Live from ThunderDome!
Over the past two weeks Apollo Crews has had the stage to himself. He’s used it to roll out his new heel character - first with talk about his heritage and some slick new gear, then with a spear, a paramilitary guard, and a Nigerian accent.
That last bit caused some conversation around the wrestle web, as well as speculation about how the man Crews is feuding with, Intercontinental champion Big E, would address it.
E’s got a friend who also worked with an accent for a while in his New Day brother Kofi Kingston. And the Jamaican affect Kofi used for the first portion of his wrestling career’s been a talking point in a few programs, notably New Day’s epic rivalry with The Usos. Apollo’s accent is both an easy target for jokes. It could also be a chance for Big E to say something meaningful about how performers of color have had to present themselves in pro wrestling throughout its history (whether the story is this is how Crews really talks and he’s been forcing an American accent for years, or if he’s decided he needed to adopt a Nigerian accent to be taken seriously).
Either way, tonight’s not the time for it. Apollo’s had the spotlight for the last two weeks because he attacked E with the ring steps and left the champ convalescing at home. That came after weeks of feuding and interacting where Large Epsilon was already frustrated with Crews. There will be time for talking, and joking, and maybe even an examination of WWE’s continued use of the “evil foreigner” trope.
When he shows up for the first time this month, Big E should be coming for that ass*.
* Awkward phrasing, I know. But something tells me E might approve.
The title scene
After Jey Uso let him down yet again - and seriously, love ya Jey, but it might be time for Big Uce to look for a henchman upgrade - Roman Reigns will sit down with Daniel Bryan and sign the papers to make their Universal title match at Fastlane official. Contract signings are usually where special counsel Paul Heyman thinks he has a trick up his sleeve. But if Adam Pearce can outsmart Heyman, Bryan should be fine. Maybe the Head of the Table needs a new consigliere too?
We’re set for more talking-that-will-almost-certainly-break-down-into-violence in the SmackDown Women’s & WWE Women’s Tag Team championships scenes. Sasha Banks, who holds the former, and Bianca Belair, the woman who will try to take it from her at WrestleMania 37 and with whom she’s partnering to challenge Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler for the latter at next Sunday’s PPV (phew), head to The KO Show as Kevin Owens’ guests. Expect a guest appearance by Reginald, who Carmella fired and Banks again rejected, so he aligned himself with Jax & Baszler on Raw (double phew).
Things are a bit simpler when it comes to SmackDown Tag Team champs Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler. Street Profits are trying to win their way to a title shot. They’ve been doing a pretty good job of it, too, expect for a loss Montez Ford took to King Corbin last week. That only came about because of a Sami Zayn distraction, but then when Zayn when was facing Angelo Dawkins, Corbin didn’t return the favor, and that led Sami to assault a member of his documentary crew. Okay... maybe this is complicated too.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Seth Rollins and Cesaro are feuding, essentially because each feels the other disrespected him. See! That’s not hard, is it? Murphy’s involved, and... well we don’t know what to tell you about that.
- The family Murphy seemed to be heading toward joining is feuding with Alpha Academy, and things are looking up there after Dominik Mysterio picked up a win over Chad Gable. Even better? Papa Rey dropkicked Otis over a table.
- There seems to be trouble brewing between untitled-authority-figures Pearce and Sonya Deville. The latest example if Deville implying to Tamina & Natalya that the five-time NWA World Heavyweight champion kept them out of Fastlane’s Tag title match (a position they wouldn’t even be in without Billie Kay, who they continue to ignore, but I digress).
Two weeks until Fastlane!
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?