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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The land of opportunity known as SmackDown! pats itself on the back

Illustration for article titled The land of opportunity known as iSmackDown!/i pats itself on the back
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Results: Becky Lynch & Charlotte defeated Carmella & Natalya; Sami Zayn defeated Baron Corbin; Tyler Breeze defeated Jey Uso/Fandango defeated Jimmy Uso; The Usos (c) defeated Breezango (SmackDown! Tag Team Championship); AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler
  • SmackDown! Live is on the road to Money In The Bank, and while it’s not one of the Big Four pay-per-views, it’s definitely one that has a pretty good reputation. (It’s basically the reverse Extreme Rules or TLC in that way, and not just because it’s hasn’t tried to market a “lose the title on DQ” match as “extreme” or, well, a Stairs match.) Because of the “depth” of the SmackDown! roster, there are no qualifying matches for the Money In The Bank ladder match, which leads us to the early episode moment of Shane McMahon actually trying to have the match with only five participants. Really, Shane? Actually, I need the money, so maybe I should finally start making those “Shane Doesn’t Watch The Product” t-shirts… (I believe the Money In The Bank match that John Cena won is the only one to have five participants. And that’s not exactly the best of the bunch.) Story-wise, of course Kevin Owens has to be involved in the match. If he’s not, that would’ve left him opponent-less at the pay-per-view, unless Mojo Rawley wants to take time off from broing out with children and the Andre The Giant statue.
  • I legitimately had to go back to even see the Zayn/Corbin match, because of how blink-and-you-miss-it it is. On the plus side, Sami Zayn’s on a winning streak! But going back a little before the match, I have to address Corbin’s attempt to tear down Zayn and the other competitors in the ladder match (during his simultaneous attempt to get one of SmackDown!’s malfunctioning mics to work). I completely understand his whole bigger is better and more dominant approach to things… But he’s also the only one in the match who’s never been in a ladder match. He has absolutely no experience in this particular field, and his threats of domination? Pretty hollow. Even after he beats the tar out of Sami Zayn, because like I said, he still hasn’t ever been in a ladder match. Now if this were an Attempt Murder With A Forklift match…
  • Apparently at Money In The Bank, Nakamura’s turning AJ Styles’ “house” into his “playground.” Does a “rockstar” (that’s the new buzzword for Nakamura) have a playground? Should it be a “concert hall?”
  • The Toledo, Ohio crowd features both a sign claiming it’s the “KAYLA BRAXTON SECTION” (that’s a new one) and individual letters spelling out “MAHARAJA.” So it’s no surprise that they’re kind of really into Jinder Mahal’s Punjabi celebration (because it’s awesome—especially since the Singh brothers no longer try to pretend they can dance) and cheer him. Well, it’s actually a surprise to Jinder, who still hasn’t learned to act like he’s been here before… Because he hasn’t. In fact, if it weren’t clear Mahal’s been repeating the same promo this whole push (with the writers hoping that will be enough), the fact that he goes on about “you people” booing him, as he’s obviously being cheered, makes it very clear. (“You people can shower me with your hatred,” he says, as folks very much applaud and the “MAHARAJA” sign is on display.) Luckily for him, speaking in a foreign language does the trick for “USA” chants. “WHY CAN’T HE JUST TALK AMERICAN,” right?
  • It’s instantly a treat to learn that Breezango completely redecorated Shane’s office to become their headquarters, but there’s something really special about Shane not getting rid of any of that in his next office segment. That’s just his office now. Also, apparently Tyler Breeze and Fandango think Shane is Commissioner Slaughter, just with the mustache shaved. Because of course they do. They also carry guns—loaded squirt guns—which also puts them streets ahead of most wrestlers in terms of preparedness. However, true sadness is their loss to The Usos in their impromptu Backlash rematch. The crowd obviously pops for the Fashion Files sketch, but they’re on fire for the possibility of Breezango winning the titles here. It’s the optimism of the land of opportunity but also the disappointment of those opportunities slipping through wrestlers’ fingers. Had Breezango won though, it all would’ve been worth it for JBL’s reaction, as he was absolutely apoplectic from the Fashion Files through the tag match.
  • This week in “Duh”: James Ellsworth finally explains why Tamina can’t win the big one. It’s because she’s too busy ogling him, even though she’s in “the friend zone.” Duh. That’s definitely it.

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