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    Sunday, February 21, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (2/19/21): It Takes Three to Mania

    I know we're all expecting Edge vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 37, but I'm pretty sure we're all low-key wishing it will be Edge vs. Daniel Bryan. Tell me I'm not the only one. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown RunDown.

    On paper, this week's episode of SmackDown was a card straight out of Teddy Long's wet dream. Only one singles match and a six-man tag main event? Holla, holla, holla indeed. But it's definitely one of the most flawless episodes I've seen this year that further cements the Blue Brand as the A-show of WWE. Every bit of this episode worked so much like clockwork that you could almost hear the clock tick. 

    What else is there to focus on than the main event? It was a standard six-man tag match, faces vs. heels, you know the drill. I appreciate how they tried to plant some seed of doubt on Kevin Owens in a well-done backstage promo but it was still a pretty standard main event. Daniel Bryan even mentioned Chris Jericho without mentioning Chris Jericho and that earns a thumbs up from yours truly. And just so we're clear: standard doesn't necessarily mean boring. Cesaro swinging big men is far from boring. 

    The one great thing about the main event was that at least it wasn't as predictable as I expected. The match didn't end with the standard finisher-off between all participants before the decisive pin. In fact, the finisher-off happened after the match and it was as glorious as you can expect. Just add two Spears from Edge and Roman Reigns and you're golden. I didn't even expect them to get involved but thank heavens they did because it was the perfect exclamation point to close the go-home show. 

    It's safe to say that Edge is picking Roman Reigns as his WrestleMania 37 date, right? Just look at the amount of time he spend hanging around the Blue Brand compared to RAW and NXT. Edge didn't bother stalking the RAW Chamber participants last week and instead just mention them in passing this week. And as if it wasn't clear enough, the Universal Champion already speared the bejeezus out of him. If he ends up picking someone other than the Tribal Chief, all of these will be for naught.

    And speaking of Edge stalking the Chamber participants, don't you just love those segments? Sure, he probably didn't need to give Baron Corbin the rub, but they were still pretty fire. While Cesaro got the best rub by having the last word, what hyped everyone was definitely Daniel Bryan and Edge talking briefly about ending their careers and eventually coming back. That's the main event right there. They should at least add Daniel Bryan to the WrestleMania match and have Reigns be the odd man out. 

    The story writes itself perfectly. Have Daniel Bryan win at Chamber, Reigns will beat him via shenanigans, Edge picks him, Bryan gets added to the match because Adam Pearce hates Reigns, boom: Roman Reigns vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan headlines WrestleMania 37. Edge and Daniel Bryan hogs all the spotlight as former retirees chasing the lights once again while Reigns is left seething because he's not the focus of his own main event. Tell me you won't pay money to see that.

    Did I mention we got two heel turns this week? The most compelling one came after Apollo Crews bodied Big E with the steel steps twice. Now that's how you turn to the dark side. I was already annoyed at how Crews kept pestering E for a rematch, now I absolutely hate his guts. I also appreciate the theatrics of it all. That second attack will certainly look nasty if it was shown to us live. Thankfully, we can all just pretend Big E was really hit with the steel steps thanks to the magic of blocking.

    And I'm not sure if this one counts as a heel turn, but Otis crushing Rey Mysterio certainly counts as a dastardly act. Alpha Academy may have lost another match, but the way they lost it was what increased their threat to the tag team division. I just love the image of the bad influence Chad Gable cheering for a clearly conflicted Otis. Commentary helped hype this sudden change in Otis' character and even the tag champions were left speechless by the brutality of the former lovable oaf. Great stuff!

    The women's tag division got all the love this week. The "dos" edition of Ding Dong, Hello! this week featured the Women's Tag Champs Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler getting stuck in a door and fighting over one stool. These unlikely duo have been very busy parading their titles across all brands and it's awesome. As if they don't have Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to worry about, they were out there picking fights with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. They must have a death wish or something. 

    But then Reginald came out to defend the honor of Sasha Banks and set up a six-man tag involving him. What? It was random but you know what? I like it. Instead of giving us the usual rivals-teaming-up storyline, they added some dude in the mix. And it looks like Carmella wasn't in on it so it looks like Reginald is flying solo here. Thanks to him, Banks and Belair got a tag team title shot. I'm pretty sure we're getting a blockbuster women's main event at WrestleMania and I can hardly wait. 

    That's not the only women's tag match we got this week. Tamina picked up a huge win for her team in dominant fashion and I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. I can't remember the last time Tamina was painted as a powerhouse. That match also featured Billie Kay standing up for herself and finally breaking off from the Riott Squad, although she took a superkick for her troubles. A tag match with storyline implications? Even SmackDown treats their C storylines with respect.

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: I feel like I should move this segment of the review to the top because I'm just repeating what I said earlier: this was a pretty flawless episode. Every match was great, every segment nailed their purpose, and every storyline got plenty of airtime to advance themselves. I didn't even realize that this episode was a go-home show. Now I get why they were pulling all the stops to make it a good one. And when you're SmackDown, delivering a great show is like breathing air. 

    Show Grade: A+

    BreakDown Thoughts that Didn't Know How to Use a Door

    • I know I said this episode was flawless, but man I did not get that Seth Rollins promo. Why exactly is he suing everyone just because they walked out on him? Can't he just cut a promo against Cesaro and not involve legal stuff, the poison of any wrestling storyline?

    • I felt seen when Edge was randomly swiping on his phone. That's me to a T. 

    • Did Sami Zayn just call himself the master strategist? Gimmick infringement!

    • I will never understand the existence of $10,000 suits and $39,000 "time pieces." It's a watch, bro, and it's a damn watch. It literally has one function.

    Header image taken 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 (2/19/21): It Takes Three to Mania Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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