Last week on Raw, the show ended with us not knowing if Randy Orton burned Alexa Bliss as he slowly walked to a camera with a lit match. The camera faded as the announcers were pleading with him to not burn Alexa to death.
Spoiler alert - he didn’t. It was a stupid reveal that WWE didn’t even really put much thought into. Why bother with a cliffhanger if you’re not going to deliver?
On SmackDown tonight, WWE managed to give us “what’s going to happen next” moments throughout the show! The arc with Adam Pearce was incredible, as was when Big E and Apollo ended in a double pin, and Montez Ford’s excellent selling of a knee injury. These types of moments make viewing exciting.
The best thing is, they ended the show with a multi-layered cliffhanger for next week. How is Adam Pearce going to process that he’s facing Roman at the Royal Rumble? Will he be able to run the shows and focus on his match? Will he find a way out of it and find a replacement? What about Kevin Owens? What about Shinsuke Nakamura? He was screwed over. How will the Rumble winner play a role here, if the Rumble winner is a SmackDown wrestler?
THAT’S how you make me invested in your program. Give me consistent coherent and frankly, just logical storytelling. All of that will equal an excited weekly viewer. So, thanks for this on SmackDown, WWE. Can we get this on Raw?
Let’s talk about the main hits and misses of this show. For a full rundown of SmackDown, check out the live blog by Rev. Claire Elizabeth!
Scrap Daddy Adam Pearce gets his own shine.
I have loved him as the WWE management for both shows. He hasn’t been intrusive at all and he’s a really fun dude on television. McInfart, guys and gals. C’mon.
Reigns had him come out to start the show and said Owens has been a pain in his ass, but he respects him. But the reason why he isn’t around anymore, is because of Adam Pearce’s decision to put Owens in the match last week. In response, Pearce said to Reigns that he’s trying to put great opponents out there for Reigns.
Reigns asked if he wanted to be in control, why didn’t he just put himself in a match, to which Pearce said it would be a conflict of interest. (See, he’s no Vince McMahon type!) Roman then started bullying Adam and said he must think that either he, Adam, or Vince are stupid. If he thinks Roman’s stupid, then he’s insulting him, he doesn’t respect him, or his family.
Reigns let him slide though, although the whole time Jey was behind him, it looked like he was going to be attacked. The tension there was great!
Later, another daddy, Daddy Deville, came up to Scrap Daddy and said that she took a job assisting him because she wanted to put the past behind her. This may end up playing into Sonya becoming a future authority figure? I’d dig it. Let’s see what happens.
Paul Heyman came up to them and told Adam that he holds him to great respect and admiration, knowing his long career and desire to be a champion in WWE. So he pulled some strings, and Adam’s in the Gauntlet match!
Throughout the night, Adam Pearce was shown as a great dude who has conviction in his job. But when Reigns or someone associated with Reigns was around, he showed a new layer of uncomfortability. It’s a really great touch because his role is helping push Roman’s douchebag heel persona to newer heights.
Rey Mysterio and Sami Zayn started off, but Sami walked out with a mic and a camera crew. He said they were there to document the conspiracies against him in WWE by WWE.
Then he got in the ring and got 619’d into oblivion.
Shinsuke Nakamura entered, and Rey sunset flip powerbombed Nakamura from the ring to the floor. I always love and jump at that spot. Nakamura was on his game immediately delivering knees to Rey’s face. Nakamura got Rey out tagging with a cross arm bar. King Corbin ran in and took out Nakamura and both Mysterios.
Nakamura gave him a few nasty kicks. Corbin charged at him in the corner and met another kick. Corbin countered the Kinshasa with a Deep 6 for a near fall. Corbin was doing his move out of the ring and back in and ran into a Kinshasa and his journey ended there.
Bryan started with urgency, kicking Nakamura and sending him out of the ring. Bryan put him in the half crab, then an ankle lock, and then a German suplex for a near fall. Absolutely beautiful suplex that was. Nakamura took down Bryan for another arm bar, but Bryan reversed it and transitioned into the Yes Lock and Nakamura got his leg on the rope. I really enjoyed this part of the match because these two really gave it their all. I don’t remember Nakamura looking this good. And I say that because Nakamura pinned Bryan! That was shocking!
So Reigns and the family walked down before Pearce, and attacked Nakamura. Roman threw Pearce in the ring, and Jey superkicked him. He sold that superkick amazingly. Dropped right to the floor. Roman told Jey to put Pearce on Nakamura and told the referee to do his job.
Adam Pearce is going to the Royal Rumble to face Roman Reigns for the Universal title.
Okay so I didn’t like this ending at first, but after some thought, I like it. Here’s why.
First of all, Reigns is playing the old Goosebumps “you choose the scare” card with SmackDown. He is the ultimate boss. He shows no fear and no respect to management. And that’s because he is the boss. He chooses what happens in regards to his championship. And why not? No one has stopped him yet. He’s got Paul Heyman pulling strings, and Jey Uso knocking fools out for him.
Also, Adam Pearce is scared of Roman. Showing his fear is an immediate issue for him because Roman has been using that fear. It was on display here, as Adam was forced into wrestling and then given the win. That’s because Roman knows he can control Pearce.
Until Pearce develops a more Kevin Owens-esque attitude, Reigns will continue to bully him. Now that it seems for now they’ll be wrestling at Royal Rumble, he’ll be forced to acknowledge Reigns competitively. Time to boost that attitude, Pearce!
Big E retained via draw / Big E defeated Apollo Crews
Apollo started explosively for an early upset near fall. I’ve been so happy to see his new mentality as of late. They were having a good bout, and then we had somewhat of a convoluted 3 count and the bell rang with Apollo celebrating a win and confusion from E. When they came back from commercial, the referee said both men’s shoulders were down and a draw means the champion retains. So Apollo slapped Big E so he’d restart the match. Loved this!
So Big E started the second match explosively and got a near fall. Great contrast. Apollo did a standing moonsault for a near fall. Big E got the Big Ending for the win, and that was certainly interesting wasn’t it? I actually liked the draw and restart, because it helped protect both men and threw a wrench into the normal WWE booking. See now that double pin to a commercial with confusion all around, that is how you do a cliffhanger.
Leave it to WWE to do it well on one show, and butcher it on another!
The Dirty Dawgs defeated The Street Profits
Robert attacked Montez’s injured knee, so Montez responded by running across the ring and diving off onto Dolph and Robert. They played up him potentially getting injured further as they went to commercial. Dawkins had a flurry of punches on Roode in the corner, and Ziggler tagged in. They did the referee is distracted so the heel takes advantage spot, and Dolph grabbed the ropes after tagging in Roode to keep the hurt on. Very nice detail there. Montez kicked out of a fisherman’s suplex brilliantly but fell to a spinebuster/Zig Zig combo.
Last week I said that Dirty Dawgs should get the titles, and I’m glad that they pulled the trigger. Well… for now. Last week’s dreadful Street Profits promo saw me ready for this because I’d like to see some new stuff from one of my favorite tag teams. I truly like Dawkins and Ford and they need to get the Apollo treatment. Give me some tweaks to their characters please.
Billie Kay is a national treasure
The Riott Squad was backstage and Billie came up to them excited to work with them more after last week. She gives them her resume and photo which she added mosh pit to. They turned her down and she started crying and said 2021 was supposed to be better and it’s not. Liv felt bad and kind of led her to believe she was accepting her in and then she got very happy and walked away. Hilarious. I love her.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?