SmackDown was a disaster

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

SmackDown on Tuesday, Sept. 19 provided fans with some good rivalries to get interested in. Unfortunately, SmackDown has had trouble keeping the fans interested ever since the “Superstar Shakeup” and the decision to put the World Title on Jinder Mahal.

Shane McMahon

SmackDown opened strong showing Shane McMahon looking angry. Last week, Kevin Owens beat up Vince McMahon on SmackDown (Shane McMahon’s father) and McMahon promised a vicious beating for Owens at Hell in a Cell.

Very short and to the point. We normally see Shane McMahon having a good time; seeing him quiet and full of rage is an interesting change.

Randy Orton, Aiden English and Rusev

Aiden English put on a good match against Randy Orton. He lost, but looked good doing it. Then Rusev came out and challenged Orton to a match, right then and there.

Fans have either raged or made jokes over Orton’s squash match where he took out Rusev before the bell even finished ringing. Rusev acknowledged that in character, saying the loss made him a joke. After the bell rang, Rusev similarly finished Orton off quickly with a super kick.

Jinder Mahal

Hoooooo boy, this segment was a complete disaster.

Last week, Jinder Mahal played a slideshow of Shinsuke Nakamura’s facial expressions during matches and made fun of them. He made fun of them and ended with a Godzilla joke on the last picture (Nakamura is Japanese) and the fans laughed. He then made a pitch about racism and how fans would turn against Nakamura the same way they turned against himself.

But this week, Mahal came out with several charged comments and made fun of Nakamura’s accent. Fans didn’t like the racism-charged jokes one bit and started chanting “That’s too far!”

While Mahal (or whoever wrote this monologue) certainly crossed a line, it may not be to the degree of costing Mahal his career. Even so, Mahal never really got over with the fans, even as a heel, and the last thing he can afford to do is alienate the fans.

Especially with the low attendance reported at SmackDown.

AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin

Styles defended his United States Championship against Baron Corbin. Corbin, who probably missed out on his chance to be the World Champion because he made some of the executives angry, has not been brushed aside as expected. Although he didn’t win against Styles, he didn’t all the way lose either. Selling a fake leg injury, the referee called the match and it ended in a draw.

Women’s Celebration

Natalya, current SmackDown Women’s Champion, held a “Women’s Celebration” to highlight the achievements of the women’s division. This culminated with herself winning the Women’s Championship, adding humor to what would otherwise have been heavy handed.

As one wrestling commenter put it, the biggest proof of the success of the women’s division was not the first time female wrestlers fought in the main event, but when the ring announcers stopped hyping how historic it was whenever women wrestlers fought in the main event. (Although I would counter that Charlotte Flair’s back flip off the top turnbuckle to the outside of the ring on Raw several months ago might be bigger proof than either of those things.)

During the celebration, Sasha Banks, Tamina, Charlotte Clair and Naomi all came out ready to fight over who would be the number one contender for Natalya’s Women’s Title. General Manager Daniel Bryan set up a fatal four-way match main event to decide who that would be.

The New Day vs The Hype Brothers

The Hype Brothers seem to exist just to lose to The New Day or The Usos. The New Day took the win and some banter continued between New Day and The Usos, who are apparently going to have yet another match for the Tag Team Titles.

Both The New Day and The Usos are spectacular teams, but we’ve seen them wrestle each other so many times already. Worse than that, SmackDown has good tag teams that we almost never see. It’s time to give a push to one of those other teams. Or better yet, two.

Kevin Owens

Appearing on satellite, Owens gave an insincere apology for beating up Vince McMahon and promised to destroy Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell. As with Shane McMahon’s monologue, it was short and sweet. Owens presented that heartless sort of heel character he’s so good at.

Dolph Ziggler

SmackDown’s increase in monologues and microphone confrontations makes it seem like there’s much more going on in the little two-hour program. Dolph Ziggler hasn’t wrestled on air in a few weeks, but we’ve kept seeing him in these shoots where he copies other wrestlers’ entrances and acts frustrated over his career. These moments lasted only a few minutes, but they keep him in the spotlight.

Fatal four-way

The normal strength of a fatal four-way match is to give several wrestlers some ring-time during one match, but neither Naomi nor Becky Lynch had very good spots in this match. Tamina came out very physical and Charlotte Flair won the match.

Flair’s had the Raw Women’s Title several times already, but it’s been a while and Flair is an excellent champion. This likely also sets her up for a feud with Carmella, who holds the women’s Money in the Bank briefcase.

Who didn’t we see?

Luke Harper, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, The Ascension, Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin, Erick Rowan, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn and Carmella.


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