Previously on the Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown: We experienced Triple H Appreciation Night, which ended up being him and Shawn Michaels being lame to each other until a depressed Vince McMahon showed up, called them shitty, and literally shut off the lights on them.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown for May 1, 2020.
This Week On Smackdown
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I get frustrated at WWE’s obsession with “promo parade” segments — somebody opens the show with a promo, somebody else interrupts, a third party interrupts (and so on) until somebody gets attacked, somebody else makes the save, and it sets up a tag team match for later in the show — but promo parades feel like roller coaster rides compared to time-killers. That’s when, say, someone starts off the show with a really good promo and follows it with a watchable 10-15 minute match, but the finish is so flat and retreaded that it feels like you sat through all of it for nothing.
For example, Daniel Bryan opens the show with a good promo about being hungry and leaving no man untested and gets interrupted by Corbin, who might as well have a script in his hand while he talks. I think it’s the rehearsed “ha ha!” laughs that ruin it for me. But yeah, they share a 10-minute promo to set up a 15+ minute match that … ends with Corbin nonchalantly chucking a ladder at Bryan’s face for the disqualification. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura show up, and the Monarchic Socialists beat Bryan down and throw him into some additional ladders. Because there’s a pay-per-view about ladders coming up. Sami Zayn is at home somewhere, by the way, because the money decision during the pandemic is to win a championship and then bail. See also Rob Gronkowski.
In the interest of any available positivity, the content here’s about as good as it’s going to be considering everyone’s kind of wrestling on a treadmill waiting for shit to get back to normal. Which for Smackdown is just all this same shit, but with people watching.
Promo Parade (Digest)!
If you’re missing the promo parade, here it is crammed into one backstage segment. Tamina is being interviewed and is briefly Tamina before getting interrupted by Sasha Banks. Bayley tries to attack Tamina from behind, and Banks and Bayley clubber her until Lacey Evans makes the save. This sets up Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. the oh my God no all-star team of Tamina Snuka and Lacey Evans. Team name “Snookey.” All I can guarantee you about this interaction is that it’ll make you turn down your volume.
Recent multiple-time Aleister Black victim Rough Lion returns to be the latest recipient of a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Sheamus says he’ll be here when Jeff Hardy returns to Friday Night Smackdown next week to start up the hottest feud of 2009.
Mandy Rose loses a Money in the Bank qualifier to Carmella when Sonya Deville shows up on the stage and delivers like 90 straight seconds of distraction. Mandy seems fine at first, but ultimately the constant microphone yelling of goth Gina Linetti is too much, and she catches a sneaker to the face. The match is only about three and a half minutes long, so the distraction portion makes up about 40% of it.
After the match, Sonya gets in the zone and sNaPs on Mandy. I know Sonya provided a lot of information about her motivation as it relates to jealousy, societal expectations for female performers, and vague heel wrestler ennui, but I love that based on the information we were actually given by watching the show every week, Sonya basically turned into a violent, vindictive bully because she tried to micromanage Mandy Rose’s love life and got called out for it. “If you don’t date Dolph Ziggler instead of Otis I’ll kill myself, and then you!!!”
Dolph Ziggler Insisting He’s The Best Wrestler In The World And Then Immediately Losing!
Did you know that nobody in that locker room can do what Dolph Ziggler does, and that he’ll prove it here tonight and eventually be World Champion again? I think Ziggler cuts this promo more often than R-Truth says “what’s up.”
He also almost always follows it with an embarrassing loss. This time around he loses his second match in a month to Otis née Dozovic, an overweight lover with a Kool-Aid Man gimmick. Like most of what Otis has done during quarantine, it’s fine, but would be tremendously improved by crowd response. Shout-out to Otis just kicking Ziggler’s ass again, though, and not losing to the same distraction finish that took away Mandy Rose’s chance to put on gold lamé hot pants and throw forearms in the stairwell of an office building.
Challenger Has Pinned The Champions! You’ve Got To Think That Puts Them Into Contention For A Future Title Shot!
It wouldn’t be a modern WWE show without a champion being pinned in a non-title mach, to set up a title match the champion will win. A couple of hours before the show started, I saw that the match had been announced and Tweeted, “the Forgotten Sons have pinned the Smackdown Tag Team Champions!” The reason I bring this up isn’t because I’m “smart” or “clever” or even because I’m “paying attention.” I bring it up because it’s creatively unacceptable that half the audience could’ve typed this with absolute certainty, because the Smackdown playbook’s seriously only got like five plays in it.
- promos to interruptions to attack to tag team match
- distraction finishes
- DQ finishes with post-match attacks
- disappointing concession to either the Fox executives or the royal family of Saudi Arabia
- challenger has pinned the champion, you’ve got to believe that puts them into consideration for a title shot somewhere down the line
So, the Forgotten Sons? Really? Are we just running the New Day up against a three-man team to play up the Damned Numbers Game so Xavier Woods can make a triumphant return to even the odds? They did say “six months to a year” for his injury to heal, and it’s been seven. At the very least maybe he’ll be well enough to show up and smash a trombone over Gunner’s head, or whatever.
Also On This Episode
Hello Again, Friend Of A Friend
Bray Wyatt reads Braun Strowman a story about black sheep. When Braun challenges him to come to the ring, Wyatt just waves and says “bye!” All right, well, that was nothing. At least Bray’s practicing proper social distancing. Honestly, I hope they decide to be brave and have Wyatt actually regain complete control over Strowman. Bray would take a lot of the stuff Braun’s not good at off his plate, and Braun being subservient would “give” Wyatt the Universal Championship without him having to frustratingly win or lose championship matches.
Monies In The Bank
Your 👂👂 don't deceive you.
— WWE (@WWE) May 2, 2020
Finally, we get the hilarious announcement that both Money in the Bank ladder matches will happen at the same time. What would’ve been harder to predict three months ago; a WrestleMania at the Performance Center with no fans, or two concurrent Money in the Bank ladder matches happening on the roof of WWE Headquarters?
The dream of the WWF Super Bowl commercial is alive at Money in the Bank.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Daniel Bryan’s psyched to wrestle at WWE HQ. So many people will be wearing ties
Ziggler had one of the most memorable cash ins ever. Who can forget when he pinned [Deleted] and celebrated with Big E [Deleted] and [Deleted].
Baron Von Raschke
Dolph and Sonya are whispering so much they must think they are in the last five minutes of a Chicago PD episode.
Jeff Hardy must be one of the easiest wrestlers to put a promo package together for. Dude has almost killed himself for our entertainment so. many. times.
Oh Yeahs ranked
Mandy Rose: Carmella is a formidable opponent, and a former Ms. Money in the Bank.
Kayla: So, you’ve basically got no chance, huh.
Otis: WHO ARE YOU TO DOUBT EL MANDY!?!?
Sheamus: “I’m coming to work next week.”
Why do all Kings in WWE dress like court jesters
Retroactively, Corbin is his only name; Baron really was only ever a title which has been upgraded to King of TGI Friday’s
*sees the Make-A-Wish logo on the ramp, remembers that WWE is allowed to have a small live crowd next week* OH NO
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Smackdown. As always, thanks for getting through this with us and checking out the column, especially during this pandemic. It’s hard to keep a lot of this in context, especially with what’s going on with the company in the real world. We appreciate you, as well as your comments in our comments section below, and your social media shares.
Next week we sit through two more hours of this and then Climb The Corporate Ladder™ at the weirdest Money in the Bank pay-per-view® ever. See you then!