The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 7/11/14: Hulk Vs. Superman

Things get ugly at the “World’s Greasiest Mullet” World Championships.

Pre-show Notes:

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Best: Lana and Roman Reigns Are In the Same Ring Together

We complain a lot about being fed the same matches over and over, but it’s the opening talky segments that are most thickly crusted in same-oldness. We may have seen Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler literally a thousand times, but I’m pretty sure every show for the past 10-years has kicked off with some combination of Triple H, John Cena and miscellaneous McMahons.

So, even if the promos aren’t exactly great, it’s exciting when you get a different combination of people talking to each other at the top of the show, and sexy Russian mini-skirt enthusiast vs. hulking Samoan prince was definitely a different combination. Also, between Lana and Roman, I’d estimate around 100% of the audience found themselves at least a little aroused by the end of this segment.  

Worst: One Flew Over The Divas Division

Okay guys, AJ did well with the crazy thing, and Alicia Fox managed to successfully carve out her own special brand of mental illness, but not every lady in the WWE has to be insane. It’s partly the announcers’ fault — JBL doesn’t care to remember more than one female character, so as soon as a lady does anything mildly strange, raises her voice or shows any emotion he starts in with the, “She’s a psychologist’s dream, Mahchull” business. This week Cameron joined AJ, Alicia, Paige, Summer Rae, Layla and Emma on the ever expanding list of ladies to be painted with the crazy brush.

The match wasn’t great either — being an adorable miniature person doesn’t lend itself to being a heel, but AJ had successfully managed to transform herself into a deadly Gumby-like submission machine. AJ returning and immediately winning the title back from Paige felt like a step back for the Divas division, and AJ doing the plucky underdog babyface in the ring again feels like a step back for her personally.

This picture makes Summer’s dancing look a lot better than it was. 

Worst: Summer Rae’s Dancing

What in the world is Summer Rae doing out there with Adam Rose? The founder of the BFFs wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out with Rose’s dork patrol.

Summer couldn’t even pull off the Rosebud thing — instead of bopping up and down she just sort of wiggled her butt back and forth in a dispassionate manner. I swear, when she came out my first thought way, “Jeez, Summer is a terrible at this, I hope they never have her dance again” before remembering dancing is all they made her do for almost a year.

Anyways, Fandango was supposed to wrestle Adam Rose, but the girls got into a fight at ringside and Fandango got counted out while trying to separate them. Ugh. Well, at least it didn’t last long, and now we totally won’t be seeing anymore of Summer and Layla on the show, right?

Worst: How Can This Show Get Any Better?

Probably not like this.

Then again, maybe I shouldn’t pre-Worst. Don’t judge an angle by the fact that it’s been consistently terrible for the past two months!

Worst: That Was Only One Fall

So, The Usos wrestled the sure to be legendary tag team of Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil. The most entertaining part of the match was Cole describing Heath and Titus as a unique, different tag team multiple times, then falling all over himself when asked to explain what, precisely was so different about them. I’m still waiting on an explanation! Hmmmm!

Anyways, the match was merely unremarkable — it was after it ended that things went pear-shaped. Suddenly Byron Saxton was in the ring, and The Usos decided to prove definitively that not all Samoans are The Rock. Jimmy didn’t quite seem to know how a 2-out-of-3 falls match works, then he threw it to Jey, who started doing Dave Chappelle white guy voice while the audience literally died of second-hand embarrassment. I don’t know what this was supposed to be, but it almost made me nostalgic for the Wolf of Wall Street chest thumping from a few weeks back.

Worst: Save Yourself, Chris

I think you’re the one that might need saving, Bray. Thankfully I have a few suggestions.

Best: One Hell of an Acceptable Match

Get ready to be blown away by 15-minutes of extremely competent pro-wrestling, guys and girls! This was an old school Randy Orton classic — forget the hard-hitting, ass busting, Daniel Bryan wrestling Randy Orton of earlier this year, this was walk around slowly for 30-seconds, pose, then walk around a bit more between every move Orton.

It may seem like I’m knocking the match, but there’s a certain beauty to a really well put-together, methodical contest between two consummate workers like Orton and Jericho. If you’re looking for a match to illustrate of how safe and easy good wrestling can be, well, here you go.

Best: LayCool Mark II

This did not get off to a promising start. Summer and Layla start off by making out with Fandango instead of bothering with the silly wrestling match they were out there for, then when they tried to wrestle Fandango kept breaking them up, because, I dunno, he’s just a terrible referee I guess. Then this happened…

Followed by this…

How did I not see this coming? Best WWE twist ending in a long time. If it turns out Fandango was dead all along, my mind will officially be blown. LayRae! LaySummer! No, no, SummerLay! No summer’s complete without a SummerLay.

Worst: Starliciadust

Sadly I kind of feel like Stardust is already starting to devolve a bit. First, The Dust Brothers desperately need to wrestling somebody other than Rybaxel — how about first ballot Hall of Fame tandem Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil?

Second, Stardust’s brand of crazy was all wrong on Smackdown. He was dancing around, stealing JBL’s hat and just generally getting Foxy with it.Stardust needs to be dignified David Bowie/Tim Curry crazy.All that said, I do full support Stardust blinding guys with handfuls of star-shaped sequins.

Best: Hey guys, I’m Bo Dallas’ Tag Team Partner!

Wow. Holy shit. Bo vowing he was going to overcome the handicap match ahead of him by being handicapable was the most wonderfully inappropriate, hilarious line to make WWE TV in, I dunno, years? How Bo delivered it with a straight face (or at least his regular Bo face) I don’t know. Hell, if I wrote a joke that good, I’m pretty sure I’d in no shape to deliver it on account of my raging comedy boner.

So, this segment started on a high note, and pretty much held that high note all the way through. Turns out the key to making regular-sized wrestler/little person matches tolerable is to have the little person lose horribly. I probably already knew that deep down, but Bo’s helped me to admit it. Bo nudging Torito with his toe like he was a bunny he played a little too hard with was wonderful, and Bo going all shifty-eyed before hitting unsuspecting victims with the Bo-Dog is my favorite thing in WWE right now.

Best: Rusev vs. Reigns

This match wasn’t quite everything I was hoping it’d be. They didn’t take the time to really milk the crowd reaction at the beginning, and Roman still has some problems keeping his singles matches exciting until he starts handing out the Superman punches and spears. I liked the Big E/Rusev match from Money in the Bank a lot more — that one basically one long flurry from Big E, with Rusev playing the indestructible monster who’s shook when he’s made to feel pain for the first time. This Smackdown match on the other hand was more of a straightforward monster heel vs. face in peril thing, featuring a few too many nerve holds for my tastes.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still enjoyed this match a lot. It was WWE’s two biggest, hardest hitting tanks battering the shit out of each other. If that doesn’t give you the happy wrestling tingles then you’re probably watching this stuff wrong. It helped that Rusev and Reigns are the two most unbeatable guys in WWE — which of these two behemoths will come out on top? I can’t wait for the satisfying, conclusive answer!

Best: The Russian Authority

Dammit. Needless to say, I was fairly revolted when Randy Orton wandered out to screw up Rusev vs. Reigns. What interest does Orton have in a Rusev/Reigns match anyhow? Well, I wouldn’t have to wait long for the answer to that question.

Rusev was about to put Reigns in the Accolade post-match, but Lana called him off, exchanged knowing glances with Orton then let him pick the bones. Holy moley — Rusev and Lana as part of The Authority? Yes please.

One of the best running jokes of The Authority is that they come out and preach order and rectitude, but then surround themselves with the most horrible people possible — bag-pooping rage monster Randy Orton, smirking sleazeball Batista and actual demon from hell Kane. Now they might be aligning themselves with the beefy representative of the world’s #1 villain, Vladimir Putin. All the Bests ever if this somehow leads to photos of Triple H (or Steph for that matter) riding horses shirtless.