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    Sunday, March 14, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (3/12/21): Losing Its Edge

    Isn't it weird how Edge, the Ultimate Opportunist and the guy with a guaranteed spot at WrestleMania 37, is mad about Daniel Bryan getting himself a Universal Championship at Fastlane when it will literally not affect him in any way, shape, or form? I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    It's not just weird. It's ridiculously frustrating how they're trying to start beef between Edge and Daniel Bryan. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad this is all happening. The Triple Threat main event we all deserve to see at WrestleMania 37 can't happen soon enough. But what happened to SmackDown's once-stellar storytelling? Why are they getting sloppy this close to 'Mania? Why now? They set everything up perfectly at Elimination Chamber, and all they had to do was follow the crumbs they left behind.

    They got it right when Daniel Bryan started throwing shade at Edge in a backstage interview. The one thing left for Edge to do was to respond and successfully build the tension between the two former retirees. And technically, they've done it this week with the final image of D-Bry kneeing Edge in the face and standing tall. I just hate how it all went down, starting with what Edge chose to target Bryan with. It's just bizarre how someone like Edge can't respect what D-Bry did to get his title shot at Fastlane

    Babyface or not, Edge should still be Edgethe Ultimate Opportunist, the Master Manipulator, the Rated-R Superstar. That means he shouldn't pretend to have the moral high ground when it comes to other Superstars going into business for themselves. He should know how it feels, and he should respect whoever does it, especially if that person isn't even messing with his own endgame. If he hates Roman Reigns that much, shouldn't he root for Bryan to go to WrestleMania 37 as the champ?

    Why is Edge making the classic babyface mistake of being pissed off that he's not going to slay the villain himself? The Edge we know and love would step back and wait for the dust to settle. Instead, he's now putting himself in the middle of the crossfire, probably to spoil Bryan's fun. Why can't Edge just focus on the fact that D-Bry is low-key telling him he's not worthy to headline WrestleMania? If anything, Bryan is kind of a dick for believing the hype he himself created in the past decade. Focus on that, Edge!

    But fine, at least it looks like I'm getting the setup for the triple threat I've always wanted. What I can't excuse was this week's contract signing segment that just sort of happened. Remember the last time they had a contract signing? It was between Roman Reigns and Adam Pearce, and we got a grade-A segment that featured Reigns at his best evil self and Pearce pulling off a magic trick that launched Reigns vs. Owens III. This week's segment had none of these despite having Daniel Bryan and Edge in it. How?!

    Roman Reigns' presentation was weak. Instead of giving us the tried-and-tested formula of involving his opponent's personal life into the mix, he refused to sign the contract and tried to convince Bryan he didn't want this. Yeah, the guy who beat up your cousin in a Steel Cage Match to get his title shot certainly didn't want all that smoke. Why is Reigns suddenly acting like an actual chickenshit heel instead of hiding it in his calm yet intimidating swagger? I feel like I've been robbed of my weekly dose of evil Roman. 

    And as for Bryan, he's really solidifying his role as the desperate asshole looking for one more shot at glory. He even said he thought he was better than Roman Reigns at one point. What's up with this sudden arrogant behavior? First, he's saying Edge is not good enough for WrestleMania. Now, he's saying he's better than Reigns? Let the fans decided that for themselves, asshole! The writing is suddenly all over the place that I can't even pinpoint who's the good guy, who's the bad guy, and who's the guy. *wink wink*

    The way they threw out next week's stipulation also felt rushed. Why is Jey Uso suddenly deciding what the stipulation should be? Also, where's his reprimand for failing to stop Daniel Bryan last week? What, Roman Reigns became lenient all of a sudden? Also, why is Adam Pearce on board with having a biased referee for this upcoming championship match? It really feels like there was a better way to set everything up without feeling this disjointed and jarring. SmackDown used to be good at this, you know.

    Wow, the main event scene got my nitpick radar going. To cleanse our palates, let's focus on the best part of the show: the big return of Big E and the final image of Apollo Crews standing tall on top of the steel. There's only one word that can best describe this rivalry: badass. Big E's fiery monologue was so powerful, I actually thought he was going to explode right there and then. Jeez, Louise, all the fans who said Big E needs to be more serious were probably jizzing their pants when E was going all biblical on Apollo.

    And yeah, Big E also defended his title against Sami Zayn, but aside from that awesome spot where Big E bulldozed through Sami to dish out a clothesline of his own, the match was predictable. What made it great was the post-match attack, where Big E was once again introduced to the steel. Heel Apollo's weapon of choice effectively flaunts his newfound strength and him using it to topple Big E effectively boosts both men's stock in one go. More of this two-eyes-for-an-eye level of hatred in my wrestling, please.

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: Yikes, another uninspired episode of SmackDown. At least Edge appeared for more than a minute, but even that wasn't enough to save this show. It's really disappointing to see SmackDown lose its edge—pun very intended—just by making these small, questionable tweaks to disrupt the flow of an already engaging story. Thank heavens for Big E and Apollo Crews holding down the fort for the Blue Brand. Hopefully, D-Bry and his crew can pick it up before WrestleMania 37.

    Show Grade: C+

    BreakDown Thoughts That Still Don't Get the Vision

    • I believe this is the first time I've ever seen someone attack Cesaro while he's doing the Cesaro Swing, and it was lovely. The way Seth Rollins perfectly launched himself into Cesaro without hitting Murphy was brilliant. And the back-to-back Curb Stomps? Perfection. This was them delivering what everyone expects of them, and they unsurprisingly knocked it out of the park. Forget the storyline—just let these two fight already.
    • Great job giving Tamina a lame rollup pin over the 2021 Women's Royal Rumble winner. Yes, a powerhouse resorting to cowardly heel tactics makes her look so dominant. Whoop-dee-doo. Imagine booking an ending that didn't help any of the women involved.
    • At least they're using Reginald properly. Say what you will about the shopping segment, but as long as the guy isn't chasing Sasha Banks, I'm good with it. He can be an effective heel manager for Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, as evidenced by how Reginald got Nia a title match for next week. Now that's baller.
    • Hooray, Montez Ford finally pinned Robert Roode in a lame 8-man tag. Can the Street Profits get their rematch now? This comeback story is starting to get boring week after week. Isn't the automatic title rematch rule back in play or something? I don't even know. How can they call it antiquated in the first place when former champs keep feuding with the current champs almost immediately after a title match?

    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 (3/12/21): Losing Its Edge Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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