So where are the high-res screencaps of the Fashion Police's corkboard? There should be some Lost-style analysis going on with that segment!
Amazing how many people weren't on SD!...there isn't enough time nowadays! No Harper (where HAS he been?), ANY of the tag teams, Nakamura, Randy (getting a well-deserved night off after all the Horrors)...
Harper was in the pre-show match against one of the Ascension guys (Connor, I think? Also Viktor is back. Or is it the other way around?) Nakamura and Randy were in the post show dark match in a 6 man tag with AJ Styles against Jinder, Dolph, and Erik Rowan. We didn't get full doesn't-give-a-shit dark match Randy Orton, but Dolph was entertaining as all hell during that match.
They are either really confident in Nakamura, or are worried that people aren't going to like him. Hard for Ziggler to sell the match without him. Maybe they will do a Nakamura comes out for an interview and then gets attacked.
Owens and Jericho was good fun and worth watching. At least Jericho held the title for a day longer than Ryder did last year.
The live crowd was nuts for him, and the ads that ran seemingly every commercial break. There didn't seem to be too many people that bailed on 205LIVE!, probably due to him being in the dark match main. I know my brother-in-law, sister, and their 6 and 2 year old stayed through 205 explicitly for him, despite original intentions of leaving after Smackdown was over.
Someone, I forget who, gave me their "spot" in one of the board fantasy football leagues a couple of years ago. I didn't realize there was as much heat around that impression until last year(?) and completely forgot this was my avatar.
In any situation where they let Nakamura come out and be Nakamura, he appears to almost immediately win over the crowd through his insane charisma. He's also proven that he can go in the ring, having debuted right before last year's WrestleMania and immediately putting on what could have been the company's (singles) match of the year vs. Zayn.
So, yeah, he's got "It" and he can obviously deliver in the ring.
The issue seems to be that they don't know what to do with him as far as presenting him like they present everybody else in the company. They sent him out last week for a terrible segment with Ziggler where, for those who haven't seen it, they had Ziggler spend three or four minutes literally saying "This man, Shinsuke Nakamura, reminds you of Michael Jackson" as if that's all there is to him. It was awful. It made Ziggler look bad. It made Nakamura look bad. It forced Nakamura to cut a return promo that got "WHAT?" chants until he picked up the pace (to be fair, he maybe ought to take out the mouth guard if he's going to be cutting promos).
It was, in short, everything they do wrong, because it instantly suggested that they should not present him like they present everybody else and, furthermore, stop presenting everybody else the same way. We saw them adjust this week with a promo package (which they ran a few times), but that should have been obvious from the get-go. Nakamura can talk, but he shouldn't be doing dopey in-ring promos. Do pacakges for him, do some backstage or sit-down interviews, do things to highlight how awesome this guy is - which basically everybody picks up on as soon as they see him - and trust that he's going to deliver majorly every time he's in the ring that will bring the whole thing together. He's different. He's weird. He's different and weird in a way that has nothing to do with the fact that he's not from "here". These are great things and I want them to capitalize on them.
It does, again, make me wonder why he spent a year (and two WrestleManias) down in NXT if they didn't do anything to help him in-ring (they didn't - again, he debuted in a MOTY candidate) or his promos (they probably did, a bit, but that nobody said "take out the mouthguard?" suggests they didn't) and the only thing they really did was give him (an admittedly five-star, all-time great) theme (though rumor is he was supposed to get "Glorious" and wisely punted to something somehow even better).
But anyway, Nakamura is going to take care of himself, and Nakamura/Cena is out there as a legit dream match now, so I hope they continue looking at different ways of presenting him that maybe get them thinking outside the box for everybody again.
MORE IMPORTANTLY: who the hell were those random people with Dolph watching the Nakamura segment this week?
I think there is a major issue in NXT when it comes to preparing wrestlers on the character side of things. How many people have actually learned how to have any character there? The women's division did pretty well and maybe Neville learned something that he's just now getting to use but a lot of the NXT acts are flops and I think it's because the NXT crowds chant for them and the WWE is like "well, I guess that's it, they found their 'character'" but they haven't actually learned anything. While guys like Nakamura and Balor (who some people aren't sold on at all as a character) will certainly figure it out, I worry that guys like Tye Dillinger and even The Revival might not stick with the casual fans unless they improve as characters.
Meanwhile, there are guys that did figure out a character in NXT (Bo Dallas, Tyler Breeze, etc) who they just kind of give up on after a few appearances).
Speaking of Breeze, loved him and Fandango this week. The Breezango gimmick wasn't working for me but I realize now I just didn't like them being a comedy act that jobbed, if they are a comedy act that is actually a respectable team I don't have a problem with that. Breezango and Jinder getting title shots at the same "PPV" might look like a weak card but now that they have a subscription service and you're not paying a large cost for each PPV I don't mind so much if Smackdown is the show where they give random title shots to lesser guys, especially with Rusev and the New Day still out of action.
Some of it is NXT development, but some of it is how they book them when they get up. American Alpha were badass wrestlers in NXT, but how much have they been given to show that off since moving up? What have we learned about Apollo Crews since he moved up a year ago (nothing besides the poor guy is saddled with Titus now)? Ascension were presented as a joke literally on their first main roster show.
Breezango was gold. They have been for a while, I'm glad they are getting the spotlight at least for now until New Day returns.