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    Sunday, February 7, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (2/5/21): Edge of Extinction

    Edge may be enjoying his inter-brand tour, but in Roman Reigns' eyes, The Rated-R Superstar just landed at the Island of Relevancy's edge of extinction. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    Edge vs. Roman Reigns. I wasn't sold on the idea at first because I still think the Head of the Table should headline WrestleMania with Daniel Bryan. But if there's something this week's episode proved, it's that Reigns is the perfect opponent for someone like Edge. Out of all the three world champions, Reigns is the perfect bad guy for Edge to conquer in a feel-good PPV. Drew McIntyre doesn't need the Edge rub and Finn Bálor's strong style could spell trouble for Edge's injury-prone body. 

    Just imagine the quality of promos we're going to get on a weekly basis. This week's exchange was already a great preview. While I appreciate how Edge said he's willing to show up every week, I don't expect him to be in action every week. I'll be happy with a couple of promos and a Spear every now and then. And if you're not a stickler for promos like me, they could still deliver a drama-centric match that will hide Edge's limitations without minimizing its entertainment value. A win-win!

    But anyway, let's talk about how good the opening and closing segments were this week. Reigns opened the show and demanded Edge to choose him as his 'Mania opponent with yet another boss promo. As much as I loved that, what I loved more is the implication that Edge is living rent-free inside Reigns's head. Edge pointed this one out in the main event segment and used this to convince Reigns to get rid of his posse. Edge showing Reigns how mind games are done had me glowing with delight. 

    Having Kevin Owens save his fellow Canuck from moving a muscle was also a nice touch. As much as I love seeing Reigns and Owens murder each other, I have to see the Tribal Chief move on to another rivalry, possibly with Edge. Their encounter at the Royal Rumble already left a good taste in my mouth. I don't want to spoil that with another predictable Owens vs. Reigns match. KO needs to move on as well and regain some babyface heat. Oh, right. We still have an Elimination Chamber Match to fill. Dammit.

    It's not a SmackDown episode without a great match as a foundation. And usually, we get more than one. Good thing Big E, Apollo Crews, and Sami Zayn were there to deliver. This Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship is a must-watch because it puts the hard in hard-hitting. At one point, Crews landed square on his knees on the outside. I felt every bit of that. In fact, Crews took hard bumps throughout the match and it became even more exciting than it already was.  

    Despite not winning, Apollo Crews was the MVP of the match and it's interesting to speculate where he goes from here. He took the pin and he had this moment of frustration after the match. Does that mean a full heel turn is in store? Now that I think about it, they haven't followed on the scene of Crews hanging out inside Reigns' personal locker room from a few weeks ago. It's clear that Big E is taking his title to WrestleMania 37 so I think we're getting mega-babyface Big E against ultra-heel Apollo Crews. I wonder what that will look like.


    Another banger of a match was Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro. And because you heard those names, you should already expect great things from this encounter. There's Cesaro breaking Bryan's back like he's goddamn Bane, good guy Bryan trying to wipe off the blood from Cesaro's head using his wrist tape, and Bryan actually tapping out after a Swing-Sharpshooter combo. It was an amazing showcase for Cesaro and it served as a great launching pad for his supposed babyface push. Fucking finally!

    The biggest crime of this match was that it was too short. You can't have a Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan rubber match and give it just ten minutes. They could've cut Baron Corbin vs. Dominik Mysterio in half and removed the completely useless Hulk Hogan segment to give Cesaro and Bryan the respect they deserve. Imagine if this match went on for another ten minutes. Bryan tapping out would've felt more impactful if Cesaro really did beat the fight out the perennial underdog. Just sayin'. 

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: I could say Edge made this week's episode better, but he barely did anything other than to fire up his pyro. That's okay, SmackDown doesn't need Edge to score an A+ show anyway. Just give me my dose of Roman Reigns diatribes and add great matches on the side and I'm sold. I'm taking points away from the useless Hulk Hogan segment, but you can easily skip that and still get a great show full of SmackDown goodness and none of that RAW grime ruining it. 

    Show Grade: A

    BreakDown Thoughts That Don't Need Backup

    • It's so clear that Bianca Belair is picking Sasha Banks that I find it annoying how they're still teasing her eventual decision. Just have her pick Sasha already! I don't want to see her dethrone Asuka anytime soon.
    • Bayley and Ruby Riott also had a good match this week. I'm glad they haven't forgotten about Bayley, although I'm not sure where she goes from here. Sure, she'll probably be a number to fill the women's Elimination Chamber match, but I hope she still gets a proper 'Mania payday. 

    • "Otist" and Chad Gable finally got booked this week! Hooray! Also, while I'm glad Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode finally got some proper tag team music, I'm not happy with how generic-sounding it is. C'mon, people, Roode had one of the most infectious entrance themes of all time. This is the best you can give them?
    • I love how Talking Smack has become a counseling session with Paul Heyman. I do appreciate how they added some canon implications this week with the whole Adam Pearce business. They better not fire the best authority figure in decades just because he can't decide on a freaking main event. 
    • The Mysterios resorting to cheating to win a match? Hmm. I mean, they could argue that Dominik didn't see Rey cheat for him. That would make for a good story wrinkle. The problem was Rey was clearly in Dominik's field of view that it'll be hard not to see what his dad did. Either way, prepare yourself for six more months of this rivalry. 

    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 (2/5/21): Edge of Extinction Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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