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SmackDown RunDown (3/6/20): #OtisMania


Last year, it was Kofi Kingston. This year, Otis is the name everyone should remember.  

Despite the dullness of SmackDown's main event scene, the Blue Brand deserves all the props for putting the spotlight on their tag team division. In fact, Roman Reigns and Goldberg weren't even present, so that already made this week's episode a must-watch. But they went an extra step further by giving Otis and Tucker the #KofiMania treatment, probably to test how over Otis is to the WWE Universe. And based on the loud roars, I'm sure he passed with flying colors.

Sure, the stakes weren't as high as last year's #KofiMania, but Heavy Machinery almost running the gauntlet successfully is essentially the thing we should be seeing more often on SmackDown. Seeing a crowd favorite receiving the right amount of push will always be a satisfying watch, even if it ends with some sort of heartbreak. Otis and Tucker knocked out four teams that included The New Day, The Usos and the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The Miz and John Morrison, yo. That's a star-making performance right there.



And it also had the right amount of drama with the Otis/Mandy Rose/Dolph Ziggler love triangle. Before the match, Otis tried to explain his side to Mandy,w ho understandably gave him the cold shoulder. That stings. It also didn't help that Ziggler was the one who put an end to Heavy Machinery's dominant performance this week. It's a welcome surprise from a show that's basically made to make only one man look good. *cough* Roman Reigns *cough*

With the way things are, Otis is definitely the guy we definitely need to unironically root for. Creative wouldn't give him this much exposure if they're not planning anything for him. So screw this year's predictable main event scene, let's carry the flag for #OtisMania because right now, this is the only storyline worth watching on SmackDown. We did it once with Kofi Kingston—let's all make it happen for our boy Otis.

In other news, this week's episode was actually littered with these moments that gave Creative a chance to show us that they do care about other storylines not involving the main man. There's Daniel Bryan finally challenging Drew Gulak to show him his own weaknesses in the ring; there's Shorty G trying to befriend Apollo Crews; there's also King Corbin and Elias trying to set up a rivalry. Why can't we keep crafting these many running storylines every week?



Another great thing about this week's episode is how it showed everyone how to showcase the stars of yesteryears properly. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Enzo Amore X-Pac made their appearance and acted like proper legends by not pretending that they can still keep up with the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura. See how you can both have the nostalgia without fucking with the current roster? I wish they learned this first before giving Goldberg a world title to carry.

I would also like to thank Sami Zayn for reiterating what I've been saying for the past few weeks. Yes, Sami, we don't need has-beens stealing the spotlight from guys like you just to grasp some sort of relevance. We don't need to see old men struggle to execute wrestling moves just because they used to be famous back in the day. I get that we should all suspend our disbelief, but we also shouldn't ignore logic altogether. Age slows people down. That's just logic.



And just to counter some people on social media, Goldberg winning the Universal Championship and Edge making his return are far from being the same. Goldberg being champion again isn't just about the age—it's also the ability to actually work a match. The last SaudiMania should be a clear indication that Old Billy here is no more. And in the process, he ruined The Fiend for everyone else. And boy, do we need to talk about his terrible promo this week, which I'll get to towards the end. 

Meanwhile, Edge had to retire because of a life-threatening injury. He didn't retire because he got sloppy in the ring, regardless of your opinion on the quality of his Spear. Edge didn't leave on his own terms, and that's why it makes perfect sense to see him return in action. You also can't say he's too old to work a match unless you're fucking blind or something. Edge never left as a has-been and he came back hungrier than he ever was. What can I say? He has grit.

And tell me, when he made his triumphant return at the Royal Rumble, did he destroy someone's character to the point of no repair? Was he launched straight into the main event scene ahead of other deserving Superstars? Also, did he botch his finisher to win a world title? Again, despite what you think of his version of the Spear, the answer should be a resounding NO. That's why I didn't bitch about Edge "making an attempt to be relevant once again."

TL;DR: Goldberg has no business returning in today's WWE. Edge has all the reasons to stay.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: At this point, I already know that WWE can't replicate a crowd-pleasing episode like this. Next week, the usual Roman Reigns Show will continue as he will once again cut a promo and beat someone up in the main event. I've lost all the optimism I have for SmackDown and I have accepted the fact that the old SmackDown we used to love will never come back. That's why I'll just enjoy the little gems they throw at us once in a while. Thanks for throwing Otis at us this week. We highly appreciate it.

Show Grade: B

RunDown CutDown

  • Bray Wyatt's gimmick definitely took a hit, as evidenced by this week's Firefly Fun House segment. It was okay, up until he cut a promo the way the old 2014 Bray Wyatt cuts a promo. Where are the wacky and suggestive antics? Where are the charming diatribes with violent undertones? He just talked about how things go around or something. It technically makes sense, but the writing was either uninspired or lazy. The magic is gone, and we all know who took it away. 
  • I'm pretty sure John Morrison pulled off a 450 Elbow Drop right in front of our eyes and people barely noticed. That was freaking awesome!
  • Am I the only one who thinks bear hugs are shitty submission moves? I know it probably hurts in real life, but I've never seen a more convincing bear hug since Chyna ragdolled a woman that one time.

Photos from WWE.com


*****

Ricky Publico (@TeetotaleRicky) is Smark Henry's resident SmackDown reviewer... for better or worse. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He just bought an Android phone and he couldn't be more delighted.

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