Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live: NECKY CROSS showed up, finally, and made our week happier. The Usos became captains of the Smackdown tag team Survivor Series squad, Paige announced the women’s team, and Kofi Kingston caused a distraction by hanging from the top rope and wiggling his crotch.
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.
Here’s this week’s Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live’s 1,004th episode (ARM BAR!) for November 13, 2018.
Worst In Real Life, Best On The Show: Street Fighting Man
Okay, so the first thing we’ve got to talk about this week is The Man. If for some reason you haven’t had access to the Internet in the past 48 hours and missed Smackdown completely, but were interested enough in Becky Lynch looking like Prince Zuko to click on the column, here’s what you need to know.
Monday’s episode of Raw ended with Smackdown’s women’s division placing Raw “under siege” and kicking the Raw women’s division’s asses. Lynch got punched in the face by Nia Jax and busted open but finished the brawl in style, causing everyone who likes wrestling to go !!!!. It was such a hot finish and moment that everyone was talking about it, and you had certain online fake fighting joke depositories saying Becky vs. Ronda Rousey should main-event Sunday’s Survivor Series show.
Then, in what felt like seconds after we published that column, a rumor broke that Becky had been pulled from Survivor Series due to a reported broken nose and a severe concussion. Smackdown ended up confirming that, upgrading the broken nose to a broken face.
So that brings us to Smackdown. The good news is that we didn’t get a worst case scenario; Becky Lynch’s injury ending her title run, Smackdown doing a quick title change to put someone else into the match with Ronda, and Lynch’s incredible and organic surge of popularity being ignored because a badly-timed injury inconvenienced creative. Some of our brains went there, because shit, we’ve seen it before. Instead, Becky’s still the Smackdown Women’s Champion — thank God — and simply chose her replacement for the match. That suggests she’ll be back in the ring sooner rather than later, and that the concussion is hopefully not bad enough to keep her sidelined or to get her repurposed in another role.
Becky chooses her replacement from a lineup of Smackdown women’s Superstars, and while the crowd clearly wanted to see Asuka vs. Rousey, Lynch went with an interesting choice: Charlotte Flair, the woman she just got finished turning on and literally beating into submission. They shared a tense handshake which turned into a hug, and while the meaning is clearly “Smackdown is banding together and these women are putting their differences aside for the greater good,” I hope it sticks, that Charlotte realizes she’s had her Manhood usurped, and that the Four Horsewomen of NXT are going to find their way onto the same side again whether my fantasy booking from Monday is completely shot or not.
And hey, more positives: if they’re hot-shotting the rumored WrestleMania 35 main event of Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey to Survivor Series, maybe Becky Lynch will be back in action in time to win the women’s Royal Rumble and choose to challenge Ronda in the main event instead. Like there’ll be a hotter program than this. And like The Man said, Ronda’s not the baddest bitch on the planet … she’s the luckiest. Cue Ben Folds.
Best: The IIconics During All Of This
At least somebody cares about character consistency around here.
And Now, The Other Important Part Of This Episode
We opened up the show with AJ Styles bragging about his 371 days as WWE Champion, and how he’s been a workhorse who has taken on all comers, Rowdy Roddy Piper not included. He’s faced everyone who has wanted a shot. If you want the complete list, it’s Shinsuke Nakamura 40 times and Samoa Joe 40 times. Styles doesn’t realize the fatal CM Punk sin of mentioning how long you’ve held the championship, which ultimately means you’re reminding people how long you held it before you immediately drop it. He puts Daniel Bryan’s name in his mouth without respect, so D-Bry shows up and punches him in the face about it.
That leads to some backstage rabble rabble rabble and the announcement from Best Wrestler In The Entire World® Shane McMahon that Bryan’s off the Survivor Series team, will get a WWE Championship match against Styles right here tonight, and that baseball jerseys with jogging pants is what all cool adults wear to work. I inferred that last part.
Before we get to where that goes (aka, “the fireworks factory”), let’s see how Bryan being pulled from the team affects the rest of the show.
Worst: Cien Alma’s Goddamn Losing Streak Continues
I know it’s a good thing that Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas keeps getting put into matches with more important characters and doing a great job before losing, but shit, as a fan, it sucks. I don’t want to see this spectacularly beautiful, spectacularly talented man lose to everyone he wrestles, especially not when he’s clearly a step or ten ahead of them. Hardy vs. Almas is pretty good, but Almas might as well have put his hand up a Jeff Hardy puppet and wrestled that instead.
Backstage, a newly emboldened solo team captain The Miz decides he wants Jeff Hardy on the team, and that he specifically wants Jeff to replace Rey Mysterio. Miz hates Mysterio’s guts, because he’s exactly the kind of 1998 Chris Jericho deluded heel that hates a pure scrappy international babyface the most, but Paige won’t let him do swapsies. Apparently even though Bryan’s no longer on the team, his picks for the team remain. I can see Miz’s point here, which is a thing I type a lot. Paige is like, “Paige here, you will face Rey in a match and if Rey beats you, he gets to stay on the team.” Miz agrees to this like a fool, not remembering that WWE Rey Mysterio has an overall rating of 100 and all the cheat codes turned on.
Best, Even Though: Mizterio
Miz is the perfect opponent for an older, WWE-style Rey Mysterio because he works a completely basic heel style without any flourishes, allowing for Rey’s offense to really pop and look amazing. Again, it’s like Mysterio’s matches with Jericho. Jericho could do some big time stuff, but usually kept it to rest holds and signature moves and dickbag heel moves to make Rey look special. As long as Rey doesn’t trust Miz to catch him on any dives to the outside, we’re golden.
Mysterio wins, because of course he does, and even has enough left in the tank to see a Randy Orton RKO From Outta Nowhere™ coming and avoid it. You’d think people would’ve learned that if Randy Orton’s feuding with them, he’s going to try to snake his ass in when you’re done wrestling and try to faceplant you. When you beat someone, you should just wrap your arms around your head, fall to the ground, and roll out of the ring. I’d also recommend this if you’re backstage and walking by any flat surfaces, like a wooden palette, or the hood of a car.
BEST FOREVER LOOK I’M DANCING: HEEL-ASS AMERICAN DRAGON BRYAN DANIELSON, WWE CHAMPION
AND NOW WE REACH THE PART OF THE COLUMN IN WHICH I TYPE IN CAPITAL LETTERS. WWE DID FOUR (4) WONDERFUL THINGS IN ONE SEGMENT HERE, AND I AM THE HAPPIEST BOY IN THE LAND.
- they ended AJ Styles’ WWE Championship run, which has lasted for over a year and hasn’t produced anything better than, “the match was good, but the finish made me feel like an idiot for watching wrestling”
- they put the WWE Championship back on Daniel Bryan, which is such a good thing it makes me internally travel back in time and hug myself while I’m watching Bryan announce his retirement. I wish I could go back and tell sad younger Brandon that everything’s going to be okay, and that hyperbolic pessimism is only appropriate 99% of the time instead of 100
- they TURNED BRYAN HEEL during the finish, which is the most wonderful news. Bryan is a great babyface, but I fell in love with him as a wrestler and a personality as a heel. The reason the whole “yes” chanting thing caught on was because he was such an infectiously wonderful heel. His ROH title run is one of the greatest times I’ve ever had as a life-long wrestling fan. It means Bryan gets to have a personality again, doesn’t have to be the dopey husband in any more wife-themed mixed tags, doesn’t have to be everyone’s punching bag anymore, can tone down his style a little more to be healthy and happy without being “boring” (because his heel wrestling style is a billion times more entertaining to me than the running dropkicks and World Famous It Kicks), and God, if he cuts his hair and shaves off his beard I will sing Hallelujah
- it instantly fixed a match for Survivor Series, making up for the lack of The Man kicking Ronnie’s ass by giving me a fantasy booked thing I’ve been trying to see for like half a decade:
Technically they did five great things, if you count “Daniel Bryan realizing that Styles’ greatest weakness is the balls, because he watched literally any of those Nakamura matches.” He should’ve Yes Locked his balls.
Yeah yeah, it’ll probably be an underwhelming squash, but Brock vs. Styles from last year’s show was really good. Maybe this will be even better. I don’t expect Bryan to beat him, but I’m going to be in the crowd losing my goddamn mind willing him on to win anyway. SO MUCH IS HAPPENING ON THIS SMACKDOWN, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE IT.
Oh man, are we going to have The Miz WANT a match with Bryan now, but not be able to get one? Are we going to let The Miz win the Royal Rumble and challenge Bryan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania? Is everything working out? I swear, WWE is never better than when someone gets injured or sick and they have to book everything on the fly. They go from monkeys with typewriters to fucking Toni Morrison if they don’t have any time to change their minds.
Also On This Episode
The Usos know that the Raw tag team division is the most embarrassing thing in the world right now and that they could beat all 10 of Raw’s tag guys by themselves, so they fill out their Survivor Series squad with the Good Brothers, Sanity, and, of all people, Primo and Epico. Sure! If Jimmy and Jey and the New Day can’t beat the worst version of The Revival and eight comedy jobbers as a team, logic and reason have failed us.
Speaking of The New Day, they have a fun placeholder six-man tag against The Big Show and The Bar. I say “placeholder” because it’s one of those matches WWE does where Big Show’s getting pushed again, so instead of being an easy-to-defeat lummox, he throws one (1) punch and kills anything that moves. Here, Kofi Kingston goes through so much trouble to jump around on the ropes and bounce himself face-first into Show’s extended arm that I’m not even sure Show had to be there. I love me some Big Show — Dungeon of Doom ride or die — but he’s more of a hindrance than a help to these Bar vs. New Day matches. He slows it down and nerfs the energy a little too much. It’s like trying to win a motocross race in a Winnebago.
Finally we have a promo from [checks notes] United States Champion? [checks notes] Shinsuke Nakamura? as he heads into his champion vs. champion match against Seth Rollins at Survivor Series. Nakamura’s always pretty funny, and his “why didn’t you introduce me” gag is great, but there’s a special place in Hell for wrestling fans that “what” chant people with foreign accents. Actually, let me rephrase that: there is a dedicated place in actual Christian Hell for wrestling fans that do “what” chants for any reason in 2018. Or any year this decade.
If Nakamura vs. Rollins delivers on the level it could, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey already had a WrestleMania main event-style match in mind, and Brock Lesnar shows up with his Jimmy John’s-branded working boots on, Survivor Series could kick a lot of ass. To optimism, and beyond!
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Nakamura’s in the back like “wtf, I tried that shit 8 times”
“If you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you. And if that doesn’t work, kick someone in the nards.”
In one of her matches in Japan Asuka countered a Pele kick into an ankle lock and I really want to see somebody do that to Aj Styles.
Regarding that country music American Idol show they keep pushing, I’m going to spoil it by saying the white person wins.
The Smackdown Penitentiary. So THAT’S why most of their tag team division has been stuck in the hole.
The Real Birdman
She should pick Holly Holm
At some point tonight, I need Raw to try to invade SDL only to find in the back an Apocalypse Now situation with everyone bowing down before Becky Lynch still covered in dried blood from last night
Becky whispers: And with the Judas kiss, I seal your fate.
Becky: Oh, good luck Charly! Go get her.
Graves: Then champion Jinder Mahal defended against AJ Styles
The dream has no memory of that
Baron Von Raschke
If Nakamura doesn’t wear a tactical vest and enter through the crowd for his match with Rollins on Sunday, what are we even doing here?
Let is sink in one more time. SHAVE YOUR HEAD, DANIEL.
That’s it for this week’s Smackdown. Certainly a lot to talk about, so drop down into the comments and let us know what you thought of the show. Share the column around to help us out as we head into The Biggest Party Of The Autumn™, and make sure you’re here for the festivities. We’ve got Dream vs. Ciampa and Bryan vs. Lesnar in the same weekend now.