Friday’s episode of WWE SmackDown — which took place in Hartford, Conn, which is about a 90-minute drive from where WWE Headquarters is domiciled — gave the company one more chance to excite fans about the prospect of spending three hours of their Sunday watching the 2021 Survivor Series.
The company also spent some time setting up the post-Survivor Series landscape (some would argue that it has done a better job building that up than the upcoming pay-per-view, and I am among those people).
With that comes the expected positives and negatives that WWE is known for, and since we’ve already discussed those positives, it’s time to focus on the low points.
These are two of the things that went wrong on the Nov. 19 episode of SmackDown.
More HEEEEAAAAAT on Naomi
Another week, another match/segment where Naomi (and now Aliyah) get humiliated by heels to “build sympathy” and make fans yearn for the heels’ comeuppance that may or may not come. This week, WWE chose “heel referee who counts fast to screw the babyfaces” as its plot device of choice.
Setting aside that WWE already used that trope with Sonya Deville (showing that they’re running out of ideas for this storyline), WWE is making the same mistakes it always does with these heel authority figure storylines. This heat gathering is doing nothing except frustrating fans who want to see Naomi get a real push and annoying those who think that the Evil GM stuff is beyond played out.
More heel authority figure inconsistencies
Speaking of the corrupt boss trope, this episode of SmackDown also showed how they’re often a mask for lazy, inconsistent storytelling. As a result, you get things like Sonya Deville acting as if she doesn’t know who the ref who administered the fast count on Naomi is or Adam Pearce acting like a babyface on SmackDown after going full-on heel on Raw.
To the first point, yes, the idea was to show Sonya covering her tracks by denying any involvement with the ref, but her operating under the premise that no other evidence of their collusion exists while also choosing to make herself look like she doesn’t know which refs are on the roster doesn’t reflect well on her character.
As for Pearce flip-flopping, it simply proves that WWE is making this up as they go along and are asking him to fill any role they need him to for the moment, regardless of how it affects his effectiveness in the future. It’s stuff like this that makes it so hard to immerse yourself in WWE storylines.