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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (Mar. 18, 2022): Blow your doors off

What the hell did we just watch?

That’s all I could think to say in the Cageside offices as Brock Lesnar was driving a forklift straight at a vehicle The Bloodline made a beeline for once they were informed he was on his way to the building. Then he tipped the vehicle over, only for Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, and The Usos to make an escape in another vehicle, which Lesnar chose to run after on foot.

He also did plenty of damage to that vehicle, and not even intentionally! He threw the doors open and attacked whoever he could get his hands on but the driver sped off and the back door got caught on the sheer mass of Lesnar and broke right the hell off.

Naturally, Brock picked said door up and took it to the ring with him, doing a full entrance with it before using it as a prop for his promo. He’s going to do more than just blow Roman’s doors off at WrestleMania 38, you see. He’s coming for blood!

See ya in two!

I would love to offer some sort of analysis for this wacky start to Friday Night SmackDown this week but all I can muster is that I’m not sure how crazy I am about The Bloodline responding to the threat of Lesnar’s mere presence with piss running down their legs. I mean, I get it, it’s fairly standard in response to Brock, and if anyone should get treatment like that it’s him, but this version of Reigns should be above that.

But I’m not even really upset about it because this just felt so absurd it came around to being that fun bit of zaniness you only get in pro wrestling. They’ve got two more shows to get through before the match, I can’t wait to see what they come up with from here.

I’m just going to come right out and tell you right now I am to the point that I’m nearly incapable of talking about Pat McAfee’s work in WWE without hyperbole. The thing is, though, I actually mean what I’m saying.

This guy is so unbelievably good at pro wrestling, man. My god, he’s just so damn good at every aspect of it.

This week he was called in to Vince McMahon’s office, told he had to apologize to Austin Theory, and then went out and cut a promo about what this all means to him before Theory hit the scene to get his apology.

That apology went like this:

I highly doubt he’s following a script written up for him by writers who are trying to appease one man, and you can tell the difference in how he comes off. He feels real. “I’m sorry that your parents raised a massive douchebag” got a huge pop, and is the kind of line you won’t hear from anyone else on the roster (you’ll note “douchebag” is edited out of the above YouTube video). That’s crazy! It’s such a simple but effective way to make the crowd happy while a babyface is dumping on a heel.

It’s fun!

McAfee, while being the top commentator in WWE, is also maybe the best promo in WWE. The guy can do it all. If he has a good match with Theory at WrestleMania, I’ll be prepared to start calling for an immediate Hall of Fame induction, I don’t give a shit that he’s still working.

This guy rules so hard, and we should all be glad he’s here doing his thing, especially when he has so much else going on.

I’m still not crazy about this Charlotte Flair/Ronda Rousey feud but I’ll admit they’re doing a pretty damn good job of making Rousey look a lot more vulnerable. Flair rightly pointed out that no one has caused her more pain than Charlotte has, and then caused her even more by avoiding Rousey’s submission attempts and just straight up playing dirty to get the best of her.

I don’t think Rousey works as an underdog, and I really don’t think she works as a babyface, but Flair is doing everything she can here, and she’s come off like a big star all throughout. Rousey being willing to sell as much as she has, including getting put through a table and left bleeding and laid out in consecutive weeks, is also worth noting.

Again, though, I just don’t think this is the best way to present Rousey. If anything, the roles should be reversed.

Having said that, this was pretty good for what it was and lends hope to what the match at WrestleMania can be.

All the rest

  • Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick BOOGS scored a win over Los Lotharios here to heat them up en route to their tag team title shot at WrestleMania 38. The match was good for what it was, and they made sure to showcase BOOGS as the power of the team who is going to give them a real shot at winning gold.
  • This Drew McIntyre/Happy Corbin program is getting prime real estate on this show in the weeks leading up to the biggest event of the year and I just can’t muster up any kind of energy to care about it at all. Am I the only one? The crowd is firmly behind McIntyre, and Corbin is doing fine work as a heel and all that, there’s just nothing about the feud that stands out.
  • Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley, now collectively known as Liv for Brutality, came over from Monday Night Raw to square up with Sasha Banks & Naomi in a matchup of the top two contenders to the women’s tag team titles. They had one hell of a match with each other too, and then didn’t get a finish because Shayna Baszler & Natalya showed up to get involved in the action and force a DQ. The segment ended with Baszler & Nattie staring down the champs while the other two teams were laid out, which felt like an insult considering the match that preceded it. They were then added to the title match at WrestleMania because Sonya Deville liked what they did. They bothered to use some backstory to get to this but I’m still giving it a big ol’ shrug.
  • Just one week after Ridge Holland legitimately broke Big E’s neck, he was given a win over Kofi Kingston. Hey man, anything for heat, right? Meanwhile, BUTCH is a straight up a cartoon character and I think I might love it.

This was a fun show.

Grade: B

Your turn.

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