Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Shane McMahon continued his unchecked dominance over the show, the Yolo County Tag Team Championship changed hands, and R-Truth accidentally got locked in a production crate.
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Anyway, here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for June 17, 2019.
Worst: Shane Old Story, Zayn Old Song And Dance
Here’s a strange way to open this week’s column: the admission that, at least this week, Raw was considerably better than Smackdown. The Wild Card Rule has made the brands feel like the same show on different nights, and has somehow simultaneously beaten every current feud into the ground while making it almost impossible to tell who’s feuding at all. It’s just a big pile of WWE stuff.
It probably sounds hyperbolic to people who weren’t fans at the time, but current Smackdown feels too much like WCW Monday Nitro. How? Well, let me put it to you like this; Miz cuts a really good promo that acknowledges and contextualizes a lot of the concerns fans have with the Shane McMahon story, in that he’s weirdly dominant over everyone, takes up all the TV time, and proclaimed Smackdown Live the “land of opportunity” with “the WWE Universe” as the new “authority” only to turn both weekly shows into commercials for Shane McMahon. He ends up in a tag team match and gets teamed with R-Truth, his old teammate from the Awesome Truth who has regularly been one of the most enjoyable parts of the show.
You’d think that’d go somewhere new, or somewhere at least exciting to get our hopes up about Smackdown turning a corner creatively and getting back to, you know, being a show we might want to watch, but it just leads to the same place as everyone else: Miz losing, Awesome Truth jobbing out to characters with more important feuds to worry about, and a Shane McMahon beatdown that on an atomic level feels like every throwaway nWo beatdown I’ve ever seen.
The only positives I can give here are:
- Miz’s promo work was good
- R-Truth is always enjoyable
- Drew McIntyre looked tough, even though he’s about to lose a pay-per-view match to a guy who got pinned by Shane McMahon earlier this month
- the whole thing only took 20 minutes instead of 30
Stomping Grounds should open with Roman Reigns running Shane over with a car, then backing up and driving over him again.
Similarly, I wrote this in the Best and Worst of Raw:
Did you guys make it a 2-out-of-3 falls match so you could do the “Baron Corbin’s partners don’t like him and abandon him” finish AND have Sami Zayn take a pin? Because you probably could’ve just not had Sami lose for once.
That happens again on Smackdown, with a tag team main event made into a “2-out-of-3 falls match” but ending in two straight falls, seemingly only to make sure that if Kevin Owens takes the pin, we ALSO get to see Sami Zayn lose. He gets hit with one move at the very beginning of the match and loses 100% of his HP.
I know they’re stooge heels right now and everything, but does anybody really know what’s going on with Zayn and Owens? Why are they Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco? J&J Security could kick these guys’ asses right now. Is Sami being punished for the Saudi Arabia stuff, or for not getting over the “actually it’s the FANS who are wrong” shit? Did GTV catch them talking about how they wish they could go to All Elite? I haven’t seen someone get turned out so hard since Wade Barrett spent like two years losing matches to strong gusts of wind.
Long story short, this Smackdown felt like the Raw I’d expected to see on Monday.
Worst: Dorf On Dolph
As for Kofi, he’s stuck in the same time loop as everyone else, forced to stand in the ring and listen to Dolph Ziggler cut these intense, rambling Mick Foley promos without any of the motivation or context Mick Foley had for cutting promos. He does these speeches like a melodramatic kid in 10h grade drama. I know a lot of you are huge Dolph Ziggler marks, and brother, I’ve been there, but he’s turned up to 11 and a half on some shit that requires a 4 or 5 at best. He’s gonna have a vein burst in his head if he keeps it up.
Sure enough, Xavier Woods is only here to get fridged six days before Kofi Kingston’s match at Stomping Grounds, the same way Big E came back early just to get attacked before Super Showdown. If they extend this feud to Extreme Rules, we’re gonna find out that Evan Bourne’s been mysteriously attacked backstage.
Best: Bayley, This Is Your Actual Life
Let’s talk positives for a moment, so you don’t think I just blankly hated the entire show.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the Alexa Bliss and Bayley talk show segment based on … well, every other Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley talking segment, but it turned out to the be the highlight of the night for me. Alexa Bliss is on here, absolutely ethering Bayley for being an inconsistent character that peaked in NXT and can’t seem to constructively deal with any emotion or obstacle the character has. Bayley also throws the first punch here like an asshole, despite the WWE Fan Nation video labeling the segment as, “Alexa Bliss slaps Bayley.” What segment where you watching?
Another great thing here is that the crowd actually seems to be on board with the moral ambiguity. Bayley is right to point out that Alexa Bliss is a great manipulator and that she deserves to be forearmed in the face for her entire character history of lies and betrayal, but I honestly didn’t feel like Bliss was lying here. The stuff she was saying felt real, at least from the character’s point of view, and the Bayley I know would’ve been good-hearted (or at least Sting Stupid) enough to actually address the concerns.
The money here is that I think Bliss is actually telling the truth, and that Nikki Cross is the big manipulator. That’s the only really satisfying conclusion to this that I can see. Bliss has “cried wolf” so many times everyone expects her to be a huge jerk to anyone she pretends to be friends with, but Cross is literally an insane, feral monster that is for some reason acting perfectly normal and lovable with Bliss. Why? I think Cross is the one pulling the strings with the “gossip” and social media shit-talking or whatever, and I’d love it if it inadvertently double-turned Bayley and Bliss.
Best: If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
Truth: “Whoa, whoa … you a Uber driver and a referee?”
Drake Maverick dressed as Carmella to finally bring his hunt for R-Truth to an end was pretty fun, but not as fun as (1) him using the car to “get his feet on the ropes” and somehow cheat to win a title without any rules, or (2) him leaning out of the window to yell, “you can bill me, I’m getting married! I’M THE CHAMPION!”
The continuity of Drake Maverick’s wedding has been great, and I’m gonna lose it when he’s delivering his vows at his actual wedding and gets rolled up by R-Truth. I want him to be the one human being brave enough to have a real WWE Championship change hands during what’s supposed to be the most important moment of his real life. Bonus points if EC3 tosses Truth into the wedding cake and wins it as well.
Too Much Good Content Happened During The Commercials
Speaking of R-Truth, here’s a fun and lovable bit where Miz tries to explain What’s Up® with the impromptu tag team match, featuring Truth calling Greg Hamilton “Alexander Hamilton,” and the reveal that Truth is, “legally insane.” Wouldn’t it be a good idea to, like, let the characters be likable on the actual show instead of having them talk like robots in pre-written paragraphs about shit we’ve already seen a hundred times?
Similarly, here’s Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn getting some old fashioned heel heat to get the crowd involved in their tag team main event. That also might have went a long way toward making us get involved in it as a viewing audience, and would’ve at least explained and built up some tension for Zayn’s instant loss.
They also put an entire Daniel Bryan promo in a commercial break, which is like having a parade and putting a black tarp over all the floats.
These segments all happening on the fly while we watch commercials for The Radkes, plus the ongoing difference between on-screen and off-screen IIconics promos, makes me wish they’d jettison a few of those soap opera writers into space and let the wrestlers have a stronger hand in what they say into a microphone.
Also On This Episode
While the backstage segments that made the cut aren’t as good as the ones during commercials, at least WWE remembered the Kabuki Warriors exist. They’re going into a non-title match against The IIconics in Tokyo, Japan, which sounds like the easiest-to-win match in the history of professional wrestling. I’d actually be okay with the IIconics losing the belts at this point, because WWE doesn’t have any interest in doing anything with them, and when it comes to actual hypothetical match quality you can’t get much better than injecting Asuka and Kairi Sane into things.
In other backstage news, Apollo Crews uses his trout-like charisma to ask Zelina Vega about Andrade’s whereabouts and gets his ass kicked about it. Chad Gable takes notes, presumably because he’s looking for another random black guy to tag with. Hey, you know what would be REALLY good? Chad Gable vs. Andrade. Let’s do that instead.
Ember Moon is EXTREMELY MAD at Sonya Deville for breaking her Switch, and is going to gesture directly while speaking very sternly in the way watching promos on YouTube taught her. She’s also wearing a pelt and feather shoulderpad while Mandy Rose and Sonya stand around being friends and eating donuts, so I think we know who’s on the right side here.
Also, check out that look Mandy gives Sonya at the end of the segment. Is she finally into her? LET SONYA DEVILLE HAVE A PRETTY GIRLFRIEND AND GOOD DONUTS, WWE.
Finally, the Yolo County Tag Team Champions squash the B-Team. Congratulations to Bo and ol’ Mike McGillicutty for getting to stand in the background of TWO segments this week, including one in which Matt Hardy reminds us he used to do things we liked.
Oh, and a huge, huge best to this kid wearing a Nexus shirt in 2019 and doing a Macho Many Randy Savage impression. It’s always nice to see yourself represented on screen.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Mr. Fuji spent many a night in jail for…
… a salt.
Huey Freeman: You know, we could all be watching a Nakamura match right now.
it’s about time ethan makes drake an honest man
Vince: I wish there was a way we could have both Sami AND Owens take a pin in the same match.
HHH: You have got to be kidding me…
Miz: “This is very very important, I need you, Drew and the hairy guy with the guitar need to watch this.”
*Miz plays Miz and Mrs. episode on the titantron*
VINCE: Ratings are slipping and I need ideas people.
BIG E: Why don’t we make the second hour of Smackdown the freaky hour.
VINCE: What do you need?
BIG E: A slip n’ slide, Becky’s mom and a goat.
VINCE: Get me Jericho!
Oh, I get it. Chad Gable’s new gimmick is “guy hanging around taking notes for his Harvard Business School class.”
Son of Tony Zane
We finally got the Senor Shetlon Benjamin joke we all made!
The Real Birdman
Go ahead & flirt with her, Apollo. Her husband’s trapped in a closet somewhere
You guys think Nakamura, Rusev, Buddy Murphy, Ali, Aleister Black: Ring Edition, Kairi Sane, Asuka, Finn Balor, Chad Gable, AOP, Paige, Ember Moon: Non-Bookworm Edition, Killian Dane, Liv Morgan or EC3: Real Person Edition show up tonight?
Thanks for reading about Smackdown! Fox can’t happen soon enough.
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