The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 8/22/14: The New American Sweetheart

Move the hell over J-Law, there’s a new American sweetheart in town, and it’s this oddly wet squinty guy.

Pre-show Notes:

Hey folks, be sweethearts (American or otherwise) and share this report! If you don’t JBL will be downright disgusted with you.

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Best: Passing The Shitty Commentary Torch

Tom Phillips joined Cole and JBL for a three-man commentary crew this week, and the strong implication was that Phillips will be replacing Cole on the show sooner rather than later. Phillips’ only major distinguishing feature may be that he’s not Byron Saxton, but he’s still a big step up from Cole, and he seemed to have good rapport with JBL (or at least as good a rapport as it’s possible to have with JBL) so, shockingly, the commentary situation on Smackdown may actually be looking up.

Worst: Randy Orton Saying Words

Hey Randy, what’s up? Just going to methodically list off all your catch phrases and nicknames for a few minutes? Cool, while you do that I’ll be over here doing, uh, important things and stuff.

Oh, and by the way, you may want to stop showing that footage of you putting Roman through a table on Raw on every friggin’ show. He was back and fit as a fiddle by Smackdown. If that’s The Viper at his worst, you need to top up your venom.

Best: Get Well, Then Move to a Different Country

Seth Rollins vs. Jack Swagger was a bit of a style mismatch, but it turned into a solid match by the end. Swagger continues to bring the fun, outta-nowhere ankle locks and Rollins curb-stomping Swagger as he was getting back in the ring, then taking the count-out was one of the rare times a count-out finish didn’t feel like a rip-off.

I mean, in theory count-outs should be considered just as conclusive a finish as a pin, since you basically have to keep your opponent down for a 10-count to get one. If WWE didn’t always treat count-out like shameful non-wins, they’d have an extra arrow in their quiver when it came to booking finishes.

Best: In True Patriotic Fashion…

I’m reserving my full praise until I see where this goes, but it looks like Bo Dallas is doing what his brother Bray should’ve done all along and recruiting followers, which has got me pretty excited. I’m going to need a word better than “Best” if Bo Dallas and Jack Swagger become a full time, inspirational, AMERICAN tandem.

Best: Make It In Season

From Bo Dallas to my other dorky mid-card jam. I’m frankly shocked by the legs Hollywood Miz Mizanin has had. I was sure I’d be tired of this act by week two, but nope, here he is, still ordering lattes and generally being a fantastic douche. Can you imagine what WWE might look like today if Miz had this character back when WWE was actually interested in doing things with him?

One point of confusion though — what’s with the Kane/Miz pseudo-feud? Last week Kane was snarking all over Miz then booked him against Roman Reigns, and he did it again tonight. I mean, you can’t tell me Kane doesn’t like Miz’s Hollywood attitude when Kane been in as many movies as Miz has, and this picture is a thing that exists…

Matinee idols. 

Worst: Russian-Mexican Relations

So, what exactly is the international relationship between Russia and Mexico? No, seriously, I’m curious and — oh, wait, the match is already over.

Well, got some space to fill, so what’s with Sin Cara’s super-high grandpa pants? Did he get a massive Brie Bella crotch tattoo that he’s covering up? Uh, by which I mean a crotch tattoo like Brie Bella’s, not of Brie Bella — although it being of Brie would explain why he’s so concerned about covering it up.

Best: Guess What Happens Now…

For a while it seemed smiling nice guy Mark Henry would be the status quo for the rest of his career, but the man is in full Hall of Pain form again. Dude gets me more hyped with a five-second promo, a walk to the ring and a bit of smack talk than John Cena does with a month’s worth of lengthy diatribes and prop-assisted brawls.

Worst: Chill The Hell Out

Hey Rob, you know what’s a good way to chill the hell out?

Worst: Leisurely Beat Downs

Woof, if there was ever a segment specifically designed to make me glaze over, this was it. First we had to put up with fired up RVD, which translates to “RVD throws sloppier forearms than usual while looking vaguely irritated”.

Eventually the match ended in a double count-out and a very relaxed, casual, lazy summer afternoon beatdown of RVD commenced. At one point Orton literally grabs a chair and…sits on it. For what felt like a solid minute. Finally Orton hits RVD with an RKO on the chair, which should hurt less, right? I guess a chair is a bit harder than the ring surface, but the victim falls a shorter distance and hits with less impact when RKO-ed on a chair. Hopefully Randy doesn’t spend the next month showing replays of this.

Best: Natalya’s Shorts

That’s right, I’m officially raising my voice in support of Natalya’s new shorts and cowboy boots look. I like short legs and I cannot lie, you other brothers, well, you might deny, but screw you.

Best: Hardest Hitting Match on the Show

Maaaan, I wish we could have skipped the duelling skipping distractions for one night and just let Paige and Natalya go at it. What we got was good stuff though — these girls were throwing some nice forearms and knees and that Paige superkick outside the ring was choice. Not to harp on Randy Orton’s laziness, but there was a hell of a lot more fire in this match than in any of his brutal brawling beatdowns tonight.

Then we had to have the distraction finish. At least we didn’t end on a roll-up — Paige got to look competent by surviving a few Natalya attempts to steal the match, then Nattie also got to look competent by making the tough submission specialist tap out. Hopefully this is all leading to a badass, skipping-free triple threat at Night of Champions.

Best: Dust Bros. vs. Wyatts

It kind of goes without saying that the Dusts vs. Wyatts was a good match, but surprisingly Erick Rowan was actually the star of the match. He may still have some distance to go as a single competitor, but Rowan’s pretty much right up there with his partner Harper when it comes to tag matches. And hey, the Rhodes boys won, so apparently WWE has come to their senses and decided to not waste a month of promos and the best new theme music in a decade.

Oh, and after the match this happened…

That’s how you use a chair during a brawl, Randy.

Best: Leisurely Beatdown Interrupted

Sorry, I know I said I’d stop harping on Randy Orton’s boring beatdowns, and from this point on I’m going to stick to that pledge. So, let’s see, what’s up next on the show? Ah, a Miz/Roman Reigns match — this should be a sporting contest!

Annnd it’s over already and Randy Orton and Reigns are brawling. I’m…I’m just going to put my head down on my desk for a second.

Despite my dramatics, this was actually pretty solid. Roman Reigns’ face persona has become distressingly Sheamus-like over the past few weeks, but you know what? As long as he’s barrelling around, jumping, punching and just generally keeping me awake during Randy Orton segments, I’m still pretty much okay with the dude. Be a jerk if you must, just don’t be a boring jerk.

Hey folks, I’m going to be taking a few days off to recharge my blogging powers next week, so no Smackdown or Main Event report from me next week. Feel free to use the comments section to talk about how terribly you’ll miss me.