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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - Five Ways to Make SmackDown Great Again + No Mercy Predictions
By Super Chrisss
Sep 22, 2017 - 12:34:06 PM







Tom Jenner rocks!







Two columns in one calendar week? Man, I’m spoiling you guys! I originally wanted to simply share my predictions for No Mercy, but some of the feedback I got from my last column (which you can read anytime you like, if you haven’t already) prompted me to write a mini-follow-up, if you will.

For the record, I don’t hate Jinder Mahal. I hate what Jinder Mahal and the Creative Team have done to SmackDown Live. Yes, Mahal is a terrible wrestler, can’t cut a promo to save his life, and is only in the spot he’s in because of his new physique and Vince McMahon’s sudden fascination with India, but I hold no ill towards the guy. I have little-to-none hosting experience and I speak with a Canadian accent, but if I got the opportunity to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to host The Price Is Right, I would accept the position in a heartbeat. That’s exactly what Jinder did: deep down, he knows he’s not ready for the spot he’s in (and probably never will be), but he would have been a fool to turn down the push of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, SmackDown has been in serious trouble since the ‘Superstar Shake-Up’ and Jinder’s coronation as WWE Champion. Gone are the days of SmackDown catching up to Raw in the ratings; live attendance is in the toilet; the occasional ‘free, mini-Pay-Per-Views’ are a rare sight (Sin City SmackDown was the only comparable one, and even that show was missing some of the brand’s top stars). The quality of SmackDown has drastically decreased, and much of the blame has to be put on Jinder’s reign as WWE Champion.

Alas, it is not too late for the SmackDown roster, as there are steps that can easily be taken to improve the show’s quality (which will naturally improve ratings and bolster attendance) in the immediate future, rather than painfully waiting until next year’s presumed Shake-Up. Here’s what they can do:


1. Take the title off Jinder and give it to Shinsuke Nakamura at Hell in a Cell. The popular sentiment is that Shinsuke was really damaged by his loss to Jinder at SummerSlam. The finish to their match was exactly the same as Jinder’s first two title matches with Randy Orton a few months prior. Not only that, Jinder was responsible for handing Nakamura his first singles loss on the WWE main roster: and this happened less than two weeks after John Cena put Nakamura over, 100% clean. Going into the Biggest Party of the Summer, Shinsuke had all the momentum in the world – but then they squandered it. If Shinsuke falls to Jinder once again at HIAC, not only will Jinder’s agonizing reign as champion continue, I’m not sure Shinsuke will ever truly recover from another loss. WWE may have successfully ruined Shinsuke, which even WWE’s biggest critics didn’t think was possible. Shinsuke absolutely MUST win the title at HIAC, or it will go down as one of the worst booking decisions in WWE history. Fans will tune into and buy tickets to a SmackDown with Shinsuke as champion, but not one where Mahal is deemed superior to The King of Strong Style.

2. USE your damn roster. It boggles my mind how a show that includes talent the likes of AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Rusev, Tye Dillinger, Luke Harper and Bobby Roode can be struggling so badly. Where the hell have the last two been, anyway? I know the show is only two hours long (less, if you count commercial breaks and recaps/plugs), but you’re telling me you can’t find time for most of your younger talent who people actually want to see? Go take a look at the SmackDown roster page on wwe.com. They have so many people they could be using, yet they’re not. New Day and The Usos – bless their amazing feud – are presented as the sole legitimate teams in the division, but that’s not true. In addition to those two teams, there’s also Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin, The Singh Brothers (if they ever let them wrestle), Breezeango (where the hell have they been, as well?), The Hype Bros., The Ascension and possibly a returning Colons and a possibly reuniting Harper & Rowan. That right there is a minimum of seven tag teams, out of a possible nine. I still contend that the 2016 draft should have limited tag teams to one brand and women to another, but that’s a column for another day (maybe).

3. The women’s division needs to be completely restructured. I know a lot of people are excited about Paige’s upcoming return to the ring – especially with the rumours that she’ll be going to SmackDown – while others are not very pleased about a potential Bella Twins return. While I’ve never been Brie & Nikki’s biggest fan, I appreciate all the good work Nikki put into her run with SmackDown after joining the brand at last year’s SummerSlam. She had more entertaining than they had any right to be feuds with Carmella and Natalya, and was arguably instrumental in preparing both ladies for the spots they currently occupy. Besides, I’d rather watch Nikki wrestle than Lana, Tamina or Naomi. If I’m WWE, I would get both Nikki and Paige back on SmackDown ASAP and have the title picture consist of them plus Charlotte, Becky and Carmella.

4. Make the little things matter again. Another key element of the pre-Shake-Up SmackDown’s success was how the writing team MADE you want to tune into the show week after week. They managed to find a way to recapture that feeling of going to bed thinking, “Man, what a crazy show. I wonder what’s going to happen next.” They managed to pull that off with what many considered a depleted brand. Now that their roster is STACKED with young, hungry talent, there’s no excuse for them not being able to do more with more. Instead of blaming the fans and critics (*cough*Road Dogg*cough), maybe the writers should own up to their own blunders from the past six months rather come up with excuses. As I mentioned earlier, shows like Sin City SmackDown are great because they give the fans several reasons to tune in: multiple title matches that don’t feel forced, as well as a must-see appearance by Vince McMahon. They’re also a ratings hit. Sin City SmackDown scored the show’s best number in months, and the December 27th show (the one where they advertised both John Cena’s return and three title matches) was the first – and only – time they beat Raw in the ratings. All it takes is some effort from the writing team.

5. Push Kevin Owens as your number one heel. Once his feud with Shane McMahon presumably concludes at Hell in a Cell, there’s no time to wait: KO needs to be inserted into the world title picture immediately. Right now, there’s no one hotter than Kevin Owens on the blue brand, and I believe his stock will continue to rise after HIAC. You want a headlining title match for Survivor Series? Then book Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship. That match, ladies and gentlemen, would be fire. Besides, with AJ Styles still the face of the United States Championship scene, there’s nowhere else (acceptable) for KO to go after he destroys Shane at HIAC. KO vs. Nakamura is the money feud, at least right now.




*****





There you have it, folks. Five simple ways to Make SmackDown Great Again. Obviously, talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words, but I truly believe the blue roster has the potential to return to it’s former glory. But enough about SmackDown: let’s talk about the currently superior brand and their upcoming Pay-Per-View on Sunday, No Mercy.

At the time of this writing, nothing has been announced for the No Mercy Kickoff, but I’m predicting we’ll get an Elias concert (yay!) as well as a bonus match with one of the most over tag teams – the Hardy Boyz- missing their second consecutive PPV in a row by taking on Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Much like the Singhs, the other members of The Miztourage should be competing in matches to boost their respective brand’s tag team division. I have no decision why they’re not, quite frankly.

Speaking of The Miz, he has a title defense this Sunday (finally) against a last-minute opponent in Jason Jordan. Despite putting on strong performances with John Cena and Roman Reigns over the past few weeks, Jordan still isn’t getting over. A lengthy feud with The Miz could certainly remedy that, but knowing WWE, they’ll probably put the title on JJ this Sunday and hope he gets over that way, even though it’s the wrong way. As bad as I want Miz to retain, I think Jordan becomes Intercontinental Champion on Sunday.

I see a lot of people freaking out about Enzo Amore challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship this Sunday, but to you Nevillites, I assure you it’s not time to worry…yet. Austin Aries, who was over, but not Enzo-over, got THREE opportunities to dethrone Neville for the title. I’d be really surprised if Enzo wins the title on his first attempt. Instead, I can see WWE holding off on the title switch for at least the foreseeable future. The Cruiserweight division needs Enzo – just not as their champion. Neville retains.

I am really getting sick and tired of seeing multi-woman matches take place every month. Or, in this case, we’re about to see two multi-woman matches occur in less than six days. Why couldn’t we have got Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss one more time, since there’s till legs to that feud? I was mildly accepting of Nia Jax and Emma’s inclusions in the match – just because I’m a huge Emma fan – but I actually groaned when Bayley made her return on Raw and was added to the match “just because”. That’s such asinine booking. Why didn’t they just add John Cena to the Braun Strowman/Brock Lesnar match since he showed up on Raw? The women won’t be viewed in the same light as their male counterparts until they cut that shit out. ANYWAYS, I would mark out so hard if Emma won, but we all know she’s solely in the match to take the pinfall. Alexa Bliss SHOULD win, but I think they’ll have Bayley win the Raw Women’s Championship, only for The Boss to turn on her best friend out of jealously, either afterwards or the following night on Raw.

Our next championship match is one of only two SummerSlam rematches scheduled, as Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose look to defend their titles against The Bar, Sheamus & Cesaro. I had high hopes for the tag team division after The Mini-Shield won the titles at SummerSlam, but despite their randomly-placed main-event spot on Raw two weeks ago, I feel like the tag titles have devalued Rollins & Ambrose rather than elevate them. The safe money is on The Mini-Shield retaining, but what if this redemption story is meant to be short-lived, with Ambrose turning on Rollins? That being said, I’m also predicting a heel turn for Sasha Banks, so I’m thinking Ambrose & Rollins retain their titles and there’s no swerve…for now.

Goldust surprised the hell out of me, as his mini-feud with Bray Wyatt the past two weeks has added much-needed fuel to the rivalry between Finn Balor and The Eater of Worlds. I really enjoyed Bray’s post-match assault on Goldust two weeks ago, when he wiped off Goldy’s facepaint which promoted Balor to run-down and make the save, which prompted Dustin Rhodes to face off with Bray, ‘man-to-man’. It’s almost a toss-up who wins on Sunday, however. I could see Bray winning, leading to one final match between them at Survivor Series. BUT, if Braun wins the title at No Mercy, that could potentially set-up a Strowman vs. Balor feud sooner rather than later. I say Balor wins, and The Eater of Pins does what he does best.

Both of the WrestleMania-come-early main-events are tough to call. While the lead-up to this match seems to suggest that Roman Reigns should defeat John Cena, I’m not so sure. Did Reigns bring back footage prior to WrestleMania 28 to foreshadow history repeating itself, as the full-timer (Cena in 2012/Reigns in 2017) lost to the part-timer (Rock in 2012/Cena in 2017), which will lead to Reigns seeking revenge against Cena on a bigger stage, such as WrestleMania 34? Or is this match a one-off, with Reigns getting the win and solidifying himself as “The Guy” for the millionth time? Even though Reigns has been on a PPV losing streak as of late, I’m going with Cena for the win, if for no other reason than a Cena/Reigns rematch at WM34 spares us the atrocity of a Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns match.

Speaking of The Beast, does he do what’s “best for business” and lay down for his apparent successor, Braun Strowman? I know Vince wants to do Lesnar vs. Reigns at WM34, but fuck all that noise. Not only is Braun red-hot, but Brock isn’t expected back until 2018 following No Mercy. Why not turn the tables and have Brock be the one chasing Braun? The formula worked pretty less than a year ago, as Brock chasing Goldberg made for interesting TV and a better-than-expected match at ‘Mania. Even if Brock gets his win back, Strowman has everything to gain by leaving No Mercy as Universal Champion – and so does the company, both in the immediate and long-term future. Why should Braun Strowman defeat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship? Because why the hell not?




*****





YOUR Two Centsss: What match do you think closes No Mercy? What do you think will be the surprise of the night?


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Enjoy No Mercy!

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