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    Sunday, January 10, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (1/8/21): Adam Pearce, Number One Contender

    It's Friday. You know what that means. And if you know what that means, you know that I'm paying tribute to the one and only Brodie Lee and his iconic tweet. And if you do tweet, that means you're stupid. What, you're not stupid? So that means you're saying I'm stupid. Are you saying I'm stupid? Okay, fair enough. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown. 

    Man, I fucking love SmackDown. Reviewing both main roster shows is like comparing a masterpiece like Breaking Bad to a shitshow like RAW. I wonder if WWE is even aware of the stark difference in quality between their flagship shows. While RAW keeps descending down the shitter, SmackDown continues to elevate itself with a mix of great wrestling and impeccable storytelling. And this week, the Blue Brand once again prevailed in the latter, thanks to the involvement of one WWE official. 

    As if I can't love this man more, they decided to make Adam Pearce the next contender for the Universal Championship. While I did say I didn't want another authority figure hogging the spotlight ever again, I am more than willing to make an exception if it's integral to the ongoing narrative. And with the way things are going, I honestly can't think of a better contender than Scrap Daddy himself. If you have a sea of talented wrestlers and you pick the guy in a suit, you better back it up real good. 

    The transition to this new rivalry was so organic and logical that you'll instantly root for the automatic underdog Adam Pearce, especially if you weren't familiar with his career like I was. They staged a segment so well-written and so well-executed that even I went, "Yeah, it's probably Adam Pearce's fault Kevin Owens got beaten up. The evidence is right there." Luckily, I realized I'm a thinking man and went back to applauding how despicable and manipulative the Tribal Chief is.

    I sound like a broken record, I know, but I can't help but swoon over Roman Reigns's logic chain promo. He sounds like that old joke about how losing a pen in school could somehow lead to your death. Those leaps of logic added intelligence and eloquence to the Head of the Table's brand of villainy. We also can't ignore Paul Heyman's role in all of this. It makes total sense that someone like Heyman can pull such strings and it's good that Pearce isn't a high-ranking official, which means he's fair game. 

    Also, don't you just love this dynamic? When's the last time a wrestler was the one doing the bullying to an authority figure? And even if we now know Pearce was a former wrestler himself, we still don't know what to expect from a Reigns vs. Pearce match. Will it be a technical clinic or will it be a drama-centric type of match? Is this a one-time thing for our favorite pseudo-GM or are we in for a career resurgence? Just thinking of the possibilities excites me already. God, I love SmackDown

    You know a storyline is golden when it can manage to achieve more than one objective. Aside from serving Roman Reigns's continuing power trip, adding Pearce to the mix gave us a solid 30-minute gauntlet match that has two dream matches contained in it. I certainly didn't expect to see Shinsuke Nakamura beat Rey Mysterio and Daniel Bryan in the same night, but here we are. Yeah, he also beat Baron Corbin, but that means literally nothing. Let's see RAW do that. Spoiler alert: they won't. 

    Quick segue to Shinsuke Nakamura, how about him running the gauntlet like that? What's this, are they teasing us with a Nakamura push or something? Don't play with our hearts like that! Joking aside, it's another testament to SmackDown's dedication to delivering unique experiences weekly. They could've easily picked Daniel Bryan for the job and set up Reigns vs. Bryan for WrestleMania 37, but nah, let's give good ol' Nak the rub. Are they planning something for him? Who cares? It's great TV.

    THE FINAL BREAKDOWN: This is why I love SmackDown. They could've easily given us Roman Reigns vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, which is not a bad idea in itself. But the fact that they're willing to overlook that potential money match and instead serve the story they're trying to tell is why SmackDown is the undisputed best show the WWE currently has. I won't even apologize if my bias is showing when you can clearly see it for yourself. God bless the Island of Relevancy. 

    Show Grade: A+

    BreakDown Thoughts That Are Not Stupid, You Are

    • Yo, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode actually won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Good for them, really. The Street Profits didn't walk out as chumps either. Great title match overall. Now let's go find other teams to round up this weak division, shall we?
    • No women's matches this week, but the promos they got didn't disappoint at all. Carmella's promo was pretty basic but served its purpose, Bayley and Bianca Belair had their playful banter, and Billie Kay stole the show by once again utilizing the meager minutes she's given. Man, why can't the women's division on RAW be this fun? 
    • If there's one bad spot in this episode, it's the double pinfall during the Big E vs. Apollo Crews title match. Why are they building up Big E's reign with these murky finishes instead of back-to-back dominating victories? Sometimes, it's best to stick with the basics. 
    • This isn't the first time we've seen a conspiracy gimmick, but Sami Zayn wins additional points for stepping it up with his own "unbiased" camera crew. They better release that documentary or these points will be null and void. 

    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 (1/8/21): Adam Pearce, Number One Contender Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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