REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 2/6/18: Top 10 List, Owens vs Zayn, 205 Live is… Great?

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John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE SMACKDOWN 2/6/18 featuring:

SmackDown’s Top 10 List has many confused, Owens vs Zayn results in a three-way at Fastlane, The Uso’s cut another great promo, Charlotte takes out the Riott Squad one by one, Shane McMahon makes a heated accusation against Daniel Bryan.

The Mixed Match Challenge sees Naomi/Jimmy Uso take on Goldust/Mandy Rose (“RoseGold”).

And the newly-revamped 205 Live continues to steal Tuesday nights with Hideo Itami vs Roderick Strong and Lince Dorado vs Kalisto.

We also discuss Jason Jordan’s neck surgery and a preview of this weekend’s NJPW New Beginning in Osaka card.

Plus, Café feedback to the show from the POST Wrestling Forum.

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Can I get @johnpollock’s thoughts on TJP joining the female group on SmackDown and becoming the fourth member of the Ri-ah-T-T-T Squad?

I concur with Wai’s comments about the WWE civil rights advertorials. However, it’s important to not forget that the good people of Montreal embraced the great Jackie Robinson in the years he played there prior to the integration of Major League Baseball. Sadly, each time he crossed the border to enter the US he was not treated with the same dignity he was treated with in Canada.

I’ll disagree with Wai on his assessement of Kenta (Hideo Itami). Since he came back from injury his matches have been consistently great. He had a incredible main event in NXT Takeover on the same level as what we saw on 205 last night. He had some great tv taping matches as well. His promo’s in NXT were better (not great but not as bad as 205). But John is right. NOAH is…well its in a better place than it was, but its still just barely off life support. NOAH hasn’t been the same since Misawa’s death and KENTA was once a mega star there, and is still hugely respected, but WWE was at the least a lateral move for him if not a step up. I think Itami’s ability to work an outstanding match would (should) always land him a place on the roster but he needs to get with Tozawa and learn how to convey a personality as well. Itami’s english isn’t that bad, he’s certainly better in that department than Asuka.

Thoughts on Podcast:

Regarding Jordan/Seth:
I heard that Seth was working hurt as well leading into WM. Given that his story has driven to a halt I think it would be wise to give the man time to recuperate.

Regarding Graphics on Smackdown
I realize that they are cheesy but I don’t have it in me to have a strong opinion against them. They are eye catching and offer moments of levity and energy to segments that could be otherwise dull. You don’t have Bret Hart giving a sharpshooting to a blood dripping Stone Cold with massive bold text saying ‘HEARTLESS!’ scrolling by during the classic close up.

Thoughts on Smackdown Highlights:

Regarding the New Day:
Why are they still over with the fans?
Is this a case of their gimmick being for kids and the kids are buying their merchandise like mad?
I can’t see this gimmick hitting with the older crowd as this food stuff has been going on for over a year now it seems. I was eye rolling over booty-o’s garbage ages ago and then they evolved the gimmick to pancakes for what feels like half a year now. I think these ideas might work for a week or two but instead they take it beyond its shelf life for months and months. Am I supposed to be finding it all hilarious now because the joke never dies?

I genuinely don’t get it and I’m also amazed the fans haven’t completely and utterly turned on these men. I’ve long since tuned out on New Day outside of the ring in the same way I’ve tuned out on Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy. However, unlike Bray and Matt I can at least give New Day props for being great in the ring.

Regarding Charlotte:
I completely agree with making your OVER face champion look strong against the heels. This feels like old school 90’s and early 00’s wrestling where the face is booked strong and heels cannot overcome them even with the numbers advantage. This is your Hogan and Austin era booking done right and its being done with good reason. Charlotte needs a mega push for her defense against Asuka at WM to mean as much as possible.

Regarding Usos:
I’m impressed where WWE is going with these two. This doesn’t feel like your typical WWE promo. Its almost like these two have a personality of their own and can go out and play their characters. No pandering to the crowd through awkward pauses and slow paced delivery. No forced lines that feel completely unnatural. Its a little like those passionate Mick Foley promotions from the boiler room or as Cactus Jack.

I can’t say that I’m personally invested in the Uso characters. I’m not eagerly awaiting their next promo or anything but I can 100% get behind this execution. This shouldn’t feel refreshing and ‘new’…this should be the norm in the WWE.

Regarding Top 10 List:
I think this being all babyfaces means that it’ll be a tool to prolong the Shane and DB storyline. We have DB frequently making decisions that favor the heels while also occasionally making ones that favor the faces. This list is a face leaning contrivance for Shane to call out. Even if they don’t use it to call out KO/Sami they can easily justify people like Mahal and Corbin being on the list.

In addition heels can play off this list and demand matches. It would not shock me at all if we see Corbin or Mahal squash Tye next week to prove their inclusion on the list.

Regarding Rusev:
People are being the GIMMICK and not the wrestler it seems. Rusev to me draws a lot of parallels with The Drifter on Raw. People want to cheer and get behind him but during the match there’s not all that much to get excited about.
I was actually surprised that Roode was cheered throughout this match. I fully expected them to turn on him big time and I do think this was the latest you could pull the trigger on Rusev’s momentum. Given that Roode does nothing for me I consider this a genuine missed opportunity. A real shame as the proposed double turn between these two would have been amazing. I suppose that could still happen if they continue this feud and draw it out but that means Rusev will need to find a way to get the fans back on his side.

Regarding Ziggler:
His character is quite perfect really. He has a blood feud with Corbin. Ziggler’s number 30 entrance in the Rumble was 100% focused on ensuring Corbin didn’t get a WM shot. Thankfully, Corbin got eliminated ages before Ziggler’s number 30 entry so his motivation to care was lost. Fast forward to now where Corbin is on the rise again with some recent wins so Ziggler is making his historic long awaited return to beat him down!

Why doesn’t Ziggler want the belt? Simple! He doesn’t want to elevate Corbin in the event Zigglers masterplan fails! Brilliant!

Seriously though I’m actually intrigued in Ziggler because I like his performance. I didn’t watch or even listen to shows like this during Zigglers first big run so I still see the man as someone whose good in the ring and above average on the mic. This story makes absolutely no sense and Corbin is a TERRIBLE pairing for Ziggler but I’m still a Ziggler fan and I actually want him to get a proper push when its all said and done.

Regarding KO/Zayn/AJ:
I’ve tapped out. KO/Zayn with Shane and DB is great. AJ brings this all down. Smackdown has killed AJ’s character and he’s a complete after thought as champion. I hated his entire feud leading up to Rumble and felt it strongly devalued the belt…and now it continues. What a complete trainwreck.

What’s worse is you can’t even pretend to get invested because there’s no way they change up the AJ vs Nakamura match at WM. AJ will being going into that match as cold as ever with the title meaning nothing. Hopefully they can put on a clinic where Nakamura takes over and then we can potentially see a title picture that means something.

I said it before and I know people don’t agree but I had more fun watching Smackdown with Mahal as champ than I have with AJ. That really shouldn’t be possible as AJ’s arguably one of the top 3 wrestlers in the entire world but its true and that’s a testament to how badly they’ve dropped the ball with AJ’s run.

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They say Drake Maverick, I just think of Drake Ramoray…


Didn’t catch up with Smackdown yet, but I did watch my first two episodes of 205 Live since the original debut. I’m very happy with where this is going and the somewhat 4th wall breaking by Maverick when he told Gulak and Neese that the comedy stuff is over. Two great matches on 205 this week makes me hopeful!