Smackdown’s Extreme Rules Story
Welcome to the Cool Points.
With the next iteration of the WWE Draft literally just around the corner, it would seem that many of the storylines of Friday Night Smackdown could be coming to an end. Normally, a good portion of the roster switches shows during draft week and with Monday Night Raw largely struggling this year, Smackdown will likely lose some of its top talent.
But, first, Extreme Rules is here and, thankfully, it’s not a show loaded with hardcore matches. No overkill on a PPV theme this September! Let’s review the last few weeks of Smackdown and last night’s show, and where things may go from here.
Building Up The Women’s Division: Liv Morgan
The one consistent star in the Smackdown’s Women’s Division this year has been Bianca Belair, who recently won an ESPY for her part in an historical main event title match against Sasha Banks. Banks was scheduled to have a rematch with Belair at SummerSlam, but that didn’t happen for unknown reasons. Becky Lynch took her place and defeated Belair quickly…26 seconds quickly, which has been the premise for a rematch between those two at Extreme Rules.
Outside of these stars and an injured Bayley who isn’t due back until next year, the division needs to start building up other women who can be seen as competent challengers against the top tier. Enter Liz Morgan who has been steadily gathering a following over the past year. So, her match against Carmella, only her second singles PPV match, was an important one for the future of the division, even if it was bounced to the kickoff show.
So good to see Liv get the win over Carmella, who is an excellent foil and very easily draws the boos from the fans. The match got plenty of time, probably more than it would have if it had stayed on the main show. If she can get another match like this under her belt, maybe the Smackdown crew will give her an opportunity to fight one of those top tier stars. Maybe she gets moved to Raw, where matching up against women like Flair, Baszler, and Asuka might make her quite the underdog for fans to cheer.
2 cool points for Liv Morgan who now has 2 PPV singles wins.
Who’s The EST, Really?
Like I said, Bianca Belair has been the favourite this year on Smackdown, but Becky Lynch rightfully complained when she called out fans for not giving her a proper homecoming. After all, Lynch was champion and a huge fan favourite before taking a hiatus from WWE to give birth to a baby girl. The fact that she won the championship back, on her first night back, as quickly as she did, was impressive. But people complained. Belair complained. And Lynch was forced to give Belair her rematch.
Thankfully, the match at Extreme Rules went a lot longer than 26 seconds and was the second-to-last match on the show. Both women were on the top of their game, animosity spilling over between tie-ups and drops to the outside of the ring. Lynch went for the Dis-Arm-Her a number of times, but Belair endured those attempts and was on the precipice of hitting Lynch with a KOD when… lo and behold, Sasha Banks made her return.
Banks caused the match to be thrown out and laid out both Belair and Lynch with Backstabbers. The camera was on Banks as she walked to the back, having successfully stolen the spotlight from Belair and champion Lynch.
If it leads to a triple threat match between them, fantastic, but, again, that draft next week might spoil all of that.
4 cool points for the match of the night and the return of Sasha Banks was a great surprise too.
Acknowledge The Bloodline
A brief note to share that Usos/Street Profits tag match was a good fight for the card tonight. Very competitive match where both teams looked strong. Usos only win after some effective double-teaming keeping the tag gold in the family.
Not likely to see the Bloodline traded, but the Street Profits could end up back on Raw after tonight. Their rivalry on TV took an interesting turn last Friday when Reigns fought Ford in a singles match. Great way to give Ford an opportunity to raise his game, which he did, despite the loss. I’ve read some takes on Ford having the tools to be a singles star in WWE, but the tag team still has legs, let’s keep ‘em going.
Acknowledge Roman Reigns… & Finn Balor?
A few things about the Roman Reigns/Finn Balor feud…
I like Balor. Great talent. Great character. Getting to see a little more of the Prince Devitt side during his latest run in nXt was fresh. But it’s the Demon character that gets the most press. It cuts a pretty striking visual and has been very successful, Balor going 13-1 with it over his 6 years in WWE.
But Roman Reigns and the Bloodline are just on a whole other level right now. We just witnessed him defeat one of the greatest of all-time at SummerSlam in John Cena. Brock Lesnar comes back that night to confront him and, recently, we found out they’ll fight at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia next month. So, Balor becomes the tune-up guy. Automatically. There was literally no chance of him winning tonight’s match.
To make things worse, after fighting a pretty good match, Balor gets the Fiend treatment. The red light was on during the last few minutes and he adopted an almost invincible persona that allowed him to take out the Uso bros. ONLY to be speared into the barricade by Reigns.
Then, after Balor comes back from that and sets up for the Coup de Grace in the ring, the top turnbuckle gives out and that leads directly to his second loss as the Demon. What a “fluke” thing to happen. I mean, it could be explained on Smackdown, and it probably should be.
In fact, Reigns should take credit for it, which would be just the right way to draw more heat to himself. He is evoking such a reaction out of fans, and the right one too. Not just boos for being in the wrong spot or for being pushed too hard, but boos because he is so good at being an asshole.
Acknowledge Roman Reigns, top heel and top dog in Smackdown, dare I say, the WWE today.
3 cool points for a fine main event, until the ending, but the right man won. All’s set for Crown Jewel. Believe that.
Here are a few questions to consider from today’s column:
Were you pleased to see WWE not force a Rollins/Edge rematch tonight? Giving that feud some breathing room between matches makes it more meaningful when they do have that 3rd match that Rollins wants.
Did you like the Reigns/Balor finish or did you find it awkward, cheesy, unenjoyable, etc?
Will WWE try to keep Banks, Lynch and Belair altogether on Smackdown for what would be an epic triple threat, or will the draft separate them?
Please join in the discussion below on those questions or anything else you’d like to share. You can also follow me on Twitter to keep the conversation going there.