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    Sunday, January 31, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (1/29/21): Poisoning The Well

    You see why I kept raving about how good SmackDown was in the past few weeks? Because WWE can take it away from us in a blink of an eye. All it takes is for RAW to poison the well. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    The fact that this episode started out great before the RAW Creative took over the second hour is what irks me the most. If we choose to ignore what happened after Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens delivered another fantastic war of words, I would've awarded it with another A+ and sang more praise about how good SmackDown is. But I'm sorry, 30 minutes of bullshit can't be ignored, even if it had AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan in it. And that's my first problem with this jumbled mess. 

    We could've had a great Styles vs. Bryan match to compliment the equally great Bayley vs. Bianca Belair match we just had. That would be a fun set of matches to send us off to a bleak Royal Rumble, but RAW said nah fam, let's ruin everything. Everyone loves match restarts and DQs, so let's give the virtual people what they want! Fuck you, RAW. Why do you have to ruin my favorite part of the week? Whatever happened to 15-man battle royals or other conventional ways to hype up the Rumble?

    Did we really need another bullshit reason for RAW Superstars to jump ship? The fact that SmackDown Superstars didn't bother using the "Quarterly Brand-to-Brand Invitational" card to show up on RAW says a lot, doesn't it? Imagine how good last week's episode of RAW could've been if D-Bry reversed the suckiness of it all. While it did give us AJ Styles returning to SmackDown, I would politely tell him to stay on his lane and not ruin the good thing going on on Friday nights. Dammit, AJ!

    And that's not even the worst part. You know how they handled the Shinsuke Nakamura-Cesaro breakup? With a five-second staredown. It's great that both of them are kickstarting their failed solo careers, but they were recently a successful tag team. Their breakup deserves a storyline or at least a PPV-caliber SmackDown main event match. Why is Cesaro considered heel, even? Just when I thought he's finally a babyface with a personality, he gets lumped in with the bad guys just because. 

    You'd think that this was all to promote Royal Rumble. They kinda did, but the true goal of this shitty main event was to tout the return of Braun Strowman. Remember this guy? He got suspended for being a petty little bitch. That's like the shittiest excuse to get written off. And he gets the go-home show as his grand return? He even buried Cesaro! He could've powerslammed The Miz or JoMo but no, let's ruin the momentum of a guy who's on a major roll this past few weeks. That's RAW for ya.

    Quick, let's get rid of this RAW energy and talk about the actual good parts of the show. I love how the quality always ends with Roman Reigns because that's more like the SmackDown I know. And while this week's promo didn't top his previous efforts, Roman Reigns attacking Kevin Owens's father and grandfather still counts as a Tribal Chief classic. It's so chilling and manipulative that the only appropriate response was passionate rage, which Kevin Owens has in spades. Love this segment. 

    And for the only match that mattered this week, we have Bianca Belair picking up a decisive win over Bayley. That's exactly the kind of rub a future Royal Rumble winner needs right now. Come to think of it, I have yet to choose a winner from the women's side. That means this year's Rumble match is still exciting af despite the lack of crowd. I can excuse and sometimes prefer predictability in my wrestling, but one exception is the outcome of the Royal Rumble. So yes, go get that bag, Bianca Belair!

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: Don't be fooled by the promise of AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan. This week's episode of SmackDown featured a successful infiltration of RAW in terms of quality. On the bright side, I didn't have to wait two hours for something good to happen. Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens still brought their A-game and Bianca Belair shone brighter than before. If we can just prevent RAW's creative from disrupting the program, we'll be golden. 

    Show Grade: B

    BreakDown Thoughts That Almost Declared Themselves for the Rumble

    • If RAW didn't ruin this week's episode, SmackDown could've found time to air this awesome Shinsuke Nakamura promo.  As much as I love it, one tiny nitpick: subtitles would've been nice. It's a taped promo, after all. Also, can we please add great promos in the show itself instead of reserving them for social media? That would be great.
    • Yikes, what happened with Baron Corbin and Dominik Mysterio back there? They had a less coordinated match this week and Dominik almost landed wrong at one point. Not a great showing for both men. Still, I appreciate the story they're going with. Also, where is Corbin's royal court? So much for being forgotten. 
    • Even Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura had a better falling out segment than Nakamura and Cesaro. I'm convinced now that the main event shenanigans were very last-minute and SmackDown really did plan their own segment to send everyone home. Damn you, RAW!
    • I really enjoy the fact that Chad Gable and the Alpha Academy always gets a shoutout or a small segment every episode. Can word of mouth get a gimmick over? It's already working on me.  

    Header image from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's resident main roster reviewer...  for better or worse. A known lover of tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's anxious about the future, now more than ever. LET HIM IN.

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    Item Reviewed: The SmackDown BreakDown (1/29/21): Poisoning The Well Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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