When the WWE wants to, they can deliver some awesome stories. They also deliver some head-shakingly bad stories on a regular basis. This show had both. Let’s start with the awesome story first.
The Miz opened the night with a segment of MizTV where he said that his guest was supposed to be Daniel Bryan, but that was before Bryan disappeared off the face of the earth after he was attacked by Wyatt last week. And even if the Miz isn’t exactly friends with Bryan, he knows what the man means to SmackDown and was determined to find out what happened to him.
And as if there were a taboo on his name, Wyatt appeared in the Fun House to playfully scold the Miz for his sleuthing. Wyatt was also happy to say what had happened to Bryan; succinctly, the Fiend wasn’t finished playing with Bryan yet. But that left Wyatt’s schedule open, and Wyatt wanted to play with the Miz.
And this is where the story is actually awesome. The Miz, like any smart individual, had absolutely no desire messing with this version of Wyatt. He refused, but it only made Wyatt’s smile widen. From there, Wyatt spun his web with a few words about the value of a family; he had a family once...but perhaps he could have one again.
He held up a portrait of the Miz’s family featuring his wife and two young daughters, and the smile grew even wider. The threat and implications are clear: No one gets to tell Wyatt no these days. He’s...got the whole world in his hands, if you will.
Miz was on the phone with his wife Maryse after a commercial break, urging her to secure their home as he vowed to leave as quickly as possible. An open door and red light lured him to a room with the portrait Wyatt had been holding, except Wyatt was in the Miz’s place. Miz froze for a moment, and paid the price as Wyatt attacked. Now, they’re fighting at TLC.
And there’s intrigue, too! Wyatt is fighting at TLC, not the Fiend. It’s a first since he began the Firefly Fun House, and it’ll be interesting to see just how different he is from the Fiend. And with Bryan lurking out of sight and Wyatt’s purpose for picking on the Miz remaining a bit of a mystery, this has tons of possibilities. Awesome!
Putting a bunch of dog food on Roman Reigns is stupid and misses the point
So...the bad stories. There were a few of them, but I’m sure it won’t shock you that the Baron Corbin story was the worst.
I gripe about Corbin’s character so much that I always feel like I need to preface my opinion with a disclosure: I think Baron Corbin is an awfully talented wrestler who has a lot to offer a show. And yet, he’s always booked in a way that just misses the entire point of a wrestling show.
He’s a grade school bully, in essence. He has no subtlety, no cleverness to his machinations, and no depth. And because of that, he’s not even fun to boo. Which is, you know, the entire point of a heel in 2019. We all know wrestling is scripted at this point. That makes cultivating a suspension of disbelief one of the most important aspects of wrestling.
That suspension of disbelief is the biggest thing in any form of storytelling, nowadays. It’s the reason folks got so righteously angry at the first version of that new Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Or the new Witcher series on Netflix - I remember Henry Cavill having a really bad wig in the first pictures and people revolted at that as well.
Baron Corbin is the wrestling version of a bad animation or stupid wig. He’s a grade school bully who never succeeds at anything. He promised to embarrass Roman Reigns on the show and poured dog food on him because “HAHA DOG FOOD GET IT BECAUSE HE’S THE BIG DOG.”
I’m sorry, but that’s just not an engaging story. It’s not fun. It’s not something that encourages me to root for the good guy and have fun cheering the bad guy.
I think that’s the problem with WWE sometimes: they have this idea to get someone booed - which works, to be fair - but forget that the entire process is supposed to be fun for the audience. And I realize I’m probably a special case because it’s my job to watch every single show and write on every single show, but I have absolutely no interest seeing any more of this.
(For recap purposes, Reigns beat Dolph Ziggler before Corbin’s stooges handcuffed him and smeared dog food all over him.)
Lacey Evans def. Local Talent - This Evans leadership story has legs. I like how she didn’t suddenly turn into another character in the ring, even if she’s being presented as the protagonist in this story. As for her promo on Sasha Banks, it’s easy to see Evans’ side of things. You’re right, Lacey! Those two aren’t good leaders. Banks’ bark is loud, but she cowered as soon as Evans balled up a fist. On top of that, Bayley had to blindside Evans for the villainous duo to stand tall to end the segment.
I’m not sure I want Evans being the ultimate babyface to this story, but her position on Banks/Bayley’s leadership qualities should rally the locker room at the very least.
The Revival def. Mustafa Ali and Chad Gable, Heavy Machinery, The Lucha House Party - Here’s another story that just isn’t that engaging to me, even if the match here was lots of fun. The Revival won an opportunity to face the New Day at TLC; that’s not bad by any means, but it’s a feud we’ve seen before. And hey - they’ll bring a new story this time, right?
...Nope. The Revival said the stuff they’ve always said. “[Insert tag team here] is a disgrace because they aren’t old school. We’ll be old school and win and add prestige to the championships.”
If that’s the story, then one of the other teams should have won.
Alexa Bliss def. Mandy Rose - Ripping someone’s eyelashes off?! You go too far, Mandy Rose! (See how I’m willing to suspend my disbelief of that hurting really badly because it’s fun?)
Nice opening match and reintroduction to the ring for Bliss. Hope to see Bliss Cross Applesauce getting a significant story as soon as they can.
Elias spanked Drake Maverick. Yes, literally - Maverick was talking up Dana Brooke backstage, basically complaining that she’s been getting friendly with Batista online. In Maverick’s words, he thought that he and Dana had some sort of chemistry or something.
Elias showed up and justifiably made fun of Maverick for being weird by singing a song. The song itself was decent. Elias cracked a few jokes on Maverick’s height and the weirdness of him hitting on Brooke when he’s got a history of having...let’s call them “marital consummation” issues.
But then Maverick challenged Elias to a fight, got trounced, spanked, and kicked in the ass. Sure, I guess.
Sheamus’ promo lacked creativity - Back to that creativity issue. Oh what’s that? Another wrestler calling out a locker room for being soft and weak? Isn’t that both Finn Balor and Drew McIntyre’s thing now? Gotta have one for each brand, I guess.
Some good, some bad. I’d say the Miz/Wyatt stuff is the only thing that really is worth going out of the way to watch.