Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown: Roman Reigns got a WrestleMania match with Goldberg by saying he was going to have one, and The Fiend challenged John Cena by pointing at a sign. This week, Shorty G challenges Sheamus for WrestleMania by bringing up the Wikipedia page for WrestleMania 36 and showing him it’s already on the card.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown for March 6, 2020.
The Following Segment Has Been Paid For By The New World Order
Or, “A Moment Of Bisch.”
Before we actually talk about the show, allow me a moment to mention how uneasy it feels to see Kevin Nash and Scott Hall on WWE Friday Night Smackdown in the year 2020 laughing about Goldberg being champion and joking about how they beat him with a cattle prod at Starrcade ’98 while I’m in the middle of that very story in our ongoing Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro column. It feels like next week they’re going to run Alex Wright versus Prince Iaukea and cut away from it in the middle to show Roddy Piper riding a boat out of Alcatraz. Remember WCW? WCW sucked! Here’s a thing from WCW, please like it now that we put our logo on it.
As you might imagine, I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. On the one hand, it’s delightfully surreal to watch Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross intro the New World Order. A few years ago did you think you’d ever see Nikki Storm and Scott Hall in the same segment on an episode of Smackdown? I also appreciate the idea that Roman Reigns would call Kevin Nash on the telephone and ask him how to beat Goldberg, and that Nash would respond by telling him to have your disco dancing friend cause a distraction so a guy who recently threw you through a wall because of alcoholism improperly uses herding equipment on your behalf. Oh, and as someone who was there for CHIKARA’s 2011 King of Trios, it’s fun seeing Sami Zayn and Sean Waltman in a WWE ring together. Because Zayn is friends with El Generico, I mean. I wonder if they talked about him? By the way, the very best part of the entire bit was Nikki Cross pronouncing Syxx as “sex” and Waltman mouthing “sex?” and looking around while he processes the accent.
But then there’s the rest of the segment. The League Of Extraordinarily Misused Gentlemen shows up and confronts the nWo for some reason, which brings out Braun Strowman to embarrass them again. I’m honestly surprised Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton, and 15 other dudes in nWo t-shirts didn’t hit the ring to beat them all down and spray-paint “nWo” on their backs. I know I use a lot of hyperbole and have said things like this in the past, but if WWE seriously booked Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura to lose a 3-on-1 handicap match on pay-per-view it might be the dumbest and most pointless shit they’ve ever pulled. Just gift wrap and send those three to any other wrestling show in the world if you hate them so much. Cesaro would get more professional and creative fulfillment wrestling Lulu Pencil in Gatoh Move than he’s getting in WWE wearing a “wrestling purist” shirt just to play cowbell and lose WrestleMania matches to 10-year olds.
At least they got through this talk show without an appearance from Wood.
Best: The Fiend, Continuity Nerd
“Why John Cena?”
“Oh, I know, I know! It’s because John Cena totally destroyed you six years ago at WrestleMania, thus beginning a downward spiral of negativity and failure in your personal and professional life!”
[nervously] “yowie wowie“
Love it. Just don’t let Bray or John remember eight days earlier when The Fiend lost to three old man spears and a shitty vertical suplex from a guy already sucking wind and unable to do one of his two moves because he’d taken zero bumps, did some brief running, and had a hand in his mouth for a few seconds.
In lieu of writing five more paragraphs about that (and how I assumed I wouldn’t still be living tangential Starrcade ’98 nightmares on live wrestling television 22 years later), I’ll mention how good it felt to hear Bray Wyatt cut an actual promo again. Lost in my frustrations at the Fiend character and its presentation is how good Bray Wyatt the performer is at all of this, even the bad stuff, and how WWE just won’t seem to stop pulling the rug out from under one of the best talkers of a generation.
p.s. “John Chena.” I’m counting that as a deep-cut Santino Marella reference.
Best: Daniel Bryan Vs. Drew Gulak Is On
The dialogue in this segment sounds like it was written by a bot trying to replicate human speech, but fuck it, we’re getting Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak at the Elimination Chamber. Kickoff show. I hope they actually have Gulak win by exploiting one of Bryan’s weaknesses, thereby throwing his whole self-confidence in his wrestling ability into disarray and validating Gulak’s entire character and point of view. It’ll be like when they had MVP challenge Benoit 2-out-of-3 falls to prove he was the better wrestler, had Benoit go into it assuming he was just the best wrestler ever, and then let MVP take it in two straight falls. That was the shit.
Maybe Best: Are We Building Up To Bayley Vs. Sasha Banks At WrestleMania?
Heel Bayley and Face Lacey Evans are number one and two on the list of WWE Superstars being booked against type to the total detriment of their characters and ability to perform, but Sasha Banks returning and being Sasha Banks is good enough to put this match over. I also appreciate that Bayley and Banks won the match because of teamwork and friendship, because after all this time I’d hope they’d be better at tag team wrestling than Lacey Evans and literally anybody.
Then there’s a backstage walk-and-talk and Bayley correctly summing up WWE’s current booking trends with, “women’s evolution? [wiggles hand] eeeehhhhh.” They namedrop the Bella Twins in a way that would 100% make you think THAT was the WrestleMania program if both Bellas weren’t pregnant, and you’ve got to think this cooperative heel reassurance is building to one or both of them (read: Sasha) going rogue and breaking up the team. It’s probably time to have Sasha reveal that Bayley’s just been a dumb fangirl to her this entire time, and that she just keeps her around and under her thumb so she can feel better about herself. Maybe we can give Bayley a redemption arc, and she can come into her own in the role she was meant to play — hero — without her character being a grown woman with a little kid’s brain. It’s time for fully formed, heroic Bayley, true evil Sasha Banks, and a WrestleMania showcase for the two people most directly responsible for women’s wrestling being taken seriously in WWE.
Or they’ll both be in the Not Moolah Battle Royal, it’s fine.
In Other Women’s Division Action
Between this and Carmella’s one-footed dropkicks to the stomach, can we just not work dropkicks into every WWE women’s match? They obviously don’t have anyone to teach them how to do it, and those running karate hops are exactly the kind of thing that would get your head taken off in a GAEA documentary. It’s no shade against the performers, even, there’s just no need to constantly do a thing you aren’t good at in matches. A fired-up dropkick and a fired-up clothesline get the same reaction. You can be the best hitter in Major League Baseball, but if you can’t bunt and your coach is screaming BUNT at you ever at-bat, you’re gonna look like you don’t know what you’re doing.
The story of the match is that Fire and Desire are suddenly empowered by Mandy’s refusal to watch old episodes of Smackdown to see what’s going on outside of her line of sight and accept Otis’ meandering three-week attempt at an apology, and Sonya Deville’s weird attempts to hook up Mandy with Dolph Ziggler. Not totally sure what the next step is supposed to be as the romance angle has kinda stalled, which we should all agree to blame on Ziggler’s television anti-charisma, and we’re just treading water until we find out who’s up to what and why.
Worst: Speaking Of Ziggler And Otis
This week’s main event is a tag team gauntlet match to help build momentum heading into Elimination Chamber, featuring the hilarious decision to put Heavy Machinery over The New Day, The Usos, and the current Smackdown Tag Team Champions just to have them lose to Dolph Ziggler. I could see how they’d think it works on paper — Otis got his heart broken thanks in part to Ziggler, so having Ziggler ruin the best in-ring performance of Otis’ life at the last second adds more fuel to that fire — but in practice … brother, I don’t know.
From last week’s column:
When The Miz and John Morrison were set to challenge The New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship at Super Showdown, they pinned New Day members in non-title matches several weeks in a row. Now that Miz and Morrison are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, they get to build to their next pay-per-view match by losing a bunch of non-title matches. It’s just the way WWE works now.
Last week, the tag champs featuring the former WrestleMania main-eventer with his own reality show and the big returning star at his physical career peak lost to the Usos. This week, they enter a tag team gauntlet match and immediately lose to a team that’s already had three matches. I’m excited for them to retain at Elimination Chamber and then lose every week before retaining at WrestleMania. Still not sure why y’all do your champions like this. It’s not even personal to this situation, it’s EVERYBODY. For YEARS.
Also On This Episode
Sheamus completely reinvented himself physically and returned to WWE just to get stuck in matches with the same two jobbers every week. At least said jobbers might be teaming up now, which should go well considering they already teamed up together and lost a handicap match to him less than a month ago.
And that’s Smackdown! Somehow!
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Kevin Nash talking big for a man with knees made out of rubber bands and hope.
Why is the nWo best as a trio? Because otherwise Kevin Nash would tear a quad.
Naomi and Lacey walk down the hallway in conversation:
Naomi: So, basically there’s a valid case for reparations if you take a long-term view of the founding of America, and see things through the prism of settler colonialism.
Lacey: Ah, Naomi, I know all about the founding of America. Christopher Columbus is a real hero of mine.
Naomi: (to herself) And I thought Santino showing up in the Rumble was as bad as things were going to get at work this year.
No work til 1pm tomorrow and SDL looks pretty trash.
Texts friends to see what’s going on tonight.
Everyone is going to a microbrew to see an acoustic Dave Matthews cover band.
Welp, Smackdown it is!
“You gotta be impressed here with Lucha House Party”
Oh Michael Cole, you continue to underestimate me
Saw Dolph Ziggler and turned to Hee Haw.
Dolph Ziggler = Definition of WWE employee
Dave M J
OH NO WE HAD WRESTLING BREAK OUT FOR 1 MINUTE GO TO COMMERCIAL
Here’s hoping Dark Otis chews his way through the ring to abscond with Sonya by mistake.
Before I go, don’t forget that King Corbin is feuding with pandering Elias now in a Characters Brandon Never Wants To See Again dream match. I hope Dolph Ziggler is the special guest referee!
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Smackdown, another installment in WWE’s most unnecessarily and confusingly bad show. 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, I don’t know, Drew Gulak getting injured wrestling the Singh Brothers on 205 Live and being replaced at Elimination Chamber with Mr. T. See you then!