Previously on the Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown: I got a week off, and the angels did sing. Also, Otis got a ham for Christmas and was made to feel bad about it. AS HE SHOULD.
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 December 20, 2019.
Best, Mostly: The It Couple
This week’s show starts off with a very good Daniel Bryan promo about the “Daniel Bryan brand” taking over his life, his daughter crying when she saw him because she’d never seen him without the Jim Henson aesthetic, and how looking in the mirror at his actual face reminds him to stay hungry, because he wasn’t always a top guy. He used to be held down at the very bottom of the company — an 0-10 record and an early elimination while The Miz runs him down on the embarrassing-ass game show version of NXT — and had to work, scratch, and claw for everything he got. That got him to the top once, and it can get him to the top again. Really good stuff.
There are, of course, a few negatives:
- The explanation for “where did Daniel Bryan go when The Fiend ripped out ‘his entire hair'” was, “I don’t know, either!” You know you’ve written a lazy story when even the people acting it out can’t follow it. Especially when it involves something as simple as, “dude got a haircut.” Did your story need supernatural mystery if you didn’t use it for anything?
- It’s a promo parade to set up a tag team main event, which you’ve seen on approximately 999 of the show’s 1,060 episodes. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Smackdown gotta do a bunch of interruptions so people can have a tag team match an hour and 20 minutes later.
- They really don’t care about keeping the characters and their motivations consistent, or having the characters remember anything that’s ever happened to them. That’s the KEY to Daniel Bryan vs. Miz, so it’s a shame to see it reduced to Miz saying, “he got my FAMILY involved, now I want the UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP,” and being interrupted by someone else who’s like, “no, it is I who wants the Universal Championship!” Real lazy. Also, when Miz showed up lecturing Bryan about how he has no idea what it feels like to have a crazy supernatural WWE heel monster terrorize his family, I wanted Bryan to be like, “uh, remember that time Kane tried to horror movie murder me and my wife on Raw?
The main event is fun, but there’s not a lot here. Daniel Bryan and Miz make a great tag team, in that “can they co-exist???” kind of way. I liked the image of Bryan doing the running knee by jumping over the figure-four. The post-match Fiend stuff is a good tease as well, as now you’ve essentially got WWE’s greatest ongoing blood rivals putting their differences aside to do a Marvel Team-Up against the invulnerable Shadow Clown and his passive-aggressive children’s entertainment friends. Maybe Bryan can bring back Brie Bella to counter the athleticism and acting ability of a stinky buzzard puppet in a cardboard box.
Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin are about as threatening as a box of puppies, though. I’m surprised they didn’t tie Bryan to the ring post and pour goat food all over him. What would that even be, cans? Anyway, if they were gonna team up Miz with short-hair Daniel Bryan, they should’ve teamed up Ziggler with Jacob Novak.
Best/Worst: Holiday Rose
To kinda give you an idea of where WWE creative’s at right now, the most cohesive and complete story on the show is the Friday Night Smackdown Secret Santa. Last week, Otis from Heavy Machinery tried to give Sami Zayn a Christmas ham as his Secret Santa present, and Zayn dragged him for it. Much like how Daniel Bryan was a heel for not wanting to throw garbage everywhere, Sami Zayn is a heel for giving a shit about the welfare of animals. If someone wrapped a Christmas ham and handed it to me in the hallway at work I’d probably try to get my threatening Japanese and Swiss friends to kick their ass, too.
The broader point, though, is that Otis is what the French call Les Incompétents and doesn’t know any better, and his heart was in the right place, so Sami was a jerk for not just accepting the gift and, I don’t know, throwing it in the trash or dropping it in catering or handing it off to a family in need or whatever. This week, we find out that the person who got OTIS in the Secret Santa is Mandy Rose, the woman he’s been stalking for several months. Because it’s Christmas, she gives HIM a Christmas ham, and a kiss on the cheek.
There’s even ham continuity in the Miracle on 34th Street Fight between Heavy Machinery and purported comedy team The Revival, as Otis brings the ham to ringside to keep it safe. Again, Les Incompétents. The ham gets destroyed, giving us the hilarious post-match image of the world’s thickest man looking forlorn, clutching a defeated Christmas ham while wandering down a hall in his underpants. He apologizes to Mandy for killing the pig a second time, and again, because Christmas, she forgives him. He gets a hug from her, which he surprisingly doesn’t sell by vibrating all over the place and screaming OHYEAHHHHH, and accidentally covers her in sweat. It’s your average boy meets girl, boy stalks girl, girl decides to be nice for the holidays, girl gets slimed story.
Worst: Hang The DJ
The major problem with the Miracle on 34th Street Fight is what happens afterward, when The Revival rightfully bring up the fact that they spend their lives becoming the best tag team in the world only to end up at the mercy of an increasingly senile 74-year old man who hates tag team wrestling. They’d be better off as guys who get Icy Hot rubbed on their balls! Dash Wilder fall down go boom! This is the kind of promo that would actually get them some kind of heat, or traction, or support a few years ago.
Instead, Elias shows up and sings them a song about how they’re boring sucks who suck for wanting to wrestle wrestling matches. I’ve gotta say, between this bit and last week’s song about how Bayley looks like a man and wants to have a threesome with him, Elias is turning into one of the very worst characters in the company. It’s like Vince himself suddenly got into writing songs and realized he had a guy who could sing them. I can’t wait until next week, when Elias sings about how Sonya Deville has bad breathe and would be straight if she went out with him.
Closer To Worst Than Best: The Good Lace
Speaking of Bayley and Sasha Banks, Fox is moving forward diligently with their storyline about how the blonde white Republican who loves the troops is the hero and needs to assert her dominance over the Hispanic champion and her black best friend. “Lacey Evans should be the babyface” is one of the weirdest calls to make here at the end of an entire year of her doing nothing, being inadvertently (?) prejudiced, and teaming up with Baron Corbin. I think face Lacey (Facey) could’ve worked if you’d packaged her right out of the gate as a bad-ass Marine mom, but you’ve gotta do the work to get her from one to the other. She can’t just be a shitty person for 363 days, say some mean stuff about the heels on day 364, and expect cheers on 365.
We start off with Bayley getting a win over “a game” Dana Brooke, whose current character appears to be Batista’s girlfriend and Elias’ girlfriend but not really either. Bayley and Sasha “put the bad mouth” on Dana until Lacey makes the save, and Sasha has to pretend like Lacey calling her a “legit loser” is worth getting upset about.
That sets up Lacey vs. Sasha, which ends in a double count-out — what is this, a Raw Tag Team Championship match? — and segues quickly into Lacey wildly attacking Sasha for taunting her daughter in the front row. Somebody in WWE really has a boner for “you’ve brought my FAMILY into this and now you’ve gone TOO FAR,” and can’t get enough. This is a company where people routinely hospitalize, kidnap, and someones even murder each other in their pursuit of shiny cummerbunds and it’s all good, but if you say, “I think your kid is dumb,” they put you on death row. You can tell how important the match is because they don’t even respond or look at the referee when they get the double count-out.
I’m a fan of wrestlers taunting fans, especially children, but I’m too aware that this is a retread of one of the greatest moments of organic fan interaction in wrestling history: Sasha Banks making Izzy cry at NXT TakeOver: Respect. That was unforgettable magic. This was fine. I’d probably have liked it more if it didn’t make me so homesick for the kind of wrestling show with a soul I like.
Sheamus Is Still Returning Soon, Unless He Got Stuck In Aleister Black’s House And Needs Someone To Let Him Out
Between Sheamus going back to his old look, Daniel Bryan going back to his old look, CM Punk working with WWE again, John Morrison coming back, a main event run for The Miz, and rumors of John Cena having a significant role at WrestleMania, it’s beginning to look a lot like 2011. Are we setting up for an angle where KUSHIDA accidentally resets the timeline?
I’d … uh, I’d be into it.
Also On This Episode
Carmella squashes Sonya Deville in about 90 seconds. Sonya really deserves better than this. Can you just trade her to NXT or something? Shayna Baszler could use some MMA fighter backup with personality and the ability to actually wrestle matches without completely falling apart. Jessamyn Duke’s strikes currently look so bad you’d think she’d been recruited by the Dark Order.
Carmella and New Day playing Double Dutch was cute, though.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) December 21, 2019
As for New Day, they continue to dominate with a solidly entertaining but brutally predictable tag team win over Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro.
On the bright side, it’s good that they’re remembering how good and important Kofi Kingston’s supposed to be, and are spotlighting him as the top star and killer weapon of his team. On the other side, it sucks out loud that the Intercontinental Champion, a guy so uniquely good at pro wrestling you call him a Superman, and the former heart and soul of NXT are just randomly assembled jobbers you send out to lose matches when Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler are busy. If Smackdown got a heel that actually kicked people’s asses and wasn’t a helpless coward all the time, they wouldn’t know what to do with him. That’s probably why Brock Lesnar bailed after less than a month.
Really hoping WWE figures some stuff out in the new year and changes course. I don’t even care if it’s a bad course at this point, as long as it’s different.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
The Real Birdman
We’re gonna find out Bray got Miz for secret Santa, got his daughter a doll & this has all be a giant misunderstanding
Braun should’ve gotten St. Nicholas to tag with him instead
*Corey’s phone goes off*
Text from: Renee Ambrose
”So do you have any opinions on how Carmella will do in this match huh do ya”
Corey: OH MY GOD LEAVE ME ALONE
Miz getting the hot tag from Daniel Bryan is not something I expected to ever say
The Revival are obviously agnostic Festivus celebrators with this airing of grievances.
Dave M J
Cesaro threat level
It’s a Christmas Miracle! My dog who hasn’t walked since Sunday just got up and left the room after Sonya got jobbed out again.
Well in Whoville they say, Otis’s Caterpillar grew three sizes that day…
I want Lacey’s daughter to come out dressed like sasha
Baron Von Raschke
Man….Kofi is really good. They should set him up for a run with the Universal Title.
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown. Fox is eventually gonna buy WWE outright and we’re gonna WISH for the halcyon days of a WWE-run Friday Night Smackdown. Or Disney will buy it, and Stephanie McMahon will technically be a Disney princess.
Drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, PLEASE give us a share to keep getting eyeballs on these recaps, and hey, merry Christmas and happy holidays! You are appreciated, and I hope the remainder of the season is good to you. See you next week!