We’ve reached the point in the Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns feud, and maybe that was already true but it became entirely clear on Friday Night SmackDown This week, that it has reached its conclusion too soon. They’re ready for the match now but still have time to kill before they get to it.
That’s how we end up getting Lesnar chasing Reigns down in a forklift last week, and Lesnar invading Reigns’ locker room and breaking stuff just to try to provoke him into an altercation.
In the end, they went back to having security rush Lesnar before he could get to Reigns and Brock putting a chair to their backs. He did so with violence, speed, and momentum, and it was impressive, sure, but again, this feels like a repeat. We’ve seen this before, and it was made clear there’s really not much reason to tune in until the match happens.
They went out on Reigns getting on the big screen and telling Lesnar he’ll acknowledge him at WrestleMania.
Pretty weak stuff, all told.
WWE continues to insist on building to Ronda Rousey’s challenging Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship at WrestleMania 38 by having Rousey cut promos. Rousey is pretty damn good at many aspects of professional wrestling but standing in the middle of a ring with a large audience surrounding her and asking her to cut a promo is not one of those things.
She’s too monotone, there’s no inflection, no emphasis on key points, she doesn’t do well enough to project her voice to account for the live crowd — there are too many problems to continue asking her to do it. She was never great in MMA for talking, she was great because she kicked everyone’s ass in impressive fashion (until she didn’t, of course).
That’s all she ever needed to be. An asskicker.
Instead, we’ve got her telling stories about liking breaking arms since she was 14 and breaking so many she actually managed to lose count. Flair will just be another arm added to that list.
Flair didn’t even show up, instead coming in via satellite to interrupt and say nothing substantial.
Using promos to build to a match is fairly standard and even expected but it’s not right for this particular feud at this particular time. Let’s hope they have a better angle planned for the go home show next week.
In contrast to the Rousey-Flair feud being sold on promos when it shouldn’t be, the women’s tag team title program has low key been fantastic because all they’ve done is have matches where everyone shows off how good they are and how much fun the eventual match can be because of that fact.
They did it again this week in the form of a Fatal 4-Way that would have fit in just fine on pay-per-view. Hell, I wouldn’t have hated this as the WrestleMania match, though maybe with more time to work with.
Sasha Banks came out on top, tapping out Queen Zelina Vega. Simple and fun while also promoting the upcoming match. Easy peasy.
All the rest
- Quick note: Still not tired of Rick BOOGS, nor am I tired of Pat McAfee having just the most fun a human can have during Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance. I hope you’re not either.
- Nakamura, meanwhile, scored a singles win over Jimmy Uso after a surprisingly fun match to kick off the show. BOOGS provided a helpful distraction, and they made clear this could be a preview of what’s to come at WrestleMania. The fans seem behind the duo, but are they worth ending the long reign of The Usos? Perhaps!
- If Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss are headed for a breakup, I absolutely adore the fact that the way they’re getting started toward that is Moss telling bad jokes at Corbin’s expense and Corbin getting pissed about it. It’s a truly fitting way to get to a feud between the two. I’m not super excited about that feud actually playing itself out, but I acknowledge the correct narrative decision.
- Xavier Woods returned to television and immediately pinned Ridge Holland. I’m torn between understanding Woods had to win in his first match back and thinking they should have done something more for Holland considering they used Big E’s broken neck to get heat on him just last week. It feels a little shortsighted. Either way, it’s damn good to see King Woods back on television.
- WWE remembered Ricochet was Intercontinental champion and put him back on the show. He was beaten by Angel in a “championship contenders match.” It was thanks to a distraction from Humberto, so Ricochet demanded a match with him immediately. The same thing happened. Angel helped Humberto win via count out and he, too, now has a title shot coming to him at some point in the future. This wasn’t a good look for Ricochet — what with losing back-to-back singles matches against two lower card tag team wrestlers — but maybe he’ll get a WrestleMania match out of it!
- The build to Austin Theory vs. Pat McAfee has turned into the former trolling the latter by hitting him and then running away to protection from Vince McMahon. Naturally, WWE calls this “MIND GAMES.” Not great!
This was not a good show. It felt very much like they were struggling to fill time and the stories they’ve been telling are ready to reach their conclusion two weeks too soon. There were two good matches on this show that deserve shouting out but that’s all.