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    Sunday, May 16, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (5/14/21): Main Event Jimmy Uso

    I'm not ashamed to admit it: the Roman Reigns/Usos saga is pure-grade male soap opera and I'm loving every single minute of it. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    This is why I love SmackDown. Sure, they're not as good as NXT when it comes to storytelling, but what I appreciate about the Blue Brand is that they're willing to go beyond the bare minimum to tell better stories. Creative could've easily lumped Jimmy Uso with his family and finally have the Bloodline reign over the Island of Relevancy. But nah, that's too easy. Adding more wrinkle to the storyline by bringing back a rebellious Jimmy Uso gave this already compelling storyline the boost we never thought we needed.

    I don't even know where to begin unpacking this lovely storyline. It's easy to just blame Roman Reigns for all the drama, but it's not like you can refute his arguments, no matter how twisted they may seem. He is the biggest star of the company and he happens to be family. If you're Jimmy Uso, can you really respond when Roman asks you to carry the "burden" he has? And at the same time, it's hard not to say anything when your brother is being treated like a lapdog by your own family. It's such a complicated relationship that once they do form the Bloodline stable, Roman Reigns will once again be a member of one of the most compelling factions in wrestling today. 

    That's great and all, but the fact that everything is focused on the Reigns family already spells trouble for Cesaro, the afterthought of the storyline. While this week's go-home show did him a favor by letting him stand tall in the main event, every sign points to Cesaro losing his first world title match. Damn you, Teddy Long! This didn't have to be Cesaro's first real shot at the title. It's way too early! I have wasted a huge amount of money to learn that instant gratification usually doesn't satisfy the original craving.

    I don't mind waiting to see Cesaro grow as the main eventer he is destined to be. But now that I think about it, Cesaro being sidelined in his own storyline won't necessarily be the end of his do-or-die push. He can still look good in defeat and as long as they keep giving him significant victories after this, he can still gain back the momentum he will surely lose on Monday (Manila time). So yes, I'm still thrilled to see Roman Reigns and Cesaro throw down because I know they have the chemistry to make it work. I just need some assurance that Cesaro's future is still intact. That's not too much to ask, is it?

    For all the praise I can give SmackDown for how they're booking their main event scene, the quality of the other championship pictures is starting to slip a little bit. 

    Take the Bianca Belair vs. Bayley rivalry, for example. I'm not saying it's a bad pairing. In fact, this week's promo was their best yet. It just sucks that it took us a whole month to get here. I feel like they should've cut all these promos last week and have Bianca showcase her prowess this week with a dominant win over, say, Liv Morgan. That's a better use of airtime because unless she's nursing a minor injury, shouldn't Bianca Belair be fighting more and talking less? They should really stop talking about her historic Mania match every week and just let her be the EST inside the ring. She can be so much more than just one match, you know. 

    And then there's the Intercontinental Championship scene. SmackDown is really dropping the ball with Apollo Crews's presentation. Him awarding Azeez a medal or honor pretty much sums up this gimmick's future. Why is it all about Azeez? Apollo Crews didn't even get some sort of coronation or celebration segment since winning the Intercontinental Championship to illustrate how powerful he is as a Nigerian royalty. Nothing about him screams royalty right now and Creative's already giving all the props to his commander. It's so frustrating to see them commit this mistake on a weekly basis.

    What's the use of having a robust set of challengers when you have a lackluster champion anchoring the division? Apollo Crews is so lackluster, they didn't even bother giving him a spot at the upcoming PPV despite having three marquee contenders. And yet they found room for Damian Priest and The Miz? Yikes, WrestleMania Backlash is a train wreck waiting to happen. Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro better deliver. 

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: Overall, this week's go-home show is a million miles better than whatever RAW tried to pull off last week. It made the Bloodline storyline even more compelling, it sent everyone home hopeful for WrestleMania Backlash with a huge Cesaro moment, and it advanced all other storylines to some extent. Solid show from top to bottom, which is basically just a normal Friday for the Blue Brand. 

    Show Grade: A-

    BreakDown Thoughts That Can Do What Roman Reigns Does

    • Great job to SmackDown for finally giving Tamina and Natalya the rub, but them winning the Womena's Tag Team Championships would have been a bigger if they just pulled the trigger a month ago at WrestleMania 37. They didn't even bother giving it a big fight feel. It felt more like completing a transaction. At least they got a post-match fireworks show. That's nice. Oh well, at least we won't see Shayna Baszler take rollup losses for a while. 

    • Shinsuke Nakamura slowly putting the crown on his head would've received a loud ovation from a live crowd. It's such a great visual that it's no shock everyone's already speculating that there's a new King of the Ring tournament coming. But I'm pretty sure the crown is just the vehicle for their rivalry.  Of course I want to see Shinsuke Nakamura win King of the Ring, but I also don't need to explain my pessimism. You're still watching a main roster program, you know. 

    • I can watch Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler wrestle all day, which is why I'm also excited for the Mysterios to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania Backlash. I love how they're starting to acknowledge how important the titles are to Rey and Dominik. I don't care if they're just setting them up as transitional champions for the Usos down the line. I just want them to make history. Consider me pumped!

    Header image taken from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's seasoned veteran and resident main roster reviewer. He's a sucker for well-written 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. His potential haunts him.  

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    Item Reviewed: The SmackDown BreakDown (5/14/21): Main Event Jimmy Uso Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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