Last week’s SmackDown Live served to rile me up a bit about the feuds that went on too long. The seemingly never-ending rivalries between the likes of Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin, and Becky Lynch and Lacey Evans. On that occasion, I drew a distinction between those types of unnecessarily long programs that should have ended far earlier and the inexplicably abandoned storylines, which were never given a chance to develop. That latter gripe would be addressed at another time.
This is that time.
The topic generally is too broad to discuss in a few introductory paragraphs to this week’s SmackDown review. Remember, for example, when Alexa Bliss was being groomed to become Raw GM? The fallout from the blue brand getting trounced at Survivor Series? Lucha House Rules?
While many of those suddenly abandoned storylines are remnants of a time before the “New Era”, it seems that WWE’s bad habits have found their way to 2019.
NEXT WEEK, The #KabukiWarriors @WWEAsuka & @KairiSaneWWE will face The #IIconics in Tokyo! If The #KabukiWarriors win, they get to challenge @PeytonRoyceWWE & @BillieKayWWE for the @WWE Women's #TagTeamTitles! #SDLive @RealPaigeWWE pic.twitter.com/tIt9ob98EO
— WWE (@WWE) June 19, 2019
One of the biggest talking points coming out of last week’s edition of SmackDown was the identity of the person at Aleister Black’s door. Who was brave enough to challenge the man brooding in the arena’s storage cupboard? Well, it turns out nobody. Now, you may argue that isn’t really an aborted plot line, as it’s almost certain to pay off at Extreme Rules. And there is some validity in that line of reasoning. But it’s another instance of a deferred payoff, when one had been promised for last night’s show. Much like Brock Lesnar’s promised cash-in, it was a moment designed to disappoint fans.
Along similar lines, just two weeks ago, WWE announced that the Kabuki Warriors would be facing the IIconics during the company’s tour of Japan. Should Asuka and Kairi Sane win that match, then the pair would get a shot at the Aussie duo’s tag team championships. Well, the Kabuki Warriors did win. But you wouldn’t know that because it wasn’t addressed at all last night. In fact, Asuka and Sane haven’t even featured on TV in weeks.
These sorts of unfulfilled promises really detract from the product as a whole. WWE is asking fans to invest into storylines, people and feuds that may never reach a natural conclusion. Eventually your audience will be burned so often that they’ll just become cauterised to the product entirely. And apathy is not conducive to a successful TV show.
Thankfully then, SmackDown this week offered plenty of other talking points. To deal with those (and any other lingering complaints), let’s get to the review.