We’re just days away from the next WWE pay-per-view (PPV) on the schedule, WrestleMania Backlash, and while that was made clear on Friday Night SmackDown this week, very little was done to actually create some damn hype for the matches on the show.
That may have a lot more to do with the fact that the show itself is suffering from a decided lack of interesting matches, with a main event being a six-man tag with no titles on the line when we were originally looking at a title unification match in the tag team division and maybe Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre for the Universal title.
The fact that at no point have we been given an explanation for why Reigns demanded The Usos go unify the titles and then ripped up the contract for the match where they would do so is an annoying footnote to all this. The story here kind of sucks.
What carries the day is the fact that everyone involved here is incredibly entertaining even without having much of a story to work with.
Tell me you didn’t enjoy that entire “acknowledge” bit RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre did. You liar.
Meanwhile, they had a really sun sprint of a physical confrontation to close the show out. Reigns’ sell of the Claymore from McIntyre was particularly special. They all did really well here with what they were given to do.
It’s just not enough to make me want to bother with the PPV this weekend.
I suppose that’s the price we pay to have every PPV on Peacock for such a cheap deal. It’s a show, it will probably be fun, a few interesting things may happen, but it’s ultimately not nearly as relevant as most normal weeks of WWE television.
That’s kind of a shame too.
All the rest
- Charlotte Flair called Long Island the armpit of New York, an insult many have used and one that cracks me up every time. She promised to beat up Aliyah as a preview for WrestleMania Backlash, then cheap shot her. That brought Ronda Rousey out for a good old fashioned pre-PPV pull apart brawl. As far as brawls go, it wasn’t terrible. Rousey’s makeup got smeared all over her face and they were screaming at each other while being held back. Flair assaulted some officials. It felt a little more like they genuinely dislike each other, so that’s good!
- Shayna Baszler cheated her way to a win over Sasha Banks, using an assist from Natalya on the outside to do it. The babyfaces stood tall by the end of the segment, but I’m not sure if that bodes well for them or not. The idea here was to show they can be had with less than honest tactics, and, to be fair, Naomi was a bit slow on being where she needed to be. OF COURSE they were gonna cheat! Let’s just hope the match is good this weekend.
- Madcap Moss’s material got much better this week. Instead of cheesy dad jokes, he was dealing pointed barbs that actually hit at Happy Corbin on a personal level. It felt like maybe the start of some character development, where he’s a bit more serious with his comedy, if that makes sense. Less cheese, more fire. Corbin walked off without even picking a physical fight looking legitimately hurt by it. That’s a lot more interesting than what they were going with prior. I’m intrigued, at the very least. Moss is still a big ol’ goof, but there’s some potential to be more here.
- Drew Gulak was back for more punishment this week, this time in the form of actually getting to wrestle a match! That’s great for him! Oh, wait, it was against GUNTHER. Gulak got absolutely pummeled, He was the utter professional we can always count on him to be. Love that guy.
- WHERE THE HELL WAS BUTCH?!? UNDER THE DAMN RING! THAT SON OF A SON OF A! I don’t know when tables became the most exciting thing, something the live audience absolutely adores at all times and even chants for in any gimmick match, but it makes for great fun when we actually get them. Here, we got a Tables match that saw Sheamus & Ridge Holland beat The New Day because BUTCH was hiding under the ring and showed up at the most opportune time. It was fun.
- Sami Zayn is still Wile E. Coyote, cooking up schemes to best position himself to achieve victory, and wouldn’t you know it, he actually managed to score one over Shinsuke Nakamura this week. He didn’t mean to get into a match with him, and it looked like Adam Pearce would send him into a brick wall like usual, but he actually pulled a fast one and got ahead for once. You almost feel happy for the guy. Almost.
This was a perfectly decent show, it was just deeply underwhelming as the go home show to a pay-per-view. WrestleMania Backlash couldn’t have any less hype if it tried.