The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 9/24/15: Kane In The Membrane

If only Kane’s storylines were as fascinating as whatever’s going on with his hair.

Pre-show Notes:

Two Kanes makes me sad, so cheer me up by sharing the Smackdown report! Here’s dem buttons…

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Worst: Everything Is Stupid And Terrible

I know some people like this Kane split-personality storyline, because it’s goofy and a rip-off of one of the only good things TNA ever did, but I hate it. I really f*cking hate it. It’s the ultimate idiot plot that requires everybody to be a staggering moron or willfully incompetent for it to work for more than 10 seconds. I’m no TNA aficionado, but my impression was the Abyss/Joseph Park storyline worked because Abyss had been a full-time masked mystery monster before the storyline. The idea that people wouldn’t know/couldn’t prove Joseph Park was Abyss was semi-plausible up to a point. Kane flip-flops personas more often than he changes his faded slacks. Everybody knows it’s the same guy. Stephanie keeps his goddamn mask in her office.

So, if we established on Raw that The Authority knows Kane is f*cking around and aren’t happy about it, why the hell is he out here running Smackdown? Why doesn’t Seth Rollins just tell this illegitimate authority figure to f*ck straight off when he books him in a match with Dean Ambrose? Are we operating under the principle that anybody in a cheap suit can set themselves up with a backstage office and be in charge? The end result of all this is Rollins looks like a powerless chode, The Authority look like they don’t give a sh*t or have no idea what they’re doing (or both) and I feel painfully stupid just having to sit through it.

On top of the dumbness, I despise (yes, DESPISE) movies/TV shows/anything where the protagonist is super obviously right about something but NOBODY BELIEVES THEM. It just stresses me out, man, and makes me instantly sympathetic to whoever’s not being believed, which probably isn’t what WWE wants because Rollins is the bad guy (I guess?). So yeah, bleh. Throw this all in the dumpster and set it on fire with red pyro.

Best: Old Reliable

I’ve said before that Luke Harper is Roman Reigns’ best opponent, and this match as predictably solid stuff. They weren’t given a lot of time, these guys were going for finishers and tossing each other into the barricade within the first 30 seconds of the match, but still, a good, short tussle.

If there’s something in this segment to be sad about, it’s that Luke Harper is now the Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family. The one who eats pins during tag matches and gets dispatched of in under five minutes by babyfaces chasing Bray. Hopefully this doesn’t last long, and Bulgy Pantsman soon assumes his rightful third-in-line position, but for now, we’ll be getting fewer long Luke Harper matches than we should.

Best: Xavier Woods Face

The New Day were, as always, delightful on Smackdown, going for alley-oop dunks on guys backstage and ragging on Booty Ray Dudley, but what I really want to do here is just take a second appreciate Xavier Woods’ beautiful living trollface. Ahhh. Okay, moving on. I guess.

Best: Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!

Maybe it was because they were only miles from the Mexican border, or perhaps The New Day just brought out the best in them, but this was definitely above average by recent Neville/Lucha Dragons standards. Everybody was trucking around hard, Sin Cara was springboarding off everything in sight as he tried to live down the Night of Champions pre-show, and that triple dive by Neville and the Dragons was an undeniable thing of beauty. Then Xavier Woods hit Sin Cara with a random Shining Wizard and won. Did somebody in WWE read David’s thing about finishers? Let’s hope so.

Oh, and then this happened…

Best: Cesaro Cul-de-sac

After being dropped like a bag of doorknobs by the Big Show again on Raw, Cesaro thankfully picked up a win on Smackdown. Against Bo Dallas. In a long, competitive match. Eergh.

Needing seven minutes to take down Bo Dallas doesn’t make Cesaro look terribly impressive, but aw well, what the hell, the match was still pretty fun. There went for a lot of reversals, and at one point Cesaro rolled Bo all over the ring with a wacky, bodyscissors pinning combination thing. Bo got in some solid offense of his own, tripping Cesaro up on the apron, then tying him up in the ring skirt, which was the first time Booker T, a guy who’s worked with Fit Finlay for decades, had ever seen anything like that. This was probably a match better-suited to Main-Event or Superstars where they’re just filling time (even more so than Smackdown) and match length means nothing, but I’m not going to Worst seven minutes of Cesaro and Bo Dallas.

Best: Natalya, Voice Of Reason?

For the most part, I enjoyed the Paige Bomb segment from Raw, but of course, WWE doesn’t have a great history of following up these great, kayfabe-bending promos with anything non-terrible. Thankfully, this follow up wasn’t bad. The Divas Revolution is still a bit of a rat’s nest, but it could be heading somewhere good.

Charlotte hit the ring to drop a few platitudes about how happy she is to be champ, but hey, at least she got to say something non-wooo-related. Paige then came out, tried to make nice for a few seconds, but quickly backslid back into bitterness. I’m not sure if it’s intentional (probably not), but Paige is basically playing the living embodiment of WWE. The company launched the new Divas’ division by having Stephanie McMahon come out and say, “Hey, women’s sports are very popular now, so here’s a bunch of new woman wrestlers. Enjoy,” and they’ve been sullen ever since because the new girls didn’t immediately blossom into Ronda Rousey-esque money machines. Similarly, Paige wants credit for starting the Divas Revolution because she cut a few vague promos about how women’s wrestling in WWE could be better, and thinks she still deserves to be lauded even though she’s provided no guidance or leadership since said revolution kicked off. Both WWE and Paige want to collect their pats on the back without putting in the work.

Surprisingly, Natalya was the one to come out and provide the reasoned, sympathetic voice. Rather than talk about women’s wrestling using airy generalities, Natalya praised individual women like Charlotte, Becky and Paige for being great wrestlers she was proud of and looked up to (the latter was a particularly poignant touch coming from the veteran). That’s what the Divas Revolution should have always been about. “We have this class of women in NXT that are amazing talents, and you should get excited for them all individually and collectively” not, “Boy, people sure are talking about Serena Williams, huh? Women’s wrestling is happening now!” Sure, she weirdly mispronounced chihuahua, but Natalya gets why everybody loves the NXT women’s division. When she’s not playing the crazy cat lady character WWE has passive-aggressively thrust upon her, Natalya is a pretty swell woman. Hopefully they’re actually willing to do something with Paige vs. Natalya, because it could be the Divas Revolution’s first really good personality clash if they do.

Worst: 20-Minutes Of Nothin’

Holy Hannah was this a whole lotta hot horsetrash. This was as boring as a match involving three talented wrestlers (and Ryback) could possibly be. Kevin Owens and Rusev immediately cut off Dolph Ziggler and beat on him, and beat on him and beat on him forever. Dolph didn’t fight back or try to create any drama, he just flopped around and grunted for over 10 minutes. Finally, Ryback got the hot tag and then he immediately got cut off. But wait! Twist! Kevin Owens walked out on Rusev for literally no reason whatsoever (it wasn’t teased, and his team was winning) and so Rusev got pinned like a goob. You owe me 20 minutes of life, WWE.

Best: It’s Prime Time, Boys

The Dudleyz are backstage denigrating Xavier Woods trombone playing skills (unacceptable) when the Prime Time Players resurface to make note of the fact that it’s still prime time, boys. Good to see PTP back, as I feel like they’re really on the cusp of New Day-like greatness themselves. Also great, Bubba indignantly taking off his fake plastic glasses when he yells at somebody. Hooray for the tag division!

Worst: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

This match was acceptable. I don’t think Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose could have a bad match, but clearly neither one of them was feeling it. Lots of chop-jab-chop from Ambrose and generic pin reversals. Can’t blame them for not feeling it, though, because the match was just a set-up for another Kane distraction finish, this time minus the dragging to under-ring hell.

So yes, lights go red, Seth looks terrified, Dean Ambrose sneaks in with the meaningless roll-up victory, then all the turnbuckle cameras explode. Why are you scared of Kane’s entrance, Rollins? Demon Kane and the guy you yell at regularly in The Authority’s office are the same guy. Please tell me you remember this. WHY IS EVERYBODY SO STUPID?