SmackDown: 3 things that went wrong on the Nov. 26 episode

WWE, Charlotte Flair (Photo by Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images for SXSW)
WWE, Charlotte Flair (Photo by Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images for SXSW) /

Watching any WWE show that takes place around a holiday is always a shaky proposition. The post-Thanksgiving episode of SmackDown — which emanated from Greensboro, N.C. — gave fans no reason to believe otherwise.

Yes, there were a couple of good takeaways from this show (one of which WWE nullified in the main event), but the rest of the broadcast illustrated why WWE struggles to create compelling storylines for the few stars they push. So, let’s talk about those negatives.

These are the top three things that went wrong on the Nov. 26 episode of SmackDown.

The Black Friday Battle Royal

At the start of the show, WWE announced that a battle royal would determine who WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns would defend his title against next. Now, booking a battle royal is far from the worst way to pick a new number one contender — it’s certainly better than giving someone a title shot for finding an egg — but WWE made multiple decisions that chipped away at the match’s importance.

Let’s start with the most glaring: Leaving Drew McIntyre out of the match. Look, we know that WWE likely omitted McIntyre from the match to save his inevitable showdown with Reigns for a later date, but leaving a former WWE Champion — who’s also been on a winning streak since coming over from Raw in October — out of a top contender’s match makes the whole thing seem farcical.

Then, there’s the finish of Sami Zayn sneaking back in to eliminate Jeff Hardy after spending most of the match outside of the ring. Now, everyone knows how great Zayn is, and yes, having him win this way fits his current character, but having someone become the number one contender after not participating in 95 percent of the match tarnishes the idea of how difficult it should be to earn a world title match.

Plus, having Hardy lose is another example of WWE booking a wrestler to lose in their hometown (or home state) in order to put heat on a heel.

Of course, WWE rendered all of this pointless by announcing Brock Lesar’s return for next week’s show right after the match, letting us all know to expect either a squash of Zayn by Reigns before Lesnar comes out for a confrontation or a Lesnar interruption before the match begins, giving Zayn something else to gripe about.

Charlotte Flair throws a pie in Toni Storm’s face…twice

Prior to this program with SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, WWE had made little effort to build Toni Storm into a credible contender to “The Queen’s” championship. As a result, Flair saying that Storm hasn’t earned a title shot comes across as an accurate assessment as opposed to the textbook “heel is ducking a challenger” trope.

Knowing this, WWE’s primary focus here should be to present Storm — a tremendous worker who proved she can step into a lead babyface role in NXT UK — as a legitimate threat to Flair’s title. That’s what any promotion with sense would do.

Instead, WWE had Flair throw two pies in Storm’s face while Storm just stood at ringside pouting. You know, because Flair just HAD to get her heat back after losing (via a rope-assisted rollup to protect her) to Becky Lynch at Survivor Series.

Listen, everyone understands not wanting to make your world champions look weak, but one would think that Flair’s character has been protected enough for it to withstand a narrow loss to another world champion and a single beatdown from the supposed top contender. If not…well, that kind of tells you everything you need to know about WWE’s booking, doesn’t it?

Rick Boogs looks like an idiot on his way to defeat

It’s bad enough that WWE has moved Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura to the background in order to push Rick Boogs, but even in the process of doing that, the promotion still makes the same mistakes it does with most of its babyfaces.

Toward the end of Boogs’ match with Angel, Nakamura put Humberto through a table, and the extracurricular activities distracted Boogs long enough for Angel to hit the Wing Clipper and pin him.

Let me repeat: the babyface lost a match because he was too distracted by his partner making it easier for him to win the match.

Next. WWE returns to Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns because they don’t have other options. dark

The idea was likely to “protect” Boogs in defeat, but as has been mentioned before in these pieces, it was far more successful in making Boogs look like a dolt; who would want to support a protagonist whose attention can be diverted so easily.