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    Sunday, November 21, 2021

    SmackDown BreakDown (11/19/21): On Royal Beatdowns and Letdowns

    I'm at that point in my WWE fandom where I tend to forget that an episode is a go-home show, whether it's because they had to rush every storyline to fit the schedule or they just churn out the same episode every week. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    Silly me, thinking that they won't spare any expense in building up Roman Reigns vs. Big E for Survivor Series. They nailed the inciting incident by pitting the Tribal Chief against the King of the Ring, who happens to be one of Big E's closest friend in WWE. But the build for the supposed Survivor Series main event just revolved around Roman vs. King Woods, right until this week, the go-home show. Roman barely even mentioned E in most of his promos for the entire buildup. Disappointing.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm glad Big E finally showed up this week to slap some Samoan meat, but why did he wait until the final week of the buildup? Roman Reigns didn't even bother showing up on RAW this week, either. I guess it makes sense a little to keep these men apart because their Survivor Series match will technically be their first one-on-one encounter, but these guys have faced each other in countless other matches that it doesn't really feel that special. There was really no point in keeping them apart until the last second. Either men should've been Speared or Big Ended at least once.

    I did enjoy how King Woods and Big E carried out their revenge plan during this week's main event. It's rare for the good guys to use heel-like tactics like this but the great thing about it is that it's still completely in character. Remember when New Day used to be heels and they attacked the likes of John Cena and they were actually booked to win most of the time? I saw some shades of that when Big E and King Woods were just stomping on Roman. Still, this segment was just too tame for my taste and certainly not the best way to hype up a supposedly huge main event.

    In contrast, Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch suddenly became the most anticipated match for Survivor Series, mainly because of this one awesome video package. I guess it helps that these two have a long history together so they didn't really need to brawl every week, but the promos they've cut in the previous episodes surprisingly meshed well together in this banger of a promo package. Yes, even Charlotte's uh-oh promo somehow didn't look that bad! If there's anything WWE is still doing right these days, it's editing these segments and converting them into epics.

    Now that I think about it, this match probably had the best buildup out of all the Survivor Series matches this year. While it only started a month ago, they slowly pieced the story together through dirt sheet reports and media interviews. While I'm still convinced the whole drama is all a work, it still contributed the most in making this heel champion vs. heel champion worth seeing. This can easily main event Survivor Series this year and if they can book a triple threat women's match over a Brock Lesnar match as the main event back in 2019, I'm pretty sure they can do it again in 2021.

    So now that I'm done talking about the top storylines, should I even talk about the rest? Why care for the midcarders when they'll just end up getting fired weeks later? Should I even care that Ricochet stole the show once again in the fatal four-way match? Mustafa Ali didn't even show up this week. Should I be concerned? Because unless someone's a long-time employee or you've won a world championship in the last 12 months, it seems like every Superstar isn't safe from the dreaded "budget cuts."

    They aired a great vignette for Xia Li this week, complete with awesome illustrations and a kick-ass storyline to boot. You'd think that with all that effort, WWE will surely strap the rocket on her, right? Yeah, tell that to the former Aleister Black after they aired three cryptic vignettes of his new character before promptly getting fired. And didn't Hit Row get the same treatment? So yeah, having vignettes made especially for you is not a guarantee you're staying. So should I get my hopes up for Xia Li?

    Imagine being a new fan of WWE. They were probably hyped to see new Superstars debuting, only to not see them weeks later. And as a long-time viewer of their product, I'm numb to the firings at this point and as a result, WWE has never been this stale in my eyes. Aside from the Superstars and the storylines they actually care about, everything else is just fodder. So why should we pay attention to anyone not named Roman Reigns? You can't make stars when you keep firing them, you know.

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: This week's episode was fine, I guess. It was technically a go-home show but it sure didn't feel like it. Aside from a fun four-way and the amazing Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch video package, there's really nothing else to write home about. And the recent firing just left a bad taste in my mouth and it made me feel not hopeful about the future of WWE in general.

    Show Grade: D

    BreakDown Thoughts That 

    • That fatal four-way match was actually fun, though. Ricochet flipping around, Sheamus kicking everyone's heads in, Jinder Mahal was there, it was great! Imagine if every member of the SmackDown team had to earn their spot. We could've had weeks of fun matches and maybe some entertaining backstage pep talks. But yeah, I forgot WWE forgot how to book these things.
    • I love how the Naomi vs. Sonya Deville rivalry is beyond stupid now. Thanks to this stupid tag team, we now know that WWE referees are easily bought. I guess it's not the first time a referee got involved in a screwy finish, but at least those matches were high-profile. This one's just a dumb storyline. If they do the thing where Naomi gets a handicap like having her hands tied behind her back next week, I'll win evil authority figure tropes bingo night!
    • I completely forgot about Sasha Banks vs. Shotzi! This match was also a fun one, although I'm curious if Sasha's arm injury will carry on to Survivor Series and will probably cause them the L. I also loved how Sasha tried to be the bigger person in the end by shaking Shotzi's hand, only to plant her with a Backstabber moments after. Glad to know that The Boss didn't lose her edge now that she's a babyface again. Hopefully, these two can continue feuding so Shotzi can keep her job for a few more months. Because we all know what happens when you're not on TV, amirite?


    Header image 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 (11/19/21): On Royal Beatdowns and Letdowns Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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