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    Sunday, July 11, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (7/9/21): That's Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox to You!


    Sorry, Roman Reigns. You'll have to take a back seat one more time because we gotta talk about SmackDown's new acquisitions. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    Finally, the women's division of SmackDown received a much-needed boost in the form of three new faces from NXT. While they reserved Toni Storm for a future episode in front of a live crowd, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox had to share the spotlight as a tag team, and you know what? I'm not even that mad. Did it make sense to let Shotzi tag with Ember Moon for months in NXT, only for her to debut on the main roster with a new partner? Of course not. But does it matter? Not really. 

    The important thing is she's there basking in the spotlight. I don't usually hop aboard the Pinoy Pride bandwagon, but when it's someone as deserving as Shotzi Blackheart, then I won't mind waving my Peenoise simp card. Shotzi is the first Fil-Am wrestler to grace the SmackDown ring since Batista's appearances on the Blue Brand. This call-up just proved what I've always thought about her—she was main roster-ready the day she first arrived on NXT. And she brought Tegan Nox with her? I call that a fantastic two-for-one deal!

    It's also great that Pat McAfee was there to give some context for the casuals. While Michael Cole read his script like a good boy, McAfee's infectious enthusiasm for Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox made up for it. It's also nice of him to hype up the TCB tank, which pretty much defined her entire persona back in NXT. I hope that future NXT call-ups get similar treatment moving forward, and I can't wait to see Toni Storm kick some major butt when Pat McAfee hypes her up in the coming weeks.

    My only concern is the fact that they're looking to cut both of their names in half. That's just wrong, and they know it. Shotzi without Blackheart just doesn't sound right, and c'mon, you can't just call someone Nox. That's just cruel. At least Michael Cole mentioned Tegan Nox's full name on commentary. But Shotzi? No mention of Blackheart whatsoever. That's just concerning, really. Hopefully, Vince can wake up from whatever dreamland he's in and curb this habit of cutting people's names once and for all. 

    For the three new faces we gained, we lost a big one in Bayley. Of course, it's terrible to hear about career-threatening injuries, but I consider this a blessing in disguise. I mean, c'mon, Bayley can't just hog the title picture for this long. Bianca Belair needs a new rival to build a name out of. Besides, this opens Bayley up for other opportunities, like becoming SmackDown's newest color commentator. Tell me you don't want to see Bayley and McAfee troll the shit out of Michael Cole on a weekly basis.

    And while we're at it, let's talk about Bayley's replacement for Money in the Bank. Sure, Carmella was a great choice, but shouldn't they at least give everyone a fair shot at that opportunity? They could've set a #1 Contender's match next week and squeeze a great bout out of it instead of just picking a replacement without fanfare. Imagine if Carmella beat her co-MITB participants for that title shot. I keep forgetting that SmackDown isn't the Land of Opportunity anymore. What a shame. 

    Roman Reigns is back on SmackDown, and I hate to say it, but this is probably the first time I was bored watching a Roman-centric segment. They spent weeks creating tension between Roman and The Usos, only to undo all that and have Jey Uso come back just because Edge is that huge of a threat? So much for all those gaslighting promos we all enjoyed during the ThunderDome era. I get that the endgame will always be to unite the three of them. I just didn't appreciate how they gave us the ending without deserving it. They weren't even strong as a unit, either. They got punked by Edge and the Mysterios!

    And, of course, the episode had to end with Edge calling out Roman Reigns again because, of course, this is how they're running SmackDown now. It's the same goddamn segment from last week, only this time Jey Uso was the victim, and Roman Reigns was there to see it firsthand. Sure, it also featured the return of the Mysterios, but it still felt like the same segment from last week. I'm not saying it was bad. I'm saying it's getting repetitive, and I'm starting to hate it a bit. And speaking of repetitive, did we really need to replay the fucking segment we just saw after already seeing it? That's just weird. 

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: While we did get some fresh new faces in the mix, this week's episode was a pretty standard one. It did feel like I'm watching RAW Lite because of the repetitive matches, the formulaic way of structuring the show, and the fact that we got pretty much the same ending from last week. But hey, at least Roman Reigns showed up. But yeah, that's it for the ThunderDome era. Here's hoping that the product will get better when there's an actual crowd. 

    Show Grade: C

    Breakdown Thoughts That Also Want a Pedi Wash From Big E

    • Cesaro and Seth Rollins is obviously the match of the night, but man, Cesaro's gash was nasty. At first, I wondered if Seth was really the one slated to occupy the last MITB spot, or they just called an audible. Then Edge confronted Seth backstage, and all my doubts disappeared. The seeds for a possible Seth Rollins vs. Edge have just been planted, and I'm hyped about it. Also, I'm not too worried that Cesaro didn't qualify for MITB. I already have him pegged to win next year's Rumble match, anyway.  

    • Guys, help me get this. What exactly did Baron Corbin do to Shinsuke Nakamura to deserve all of this abuse? As far as I'm concerned, Nakamura is the asshole in this storyline for stealing his crown just because. And now he's stealing Corbin's car, too? Like damn, maybe give the guy a break already? I get what they're trying to do with this storyline. It just doesn't make sense that the good guy in this scenario doesn't have any deep-rooted history with Corbin. Cruel, cruel storyline, this one.
    Header image from WWE

    *****

    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 (7/9/21): That's Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox to You! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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