Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Kevin Owens became a referee, Randy Orton attacked his own tag team partner, and Tamina got a week-long push. It was still way better than this week.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for September 5, 2017.
Worst: Shame McMahon
Up first this week we’ve gotta talk about Shane McMahon, an enraged, hot pink family man who looks a little more like Rob Liefeld’s Captain America every week. I’d make a joke about him being on steroids, but do steroids make everything above your shoulders look like a thumb and make it look like you’ve been sitting under a heat lamp all day?
The big hook of this week’s story, if we can call it that, is Kevin Owens insulting Shane’s family and getting attacked. Nothing makes The Authority madder than mentioning their kids in passing, even if you bring them to ringside and dress them like you every week. Remember when Paul Heyman mentioned Stephanie and Triple H’s kids, and they did a, “NEVER MENTION MY FAMILY OR I’LL KILL YOU, ALSO YOUR FAMILY IS ASHAMED OF YOU” bit? Same difference. Owens is like, “I wish you’d died in a helicopter crash” to nothing, but then he’s like, “Shane, your kids preferred Pizza Hut to Domino’s” and there’s HELL TO PAY. LITTLE BROTHER PUNCHES!
The one thing I do like about the McMahon/Owens angle, I guess, is that it’s at least attempting to give both parties a point of view. Owens thinks Shane is “screwing” him, and he’s got some compelling evidence. Shane keeps getting involved in his shit, pulled Baron Corbin out of the ring during a match he was supposed to be refereeing after letting Owens choose the referee because he decided he wasn’t doing well enough, etc. Shane thinks Owens is paranoid and bringing this all on himself, which is the classic WWE babyface move of saying interfering in someone’s life and even lying and cheating are fine as long as nobody complains about it, because caring about what happened and saying so is what makes you a bad guy. WWE’s biggest heel moves are “being in a loving relationship” and “pointing out a problem instead of punching about it.”
Anyway, Owens threatens to sue the McMahon family and WWE because Shane put his hands on him, which once again goes to the Stephanie angle well. Remember when she and Brie Bella were hitting each other in the face and getting arrested every week on some loose-ass “I’m employed/I’m not/how do pro wrestling attacks work” rationale? Authority figures have been attacking their employees in WWE since at least the late ’90s. But now it means dire straits for the company, and Vince McMahon calls Daniel Bryan and tells him to indefinitely suspend Shane. Remember back in the day when Triple H and Stephanie fired Vince and then Vince returned and was suddenly in control of them? Or when Shane blackmailed his dad into getting a position of power, and then Vince could somehow say Shane wasn’t able to blackmail him unless he beat the Undertaker, and then Shane couldn’t beat the Undertaker and got power anyway, but with Vince controlling him? Haha, none of this makes sense.
Anyway, I think my favorite part of this is when Daniel Bryan is like, “Kevin Owens is suing everyone in your family, not that I care about that!” Shane should’ve double-legged him and punched him a bunch for insulting his family.
On the positive side, I do like that Daniel Bryan is deeply sensitive to authority figures beating up wrestlers, as a guy who was once handcuffed and beaten on national television by his boss.
Worst: Machiavellian Hair Stylists
The other big angle of the week (cough) is the breakup of Carmella and James Ellsworth due to Ellsworth accidentally dropping the Money in the Bank briefcase in the ring during Carmella’s non-briefcase-related match with the Smackdown Women’s Champion and making it look like she wanted to cash in. She ends up losing to the Roll-up Of Doom, the ultimate Divas kill move, so she tells James his parents don’t love him and walks out on him.
Note: Yes, on a show with Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Naomi, Natalya vs. Carmella and a James Ellsworth angle are your women’s title scene. Imagine if over on Raw, Rhyno and Curt Hawkins were feuding over the Universal Championship because Christy St. Cloud won’t stop interfering. Or if, like, Jinder Mahal was WWE Champion.
Backstage, Carmella (with Conspiracy Victim Chris Jericho hair and so much makeup she almost looks CGI) accepts Ellsworth’s apology, confirms that now they’re “doing things her way,” and turns the relationship into that weird dom/sub thing WWE pulls sometimes. You know, where a woman slaps you, then kisses you, then slaps you again. Don’t be surprised if next week they do a segment where Carmella stomps Ellsworth’s balls while she makes out with Vince.
Worst: Sami Zayn Wrestles Aiden English Again and Loses In Like 90 Seconds Again Because For Some Reason The Smackdown Writing Team Has No Idea How To Book The Easiest-To-Book Wrestler In The World And Is Really Into Making Even Their Best Wrestlers Look Like Complete Garbage
Worst: Welcome To Next Week’s Uso Penitentiary
The Usos have chosen a street fight for their Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match against New Day. Maybe I’m overthinking this, but isn’t it pretty dumb when you can pick any stipulation in the world and are going up against a 3-man tag team to pick a no disqualification match?
Next week’s Smackdown features that match, Natalya vs. Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger for the United States Championship and an appearance from Vince McMahon. And, technically, the finals of the Mae Young Classic. I’m sure glad that’s all next week, and that this week’s show is about dad fights and Dolph Ziggler being pointless.
Speaking of that,
After this brutal segment, are y’all okay with me making Dolph Ziggler jokes or is it still “unfair?”
This was like if they’d sent Alexa Bliss out to do Bayley This Is Your Life and made her play all the parts. And what’s with the Naomi shade? Can she get back at him for that? John Cena’s not on the show and Macho Man’s dead, so that leaves Naomi as the active star Dolph is saying could be “anyone.” Next week’s show should begin with the Usos attacking Dolph in the parking lot, and Naomi putting on that glow in the dark octopus wig to dance on his unconscious body. Nuts to Dolph Ziggler and his Kurt Hummel teeth. If he’s leaving in October or whatever, release him now and cut your losses.
Worst: AJ Out Here Giving Title Shots To Guys He Knows He Can Beat
Last week, Tye Dillinger got attacked by Baron Corbin and ended up losing his United States Championship match in less than a minute. This week, he gets his ass handed to him by Corbin in a one-on-one match and pinned cleanly. So then AJ Styles is like, “hey man, have another United States Championship match,” because Corbin is a cheap-shot artist? I think you just want another easy title defense.
Regarding the cheap-shot artist thing, the announcers tried to put over Corbin punching Dillinger around the referee as a “cheap shot,” but the ref’s the one that got in the way. Corbin didn’t like, pull the ref in front of him. And frankly, that’s no more illegal in pro wrestling than standing in the corner and closed-fisting someone in the face ten times while the referee tells you to get off the ropes.
Best: King Of Snake Style
The best part of the show was a Randy Orton match, if that tells you anything. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin have vanished, apparently, and we didn’t even get a Fashion Files.
But yeah, the Orton vs. Nakamura match is surprisingly good, and plays off the corny sneak attack that ended last week’s show. Orton made a mistake by hitting Nak with an RKO From Outta Nowhere™, because it let Nakamura scout the move. This week, Orton goes for the RKO and Nakamura quickly counters it into a lungblower. Orton’s never been Kinshasa’d in the face, though, so he gets hit with one of those and loses the match. Now Nakamura has pinned John Cena and Randy Orton clean.
My only complaint is, what does it accomplish giving Nakamura these big wins on Smackdown, only to have them build to him losing to Jinder Mahal at pay-per-views? You know they’re gonna find a way to have the Singh Brothers interfere at Hell in a Cell, despite the whole “a cage is supposed to keep you out” bit, and/or The Great Khali will get summoned again, slow-chop a comedy prop door off its comedy prop hinges and squeeze Nakamura’s brain or whatever so Jinder can win. And then what? Do we build to Nakamura vs. Mahal at Survivor Series by having Nak pin AJ Styles clean on Smackdown? This shit’s good, but it can’t end the same way it’s been ending since May.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Nakamura is single handedly running through the magical 2004 OVW class…Batista return confirmed.
This the first orton match i’ve enoyed since 2006
I’m Corey Graves. And I am absolutely elated that I get to scream “KINSHASA” once more. I’m Corey Graves.
Baron Von Raschke
Big Cass just threw his knee brace at the television
And Elsworth suddenly discovers his kink.
Vince: “YOU’RE GRRROUNDEDDDD!”
Daniel: “Bad news Shane, we’re working on Christmas.”
The Real Birdman
Is SDL tanking for the first pick in the next WWE Draft?
When will Aiden English figure out that nobody can interrupt him if he comes out second?
Shane: “Ah ha, but my kids taught me how to punch!”
Aside from one good match, that was a complete shit show. Let’s hope they’ve got something better planned for Las Vegas than little league stands fights, shit-talking their own talent and Vince McMahon deciding the only way to salvage the product is to “shake up the superstars” without shaking a few fresh voices onto the writing team.
Drop a comment and let us know if you agree, or if you thought it was “the best show they’ve done in a long time,” like I’m sure some of you are ready to type. And hey, click those social share buttons so we can get some views on this piece and not feel like we sat through The Best Show They’ve Done In A Long Time for nothing.
Join us next week, when we’ve had a week to think about how Daniel Bryan’s first instinct in fights is to headbutt someone in the face. Maybe don’t?
(Also check out this week’s McMahonsplaining podcast with Titus O’Neil and subscribe!)