Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Chris Jericho made an unexpected return, AJ Styles won the United States Championship in a triple threat match, and John Cena challenged Jinder Mahal but ended up against Shinsuke Nakamura.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for August 1, 2017.
Worst: Re-Do The Bad Finish
Just to get it out of the way, even a bad or boring AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens match is pretty good. It’s not bad in the way, say, Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt is. You just leave it wishing they’d do something more, and not keep giving these matches dorky finishes like “oh no I got my leg stuck in a table” as an excuse to keep doing them. Do that with Jinder and Tye Dillinger if you want, but don’t do it with two of your strongest Supercards. Or however WWE ranks its roster.
At Battleground, the bad finish was a bit where Owens accidentally knocked out the referee. Styles had Owens in a crossface, Owens rolled it back and got the pin. The problem is that the ref bump didn’t actually accomplish anything except making the referee do one of those big labored three-counts, so Styles — who only would’ve lost in a counter like that if it’d been quick — had to lie there with his shoulders on the mat, holding a crossface that hurts no one, while Owens pins him.
On Smackdown, they … well, they “re-did” the finish, because I guess whoever booked it got mad about it not going well or us not getting it or something. Here, Owens accidentally knocks out the referee. “Knocks out” is pretty generous. Owens goes for a big Hulk Hogan haymaker, Styles moves, and Owens goes out of his way to like, step forward and punch the referee in the face. Only, the referee doesn’t get punched at all. He doesn’t even get grazed, but he flops anyway, holding his eye. Here, watch:
That allows Styles to counter a pop-up powerbomb into a victory roll and “get the three,” even though Kevin Owens’ shoulder is so up he’s like, reaching up diagonally and looking the referee in the face. The referee can’t see it, though, because having your head’s aura gently grazed by a punch at its weakest moment is just like having your brains bashed in with Lucille.
Owens angrily heads backstage to complain to Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, who became Race Bannon and Benton Quest so gradually we didn’t even notice.
Credit to @jessetow for opening my eyes to that.
That sets up another Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles United States Championship match for SummerSlam, with Shane McMahon as the special guest referee. Now, I can’t jump (off cages) to conclusions quite yet, but doesn’t this seem like they’re making one of the most over guys in the company and a championship an afterthought so they can jump (through glass) into a feud between KO and a McMahon? I hope they at least confine that shit to No Mercy or whatever, and don’t try to drag it out and get it on a bigger, co-branded show.
Best: A Damn Fine Segment
Anyway, on a more positive note, here’s The Fashion Patrol née Police and The Ascension doing a layered and pitch-goddamn-perfect Twin Peaks parody. It’s so good the crowd gives it applause afterward. Not cheering, APPLAUSE. Like, they appreciate how good it was. When was the last time a WWE backstage segment got that?
I can’t even do my normal bullet-pointed list of things I loved. I’ll just post this picture:
And this GIF of Konnor pouring syrup on a log.
Maybe the best Fashion Files segment ever. I still can’t believe they went through the trouble of finding a picture of Velvet McIntyre in blue gear to accurately make a Blue Velvet joke. And I’m probably calling Sting “Eraserhead” for the rest of my life. Too bad they didn’t have a picture of the Disciples of Apocalypse and say they ended up on a Lost Highway.
Best/Worst: Uso Rocks
I love the Usos a lot right now, and I marked out pretty hard for them aping New Day’s ridiculous pre-appearance yelling, but I wish they’d come with some better material than “your gay” with the wrong “you’re.” You know the material’s not great when they edit out your “blow your own trombones” gag and leave in the dead-in-the-water “comic books!” If Road Dogg and K-Kwik got writing credit on these bars, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Worst: Sami Oh-Wow
How depressing was it to hear the announce team talk about Sami Zayn almost being WWE Champion seconds before he loses to Aiden English via ARMBAR COUNTER less than two minutes into the match? And then the entire post-match is dedicated to the furthering of Zayn vs. Kanellis, which probably should’ve ended when Mike got one cheap victory and lost twice in a row?
The whole thing made me feel like this:
Maybe this ends with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn becoming best friends again when they realize they hate their jobs and everyone’s stupid.
Best: Chad Gable Vs. Rusev
This ruled. They got about nine minutes, but they could’ve gone 45. I think the best thing Chad Gable can do right now is tear it the hell up every time he’s on screen, so somebody, ANYBODY in the front office is like, “maybe he’s the Shawn and Jordan’s the Marty?” I mean, Jordan sounds like more of a “Marty” than actual Marty did.
They both fought hard, neither man looked weaker than the other, they traded finishers and even the finish made sense. And it was clean! This was like, everything that could be right about WWE wrestling and everything wrong with Raw. It was just here to set up the post-match, I guess, and Gable just magically disappeared when he was no longer needed, but at least it was fun. I want more of these guys together. And more of Chad Gable doing literally anything.
Worst: Uh, The Post-Match
How you gonna use Chad Gable kicking ass for 10 minutes to set up a RANDY ORTON match? At least have them wrestle in a comically fake snake pit or in a Bulgarian Gulag Match or on the Rollergames track or something. Keep Orton’s Worst Year Ever streak alive.
Worst: Do You Know How Money In The Bank Works
On the positive side, Naomi and Becky Lynch wrestled Carmella and Natalya and actually won, instead of me having to break out the “____ has pinned the Women’s Champion” joke. On the negative side, Naomi, the champion, made Carmella, the woman with the Money in the Bank briefcase, tap out. That’s not the bad part. The bad part is that the followup is THIS:
Carmella loses clean to the champion and “demands” a match against Naomi next week. So she, uh, gets it. The Money in the Bank briefcase holder, Miss Money in the Bank or whatever, can just lose to the champion, demand a singles match and get it. Do … are the rest of you seeing this? Is this only insane to me?
It’s especially bad after the booking of Lana, where she just showed up with a 0-0 record and got a Women’s Championship shot. She lost that, so she demanded another one. She got that, and she just wrestled Naomi over and over for like a month. Now Carmella has a briefcase that gives her a title shot whenever she wants it. Is that really that valuable when you can demand a title shot whenever you want it and get it, no matter what? Is there anything they say no to? Like, say Naomi and Natalya have a huge battle at SummerSlam and Naomi wins, but is severely injured and out of breath or whatever. Carmella, sans briefcase, shows up and says HEY NAOMI IF YOU’RE A FIGHTING CHAMPION, GIVE ME A TITLE SHOT RIGHT NOW. Naomi would do it, right? And everyone in charge would okay it. You don’t need a briefcase for a division of six women who get title shots or shots at title shots every week.
RIP John Cena’s Neck, 1977-2017
“Free Agent” John Cena, who is currently doing the opposite of that thing where Undertaker says his forever home is Smackdown only to never appear on Smackdown again, faced Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event. That actually happened, and they let it happen. Baron Corbin doesn’t show up until the post-show on the Network. Cena takes a strong loss, presumably sending him to Raw, and we finally find out what would happen if the most notable American wrestler of the past 10 years took on the most notable Japanese wrestler of the past 10 years for a shot at the third worst member of 3MB.
Honestly though, the only thing anyone’s going to remember about this match is OH GOD JOHN CENA WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR NECK.
YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO MOONSAULT, JOHN CENA, YOUR GHOSTBUSTERS DOG BODY WON’T LET YOU BACKFLIP, WE’VE SEEN YOU DO A HURRICANRANA ON YOUR DAMN SIDE LIKE RIC FLAIR BUMPS, DON’T TRY TO PUT YOUR LEGS OVER YOUR HEAD.
It wasn’t the legendary match it probably should’ve been, especially not thrown onto a random Smackdown in the middle of a cycle, but bless them for doing it straight, and for giving Nakamura a clean win. This is the best possible use of John Cena, because even though he’s spent a lot of the past several years losing big matches, it never, ever feels like he’s going to lose. Just make something of it, you know? Don’t do this and have Cena put the guy over just to have the Singh Brothers do another distraction finish at SummerSlam. Make Jinder rise to this level.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
They’ll be calling him John CTEna after that match.
i spent all night trying to think of a joke about what finish this match would have to have to be a G1 match and then Nak drops Cena on his head
The Real Birdman
Randy Orton’s gonna toss one the Singhs outta that luxury box isn’t he?
This could be a main event in NJPW. But with Cena, the show would be “You Can’t WrestleKingdom.”
“I want a referee with two good eyes!”
“Well, we use Shawn Michaels a lot for guest reffing gigs…”
“Did you not hear a word I just said?”
That’s not Bulgarian, Orton just bored Rusev so hard his tongue fell asleep
That last kick almost made Chad ready, willing and disabled.
I’d take Chad Gable vs Neville for the Cruiserweight Title main eventing a B-show PPV in a heartbeat.
“Now, Renee, don’t talk to me or my sons ever again”
These Fashion Police skits are going to end with Johnny Curtis waking up from a dream and Derrick Bateman telling him to go back to sleep
That’s it for this week’s show.
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