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    Sunday, May 2, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (4/30/21): Undisputed Tribal Chief


    Damn, SmackDown! You didn't have to book a blockbuster main event just to debut Roman Reigns' new entrance theme. You're just flexing on RAW at this point. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown. 

    Man, it must be embarrassing to be a RAW writer right now. After last week's three-hour slog, their Friday counterpart randomly delivered a near-perfect show just for the lulz. I was almost thankful to suffer through hours of garbage only if I get rewarded with gems like Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan every once in a while. At this point, RAW is just doing its best to boost the other brands by being deliberately terrible. That deserves some respect, you stinky pile of red poop. 

    Obligatory dunking on RAW aside, it's time to talk about this glorious episode. Seriously, I can't even remember the last time they put this much effort into give a TV main event a big fight feel. It would've helped if they advertised this match last week on RAW in between the void of nothingness but that's just me uselessly nitpicking. The prediction segments also helped make it seem like a shoot boxing fight and even the graphics took me back to a time when boxing matches on free TV were the height of culture. Too bad the guy carrying our country's flag in the boxing ring turned into a shitty politician. 

    Then came the main event and everyone gasped as Roman Reigns finally tore the last remnant of The Shield from his persona by coming out to a theme worthy of the Tribal Chief. At first, it didn't hit me that hard, but that's probably because his old music had become that iconic that it sort of made itself home as part of Roman's heel persona. 

    But yes, I'll definitely fuck with the new theme and I will eventually get used to it. Now you're also probably wondering why they didn't debut this song at WrestleMania. Beats me. If anything, it made this week's monster episode feel more like a one-night occasion.

    If you're really twisting my arm to find a flaw with this match, it's that I never feared for Roman's reign (hehe, I did the thing) to end at the hands of Daniel Bryan. After all, this was still a match on free TV without a live crowd. Crazier things have happened on SmackDown, but Reigns losing his title in his first defense since WrestleMania ain't one of them. I also didn't enjoy Paul Heyman's repetitive promo disguised as a Heyman classic. It's like Daniel Bryan himself wrote the promo since that's literally his style—prolonging a promo by circling around the main topic and shouting as loud as possible. 

    But forget about that, the match was awesome! I enjoyed how Daniel Bryan didn't look like a hopeless underdog out there and Roman Reigns didn't rely on typical heel tactics to win. Don't you just love how decisive this victory was? No Jey Uso, no shenanigans, no nothing—just the Head of the Table dominating the one man who's been a constant throrn in his side. 

    See, this is what heel champions (and heels in general) need more of: clean-cut victories. Every chickenshit heel should prove once in a while that they can win on their own. This is why Apollo Crews' heel turn just isn't clicking. Instead of hyping him up, Commader Azeez is the one hogging the spotlight with his discount Umaga finisher. 

    And while I was disappointed they didn't plant any seeds of an Edge interference, it wouldn't even matter because the absence of Daniel Bryan leaves everything wide open for an Edge tweener resurgence. We can't just ignore the other third of the equation. And because we haven't heard from him since 'Mania, you just know the Rated-R Superstar will attack when Roman Reigns least expects it. Besides, now that D-Bry is gone and it's not yet Cesaro's time, Reigns could use a few contenders to feud with en route to WrestleMania Backlash. Here's hoping that Edge finally gets his one-on-one match. 

    This scared me for a bit, but I think Cesaro coming to the aid of Daniel Bryan and being forced to watch his friend get sandwiched between two chairs made perfect sense. After all, Cesaro and D-Bry were the ones harassing the Universal Champion's camp for a title match last week, swinging Jey Uso multiple times in the process. It's nice to see the good guys get their comeuppance every now and then, even if you're supposed to boo the bad guys. I really hope this was just a one-time piece of revenge for Reigns because it's way too early to start a program between the champion and his future conqueror. Please, not yet. Let Edge, or any other worthy contenders, take the first few falls. 

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: This week's episode is a masterclass on how to book a weekly show. And while it sure helped a lot, SmackDown proved that you don't need a blockbuster main event to deliver a great show. Even if you take away Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan, you'll still get a good ol' classic SmackDown episode, mainly because each match was given enough time to shine and had title implications in one way or another. This is how you book your weekly TV programs, people. 

    Show Grade: A+

    BreakDown Thoughts That Also Predicted Roman Reigns to Win

    • I said earlier this episode was near-perfect. It's because Apollo Crews literally wrestled the same match for the second straight week and it's driving me nuts. Heel Apollo Crews could've been a great midcard villain. Instead, he's as irrelevant as his former gimmick. Only this time, when it inevitably fails, they'll blame him instead of blaming the big guy they saddled him with. Also, I love how inefficient Azeez is as a lackey. Even Omos knows you don't steal the spotlight from your boss—you help him win the match. The ensuing brawl was fun, though. 

    • Even the women's tag match wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, mainly a rollup victory for the team not holding the Women's Tag Team Championships. At least Shayna Baszler got pinned this time by a proper finisher. At least put some respect in the way she loses, amirite? Now can we take the tag titles off them? I really want to see Shayna Baszler murder people again. Plus, it would totally derail Tamina and Natalya's momentum if they still come up short the next time. 

    • The opening match was fun as well. The SmackDown Women's Champion continues to shine as the top dog to beat while her husband Montez Ford elevated his already impressive finisher to new heights, quite literally. Imagine getting that height with only a wobbly yet sturdy rope as the only foundation. That's mad skills, yo. Spot of that match goes to Bianca Belair whipping the wits out of Robert Roode. That looked like it really hurt.

    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 (4/30/21): Undisputed Tribal Chief Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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