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WWE SmackDown and the Survivor Series fallacy

SmackDown set up a Survivor Series matchup that is a bit confusing.

On Thursday night, as the electorate made its decision on the next president, Daniel Bryan made a decision on SmackDown that drew questions from the WWE Universe. 

SmackDown primarily revolved around the SmackDown men's team for Survivor Series. Unlike the RAW team, which, while dysfunctional, didn't seem to have any dissenters in their midst, that wasn't the case for Smackdown's team. As AJ Styles tried to rally the whole team to his side (with the exception of Dean Ambrose), Baron Corbin walked off rather than listen to Styles. Later, Corbin refused to take part in a six-man tag, telling Shane McMahon that while he would do Survivor Series as a favor, that was as far as he would go when it comes to being ordered around. Shane acquiesced, instead putting Corbin in a match with Kalisto, which would end when Corbin injured his ankle, and Kalisto further injured it.

Shane, facing a member of his team being unavailable for Survivor Series, left it up to Daniel Bryan to assign the fifth member. And we found out that member at the end of the main event, which was a six-man tag between Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Luke Harper going against Dean Ambrose, Kane, and James Ellsworth. Ellsworth ended up eating the pin, and as the Wyatt Family (and AJ Styles, who was on commentary) surrounded Ellsworth, Shane McMahon raced out to talk them down. As he backed them off, Daniel Bryan came out and announced the fifth member of the team: Shane.

Now, before I get too deep into the reasons why this makes no sense, I'll give the one reason why it does. Right now, the entire RAW vs. SmackDown thing comes down to Daniel Bryan and Shane against Mick Foley and Stephanie. Nobody else has any stakes in the competition. So, by adding Shane to the match, you have someone who actually has a reason to want to win. However, besides that, it's a nonsensical move that exposes a flaw in this year's Survivor Series.

If the goal of the match is to win, then Shane McMahon makes no sense. He hasn't won a match in years, and in his most recent match, he got completely tossed around. Daniel Bryan doubled down on that on Talking Smack, saying that he “wasn't sure” if Shane was in ring shape. That would seem to be an important thing to find out before putting him in a match that you care deeply about. Even if he is in ring shape, there are other way more qualified people there. Just in that ring, Luke Harper would have made more sense as a teammate, as you know he can get along with Bray and Randy. If Daniel Bryan insisted on having someone who would have Dean Ambrose's back, then Kane was in the ring, and he'd be a better partner than Shane. This doesn't even take into account the loser of Dolph Ziggler and Miz's match next week, and both would make more sense.

What this shows though, is that the match really doesn't make that much sense when you really take a close look. As I said before, there are no stakes involved. Baron Corbin not really wanting to be part of the match makes perfect sense. None of these guys should really want to be involved. And if Smackdown is really trying to win, some of their choices make no sense. Baron Corbin didn't make more sense than Ziggler or Miz, and Shane doesn't make more sense than any of them. And when logic starts to fail in the build to a match, the match starts to crumble around it.

Is this going to ruin the match? No. For all we know, Shane might not even make the match, and someone could replace him next week. But it's troubling that they would even put it out there, and at least for now, the match feels like a bit of a mess.


The Rest of Smackdown:

-The “main event” (despite it being in the middle of the show) was Becky Lynch defending her title against Alexa Bliss. The match was very strong, and they did a good job building to it. It even ended in a way to continue the fued, with Alexa Bliss tapping while she had her foot on the rope. It's a valid question to ask why she tapped out if she knew she was in the rope, but beyond that, it's a good finish that will carry the feud until TLC in December.

-Breezango beat The Vaudevillains to become the final team on Smackdown's tag team. They'll clearly be the counter-balance to the Golden Truth (who I expect to get their spot back) onb Team RAW

-Naomi beat Natalya. They keep putting a focus on Naomi, and I really wonder if she's going to be champion sooner rather than later.

-In a backstage segment, it was announced that Miz would face Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental title next week. Also, while the winner of that match faces Sami Zayn for the IC title at Survivor Series, Brian Kendrick will also put up the Cruiserweight title at Survivor Series, against Kalisto. With 205 Live being taped after Smackdown, it's reasonable to think Kalisto can win that belt.


Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at

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