JC’s Top Rope Report: Is This A Rib?

I have some pent up frustration after Friday night. I am about to let that out in this column.

When Smackdown moved to FOX in October, many people thought change was on the horizon. A good amount of wrestling fans were expecting a more athletic base show. FOX wanted Smackdown to blend in with its sports like presentation. Maybe we were going to get some long Ali vs Buddy Murphy, or Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan matches. Perhaps for the first time in years the emphasis in the WWE was going to be on the wrestling and not the entertainment.

But once again, we were all wrong. And the WWE continues to book the same embarrassing shit week after week.

Now before I get into the awful, I have to be fair and point out the good. The Daniel Bryan/Miz/Bray Wyatt storyline is working. And it is a great use of The Fiend character so far. Now of course, this pivot to the Miz vs Bray Wyatt looks an awful lot like something I proposed in storyline a few months ago. And to my surprise, this Lacey Evans face turn is working so far. It may just be because Sasha Banks is such a good heel, but the crowd is actually cheering Lacey and that is a plus.

After those couple things? Well, Smackdown is just the drizzling shits. It wasn’t too long ago that Smackdown was fun to watch. There were good matches every week. Now there is awful story telling every week and the same shit in the same segments, just put in different order. And it all comes back to the people in charge of Smackdown: Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard.

Where do we start? How about Baron Corbin. Remember when the entire McMahon family ran down Baron Corbin on RAW awhile back and pretty much said he sucked? Apparently Vince himself doesn’t remember that. Because we are being forced to sit through Baron Corbin taking up 25% of the show every week. Think about this: the WWE brought back the King of the Ring tournament just to give Baron Corbin a freaking crown and awful cape. And now he is being pushed as one of the top acts on Smackdown. There were so many other wrestlers that could have used the King of the Ring crown to help elevate them. But nope, lets give it to the heat draining Baron Corbin who no one wanted to see win.

Of course one of the main reasons I’m writing this article is because of what ended Smackdown on Friday night. After a longer than necessary Dolph Ziggler/Roman Reigns match, Baron Corbin and Ziggler attacked Reigns then handcuffed him around the ring post. They then proceeded to dump dog food all over Reigns to close the show. This is after they had a girly barking dog a few weeks ago and a dog mascot as well. And they somehow topped it with this awful ending. When the preview for Smackdown said “Baron Corbin Vows to Humiliate Roman Reigns” I was expecting the worst. But they somehow went past all of my expectations and ended the show with the image for this article. Imagine flipping channels and seeing that? Who thinks dumping dog food on someone is a great way to get new viewers to tune in? I guess Bruce Prichard and Vince McMahon do.

And now we are going to get the opportunity to see Baron Corbin vs Roman Reigns in a pointless TLC match on Sunday. Are there any stakes to this match? Why is it a TLC match? Bully Ray brought up a good point on his radio show the other day: You don’t do random TLC matches without something on the line. Of course, this just plays into the gimmick PPVs being the dumbest things possible. But Roman Reigns is going to main event against Baron Corbin and it will more than likely suck all of the air out of the building. At least they will get Roman Reigns cheered.

Then of course there was the segment involving Elias, Drake Maverick and Dana Brooke. So as we all know Dana Brooke and Batista have been interacting a lot on Twitter recently. So instead of just having Dana Brooke appear on TV a little more in a depleted women’s division (which she deserved well before this anyways), they involve her in this crap. Elias and Drake Maverick are in the ring, and Elias has Drake bent over his knee and is spanking him. Again, imagine flipping channels and seeing that. How are you suppose to attract new viewers with that shit?

It’s funny. I just listened to the Survivor Series 2002 episode of Something to Wrestle. And Bruce Prichard said Vince McMahon once told him to book like you are booking for someone tuning in for the first time every week. If Prichard is following that logic, he is doing an awful job.

Now of course there is always a place for comedy in wrestling. I’m not saying there isn’t. But the comedy on Smackdown since the draft is largely outweighing the wrestling. And the comedy is extremely bad. Hell, you can go all the way back to the actual Draft itself. Those war room scenes were embarrassing. The continued push of Baron Corbin is turning people away. And of course the mistreatment of Kofi Kingston since losing to Brock Lesnar and that actual match itself have all been bad. Smackdown is in bad shape right now.

But we should have seen the signs coming a long time ago. Remember the whole Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns/Rowan who dun it story? Do you remember how badly that was botched? Then of course there was the summer of Shane McMahon. The warning signs were there.

And it all started going even further downhill after the move to FOX. The Smackdown roster was shaky at best. Brock Lesnar was there, beat Kofi in 10 seconds, then went over to RAW. Because fuck you that’s why. They’ve ruined the career of Chad Gable with this Shorty G crap. The Bayley heel turn that started off so well has gone flat. Sasha Banks completely over shadows her now. And of course Bayley is losing more big matches than winning.

To me one of the big problems of Smackdown is that it is the same show every week. You get two Baron Corbin segments, you get a New Day segment, you get a Sasha Banks/Bayley promo, the Fiend stuff, and maybe one segment that is different any week. Maybe they remember Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura exists. Or how about something new? I like New Day. I like The Revival. But they could have done that tag match last Friday a little different and maybe have Ali and Gable win the match?

Whenever someone is critical of Bruce Prichard’s booking on his podcast, Prichard likes to come back with “Well yeah so and so (usually Dave Meltzer) has run so many successful promotions so he knows.” Well Bruce, I haven’t run any successful wrestling promotions. But it is pretty obvious to anyone with eyes that you are doing a pretty shitty job of booking Smackdown since you took over. All it takes is looking at the results the last few weeks. I’m sure FOX was expecting better when they put Smackdown on Friday nights. But so far we’ve seen some of the worst episodes of Smackdown in recent memory.

Yes, Bruce Prichard booked this crap. And no, it isn’t a rib. But I wish it was. They may have used dog food in the final segment this past Friday, but they should have used dog shit. Because that more accurately describes the booking of Smackdown since it started on FOX.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka