The Best And Worst Of SmackDown 6/25/15: Cincinnati Style Tricks

*Clapclapclap*. No, wait. *Clapclap*…*clap*. No, no, I can get this.

Pre-show Notes:

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Worst: Dedicated To The Courageous Jamie Noble

Hey, everybody. The band is back together! The Authority is united again, so that means the last couple months of Seth Rollins/Kane sniping and Authority dissension meant nothing. I mean, I think we all kind of knew that, and they needed to give Rollins some backup for anyone to buy him against Brock Lesnar, but Rollins and the Authority walking out to kick off SmackDown again immediately let all the air out of my sails.

We then got five minutes of Rollins lavishing praise on his Authority brethren. It was nice that Rollins gave a shout out to courageous warrior Jamie Noble, but I’m done watching Rollins and pals wank around. Yes, at one time I might have considered their self-congratulatory ass-patting sessions some decent heel work, but the point’s been made. I have better things to do with my life than listen to Seth Rollins say nothing for 10 minutes.

Worst: Stone Cold Steve Ryback

Then Ryback came out. Hoo boy. Ryback as a rebellious foil for the Authority will not go well. Ryback is best when he’s his own entity set apart from everybody else. A guy who shows up, marches around with dudes on his shoulders and doesn’t get involved in larger storylines. Ryback vs. Seth Rollins in a verbal showdown doesn’t feel fair. He’s like the local crazy cat lady who’s running for city councilor. He doesn’t belong at the debates, but he’s there all the same, shouting things that don’t make sense and making everybody feel kind of sad and embarrassed.

So, Ryback goes on a rant about the difference between a champion and a sell-out, even though those aren’t mutually exclusive things. He throws shade at Dean Ambrose not having the grip strength to hold onto the title. He calls Rollins a gutless child while bellowing in his airbrushed pajamas. I dunno, it was probably above average by Ryback standards, but that’s no great compliment. After that fiery-ish promo, Kane announces he’ll be wrestling Ryback later (euuuurgh). Then, as the Authority is strolling up the ramp, Rollins tosses out that he’s going to wrestle Dean Ambrose. Was he supposed to announce that in the ring? I wouldn’t blame Rollins if he zoned out and forgot.

Worst: It’s a Superkick Party, Uce!

Probably the most notable thing about this episode of SmackDown was that Jimmy Uso filled in all show long for Byron Saxton. He was okay. My vision for his future as a commentator is Uso hazy.

I don’t want to judge him too harshly on his first night out, but he doesn’t have the cadence down yet. He mumbled, spoke too fast and was hard to understand. Also, I don’t get the “Uce” thing. Jimmy Uso calls everybody Uce, but then everybody also calls him Uce. It’s confusing. He did slip in multiple Superkick Party references, so the Young Bucks should be pleased with his performance, but I’m missing Byron already.

Worst: Hair Pawing

Just when you thought Dolph and Lana’s “relationship” couldn’t get any more bleh, here’s Dolph limply scrounging around in Lana’s bun for a bobby pin for 30-seconds. Lana finally lets her hair down, and I don’t even care because it happened within the Dolph/Lana no-chemistry bubble.

Speaking of bleh, Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus had a match. Okay, it was fine, but I feel like this match has been on every show for the past two months. Halfway through the bout, Rusev comes out to harass Lana again, and you know what? Enough already. Yes, Rusev has been surprisingly effective as the broken man, but this is seriously hurting his character at this point. WWE needs to just take him off TV and bring him back fresh in a few months. Give Lana a chance to develop a character aside from “woman who is no longer Rusev’s girlfriend.”

Surprisingly, Rusev showing up didn’t immediately lead to a distraction finish, but the rest of the match was nothing special. Everything was kind of slow and sloppy, which Dolph badly screwing up his top rope X-factor at one point. Eventually, Sheamus brogue kicked Ziggler off the top for the win. Eh.

Worst: Do You Have A Follow-Up Line?

Okay, Lana doesn’t deserve Rusev. We get it, Summer. Do you have anything else to tell him? Are you waiting for him to ask you out? Rusev’s just barely past communicating via wooden boards; you may have to take the lead with this guy.

Worst: Naomi And Alicia Fox Forget How To Wrestle

Holy crap, what the hell happened here? In terms of sheer quantity of f*ck-ups, this was one of the worst matches I’ve seen in a good long while. I think I need to do a straight-up, old-school recap for this match.

Alicia Fox “hits” a terrible, one-legged dropkick. Naomi follows up with a kick, bad hurricanrana and wonky-looking bodyslam. Fox almost screws up a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and both girls get all tangled as they fall to the outside. Naomi tries to throw Alicia into the ring, but Alicia gets caught up in the ropes. Fox hits a move that makes no sense for the win. Nearly everything about this match looked bad.

As an aside, is Naomi eating Pop Rocks to color-coordinate her tongue with her gear? I’m going to assume her tongue usually isn’t bright green.

If she is, forget everything I just said, all the Bests for Naomi.

Best: Black Guys Clap Like This, But, Like, White Guys Clap Like This

Finally, a ray of sunshine breaks though the gray fog of this boring ass SmackDown! The New Day are giving Mojo Jo Jo a SERMON OF STRENGTH when the Prime Time Players show up to taunt them. This almost causes the New Day to give in to their worst negative instincts (“Titus looks like Donkey from Shrek!”) but then, just in the nick of time, Bo Dallas arrives to save the day!

Teaming Bo with the New Day is the most obvious thing in the world because they basically have the same gimmick, but WWE sometimes (usually) misses the obvious thing. Bo forecasted a 100 percent chance of victory, and yes, when he went to clap along with New Day, he couldn’t keep time because he’s white and has no rhythm.

Hey, sometimes the low-hanging fruit has the most juice.

Worst: Feed Me Bore

I wonder, is there anything that could possibly make Ryback vs. Kane any more boring? Hmmm, maybe the addition of the Big Show? Welp, here he is to attack Ryback before the match!

Big Show beats on Ryback forever with the slowest, weakest-looking stomps possible, then throws Ryback into the ring, because yes, apparently Ryback vs. Kane still has to happen. So, we get a few minutes of plodding Kane/Ryback “action,” which ends in DQ when Big Show runs in. Auuuugh. This of course leads to both Kane and Big Show beating on Ryback. Make… it… stop. This was, without hyperbole, the most boring 10 minutes in the history of the goddamn universe.

Best: All The Fun Guys In One Match

Maybe it’s because I’d just suffered through Ryback vs. Kane, but I had a hell of a lot of fun with this match. Basically, it was seven of the most entertaining guys on the roster (and Sin Cara) getting seven minutes to just mess around. That’s usually a recipe for success.

Kofi slapping Titus in the head only to be annihilated with chops in return. Bo and The New Day recharging their energy bars mid-match with a vigorous clapping session. The New Day and Bo rotating in for stomps on Sin Cara. Kalisto generally being awesome during the hot tag and finishing moments of the match. Titus, Darren and the Lucha Dragons dancing in victory just made me feel happy. I hear tell that’s what supposed to happen when the good guys win. Felt nice for a change.

Worst: Roman Reigns Has Given Up

Well, it looks like Roman Reigns has finally reached the acceptance stage in his mourning for his dearly departed career. Dean Ambrose is all fired up about his old nemesis Bray Wyatt going after his friend, but Roman is all, “Eh, whatever. Don’t hurt him or anything.”

Roman then finds a laser copy printout of his promo pic in his locker, and with a heavy sign of resignation, decides he has to beat up Bray after all. While on his pointless quest, Roman speaks crossly to a WWE backstage employee, and Kane immediately shows up and bans him from the building for mild rudeness. Fist-cocking badass Roman Reigns responds by shrugging and stomping out the nearest exit. Spoiler warning: Roman doesn’t come back before the end of the show. I’m not sure he ever will.

Worst: Sigh. The Numbers Game.

This match kicked off with an extended series of arm-wringers. That’s usually not a good sign. Lazy Dean Ambrose was back in force, and Rollins was in no mood to elevate things, so this was 10 minutes of dirt-basic WWE action. Also, can we stop having every Dean Ambrose match revolve around somebody targeting his leg? Half of Dean’s offense involves him climbing to the top rope or jumping on somebody, so he’s forced to constantly ignore his “injury.” I mean, Ambrose could change up his offense when he’s selling his leg, but that would require, like, effort and stuff, so it’s probably best if he doesn’t sell at all.

Anyways, Ambrose falls victim to THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME, eats a Pedigree and gets pinned. Yup, no Roman to even the odds. Sometimes, it feels like I put more effort into recapping these shows than anybody puts into making them.