Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Oh no, a bunch of stuff fell on Roman Reigns! Because of, uh, forklift driver error!
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for August 6, 2019.
Best/Worst: I’m Not Your Friend, Buddy
Let’s go ahead and start off the column with the (one?) major development from Smackdown: the actual reveal of Roman Reigns’ attacker from last week, which I figuratively and literally predicted by accident.
Early in the night, Roman Reigns gives a sit-down interview where he apologizes to Samoa Joe for doubting him, and promises to find and deal with his attacker tonight. Having some random shit fall on you backstage is one thing; attempted vehicular manslaughter in the parking lot when you’re already two hours late for work is another.
The main event of the show — which had its original script reportedly “torn up” not long before the show started — is the New Day, minus Kofi Kingston, versus Rowan and Daniel Bryan, minus that announcement he’s been (not?) trying to make for weeks. When you tear up the script at 5 PM on Tuesday, you’re gonna get a lot of parenthetical question asides like that.
Anyway, because it’s five days before the pay-per-view and WWE has booked themselves into a corner with pretty much everyone on the roster, Rowan and Bryan lose by disqualification when Rowan goes back to his Stairs Match roots and attacks New Day with some stairs. Before this can really go anywhere, we jump to the back to find Roman Reign ready for some forced interrogations and empowered by the realization he can watch tape and/or search “Roman Reigns attacker” on Twitter.
He confronts Buddy Murphy (who we pointed out in the footage last week) about being there at the time of the incident. Buddy is all about keeping Best Kept Secrets and claims he doesn’t know who attacked Roman, and wouldn’t snitch even if he did. Roman, channeling his inner Netflix Daredevil, responds calmly by punching him in the face and yeeting him onto (and off of) a nearby table.
Having warmed up with the Pussy Toss For Distance, Roman forearms Buddy in the face a la Batman in the Arkham games and demands satisfaction. Murphy — with all the gangsta roofed out of him and ready for big snitching — IMMEDIATELY rats on Rowan. If you were ever hoping Smackdown was going to actually do something with Buddy Murphy after randomly yanking him from a spectacular run on 205 Live, congratulations, he’s the 2019 version of Just Joe.
In the ring, Daniel Bryan and Rowan look concerned. Maybe they’re sad that Roman didn’t figure out who was attacking him soon enough to set up a match for SummerSlam?
This is all pretty dumb, but Roman Looked Strong™ and we should get some good matches out of it. Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy only has one imaginable ending, but could be a great 10 minutes on next week’s Smackdown. Okay, that was generous. A great 2 1/2 minutes on next week’s Smackdown. And if we don’t get a Roman match for SummerSlam, a Clash of Champions match between the Samoan Joes and The Planet’s Champions could be a show stealer. I’ll just try not to think about how Daniel Bryan’s career-altering announcement was apparently, “I’m going to try to murder Roman Reigns in real life and get away with it.”
Best, I Guess: SummerSam
From one of those fan points of view where I want the wrestlers I like to perform on the biggest stages available to them and do well, I was bummed to see Aleister Black vs. Sami Zayn shuffled onto a re-written Smackdown instead of making it onto the SummerSlam card. From the point of view of a guy who writes about wrestling all the time, I’m pretty happy that WWE realized they were walking into a proposed pay-per-view card with like 15 matches on it and took some steps to make sure that didn’t happen.
When you fart and pull the covers over your girl pic.twitter.com/vMk90lO92K
— Kazeem Famuyide 🍎 (@RealLifeKaz) August 7, 2019
Zayn vs. Black is good for what it is, in the time that it was given. Black looks JACKED as of late. I guess he’s got a Soloflex in that shadowy promo room. Sami has won a grand total of like two matches all year, but it was nice to see him wrestle six competitive minutes instead of losing to a roll-up in five seconds. It would’ve been nice to have Smackdown acknowledge Sami and Kevin Owens’ relationship if they’re booking them in back-to-back segments, especially when the first one is Owens getting beaten up 2-on-1, but again, maybe that was in the script an increasingly senile 73-year old man threw in the garbage three hours before the show started.
Worst: Ember Moon Deserves Better
Can you think of a pay-per-view match, much less a SummerSlam match, with less heat on it than Bayley vs. Ember Moon? Bayley chose Ember as her opponent and the story became, “Bayley chose Ember because she knows she can beat her.” To disprove that, Ember has:
- won a match in like 30 seconds with Bayley’s help, then attacked her for helping
- got pinned by Alexa Bliss in a tag team match, then got attacked by her own partner
- won by disqualification in under two minutes when Natalya put her in the Sharpshooter and wouldn’t let go
- got mad at Bayley for trying to help her, again
If anything, Bayley vs. Ember Moon should’ve just happened on Smackdown instead of at SummerSlam. Not that I don’t want Bayley and the Smackdown Women’s Championship defended on the second biggest show of the year, but shit, the Cruiserweight Championship match they couldn’t even announce until an hour after this Smackdown has more heat and momentum than this bit they’ve been “building” for a month.
Ember Moon is seriously too good at professional wrestling to get creatively forgotten like this. Was it going to be Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair if Trish Stratus wasn’t available or something? Were they going to add Alexa Bliss at some point before they decided on Monday afternoon she should win the Tag Team Championship? I really hope the new executive directors get control over the women’s divisions on these shows soon, even if one of them’s best known for the “HLA” era and the other mostly kept female characters around so dudes could piledrive them.
Best/Worst: Where Have I Seen This Before?
If you’re building a pay-per-view match in 2019 around a guy from 1998, you might as well use the same shit people were doing in 1998. Here we have Dolph Ziggler parodying Goldberg’s entrance to get under his skin, which you might’ve seen Chris Jericho do way back at Fall Brawl ’98. A few months from now Goldberg’s gonna try to spear Kevin Owens and got knocked out because Owens has a steel plate under his shirt.
Ziggler’s obliteration of Rey Mysterio before the match begins and defeat of Ali are good to help give him — a man who lost his last pay-per-view match in 14 seconds — some much-needed, actual momentum. Nobody needs momentum more than Dolph Ziggler, who can’t even do his one promo anymore without someone interrupting and screaming at him about how much it sucks.
That said, it’s disheartening to see them build up Ali with video package for like two months and give him a win over Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura only for him to lose to Dolph Ziggler and for Nakamura to disappear again. Especially when you know Ziggler’s only wrestling Goldberg so he can make Goldberg’s tired old man moves look 20-years-ago devastating and make him feel better about shitting the bed in Saudi Arabia.
Also On This Episode, Which Was Written In Like Two Hours
Charlotte Flair makes fun of Trish Stratus for having a family again and gets slapped in the face for woo-ing at her. Charlotte’s response: do nothing. I know Trish is supposed to be an OP legend, but from a spectator’s point of view, the younger, taller, stronger, faster, dirtier, more accomplished, and more skilled Charlotte Flair should absolutely wreck her at SummerSlam. No disrespect toward Trish, but it’s like sending current-day Road Dogg in there to face Braun Strowman.
Kevin Owens tries to get Shane McMahon to put his career on the line at SummerSlam, gets refused, and then gets beaten up 2-on-1. I get the hell/face dynamic and all, but why did Owens think Shane would put his career on the line if he doesn’t have to? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use “I’ll put my career on the line if you do the same with yours” back when the stipulation was made, so it could be used as some kind of creative leverage? Plus, as Owens even says, dude’s a McMahon. What’s him putting his career on the line going to accomplish? They basically talked about nothing for like 10 minutes so something could happen before Shane won another fight.
The worst part is that if Owens does win at SummerSlam, the reaction from Shane is going to be blowing it off in a low, easy-going voice and then moving on to whatever next thing he wants to do. This is what happens when you’ve spent all year establishing that Shane McMahon is unstoppable and faces no consequences. SEVERAL years, honestly. Remember when he had to wrestle The Undertaker for control of the show, lost, and then got control of the show anyway?
Shelton Benjamin is still collecting paychecks to show up for 30 seconds on Smackdown and say nothing. Good for him, I guess. Is anybody at home watching this like, “wow, I bet a lot of great things are going on in Shelton Benjamin’s mind right now. I can’t wait to find out what he’s thinking?” Anybody in the world?
Bray Wyatt has an ominous warning for Finn Bálor: he’s going to lose a wrestling match at SummerSlam! In all seriousness Bray is very good at this character, and I hope that when he wins at the pay-per-view, he turns “The Demon” into one of his Firefly Funhouse puppets. How great would it be if Finn couldn’t channel it anymore because its essence is trapped in a weird fake children’s show alongside Sister Abigail, Husky Harris, and the buzzard-chasing monster that used to inhabit Bayou murderer Bray Wyatt?
(It’d be even better if they used Rambling Rabbit to explain what happened to Adam Rose.)
Finally we have a promo from Kofi Kingston putting over his SummerSlam match with Randy Orton. It’s nothing new, but shows that speaking from the heart and utilizing the long history these WWE Superstars share is still effective in its straight-forward simplicity, and beats wacky car accidents and evil general manager angles every time.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Last weekend I went to the bar with my friends and one of my boys was getting jumped by a group of guys. I was going to run in to help him, but the DJ didn’t have my entrance theme loaded into his laptop so…
The Real Birdman
Beating up a cruiserweight in under a minute is a pretty spot on Goldberg impression though
Charlotte talks like she knows people mute her promos & makes sure they can read her lips
Big E wasting all that water and plastic, feud with Bryan still on.
Damn it. Instead of dropping an anvil on Roman’s head we get the Anvil’s daughter in a match.
Single Leg Takedown
That gynecologist is a pretty good ref
We’re lucky the attacker decided to install a camera on the front bumper and send the footage over to WWE
Son of Tony Zane
Samoa Joe threatening to shut down the entire Raw but it still happens around him seems like such an on-point metaphor for Joe’s career in WWE.
I hope the driver is MJF doing his best to take out the competition for his close, personal friend, Cody Rhodes.
This interview better end with Roman’s chair getting blown up like an ejector seat
Have fun in the promo room for the next two months, Shinsuke!
That’s it for Smackdown. Thanks for reading, as always. Drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the episode, give us a share on social media if you enjoyed anything, and make sure you’re here this weekend for our complete NXT TakeOver Toronto and SummerSlam 2019 coverage.
See you then! Try not to let anybody toss you onto a table between now and Sunday.