WWE SmackDown Aug. 27, 2021: 3 things that went wrong

WWE, Chad Gable (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
WWE, Chad Gable (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images) /

In general, SmackDown is a mostly easy-to-watch program. However, it is still a WWE main roster show, which means it’s still subject to incorporate the very booking strategies that make Raw such a chore to watch (for those of us who have to watch it).

This past Friday’s edition of the broadcast didn’t stray from this truth. Yes, there were plenty of things to like about what WWE did with the two hours they were given, but the creative team also mixed in some head-scratching nonsense that took away from the enjoyment of the show.

So, where did WWE mess up this week? To answer that, let’s focus on three of the most glaring issues and assess why they didn’t work.

These are the three things WWE got wrong on the Aug. 27 episode of SmackDown.

Playing a picture-in-picture Apollo Crews promo during a match

Friday’s show featured a tag team match pitting The Dirty Dawgs (Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode) against Rick Boogs and Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. The match was fine, though it mostly felt like an inconsequential house show match. Apollo Crews’ mid-match picture-in-picture promo exacerbated those vibes.

There wasn’t anything wrong with Crews’ promo, but pasting it on the screen during a match tells the audience that what they’re watching isn’t important. It seems like a small thing, but it can have long-term effects on how much fans invest in matches, especially if it’s a match that didn’t carry any stakes and served as filler.

Cesaro vs. Chad Gable ends with a disqualification

Speaking of conditioning the audience to not care about matches, Cesaro faced Chad Gable on this week’s SmackDown, and you’ll never guess how it ends. Actually, if you guessed “Otis runs in and attacks Cesaro to disqualify Gable after a few minutes of action”, then that previous sentence doesn’t apply to you, especially given that they scripted the same finish when Cesaro faced Otis a month ago.

I’ve said this time and time again, but it bears repeating: If you don’t want either to lose, then don’t book them in a match together. This is either building to a Cesaro vs. Otis match or Cesaro finding a tag team partner to face the Alpha Academy, but in both cases, WWE is establishing Otis as the big threat that Cesaro has to overcome.

As such, WWE could’ve had Cesaro pin Gable and STILL had Otis attack him after the match. But they’re apparently more interested in “protecting” Gable in the dumbest possible way.

Corey Graves

SmackDown color commentator Pat McAfee missed this week’s show due to him testing positive for COVID-19. To fill the void, WWE turned to Corey Graves and Kevin Owens to join Michael Cole at the announcer’s desk.

For his part, Owens excelled as the babyface color analyst, accompanying his usual snark with some solid insight. Unfortunately, he and Cole had to contend with Graves, who has long since left his peak days in NXT in the rearview mirror and has become the most obnoxious announcer they have.

Sure, McAfee can be a bit much (a lot of fans think he’s great, but it’s likely that they’re overrating him because, unlike every other announcer WWE has, he comes across as an actual human being), but even he understands that the over-the-top heel schtick is played out in 2021.

Plus, he’s at least being himself, unlike Graves and his mid-90s Jerry Lawler (late 90s when Eva Marie or Carmella are on-screen)/Jesse Ventura/Bobby Heenan Eldritch Abomination of a commentary style. Thankfully, Owens didn’t get steamrolled the way Byron Saxton does every Monday night.

At some point, WWE has to learn that having a “voice for the heels” isn’t necessary for good commentary in 2021 and that the First Take-esque banter takes away from the action more than it adds to it.

Next. WWE SmackDown Results August 27: Balor challenges Reigns. dark

If they can’t do that, could they at least limit it to just one main roster show per week?