Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown: We jetted off to England for a Fiend attack on Daniel Bryan, a bunch of tired non-finishes, and, perhaps most importantly, Imperium showing up to look vaguely threatening before completely shitting the bed on Monday Night Raw.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown for November 15, 2019.
Worst/Best: Smackdown Goes To The Dogs
With a guy who knows how to truly entertain and please Vince McMahon in charge of Friday Night Smackdown, this is what we’re getting. It’s a show-opening promo from three heels who haven’t talked without a script in their hands in years — or in King Corbin’s case, ever — that goes way too far trying to get boos via second-hand embarrassment and probably makes the chairman of the board laugh so hard he spits Integrated Conditioning Program out of his nose.
In case you missed it, King Corbin called out The Big Dog™ Roman Reigns®, but wait just a minute, King, it’s actually a guy in a bulldog mascot costume and Roman Reigns cosplay. Oh, and he’s entering to “dogs bark the Roman Reigns theme.” If they’d been able to have him “poop” in the ring so Ziggler could scoop it into a little bag while holding his nose and yelling “PEEE-YEW!” it would’ve been masterful.
I’m giving it a half Best for two reasons:
- my undying love of mascots, the stupider the better, and
- the fact that they introduced the dog mascot and got through an entire episode without unmasking him as a hero in disguise
They’ll still do that second one, probably at Survivor Series, but at least they thought to introduce a thing and establish it with the audience and let it breathe before paying it off. If they’re even thinking a week ahead these days, it’s an improvement. Also, and I say this as the Internet’s leading guy who doesn’t want to see Hulk Hogan loitering around, can somebody convince Hulk Hogan to dress up in the dog costume?
The match they’re leading into is Cheer Money trying to win the Survivor Series team membership of Ali G, because they … want to “represent Smackdown” really badly, I guess? They wanna hang out with their friend Baron Corbin more? I don’t know. The most notable thing here is that Ali got his first name back and is once again MUSTAFA Ali, thank God, so hopefully he’ll put in a good word for Smol Gangsta so we can go back to calling him, “Chad Gable.” Secondary highlight: Corey Graves giving Gable shit for “cosplaying as a basketball player,” which still makes literally zero sense and has zero explanation beyond everyone imagining Vince McMahon throwing up his arms and declaring, “FUCK ‘EM, DRESS HIM LIKE A SPORTS NINJA TURTLE.”
This is the best match of the night in a walk, by the way, and is the only one to have a clean finish that isn’t also super depressing. More on that later. Ali and G (in da house) are a really good tag team, obviously, and the whole thing’s a shouted exposition from Mike Tenay away from being TNA heavyweights vs. the X-Division. That’s a compliment, I swear. Happy we’ve already forgotten that title reign and have moved Ziggler back into the “take moves from people and lose hard” spot on the roster, where he thrives.
The Other Matches
Braun Strowman goes 1-on-3 with a former NXT Champion, a former Cruiserweight Champion, and a former Intercontinental Champion and easily destroys them, because once WWE’s lost creative interest in you, you might as well put on a black t-shirt with WELL I GUESS I’LL GO FUCK MYSELF across the chest.
Heavy Machinery defeats the rough and ready duo of ‘The Road Dogg’ Kevin Tibbs and ‘Bad Ass’ Kip Stevens, and I can’t even be arsed to do a Jobbers of the Week bit. You may remember Tibbs as the “fan” who made bug eyes when Erick Rowan plucked him out of the crowd and powerbombed him into Roman Reigns ahead of Clash of Champions. Stevens is better known as wrestling nerd Francis Kip Stevens, and is a lot of fun when asked to do something more complex than be turned into white collar liquid by some blue collar solids.
The Other Matches+
The + is for “random NXT interference.”
The better of the two “whoops, NXT” efforts is the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match between new old champions The New Day and old old champions The Revival. It ends in a disqualification (I believe) when NXT’s Undisputed Era show up and attack everybody. Undisputed Era’s part of a triple threat between Tag Team Champions on the various brands and are always trying to “make an impact” in the most I’M A FIVE FOOT TALL BAD-ASS way possible, so it makes sense that they’d keep “invading” here and muck things up. I really hope this happened to explain WWE randomly adding The Revival to that match and making it a fatal four-way, both because it’d be something different for a card full of meaningless triple threat matches, and because I don’t want a multi-man scramble featuring all-time great NXT tag teams* without Dawson and Wilder involved.
*No, Kofi Kingston wasn’t “in NXT,” but he WAS an NXT Pro, so I’m counting it**.
**add Goldust and Aksana to the match, you cowards
The worse of the two (by far) is what becomes of Bayley vs. Nikki Cross, a match even Bayley didn’t want. “Dude, again?” The idea is that if Cross wins, she can join the Smackdown women’s Survivor Series team. No, I don’t know why some people have to have matches to qualify for the team while other people get added over Twitter.
Shayna Baszler shows up to get some dickhead Fonzie revenge on Bayley for that run-in on Wednesday NXT. Bayley tries to escape, but is stopped by Shayna’s friends [checks notes] Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, and Mia Yim.
If you watch NXT at all — and I stress at all — you’ll probably know that four of the top maybe five people who currently hate Shayna Baszler and want to kick her ass are Rhea Ripley, Tegan nox, Dakota Kai, and Mia Yim. They’re literally having a War Games match against each other two weeks from now because the hatred between them is that palpable. You remember Hulk Hogan getting beaten down at WrestleMania 8 and being saved by the Ultimate Warrior? Imagine if he’d been saved by Roddy Piper, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, and Macho Man Randy Savage. It’s a complete disregard for the entirety of NXT’s effort, all for the sake of them being the “little brother” in the Raw vs. Smackdown beef that only seems to exist when we’re building to Survivor Series. The announce team notes that “everybody’s on the same page in NXT,” which is the total opposite of NXT’s mission statement. Everyone on NXT hates pretty much everyone else on NXT, except they have REASONS to based on OBSERVABLE RECORDED HISTORY informed by their BRAINS which WORK and REMEMBER THINGS.
NXT’s meek have inherited the Earth, I guess., as Team NXT is felled by Team Formerly Of NXT, or, “Sasha Banks and three women who probably would’ve lost a 3-on-1 handicap match to Rhea Ripley if the ropes were yellow.” Shout-out to Dakota Kai for not making Ripley’s War Games team but still randomly showing up alongside them on Smackdown to be all, “BATTLE ME FOR BRAND SUPREMACY,” and then losing the match for them.
Best: What’s It Gonna Be, Boy?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Daniel Bryan was the best part of the show.
Early in the night, Bryan confronts Sami Zayn and asks him the questions you might after being abandoned and fed to the Monster at the End of this Booking. He’s like, “hey man, remember when you said you had my back, how come you immediately ran away at the first sign of trouble?” Zayn makes some excuses about running to get Nakamura or whatever, and Bryan tells him to go jerk off in a lake. Figuratively. Also Braun Strowman is there for some reason.
Speaking of Bray Wyatt, he used STAGE MAGIC to turn the Universal Championship blue because Brock Lesnar doesn’t want to work Fridays. Yes, we’re calling it the “Blue-niversal Championship.”
“Wrestling isn’t fake, Michael. It’s AN ILLUSION.”
At the end of the night, Bryan appears as a guest on Miz TV. I just want to say how much I appreciate Miz and Bryan having wishy-washy alignments and allegiances but still always remembering to be complex human beings with a dense history and backstory when they’re in front of each other. Miz doesn’t want any drama and just wants to serve Bryan up some softball questions, but they’re also kinda mean-spirited and laced with condescension because he hates him so much. Bryan doesn’t say anything at first, and then only answers when he can tell Miz that Miz TV sucks. Nobody tells Daniel Bryan the truth like The Miz, and nobody tells Miz the truth like Bryan. The value of having WWE Superstars act like grown-ups with fully functioning brains is on display here, for anyone paying attention.
Also, Bryan interestingly discusses the complicated relationship that passion has with mental instability, which I appreciate. NO REASON. It’s a real-life problem for artists of all kinds; the idea that passion can do a number on your brain, and convince you that passion can only exist alongside the mania your brain has created, and how that can send you spiraling off into any number of directions trying to overcompensate. More frank discussions of mental illness in a capitalist nation on my wrestling shows, please and thank you.
Before they can go too far with it, though, Wyatt shows up and reveals his gambit: he’s going to prey on Bryan’s mental instability and waning self-confidence as he winds down his career by trying to make Bryan do the “yes” thing again. Bryan feels a lot of shame for the Yes Movement and how it ended, and is scared to go back to it. It’ll feel like he’s going backwards, and in this stage of his career he desperately needs to feel like he’s moving forward. Wyatt’s like, “lol, nope, stew in the shit that keeps you up at night.” It’s honestly really brilliant and a new kind of storytelling for WWE that I hope they enjoy and play around with. Just let these wrestling geniuses write and book their own shit for a while and see what comes of it. Anything even mildly different feels revolutionary these days, and you’re never going to have a better and more diverse group of wrestling minds and passions at the top of your card than Bray Wyatt, The Miz, and Bryan By God Danielson.
Also, more of Daniel Bryan arguing with puppets.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
The Real Birdman
Team Kick got more braces than a middle school year book
I feel like Drew Gulak and Brains Strowman would get along great
Saying “Yes” a lot but ending three minutes early? We’ve all been there.
And that’s why you aren’t on a War Games team, Dakota.
Shayna: I’m the real Bayley
Dakota: No, I’m the real Bayley
Bayley: No, I swear, I’m the real Bayley!
Sasha: OH GOD, I CAN’T TELL THEM APART
Baron Von Raschke
Oh no, Sasha is going to beat WALTER isn’t she?
Bray Wyatt can magic the Universal Championship into a different color, but can he magic the rest of the show to be entertaining?
miz, it’s clear to see that Daniel hasn’t washed up in ages
Pictured: Hair, B and B
This is my favourite WWE segment in forever. The manipulation of the audience through the different uses of the “YES!” chant – first Miz prompting it to needle Bryan, then Wyatt cultivating it to allow DB to cut it off, and then the final madman scream – should be in textbooks.
Smackdown: “She’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown. Drop down into our comments section below to let us know what you thought of the show, give us a share on social media to help us out, and make sure you’re here next week when Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano invade together because they’re best friends. See you then!