Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: It’s ’93, it’s time for Wrestle-MAIN-ya! The IIconics won the Women’s Tag Team Championship (putting them on both shows), Becky Lynch won the Winner Take All main event (putting her on both shows), and Kofi Kingston won the hearts of millions despite killing the planet when he became WWE Champion.
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Anyway, here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for April 9, 2019.
Before We Begin
So, next week is the Superstar Shake-Up™, a “draft” of sorts in which people who are currently on Raw, Smackdown and NXT get shuffled onto a different brand to freshen things up. I didn’t give Raw enough credit for this in the Best and Worst of Raw, probably because we’re in a long-term abusive relationship, but here’s the truth: with WrestleMania ending on Sunday and the rosters completely changing next Monday and Tuesday, this week’s shows are total throwaways. At best.
It’s not a terrible idea, I guess, considering how infamous the post-WrestleMania Raw (and to a lesser degree, the post-WrestleMania Smackdown) have become for wild fans taking control and doing the wave and playing with beach balls all night. The important stories ended over the weekend, and there’s no use in starting new important stories if everyone’s delirious from excitement and exhaustion and nobody’s paying attention.
Just wanted to type this out first, because aside from a title change that makes a couple of people seem like obvious choices for Shooken-Up Superstars, nothing really happens. Enjoy!
Best: A Lot Of Butt Stuff
Smackdown begins with New Day organizing what looks like PRIDE to help celebrate Kofi Kingston’s WWE Championship win at WrestleMania. Between the unbridled celebratory positivity, Big E randomly doing the splits, and Kofi’s adorable family getting in the ring, they should be allowed to hold celebrations as long as they want. Just keep doing championship celebrations until they don’t want to anymore. I think it’d take a lot to make them start feeling disingenuous, and hell, it’s at least nice to see someone who seems happy about being champion. It’s like how 90% of super hero movies revolve around the hero not wanting to be the hero. The Marvel Netflix shows are basically therapy sessions for people who get to be beautiful and special. YOU POOR BABIES.
The celebration gets interrupted by The Bar and eventually their randomly occurring Raw friend Drew McIntyre, who I guess aren’t tired of losing all the time yet.
The main event is a lot like the Raw main event, in that it’s perfect fine pro wrestling with a good point — show that Kofi Kingston is a fighting WWE Champion who can win matches against strong challengers — but isn’t particularly consequential or exciting, and exists in the void between WrestleMania and the Shake-Up.
There’s also the weird happenstance of Drew McIntyre tagging out and then just kinda disappearing to the back. Reports say he exited off to the side and not up the ramp, where he would’ve gone if it was something story-based, although we haven’t seen any official “Drew McIntyre injured” announcements beyond speculation. We certainly hope he’s okay, especially with the Shake-Up coming up and him finally maybe getting a position worthy of his talents and natural humongousness on one of the rosters.
Related note: Can WWE resist breaking up the New Day this close to Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship? You can practically feel creative’s hands fidgeting from here. Breaking up the New Day is like teenage suicide. Don’t do it.
Best: Roster Cohesion (On The Last Episode Before The Shake-Up)
I really enjoyed how easily this episode flowed from one thing to another. The best example is definitely this stretch in the middle.
R-Truth and Carmella show up to recap WrestleMania, and Truth congratulates Carmella on “defeating Andre the Giant in the Royal Rumble match.” Carmella gets to show some awesome babyface likability by explaining how last year she lost her championship but gained a friend who put her priorities back in the right place and helped her love her job again. That’s really, really great, and Truth and Carmella have been a revelation and are easily the best thing to come from the Mixed Match Classic’s existence.
That causes Samoa Joe to randomly power-walk out and murder Truth, as “randomly murdering choking dudes to death as quickly as possible” is Joe’s great new character trait. His show of brutal confidence brings out the most brutal and confident guy on the show — Braun Strowman — and the two brawl. THIS is great because (1) Joe knows how to have exciting matches with big dudes, as seen with his awesome bout with Brock Lesnar, (2) Braun Strowman works a lot better with dynamic fighters like Joe than he does with big slogs like Kane or celebrities and desperately needs to get his edge back, and (3) it instantly sets up a match with a fight that makes us want to see MORE FIGHTING. Pro wrestling at is easiest, and its best.
And then that randomly leads to this incredible moment on the stage, in which The IIconics (of all people) try to make friends with Strowman and get cold-shouldered.
He really does need to go to therapy.
Best: For Whom The Belles Toll
Quick, take a wild guess on whether or not I loved the IIconics Women’s Tag Team Championship title win celebration speech and the followup match in which they spectacularly trounce two jobbers who look like Hot Topic convinced two random girls at the mall to cosplay as the Young Bucks.
After the match, Paige (is) Here and announces that next week she’s going to be bringing a new tag team to Smackdown Live. I’d be happy if this was some form of Lady Road Warriors (like Rhea Ripley and Reina Gonzalez, for example), but I’d like it even more if it was a We Actually Started The Women’s Revolution You Idiots-themed Hulu NXT duo like Emma and Summer Rae. I’d rather the IIconics keep the belts for a while, especially since Bayley and Sasha Banks got a Sasha Banks run, but as long as (1) we can always call them “Women’s Tag Team Champions The IIconics” and (2) they keep doing these random backstage improvised character worked bits, I’ll live.
I don’t know what’s my favorite recent IIconicism, Billie Kay’s threatening lean against the wall in someone’s face, or “thanks for comin’ out” as a way to say goodbye.
By the way, Queen Cathy’s “I love them but I’m not supposed to” face when she’s done talking to the IIconics is always the best thing.
Best: The Flight, The Light, And The Night
Two great moments from the very fun but otherwise extremely placeholder exhibition of Aleister Black, Ricochet, and Ali versus Andrade, Rusev, and Shinsuke Nakamura.
1. The triple sit-out, which is perfectly timed by everyone involved and way cooler when Michael Cole’s not calling it.
2. Ali falling victim to the dreaded tight middle shot that hides RKOs From Outta Nowhere and, get this, eating an RKO From Outta Nowhere.
Ali vs. Randy Orton is a ready made feud I’m dying to see, both because of the contrast between very good dude Ali and impossible to love bad human Randy Orton, and because Ali’s probably got 45 ideas for absurd RKOs nobody else is athletic or creative enough to pull off.
Also, as good as they’ve been as a tag team, there’s nothing I want the Superstar Shake-Up to shake up more than Ricochet and Aleister Black. Their partnership has never made sense, makes even less sense now that the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is over and they didn’t win the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver New York, and are too good as singles stars to get stuck in a Bobby Roode/Chad Gable “sorry you’re still employed” spot.
Best: Greg’d If You Do, Greg’d If You Don’t
I’m not sure I can articulate why it works so well, but I’m into the weird Miz vs. Shane McMahon sub-story where Shane is threatening Greg Hamilton all the time about calling him the “Best in the World” properly, and now “fans” are apparently threatening him if he says it at all. Of all the character on the show, Greg is the one who found himself in a weird “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” mob situation where he shall swim with the fishes because he exists and has a job.
Next week I want Greg to show up all nervous, dressed like Elton John in the ’70s, forced to do a big elaborate introduction for Shane McMahon only for George Mizanin to hop the rail and beat the shit out of him. Give me paranoid Greg losing hair and weight because he lives in fear every second of his life because a couple of rich assholes don’t like each other.
Best, Mostly: Superstar Shake-Uce
The best and most exciting match of the night is The Hardy Boyz winning the Smackdown Tag Team Championship from the Usos, putting them back on track to challenge The Dudley Boyz’ record number of tag title reigns. The trick to being a successful tag team is calling yourself “Boyz.” Booker T and Stevie Ray would’ve gotten into the Hall of Fame five years ago if they’d just been the Huffman Boyz.
I don’t love the Usos losing the championship (because I love me some Usos) and I think it’s weird that the pre-WrestleMania feud appeared to be the Usos and the Hardys ,only for that to get shuffled off to the side for a random fatal four-way that’d get more people on the card but not involve the Hardys, and then the match happen with a title change two days after WrestleMania. But this DOES clear up the Usos to get moved over to Raw in the Superstar Shake-Up, which is great because Raw’s tag team division is the most embarrassing shit in the universe and needs good tag teams having good matches pronto. It also maybe means they can Shake-Up Naomi to Raw, too, and give that post-Ronda division and Riott Squad graveyard some much-needed positive, likable faces.
Worst: All The Stuff They Did On Raw, But Repeated Here Anyway
After the tag title match, Lars Sullivan shows up again and “destroys” the Hardys. All I’ll say is to compare Lars debuting by attacking the Hardys to, say, Brock Lesnar debuting by attacking up the Hardys and you’ll see why one worked and one might not.
Becky Lynch seriously needs to learn how to look out for a straight right hand.
Not much new to say here, so I’ll just copy and paste this over from Raw:
I like Lacey in this role, as you can give Becky Lynch an easy sort of “starter opponent” for a title defense at Backlash (or wherever), which will add a little longevity to her double title reign in a promotion where we’re already scared to death that all our title-winning fan favorites from WrestleMania aren’t going to stay champion through this week. Plus, Jesus, maybe now we’re finally done with the Lacey Evans Doing Nothing joke, which was honestly pretty tired back in February. She throws a good punch.
Next week they should have Lacey cut a promo in the middle of the ring, and when she’s about to leave have Becky Lynch show up dressed like a trophy wife at the Kentucky Derby and kick her ass.
Bray Wyatt’s Stinky Bird Puppet Made Another Appearance
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Our KO from out of nowhere!
Whenever the Usos aren’t tag team champions, people should be asking “why aren’t the Usos tag team champions?”
Still bummed that Kofi’s belt plates are not pictures of Xavier & Big E.
E should write “Raw” on one leg and “Smackdown Live” on the other, and work that split into his moveset. Call it the Brand Split.
Don’t point out your family Kofi. That’s just what Joe wants.
Do not let Lana near any dalmatians
The Real Birdman
*Takes down 0*
It has been 1 weeks since Vince McMahon ruined the SDL main event
In terms of friend groups, going from being friends with Corbin/Bobby to the Bar is like switching from MySpace to Facebook.
Lake of Reincarnation really works, they got their stats from 2000 back
One Last Thing
Shout-out to Sami Zayn declaring he’d show up every night to hold fans accountable, then showing less than 24 hours later to completely bail on the whole idea. It’s going to be a lot of fun when this happens to him:
SummerSlam is in the “Bizarro Land” of Toronto, so I really want a card with both heel Daniel Bryan vs. face The Miz and heel Sami Zayn vs. face Kevin Owens on it where the crowd cheers the heels and accidentally gets last year’s intended show reactions right.
Thanks for reading, everybody. It’s been a hell of a weekend, and I will now lie down and not wake up until SummerSlam. Drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, give us a share on social media to help us close out WrestleMania week strong, and be here next week when we shake up some Superstars.