Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown: We celebrated Rusev Day, Sami Zayn got injured, and everyone else did whatever they’ve been doing for the past month.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for October 3, 2017.
Worst: Hell In A Cell Is Completely Pointless
There are two things you shouldn’t do with Shinsuke Nakamura, and both of them are “teach him a bunch of cliché English sayings and let him take five minutes to say a sentence in front of a live crowd on a live microphone at the top of your show.” Brother, I think Nakamura’s got great English and his English shins my Japanese in the face, but for the billionth time, why are we shining the world’s brightest spotlight on the one thing in the infinity of pro wrestling Nakamura’s not great at? Dude’s one of the best and most popular wrestlers in the world over the past decade-plus and he’s feuding with JINDER MAHAL and you’ve set it up so live crowds are “what” chanting him. And with the way he delivers lines, they get in like five “whats” per sentence.
On the other side of this, you’ve got your WWE Champion who can’t win even the most basic match without a pair of Brooks Brothers For Boys loserweights interfering on his behalf unable to win an impromptu attack or any kind of physical or verbal confrontation whatsoever without getting his ass kicked first and having guys the size of his leg fight his fight for him. And while, sure, that’s “heeling” or whatever, you can’t take a babyface or a match seriously if your heel is a completely worthless, unengaging non-factor.
Every Jinder Mahal match or segment plays the same. Someone kicks the shit out of him, the Singhs interfere, he hits Khallas and holds up the title. That’s all he’s got in the tank. That’s his/the show’s/WWE’s only idea. Combine that with the what chants for the guy we’re supposed to like, and you’ve got a hell of a Smackdown open.
And while I’m at it, how hilarious is it that Nakamura vs. Mahal for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell isn’t actually inside a Hell in a Cell? The entire point of Jinder is the outside interference. The one time they booked him in a cage match, which would effectively work to keep the Singhs outside the ring, HE suggested it, and the Singhs were able to climb through the cage. Now you’re coming up on your giant steel cage pay-per-view where the holes in the fencing aren’t big enough for humans to fit through, and you’re not putting your WWE Championship match inside of it? The fuck are y’all even doing?
Amazingly, that’s not the only misuse of the Cell in this episode.
Before Supermanning up and condemning Kevin Owens to a literal Hell of pink, sweaty little-brother punches, Shane McMahon decides to make their Hell in a Cell match falls count anywhere. No, really. Shane McMahon is making their cage match, the one match type designed to keep wrestlers inside of a specific area, “falls count anywhere.” We know a lot of Hell in a Cell matches end up on the outside, especially when Shane McMahon’s only selling point is jumping off high shit, but it’s pretty disheartening even for WWE to see them completely give the hell up on booking a logical reason for the fight to spill out.
It’s just lazy. Although now part of me wants to see the match not even go to the floor between the ring and the cage, and for Owens to just pin him clean in a few minutes with a pop-up powerbomb. Because, you know, Kevin Owens is an elite-level championship-caliber WWE Superstar and Shane McMahon is an almost 50-year old who’s wrestled thrice since 2009 and looks like Krang’s robot body.
Worst: This Is Just An Awful Episode
Carmella and Natalya team up against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Nattie taps out Charlotte, her championship challenger in five days at Hell in a Cell, because reasons.
I think the highlight is the pre-match backstage segment where Natalya calls James Ellsworth a dog and is like, “oh, he’s a BOY DOG! That means you’re a FEMALE DOG! WINKEROO!” I swear, the person who keeps giving Natalya Neidhart the green light to talk on television needs to be sent to prison.
Bobby Roode defeats Mike Kanellis in less than a minute. You thought the “power of love” gimmick was dead in the water, check it out now that Maria’s pregnant and she’s not at ringside. Sky’s the limit, Heart Pants!
If that’s not bad enough, we get another interminable appearance from Dolph Ziggler, who insists for like the fourth straight week that wrestling entrances are all we care about and how he’s the best ACTUAL WRESTLER ever, and enforces that by half-doing a bunch of entrances and then not wrestling. And he’s up against babyface Bobby Roode, which remains some deeply counter-productive shit. THIS IS ALL SO GOOD, YOU GUYS.
Randy Orton pins Aiden English in just OVER a minute, because I guess maybe the Chrisley Knows Best commercials ran short. The point here is that Rusev thinks about sneak attacking Orton, Orton catches him before he can, and they do a “what will happen when these two COLLIDE at Hell in a Cell,” which is a poor decision because we’ve already seen Orton pin Rusev in three seconds and Rusev pin Orton in like nine.
Finally, we have Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger. Corbin is challenging AJ Styles for the United States Championship in five days, so of course the finish is [checks notes] Dillinger pinning Corbin clean with a small package, then AJ Styles showing up on the TitanTron to make fun of him for several minutes for being such an unbelievable loser.
Has anything I’ve typed so far made you think, “wow, I can’t wait for Hell in a Cell?” Is Smackdown tanking on purpose to get the #1 pick in the next draft?
Best: The One Good Thing, And Even That’s Nothing New
The closest thing to a watchable segment on this somehow mailed-in grease fire of an episode is the Usos cutting a promo on the New Day where the read them their rights, and then New Day show up to read the Usos their “lefts.” It’s not especially creative or something we haven’t seen 4-15 times over the past few months, but at least these guys are attempting to have fun and aren’t, like, getting pinned by The Ascension so Daniel Bryan can walk out, add an “if you touch the cage you get disqualified” stipulation to their Hell in a Cell match and mock them for sucking ass for a quarter-hour.
Seriously, want to know how poorly put-together this episode was? Last week, we got this:
This week we get no Fashion Files segment, and somewhere near the end of the show they’re like,
… cool. Maybe they’ll investigate what Goldust’s latest masterpiece is supposed to be at SummerSlam?
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Owens: “what a horrible theme song!”
Ziggler: “I guess other people can do what I do…..” *walks off dejectedly*
Smarks: Two teams alone can’t make a great tag team division
New Day and Usos: Hold our beers
The Real Birdman
I hope Rusev gets a Ghost Tank for Sunday
Live your life like every day is Rusev Day.
I can’t wait til Spike Uso shows up to even the odds at HIAC
Dolph Ziggler’s gimmick is guy who thinks he is AJ Styles but is booked like Dolph Ziggler.
WWE Creative on the Titantic with water lapping around their ankles: I think we can still work with this.
Without Maria, Mike Kanellis is just Curt Hawkins without the cane, right?
Jinder. Natalya. Enzo. Together they are: the Undeserving Era.
Sticks & Stones match confirmed.
That’s it for this week. Join us this Sunday, when we-
You know what? Join us whenever you want. It’s fine.