BRM Reviews the 4/16/2021 Smackdown (TWO POTYCS... and still it was frustrating enough to call it bad)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 4/16/2021 Smackdown (TWO POTYCS... and still it was frustrating enough to call it bad)

Post by Big Red Machine » Apr 18th, '21, 19:58

Pat McAfee is now on commentary. I’m sure he’ll be a great heel, but I think his schtick loses something when he’s not putting over himself or one of his associates.


OPENING SEGMENT- started off excellent, but was killed by WWE production
Roman Reigns and friends come out to open the show, and Roman cut an absolutely freakin’ TREMENDOUS bragging heel promo. You need to go out of your way to see this.
After Roman decided that no one would be brave enough to step up to him, he said it was time to go. Cesaro came out and grabbed a mic… and Roman and friends just walked away, ignoring him. Excellent!
Ceasro has a mic… and then we just cut to the announcers instead while Cesaro’s music played because I guess the people running the show don’t think what Cesaro has to say is important, despite the fact that Cole and McAfee are talking him up as a big deal. Cole then started to tell us what was coming up next, with Cesaro now ignored. If they had had Cesaro cut his promo to Roman’s retreating back, this would have been amazing, but instead WWE killed it because they have to follow their damn formula.

CESARO INTERRUPTS ADAM PEARCE & SONYA DEVILLE BACKSTAGE- didn’t like it
Cesaro asks them “did you see what Roman Reigns just did to me?” Well if you were so disrespected by it, you should have said something right there in the moment. Going and running to the teacher makes Cesaro feel whiny, even when he’s asking to fight the big bully.
As you’ve probably guessed from the previous sentence, Cesaro asked for a match against Roman tonight. Sonya said she’d talk to Roman about it. You’d better hurry it, there, Sonya, because Roman just said he was about to leave the building.

They talked up and then showed a replay of Cesaro’s UFO move, which I really don’t get. It’s a fine wrestling move, sure, but the degree of difficulty to me seems to be a non-kayfabe thing rather than a kayfabe one. In kayfabe, why should anyone care if he uses his hands to keep the opponent spinning or not.
And oh my G-d that name is SOOOO STUPID! Why is the opponent “unidentified” all of a sudden?

OTIS VIDEO PACKAGE- good

REY MYSTERIO JR. (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. OTIS (w/Chad Gable)- 6/10
This did a good job of making Otis look vicious and strong and making Rey look like a resilient underdog, but I really didn’t like the roll-up finish. Unless you’re building him up for a title match, Rey really didn’t need this win. Otis does need wins if you want us to take everything you’re telling us about him on commentary (i.e. that this new Otis is dangerous and a force to be reckoned with in WWE) seriously.

We then cut backstage to see Heyman talking to Kayla Braxton while the announcers told us that Heyman would be answering Cesaro’s challenge next. Then they threw a big graphic up on the screen saying “UP NEXT: ROMAN REIGNS VS. CESARO,” but the announcers continued to talk as if the match was not set in stone. Either they threw up the wrong graphic and the announcers didn’t notice, or they are advertising something without knowing it’s going to happen (and, if Heyman says no, they will have been legit falsely advertising it).

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS PAUL HEYMAN- fine
Heyman insults Cesaro and talks up Roman. He successfully says the line Jericho flubbed about Wardlow on Dynamite a few weeks ago. He eventually declares that Cesaro will face Jey Uso in the main event… so yeah. They went into one of the bigger episodes of Smackdown of the year without a main event booked.

Cole pushes that Roman is letting Jey Uso fight his battles for him again… and the more I think about this, the more it irks me that Roman can just make these demands all the time and management always gives in. How many times have we seen the McMahons (and especially Vince, Steph, and Hunter) absolutely lose their sh*t because someone else acts like they’re in charge of the show? Well where are they now? Why are they all of a sudden content to let Roman Reigns push around their appointed representatives and interfere with the operations of their company?

Then they showed ANOTHER video hyping up the UFO.

SAMI ZAYN PROMO- He whines about a conspiracy and claims he was distracted at WrestleMania and wants a rematch with Kevin Owens. This did what it needed to, but until Sami actually got around to calling Owens out, I was getting the wrong kind of annoyed at Sami’s ranting. This gimmick is going nowhere, so every time they send him out on TV to cut a promo, it’s just a guy being as grating as possible but without any kind of story to be advanced so there is no reward for me for sitting through it. And no, the reward is not seeing the babyface beat Sami up because I’ve seen a babyface beat Sami up enough times that 1) I’m numb to it, and 2) I know it’s not going to change Sami behavior at all.

KEVIN OWENS vs. SAMI ZAYN- 6.75/10
The bell rings, and Sami starts pulling the Jay White stalling bullsh*t, but unlike in New Japan, the babyface actually catches him quickly, and he can’t hide on the outside forever because the referee actually does his job and starts counting him out.
This was a very good match until the frustrating, pointless count-out finish. You just had Sami lose clean to Owens at Mania and the idea of Sami’s character is that his excuses are bullsh*t, so why can’t you let Owens beat him again? And if the answer is “we didn’t want Sami to lose cleanly twice in a row” then WHY DID YOU BOOK THE MATCH IN THE FIRST PLACE?!
Then it got worse, as Owens chased after Sami so they brawled on the ramp. Owens got him back into the ring and laid him out with his finisher. So you’ve booked Owens to win a fair fight against Sami and lay him out with his finishing move… but you won’t let Owens pin him?
I’m not a fan of AEW’s booking. They do a lot of things that I think are stupid and wrong. But at least they don’t do things that are stupid an infuriating FOR NO REASON.

APOLLO CREWS PROMO- dull
His new large friend is behind him. His name is “commander Azeez,” and he is “a former member of the Nigerian Elite Guard.” Despite being a former member, he is still walking around in his uniform. Apollo talked about the “Nigerian Nail,” which is either Azeez’s finisher, or possibly the big goofy mace he is holding. This character is far too goofy at this point. I said I would give it a chance. It’s been two months or so now, and it has only gotten goofier.
The important news here (other than Babatunde’s new name) is that Big E. is injured and thus not here this week.

BIANCA BELAIR’S VICTORY PARTY- really awesome, but…
Bianca’s big babyface promos here was absolutely amazing. Promo of the Year-level stuff. And the artsy part of me likes that it provides a babyface counterpoint to Roman’s earlier awesome heel promo. On this show we were given two examples of a champion. Both have amazing natural talents and charisma (I’d say Bianca has more charisma than Roman, but maybe that’s just me), but one is confident while the other crosses the line into arrogance. One has decided that he is due everything by birthright; the other acknowledges that she has had to work hard to get to where she is and will have to continue doing so to stay there. One acknowledges the importance of the support of her family along her journey; the other uses the bond of family as a tool to keep himself on top. I was also very happy that no one interrupted this.
That being said, I didn’t like pretty much everything else here. The Street Profits went on for far too long, Cole’s framing of this made the tag titles feel like an afterthought, and I’m already sick and tired of seeing WWE’s f*cking news clippings about WrestleMania. The pathetic desperation with which WWE presents them is always grating, but for this segment it was even worse. I don’t need some schmuck from sports pages to tell me that this was a big moment in Bianca’s career. That’s Bianca’s job (and she succeeded wildly). Showing us these news clippings reporting it to us as fact that winning the world title at WrestleMania was a big moment for Bianca Belair makes the whole thing feel like the usual bullsh*t WWE propaganda, so it almost made me predisposed to not feel like this was as big of a deal as they were making it. It created an obstacle Bianca had to fight against rather than enhancing the validity of her message.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS SASHA BANKS- great!
Sasha interrupted Kayla the moment Kayla mentioned Bianca’s name, but was so angry that she couldn’t even get a word out and eventually stormed off.

ANOTHER UFO VIDEO PACKAGE- WHO CARES?!

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS BAYLEY- whatever
Bayley, who spent all of WrestleMania getting humiliated and hasn’t won a match in over two months, now wants a title shot. How are we supposed to take her seriously?

WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Dirty Dogs(c) vs. Street Profits- 6.5/10
Speaking of people who haven’t won a match in over a month, meet tonight’s challengers. And despite not having won a match in a month, the Street Profits wound up with a title shot two weeks ago, which they lost cleanly, so why the f*ck are they getting a title shot tonight?
Stuff happened. The completely unworthy challengers lost cleanly.

YET ANOTHER F*CKING UFO VIDEO PACKAGE- They’ve shown more replays of this than they have the finish of either the men’s or women’s title matches.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS CESARO- meh
Kayla calls Cesaro a “first-time WrestleMania winner” and the announcers have pushed that this was his first singles win at WrestleMania. It’s none of those things. Cagematch.net says that he beat Drew Gulak in a singles match on the kick-off show of the first night of last year’s show. That’s inexcusably bad research.
Kayla wants a response from Cesaro to the mean things Paul Heyman said to him. Cesaro had good emotion, but I didn’t like him saying that Heyman was right about everything other than him not being worthy to face Roman. Don’t let yourself get called stupid!

NATALYA (w/Tamina) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER (w/Nia Jax)- 2.25/10
They wrestled for just under two and a half minutes. Nattie won clean with a roll-up when Baszler almost bumped into Jax. After the match, Nia grabbed Nattie, so Tamina saved her partner with a superkick.
These two teams had a title match with a clean finish and WrestleMania… and now WWE is just restarting the feud at the next available show. WHY? Is it really that hard to have Baszler and Jax feud with someone else for a month while you rebuild Nattie and Tamina so that 1) you don’t have to job a champion out to jumpstart a feud, and 2) it doesn’t feel like you’re just running in circles?

YET ANOTHER F*CKING REPLAY OF THE UFO- That’s FIVE. I don’t think they showed this many replays of Brock beating Taker or Rollins (or Drew) vanquishing Brock.

JEY USO PROMO- great!
Maybe a little too great, as his comment that the UFO was just “a cute airplane spin” sums up my feelings on the move exactly, and I’m not supposed to be agreeing with the heel.

CESARO vs. JEY USO- 7/10
They were having a great match until Seth Rollins ran in for the DQ. Because G-d forbid someone win a PPV match cleanly and that be the end of the feud.


I keep thinking that I shouldn’t call a show bad with so many excellent promos on it, but I am SOOOO f*cking angry right now. The show after WrestleMania is supposed to be the show that makes everything feel fresh, but this show did the opposite. Pretty much everything on tonight’s show either gave us a stale match that it feels like we’ve been seeing for weeks, or told us that they were building to a WrestleMania rematch at the next PPV (Big E. vs. Apollo, and possibly Sasha vs. Bianca). Cesaro vs. Roman was the only thing that felt new, and then they had to go and pull the rug out from under us with that one, too (and by way of a DQ in the main event, because G-d forbid that Roman’s lackey do a job to the guy who feels like the new top babyface). It’s like they go out of their way to be frustrating.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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