Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown: The Undertaker returned to Madison Square Garden to chokeslam Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns got hit in the face with a camera jib, and Very Important Character Shane McMahon tried to advance to the finals of the King of the Ring tournament.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for September 17, 2019.
Oh No: A Wild Beast Incarnate Appeared
Smackdown opens with a 17-plus minute six-man tag teaming up the WWE Champion and the longest reigning Tag Team Champions against a 13-time World Champion and the current Tag Team Champions, but you aren’t going to hear anything about that because of the post-match Brock Lesnar appearance and challenge. That’s the value of Brock, I guess. Love him or hate him, whatever he’s doing feels more important than anything around him.
Just to address it for a second, the six-man was pretty good, but hurt by commercial breaks. It also would’ve been a lot better if they’d just given 17+ minutes to New Day vs. The Revival, I think. It’s only been two days since the most recent Randy Orton pay-per-view match, and he hasn’t built up any good will by doing a few weeks of surprisingly good PPV build and tricking me into thinking the match is gonna be good. Orton’s fine, he’s just never going to be better than a cutter where you haven’t had to watch him wrestle first.
So … yeah. The long-awaited Beast In The East rematch between Brock Lesnar and Kofi Kingston will main-event the first episode of Smackdown on Fox. There are a lot of contentious talking points to be made here, from, “oh no, they’re gonna put a championship on Lesnar again and it’ll never get defended,” to, “of course Fox would get rid of the black heavyweight champion before the first episode was over.” I’m not sure which one to go with, honestly.
If you’ve read these columns long enough you know that I really love Brock Lesnar as a performer, but … yeah, Brock Lesnar suddenly materializing from the rural Canadian tundra or whatever to immediately win the championship and disappear because (1) ratings (2) name recognition (3) question mark question mark question mark feels more like a corporately mandated decision than a naturally occurring event in the WWE Universe. I guess all I can do for now is hope they have a more creative idea in mind than ending Kofi’s lengthy and important WWE Championship reign and give it to a guy who openly doesn’t give a shit on a whim with two weeks build.
There Are Only Two Other Matches On This Episode, And They’re Both Short
Really mailing it in until the start at Fox, aren’t we?
The better of the two is Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair, which is almost always good, except I guess when you flatten out the finish to Death Valley levels because you want to protect both women. You could also, again, utilize your large roster of talent that doesn’t get TV time and do a more creative finish than, “heel is about to lose so their friend jumps in to cause a disqualification,” which at least in my brain doesn’t actually “protect” anyone more than just watching them lose. “About to lose” and “lost” is only the difference of a moment.
Anyway, the good news here is that as long as we’re continuing to build to some kind of match or matches involving 2-4 of the NXT Four Horsewomen, it’s going to be good. I think the timing of the show move and the draft and the weird switchover to “executive directors” is dulling everything’s colors, and they’re just trying to do passable work until everything’s in place. I get it. It’s a tough spot to be in.
- Shout-out to Carmella for making the save for Charlotte, and realizing she’s never going to get actual matches if WWE thinks she’s part of the 24/7 division
- Shout-out to Offset for showing up unironically in a Ric Flair robe and a bunch of jewelry and no other clothes
The lesser of the two matches (at only about three minutes long) is Heavy Machinery vs. The B-Team. At least the B-Team got on TV outside of a 24/7 Championship skit! Celebrate NXT’s move to USA Network by watching one of its best champions get smooshed to death in three minutes!
They’re really working to turn Otis into the new Rikishi, though, so that’s something. The move to trunks was an eye-opener. Let’s hope he doesn’t start trying to smother people with his asshole any time soon.
This Week In Almost Matches
The Ali vs. Shinsuke Nakamura feud picks back up on this episode with Sami “Lio Rush” Zayn and Nakamura jumping Ali before a match. The major talking point here is that the Nakamura Ali previously pinned on Smackdown was a much different Nakamura from the one who is currently Intercontinental Champion, which is pretty funny considering that (1) that match happened less than two months ago, and (2) was part of the same Intercontinental title run. I guess when a man starts wearing a Dracula cape, it powers him up?
Elsewhere on the program, Erick Rowan has a sit-down NXT promo class with Michael Cole to explain the same stuff he explained last week. He doesn’t like being treated like a hired goon, and feels like Bryan and Reigns and the WWE Universe “didn’t respect” him, or whatever. The only new stuff he could’ve added — namely, information about why Luke Harper returned, and/or how they got their first names back — gets hand-woven away. All right.
D-Bry shows up at the end of the night to make the cogent point of, “at what point during all those promos where I clarified we were friends and intellectual equals and you weren’t my underling henchman did you think you were my underling henchman,” and Rowan’s having nothing of it. The Bludgeon Brothers attack Bryan like he’s a camera left out in the woods until Roman makes the save. The Damned Numbers Game™ is still too much for Roman, however, and the Bludgies put Bryan through a table and stand tall.
I always prefer evil Daniel Bryan to rebel-rousing unionizer Daniel Bryan, but either version is my favorite wrestler in the world. So I’m fine with this leading to Bryan and Reigns vs. the Bludgeon Brothers at Hell in a Cell. What’re the chances Bryan’s still the mastermind behind all of this, and they’re luring Reigns into a Four Horsemen-style Sting swerve?
You know, I didn’t start stanning Baron Corbin again for short jokes and “each and every one of you.”
The coronation of One True King Baron Constable Corbin, first of his name — well, second of his name if you count Darin Corbin — goes about how you’d expect, with Corbin being such a sore winner he can’t help but bring out Chad Gable and irritate his Napoleon complex until he attacks. Corbin was seriously asking for it here, and even my heel-loving ass can’t say Gable’s wrong for fucking up all his King stuff. Corbin gotta Corbin, I guess.
Anyway, Corbin should start wearing the stomped-on crown and torn-up cloak and call himself “Baron the Broken.”
Finally we have the ever exciting THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION segment between “fired” Kevin Owens and Best Wrestler In The World Shane McMahon, who still almost talks over Owens’ entire speech and barely seems bothered by the threat of a $25 million loss. The payoff here is a settlement of some kind, right? Because what’s the alternative? Kevin Owens winning an off-screen lawsuit that allows him to fire Shane McMahon? Couldn’t Shane just get his job back any time he wants, because his family runs the company? And if not, didn’t he get his job in the first place by blackmailing his father with a “lock box?” We ever gonna find out what was in that?
Honestly this wasn’t a terrible segment and they kept it pretty short — plus, Owens is good at what he does, even if he accidentally said “WWE Uni-vorse” — and I appreciated them actually paying attention to what’s been happening for once and explaining in clear terms why McMahon would definitely lose a lawsuit like this. Although it’d be pretty hilarious if Shane just explained to Owens that he’s an independent contractor and has technically never been an employee. Regardless, I’m so ready for a world without Shane McMahon that he could show up at my front door to present me a Publisher’s Clearing House check for a million dollars and I’d try to change his channel.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Look on the brightside guys…
…It’s not Lars?
Kevin:…oh shit, Ticketmaster gave me the wrong tix
It’s supposed to be the Capital One Arena on Oct. 2nd
Kevin’s legal knowledge is so strong that he passed Sheamus and Cesaro on his first try.
Carmella: I saved Charlotte cause us tan blondes have to stick together!
Alexa: you have my sword
Dana: and my bow
Mandy: and my axe
Graves: my precious!
Shane: Your case is weak!
Kevin: I can remember longer than 2 weeks ago!
Shane: oh no
“I’m going to hit it you where it hurts the most, Shane.”
”My daddy issues?”
Too bad they couldn’t have booked King Corbin vs King Barrett in a Coronation Street Fight
Dave M J
WWE isn’t smarter than a 5th grader, I know that much, John.
WTH? 205 Live is having a match? You only have 1 hour! Why are you wasting it on wrestling. No wonder you’re getting cancelled.
[‘Leave The Memories Alone’ intensifies]
Thanks for reading about Smackdown Live! Business should pick up in a couple of weeks, so we appreciate you sticking through this period with us.
As always, drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, and give us a share on Twitter or Facebook or whatever to help us out. Make sure you’re here on Wednesday night, as well, for our first NXT on USA Network open discussion thread, which’ll end up being half NXT and half AEW in a few weeks. Business is picking up all around.
See you then!