Previously on the Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown: Otis got his heart broken on Valentine’s Day when he jumped to a bunch of conclusions without actually talking to anyone or figuring out what’s going on. Plus, Hulk Hogan! … hooray.
One more thing: Hit those share buttons! Spread the word about the column on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you use. Be sure to leave us a comment in our comment section below as well. I know we always ask this, and that this part is copy and pasted in every week, but we appreciate it every week.
Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown for February 21, 2020.
Worst: Dolph Ziggler, Douchebag Detective
If Dolph Ziggler is trying to look as ridiculous as possible so we’ll boo him, he really reached the mountaintop with that … what is that, a leather Michael Jackson fedora? He looks like Indiana Jones is searching for lost treasure in a Fire Island biker bar. You know things are bad when you’re huddling up with two guys in rhinestoned-out trench coats and a burnt-sienna stepdad in a sparkling bathrobe and you’re the one who needs a makeover.
This scene is from this week’s promo parade, which goes through the motions to get us to an eight-man tag team opener. Animosity between the New Day and the Usos is always appreciated, but the highlight is John Morrison leaving the heel huddle with, “I always wanted to Shield up!” But honestly, adding Ziggler and Bob Roode to your squad is a downgrade from Worldwide Underground, right?
Best: A Pile Of Tag Teams
The eight-man plays out like a perfectly fine and fun house show match, which is about as good as we’re going to get in the ring on Smackdown these days. Everyone plays their roles well, the second half heats up when everyone starts rushing in to hit signature moves, and the good guys win. If The Miz and John Morrison weren’t already a lock to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship at Super Showdown, they’ve gotta be now after being on the losing end of a finish they weren’t involved with where Robert Roode got pinned off a transitional move.
As a quick side note, the best moment of the whole show is actually this backstage WWE.com Exclusive (posted to YouTube, which is not WWE.com) where New Day clowns on Kayla Braxton for botching the end of their interview and pivoting to Big E screaming into the mic about how there’s power in his massive left pec.
Encyclopedia Tucker And The Case Of The Misleading Text
Three weeks ago, Mandy Rose agreed to go on a Valentine’s Day date with Otis (née Dozovic). On last week’s show, Otis got a text message saying Mandy was running late, so he took his time getting to the restaurant. When he got there, he saw that Mandy was already sitting with Dolph Ziggler, a man who considers romance a real cake walk. Otis got his heart broken, but what we saw that Otis didn’t see is that Mandy was clearly waiting for him, and that Ziggler had swooped in to take his spot when Mandy thought Otis wasn’t coming.
This week, Good Friend Tucker (née Knight) confronts Mandy about the incident, and we find out through extremely subtle context clues and symbolism that she wasn’t the one who sent the “running late” text. So somebody else in this equation is trying to sabotage Mandy and Otis’ star-crossed love, and the top suspects are as follows:
- Dolph Ziggler, because he’s an impossible piece of shit who thinks Mandy should date him because has abs and a neck and dresses up in cool pleather gumshoe hats
- Sonya Deville, Mandy’s long-suffering tag team partner who is clearly in love with her
- Tucky himself, who is always super weird about everything, pulling a Big Cass “blame everyone else because you’re secretly the culprit” gambit
- Triple H, who sent Tucker a text reading, “Hey, big man, could you do me a favor? No matter what happens on Otis’ Valentine’s Day date, stick the winner for me.”
Meanwhile, Otis is handling the miscommunication well, and definitely isn’t going to kill anyone.
The Bella Twins Are Going Into The WWE Hall Of Fame
There’s been a lot of whimpering and anti-whimpering explanations about this on social media, so I’ll keep it short. Yes, Brie Bella is about as bad at pro wrestling as a person considered “legendary” can be, and yes, I think insisting that the Bella Twins are responsible for the popularity of WWE because they were on a reality show created by WWE is a bit like saying Thomas Kincaid is responsible for the popularity of art because they sold a bunch of his paintings at the mall, but you’ve got to stop thinking the WWE Hall of Fame is real and means anything.
It’s not even a physical place. It’s just a big, invisible “thank you” card WWE gives people they like so they can feel good about their careers and so WWE can pack another building on a different night of WrestleMania week. Let the Bella Twins and Bella Twins fans feel good about the Bella Twins. Torrie Wilson’s in the Hall of Fame, and Nikki Bella might as well be Ric Flair compared to Torrie Wilson. Not to mention it’s ostensibly a professional wrestling Hall of Fame that doesn’t have Owen Hart in it, but inducted Drew Carey, Donald Trump, and Kid Rock. And Brutus Beefcake, who might be a worse wrestler than Drew Carey, Donald Trump, or Kid Rock. At this point you should be madder about Limp Bizkit not being in the Hall of Fame than the Bella Twins being in it.
Remember That ‘Elimination Chamber’ Is Another Way To Say Toilet
If you’d like something that actually affects the show to be mad about, be mad that Smackdown is apparently responsible for both Elimination Chamber matches at this year’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
We find out about the first during Renee Young’s sit-down intensive with Lacey Evans, who pronounces “especially” as “eck-specially” and tries to say “nasty” is a term of endearment in the south. Trust me, no affluent “southern belle” has ever called someone nasty and meant it with affection. I appreciate them finally having Lacey cop to going from bully to CONSERVATIVE MOTHER OF HONOR in a heartbeat, but this probably would’ve played a lot better three months ago before they did a 10-minute pay-per-view match about it. It’s something, though.
We find out about the second during this Sheamus promo, where he basically calls Apollo Crews and Shorty G ring rats (okay) and more accurately refers to the Elimination Chamber as the, “biggest rat trap of all.” It’s got more a roach motel aesthetic, but whatever. I still think it’d be funny as hell if Super Showdown turns everything in WWE upside down, and we end up with the dual WrestleMania main events of Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre, and Bill Goldberg vs. Sheamus. It’d be like one of those improvised travel problem episodes of Smackdown, but eight hours long.
Roman Reigns Has Never Defeated King Corbin In A One-On-One Match, Except For That Time On Pay-Per-View Less Than A Month Ago
Maybe he’s a “delusional heel” who’s just lying, but man, how sad it is that WWE writing and their ongoing mangling of history has been so bad for like a decade that you can’t tell when they’re having a character lie on purpose? There’s an equal chance they just forgot about the Royal Rumble already. And it’s pretty hard to give the show the benefit of the doubt when they’re giving us the hard sell for another Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin match, brought to us by Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.
Speaking of MaKiNg HiStOrY
Naomi defeated Carmella to earn a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia, putting her in only the second women’s match in the nation’s history and making her and Bayley the first female wrestlers of color to compete there. Just like the first women’s match in Saudi Arabia it’s kinda cool and possibly (?) an inclusive step in the right direction, but also there’s so much baggage and so much going on behind the scenes that’s so far above any of the wrestlers’ pay-grades that it’s hard to approach it with anything but a smile through gritted teeth. I mostly just hope it goes well, and that everybody gets home okay this time.
The biggest bummer of the night is that this match was as bad as it was. I really wanted these two to get an opportunity to shine as I generally like them both a lot, but man was it rough. One of our open discussion comments said they were wrestling it like they wanted Vince McMahon to interrupt and tell them neither was good enough to go to Super Showdown. Sure hoping this was just an off night, and that they don’t have negative chemistry with each other.
Best: Drew Gulak, Mastermind
Drew Gulak devolving back into his jokey PowerPoint presenter gimmick after turning into the most bad-ass Cruiserweight Champion 205 Live ever had for a year was and is depressing, but I like where I think they’re going with him. You know Daniel Bryan’s the kind of guy who wants to wrestle Drew Gulak all the time and make him a star, so having Gulak be this really smart, pragmatic guy who can notice patterns and trends and exploit them is GREAT. I liked him pointing out that Heath Slater could avoid Bryan’s moves by listening to the crowd, because Bryan always sets up his signatures the same way, and then Slater actually countering the first running knee into a close near-fall. Bryan had to follow up with a second running knee WITHOUT the theatrics to get the win. Give me Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak written like the Batman vs. Mr. Freeze fight from Arkham City IMMEDIATELY.
I Haven’t Seen A Symphony Of Destruction On A Wrestling Show This Good Since Megadeth Guest-Starred On WCW Monday Nitro
If you’d like a GIF to illustrate Shinsuke Nakamura’s WWE career, here’s one of him sprinting into a gong.
The “Symphony of Destruction” match — basically a hardcore match with a bunch of musical instruments around the ring — was a lot of fun if you aren’t put into a consistent existential dread by how WWE thinks the team of Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and Shinsuke goddamn Nakamura should be used. I feel like you could get the Singh Brothers and Jinder Mahal out here and it’d be the same thing, right? Like, they’re not really adding anything to the match the Lucha House Party couldn’t achieve. But here we are with another week of Smackdown’s heel Losers Club getting emasculated and having the shit beaten out of them on the regular, this time with a drum around the ankles and a powerslam onto a piano. I guess we’re gonna have to just completely give up hope and just accept that some of the best wrestlers of a generation have settled into being embarrassed in Fox and WWE’s collective understanding of how a wrestling show should work. At least they’re getting paid to travel the world and badly participate in the thing they love.
Here’s that Megadeth appearance, by the way.
Bill Of No Sale
Here’s Bill Goldberg’s first physical interaction with The Fiend, which might feel like a main event program in a world where time travel exists and Goldberg wasn’t an exasperated 53-year old man who might accidentally kill himself and his opponent in the ring. As is, it feels like Cotton Hill’s out here challenging Bobby to a Universal Championship match at Super Showdown. If you like Goldberg, this was about as good as a segment built around Goldberg talking can be. Why do they always have him talk so much? Do you guys even know why people liked Goldberg? It wasn’t because of his rapier wit.
Goldberg vs. The Fiend in Saudi Arabia might earn the Nobel Prize in the field of No-Selling.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Dave M J
+1 to Goldberg for actually watching wrestling before and knowing when the lights go out and come back on, the person you’re feuding with is right behind you.
There, I’ve got my Goldberg compliment quota out of the way.
Well I genuinely believe that Goldberg (the character) is too dumb for mind games to work on him
On the next “Table for 3”
KO: “…so I walked to the back after wrestling Jericho and I asked Vince if the match was good and he said NO and…”
Naomi: “Not to interrupt but the same thing happened after my match with Carmella before Super Showdown, well, he said ‘NO idea, I don’t watch you broads…”
Corbin: “Would either of you like to hear our desserts?”
I work at a Fox affiliate TV station, so on Fridays I get to try to explain this to my coworkers.
Me – Guys, trust me, its not normally this bad, the other shows and the PPVs are usually pretty good
My coworkers – You’ve been saying that every Friday since October!
I imagine if Naomi and Asuka did simultaneous butt attacks on each other, it’d be like the Monday Night Football intro when the helmets explode when colliding.
I wish WWE would give up on the “Wednesday Night War” with AEW and jettison Smack Down to Wednesday. Friday night NXT would rule.
Killing me softly with his gong
Firefly Fun House will feature a musical number that explains how you can give yourself a concussion. It’s called “I’m Just a Bill Goldberg.”
So you could say Lacey Evans is reclaiming the n-word
Goldberg: I’m not afraid of you!
Wyatt: Let me introduce you to the newest members of the Firefly Funhouse: The Outsiders!
Goldberg: Wait hang on
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Smackdown, as we’re finally done promoting Super Showdown and can move on to a week of Elimination Chamber promotion featuring Lacey Evans and Sheamus. Things are.
As always, thanks for getting through this with us and checking out the column. We appreciate you, as well as your comments in our comments section below, and your social media shares. Join us next week for the fallout from Super Showdown, which we hope is another “whoops, nobody’s here” episode where NXT has to step in and make it watchable. I don’t wish travel difficulties on anybody, I want them to get home safely and just forget what day it is. See you then!