Previously on the Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown: Roman Reigns got covered in dog food, Bray Wyatt tried his hand at Photoshop, and Daniel Bryan was inexplicably nowhere to be found.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown for December 13, 2019.
Blurst: The Battle For Brand(on) Supremacy
Greetings, With Spandex! It is I, Scott Heisel, the extraordinary man who writes extra-ordinary things. I’m filling in for Brandon this week. Bad news: Unlike Brandon, I actually enjoyed Smackdown last week. Yes, even the whole dog food thing! And the eyelashes thing too! Let’s see if my unfettered optimism for a program designed to sell me boner pills and stuffed-crust pizza will pay off for two weeks in a row.
Worst: Not With A Bang, But A Whimper
Smackdown opens as it has so many times since moving to Fox, with King Corbin being carried to the ring by a handful of local talent in black polo shirts serving as his security guards, only this time he’s accompanied by Dolph Ziggler in his WWE 2K20 casting couch outfit DLC. Corbs runs his mouth for a good 10 minutes, as he is wont to do, when all of the sudden, the New Day appears. It’s rare when characters in two separate feuds actually interact with one another on main-roster WWE programming, so this felt surprisingly fresh to me — it’s almost like there’s a universe within the WWE that would allow for interesting interactions and sustained character development! Wild.
Anyway, Corbin trash-talks Kofi about his loss to Brock Lesnar — which, correct me if I’m wrong, was the first time it’s actually been addressed on-screen on Smackdown by talent — and the former WWE champion gets all fired up. Kingston slaps the King, the crowd is boiling over, and then… nothing. Corbin powders, the segment ends with the ultimate whimper, and off to an ad break we go. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t mind 20-minute opening promo segments, as long as they actually have an immediate payoff.
We later learn that Kofi/Corbin has been signed for the main event, which is a fresh matchup, though not one I’d ever seek out, but throughout the night, we see Corbin and Ziggler’s bevy of black shirts laid to waste throughout the backstage area. I wonder who could be responsible? (Supplementary Worst to Dolph’s dreadful line read of “What the hell does this mean?” as he stood over a knocked-out black shirt in his dressing room.)
Best: Reinventing The Wheel
When you’re the Longest Running Episodic Show Specifically About Sports Entertainment On Network Television In 2019 or whatever, it can be challenging to find new ways to do anything, which is why I will happily Best Fire And Desire getting the jump on Bliss Cross behind the curtain. I especially enjoyed the live crowd reacting to Sonya Deville and the impossibly tan Mandy Rose running back up the ramp juxtaposed with the smiling faces of Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss, completely unaware they were about to get jumped. It’s the little things, y’know?
The match itself wasn’t much to write home about — it didn’t help that shoddy camerawork prevented the at-home viewing audience from seeing the actual finish of the match until the replay — but it was a women’s tag division match built around two actually established tag teams (one of which has already held the championship). Steps in the right direction!
Best: Hamming It Up
I know it’s been a while since I’ve had a recurring column on With Spandex, but longtime readers may remember my time spent as the author of Best And Worst Of NXT from 2017 to 2018, where I was lucky enough to gush about my precious beef boys Heavy Machinery every week. I feel fully blessed to luck into covering a Smackdown where Otis has thoughtfully prepared a delicious Christmas ham for an ungrateful Sami Zayn. All the Bests forever. (Side note: Putting Otis and Sami side by side makes me feel like I’m eight years old playing Nintendo Ice Hockey, trying to decide if I want the normal-sized guy or the fat guy. Look at that screenshot: They look like funhouse mirror versions of each other!)
The resulting match between Heavy Machinery and Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura is fine but doesn’t really matter, because all anyone will recall from this is just how cold-hearted the Swiss Cyborg truly is:
— WWE (@WWE) December 14, 2019
Simply abominable behavior.
Best: No Fists, Just Flips
The best match of the night in a walk (er, trip) was the Revival vs. Da Ali G Show. It started off a little bit tentative and off-time (that weird Hart Attack spot which was apparently reversed by Shorty G but maybe not didn’t make a whole lot of sense), but it really hit its stride after the commercial break. Mustafa Ali and Shorty G went into high gear, with a bevy of aerial moves, leading to Dash and Dawson adapting on the fly and catching Ali mid-flying crossbody with a Shatter Machine Outta Nowhere™. (I guess all that time hanging out with Randy Orton paid off.)
Worst: The Attitude Error
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) December 14, 2019
Listen up: I’m not a prude, nor do I consider myself someone who is performatively woke. Sex is cool however you like it, as long as it’s between consenting adults. But holy hell was Elias’ song about a potential threesome between himself, Bayley and Sasha Banks complete and utter trash. Seriously, f*ck this segment forever. The less written about it, the better. Its only redeeming quality was it set up a match between Bayley and Dana Brooke, which gave us our first-ever Brooke-tista Bomb:
— WWE (@WWE) December 14, 2019
By the way, TLC is two days away and the Smackdown Women’s Champion is not on the card. Neither is the Intercontinental Champion. Smackdown, the land of opportunity! Are you ready for a good tiiiiime? Then get ready for the catering liiiine!
Best: Building A Miztery
We get a great bit of character work from the Miz via a sitdown interview at his home with Renee Young that results in an unexpected home invasion via nanny cam. (Guess Bray Wyatt’s been reading up on how to hack Amazon Rings.) But before we get to that, we actually get Miz explaining just why he cares about Daniel Bryan’s well-being (they might not be friends, but Miz knows DB’s value to the blue brand, so it would behoove Miz and others to keep him out of the clutches of an unstoppable horror monster), as well as discussing how the Fiend has been responsible for turning his most recent high-profile victims, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins, heel (which is a pretty blatant foreshadowing of what will happen once Bryan eventually reappears).
After Miz and Maryse (and a debuting Monroe Sky) get sufficiently spooked out by Bray’s presence in the nursery, we get a response video via Firefly Funhouse, where we get two crucial bits of information:
1. “Pain is not a real thing.”
2. “Marine 5 was fiiiiiire!”
Miz/Fiend Inferno match for the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble confirmed.
Worst: Smackdown’s Gonna Smackdown
Tonight’s main event of Smackdown featured:
- A singles match that gets thrown out by the referee due to the dreaded too much fighting.
- That same singles match getting turned into a tag team match, playa.
- That tag team match ending in a disqualification of its own.
- That disqualification leading to an exact visual replica of last week’s main event, complete with chains and dog food (also, maybe don’t string a black man up with chains on live TV, but what do I know).
- The show’s main star making a save that involves him single-handedly taking out seven local talents, plus a tag team he’s not feuding with (who are supposed to be good enough to challenge for the tag titles in 48 hours) as well as the two guys he is feuding with, including putting his main enemy’s crony through the announce table. He did all of this before he helped the show’s other main star become unchained, by the way, because why try to even the odds when you’re superpowered?
Amazingly, the crowd is still behind Roman Reigns through all of this, because this is the exact same shit that turned crowds against him (and John Cena) before. Just an all-out garbage half-hour (of a two-hour program!), one that accomplished nothing but reminding everyone just how strong the Big Dog is. In a word: Woof.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
*Miz and Maryse run into the room*
Miz: “what happened?
*Camera slowly pans over to Mizdad sitting in a rocking chair eating his way through a carton of ice cream, no words are spoken*
The Real Birdman
When does a drunk Marjo interrupt this interview?
Baron Von Raschke
In 20 years Monroe Sky is going to be rubbing Birdie Danielson’s nose in the fact that she made her WWE debut first!
Dolph Ziggler looks like he tells women at bars that he is a “producer” and has the perfect part for them if they would just accompany him to his hot tub.
Dolph is like a weekend dad who has been told his visitation hours are up
Does anyone think Roode intentionally flunked the wellness test? Like someone told him “you’re gonna cover Reigns in dog food” and he decided “maybe I should take a month off instead”?
Gable needs to head up a stable – he, Drew Gulak, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, Gran Metalik, and, what the heck, a promoted Angel Garza. Call them the 5G Network.
The Real Birdman
Tough going for those jobbers trying to fight Reigns
haha making songs about how the most notable women on the show wanna sleep with him and calling one a dude
what a good guy
Baron Von Raschke
FOX paid a billion dollars for this.
And that’s it for the go-home episode of Smackdown! We’ll see you Sunday for, according to Michael Cole, CHAIRS, TABLES AND LADDERS!