Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live: Heel AF Becky Lynch continued to be cheered relentlessly for heeling on Charlotte Flair, Peyton Royce flossed (???), and Randy Orton got sexy weird with a production guy.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for September 25, 2018.
Best: 30 Minutes Of R-Truth
I’ve typed it before, but one of the best stories of 2018 is someone at Smackdown looking at 46-year old R-Truth, realizing he’s in better shape than 99% of 20-year olds, remembering he’s a 20-plus-year veteran who’s spent most of the past decade dressing up like Sherlock Holmes in comedy bits or whatever, and thinking, “oh, we could probably use this guy for something.” And then Frank Viola, here’s Truth not only anchoring a comedy segment to open Smackdown, but expertly playing to the crowd for like 20 minutes, getting over a batch of different stories, and parlaying the opening into an entertaining 12 minutes of wrestling. So, so good.
If you missed it, Truth decides that since he pinned The Miz on Smackdown a couple of weeks ago and Miz doesn’t have a championship, he should be allowed to take Miz’s talk show. There’s something truly wonderful about how R-Truth’s character understands pro wrestling, especially since we’ve been clued in to the fact that he’s just fucking with us. Other things to love before we even get to the wrestling segment:
- it’s fun to remember when Daniel Bryan wasn’t considered “good on the mic,” which was technically never
- it’s more fun to remember Daniel Bryan without Brie Bella lingering around ruining all of his matches and segments
- Carmella looks AMAZING with her new hair, and I love that she’s managed to go from super heel to super face without really changing anything
- I need a pair of thigh-high money boots
- seven-second dance breaks!
- The Miz will forever be my avatar on WWE television. Example:
My love of the IIconics notwithstanding, Flossing has become a true epidemic on WWE television. They even got lovingly, preciously Caucasian Daniel Bryan to do it during a commercial break. Pay no attention to how they’re playing to the empty half of an arena:
Again, this is me to the writers every time they’re like, “hey, what if our wrestlers do the Backpack Kid!” How dare they do things kids today enjoy instead of pandering to me, the aging wrestling fan! This is the Batman’s Dick of dancing!
And hey, the match is pretty good, too. Miz and Truth have always had good chemistry with one another in and out of the ring, which is what makes The Awesome Truth one of the biggest missed opportunities of this era. Those guys were the hottest shit in the world for like, a few weeks.
Miz needed to win here, and he needed to show Daniel Bryan that he could win “fairly” “with his wrestling,” which is exactly what Bryan was complaining about on commentary. Miz even won with Bryan’s finisher, because in his mind he’s actually better at this than Bryan, even though he’s falsely equating R-Truth and the Smackdown mid-card with Daniel goddamn Bryan. It’s so wonderfully layered, and I hope Miz wins at Super Show-down with help from The Other Carmella™ and goes on to decimate AJ Styles at literally any show.
Better yet: Bryan beats him there and wins the title shot, but Miz costs him the Championship later. That way when Miz wins the WWE Championship, he can make Bryan have to win the Royal Rumble or whatever to get a shot at him, and claim that Bryan already proved he’s not worth winning title shots (even though it’s all his fault).
Best/Worst: The Milwaukee Bex
One of the most interesting (read: bad) developments from this episode is Rusev finally getting a good singles story against someone who can not only work but carry his end of dialogue and segments — Aiden English — only for it to immediately turn into another “Lana’s cheating on me” angle. They did that with the horrible Enzo Amore hotel room stuff, they did it in the Summer Rae/Dolph Ziggler love rectangle even though Lana and Dolph had the sexual chemistry of a tree and a wood chipper, and now Aiden’s out here asking Lana about that “one night in Milwaukee.”
Well, I’m a regular visitor there, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers were coming here as early as the late 1600s to trade with the Native Americans. “Milwaukee” an Indian name, pronounced “mill-e-wah-que,” which is Algonquin for, “the good land.” I think one of the most interesting aspects of Milwaukee is the fact that it’s the only major American city to have ever elected three socialist mayors. Also the fact that the only Lana Wisconsin reference I can remember is the time The Rock said he taught her the “Wisconsin Wheelbarrow,” so it’s either that, or she’s hooking up with Mr. Kennedy. I’m not sure which one would be worse.
Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy would be worse.
That bleeds into a match between Lana and Becky Lynch, in which Becky attempts to win a humanitarian award for giving Lana that much offense. The crowd chants “Milwaukee,” which makes me think they chose a city with three syllables like that just to make it easily chantable. I’m okay seeing where this goes, as long as it doesn’t involve “security cam footage” of people about to have sex. That’s the second worst camera trope they do, behind any time someone walks into the parking lot for a car crash and suddenly there are like 18 different camera angles available. Cameras in sun roofs and on the front of semi-trucks and shit.
On the plus side here, Becky’s on fire all night, because of course she is. The backstage segment where she attacks Charlotte Flair during a photo shoot, poses over her corpse and tells the camera man to “take the champ’s photo” is [chef’s kiss], and the cocky hallway followup where she pops in to rag on Lana just to get a match against an obvious can is also choice. And of course, the crowd’s chanting BECK-Y, BECK-Y at everything, because how could you not cheer this cool-ass woman who is also extremely dope at pro graps? Becky for life.
Worst: VIDEO EVIDENCE~
They’re totally going to do security cam footage of someone being seduced, aren’t they? I hope his video evidence is just Rusev losing every important match he’s had since 2015.
While I’m deeply offended by the IIconics having their pre-match speech interrupted, I’m all into this Naomi and Asuka team. That combo finisher where they synchronize taunts and Conchairto their opponent with kicks to the head — a concerto from Shoe-bert, I guess? — is great, and makes me wish WWE would pay Naomi WWE money to spend six months over in Stardom or wherever. Give her one of those Kimber Lee runs, let her take that next step she’s never going to be able to take in WWE and become one of the best in the world.
I’m hoping they’re able to continue their winning streak heading into Super Show-Down, because the IIconics winning in Australia is basically all I care about. Also that they get a special Australia-themed entrance, and are treated like conquering heroes. And are allowed 20 minutes to talk about whatever they want before the match. I care about a lot of things!
Best: Die Dillinger
You know, I don’t like Randy Orton, and I especially don’t like Randy Orton matches, but I love these Randy Orton match builds where he makes a cogent point — example, “Jeff Hardy shouldn’t exist” — and spends a month beating the ever-loving piss out of someone. He’s doing that to Tye Dillinger now, and everything I would’ve typed about Tye not deserving a United States Championship match for losing everything he’s been in since coming to the main roster and/or the holding pattern Shinsuke Nakamura’s in right now is invalid because Orton’s taking him to the cleaners. I could watch dude throw Tye Dillinger into things and sarcastically count on his fingers above his head all month.
Also fun: Nakamura getting in a cheap shot on Tye’s already lifeless body for absolutely no reason other than being a colossal piece of shit. Let’s hope this feud can actually elevate Tye and give him something to do, because yeah, “The Perfect 10” is fun, but he’s been counting to 10 for YEARS. Turn him up to 11 for once.
Best: Give The Bar The Titles
New Day is reaching dangerous levels of John Cena unfunny with those Cesaro areola jokes, but at least the matches are good. This week we get Big E vs. Sheamus in a singles match, and while I of course want this to be a Sheamus vs. Mark Henry from SummerSlam-style super hoss fight, I’m happy with the 7-ish minutes of back-and-forth action we got. It left me wanting more, which is good, and absolutely didn’t put everything they could do on the table. I hope the tag match in Australia gets a ton of time, because Sheamus seems to have finally shaken off that bad vibe he had going with crowds for several years, and Big E is probably the most untapped potential for good singles matches in the company right now.
I really appreciate Sheamus doing a basic amount of homework and just getting his knee up to block Big E’s spear through the ropes. You’re standing on the apron and this big dude just hit the far ropes and is running at you. He’s always Chessmanning people to the floor with his shoulder. Why wouldn’t you at least bend your knee slightly to counter it? One of my favorite things in wrestling is when a guy has his opponent’s signature moves scouted, so if that opponent wants to hit them, he’s got to come up with outside-the-box ways to hit them. See also: Drew McIntyre countering Seth Rollins’ Falcon Arrow combo on Ziggler with a Claymore to the nose.
LOL: A Nightmare On Helms Street
Finally we have … haha, we have Samoa Joe participating in a contract signing live via satellite because we’ve entered like month three of him psychosexually stalking AJ Styles’ family. I love that Styles has “Styles” on his TV mailbox, because if Joe showed up to a mailbox labeled “Jones” he could be anywhere. Joe’s out here leaving flaming bags of poo on the porch of a guy he’s already failed to take the championship from twice, and at some point you’ve gotta just punch him in the face a bunch instead of buying plane tickets to Georgia just to ring somebody’s doorbell and bail.
Oh, and from DenseMan1’s live report in our open thread:
In Joe’s video, I’m pretty sure you can see the observation tower at the theme park literally a stone’s throw from the arena. I think AJ Styles’s house is in an actually kinda lame neighborhood to the west of Invesco Field.
I hope they pull a Devil’s Rejects double-turn here and have Styles barge into Samoa Joe’s house and putting Joe’s grandpa in the Calf Crusher or something. C’MAWN MAN! DUDE! C’MAWN!
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Joe breaking into AJ’s house is the greatest lead in for The Purge i could ever think of.
Baron Von Raschke
If Brian Pillman opens the door, I will freak out!
Joe: I did get a little gift for Annie.
*holds up a globe*
AJ: No man! That ain’t right!
The Real Birdman
By WWE’s own logic, Joe didn’t sign the contract during the show, so there’s no match
*Asuka kicks Mandy in the face. Concusses her*
Road Dogg: “Asuka, how are you gonna botch like Brie Bella like that?”
Becky could probably come out to ‘Cult of Personality’ in Chicago and get cheered.
I wish Kenny Omega would show up backstage, translate what Asuka’s saying, then walk off, never to be seen on WWE TV again. No explanation.
this is for stealing my haircut!
Becky: “I’ve beaten Charlotte!”
Becky: “You all suck!”
Crowd: “We’re the worst!”
Becky: “Rusev Day is crap!”
Crowd: “F*ck Rusev Day!”
Becky: “Brie Bella started the women’s revolution!”
*Denver, CO explodes*
BECKY: I’m gonna kills a puppy.
John Wick is in the crowd cheering her on.
That’s it for this week.
Be sure to drop a comment below to let us know what you thought of the show, and share the column if you’re a friend, and not the kind of person who’d cheer Charlotte Flair over Becky Lynch. Be here next week for the Bonzer Royal Rumble!