Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live: Summer got slammed, but not much changed on the Smackdown side of things. Kofi Kingston is still WWE Champion, Bayley is still Smackdown Women’s Champion, and the other titles weren’t even defended.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for August 13, 2019.
Worst: Here Comes The Goddamn Money Again
If you thought Kevin Owens triumphing over Shane McMahon’s McMechanations at SummerSlam was going to change anything, give Owens a rub, keep McMahon off the shows for a while, or affect Shane McMahon in any way whatsoever … what’re you, new?
Smackdown opens with Owens briefly feeling happy about, you know, winning the big pay-per-view match and feeling like it had some consequences for his life and career. He’s interrupted by Shane McMahon, and it would be an exaggeration to even say he barely fuckin’ cares. He does the same old Shane McMahon crowd indifference bit, too, refusing to acknowledge or engage with them and deflecting their “asshole” chants with, “derp derp you’re calling Kevin Owens an asshole.” He can’t even let the paying customers get over on him for one second. It’s intensely frustrating, and borderline insane. I can’t believe Vince McMahon of all people watches these shows and won’t give his sweathog son a tip about how to make Evil General Manager interactions fun for the people who have to sit through them.
Shane ends up fining Owens 100 thousand American dollars (133,131.62 Canadian) for attacking Elias, because he was, “an official.” Owens can’t do anything about it, because in addition to being a wrestler whenever he wants, Shane casts invulnerability on himself when he doesn’t because he runs the show. So Owens can never, ever win, no matter what he does.
In other words,
This sets up Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe for later in the night, which is one of those matches that would be good-to-great if you just gave them five minutes to come up with something beforehand for 8-10 in the ring.
Instead of, you know, doing that, we overbook the shit out of it. It would’ve been very, very easy to just have Samoa Joe take a job as Shane McMahon’s new enforcer and beat Owens down in a match to create some palpable vulnerability, instead of that vague, off-screen “economic anxiety” caused by a large fine. It would make Joe look like the killer he always should’ve been, and give Owens something to fight back against. But nope, we have to make Elias the special enforcer again per Shane McMahon, have Elias pull the referee out of the ring by the leg when Owens is about to win, run some distraction bullshit and have Joe win via cowardly fluke with a roll-up and a fast count.
I don’t know who this possibly “helps,” but it’s certainly not the audience watching. Again, the good guy has no way to win the war no matter how many battles he (infrequently) wins, and the bad guys are either completely untouchable non-wrestlers who win all the time, or dorky losers who couldn’t win a fight with a wet paper bag.
Best: Los Ingobernables de North Carolina
If we’re talking positives for this episode of Smackdown, the in-ring work is really good this week.
Charlotte Flair and Ember Moon continue their arcs from SummerSlam; namely, Charlotte is a monster in the ring who is slowly starting to remember that she’s usually as dominant as she’s bragging, and Ember is a scrappy underdog who could beat any of these women on any given night, but hasn’t really been able to put it together and close the deal. Plus, Ember shattered her entire rib cage like two days ago.
So it makes sense to have the match be competitive, but have Flair come out on top. Plus they give it almost 12 minutes, as someone in creative finally remembered having a “women’s revolution” involves letting them actually go out there and wrestle real matches. They’ve done a great job with that over the last week or so.
And I can’t recap this match without mentioning this, which happened during commercial break:
I’d honestly love to see them transform the Four Horsewomen of NXT into Los Ingobernables de Main Roster. Put Bayley in a mask and start calling her BAYLEY in all caps. Becky’s probably more Naito than Charlotte, so Charlotte can be Shingo. Sasha Banks is definitely EVIL. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross could join the group too, since they were in NXT and are the closest approximations to SANADA and Hiromu.
Best: ♫ It’s A New Day, It’s A New Generation ♫
Thank goodness The Revival are two of the four WILD CARD Superstars this week — are we still doing that? [checks notes] No? All right — as they get to team up with Randy Orton and take on the full New Day team in the main event.
It’s another long-ish, enjoyable match that emphasizes the inherent danger in RANDY ORTON (call caps) without going for the most obvious finish, which I liked. The first draft is Orton pinning Kofi Kingston to keep their beef going following the AJ Styles/Samoa Joe finish at SummerSlam. Instead, they have The Revival pin the New Day to hopefully get something going there, and use the post-match to put over Orton’s danger. He does a light version of the WATCH ME ASSAULT YOUR WIFE Triple H bit by RKO’ing Kingston, then making him watch his friends get RKO’d as well. RKO’d? RKOed? I don’t know how to stylize that.
Regardless, it’s good while it lasts and accomplishes what it needs to. Plus, The Revival won! I’d be into The Revival formally hanging out with Orton going forward, as it would at least give them more of a rub than circle-jerking with the Lucha House Party, and put their cronyism into context. I’d rather them get beaten up by everyone in service of story than just get beaten up for fun by whoever’s around.
Worst: Aleister Growly
Best: This Week, On The Roman Reigns Mysteries
This week’s development in a story they’re definitely not making up as they go revolves around Buddy Murphy, the man who snitched on Rowan last week via enhanced interrogation and got his ass kicked about it on the SummerSlam Kickoff Show, being forced to admit (again, via coercion) that he lied.
It starts with this very good promo from Daniel Bryan, because it’s words coming out of Daniel Bryan’s mouth on TV where we can hear them. That’s always good. Remember 10 years ago when the story was that Bryan didn’t have any personality and didn’t know how to engage with the audience? I know we’re light years beyond that now, I just like reminding people that that was (even then) the stupidest shit ever.
So we have Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy, and oh man, you guys.
I’ve read some show recaps that said this match was a “burial” of Murphy, and if you watched this and thought Murphy looked bad in any imaginable way, you need to get your eyes and possibly your brain checked. This was like Cedric Alexander vs. Drew McIntyre from Raw turned up to 11. I’m not confident that Smackdown will remember to follow up on it in any way, but in a contextual vacuum, Buddy Murphy’s primed to be a star. He looked AMAZING here, completely hanging with Reigns and throwing enough believable hands at him to push Roman into, “oh no I’m getting my ass kicked for real, time to step it up,” mode. That’s Roman’s best mode. He’s not really engaged until you start hitting him for real a little bit. It’s why those 30 minute Triple H matches are so bad. One of the… myriad of reasons, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
Roman really puts Buddy over, too. His facial expressions are great in communicating that he’s getting tenfold the fight he expected out of a Backstage Cruiserweight, and even after the match he makes sure the cameras catch his surprise and exasperation. That’s how you get an audience that likes Roman Reigns to put some respect on his opponent’s name. It also really mattered that Roman had to go nuclear and hit a Superman Punch off the steps AND a multiple-rope-bounce spear to finish him off.
Buddy Murphy watched Dolph Ziggler sell Goldberg’s spear and was like, “nah, son, this is how you do it.” Fantastic work from both sides here. I hope Smackdown remembers to put Buddy in another competitive match next week but give him the win. I’d like to see them put him over Rowan, but I’d also be pretty goddamn into 12 pay-per-view minutes of Buddy Murphy vs. Daniel Bryan. You know Bryan’s foaming at the mouth to take a loss to this dude.
It’d make sense, too, given the post-match Enhanced Interrogation 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Daniel Bryan is an incredible, evil dirtbag here, practically scream-kissing Murphy on the mouth to get him to “admit” that he lied. You’ve gotta love the contrast between how Bryan and Rowan handled it and how Roman did. Roman sauntered in all cool as the locker room leader, sat down with Murphy, and calmly asked him to fess up. When Murphy puffed out his chest about it, Roman kicked his ass. Here, Bryan can’t keep his cool for five seconds and is just a complete, guilty maniac about everything.
At the end of the night, armed with a “confession” of Rowan’s innocence, Bryan goes full O.J. and promises to reveal the REAL KILLER next week. If I can give any of this a Worst, it’s the fact that they’re keeping the story going another week. You know they won’t figure out what they actually want to do until Tuesday afternoon, too.
I still hope it’s Wesley Blake.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Man buddy Murphy is really good at getting assaulted in locker rooms
Black: “All they have to do is knock”
Bray: “Let him in”
Black: “Not you”
Next week, Shane is visited by three spirits: Kurt Angle, Kofi Kingston, and Monroe Sky (the ghosts of SDL past, present, and yet to come). So moved by the haunting experience, Shane opts to raise KO’s salary and finally push poor Tiny Sami. Foley bless us, everyone.
And here I thought being a man was about beating Charlotte Flair and dating Seth Rollins…
That WWE 2K commercial should have had Baron Corbin in the background as one of the waiters.
Erase Shane from existence and this is an all time great Smackdown.
Big Baby Yeezus
“If you were really a Hound of Justice, you would recognize that Murphy’s statement was coerced and therefore inadmissible, Roman”- Daniel Bryan
The Real Birdman
Reigns about to grab Buddy & pin his neck between his & Rowan’s forearms to get to the bottom of this
It’s almost like the guys you took from 205 Live are really good wrestlers
If this crowd isn’t careful, KO is going to believe that they love him and then he’ll have to powerbomb all 4,352 of them
Note: this is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. It’s the closest Smackdown’s ever come to being a scene from Twin Peaks.
That’s it for this week’s Smackdown. Thanks for reading. Drop a comment below, give us a share, and be here next week when Daniel Bryan reveals that the real attacker was … forklift driver error. The forklift was driving the car! How can that be!
See you next week.