The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 5/2/14: Painful And Permanent

Lana, initiating painful and permanent responses all day, every day.

Pre-show Notes:

Hey guys, share this report! Those share numbers on the front page validate my existence. They make the semi-delirious late night writing sessions worth it! Here’s the share buttons right here — do it!

– Follow WithLeather on Twitter and like it on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter too! If you like this review, I also write stuff every darn weekday for GammaSquad — we’re under “Geek & Sci-fi” on the navigation bar at the top of this page!

Read on for the Best and Worst of Main Event: Friday Edition, er, I mean Smackdown…

Worst: Why Are You Wasting This Feud?

Why is Sheamus being used to keep Bray Wyatt occupied while he waits for Cena to AA him off a cage through a mountain of barbwire tables or whatever? Sheamus should be Bray’s full-time dance partner. Sheamus is often accused of being a larger, paler John Cena, but the dude doesn’t live in John Cena’s ivory tour bus just yet. Sheamus can actually change. Bray Wyatt’s ominous promos can actually lead to something with Sheamus, who desperately needs a shake-up anyways. Have Sheamus join the Wyatts, drop the Beaker hair and go full-on Viking. Have Rowan be his long lost son, or dad or uh, imperfect clone? Anything! Sheamus needs something to do other than “be the same old Sheamus who now sometimes loses”.

Best: Fast, Clubbery and Out of Control

But hey, even though I thought it was a waste of resources, The Wyatts vs. The Usos & Sheamus was pretty rockin’ wrestling match. These are the six hardest-hitting guys on the roster, most of whom are damn good on their worst day, and this was nowhere near anybody’s worst day. Losing three times in two weeks has put the fear of God into Sheamus and he was busting ass like a 280 pound Dolph Ziggler, the Usos’ title reign is actually turning into a real thing (and one of them gets to go home to Naomi every night) so they were wild Samoan superkicking machines, and The Wyatts were clearly glad to be away from John Cena and his Photoshop Phunnies for a while.

This match was like a sped-up 80s Jackie Chan fight scene — everyone moving just a little faster than seems possible. Real Armor of God s–t. At one point Sheamus takes an over the ropes bump like he’s been ejected from a car windshield then is up 30-seconds later smiling about it. An Uso eats a Michinoku driver straight into Luke Harper’s f–king knee and keeps coming. I’d say this match shortened careers, but I’m pretty sure it’s not an issue since all the guys involved are made of rubber vulcanized by pure manliness.

Best: Everything About This

Okay, I could launch into a whole dissection what makes a stupid WWE comedy segment work or not work, but that would consume precious time that could be spent babbling semi-coherently about all the things I loved about this WeeLC contract signing.

I knew this segment was going to be the right kind of stupid the moment I saw El Torito, the bouncing, groin-butting chimp/bull hybrid, sitting calmly in a giant office chair, just the most polite lil’ WWE contract signing participant ever. Now I want to see Torito just hanging out, peacefully doing other mundane things. Here’s Torito showing the H&R Block guy his airbrushing receipts! Here’s Torito curating his Netflix queue! Olé!

So then Drew McIntyre pulls a list out from under his balls, and holy s–t, how has 3MB never done the Van Halen brown M&Ms ridiculous demands routine before? They probably have, but it wasn’t as funny as this. 3MB’s demands aren’t just stupid, they make no logistical sense. Hornswoggle wants 200 copies of 3MB’s greatest hits playing at the same time while he’s training. That s–t is just straight up unnecessary — 100 copies playing at once would more than suffice. He also wants 10 copies of Rudy. You only need one copy to watch the movie 10 times guys. I suppose it makes sense for a band that’s never recorded a song to not understand physical media.

Annnd then Torito speaks, and he has the most intimidating voice in the company. Oh oh oh, and Hornswoggle’s booster seat, and Torito making a hoofprint and Swoggle struggling to get up on the desk like a puppy on a frozen pond. I reserve the right to continue hating 90% of WWE comedy, but this was magic. Magic.

Best: Getting It Over With Before They Can See Your Bald Spot

If RVD doesn’t get both ankles broken and Cesaro swung into the upper deck in the first 30-seconds of the Extreme Rules elimination match, I riot. Uh, on Twitter.

Actually this Swagger/RVD match was surprisingly okay. Mainly because it was just RVD doing a couple decent moves then decisively winning in 2 or 3 minutes. RVD has needed something like this since coming back, but he’s been doing nothing but long matches, and long matches are no longer his forté. If Rob has to wrestle for more than five minutes he gets all red and sweaty and forlorn looking. Get the poor guy out of the ring before he gets too winded to suck in the gut is what I’m saying.

Best: Lana Gets Political

Far be it from me to critique Lana’s appearance, because damn, but her hair was kind of nuts this week. It was like, a solid doll-hair looking mass that perfectly matched her skin tone. She looked like a Twi’lek. A hot Twi’lek, but still.

A couple months back I questioned WWE waiting until after the Olympics to debut Lana and Rusev, instead of striking while the iron was hot. Heh, ohhh silly me thinking Russia would tire of their cartoonish villainy. This week Lana got all (sort of) topical, referencing the Russian sanctions and suggesting Rusev might beat up Obama if they’re not lifted. At least I think that’s what she said — I’m not much of a foreign affairs wonk, so I kind of zoned out near the end. That said, I hope Lana continues to tackle complex geopolitical affairs via camel clutches, short skirts and CRUSHING.

Oh, and Rusev wrestled R-Truth again, but I won’t sully a perfectly good Lana Best by recapping that nonsense.

Worst: Hell is a Kane Video Package

Speaking of nonsense — Daniel Bryan came out and cut a surrious promo about how he was just like us, which meant he’d do anything to protect his family, and he was sending Kane to hell for touching his wife and no. Just no thanks. It was the wrong promo at the wrong time. Kane emerged from a canvas sphincter on Raw and tried to drag Brie Bella to wrestling hell. I’m not sure what the best way to sell that is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not angry stone-faced sincerity.

Daniel, buddy, Smackdown is Smackdown. It will be just as Smackdown-ey with or without you. Stop cutting promos about your family while looking like the saddest man in the world and just go be with them.

Best: I’m Pretty Sure I’m Going To End Up Liking This Segment More Than The Actual X-Men Movie

Just sayin’ — the fact that X-Men: Days of Future Past has, like, 60 mutants in it doesn’t really make up for the fact that it looks like a superhero movie from 2001. They definitely don’t make up for that thing Bryan Singer allegedly, maybe, probably did in Hawaii. So yeah, at the risk of letting Hollywood down and being labelled a bad nerd, I think I’ll be staying home for this one.

But hey, I don’t need movies for my X-Men fix! Damien Sandow showed up as Magneto for the second show in a row and honestly the guy may as well go with it and just keep dressing as X-Men characters until Marvel notices (which may take a while considering this is Damien Sandow we’re talking about). Sandow continues to be kind of tragically good as footy pyjamas Magneto — the finish of the match was particularly great, with Sandow flipping his cape over his head then somehow getting in perfect position for the zigzag while blinded. Pulling off that level of buffoonery without it looking completely contrived takes some talent.

Worst: Titus O’Neil, Aggressive Loser

Witness the segment where WWE booking completely disappeared up its own ass.

Over the past couple weeks Titus O’Neil has devolved into the least entertaining WWE trope possible — the aggressive guy who beats up on his opponents, but then always loses. It’s a character that makes for dull plodding matches that ultimately achieve nothing because the guy dominating ends up looking like a goon at the end. This Titus/Big E match took unproductiveness to a new heights though.

So, the entire match is a one-sided beatdown, which makes Titus look boring and Big E look like a chump. Then, out of nowhere, Titus gets disqualified for kicking too much ass, making Titus look like a dumbass and Big E look like even more of a chump. Then Big E storms back after the match and destroys Titus, making himself look like a sore loser and Titus look like the chump. Within the span of a single five-minute segment WWE has managed to make Big E and Titus look like useless a-holes three times apiece. That…that’s something.

Best: The US Title is Briefly Important

What the hell? A US Title match in the main event? With fancy ring announcing and everything? Come on, Cena must be coming out any minute to shout his loud funny words. Yup, annny minute now…ba-baba-daaaaaaaah. No?

Hmmm, you know, this may have been the most significant match of Dean Ambrose’s 348-day US Title reign. I guess he had a couple competitive matches with Kofi Kingston early in his run (if you can call a match with Kofi competitive) but since then pretty much every US Title match I recall Ambrose having has ended quickly via some kind of screwjob finish. But this was a full match with a finish and everything, and it was pretty damn good! It was packed with plenty of “guy is knocked outside and disappears into a black hole for five minutes” multi-person match goofiness, but Ambrose and Del Rio are good, Ryback and Axel are getting noticeably better, and the match was fun.

The announcers also started pushing the fact that Ambrose is starting to creep up on Lex Luger’s 523-day US Title reign, so hey, how bout we do a reverse CM Punk? The first year of Ambrose’s reign may be a bit of a wash, but the next half-year be packed with strong challengers and memorable matches (in other words, the opposite of Punk’s 350-days of valiant defences followed by three months of whining about respect and Ryback matches). That or Ambrose can just wrap the title in a towel and leave it in his gym bag and hope WWE forgets it exists for the next 150-days — that’s probably easiest.