Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live: Breezango and the Ascension gave us another truly great vignette, the Bludgeon Brothers less so, and Sin Cara lost his damn mind.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for November 7, 2017.
Best: The Thing That You Already Know Is The Best Part Of The Episode
The cold open for Smackdown Live this week (something I’m still very glad they continue to do, and still a nice tiny little touch that sets this show apart from the other one, if only a bit) was all about hyping the seriousness of the show’s world title match, with short (and great) promos from both participants about how much it means to them. So we may as well talk about the biggest news of the show and the historic main event right off the bat here.
This is probably an extremely unpopular opinion, but I’ve absolutely loved every moment of the Jinder Mahal title reign (Randy Orton stuff excluded). I love the act with the Singh Brothers, and it doesn’t even bother me that all of his matches end the same way, because 90 percent of EVERYONE’S matches in modern WWE end the same way. I’d much rather watch 2017 Mahal than 2017 Orton, of course, and I was interested in what his match against Brock Lesnar would end up looking like.
We aren’t getting that Mahal-Lesnar match, of course, and I guess poor Jinder put on 20 pounds of extra muscle for nothing. It’s entirely possible that Mahal will be a TWO-TIME WWE Champion by the time the India tour rolls around in December, but for now everyone can stop wailing and gnashing their teeth about Lesnar vs. Mahal, and we end up getting an ACTUAL dream match that we probably didn’t ever really think a lot about, but are floored that it’s happening.
As for the match itself, it was great, because Styles is great. (And because he had a true heel foil to play off of in Mahal, a guy who crowds legitimately hate, which is valuable for any reason, because “X-Pac Heat” doesn’t exist.) I’m glad Styles is champ now, and I’m sad Jinder doesn’t get to call himself “The Beastmaster.” By the time the Royal Rumble rolls around, Mahal might be a two-time champion and Styles might be a three-time champion, and that’s weird and crazy. If that scenario plays out, it also means it’s less likely that Mahal will drop down into the Kevin Owens-style midcard role, but there’s also the chance that, after the India tour, Mahal falls into a deep pit and we never see much of him again.
But at any rate, let’s enjoy the current Styles run for as long as it lasts, and get pumped as hell for Lesnar vs. Styles. We’ll see what the Phenomenal One has to say about the suplex community.
Worst: Shane, You’re Doing Great, Sweetie
“Kurt Angle. Hear me out. This is a very personal message. For what happened to Daniel Bryan, I’m gonna be standing against, right across from you, in this very ring, and I’m gonna get my payback for what you did to Daniel Bryan, so get ready.”
Very personal! And that’s it. Shane says Bryan will be back next week, and then brought out the New Day, who he says “fired a shot across the bow” of Raw “that is still being felt.” I guess? Under Siege 2 was really more of Hashtag Appear In The Crowd Part One Billion, A Thing That Everyone Has Done Forever For The Past Several Decades Of Wrestling.
Smackdown Live is now officially bragging about the other guys being too dumb to not get irreparably distracted by three guys hundreds of feet away from the ring, with no intention of attacking, that it caused … some of the enemies to lose their titles to OTHER of the enemies? Does this mean that Sheamus and Cesaro are LESS of Raw team members because they actually cared about winning the titles while Smackdown mooned them? If Smackdown is going to boast about shit, at least DO SOMETHING. Or, I dunno, reveal that Shane signed Sheamus and Cesaro to Smackdown because their contracts expired while everyone was distracted by hashtags. ANYTHING.
A not-insignificant Best, of course, to sarcastic-ass Sami Zayn and his good friend Kevin Owens coming out to crap all over Shane and the New Day (The New Dane?), and promise Smackdown will fail at Survivor Series due to Shane’s hubris. Zayn pointing out Shane’s hypocrisy will never get old. And of course, after some lame New Day retorts, Shane punishes Zayn for “walking around like he owns the place.” SHANE IS THE PATRIARCHY.
Also, the New Day calling him “Sam Zayn” is probably the best lowkey burn since Enzo Amore referred to D-Von Dudley as “Devon.” Although “never been to the gym once” seems like it might be one of those things that we find out in next week’s Observer came straight from the lips of Vince McMahon.
Best: The Outcomes Aren’t Great, But The Matches Are Getting Some Time
As Brandon pointed out in this week’s Best and Worst of Raw, these normally-snoozefest U.K. shows are suddenly tremendously improved by having actual important things happen, and by having the wrestling matches take up the bulk of the show. It’s a simple, easy concept!
The first match on the show where your favorite takes an L is Sami Zayn vs. Kofi Kingston, which is possibly even better than you may have initially suspected. The Blue Thunder Bomb near-fall remains unparalleled. The match ends abruptly with a flash Kingston pin, but I would definitely watch more of these two mixing it up. It remains to be seen just what the hell these two factions are actually going to be doing come Survivor Series, but I guess we’ll figure it out next week.
The second match on the show where your beloved catches that L is Randy Orton vs. Rusev. Orton, and not Rusev, gets the spot on Team Smackdown, which we always knew was going to happen. The most compelling thing about Orton from week to week these days is that he apparently spoke to John Cena, who convinced him that growing your high and tight out is THE SHIT. Hoping Orton starts rocking a Corey Graves-style pompadour.
This very well may have been the best Randy Orton match of 2017, which is damning with faint damning. Rusev controlled the match and then Orton hit an RKO. It was everything it needed to be, and we knew Rusev wasn’t winning anyway. So Team Smackdown (Wangs Division) is now Shane, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton, and as was just announced on WWE.com on Wednesday morning, John Cena. That’s a pretty strong team, and also Shane McMahon. If only this were for any sort of stakes at all!
A heartfelt Best for Aiden English officially being Rusev’s hype man now, and another Best to the rumors that there is an impending double turn coming for Rusev and Tye Dillinger, which both men could desperately use. I want that “RUSEV DAY” shirt that only babyfaces are probably allowed to get.
Fine, Whatever: The Bludgy Bruhs Just Need To Wrestle Already
The YouTube video for this vignette is titled “The Bludgeon Brothers’ world is a horrible place.” So even YouTube agrees: they need to get out of that greenscreen forest STAT and get in the ring. Any more weeks of this and we’re going to get into Emmalina/Brakkus territory. Get them in the ring, now, please.
Best: James Ellsworth’s Kyle Mooney-Ass Acting Skills
This backstage bit was everything that Natalya’s was not. Ellsworth is a bad actor, but it’s in the Kyle Mooney/Beck Bennett sketch school of bad acting, where you PURPOSEFULLY bad-act, as opposed to not being a good actor, so you GENUINELY ACT AS HARD AS YOU CAN. Ellsworth just gets it, man. He’s the best.
Best: An Intergender Match That Makes Perfect Sense
There hasn’t been an intergender singles match in WWE in an extremely long time. WWE has been famously opposed to having any intergender matches, in any capacity, since pretty much the days Chyna was in the company. Despite the rise of intergender wrestling on the independent scene, WWE has even reportedly told a lot of potential signees to lay off the intergender stuff before they can sign them.
So it’s an extremely welcome change to not only get a true intergender singles match on WWE television, but to get one that has a very long history, as Lynch and Ellsworth have been teasing this feud on social media for ages. It also perfectly primes the pump, as Ellsworth is such a can that “a woman can beat him” is a sufficient enough explanation for the less … uh … evolved fans, but the dude also had victories over the WWE Champion. And the match is competitive (but not too competitive, as Lynch remains in control throughout) and goes for a while, despite being played for comedy early.
Basically, this match was like firing a monkey into space. It proves it can be done, done well, and enjoyable. And the fans, of course, loved it. I loved it. And it also wraps up with Carmella possibly turning on Ellsworth (although it just might be another extension of their shared kink.) More of this, please. The match, not the kink. Okay, that too. I’m not going to kinkshame anyone.
Worst: Uce, No
The should-have-been-incredible Smackdown Tag Team Championship match was cut short when Jey Uso appeared to injure his knee for real. We’re all in a holding pattern over here waiting to see if they’ll be well enough to defend their titles at Survivor Series, or if we’ll have to get a one-night tournament next week to crown new champs, or what. So we’ve gone from Shield vs. Usos at SS, to Bar vs. Usos, to Bar vs. a bunch of question marks in a line.
We’re mostly just hoping the Usos can get a spot on the PPV, because they’re easily the best team in the company right now. Apologies to Breezango, but there’s no denying the allure of the Uso Penitentiary.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Somewhere Drew and Heath both shed a tear.
The Real Birdman
“KILL THEM! KILL THEM AJ!” – Randy Orton yelling at the monitor in the back
Jinder went for a curry dinner with Styles, but when asked if they wanted a serving of Indian bread, both replied “we don’t want naan”.
I’m pretty sure “AJ” stands for “Artistic Jenius”, because he is a master at this wrestling thing.
Maybe they could try Natalya vs. Ellsworth in a Cat vs. Dog match.
Sliced Bread No.2
Some say James Ellsworth started the Women’s Revoluchin
“Dearest Martha, Raw has now been under siege for 34 days and nights. If we approach catering, Dolph Ziggler performs comedy in our direction until we are forced to flee. I fear that if conditions do not improve, we must soon resort to eating the Cruiserweights to survive.”
Maybe I should check out Total Divas. Naomi’s entrance is probably a lot better on E!
Baron Von Raschke
Men of Honor. Sami & Kevin have their official tag team name! Men of Honor *clap clap clapclapclap* Men of Honor *clap clap clapclapclap* Men of Honor *clap clap clapclapclap*
That’s it for this week. Please enjoy this backstage video of Styles post-victory, if you haven’t seen it yet.
As always, we’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment below and let us know what you thought of the show, and if you’d share the column on one/all of your social media platforms. It helps keep the lights on.
Be back here next week for the go-home show for Survivor Series, featuring a United States Championship match between Sin Cara vs. Baron Corbin, a Women’s Championship match between Natalya and Charlotte Flair, and maybe we find out what the hell the Usos, the New Day, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn are going to do on the PPV.