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The October 31 broadcast of SmackDown brought little in the way of ghouls, ghosts and haunts but it did put talented midcard athletes in a position to entertain.
Sin Cara, Breezango, The Ascent and Tye Dillinger were spotlighted in a manner that heightened their stars and created genuine intrigue in what they will be doing going forward.
Meanwhile, two of the highest profile Superstars to make the jump from NXT to SmackDown Live emerged as the night’s biggest losers, thanks to questionable booking that has left them underdeveloped and considerably less interesting than they should be.
The show, another significant stop on the road to Survivor Series on November 19, the show not only spotlighted Superstars who will play a key role in that show but will also shape SmackDown going forward.
They are the biggest winners and losers of the Halloween episode of the blue brand.
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The comedic stylings of Breezango and The Ascension added another element Tuesday night as Tye Dillinger joined the tag teams for a funny, entertaining Stranger Things parody.
Dillinger emerged from a tent dressed as the Netflix series’ Eleven, only to reveal that no, he’s a 10 before grabbing Breeze’s Ugos waffles.
The comedic chemistry that exists between all involved, as well as the continued emphasis on the Bludgeon Brothers and their impending debut helped make this week’s vignette one of the best in recent weeks.
After this week, it appears a certainty that Breezango will be the first opposition for The Bludgeon Brothers whenever Luke Harper and Erick Rowan return to television. While there are some who want nothing more than for Fandango and Tyler Breeze to achieve success between the ropes, winning matches and titles, they are a sympathetic duo that will adequately bump around and put the new act over.
That is an important role, especially for two guys who can rebuild their heat instantly with another vignette.
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After defeating Dolph Ziggler in a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls match to earn a spot on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, can anyone explain what the point of Bobby Roode’s months-long rivalry with The Showoff actually was?
What did he get out of it? How did it benefit him?
It did not.
Not only did Roode suffer his first main roster loss to continue a rivalry that effectively ended with his first win over Ziggler, he engaged Dolph in matches that felt like they existed just for the sake of having good matches.
There was no benefit for anyone involved. There was no rhyme or reason for its existence.
Roode beat Ziggler in a series of matches between two guys that WWE Creative did not have anything better for either of them to do.
The lack of development of Roode’s character is also a problem. It follows suit as far as NXT Superstars whose personalities have not been explored as Shinsuke Nakamura has suffered from the same thing.
It is still too early to decide if Roode will suffer the same fate as Nakamura, who has cooled significantly, but his use this early has not been promising.
Even if his ring work has been its typically solid self.
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The masked luchador made his most promising showing of late Tuesday, ramping up the intensity and winning over the fans as he tossed a commentator’s chair at United States champion Baron Corbin.
In the weeks that preceded Tuesday’s show, Sin Cara had defeated Corbin via disqualification and countout, signaling a push as The Lone Wolf’s next challenger may be underway. Those victories, though, are far too fluky to mean anything. Worse yet, they did nothing to erase images of Sin Cara as a jobber.
Tuesday night’s booking is exactly what Sin Cara needs to extinguish the ghosts of years past.
He needs to continue to build momentum by being aggressive, by taking the fight to Corbin and not just dazzling with springboard planchas. The more he sheds the skin of the Sin Cara who was the doormat for the rest of the roster, the sooner he will be accepted as a legitimate star on Tuesday nights.
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Shinsuke Nakamura was the fourth most important Superstar involved in Tuesday night’s main event and that is not ok.
Since when did The Artist become just another guy on the roster?
Perhaps the most disappointing creative effort of 2017 has accompanied Nakamura. Treated like a big deal upon his arrival, it is as if those in charge of writing SmackDown have forgotten Nakamura is so much more than a ring entrance.
Naturally charismatic and with a skill set that appeals to both WWE and non-WWE fans alike, he is ideal for the company’s international expansion plans and a Superstar kids and adults alike can get behind.
The downward spiral into mediocrity is alarming and something WWE Creative must address at some point.