Cleat Geeks

Smack Talk-Review of Smack Down

Less than 2 weeks left before WrestleMania, many fans are growing impatient. Most of the WrestleMania card is set. Some matches should be great. Some matches will probably stink. But until then, we’re in a holding pattern. The storyline build for all of these matches has been….well, meh. In my opinion, WWE has missed on a quite a few opportunities to make this WrestleMania fantastic; in spite of all the major injuries. So that being said, here we go with this week’s SmackDown review & what we learned from March 24th:

 

Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman

lesnar-heyman-rawI want to start off with the final segment of this week’s episode, simply because Paul Heyman is a master of promotion. For being one of the undercard matches, this could be the best match at WrestleMania. (Which is incredible if you think back to last year, at WrestleMania, how dominant Brock was booked for 9 months!) Paul Heyman appeared with Brock Lesnar this week & told us why. He referenced the vignettes of Dean Ambrose with Terry Funk & Mick Foley, where the 2 hardcore legends gifted Dean with a barb wire baseball bat & a chainsaw. Heyman went on to say that’s all well & good that Dean has those legendary weapons at his disposal, but Brock will just take them from Dean & use them against him. This is a huge point that can’t be overlooked. Remember when Lesnar fought Big Show & all those chair shots? You almost felt bad for Big Show. Almost. After the Wyatts tried to ambush Lesnar in this segment (keyword “tried”), Dean attempts to put down Lesnar with a kendo stick. Dean hits him multiple times with the kendo stick, only to get a massive clothesline for his trouble. Then, Brock breaks the stick right over his own knee. Completely verifying what Heyman just said in his promo. Segment ends with Dean receiving an F5 from Brock & an emphatic metaphorical statement. Even though Dean has been booked very well going into their WrestleMania street fight, when was the last time Brock disappointed in a big time match?  (Don’t count this year’s Rumble) I’ll wait for your response.

 

Kevin Owens & Miz v Sami Zayn & Dolph Ziggler

KevinOwensThis was one of only a few matches that got a decent amount of time on this episode of SmackDown. It did not disappoint. These 4 wrestlers are among the top active in-ring performers right now. Miz & Dolph work very well together. Owens & Zayn work very well together. The long time chemistry between both sets of wrestlers led to an extremely entertaining match. The action was constant, the flow was great, the crowd loved it, & in the end, the match accomplished everything it needed to. The real star of this entire segment was Owens. Whether it was antagonizing Miz, Zayn, Ziggler, or the crowd, Owens did it masterfully. Twice he tried to walk out on the match, as is his customary go to move, only to be met by opposition both times. Owens is just a natural heel, which is probably why HHH likes him so much. He doesn’t have to try & force his attitude, it comes off so natural. Almost as if it’s a normal persona for him. For instance, in the beginning of this match, Zayn is counter maneuvering arm bars by Miz. Owens is in his corner sarcastically yelling to Zayn, “Very nice…Oh that’s very good” Hilarious. Or when he plays the coward & immediately tags Miz after Sami is tagged in. Classic heel move. Owens eventually does escape, with all of the other 6 participants in the upcoming IC title ladder match wanting to punch him, including Miz. One of the best segments in this episode.

 

Sheamus v Kofi

Sheamus won on a fantastic Brogue kick. This was the other match that got a lot of time. But that’s not what I really wanted to talk about here. This match had a much more significant tone about it. One that many fans will probably disagree with….turning the New Day into babyfaces was a mistake. Let me explain before you want to hate me for saying that. I understand that WWE has a weak tag team division right now. How else do you explain the Dudley Boyz as heels? Tyson Kidd & Cesaro were very good until injuries hit both of them. The Sin Cara injury was bad timing also, since now WWE has Kalisto as U.S. Champion. The Usos are ok, but they’re just kind of there. Don’t get me started on the Ascension or Harper & Rowan. Those 2 teams should have been a bigger part of the tag team division.TheAscension

Which leads me to my bigger point, the New Day were much more effective as heels. Their promos were much better. They never pandered to the crowd, like they do now. These catch phrases don’t illicit the same response or laughter. And for God’s sake, it changed the one thing that absolutely worked every time….when New Day would chant “New Day Rocks” and you’d hear a 50/50 reaction of “New Day Sucks” to “New Day Rocks.” Their team had that special circumstance WWE should just leave alone, when their heels are over. Why fix something that isn’t broken? You’ve got both face & heel fan bases. Both marks & smarks. This would be similar to turning Owens or Bray into a face. Not exactly the same, but if your heels are accepted as heels, why turn them? Just to accommodate Rusev, Del Rio, Sheamus, & Barrett? WWE can’t figure out how to book those 4 anymore, so they just look at them & say:

LeagueofNationsThere are 4 international stars that are best suited as heels…Let’s put them together & call them the League of Nations. They’re going to need a run at the tag team titles to look strong, though. But wait, the New Day have the titles. Hmm…we can’t turn the League of Nations into babyfaces, let’s turn the New Day! Fans already love them & we won’t see any decrease in merchandise sales. Heck, we might even see more!

Here’s my issue with that thought, it’s laziness on the part of creative. I think if the European championship was still around, they could put that belt on Sheamus & have the League of Nations promote it as the only belt that meant anything, while putting down the rest of the world in continuous promos. But does it have to be the European belt? Can it not be the Intercontinental belt? This faction doesn’t need the tag team belts for validation. If booked properly, they could be the most feared group in the WWE right now. However, sadly the New Day will be whoever they’re told to be. They all had mediocre success prior to their formation. The in-ring work hasn’t changed since their babyface turn, but unfortunately that’s never what made them popular with the fans.

 

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