Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Bayley and Sasha Banks got together again for an old fashioned Charlotte Flair beatdown. Plus, Chad Gable is short! Did you know?
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for September 10, 2019.
Best, If You’re Into This Type Of Thing: New York To Nowhere
Smackdown in Madison Square Garden opened with The Undertaker’s entrance, a few incoherent minutes about the “re-roarding” experience of taking heroes’ souls, and Sami Zayn getting picked up by the neck and thrown at the ground. It’s a mostly ceremonial appearance, similar to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s spot on Raw but a lot slower, and gave people what they wanted to see. It’s not my bag, but maybe it’s yours?
At least we don’t have to worry about this setting something up for Saudi Arabia.
Speaking of part-time, non-wrestling 50-year olds who love wrestling in Saudi Arabia and won’t stop showing up; who’s got two index fingers, severe cardiovascular distress, and a spot in the King of the Ring tournament?
Worst: McMahon Down
[insert “I don’t know what I expected” dot GIF here]
Yeah, as soon as news broke about Elias being injured and removed from the King of the Ring tournament, most people who watch the show’s brain went to, “oh no, Shane McMahon’s going to take his spot, isn’t he?” It’s the same move he pulled in the “Best of the World” tournament, and Lord knows they couldn’t do something symmetrically appropriate and just put Andrade and Ali in the semis to make it a triple threat.
The good news, I guess, is that Shane didn’t actually win the match with Chad Gable. Gable got to pin him in a matter of seconds, which is 100% how every match with Shane McMahon should go, and when Shane tried the Vince McMahon Memorial Rule-Change-On-The-Fly bit, Gable tapped him out. I’m certainly not complaining about that. It maintains Gable vs. Corbin for the finals and that finish I want to see recreated. It just also kinda sorta took away the “good matches that get people over with good wrestling” vibe the tournament had been building up, and replaced it with recycled and tired bullshit sports-entertainment from 20 years ago.
In case you missed it, Shane made Kevin Owens the special guest referee and told him he’d lift his fine if he “did his job” the right way. This meant cheating, of course. Owens counted a normal pin for the first fall, and started out-right cheating on McMahon’s behalf once it was made a “2-out-of-3 falls match.” McMahon loses the second fall as well. The result? McMahon beats up Owens and fires him. He’s sucking so much wind and sweat, though, that it comes out like, “YER ARGLE BLEAH! FI-ERDDDD! FIRED!” Little baby brother punches rain down. In addition to Owens going from an anarchic hero of the people to a guy who meekly begs for forgiveness from his evil boss and does his bidding like a total crony, he’s now also getting beaten up and emasculated by a ballpark frank in a baseball jersey. When Smackdown goes to Fox, can we give Kevin and Sami a hard reboot?
Shane McMahon is not Vince McMahon, no matter how much you want him to be. He’s not even Stephanie. Also, shout-out to The Miz and Roman Reigns for watching this on the monitor backstage and thinking about how neither of them could beat Shane.
Best: Stunt Brawls!
Honestly I thought both of the “stunt brawls” on this week’s episode were pretty wack, but I’ll give them a “Best” for at least focusing on the current product and actual professional wrestlers we might want to see in some way, shape, or form on WWE television.
This one makes a good decision by taking a step back from the Roman Reigns murder mystery to just have Roman and the 6-foot-8 vintner trying to end his life throw hands at each other for a while. They’ve got a no disqualification match coming up at Clash of Champions — what, no stairs match? — and I’m pretty sure it’s going to end with Reigns taking one of those John Cena B-feud spots where he, like, gets chokeslammed into a bat signal spotlight or something.
Rowan pushing the lighting jib into Roman and some security guys getting a “holy shit” chant was funny. Really? For that? Anyway, Rowan is surprisingly good in the ring sometimes, so hopefully they’ve got something positive planned for Clash. Suggestion: more instances of fans getting randomly powerbombed. In fact, have one of the cameras pan the crowd during promos and make a point to powerbomb anyone doing a “what” chant in 2019.
The other brawl was between Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton, mostly based on Orton dragging Kofi for bragging about the, “two things he’s done in the last 10 years.” He also derides, “that phony Power of Positivity bullshit,” confirming that John Cena and Randy Orton are truly yin and yang. Cena is positive optimism (“never give up”) and Orton is nihilistic pessimism. Batista is chaotic neutral.
This culminates in them recreating the Madison Square Garden Boom Drop from 2009, and … is Randy Orton winning the WWE Championship on Sunday? Because it sure looks like it. Is Kofi’s WWE title run seriously going to end with Orton throwing him under the bus again? That would sure be something, wouldn’t it? Maybe they’ll have Orton and The Revival take championships away from the New Day at Clash of Champions at the same time and really rub it in.
Jobbers Of The Week
B-B-B-B Beaver Boys!
Losing to Heavy Machinery this week are jobbers Johnny Silver and Alex Keaton, better known as independent wrestling team John Silver and Alex Reynolds, the Beaver Boys. You may also know “Alex Keaton” from Family Ties. They should’ve named Silver “Mike Seaver.”
… that is all.
Worst: Lowest Common Denominator
This show employs a team of writers with years of experience, some of the most brilliant minds to ever grace professional wrestling, and a full roster of learned WWE Superstars, and still somehow the only two things they can come up with to build a Women’s Tag Team Championship match on pay-per-view is, “challenger has pinned the Women’s Tag Team Champions,” and, “Nikki Cross is ugly.” They don’t even dress it up. Mandy Rose just straight up says, “I’m beautiful … and she’s ugly!” into a microphone. Oh, and the match ends with a roll-up. You guys really burned the midnight oil coming up with this one, huh? They’re probably mad they couldn’t decide the number one contender to the Women’s Tag Team Championship in a battle royal.
Anyway, while this passes for primetime television, please check out Asuka’s video game YouTube channel, because the fuck else is she supposed to do with her time?
Also On This Episode
The Miz has a barely developed Intercontinental Championship match on Sunday and Andrade’s doing fuck-all, so Miz gets the win. They do the bit where the champion’s sitting in on commentary minding his own business and the challenger throws someone into them, pretty much asking to get distracted or eat a post-match beatdown. You’ve got to love the mindset of a WWE Superstar, where internally they’re like, “I just tossed a human being into my upcoming opponent, let me just continue wrestling the match and celebrating like they’re not gonna get up and be mad about it.”
Finally, Bayley defeats Ember Moon clean with her finish in like five minutes because Ember’s no longer a championship challenger. Does anyone else think it’s odd that they had Bayley make a big alignment decision and start attacking people with chairs, but kept her look, entrance music, inflatable tube men, in-ring attitude, and offense the same? She’s completely unchanged. I kinda like it from a character building perspective — like, she thinks she’s still the same person on the inside, even if her actions betray everything we know about her — but thematically, and from an “everything we’ve ever known about WWE” perspective, isn’t it weird? At least let her start winning some matches with a nasty submission or something. It’s like watching Lisa Frank go through a mid-life crisis.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
The Real Birdman
Let’s do the exact same thing in the exact same building we did 10 years ago – a team of paid writers
This whole show would be worth it if Rowan just botched and grabbed the wrong fan
Baron Von Raschke
TBH, Randy, You also wrestled a match with a haunted tractor and bugs projected on the mat
I am starting to find Graves’ performative obsequiousness to certain female wrestlers as gross and off-putting as King’s open sexual harassment on commentary.
Shane increasingly looks like he’s going to plan a heist with Trevor and Franklin
Looks shaming is my least favorite thing WWE has brought back from the Attitude Era. And that includes Shane McMahon.
free range clouds
TAKER FEARS RAMBLING RABBIT
In 1999, a young Randall Orton watched Hugo Weaving in “The Matrix” and said to himself “Yes, that’s how I will deliver my promos!”
“Shane McMahon refuses to be humiliated in Madison Square Garden.”
*Proceeds to do… whatever that was*
Of course Taker considers MSG home. Nothing is more representative of death than watching the Knicks play
Thanks as always for reading the standing water version of Smackdown Live on USA Network, as it prepares to head to Fox in a few weeks and be a real show!
Drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of Undertaker opening and Shane McMahon main-eventing an episode of WWE television in late 2019, and give us a share on social media to help us out. Make sure you’re here this weekend, as we cover CLASH OF CHAMPIONS — the only time each year that champions clash! See you then!