel, attacks Carmella when her back is turned, hitting her with Bow to the Queen (“Natural Selection” is a much worse name). Then Becky puts the defenses Carmella in the Disarmer. What a bunch of assholes.
THIS SUCKED SO HARD!

Wait… the show’s not over? Apparently there is still that Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper match left.

LUKE HARPER vs. JINDER MAHAL (w/the Singh Brothers)- 3.75/10
You’d think some disciplinary action would be taken against the Singh brothers for assaulting an elderly spectator who was an invited guest of WWE, but apparently not. I guess it’s okay to beat up fans if they’re members of the babyface’s family right? Except that the last time I remember seeing someone do something like that it resulted in Steph being arrested.

Baron Corbin shows up in the middle of the match which his briefcase, just to walk around the ring and distract Jinder. And not for a split second did I ever believe he was going to cash in because WWE always teases it a million times before actually doing it. Harper got a roll-up nearfall off of this. Jinder won soon afterwards with a distraction from the Singh Brothers into the Khallas, just like he wins every single one of his matches, and this time it’s kind of hard for me to be angry at Jinder because someone just showed up to try to distract him.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Randy Orton showed up and beat up all three heels by himself. The Singh Brothers eventually came back to stop Randy from hitting Jinder with an RKO. Jinder walked off while Randy quickly fought back and laid out both Singh Brothers with RKOs. How many times have we seen this now? All it does is make the heels- all three of them- look like sh*t, and even if it didn’t there was absolutely no reason to do this tonight. We already had Randy on the show via pre-taped sit-down interview, so he’s already done his part for advancing the story tonight. In fact, why not have Randy still be in St. Louis with his father, who was hospitalized by the Singh Brother’s attack? This would create a logical reason for Randy to not be in the arena but still able to do the sit-down interview, and would make his anger resonate even more because the attack on his father had an actual effect on Cowboy Bob. Plus it would actually make us wait more than forty-eight hours to see Randy get his revenge on the heels!

This was an absolutely TERRIBLE show from WWE, which was, in many ways, a microcosm of the problems with their promotional and booking philosophy. I ranted and raved in this week’s Raw review about their inability to book babyfaces well by having their babyfaces be giant douchebags, but this show took it to another level by adding hypocrisy to the table for almost every babyface.
But that wasn’t even the main problem tonight. The problem tonight is best exemplified by the way women’s MITB issue was presented, both in its own segments and in comparison with everything else.
First, as I worried about in the beginning, they were never clear on what the actual controversy was. They kept making vague statements about history being ruined or saying that it was problematic that Ellsworth interfered in the match, but as Carmella and Bryan both pointed out- and as many fans like myself were no doubt thinking the whole time- interference in MITB matches is not new. If you had asked most fans what the controversy was about, I expect they would have told you that the issue was Ellsworth, who wasn’t part of the match, being the one to unhook the briefcase and then give it to Carmella. But with the exception of Carmella’s promo at the beginning and Bryan mentioning it at the end, I don’t recall anyone- and certainly not any of the women in the match- ever bringing this particular fact up.
The reason for this is because WWE’s general philosophy on how to get their storylines over doesn’t have much to do with “storylines” at all. Storylines progress. What WWE does is they pick an idea and repeat it ad nauseam (often shooting themselves in the foot by making it feel more scripted by insisting that every single character use the exact same wording) until they decide it’s time for the next idea. “Bayley can’t get extreme.” Now here’s four weeks of Bayley failing to get extreme, always resulting in her being caned by Alexa. “Jinder stole Randy’s title belt, he didn’t earn it” Now here’s a few weeks of Jinder running around with a stolen belt while we’re told he didn’t earn it. “The Welcoming Committee doesn’t like Charlotte.” Now here’s a month of them not liking Charlotte while random matches happen. “Heath Slater wasn’t drafter and wants to earn a contract.” How here’s months of Heath getting innumerable chances to do so and constantly failing, only to be given another chance each time until he finally earns it. Don’t get me wrong: sometimes this is a perfectly legitimate way to tell a story (the idea that Sami Zayn has Baron Corbin’s number and Corbin is frustrated by this is a decent example of that), but most of the time- and especially the way WWE does it- it’s not.
In this case, the idea was, of course, that this first ever women’s MITB match was a historic moment in WWE history (you know… the same exact story they had for the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell and Iron Man matches, both within the past nine months), and therefore the fact that it was marred with interference was shameful. And I’m not saying that that sentiment is wrong. The problem is that the whole point of this was to build to a rematch with Carmella’s victory at the PPV being voided, and due to the recent precedent of interference alone in MITB matches not being enough to void the results, a truly controversial finish was needed, which is why we got the finish we got… but the idea they were trying to push was that of the historical importance of the moment, and thus there is a disconnect between the thing they keep telling us is the issue at hand and the thing that actually is the issue at hand.
But whatever the problem actually was, WWE management did perceive there to be a problem here, and so they went to take the necessary steps to fix it. Unfortunately, the way they chose to do so created another major problem. The way they chose do address this problem was to structure the almost entire show around this idea that a controversy- and possibly even an injustice- had occurred, and Daniel Bryan was coming back here to render judgement on it. They hyped this all up starting almost the moment the PPV match ended, started the show off with this, peppered in a number of backstage segments about it, had the announcers talk about it constantly throughout, and had it all culminate what felt like a big, show-closing segment dealing with it (what’s why I was so shocked when the show didn’t end after that segment. It felt like it was supposed to be the end of the show). The problem is that this was just the first of several injustices that occurred at Money in the Bank 2017 and not one of those controversies was ever addressed- or even acknowledged- by the guy whose job it is to address such things. The Usos walked out of a title match, getting purposely counted out to retain their titles, Carmella showed up to distract Lana during the Smackdown Women’s Title match, and the Singh Brothers both assaulted a spectator and distracted Randy Orton during the WWE World Heavyweight Title match, allowing Jinder Mahal to retain (and you could even throw Corbin jumping Nakamura in there, too, although such a thing doesn’t seem have affected Nakamura when he was actually in the match). And yet Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon (and other WWE officials as well) apparently spent everyone moment of their time agonizing over this one injustice- which, as I pointed out in the beginning, really doesn’t seem to have been that complicated- and as a result have completely neglected many others, including issues involving three different championships (which being actual championships and not just matches for a future title shot, should take precedent) and spectator safety. It makes Bryan and Shane, our babyface authority figures, look either incompetent or uncaring, neither of which are things any babyface authority figure should ever be.
A separate but connected issue is that of why this whole gigantic atrocity- everything from the sh*t finish on the PPV to all of these segments making Bryan and most of the women look bad- to the big, giant middle fingered they jammed in the eye of everyone who bought the PPV (including those who signed up to their precious WWE Network just to see it)- was even done in the first place. The reason this all happened is that WWE wanted to build tonight’s Smackdown around the return of Daniel Bryan. Therefore they created a problem for Bryan to solve, which they began hyping up on Sunday’s PPV itself, and had the story run through almost this entire show, with multiple backstage segments, plus gave Bryan some other segments with him making rulings as well. The problem is that Daniel Bryan is not a wrestler anymore. He’s retired. His role on Smackdown is as an authority figure. And on the very first Smackdown after the draft, Shane and Bryan promised us that this show would be about the wrestlers and not about the authority figures. Everything about this has flown in the face of that.
And this is something that happens all too often on Smackdown. This whole “Land of Opportunity” thing has nothing to do with the wrestlers. It’s about the writers being able to book segments that make Shane and Bryan look like big babyfaces, either by telling heels that they have to earn something they want (like Lana with the title shot last week) or by just giving a babyface a title shot like Shane did with New Day, or by giving big opportunities to talents the fans feel have been underutilized, like when they gave Breeze & Fandango their chance to earn their title shot or sticking the likes of Luke Harper or Sami Zayn in that #1 contendership match that Jinder won, even though these people did nothing to even earn a #1 contendership match. The problem, of course, is that these men who are supposed to be our big babyfaces wind up coming off hypocrites because the general rule of thumb with them is that their decisions really seem to be based more on making the heels upset or the crowd happy than they are on being fair. That’s why all of the women were placed in a #1 contendership match even though only two or three of them had done anything to actually earn a title shot. Or why Charlotte received a lecture about title shots needing to be earned when she walked in and demanded one, even though just the previous month Shane had given an entire roster full of women a title shot at WrestleMania despite none them having earned it, just to stack the deck against Alexa Bliss!.
Smackdow is not the “Land of Opportunity.” Smackdown is a land where the opportunity is applied completely arbitrarily. Where things must be earned, unless, of course, Shane or Bryan decide otherwise. And every time they have one of those two catchphrases to fall back on and for the announcers to parrot. Those two things are the “idea” of Smackdown that they keep talking at us about, and because that is their chosen “idea” we are expected to believe it unquestioningly. And that’s how we get segments like the abomination we got tonight when Daniel Bryan, upon being reminded that the Hype Bros. rightfully earned a title shot, told them that they would have to earn another one for no reason whatsoever… and the announcers and wrestlers and everyone praised him for this wise decision, even though it’s total bullsh*t. And the bullsh*t continues because this was their “big idea” to make Smackdown different from Raw: to get the authority figures over as babyfaces and tell us what a happy wonderful place it is, even though it’s barely any different. And in their infinite incompetence, they’ve managed to turn the two men they set out to get over as babyfaces into total hypocrites.

Okay. Sorry. Ranting over. This show F*CKING SUCKED!


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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 21st, '17, 17:09

That's gotta be the longest "End of show thoughts " I've ever seen.

It was pretty ridiculous more than not, but I felt at least the enjoyable parts were pretty enjoyable.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 21st, '17, 17:49

Next week Maria runs in and just takes the case and leaves and that's it, then we're back to the same issue but in a totally different way lol.

Obviously, I'm pretty sure they're gonna big push her as a heel almost instantly.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 21st, '17, 18:12

LOL. I totally forgot that Mike and Maria weren't even on this show, which they should have been.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 21st, '17, 19:05

We should just be in charge of booking WWE together. Just joint book Raw and SD, since NXT seems to be not bad at all... it's getting there though.

I didn't really think about it either, but why weren't they at least mentioned after such a big ppv debut?
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by NWK2000 » Jun 21st, '17, 22:50

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 18:12
LOL. I totally forgot that Mike and Maria weren't even on this show, which they should have been.
They were on during a commercial break and the promo is on Youtube.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 21st, '17, 23:11

NWK2000 wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 22:50
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 18:12
LOL. I totally forgot that Mike and Maria weren't even on this show, which they should have been.
They were on during a commercial break and the promo is on Youtube.
That's really stupid of them.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 22nd, '17, 11:07

Naomi talks like such a thug lol.

Is that really becoming her whole thing? Talking like some gangsta black woman? Lol.

Lana had me laughing like crazy when she was putting her down.

Get the belt off Naomi already. Lana, Carmela, even a fast pushed Maria at this point, IDC.

Maybe Becky will do something big soon, maybe even turn. That seemed like a pretty important promo that could be leading to something.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 22nd, '17, 11:45

KILLdozer wrote:
Jun 22nd, '17, 11:07
Naomi talks like such a thug lol.

Is that really becoming her whole thing? Talking like some gangsta black woman? Lol.
Obviously not. She also glows.


[quote=KILLdozer post_id=98484 time=1498151244 user_id=72
Maybe Becky will do something big soon, maybe even turn. That seemed like a pretty important promo that could be leading to something.
[/quote]

I can definitely see this being the beginning of her finally winning the belt at SummerSlam (and then possibly getting cashed in on right away, although maybe they won't do that, feeling it's too similar to what they did with Bryan- though if I were them would make it different by having her get jumped, beaten down, and cashed in on before she ever gets a chance to touch the belt, and they could play that up to make it feel different from Bryan).
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 22nd, '17, 11:52

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jun 22nd, '17, 11:45
KILLdozer wrote:
Jun 22nd, '17, 11:07
Naomi talks like such a thug lol.

Is that really becoming her whole thing? Talking like some gangsta black woman? Lol.
Obviously not. She also glows.


[quote=KILLdozer post_id=98484 time=1498151244 user_id=72
Maybe Becky will do something big soon, maybe even turn. That seemed like a pretty important promo that could be leading to something.
I can definitely see this being the beginning of her finally winning the belt at SummerSlam (and then possibly getting cashed in on right away, although maybe they won't do that, feeling it's too similar to what they did with Bryan- though if I were them would make it different by having her get jumped, beaten down, and cashed in on before she ever gets a chance to touch the belt, and they could play that up to make it feel different from Bryan).
[/quote]

She's just not good. In so many ways.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 22nd, '17, 23:26

Oh. Tamina just become the type to talk about Kicking people in the face, nothing else.

Also, yeah wth about everyone saying they're going to make each other look like Ellsworth?

"Natty, shut up or you're gonna look like Ellsworth."

"Charlotte, be quiet or you're gonna look like Ellsworth."
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by NWK2000 » Jun 23rd, '17, 09:47

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 23:11
NWK2000 wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 22:50
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 18:12
LOL. I totally forgot that Mike and Maria weren't even on this show, which they should have been.
They were on during a commercial break and the promo is on Youtube.
That's really stupid of them.
It just occurred to me that they're basically doing vignettes in front of the live crowd, which is smart because clearly Maria and Mike are good promos.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 6/20/2017 Smackdown (a master class in what not to do)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 23rd, '17, 10:15

NWK2000 wrote:
Jun 23rd, '17, 09:47
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 23:11
NWK2000 wrote:
Jun 21st, '17, 22:50


They were on during a commercial break and the promo is on Youtube.
That's really stupid of them.
It just occurred to me that they're basically doing vignettes in front of the live crowd, which is smart because clearly Maria and Mike are good promos.
It doesn't seem any different than any other promo. But either way, why not put them on TV, too.
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