Smackdown Live is in the books. The Blue Brand of the WWE builds toward the Royal Rumble on January 29th, 2017. What is the current state of Smackdown?
In a bad, bad state. This episode saw the WWE bringing Renee Young being brought into a WWE storyline thanks to her off screen romance with Dean Ambrose. While some of the best stories from wrestling’s past have had elements of truth mixed in, I hate the fact they go to that well whenever they want to make something feel edgy. Renee Young is great in her role. I enjoy her role as host of the big event pre shows as well as the host of Talking Smack on the WWE Network. To inject her into a story smacks of desperation. Let Dean Ambrose and The Miz find anything to squabble over anything else. Their love interests should be left out of it, especially if their inclusion in the story will hurt their long term role in the company.
The WWE pulled the trigger tonight on the Natalya heel turn and boy did it bomb. Natalya is great in the ring. You won’t get an argument from anyone about that. Yet when she gets on the microphone, I find myself as the viewer diving across the room to the television in order to turn the channel.
It’s been close to fifteen years now since the WWE has switched to their performers memorizing their pre-written lines. Some make it work. The Rock is one who loved to have his work written before hand and his work speaks for itself. Some like Natalya should be kept away from the mic at all costs.
Hearing her speak tonight just reminds me how valuable managers can be to certain talent. Some people need to be kept off the microphone at all costs. Yet we live in a world where every Superstar needs to give twenty minute monologues in the ring. Why? Let someone’s work in the ring speak for itself! Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson on their podcast Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard explained why Vince prefers to let talent speak for themselves. Money. Why pay money for someone to speak for a talent when that talent can speak for themselves? Yet some talent cannot speak naturally on the mic. If they perform in the ring, find them someone who can do the talking for them. Look what it’s done for Brock Lesnar?
The main event saw Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler. Dolph had put his championship match on next week’s Smackdown Live on the line. AJ Styles sat in on commentary.
The match itself was all right. With as talented as Dolph is in the ring, I’m sure he could make me look good in the ring. The match with Baron was fine. The end of the match is what I have issue with. Baron was made to look a fool for keeping Dolph outside the ring enabling a double count out finish. I know, he was setting up this finish intentionally to set up the Triple Threat Match that was announced for the WWE Championship next week yet in doing so, it made him look incredibly stupid. He had a chance to get Dolph back in the ring at around the seven second mark yet threw him back against the guardrail to get the double count out.
I hate when WWE does this. You want your bad guys to look unstoppable. If they get beat, there has to be a logical reason for it. When that reason is the bad guy in question decided he’d rather ignore the ten count and continue beating his opponent, despite the fact that winning the match would give him a solo shot against the champion, you make the guy look stupid. It could have been something as simply as Baron beating Dolph to the ground, the count gets to nine, and just as Baron tries getting back in the ring to win by count out, Dolph grabs his leg causing the double count out.
I love the WWE. I really do. Yet when they make juvenile mistakes like this, it makes you question why you watch. This was a disappointing episode of Smackdown. Not every episode will be a winner with the sheer amount of content they produce but this could have been so much better.