Well, we have to address the colorful robe in the room right off the bat, which is the same decision WWE made by having Charlotte Flair open this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown.
She didn’t really say anything about anything, she just sort of played into the idea that she is what everyone thinks she is — like her calling out the locker room for how they react to title wins — and generally giving off that air of superiority that pisses everyone off so much.
I do enjoy her work as a heel these days, and maybe even more so if I think there’s legitimacy to it.
Hey, that’s what it is to be a star. That’s Hollywood, baby.
One of the things that kinda sucks about knowing too much of what happened last week, however, and the perception that Flair is a certain way towards her counterparts in the locker room, is it leads to situations like what we had on this very show. Flair wrestled Shotzi in a “championship contenders match,” which remains a really lame way of describing what the match actually is, and I couldn’t tell if she was trying to give Shotzi a lot in terms of selling for her or if she was being disrespectful.
Some of that selling was, shall we say, strange.
The match also wasn’t particularly smooth but they came around on it by the end and Shotzi at least looked like she belonged in there. By the end of it, however, it was clear this was the vehicle to turn Shotzi heel as had been rumored since her split with Tegan Nox in the draft.
And you know what? It was fantastic.
Banks had been cheering her on in the match, then kinda/sorta got involved, just enough to justify Shotzi’s actions, at least in her own mind, and then she worked stiff as hell in the following beatdown. Sasha’s selling here, by the way, is far more in line with what you’d expect from someone trying to help get their opponent over.
Either way, this both established Shotzi and got me excited for a potential match between her and Banks, no matter what happens with Flair. That’s a good thing!
All the rest
- WWE adding on a fine of ONE MILLION DOLLARS to Brock Lesnar’s suspension as punishment for attacking Adam Pearce is really a vehicle to continue the Paul Heyman storyline while Lesnar is away but it still tickles me pink that Pearce went all Dr. Evil here, complete with a video sent in from his office with his big bald head. Add a scar, and he even looks like him. I loved this.
- That joke Madcap Moss made about witches made you laugh, didn’t it? Don’t you dare lie to me.
- Drew McIntyre held an open challenge, Mustafa Ali answered, and they had an awfully short match that resembled a squash all about putting McIntyre over as the big beast who is here to run through everyone. It’s an effective way to smash a guy over on his way to a title shot. But why against Ali? As it turns out, they had a plan for that — Ali getting on the mic after and saying everyone boos him only because his name is Mustafa Ali. There’s a conversation to be had there, and a character worth creating it, I just absolutely do not trust WWE with that conversation or with that character. We’ll see where it goes.
- I think I thought I would enjoy Xavier Woods as King of the Ring more but I’m not really into how they’ve treated it so far. Then again, it’s not easy to make this kind of thing work as a babyface. Your mileage may vary. I far prefer when The Usos show up to get in the ring and they verbally joust like grown men who are itching to fight each other. To that end, we got both, so I can’t complain too much here. Plus, they got together later and had a predictably good match because these two teams seem incapable of having a bad match with each other. I’ve seen these teams work together what feels like a billion times, and they’re still entertaining.
- WWE loves doing the bobbing for apples gimmick in these “Trick or Street Fight” matches they do every Halloween and you know what? It’s always a fun time. Madcap Moss was the victim this time around, as he was made to bob by BOOGS and Shinsuke Nakamura’s kendo stick attack. It led to cheers between the two babyfaces and their biggest fan, Pat McAfee. He made this match a lot more fun, by the way, simply by how enthusiastic he is for things like BOOGS using pumpkins and fake skeletons to attack his foes. Later, he nearly came to tears with empathy for Nakamura when he got a pumpkin put on his head because “it’s so dark, there’s no candle in there.” Incredible. It sounded like he had Michael Cole struggling to do commentary because he was legitimately laughing, and it was an absolute delight.
- Sonya Deville still hates Naomi, and is still finding a way to ensure she doesn’t ever get ahead. This time, she inserted herself as referee in Naomi’s match with Shayna Baszler, then quick counted her down. After, Naomi appeared as though she was going to get physical with Deville but Baszler choked her out. I just genuinely don’t understand how we’re here and it still isn’t clear what this is about. The longer that remains the case, the more it hurts everyone involved.
Quote of the Show: “The Usos came out here and said ‘fornicate your carpet and your jaw.’” — Pat McAfee
It felt like they punted a bit with this show, considering it was on FS1 and not particularly building to anything with still weeks remaining until Survivor Series. It certainly wasn’t bad, but you could really feel the absence of Roman Reigns.