Nobody cares. Those two words uttered by men’s Money in the Bank ladder match winner Theory following his match with Madcap Moss sum up WWE’s creative effort on SmackDown over the last few months.
This week’s episode was no exception. Aside from a couple of decent moments, WWE wasted the time of everyone who watched this show. It shows how comfortable WWE has grown with doing the bare minimum and knowing that a sizable enough portion of its audience is fine with that level of effort.
For everyone else, it makes this (or any other WWE show) a chore to get through.
These are three things that went wrong on the July 15 episode of SmackDown.
Austin Theory vs. Madcap Moss ends in a disqualification
Between Theory’s entrance for his match against Madcap Moss and the opening bell, we saw the following: a commercial break, a video package for SummerSlam, another video package recapping the opening segment from Raw, a pre-match interview with Moss (which Paul Heyman interrupted), Moss makes his entrance, another commercial break, and a Maximum Male Models vignette.
In total, WWE made fans wait for about 10 minutes to see a match that the announcers framed as a glimpse into WWE’s future. And how did such a pivotal match — one that WWE, again, made its audience sit through 10 minutes of filler to see — end?
Well, with a disqualification, of course!
The DQ came when Theory scurried to the timekeeper’s area and whacked a pursuing Moss with the Money in the Bank briefcase, in another case of WWE booking an underwhelming finish to “protect” both men from taking a pinfall loss.
As stated in the past, all these finishes actually do is desensitize the audience to your matches, and it doesn’t help when you script one of the wrestlers to get on the microphone and confirm that the match didn’t matter in the macro.
Sadly, this wasn’t the only instance of WWE telling the fans that the matches are pointless…
WWE baits and switches with two matches
By now, we know that WWE loves abusing the “card subject to change” disclaimer, and they put it to use on this episode of SmackDown. The first bait-and-switch came when Lacey Evans decided (in storyline) that she had no interest in potentially padding her record and moving closer to championship contention and walked away from her scheduled match against Aliyah.
After that re-run of a segment, we saw Drew McIntyre…not take on Sheamus for the second consecutive week despite WWE advertising it. Instead, he beat Ridge Holland in about three minutes.
In both cases, WWE will present these matches to the fans (McIntyre vs. Sheamus will likely happen at SummerSlam) but the company could’ve built these stories the same way without getting the paying customers in the arena excited about seeing these matches (as unlikely as it may seem for Evans/Aliyah) and knowing it had no intention of delivering.
Jimmy Uso vs. Angelo Dawkins ends with a “blown call”
To be fair, Angelo Dawkins and Jimmy Uso performed admirably in the show’s main event despite working a derivative match. However, the decision to center the Street Profits’ chase for the tag team championship around blown calls has made their quest less interesting.
Setting aside the silliness of bringing in a less competent ref to avoid more missed calls (though Jeff Jarrett is far from a refereeing novice), it takes the focus away from the wrestlers competing for the championship and puts it on the Hall of Famer who’s making an appearance in his home state.
The match at SummerSlam will be fun either way, even if it isn’t as good as the Usos/Profits Money in the Bank match, but the special ref addition feels unnecessary.