Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown Live: Smackdown didn’t have a No Mercy to sell, so they just replayed an old episode and changed the dates to make it look like it was new. That’s what happened, right?
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Smackdown Live for September 26, 2017.
Best: Destined To Get The Short End Of This Stick Forever
With buff baby who can puncha-yo buns Shane McMahon late getting to the arena, Kevin Owens is once again free and clear to open the show by standing in the middle of the ring and Canadienly shouting confident bullshit as long as he’d like. That brings out Sami Zayn, the tail of Kevin Owens’ ouroboros, to confront him.
As you might’ve guessed, I really loved two things from Zayn. Firstly, he wants to do things the right way, because even if he’s not the pure whitemeat baby he was in NXT, main roster Zayn is still the only guy on the show with babyface HP remaining. Secondly, he doesn’t just show up to call Kevin Owens names … he shows him compassion, because no matter what happens between them they know they understand each other, and are forever connected, and can weirdly lean and depend on one another when this WWE gig gets hard. Sami doesn’t have to do this, but he knows how far Owens can go when he “snaps,” and knows Owens is about to cross a line at Hell in a Cell by either (1) beating Shane McMahon to death for real, (2) having Shane explode into pink goo about halfway through because he appears to have the cardio of a heart mid-heart attack, or (3) moving out of the way of something and allowing Shane to beat HIMSELF to death for real.
A couple of weeks ago, Owens swallowed a little bit of his pride and asked Sami Zayn to be the special guest referee in a match against AJ Styles. Zayn rebuffed him, anticipating the “getting powerbombed into the apron” ending to that story, and Owens was hurt. So of course now when Zayn shows up trying to help Kevin, Kevin’s first response is going to be YOU’RE WORTHLESS, LET’S COMPARE TITLE HISTORIES, I’M SO GREAT HUH.
That sets up a match between the two, because of course it does. They’re destined to do this forever, and the WWE definition of “this” so far is mostly “Sami Zayn getting his ass kicked to put over Kevin Owens vs. Somebody Else.” It’s very good while it lasts, because these two could put together a 10 second match that felt like four good minutes, but the ending is the same as it ever was; Sami Zayn losing via ref stoppage when Owens powerbombs him into The Hardest Part Of The Ring™. Sami has to get helped away by trainers, EMTS, referees down, and Owens gets to use him as a prop obstacle — a propsticle — to keep Sweat Flan Shane McMahon from getting to him.
It’s good stuff, but man, I hope Sami’s right, and that one day his day will come. And that they don’t pull a Daniel Bryan and wait until he’s killed himself for them for years and his health’s about to fall off a cliff to finally give it to him.
Worst: What Main Event Scene?
Do you ever get the feeling like WWE writes one really good segment, then Vince struts in and yells “MAKE IT LAST SIX WEEKS?” And then the writer has to scramble to portion the one good bit into 1/6-size pieces, and that’s what we get on TV for a month?
Imagine this as one segment: Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers show up to cut a promo, pretend like they’re gonna be respectful, then launch into a minute or two of the most offensive racial stuff you’ve heard on TV in a while. It starts with people laughing, because of the crowd’s worst instincts, and Jinder reads that as “fans are xenophobic and will treat Nakamura like they treat me,” because Jinder apparently thinks he’s a likeable dude and the only reason he’s not John Cena popular is the color of his skin and his international heritage. It’s wrong, but it’s close enough to “right” to matter from Jinder’s point of view. So Jinder rides with the laughter and beats the concept into the ground until everyone’s booing. Jinder flips it on them, says they’re booing him because he showed them up. Like that guy who goes online and acts like an asshole, or talks about how obvious it is that the world is flat, and when anyone calls him on it, he reverts to, “I was just trolling,” or, “It was a social experiment!” Then Jinder goes to the well one too many times, the still photos of Nakamura’s face reveal that it’s actually him backstage, and then Jinder gets his ass kicked.
Instead, we got the first half of that two weeks ago, the middle part last week, and the ending THIS week. The point seemed to devolve from “I’m calling you on your racism and you don’t even realize it” to “I AM BEING VERY RACIST” to “Nakamura makes funny faces, THAT’S what we were laughing about, we respect all lands and cultures, sorry sorry.” And if what Kevin Owens mentioned is to be believed, the WWE Championship match is not even main-eventing Hell in a Cell. So … good job, everyone?
Best: Happy Rusev Day
Even without September 26 forever being known as “Rusev Day,” you’ve got to love a segment where Rusev goes through the trouble of decorating a ring like Bulgaria, convincing his one heel friend to sing MULTIPLE songs about him, and have the mayor of his hometown of Plovdiv give him what appears to be a Paper Mario key to the city for cheating to beat Randy Orton in 9 seconds after an unrelated match at the beginning of one Smackdown.
Put it all together, though, and this is my reaction:
I didn’t even mind the Randy Orton interference, because I appreciate when they make an effort to actually conceal the “RKO Outta Nowhere,’ and make Orton look like a teleporting Elder God or whatever. He slides in, hits an RKO on Aiden English mid-parody, then drops Rusev with an absolutely BEAUTIFUL one. Credit to Handsome Ru-Ru for that one. Honestly? They should play on this trend and have an Iron Man Match at Hell in a Cell where they keep getting instant flash pins on each other and the final score is like, 85-84.
“Let’s Have A Match At HELL IN A CELL” Lightning Round
A lot of Smackdown was something forgettable happening, then two people who want to have a match at Hell in a Cell getting on a microphone to say, “hey, you! So let’s have a match at Hell in a Cell!”
I’ll give you several examples. First is Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger, which ties nicely into the previous week’s stories of them interrupting each other’s attempts to become United States Champion, but is no great shakes and ends with a count-out. Beating Tye Dillinger with a 10-count is pretty ironically hateful, right? But yeah, Corbin gets on the mic after the match and is like, “Hey AJ Styles! So let’s have a match at Hell in a Cell!” And they will!
Bobby Roode interrupts Dolph Ziggler’s latest avant-garde “entertainment” piece and is like, ‘hey Dolph! So let’s have a match at Hell in a Cell!” Dolph agrees, because Roode represents “everything wrong with WWE right now,” which I guess can be boiled down to, “Dolph Ziggler with a better entrance.”
Bonus points if Roode gloriously-DDTs Ziggler off the show and into the Laugh Factory or whatever so we never have to see him say “I’M THE BEST AT WRESTLING” without following it up by wrestling well (or at all) ever again.
Then we’ve got The Usos vs. The Hype Bros, which continues the inevitable Zack Ryder depression turn and, you guessed it, sets up a post-match promo against the New Day where the Usos are like, “Hey New Day! So let’s have a match at Hell in a Cell!” And then New Day doubles up with, “Hey Usos! So let’s have a match IN Hell in a Cell!” This segment is different because that!
There’s also Charlotte vs. Carmella, which is another reminder that you shouldn’t have a Money in the Bank briefcase holder in a division of five women, especially if you’re only going to push two at a time. You end up having one of your top challengers (Carmella) eating pins over and over to make her not look like a threat, so the cash-in will be surprising, which will then not work because you spent so long telling us how bad the person is.
After the match, Natalya shows up with a Hooked on Phonics tape and tries to sound her way through a promo. “Hey Charlotte! Don’t forget we’re having a match at Hell in a Cell! Please pay not attention to Carmella!”
And, uh, that’s the show!
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
It’s a shame Braun had to sacrifice his chance at the crusierweight title
Sami walking around with a chair on his head like the lowest budget Saw revival.
Dolph: “You are everything that is wrong with WWE”
Roode: “I’m not start and stop pushes, 50/50 booking, part time champions, legends that don’t put over young talent, botched callups,an out of touch owner, an insistence on putting the McMahons and Hunter above all wrestlers… (commercial break)
Does this mean Ziggler is in GFW?
The Real Birdman
I’m pretty sure people can do what you do in that ring, Dolph. Curt Hawkins has a 118 match losing streak after all
Ellsworth might be housebroken, but he definitely hasn’t had his shots.
Siri, add new appointment. “Rusev Day.” Repeats annually.
Baron Von Raschke
Aiden English looks like how I think The Undertaker would look if Undertaker lost a lot of weight.
I like that all of the Smackdown Live heels like and respect Aiden English
Trump: We’re going to send much needed relief to this devastated disaster area.
*Helicopters fly to Baron Corbin’s hairline.*
Join us next week for the return of the Fashion Files (oh thank God), nAtAlYa SaYiNg WoRdS, and, if we’re lucky, Shane McMahon accidentally running over Sami Zayn on his way to a GNC and having to stop at the pet store to find one that looks exactly like him so his family doesn’t notice.
Thanks for reading. Click, comment, share and all that good stuff. The road to Hell Amidst The Cell has begun!