Friday Night SmackDown is usually a pretty good show but every now and again you get a stinker that doesn’t offer all that much to remember. That’s what happened this week. But there was one segment that stood out.
This was so, so, so, so good.
Sheamus got the chance to cut his promo, using the line about taking the title into the belly of the red dragon or whatever. He wants to become the first “Ultimate Grand Slam Champion,” whatever the hell that means. Cool.
Then it was GUNTHER’s turn, and he was incredible. He promised to teach Sheamus “what violence really means” in order to “protect this title.”
“I’m going to chop your chest into bloody bits. I’m going to break your body. I’m going to break your spirit. I’m going to break the men that everybody thinks cannot be broken. Sheamus, the Ring General will break YOU.”
I would have been happy if it ended there, the beefy big boys staring each other down. But it didn’t. Instead, BUTCH attacked Ludwig Kaiser. They fought all around the ring, and kept right on fighting, trading blows circling around GUNTHER and Sheamus, who never once broke each other’s gaze. They both absolutely refused to budge, and it made for a pretty damn good visual.
Eventually, they both hemmed up their respective lackeys, still staring each other down, and slowly backed off. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple, and that can be especially true in pro wrestling. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and a segment like this proves it.
Damn, I’m hyped to see these two go at it at Clash at the Castle.
All the rest
- This show went right into a match that saw Ricochet beat Happy Corbin clean in the middle of the ring with the shooting star press. They got 15 minutes and it wasn’t bad. The story seems to be Corbin back on the road to sadness. I’m eager to get there, considering he was far more interesting then and there was much more they could do with him.
- The noir look and feel for Karrion Kross rules and I genuinely hope it continues. Real Sin City vibes. I loved that movie. Give me another Marv, fighting for his Goldie.
- The “Second Chance” Fatal 4-Way was a pretty bad match that felt very much like a foregone conclusion they just wanted to sprint their way through to get to the semifinal match they had scheduled for later in the evening. It’s a shame they had Nikki A.S.H. take a big bump in service of it, especially considering it looked like she came a little too close to injuring her lower leg in the process.
- The semifinal of the Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament wasn’t much better than the 4-Way earlier in the night. Raquel Rodriguez & Aliyah advanced, because that was always what made the most sense here, and they’re off to Raw next week for the final. All of this feels unnecessary, because IYO SKY & Dakota Kai are winning and everyone is going to expect Sasha Banks & Naomi to confront them after their title win. All of this, then, just feels like a hard slog to get there.
- The New Day, geniuses they are, set a trap for the VICIOUS VIKINGS by putting Xavier Woods in a wheelchair and making like maybe they need to call it. Naturally, Erik & Ivar fell for it, the big oafs, and got blasted with kendo sticks for their mistake. It’s what they get for burning some shirts, man.
- Hit Row and the Street Profits did some partying, Maximum Male Models got upset about the loud music somehow messing up their photo shoot, and they drew “Hit Row Sucks” on the bus — which just so happened to be the Street Profits’ bus, who were none too happy. MMM bailed. That was that. Just reading that should tell you everything you need to know about it.
- Sami Zayn was used again but he’s still being a bad guy in the process and this episode actually made me a little more confused about what the end game with that whole story will be. I mean, yeah, it’s probably going where I think it’s going but they’re gonna need to do more to steer things toward a turn at some point, right?
- Meanwhile, Roman Reigns is still the most dominant champion we’ve seen in some time, always standing tall, always on top, using numbers like he’s the leader of the nWo and every show ends the same like it’s late 1996 on TNT. I don’t hate it. He’s a great champion.
Really enjoyed the GUNTHER/Sheamus confrontation but the rest of this show was really lacking.