SmackDown Aug. 6, 2021: 3 things WWE got wrong

Zelina Vega, WWE (photo courtesy of WWE)
Zelina Vega, WWE (photo courtesy of WWE) /

For close to a year now, SmackDown has garnered plenty of praise from fans and media members for being the more palatable of WWE’s main roster brands.

To be fair, this is true most of the time, even the show isn’t hitting on every match/angle. Much of that that acclaim is thanks to Roman Reigns most weeks — the two-hour runtime helps, too — but other times, it doesn’t take long before the show’s all-too-familiar flaws pop up. This week’s episode of SmackDown falls into the latter category.

So, where did WWE err? Well, there isn’t enough time and energy on this writer’s part to go through everything, so let’s pick out the three missteps that stood out the most.

These are the three things WWE got wrong on the Aug. 6 episode of SmackDown.

The Championship Contender’s matches have come to SmackDown.

Over on Raw, WWE has fallen in love with a new ridiculous gimmick match: the Championship Contender’s match. For those fortunate enough to have better things to do than watch Raw, the conceit of these bouts is as simple as it is dumb: if you pin the champion in a match, then you are next in line for a title shot.

Of course, pinning the champion should make you, ya know, THE CHAMPION, but fans have made this point for years, and all WWE has done in response is hand them the same pile of junk in a shinier trash can.

Unfortunately, this odious match type has floated over to SmackDown, as viewers sat through two of these contests: King Nakamura vs. Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews and Zelina Vega vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair (more on that in a bit). Oh, and in the case of Nakamura vs. Crews, they couldn’t even bother to book a clean finish for the match.

Is it that hard to book number one contender’s matches in WWE? Given how many of these matches WWE has booked recently, the answer is apparently yes.

“Card Subject to Change”

Once the opening segment of the show wrapped up, WWE wasted no time putting up a graphic promoting a SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Bianca Belair and Zelina Vega. However, it took less than an hour for WWE to renege on that match and turn the encounter into a Championship Contender’s match.

So, what happened to force the match change? Well, in-storyline, company officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville told Zelina that they’re the only ones who make title matches (so why did they approve a graphic hyping up a title match?) and that Vega needed to earn a title shot (by beating the champion, which….just look at what was said earlier in the piece).

Outside of canon, it’s likely that someone in WWE remembered that Vega had no wins to her name heading into tonight’s show and realized that giving her a title shot would’ve been silly. This begs the question: No one could’ve figured that out BEFORE someone put the effort into creating that graphic?

Sure, Vega getting a title shot is ridiculous, but there were surely some fans who were excited about the prospect of seeing her wrestle for the SmackDown Women’s Title, and WWE switching it up mid-show sends the message to those fans that even matches that get booked during that episode aren’t worth investing in, due to the risk of it getting changed or pulled off the show.

It’s pure carny behavior that no fan should tolerate.

Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox: terrible babyfaces

Most fans will look past Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox firing a projectile at Baron Corbin’s crotch because Corbin is still a detestable heel (also, it seemed to be implied that it was an accident, as the two were repairing Blackheart’s beloved tank).

However, those folks will have a harder time doing the same for how the ending to Nox’s match against WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Tamina played out. In the closing moments, Tamina appeared set to drive Nox to the mat with a Samoan Drop, but before she could, Blackheart fired one of her Nerf rockets at Tamina’s gut, allowing Nox to roll up the veteran for the 3-count.

A reminder: Blackheart and Nox are supposed to be THE BABYFACES!

This showed why WWE continues to struggle to build up compelling protagonists for their shows. You’d think “don’t have the babyfaces cheat to win” would be a no-brainer guideline for WWE, but evidently not. Seriously, how are you supposed to feel anything other than sympathy for Tamina getting screwed by THE HEROES OF THIS STORY?

Next. WWE SmackDown Results August 6: Finn Balor wins in main event. dark

The announcers will likely play this off as harmless fun by the babyfaces, but these are the little things that have harmful implications for a babyface’s long-term viability.