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    Sunday, November 7, 2021

    SmackDown BreakDown (11/5/21): What's a King to a Tribal Chief?

    A king and a tribal chief entered a ring. One of them left standing tall, the other a battered mess. And that's how the first shot of the great T-shirt Wars of 2021 was fired. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    It's November. You know what that means: it's Survivor Series season, which means SmackDown will once again wage war against RAW. I didn't even realize that they already started planting the seeds of this year's t-shirt war until the very end of this week's episode. I was like, "I really hope Big E was here to help his New Day brothers. Wait!" Whether they clearly booked it that way and I'm just too dense to notice it or not, I'd still give them props for setting everything up seamlessly and with great subtlety. 

    How exactly did they kick off this year's Brand Wars? By letting the King of the Ring and the Tribal Chief cross paths via The Usos. I honestly didn't think of it that much when the SmackDown Tag Team Champions decided to pick a fight with New Day again. I thought it was just great to see these two teams slug it out for the tag titles. And as if headlining last week's episode wasn't enough, here they are again taking the main event spot, this time only focusing on King Xavier Woods and Jimmy Uso.

    I love how the "Bend the Knee" stipulation was enough to earn this match the main event spot. After all, this was Woods' first singles match since becoming King. At this rate, they should really add this stipulation to every match he has. And while King Woods vs. Jiminy Uso was a good watch, I really wish it had a stronger, more definitive finish. Woods already rolled Jimmy up last week, why repeat the same spot? At least make the King look strong, even for a bit, if he's going to get bodied a few moments later.

    In all this craziness, I didn't realize that rekindling the storied rivarly of The New Day and The Usos would be a great way to build up this year's Survivor Series main event: WWE Champion Big E vs. Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Yes, please! They can even book it as a six-man tag again, only this time it's more personal because it will be awkward for King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston to fight alongside Roman Reigns in this brand warfare business. After this week's beatdown, The New Day vs. The Bloodline is now definitely a PPV-worthy dream match in the making.

    Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre is still out here kicking heads one midcarder at a time and I have to say, I love it! While he still looks stupid lugging an actual sword around, his recent matches have become the highlight of every show. It's almost impossible to have a bad match with Ricochet and thankfully, Drew and Pretty Ricky didn't disappoint. And while the ending sequence wasn't as smooth as NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, at least the Claymore Kick in midair actually ended the match. So ten points for Drew McIntyre!

    What I wouldn't give any points is Ricochet's pathetic promo right before the match started. Who the hell gave him a chunk of lines to memorize and who told him to deliver them as sheepishly as possible? That's exactly how I speak every time I'm delivering a report on a Zoom call. Is that his new gimmick: the dork finally standing up to his bully but ending up getting bullied more? I love the guy and he's the perfect wrestler to have on SmackDown, but damn, does Ricochet need a mouthpiece or what?

    But as much as I hate Ricochet's current gimmick, at least he helped Mustafa Ali start over after the latter's horrendous promo last week. It looks like Ali is back to recruiting others to join his cause, and as long as he's not violating a real-life personal creed of his, I'm good with it. And if this short backstage segment does in fact lead to a rivalry between Ricochet and Ali, I'm all for it. Imagine getting TakeOver-level matches every week. Hey, if we're going to get rematches anyway, at least replay the flippy ones.

    In the tag team division, there's a new duo on the rise, and they just scored a win over freaking Cesaro. Yeah, that's how valued Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo are now as Los Lotharios. They even get a sick finisher and everything! While I'm not opposed to giving these two talented luchadors a push, did they really have to do it at Cesaro and Mansoor's expense? Are there no random jobbers available in the area? They did it for Hit Row three weeks ago, why couldn't they have given Los Lotharios some nameless goons for their in-ring debut on SmackDown?

    At this point, I've given up on my prediction that Cesaro will win the Royal Rumble next year. If him not being added to the Money in the Bank Match wasn't enough, him just taking Ls in a random tag  match should do the trick. Of course I wouldn't wish this on him, but I wouldn't be surprised if they just release Cesaro in the next batch of "budget cuts." You just know that they have nothing for him, and now that they're done feeding him to Roman Reigns, I'm pretty sure they're done with him altogether.

    FINAL BREAKDOWN: It's almost useless to grade every episode of SmackDown because they're not going to be as exciting as Dynamite and Rampage. This week's show wasn't that different, either. Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet was great and the main event segment had big implications, but it's not worth wasting two hours of your weekend. I mean c'mon, this week's Rampage had one of the best promos in recent memory. When will SmackDown become that exciting?

    Show Grade: C

    BreakDown Thoughts That Also Didn't Want to be Interviewed by Kayla Braxton 

    • B-Fab was a huge loss for Hit Row and it shows. Their swag levels plummeted and while they're still spitting great bars, they're not even close to reaching Max-Caster-dissing-Bryan-Danielson's-father-in-law levels of cool. And worst of all, they just let Sami Zayn walk without beating him up. What the hell was that segment? So now they're uncool and unthreatening. See how one useless firing can change an entire faction's dynamic?
    • Man, can this Naomi/Sonya Deville rivalry be more obvious? What's next, Naomi facing Shayna Baszler with one hand tied behind her back? Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler and Shotzi in a handicap match? Naomi and God against Shayna Baszler and Sonya Deville at TLC?! The possibilities are endless! /s And of course, Shayna's back to her losing ways: eating roll-ups for breakfast. Sure, it was reversed, but she still lost, and you know it.

    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 (11/5/21): What's a King to a Tribal Chief? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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