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    Monday, November 1, 2021

    SmackDown BreakDown (10/29/21): Shotzi's Got a Tank

    Sure, SmackDown didn't have a MOTY candidate last week, but they did re-establish Shotzi Blackheart on the main roster. Did you know she has a freaking tank? I'm Ricky Publico, and this is a very late—I enjoyed my long weekend, sue me—edition of the SmackDown BreakDown. 

    I wouldn't even blame you if you skipped last week's SmackDown and instead chose to spend your weekend watching Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston beat the living crap out of each other. If you're wondering if you missed anything on SmackDown, relax; you didn't. But let me talk about it anyway because Shotzi Blackheart's reintroduction as a singles act is still interesting. Bad news: they have officially dropped her last name. The good news (or still bad news, it depends): they've turned her heel.

    And hey, how about a round of applause for a women's match that lasted more than five minutes? Apparently, all you need is to have either Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, or Sasha Banks involved to buy your match more airtime. That's good to know. Kidding aside, this match did a great job giving Shotzi the rub she needed to launch this new chapter in her career. The crowd was hot for her from the moment she interrupted the opening promo to the second she dropped a Senton on Sasha. 

    So I have to ask: is turning Shotzi heel a good idea? Because aside from Karrion Kross and Damian Priest, who were clearly made for the main roster back when they debuted in NXT, Shotzi could've been SmackDown's newest slam dunk babyface alongside Toni Storm. She has a freaking tank! What more could you want? Just listen to the crowd's reaction last week when she went toe-to-toe with the current champion! She instantly got everyone to cheer for her before she even stepped in the ring. Who else on the SmackDown women's roster has that amount of charisma lying around?

    Besides, I would've been fine with a heel vs. heel rivalry between Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. It shouldn't work, but having two big and established names renewing their rivalry on SmackDown's new era sounds like proper fun. That would've meant we're getting the best version of Charlotte vs. the best of Sasha. Do we really need to see Sasha as a babyface again? At least make her an anti-hero or something? We just got rid of cookie-cutter Bianca Belair. I want me some edge in my protagonists, you feel me?

    Nevertheless, I'm still happy Shotzi is getting a push. Love the heel turn or not; at least it makes perfect sense. She did earn two tag title opportunities with Tegan Nox but never got them, and they did keep her off TV for weeks. So when Sasha cost her the match, it's understandable that she would've just snapped at somebody. They should showcase new faces more often in the coming weeks. After all, SmackDown still needs to build a top babyface from the ground up to keep the balance in the force (or if they decide to switch Sasha back to her evil ways). Toni Storm, where you at? 

    King Woods rocks! King Woods rocks! King Woods rocks! Man, Xavier Woods becoming King of the Ring this year will never get old. I really thought Hit Row would attack New Day in that backstage promo, but instead, they showered Xavier with more praise and even spat some freestyle bars to the tune of their hit entrance theme. King Woods segments are so wholesome that they never fail to put a smile on my face. And it's awesome that we get to address Kofi as Sir Kofi Kingston now. Please let that name change stick. I really wish they were drafted to RAW so Sir Big E could also be part of these segments.

    We even got a New Day vs. The Usos main event out of it? What more can I say? The ending of the match was a bit lame, though, because that was undoubtedly a weak schoolboy pin, and I'm pretty sure Jimmy Uso could've kicked out of that pinning predicament if he really wanted to. It's obviously not their best match, but it's good enough for a TV main event. Overall, I'm just thrilled Xavier Woods is having the time of his life right now. He's actually inspiring me to go live the best life I can during these trying times, and I will forever bow down to the Throne of Woods because of it.

    Hey Mustafa Ali, 2005 called, they want their gimmick back. I would've easily enjoyed last week's episode without any hitches but Ali bringing race into his heel persona was just too disappointing to ignore. It's just sad how Ali has already gone on record about his refusal to be a heel based on race or religion, and yet here he is, doing the very thing he said he didn't want to do as a wrestler. Or maybe this was his idea in the first place, and if that's the case, it would make this situation even more depressing. Who did this to you, Ali?

    It doesn't even make sense kayfabe-wise because Ali has always been loved by everyone since he became one of the most influential figures in the Cruiserweight division, as well as his career pre-Retribution. I appreciate how he tried to save this week's segment with this tweet, but the crowd probably booed because they were disappointed with the direction of this storyline. Besides, isn't it worse if the crowd cheered instead?

    I just hate how they keep throwing Ali into these roles that completely drags his name further down. Since his injury in 2019, he's been dealt bad hand after bad hand when it comes to storylines. If being the SmackDown hacker wasn't enough, he also led Retribution, arguably the worst faction of the modern era. Now they want him to be Muhammad Hassan 2.0? You could argue that Ali can somehow pull it off and that he's creative enough to avoid past mistakes, but that's assuming he has creative control over this new gimmick. Can we really trust WWE Creative to handle this shit better than they did in 2005?

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: While last week's episode wasn't as eventful as last week's Rampage, it was still a solid showing from the Blue Brand, and I genuinely enjoyed most of it. Shotzi's uprising, Xavier Woods doing king shit, and even the Trick or Street Fight was fun, too! And mind you, Roman Reigns didn't appear on this show. If AEW didn't exist, they would've easily earned a high grade. Sorry, SmackDown, you need at least one TakeOver-level match or one explosive segment to get at least an A now. Hey, I don't make the rules.

    Show Grade: C+

    BreakDown Thoughts That Were Also Fined $1 Million For Dissing Adam Pearce

    • Yes, you read that right: the Trick or Treat Street Fight was actually fun. I didn't expect much this match since it featured Happy Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura facing each other for the millionth time now, but I didn't realize Halloween props would make this rivalry far more entertaining that it had any right to be. Can they just keep booking silly stipulation matches specifically for this storyline so I could unironically accept Corbin winning the Intercontinental Championship from Nakamura? That would be great.
    • Man, it really sucks that they're sticking with Shayna Baszler as Sonya Deville's lapdog. I know there's nothing for her in the title picture, but she could've at least started a major feud with someone in the upper midcard—anything that doesn't involve her following orders. You can't even enjoy the fact that she got to kick Naomi's ass because Sonya made it easier for her, as if she needed the assist. Terrible, terrible storyline this Sonya/Naomi has become.
    • Really loved the line of questioning from Kayla Braxton and Megan Morant from this episode. Kayla even goaded Paul Heyman into hyping up Brock Lesnar again. They should really script interviewers with more boldness moving forward. After all, great interview moments are born from great, inquisitive questions. I also love how interrupting Jeff Hardy in his backstage interviews has become a running joke at this point. Please let others keep interrupting him more in the coming weeks.  
    • Wait, the 24/7 Champion can float in-between brands? Damn, everyone should really try winning it, then. Two paychecks!

    Header image taken from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's seasoned veteran and resident SmackDown 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: SmackDown BreakDown (10/29/21): Shotzi's Got a Tank Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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