Yes, it's happened -- Brandon found a soul foolhardy enough to Best and Worst Smackdown. Hi, I'm Nate! It's going to be a crazy, tag team match filled ride.
So, what's next? Pre-show notes, right?
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Okay, on we go! If the skyyyyy turns blaaaack it don't matter...
Best: Triple H Ring Generals the S--t Out Of Being An Insincere Butthole
Like a lot of you, I've been shocked by how much Triple H hasn't made me want to barf lately -- at least when he's on Raw. Last week on Smackdown the guy was at his smirky worst, casually burying any upper-midcard babyface unfortunate enough to enter his cone of vision.
Thankfully he turned things around this week, giving a virtuoso dickhole performance. He started by assuring us we shouldn't feel bad for Cody Rhodes because by disrespecting Triple H, Cody Rhodes actually disrespected each and ever one of us, because of course Triple H IS the WWE, and none of us have any worth outside of being part of the WWE Universe. He then insisted, in the most gloriously passive-aggressive, management speak saturated way possible, that the wrestlers voice their concerns in an "open forum", because of course Triple H works for them and darnit and there's nothing he wants more than to serve them better.
The open forum was chock full of its own delights, such as Damien Sandow finally being allowed to unclench and take his goodbye dump on Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater's inept, possibly drunken attempt at sucking up and the strange part where Kofi Kingston said words into a microphone and Triple H actually responded.
Hopefully Triple H actually bothering to be good on Smackdown continues to be a thing and the show doesn't become (as it was last week) a place for Triple H to vent his pent up zingers he's not allowed to use on Daniel Bryan anymore.
Best: Guys, I Think Just Enjoyed An RVD vs. Randy Orton Match
On paper, RVD vs. Randy Orton is a match I have no interest in seeing ever -- both guys are video game wrestlers who go through their moves and taunts without a thought to instilling any realism or emotion in their matches. They can both have good matches against a Daniel Bryan or Alberto Del Rio who does work with some degree of passion, but against each other? Get me as far away from that business as possible.
But Corporate Champion Randy Orton isn't Randy Orton. Corporate Champion Randy Orton is a whole separate slot on the character selection screen. The mid-rolling thunder powerslam, grabbing RVD by his sad middle-aged ponytail whenever possible, going through the trouble of herking Van Dam's corpse up for an RKO even though he'd already been killed dead by a DDT from the apron to the floor -- Orton built this match for me one minor dick move at a time.
Worst: Daniel Bryan by the Numbers
While I doubt I'll ever tire of watching Daniel Bryan in the ring, I am getting weary as s--t of the Daniel Bryan promo template. This backstage thing with Renee was as blatant an example of it as I've seen.
As usual as of late, Bryan starts off with petulant sarcasm ("if by ego problem he means wanting to be WWE champion, ah-duh"), moves into a half-hearted attempt to get a YES chant going (complete with piped in YESes) then FINISHES BY GETTING ALL SHOUTY AND FAUX-INTENSE.
Hey, WWE -- you know all those people chanting for Daniel Bryan? Most of them like him because he used to be different. We liked the whole YES thing because Daniel Bryan randomly deciding to shout YES in Kofi Kingston's face for two-minutes straight was unexpected and funny and weird. Stop reducing everything the guy says to three bullet points and maybe he'll create another funny, weird phenomenon for you.
Worst: The Summer of AJ Gets Nashed...by Aksana
So, a couple weeks back AJ unleashed a diatribe on her fellow Divas that was every bit as cutting, truthful and out of left field as CM Punk's original pipe bomb promo. AJ's thing wasn't followed up on in any sort of meaningful way until this show, where amazingly they managed to nuke The Summer of AJ in a single ninety-second backstage segment. The Divas just don't get as much time on the shows as the guys -- gotta be economical about these things.
Much like Punk quickly gave up tearing up the status quo in favor of ice cream bars and the silky interior of Triple H's jacket, AJ's beef with the Total Divas is no longer, "You're useless, embarrassing, husks of women who I must destroy", but rather the WWE standard-issue "I'm jealous of the pretty ladies even though I'm very pretty too". Also, much like Punk was suddenly forced to interact with Kevin f--king Nash with a straight face, AJ is now hanging out with Aksana and a shockingly still employed, pants-wearing Alicia Fox. Without shame. That's it, next year when, I dunno, Corey Graves saunters out in his skinny jeans to drop a pipe bomb, I refuse to get excited (for a variety of reasons).
Worst: Dolph Ziggler Fails Again
Dolph loses again on Smackdown. Via distraction no less! Crazy, I know. Dolph Ziggler has pretty much reached his lowest ebb. His friends are long gone (even Kaitlyn's had enough of him) and watching the guy gyrate and holler his OH YEAHs and I'M THAT DAMN GREATs as he makes his way to the ring to lose to Ryback in three minutes (again) just kind of makes me cringe at this point. You've got nothing to show off about when you're the regular job guy for Ryback, the worst underachiever in WWE. Ziggler really should have dropped the show off crap when he turned face anyway -- it's corny and if a good guy is going spend all his time screaming about how he's the best dude on the show, he should probably back it up occassionally. Or at least not lose to Ryback every week.
At this point I think it'd be best if Dolph took a few months off, ditched the sparkly briefs, dropped any moves lifted from Billy Gunn (which is to say, all of them) and then came back and just beat guys with wrestling. You know, just Christian-it-up for a while, and then after a year or two of being actually good, maybe try the show off thing again. Just a thought.
Best/Worst: I've Turned The Corner On Curtis Axel, But This Match Is Garbage
I've always been a fan of minibosses. Henchmen. The Beastly and/or Shreekies of the world. The bumbling second-tier villain the main villain keeps around for no other reason than the hero needs somebody they can easily trounce while looking cool. What I'm saying is Curtis Axel is shaping up to be a fine Beastly.
More to the point, Curtis Axel is the truest personification of a "Heyman guy" we've seen since that became an approved WWE term. There have been a lot of Heyman guys, and most of them weren't CM Punk. They certainly weren't Brock Lesnar. They were guys without a trace of "it" who nevertheless made something of themselves because Heyman moved heaven and earth to convince them they did have "it". Axel is doing a great job playing that Heyman guy. Or maybe he just is that guy. I just know I'm starting to like his Bebop and Rocksteady ass.
That said, phew, his match against Kofi was rather poor. Obviously it was boring as hell, but it was made even more sad when the Minnesota crowd, gripped by some form of temporary insanity, started loudly cheering for Axel. A competent wrestler would have done something, anything with this unexpected crowd response. Remember a few months back when Wade Barrett, the saddest man in WWE, got a few "Barrett" chants in England and was suddenly the happiest, most swaggery guy in the world? And how fun that made his random match? Yeah, well, none of that for Axel! He just kept stomping around the ring ignoring what was going on around him, slapping on chinlocks and hitting blandly competent dropkicks. The fans start passionately cheering for the perfectplex and he doesn't even tease it. Sigh.
Worst: Renee Isn't Allowed To Interview Heyman Anymore
You know, just for the record, I was infatuated with Renee Young back when she was still French Canadian, dressed exclusively in 80s cartoon t-shirts and had to sit on a couch when reading sports scores because she was too physically awkward to read them while standing. I've got dibs Stroud.
So anyways, Renee isn't allowed to interview Paul Heyman anymore. Their backstage segments ("Say something stupid" excluded obviously) are always kind of weird and gross. They act too familiar with each other and Paul gets in too close and Renee always looks uncomfortable, which makes Paul come off even creepier which just makes everything worse. So yeah, no more. Renee can only interview pleasant people who don't sweat when they talk and they can just stick a microphone in a potted plant or something to interview Paul.
Worst: No Woman of John Cena's Is Going To Degrade Herself In No Damn Wrestling Ring!
So, what's with 90-pound Brie being the only Bella allowed to wrestle anymore? I'm sure Nikki's no better, but getting her in there occasionally might provide some respite from Brie putting girls in rear chin and arm locks while yelling ASK HER REF, which seems to be all she's capable of doing. Also, Naomi's wrestling bottoms look like a gold diaper. Thought that needed to be mentioned.
Best: Swiss Death Finally Lives Up To Its Name
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten I'm also supposed to include Bests in these Best and Worst recaps. Here's one right now! The Real Americans and the Usos had their usual fun tag match, which ended in the best possible way -- with Cesaro's Swiss death, the best looking move in WWE, actually causing some death for realsies for once. Or a pinfall at least. Either way is good with me.
Worst: Sorry, You're Not High Enough On The Card to Merit Big Show's Big Tears
Okay, so backstage disingenuous heel Triple H books Big Show in a match with 3MB to "blow off some steam", so what does the guy who spent three hours openly weeping on Raw because Triple H made him punch Daniel Bryan do? Well, he goes out and brutally pummels three guys he basically has zero history with (unlike Bryan who dealt him the most embarrassing loss of his career and acted like a jerk toward him all Monday). Listen Show, jobbers feel pain just like Daniel Bryan and the rest of us. Well, maybe not Heath Slater, since he's just a slab of meat engineered for taking punishment, but I'm sure Jinder Mahal didn't appreciate his treatment.
Best: They Let Daniel Bryan Wrestle
Man, if feels like forever since they actually let Daniel Bryan wrestle a match, doesn't it? A whole match with a finish and everything! Bryan vs. Seth Rollins didn't last long, but it was a lot of fun with Rollins hurling himself onto the top of his head as often as possible and Bryan firing up, overcoming the odds and succeeding at something for the first time a while. Awesome! Great way to end the show! And then...
Worst: Daniel Bryan Fails Again
...out comes Randy Orton with the sneak attack, so yet another show can end with Daniel Bryan splayed on his back.
Listen WWE, if you want to do a Stone Cold vs. Corporate Jerks thing with Daniel Bryan maybe you should go back and examine why that storyline worked. It wasn't because Stone Cold finally overcame the bad guys after being beaten and humiliated show after show. Stone Cold was dousing Vince McMahon in beer or making him piss his pants ever other week. People liked him precisely because he always beat the corporate jerks. If most people wanted to watch someone get s--t upon constantly by their boss, they could set up a camera in their own cubicle. So yeah, we get it -- Randy Orton and Triple H are super tough and bad. Now how about we let Bryan win a few?
That's it for this week! Thanks for reading, and tell me what you thought of this first shot at a Smackdown B&W in the comments!