Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live: We put another knife on the barbie at Superstar Show-Down in Australia, where AJ Styles finally defeated Samoa Joe fairly, and the IIconics picked up a heartwarming win in their home country. The future is hashtag IIconic, hashtag acceptable.
One more thing: Hit those share buttons! Spread the word about the column on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you use. Be sure to leave us a comment in our comment section below as well. I know we always ask this, and that this part is copy and pasted in every week, but we appreciate it every week. We’re on the road to WWE Crown Royal in Saudi Arabia!
And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for October 9, 2018.
Best: The Charlotte Flair Vs. Becky Lynch Match We Should’ve Gotten At Super Show-Down
At the Melb’n Super-Show, the big heated rematch between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch played out like a completely normal wrestling match, and featured Lynch intentionally getting herself disqualified. They fought at little afterward, but it was mostly to set up the next rematch on the following Smackdown. The good news: THAT rematch, the one you’re about to read about, justifies BOTH matches, and is the rematch we needed following the title change.
If you missed it, roughly the first half hour of the show was dedicated to Flair vs. Lynch, as they worked hard and beat a very believable amount of shit out of each other for about 25 minutes. The story I think they should’ve been telling all along isn’t that Becky is some kind of devious heel who has “wronged” Charlotte, but that their Tea Party friendship (not like that) had Charlotte off her game in the initial contest, which is why she lost. Now that Becky’s continuing to make it personal even when she doesn’t have to, Charlotte’s starting to channel THE DEMON FLAIR — that hateful, spiteful entity that lives inside of her, because she’s a goddamn Flair — and the fight’s getting a lot harder. Charlotte might even, for example, pull a Rhyno on Chris Jericho and spear you through the Smackdown set.
This is how you do a double count-out. The only times you should be allowed to do that are:
- when you’ve got something big planned for the post-match attack, like the spear through the set, which will immediately make everyone watching forget they just watched a double count-out, or
- you are two very old stars on an independent show and neither of you is chill enough to put the other guy over
Note: One of my favorite memories is watching Tommy Rich and Jimmy Snuka wrestle in Cleveland in 2007 and gently choke each other for like two minutes for the benefit of dozens before wander-punching their way to the back. Wait, did I type “favorite?”
Anyway, that leads to only-good-authority-figure-besides-William-Regal Paige making a Last Woman Standing match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WWE Evolution. That’s going to be great, even if calling it “our first ever Last Woman Standing match” ignores that pretty great Asuka vs. Nikki Cross match on NXT last year. Although I guess it wouldn’t be Smackdown without ignoring pretty great Asuka and completely forgetting about Nikki Cross.
Worst: Aiden English And His Terrible Plan
Aiden English attempted the Homer Simpson Rock Bottom gambit with “One Night In Milwaukee,” a laptop video where he clearly paused Lana in the middle of a sentence to make it sound like she was coming onto him. After a week of deliberation — and apparently not talking to each other between Wednesday and Monday — Lana and Rusev were almost divided, until Lana used her Russian hacking skills (in a great bit of continuity) to hit “unpause.” Whoops, it turns out Lana is totally innocent, and Aiden was being weird! Who knew!
There’s also a pretty bad Dot Com followup where Sonya Deville of all people is disappointed in not seeing Aiden English and Lana get busy, and even the IICONICS don’t have anything to do. I’m telling you, it’s gonna feel truly revolutionary when WWE realizes they can book top women’s wrestling programs and still remember the rest of the division exists, instead of slotting them all into a vague “jealous bullies” or “good friend” purgatory.
Ah well, at least this Lana love triangle angle is over a lot quicker than the previous few. Join us next year when Lana might be in love with R-Truth, for some reason!
Best, Mostly: Miz Calls Winner
You could’ve written this week’s Miz TV segment in your head seconds after the two-minute match at Super Show-Down. Miz brings Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles on as guests, they agree to appear for some reason, and he tries to play them against one another. It doesn’t work at first, because Miz is obviously a conniving heel who only cares about himself, but then they say a couple of mildly personal things and get REAL TOUGH and face-to-face about it. Then Miz ACTUALLY plays them against one another, and they fall for it, because WWE babyfaces are dumber than mute dirt.
At the same time, it’s The Miz messing with two guys half his size who look like members of Stillwater, one of them’s Daniel Bryan, and the other is AJ Styles, so I’m fine with it. Plus, smart heels never get tired of pointing out how the WWE Championship never main-events shows, which is probably less about who’s holding it and more about modern championships being feud props without any real prestige or gravitas. And the business model changing from “get people regionally excited about a sport we’ve fictionalized” to “please a Saudi Arabian prince who hasn’t watched wrestling since 2006 so he gives us 40 million dollars.”
Miz ends up making a match (?) between Styles and Shelton Benjamin, which is another good match in a series that asks us to remember who Shelton Benjamin is, and why we should be excited that he’s still around. Benjamin had a good match with Bryan last week and a good match with Styles THIS week — shout-out to that knee-to-the-face counter to the Phenomenal Forearm — so maybe in a few weeks he’ll be teaming with Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and attempting to make a more important tag team look good.
Also good: Styles actually wins again, which along with the finish to his match with Joe at Super Show-Down is indicative of a very positive trend. The WWE Champion and the “best wrestler in the world” should actually be able to win wrestling matches sometimes, even against challenging opponents, shouldn’t he?
P.S.: About That Saudi Prince
The A-story of this week’s Smackdown are the two WWE World Cup® qualifiers for WWE Crown Jewel™ in Saudi Arabia®: Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe, and Digit Killer Randy Orton vs. a returning Big Show.
The first of those two, like Bryan and Miz at Super Show-Down, features an uncommon finish. At Super Show-Down, Bryan Mr. Small Package’d Miz about two minutes in and pinned him. It was a flash that suggested any move can end any match at any time, but it didn’t totally work, because, you know, we wanted to see a wrestling match between heated rivals. On Smackdown, they ended Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe by having Joe remember how badly injured his leg is supposed to be, and (hey!) having it negatively affect him. Hardy targets it, because he’s trying to win, and Joe eventually can’t stand, so the referee calls the match.
Smackdown’s (and SSD) are full of flat endings, but this one I kind of dug. It showed that Joe wanted to fight, he just physically couldn’t, because things that happen to you in wrestling matches should still affect you and exist a couple of days later. I think it’d work better if we did this all the time and trained the audience to pay attention to that kind of thing, so when it did, they can actively observe and predict it instead of thinking you copped out on a finish. Really my only problem with a lot of what WWE does is that they aren’t consistent about it. Rules, finishes, whatever.
The second of these is Well It’s The Big Show vs. Welp, It’s Randy Orton. It’s also totally fine, but the finish was never in doubt. Big Show hasn’t been around, and is really only used these days as very large enhancement talent, which is fine. It feels like if you had a healthy, in-shape 46-year old Andre you wouldn’t be having Bob Orton pin him on Superstars, but I guess the ecosystem has changed. Show’s still got a lot in the tank whether he uses it or not, and could probably have 10 more years of active in-ring career if he transitioned into an actual Andre instead of still trying to be The Giant. He’s probably more comfortable not spending another decade falling seven feet down onto his face, though.
Note: LOL so hard at them no longer calling Big Show’s punch the WMD because they’re doing shows in the Middle East now.
That leaves us with a very curious picture for Crown Jewel:
- Saudi Arabia seriously hasn’t gotten a new wrestling show other than Greatest Royal Rumble since 2006, have they?
- You know the original lineup requested for this tournament was Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and the Iron Sheik.
- We’re a billion percent getting John Cena vs. Randy Orton in the finals of this tournament, aren’t we? Do they bill it as LAST TIME EVER, or do they know even we aren’t stupid enough to believe that?
- did Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles get compartmentalized off in their own match so neither of them could call themselves the “best in the world?”
- How much money do they need to get CM Punk in this thing?
Best: “Rey Mysterio” Returns Next Week
I don’t know who this guy is, but the actual Rey Mysterio Jr. was eaten by the Monster Matanza Cueto. I guess there are a lot of “Rey Mysterios” in Mexico.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
“Miz, I’ve been all across this earth.”
“You mean around the Earth…”
“You heard me…”
“Hot Milwaukee Nights” sucked as a late night USA Show then, and it sucks now.
Dave M J
Lana fell in love with Rusev and married him because he is a Handsome Bulgarian who is hilarious and charming. Period. You don’t need to be so confused over it that every angle you run with Rusev as a singles guy is “HIS WIFE IS CHEATING.” Stop. Thanks.
Sincerely, LITERALLY EVERYONE
Destroy the set so they bring back the big fist next week!
Aiden Niiiiighhts are like Rusev DAAAAAYS, more often not, Lana’s hotter than hot, in all the right waaays.
2 minutes is still longer than 18 seconds, dweeb.
Baron Von Raschke
Clear Eyes. Open Earlobes. Can’t Lose.
Nakamura: Boy, I’m really going nowhere with no momentum. I mean, I’m US champ….Next week! That’s when I’ll turn things around…Next week on SmackDown 1000…I’ll get on a roll. Who am I wrestling? Awwwwww…..crap.
The Real Birdman
How is Shinsuke Nakamura not involved in becoming King of Crown Jewels?
Join us for next weeks World Cup qualifier, when Gangrel takes on Mideon
Hey hey HEY! Don’t you judge Charlotte Flair… she’s just going through a stage.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading! Drop a comment and share the column, if you’re a Smackdown Fist Bro.
Join us next week for the star-studded Smackdown 1000, featuring the return of Rey Mysterio, an Evolution reunion a few weeks before a show named “Evolution” they aren’t a part of, and presumably Aiden English buying a Real Doll and yelling RUSEV THIS IS YOUR REAL WIFE I’M WITH into Skype.