This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown emanated from Ontario, California. Get a complete look at the show with the live blog right here.
I absolutely loved the way they closed this show.
Brock Lesnar is a force of nature, a straight up animal, a dude who once tore a car door off and threw it into the audience. He’s the type of animal you’d be deathly afraid to be in a cage with. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if, when you were trapped in that cage with him, he tore your limbs off. No, it would surprise you if he didn’t.
That’s what made this so damn good.
Lesnar, I’ll be damned, is playing mind games.
On most days, I would roundly reject this from WWE, because WWE has a bad habit of overdoing it with this kind of thing. But they’ve been almost understated in this regard, just like they were here.
Roman Reigns had Paul Heyman look over the contract for their match at Crown Jewel, and Heyman ensured him it has “everything you asked for” before advising him to sign it. Reigns did so. When Lesnar was given the contract, he didn’t even bother taking his eyes off Reigns. He just signed it blind.
“You must be some kind of a dumbass,” Reigns remarked. “A big dumb farmer, huh? You just sign it without even reading it, what’s wrong with you, man?”
“Roman, I already read the damn contract this morning — with my advocate, Paul Heyman.”
And then he walked away.
There was no physical confrontation, no fisticuffs, no pull apart brawl, no fight at all. Just Lesnar sowing one last seed of doubt in Roman’s mind on where Heyman’s loyalty really lies. It’s been a good hook for this story from the beginning but I’m impressed with how well they paced the story and just how hard it hit when Lesnar waited that beat and delivered that final line.
We’ll see how this all works out in under a week now. Thanks to all this, I cannot wait to find out what happens next.
Same hell, different devils
I’m pretty disappointed in the story beat they gave us in the Edge-Seth Rollins feud, and I fully admit that has everything to do with my own interpretation of the story up to this point.
That mostly has to do with the fact that, up until now, it sure felt like the story arc was about Edge going down a dark path in pursuit of material things (that admittedly meant so much to him), realizing he went too far, accepting what came about as a result of that, and ultimately only being pulled back into action because his nemesis had himself gone too far in pursuit of satisfying his foolish pride and ego.
This arc makes Edge heroic. It shows that he is not the Edge we’ve known in the past, that he’s grown beyond that darkness, that he is the light.
Turns out, that’s not what happened at all!
Turns out, yep, he’s still the devil, and Rollins, too, is a devil, and these two devils are going to go to war in the place you would expect two devils to settle their differences.
Hell (in a Cell).
Which, yeah, I guess that’s consistent for the Edge character all throughout his career, and it’s kind of epic on its own, sure, but it leaves me emotionally unsatisfied. Edge isn’t a hero, he’s a devil out to scar Seth’s soul in a way that will never heal and I’m to cheer for that because… what, Rollins is a bigger piece of shit?
Later, Rollins had his turn on the microphone and he rightly pointed out that he got his way, as Edge more or less admitted he is not “Edge-lite.” Then he wanted to make clear that he’s not intimidated or afraid to face Edge inside Hell in a Cell, because Edge is right, they’re both devils.
This kind of sucks now.
The match will probably rule, though, so that’s cool!
All the rest
- Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks looked a bit off on their timings and their match looked a tad disjointed to me but they still managed to make it entertaining when all was said and done. Banks scored the win with Bianca Belair ringside, and then they were all ushered out as quickly as possible with Adam Pearce screaming to production folks to get the ring set up for the main event segment. It felt strange and not befitting of stars the level of Banks, Lynch, and Belair, but that’s what happens when you promote zero commercial breaks up against your main competition on the other channel doing the same.
- They definitely did nothing to address the criticism of how the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournaments are being treated on this show. Finn Balor and Sami Zayn were given ample time to tear the house down with a damn good match while Carmella and Zelina Vega was story heavy and that story was someone losing because they were too worried about getting their face messed up so they can maintain their status as “the most beautiful woman in all of WWE.” There’s a real problem in all this, but we know WWE is going to trumpet itself as groundbreaking for doing two women’s matches at Crown Jewel, including one involving a member of the LGBTQ community. All we can do is keep calling them on it.
- Sonya Deville using Shayna Baszler as a ringer lines up exactly with what we expected for her “match” with Naomi on this week’s show. I still like what they’re doing here, or at least what they’re going for, I just need them to do a bit more explaining. We know Deville has a big problem with Naomi, but “you don’t take advantage of opportunities” isn’t cutting it. What’s really going on here? It’s time to go deeper.
- When Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick BOOGS cut off Madcap Moss & Happy Corbin, I was wondering how things would play out and what they dynamic would be between characters like this. Then they just rocked around the ring, dancing with Pat McAfee, all the way back up the stage to the entrance, where the Street Profits showed up and BOOGS played them in on his guitar as well. One thing SmackDown does really well is litters its mid-card with amusing shit like this. Sometimes you don’t need to go in depth with it. Just have fun. We really are living a great life right now.
- The Usos and The Street Profits never do anything but have great matches with each other, and that was the case again here, as the former defeated the latter in a Street Fight. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are off to Monday Night Raw now, but they went out with a bang. They should do very well for themselves over on the red brand. We’ll be seeing this match-up again down the road.
I hope they don’t ever extend SmackDown any longer than two hours but this didn’t feel like it was 30 minutes longer. I like the show, what can I say?