Dan McGinn is off this week. Where? My guess would be bear baiting, your guess might be murder spree. Only one of us is wrong. Fair warning: I haven’t watched an episode of Smackdown since June of last year. I was attempting to watch every single Raw, Smackdown, Impact, NXT, Lucha Underground and ROH episode until my will to live evaporated faster than a Zack Ryder push. I was watching Impact and yet it was Raw and Smackdown that drove me out. If I had to watch ONE MORE New Day six man tag what I would have done would be considered a hate crime in most civilized countries. Anyways… Smackdown… Here we go!
I’m unsure how to feel about the “There Will Be Blood” music that’s starts off the Jinder montage. We get “Newspaper clippings” of Daniel Plainview shocking the world by defeating Randy Orton at Backlash. Man there a LOT of audience reaction shots from Sunday night. An ABSURD amount. On one of these conference calls one day I’d like someone to ask how many cameras are pointing at the audience at all times. The over under is ten. TEN. Also that means that it’s someone’s job to just sit and watch the audience cameras. Dave Taylor perhaps? It just feels like MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH!!!!! (1)
They pontificate “What does it mean???” that Jinder Mahal is the champion. It means you have a career jobber holding the same title as Bruno Sammartino. We’ve got a Punjabi celebration coming up! Can’t… Wait…
The police sirens start us off and make me long for the sweet, sweet embrace of Scott Steiner. The Singh brothers are still alive no thanks to Randall Orton. He could not have cared less about their livelihoods. Out of the limousine pops the face of the impending Indian expansion. It seems to me like the face of an expansion shouldn’t be a cheating asshole. Yes it worked for Columbus and every other carrier of smallpox, but this is professional wrestling. Professional wrestling; a business filled with giant noses and yet, our new champion has them all beat. Jinder breathes the good air (about a .011 Rock) and… why on Earth is JBL’s face of all people on their production truck? Man they really doubled down after that Ranallo stuff.
HERE COMES THE MONEY! He’s still doing that dance? THE MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH!!!!!!!(2) While Shane skips his way to the ring I wonder why the announcers haven’t mentioned how they can’t believe that Mahal is Champion yet….
“What’s up Toledo?” Shane’s here for some business. Number one: Randy Orton has instituted his rematch clause in his hometown. Is he out of his fucking mind???? Also it’s Money In The Bank time. Shane O’Mac is here to announce the participants and I’m pissing my pants with excitement.
- 1. AJ Styles, out to a pretty decent pop.
- 2. Baron Corbin, out to mild apathy.
- 3. Sami Zayn, annoying man (TM) out to a bigger pop than AJ. Weird. It’s like he connects with the crowd or something…
- 4. Dolph Ziggler out to some pretty decent heel heat.
- 5. Kevin Owens out to Shane’s chagrin.
Shane shuts that shit down immediately and brings out our actual number five.
Can we just let him win this damn thing and declare he’ll challenge at Mania? At least for the first time since 2006 they’ll be telling a different story with the briefcase. It would also give everyone the better part of a year to get on the Nakamura train. Nak gets a huge pop and the crowd sings his song. I wonder what they’ll do to make him feel less special.
The artist??? Jesus Christ.
Everyone stands around the ring while Nakamura does interpretive dance. HOW DOES IT TAKE THEM TILL THE VERY END TO FIND THE GUY WITH A VIOLIN SIGN IN THE CROWD? I CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT CONFERENCE CALL!!!!!
Owens is pissed at his exclusion. He makes a fair point about the losers from two nights ago getting to be in the MITB match. Did he not see that a man who’s record was 0-63 before three weeks ago was the world champion? Why is anyone booing this man? He’s the only one talking sense. Why on Earth are they not doing qualifiers? It might actually add some stakes to the matches for the next four weeks. Bah what do I know? I’m just a longtime fan being driven off by the complete lack of coherent storytelling.
Shane concedes that Kevin is making some salient points. Salient? Really Shane? Know your audience for fuck’s sake. Next they’ll be throwing around abeyance again. Shane ends up just putting him in the match to give us a really strong field. As much as I don’t care for how they got there the match will probably….
Spoke the robot from the savage future. According to Corbin’s carefully. scripted lines no one stands a chance but him. AJ counters that by declaring Smackdown the HOUSE THAT AJ STYLES BUILT! Which I’m sure has Rey Mysterio rolling over in his little grave. AJ then mentions everyone’s nicknames after calling Kevin the Eric Cartman of the WWE…sigh…
Sami has respect for AJ and manages to fit the words Smackdown Live three times into two sentences. But Corbin quickly cuts him off and compares him to Rudy. Rudy? Cartman? If Nakamura adds “How do you like them apples” I’m going to put my fist through the screen.
I’ve got to stop recapping this dialogue it’s making my ears bleed.
Nakamura. Introduces himself. The end game here is Zayn vs. Corbin and AJ and Nak vs. Ziggler and Owens. Also every microphone in his hand undermines Nakamura so there’s that… They’ve got to keep him out of these skits. Play to his strengths. He dances, he kills guys dead. That’s all we need here.
Charlotte the peacock is walking backstage.
Match #1 – Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya & Carmella
A thousand words and I’m only getting to the first match? I need this show to feel as long for you as it did for me. The faces have Naomi with them so they are officially Team BCN now. The heels have Nia Jax 2.0 with them. Becky starts with Carmella and quickly noogies her. Of course the match has been going for longer than a minute so we have to go to a commercial.
Back and the heels are murdering Becky. Without any rhyme or reason Becky turns it around and hot tags Charlotte. All the women’s hair looks like candy. Charlotte gets distracted by Tamina Jax and eats a German suplex from Mommy Natalya. Two quick tags later, and following Carmella’s “stellar” kicks Becky taps out the princess of Staten Island with the disarm her.
This was a whole lot of nothing. Is there a sadder case in wrestling over the last year than Carmella? Part of one of the hottest acts in the company only to be isolated on Smackdown playing to crickets every night.
MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH!!!!!!!!!!!(3)
Back from break and Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin are already in the ring. Guess they had no fun facts for them. It’s not like Zayn’s music and entrance would help him get over or anything.
Match #2 – Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin tosses Zayn once before Sami rolls him up for the three count. I actually like the roll up finish. They do a few more of these and it might lend credence to near falls in most other matches. Corbin of course destroys him after the match. He’s “apoplectic” according to JBL. Fuck right off John. They brawl around the crowd as I question why no one is stopping this. They can get six doctors at ringside at a hint of blood but they can’t get a couple of refs down for an attempted murder? I mean come on guys he hit him with a chair TO THE SPINE!!!!!!!
Zayn is dying before our eyes. How do we know? Through his reactions and body language? Nope! The woman in the crowd who is in total GRIEF. How did we find her in a crowd of 20000 people? Stalkers.
Zayn gets a stretcher but the commentators are CHANGING GEARS to tell sell us on the tag team main event.
MOMENTS AGO we get a replay of everything we saw less than two minutes ago. Including the grieving woman! They are trying so hard to recreate the shocked guy from WrestleMania XXX. If you would like to be a television star for the WWE just show up at a taping and stand there with your jaw open and hands on your head and by God you’ll get on the show.
Nakamura and AJ have a backstage segment which confirm all my fears about the future booking of Shinsuke Nakamura.
FASHION FILES – THE FINAL FILE?
It’s amazing that they’re able to find an identical building in every city for their establishing shots. Shane McMahon is standing in the cop’s office to suck all the fun out of the comedy. Tyler and Fandango are upset over not getting the job done at Backlash. I’m not sure who’s firing them as they fill a box with their possessions but then again I’m sure no one hired them as fashion cops either. Sadly Chief Shane doesn’t at any point scream “You’re out of order” at them, instead he puts them both in singles matches against the Usos. The boys are excited and promise to make their mentor the Big Boss Man proud. Fandango is awesome. The scripting of this scene is banal but he makes every line work.
Time for the Punjabi celebration for the 50th WWE champion ever… THE MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!(4) THE MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH!!!!!!!(5) DRUMS IN THE DARKNESS. OFF BEAT DUMS INTHE DARKNESS!!! They have gone all out here with a huge Bollywood dance number to celebrate the non hindering of Jindering. These forty men (and two women) seem like the happiest people on Earth. The Singhs make their way to the ring as JBL mentions that 1.3 billion people are celebrating for the MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH!!!!! (6)
Character aside I feel like Jinder is probably a really nice guy MODERN DAYMAHARAJAH!!!!!!!(7). He smiles and holds up the title to a smattering of boos. “You people can shower me with your hatred but it doesn’t change the fact that 1.3 Billion people are celebrating right now.” Hey that’s just what JBL said! I’m curious how many times “1.3 billion people Pal” was screamed Backstage over the past week. “You boo me because I look different”(bacne) “You boo me because I sound different.” (You don’t. You do need a lozenge though.) “You boo me because I exposed you” (??????) “You didn’t believe in the MAHARAJAH (8). At Backlash the MAHARAJAH (9) enlightened you fools.” He goes on to declare himself the greatest WWE champion of all time while chastising the crowd for trying to hijack the MAHARAJAH’s (10) crowning.
Jinder then addresses HIS fans in Punjabi and the crowd is having none of it. Is there no Punjabi word for BACKLASH? The announcers are going crazy at the end here. Still in disbelief that The MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH (11) is the champion. They thought it was impossible. If they could stop patting themselves on the back for two minutes for the surprise they might realize that one of the reasons it was so shocking was that it made no fucking sense. MODERN DAY MAHARAJAH number (12) by the way now. Man these guys are doing their best to actively ruin the show. Get their faces on the production trucks pal!!! Also pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease stick around for the main event tag match.
Lana is a stripper now? A dancer? What’s happening? “Coming soon” as though she hasn’t been on TV for nearly three years now.
Match #3 – Jey Uso vs. Tyler Breeze
What does “DAY ONE ISH” mean? Did I miss something or am I just getting old? Jey Uso grabs a mic and laments the match saying that they beat them last night so Tyler rolls him up for the three count. JUST LIKE SAMI ZAYN EARLIER! Are we short on time? Perhaps had we used all the cumulative time they spend saying Modern Day Maharajah here these guys could have had an Iron man match.
Oh we’re right the next match…
Match # 4 – Jimmy Uso vs. Fandango
They run around the ring for thirty seconds before Fandango rolls up Jimmy for the three count. JUST LIKE SAMI ZAYN EARLIER! JUST LIKE TYLER BREEZE EARLIER! THERE HAVE BEEN FOUR MATCHES ON THE SHOW AND THREE ENDED THE EXACT SAME FUCKING WAY INSIDE OF THIRTY SECONDS?????
Fandango declares himself a real man, which gets a chuckle out of me and we’re off for a tag team title rematch.
Match #5 – The Usos (c) vs. Breezango – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles
Back from break and we are in a CHINLOCK, but Breeze kicks him to the floor and gets a hot tag to Fandango who clears house. Byron suggests it would be a miracle if Breezango wins despite the fact that both Usos just got pinned by them not three minutes ago. Wait minute? Did I just hear myself say THREE MINUTES???? I am losing my mind here. The Usos go for a splash but Breezango counters with knees. He gets, you guessed it, a roll up for a solid two count which gives us a hipster holding his head in the crowd. Why is everyone holding their heads at these events? Usos proceed to kill Fandango dead to retain the titles. Did you know there was a tag team main event tonight?????
Shane is in his office. The entire Smackdown women’s division come in and complain about wanting a shot. I’ve seen community theater shows with more acceptable line readings than here. Next week we have a fatal five way match to decide the number one contender. Weird. A match on the show that has actual stakes????
The truest comment in that whole segment was Tamina Jax saying it was her turn to be champion. I mean EVERYONE gets a turn with the women’s title. I’m sure they’ll put it on Ellsworth soon. Tamina has been on TV for what? Six years now and has literally nothing to show for it. No titles. No unforgettable moments. Shit they can’t even call her the daughter of that murderer any more.
They skipped Nakamura’s entrance???
Match #6 – AJ STYLES/SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. KEVIN OWENS/DOLPH ZIGGLER
AJ and Dolph start working a hammerlock which the announcers declare is what we’re going to see at Money In The Bank. I sure hope we get a bunch of hammerlocks in the LADDER match. Ziggler, the heel, wearing an American flag as he fights the face foreigner. He slows things down with a headlock and a T-Shirt before getting dropkicked. Nakamura and Owens are tagged in! This should be interesting. Three knees and we’re off to commercial. Seriously? This show is horribly paced. As soon as it starts moving we have to break away.
Back and Nakamura does his head dangling thing but the announcers have to plug MITB so we don’t get anything about it. The heels now go to work on Nak. He’s the face in peril???? YEAH! Another CHINLOCK! This time from Ziggler. Can anyone in this company work a different body part? My two favorite wrestlers in the world are teamed up here and I can’t wait for the match to end. I’m longing for it to end. Checking the time signature every thirty seconds or so. The match just makes no sense. It’s Nakamura’s debut and he’s spending the entire thing selling. ANOTHER CHINLOCK!!!! I can’t wait for two months from now when we’re hearing that Nak couldn’t grab the brass ring. Let’s all remember this debut when we do.
Nak finally hot tags AJ and we get a FIREMAN”S CARRY NECKBREAKER. Boy they sure changed that fast once Mauro left… Now the heels start beating up AJ so Nak can get a hot tag. Can you guess what hold they are using???? Yup. Ziggler and Owens tag in and out as we clearly hear the ref yelling “they’re showing a replay”. Jesus guys come on. At least try here.
Nakamura finally gets the hot tag and destroys everyone. He pins Owens for the win. “Another masterpiece from the artist!” Really Byron?? What a fucking pointless match. This probably did more harm than good here. Nakamura’s whole gimmick is that he kills guys dead with kicks and strong style, do we need to see him taking such a shitkicking during his television debut?
Here’s the feeling I’m left with by the end of the show: I want my life back. Smackdown wasn’t a show this week. It was a two hour long infomercial for Money In The Bank. It’s never about what you’re seeing now with this company. It’s always buy the next show. At some point we have to be entertained in the moment. What were we given here in terms of actual entertainment?
- A long winded opening promo segment where no one came off looking good.
- Sami Zayn pinning Baron Corbin in 30 seconds.
- Tyler Breeze pinning Jey Uso in 30 seconds.
- Fandango pinning Jimmy Uso in 30 seconds.
- A tag title match with one good near fall.
- A pointless, POINTLESS main event. I mean why are these guys even fighting?
- A Modern Day Maharajah ceremony where they made sure to say 1.3 million people 1.3 million times.
What was on this show that pushed storylines further that couldn’t have been a two minute update segment with Sean Mooney? There’s nothing exciting or interesting here. It starts with the awful scripted lines like “The only thing you’re good at is being at the back of the line,” and rambles on with nonsensical booking and storytelling. Why ARE all the losers from two nights ago getting shots at the titles? Baron Corbin, AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler are being put in a match where the winner is almost guaranteed to be champion. Becky Lynch and Charlotte lost and are getting a title shot next week. It’s insane. Why care about any of it? You can pepper in as many fake reaction shots as you want throughout your shows (and your adds now too???) but it doesn’t change the fact that the crowd was SILENT during the main event which featured the debut of a huge star.
It’s the laziness that hurts it most. Three roll up finishes in five matches? Long chinlock segments in every single match. Why does it need to be so homogenized?
The best, and most creative part of the show was a two minute Bollwood routine. Let that sink in before you dedicate precious moments of your life to this show… Maybe I’m just upset that in today’s social climate I can’t make my joke about 1.3 billion people crowded around a 13 inch television…