Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Ali defeated Buddy Murphy in the King of the Ring Tournament, Chad Gable topped Shelton Benjamin in the same, and Daniel Bryan revealed he hates liars after kidnapping a fake Erick Rowan who will, apparently, never be mentioned again.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for September 3, 2019.
Best: Chair To Flair
You know, after the heel turn on Raw I was kinda hoping for a comically evil Bayley with a cigarette and a leather jacket, but I like what (I think) they’re going for. Last fall we initially got mad that they’d turned Becky Lynch’s extremely justified hands-throwing at Charlotte Flair into what felt like a one-dimensional “heel” motivation, but Flair proved so inherently unlikable as a character that it worked itself out. In the long run, even though Becky’s tone and delivery felt like she was a second away from blaming “each and every one” of us, she felt justified.
Here, Bayley’s point of always wanting to do the right thing and feeling that the “right thing” in this situation was supporting her best friend was really well thought-out, even if (or maybe even BECAUSE) Sasha’s rarely ever been a good friend back. At worst, it’s Bayley being emotionally manipulated by the one constant in her life over the past few years, even as live crowd response (like in toronto) starts to turn. At best, it’s Bayley beginning her transition into a female Bo Dallas who believes she’s a beloved hero while being a total jerk to everyone that doesn’t raise her up.
Plus, good luck ever getting a crowd to cheer Charlotte Flair again. It’s gonna be hilarious when Charlotte and Becky end up having to team again to stop these two.
Best: King Of The Ring Continues
This week’s King of the Ring quarter-finals match-ups were aces.
I went into the episode assuming I was going to love Chad Gable versus Andrade, but I had no idea how much I was going to like Elias vs. Ali. Elias vs. Ali ruled. It managed to be the best Elias match in a long time, maybe ever, because it focused on his size and power, and paired him with an opponent who could/would bump for it and make everything he did look devastating. There’s a lot going on here, from the casual armpit-tossing for distance to that especially brutal looking head-smash into the corner of the security railing. The corner of the barrier is the new ring apron. That’s the hardest part of the barrier! Ali was on point, too, and even the 450 on the arm that didn’t go as planned ended up looking cool and nasty.
After the deeply unsatisfying finish to Elias’ first round match against Kevin Owens ft. Shane McMahon ballyhoo, it was great to see them take a step back and remember that sometimes a good wrestling match is as effective as a goober “story” match. Instead of feeling like a weird corporate decision, the match made Elias look great, made Ali look great, added some value and prestige to the concept of winning a competitive tournament (that for all intents and purposes doesn’t actually win you anything), and got the crowd rocking. The line between success and failure sometimes is the crowd’s interest and involvement, and they were never more involved on Smackdown than during the King of the Ring matches.
Chad Gable and Andrade need to pull a Cesaro and wander into an NXT TakeOver for no reason so they can have a 10-minutes-longer version of this King of the Ring match. This was every bit as good as you wanted it to be. If I have any complaint at all, it’s that it’s extra ridiculous trying to put over how short Chad Gable is when he’s 5-foot-8, and the guy he’s wrestling is 5-foot-9. I guess when the manager shading him for his height is 3-foot-2, it’s about Gable’s psyche and not actually about how short he is. I also kinda wish when Samoa Joe was in his face, Gable would’ve pointed out that at least he realized when it was time to get a haircut, and wasn’t walking around backstage with Baron Corbin’s old hair.
Somehow the “I’m underestimated because I’m like an inch shorter than everyone else” gambit is paying off, as the crowd seems super into Chad Gable all of a sudden. I’m sure some of that has to do with Andrade being able to wrestle a loose bag of yard trimmings and get it over, but still. I’m looking forward to the inevitable Gable pay-per-view loss to King Baron Corbin, especially since I feel like the entire tournament’s been building up to them recreating that legendary NXT counter spot on WWE TV.
Eh: Erick The Dread
The ending segment was fine, but man, we took a lot of unnecessary steps to get here, didn’t we? The angle as it stands boils down to, “Erick Rowan attacked Roman Reigns on behalf of Daniel Bryan maybe, but Bryan’s a morally indignant self-righteous heel, not a murderous one, so he rejects the effort and now Rowan’s a mad man on his own.” That’s solid, but it really didn’t need a no-sold mystery production equipment toppling, a parking lot hit-and-run, like three weeks of back-and-forth Buddy Murphy snitching, and Daniel Bryan kidnapping an Erick Rowan lookalike and holding him against his will backstage at Smackdown just to reveal him, act confused about it, and then never mention it again. Oh, plus two weeks of I HATE LIARS. At least we got a Buddy Murphy push out of it.
Plus, the payoff is a Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan pay-per-view match. You’ve got Daniel Bryan right there and you write it so the payoff is Rowan wrestling? All right, man, you do you, I guess.
Jobbers Of The Week
Stepping into the ring with Shinsuke Nakamura this week is Andrew Howard, who looks like Peter Rosenberg dressed up as Montel Vontavious Porter for Halloween. The best part is that Sami Zayn is like, “your name is Andrew Howard?” and dude shakes his head “no,” so I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know his own WWE name. He’s the Mr. Thompson of jobbers.
Anyway, I don’t know who keeps pushing the idea of a heel manager with a microphone at ringside screaming the entire match, but it doesn’t work. Lio Rush doing it didn’t work, and now Sami Zayn doing it really doesn’t work. Are we so worried about Nakamura that we don’t let the crowd react to him talking OR wrestling? Save Zayn’s wacky rambling for before and after matches, and let Nakamura’s stone cold ass-kickings speak for themselves.
Also On This Episode
Fire and Desire have pinned the Women’s Tag Team Champions! I’d be more upset about them booking the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Clash of Champions in the laziest way possible, but (1) at least they’re remembering to do a Women’s Tag Team Championship match at Clash of Champions, and (2) I love Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville and want the best for them. Having said that, I’d hope they’d win at the pay-per-view, but I think one of the belts has to stay on Alexa Bliss if we want to keep them on TV.
Not much advancement in the Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston beef this week, just a recap promo and another 3-on-1 beatdown. It’s effective enough, but not interesting enough for me to even really write a paragraph about. “Snake Man’s cronies” is still a better use for The Revival than “team who loses a fall in the middle of a gauntlet match on Raw and then disappears without comment.”
Aleister Black defeated Shelton Benjamin in the battle of guys who usually just hang around backstage doing nothing while a camera films them. It was fine while it lasted, but wasn’t even two minutes long. It’s good work if you can get it, I guess? We’re really treading water heading into Fox.
Finally there was more of the 24/7 Division stuff, and it played out like it usually does: with either R-Truth or Drake Maverick (or sometimes Elias) starting the show with the championship, a bunch of random guys running around and sometimes briefly winning the belt, and then either R-Truth or Drake Maverick (or sometimes Elias) leaving the show with the championship. It’s rarely even the 24/7 Championship anymore, although the “can be won without having to actually have a match, and sometimes personalities we want to impress win it” championship doesn’t really roll off the tongue.
R-Truth disguising himself as a coat rack and putting a lampshade on his head was pretty funny, though.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
I wonder what R-Truth is up to right now.
I love you, Randy, but I went to get a glass of wine when you started that promo and it was still going when I got back. I got the wine from a bar 6 blocks away. I walked.
Dave M J
Actual reasoning for all of this:
They’re chanting “Gable”.
Great wrestling getting people over. Imagine.
I’ll be down for this match only if Roman and Rowan come out with a red and a yellow hat respectively, with an M on one and an upside down M on the other.
I’m old enough to remember when pinning the champs meant you were the champs. That means I am AEW years old.
I will say that Aleister Black has slimmed down considerably since he became a Vegatarian.
The Real Birdman
The only good thing about Zayn with this mic during the match is that it forces commentary to shut up for a minute
its always the giant quiet dudes in heavy metal t-shirts hat you least expect.
That’s it for this week’s Smackdown Live recap. Thanks for reading, as always. Drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, toss us a share on your Facebook or Twitter (or whatever) to help us out, and make sure you’re here throughout the week for all the weekend stuff we missed due to Labor Day.
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