While Raw has been looking back at previous weeks to book its show, SmackDown Live appears to be reverting back to 1999.
The blue brand has been on a bit of a tear since the most recent Superstar Shakeup but, for one reason or another, has found itself sliding in the ratings. Rumour has it that these numbers just won’t cut it once SmackDown moves to its new home on Fox Sports. So, in an effort to draw more eyeballs to its product, the decision was made to have Shane McMahon win the World Cup at Crown Jewel, continue to inflate his ego and slowly turn him to the dark side.
If the idea of a villainous authority figure sounds familiar, it’s only because they’ve been doing it forever since the beginning of time.
Vince perfected the formula as the chief antagonist to ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and ever since, WWE has been trying to replicate that magic. We’ve seen Triple H, Stephanie, Eric Bischoff, Corporate Kane, Corbin, John Laurinaitis, Coachman, William Regal, Brad Maddox, Vickie Guerrero and countless others all attempt to assume the mantle. While some were more successful than others, none have quite matched the original. And yet, undeterred, we’re still using this tired trope in 2018.
A pretty eventful episode of SmackDown Live kicked off with Paige painstakingly introducing Shane McMahon, making sure to erase any doubt that Shane was indeed “the best in the world”. After an overlong, meandering opening segment, the Commissioner eventually brushed that label aside with all of the McMahon smugness we’ve come to expect. What a heel.
The almost fifty-year-old ‘Prodigal Son’ then proceeded to stumble over his words while trying to fill us in on the central concept of Survivor Series. What an unintelligible heel.
— WWE (@WWE) November 7, 2018
I suppose we’ve hitched our cart to this McMahon wagon though, and I have to admit that I’m somewhat morbidly fascinated in seeing where it takes us. Perhaps Shane can break the curse. Perhaps he’s the one to return us to the promised land! Oh God, what am I saying? It’s Shane McMahon. He’ll be awful, won’t he.
But as mentioned, this was a jam-packed episode of SmackDown Live. And with Survivor Series less than two weeks away, it sort of had to be. What did we enjoy? Which moments let us down? And, most importantly, how did we rate the show overall? Read on to find out how our WrestleTalk writers answered all of those questions.