Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live: Smackdown didn’t really seem to know what it was doing or why it was happening, but at least we got Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair brawling at the Performance Center with the MMA Four Horsewomen standing to the side smirking at them.
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Here’s this week’s Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live’s 1,002nd episode for October 30, 2018.
Another Crown Jewel Disclaimer In The Form Of A 22-Minute WWE Championship Match
The last week of Raw and Smackdown columns and both my Best and Worst of Evolution and Best and Worst of Raw from last night featured lengthy disclaimers about the crazy state of WWE due to them building three “live specials” at once and doing a pretty reprehensible event in Saudi Arabia on Friday. John Cena dropped out and was replaced by Lash Lee, Lash Lee, Lash Lee on Monday, and then we heard Daniel Bryan had bailed on the event as well.
Cena was part of a “World Cup” tournament that doesn’t actually mean anything and hadn’t been on any of the shows to qualify for or promote it, so replacing him wasn’t a big deal. Bryan, on the other hand, was one half of a WWE Championship match seen as a “dream match” in a lot of fans’ eyes, set up at the OTHER big international house show event, Super Show-Down in Australia.
The reason I’m doing another disclaimer here is because it presents a very difficult problem for someone who loves wrestling and is employed to talk about it at length every week: I am having difficulty enjoying a 22-minute AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan match for the WWE Championship with a clean finish on free television. That’s an absolutely insane thing to type, but here we are. As much as I want to get hype and breathlessly type about how they’re wrestling their asses off and having the early limb work pay off in the finish, I also have to provide the context of “this is happening now instead of on Friday because a guy doesn’t want to go to Saudi Arabia to compete on the blood money pay-per-view,” and notice things like, “Bryan tapped out instead of getting pinned, is he being punished for standing up to them, or was this always the plan for the match?” Lots of weird internal conjecture that I can’t prove or even really justify beyond a crappy-feeling hunch.
Just to do it,