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Wrestling’s 4Rs: The Right, Wrong and Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown

November 14, 2017 | Posted by Dylan Diot
WWE Smackdown AJ Styles Smackdown 11717 1
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Wrestling’s 4Rs: The Right, Wrong and Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown  

How the 4Rs of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. I will group my feelings on the show in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.

SMACKDOWN 11.07.17
– Kofi Kingston d. Sami Zayn [*1/2]
– Randy Orton d. Rusev [**]
– Becky Lynch d. James Ellsworth [*]
– WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships- Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable d. The Usos © by Count-Out [*]
– WWE Championship- AJ Styles d. Jinder Mahal © [***1/2]

THE Right:
WWE Championship- Jinder Mahal © vs. AJ Styles: Styles tried to use his quickness to catch Mahal off guard but Mahal tossed him to the floor to prevent that. Styles came back with a dropkick knocking Mahal to the floor but Mahal tripped up Styles on the apron to cut off that run. Mahal hit a release power slam onto the announce table and he began to target the ribs and abdomen of Styles. Mahal missed a charge in the corner and Styles went on the attack, hitting the basement forearm. DVD back breaker by Styles got a near fall and he counted the big boot with a snap powerbomb for another near fall. Mahal pressed Styles to the mat and they went up top but Styles swept the leg, sending Mahal crashing to the mat. Styles grabbed the Calf Crusher but Mahal made the ropes to break. Styles hit the slingshot forearm to the floor and back in, he hit the Springboard 450. The Singh Brothers pulled Mahal to the floor to prevent Styles from going for the cover so Styles took them out. Mahal countered the Phenomenal Forearm into the Khallas for a near fall as Styles got his foot on the ropes. Mahal went for a Super Khallas but Styles snapped Mahal’s neck off the ropes to block and he hit the Phenomenal Forearm to win the title. This was the best match of Jinder’s reign as Styles was the perfect opponent for him. The story of the match was great, a simple battle of speed and endurance against brute strength and cunning ways. Mahal tried to just use raw power to find his way to victory while Styles smartly picked his moments to take control and ultimately capitalized on Mahal’s frustration to land that Phenomenal Forearm to pull off a shocking win. The title change got over huge and I’m glad that they seemed to have changed directions, as Lesnar/Styles at Survivor Series has the potential to be incredible. For the time being, the Jinder experiment is over and despite its many ups and downs, at least the reign ended on a good note with this match.

Rusev vs. Randy Orton: If Rusev won, he would get the final spot on Team Smackdown. Rusev blocked the RKO and hit a high kick right away for a near fall. Rusev cut off an Orton comeback with a spinning heel kick for a near fall and he overpowers Orton to maintain control. Orton caught him with the RKO out of nowhere for the victory. Rusev actually looked really good here, but unfortunately it didn’t matter since he took the pin. Rusev could have used the win and the spot on the team to give him any sort of steam but with all the changes in the plans he once again ends up on the short end of the stick. I guess the idea is that they’re building Orton up to be the dominant force on Team Smackdown but I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of Rusev.

James Ellsworth vs. Becky Lynch: The Smackdown Women’s team watched the match at ringside. Lynch went for the Disarmer right away but Ellsworth quickly went to the ropes. Ellsworth tried to ground her on the mat but Lynch got the better of him and rolled him around the mat. Ellsworth mocked the women at ringside and he shoved her to the floor. Lynch came back with a missile dropkick for a near fall and she blocked No Chin Music, delivering an atomic drop. Ellsworth tried to leave but the women wouldn’t let him, forcing him back into the ring. Ellsworth tried to make amends but Lynch locked him in the Disarmer for the submission. Carmella super kicked Ellsworth after the match, likely ending that relationship for good. For what this was supposed to be, it was fine and inoffensive. They made Ellsworth look like a joke and made Lynch look like the superior worker which was 100% the right story. It did its job of establishing Lynch and the women of Smackdown as a force to be reckoned with and not the joke Ellsworth tried to make them out to be. As a match it probably went on a little too long but it was an entertaining enough little segment that might have been the official send off for Ellsworth.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships- The Usos © vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable: The Usos attacked prior to the commercial break and when they came back, Benjmain cut off a Jey run with a spine buster. He hit Pay Dirt on Jimmy but Jey rolled him up for a near fall. Gable snuck up on Jey on the floor and clipped him on the floor. Jey couldn’t roll back in, giving Benjamin & Gable a count-out victory. They were barely given time to have any sort of a real match, which is a shame because these two teams will probably kill it in the ring once they are allowed to let loose in a full match. It was a quick segment that again enforced that Benjamin & Gable are resorting to dirty tactics and may have set up a story involving Jey’s leg to add something extra to the Usos/Bar tag at Survivor Series. So while disappointing as a match, it was effective in setting up future stories in the tag division.

THE wRong:
Shocker, Shane McMahon Opens Smackdown!: For the third week in a row, Shane kicked things off. Shane said Daniel Bryan would return next week and reminded Raw that when they get knocked down, they don’t stay down. Shane brings out The New Day, who caused more chaos the night before on Raw. New Day said it wasn’t their intention to cost the Shield the Raw Tag Team Championships but they’re not worried about any kind of retaliation. Shane and the New Day begin to dance but Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn interrupt. Owens said that was the worst display he had ever seen and Zayn complained about the fact that Randy Orton didn’t face repercussions for cheating in their qualifying match two weeks ago. Zayn said Team Smackdown’s failure at Survivor Series will be on Shane McMahon so Shane got fed up with Zayn & Owens’ whining and put Sami against Kofi Kingston. This was probably the most uninspired opening segment in some time. Nobody here had anything interesting of note to say and there was way too much goofing around when the idea was to get over both the New Day being the leaders of the Smackdown invasions and the significance of the ongoing Raw vs. Smackdown battle. Instead we got some dancing and lame jokes leading to the set-up for Kingston/Zayn. Smackdown has had some solid starting segments over the past few weeks but this week fell completely flat.

THE Ridiculous:
Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn: Zayn was control early in the match but Kofi came back with a dropkick that forced Sami to bail. Zayn tried to leap off the top rope but Kofi caught him with a dropkick on the way down. Kofi hit Sami with the SOS for a near fall but Sami answered right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall of his own. Kofi caught Sami with a springboard cross body for the win. Kevin Owens attacked Kofi after the match and bailed when the rest of the New Day made the save. So this was a total disaster on more than one level as we soon found out. So out of nowhere this ended up being one of the more controversial matches in some time, both due to the result and the post match. The match itself was incredibly disappointing, both Kofi and Sami seemed to be on totally different pages. Their interactions were sloppy and the layout did not play to either man’s strengths. I know they want to build up the New Day for a match with the Shield, but to have Kofi just dominate Sami Zayn like he did here was really unnecessary and really hurts the progress they were making in rehabbing Sami after his heel turn. They needed to do some kind of DQ or no-contest here to set up the New Days winning a tag match against Zayn & Owens. That way, New Day gets the big win prior to Survivor Series and Zayn & Owens’ frustration from losing that match can transition into them costing Team Smackdown the match at Survivor Series which was the likely story they were going to go with. Everyone comes out of it much stronger than they did here. Instead, Kofi got a meaningless singles win that takes away from the impact of a potential stronger tag victory and then we got the screw up after the match that resulted in Zayn & Owens being sent home from the European tour and potentially setting plans into chaos. Booking the match the way they did here ultimately was not worth all of the headache and trouble that resulted, and I just hope all parties can move on from this, as I’d hate to see them stall the Owens & Zayn act as punishment for the mishap that happened here.

The 1173rd edition is over…

The final score: review Average
The 411
For reasons both intentionally and non-intentionally this was the most newsworthy and eventful episode of Smackdown of the year. Thank goodness the Styles/Mahal match and title change got over as big as it did as it saved this week’s show from being a total disaster. Instead, the title change created the best singular moment of the year so far from the brand and resulted in a huge, positive shake-up for the Survivor Series. The rest of the show was marred by a lot of weird booking decision, highlighted by the Owens & Zayn incident that nearly took away from the buzz that was generated from Styles’ title win. Hopefully they follow things up strongly next week in the go home show because this show almost killed a lot of the goodwill that was being built up over the past few weeks. Obviously seeks out Styles/Mahal this week and skip the rest for sure.

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Smackdown, Wrestling's 4Rs, WWE, Dylan Diot