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    Sunday, August 8, 2021

    SmackDown BreakDown (8/6/21): Hoy

    Roman Reigns and Finn Balor

    Last week, John Cena signed a contract that clearly didn't have his name on it, and now they're apparently trying to right those wrongs? It's Ro filling in for a recently vaccinated Ricky on this week's SmackDown BreakDown.

    As though they realized that they really did screw Finn Balor over with a contract signing that made no sense at all, John Cena doesn't appear on this week's episode until he's needed for the dark match to send the fans home happy. No, instead they turn an interesting corner and quickly get Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin out of the way with a perfunctory Finn win (I like the sound of that rhyme) and promptly reinsert him against Roman Reigns and his Bloodline.

    People have been throwing the idea of Roman Reigns vs. John Cena vs. Finn Balor for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam, and after this admittedly captivating main event segment, I'm starting to think they may be on to something. Paul Heyman continues to drill down the absurdity of John Cena legitimately getting a championship match after signing a contract that clearly did not stipulate him anywhere on it, and Finn gets tangled up with the Usos. If anything, that makes this whole story feel like they're laying the intrigue on thick as all three men head to the big PPV.

    The only problem is if this was the long-term plan, then last week's debacle surely didn't make it seem like this was meticulously laid out. Everyone and their mother are crying foul on the contract segment, and even if this was what they had in mind all along, this week's events feel like a quick course-correction. At this point, you kind of have to build toward the triple threat now, because anything less is a disservice to Finn Balor, whom you decided to stick in this business. Still ending up with John Cena vs. Roman Reigns doesn't feel like a match anyone earned at all.

    Meanwhile, they're doing almost the exact same thing on the women's side, but at least Sasha Banks takes the time to make it all make sense. Bianca Belair also finally turns serious as she's given a proper blood feud to sink her teeth into after three months of Carmella and Bayley, but we've got two weeks left til SummerSlam weekend so they have to take a detour through Zelina Vega. If there's one thing to celebrate, it's that SmackDown's recent signings have at least injected a little more depth to their women's division, to the point that Toni Storm hasn't been seen in two weeks. (What gives?)

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: SmackDown does better than RAW this week (and better than they did last week), providing some much-needed forward momentum for their top stories, plus a little more. It's still a must-watch episode even without John Cena due to how they're doing right by Finn.

    Show Grade: B

    BreakDown Thoughts That Want A Universal Championship Match

    • I'm glad that the Finn Balor we have on SmackDown is clearly NXT Finn. The matches are just faster because there's less time for them, but that's him. That's the intensity.
    • If there's one thing I like about Edge's involvement in stories, it's that he really knows what makes for a compelling narrative. The driving force behind Edge vs. Seth Rollins is pretty much low-hanging fruit from 2014, and they've done such a good job of watering that plant and letting it blossom logically with the whole "Seth is Edge lite" angle.
    • It feels like SmackDown knows what they want to do at SummerSlam more than RAW does. I can count at least four solid stories heading into the PPV, while I'm not even sure what else on RAW deserves to make it to the show other than Lashley vs. Goldberg.
    • It's probably getting cut due to time constraints, but to not keep people interested in Toni Storm—one of your next singles stars—through vignettes at the very least is going to bite you in the ass. If you can't give her a match, give her some screen time.
    • Have to flag the way Tegan Nox beat Tamina this week with an errant missile from Shotzi's tank. Yes, they're mischievous babyfaces, but at least give Tegan some credit by allowing her to hit her finisher after the distraction, because this is just lame.

    Photo from WWE

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    Item Reviewed: SmackDown BreakDown (8/6/21): Hoy Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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