The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 4/11/14: Tanned, Light Hair And Lots Of Color

Wrestlemania season isn’t over yet! There’s one more New Orleans WWE show to go!

Pre-show Notes:

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Okay, on we go…

Worst: More Like Measuring Dick, Amirite?

Apparently WWE was afraid its audience wouldn’t know what to think about the past week of programming unless it was filtered through the perspective of one Mr. John Cena, so they had him come out on Smackdown and do a painfully thorough rundown of everything that happened on Wrestlemania and Raw.

Cena talked about the Undertaker’s streak and the Attitude era coming to a definitive end and the ascent of Daniel Bryan. He talked about the rise of Cesaro, The Shield and the upcoming debuts of Bo Dallas and Adam Rose and how the WWE is on the cusp of a new era, then concluded by saying none of it mattered unless they go through him because he’s THE MEASURING STICK JOHN CENA, JACK.

Well John, if you’re the measuring stick I guess most of the locker room can breathe easy. Half the guys wrestle better than you. Most of them are more interesting. Even if we’re strictly kayfabing this, what has John Cena the character done lately? Compete in a lousy mid-card match on Wrestlemania? Take two years to beat The Rock? Measuring stick — f–k you.

Worst: Oh No! Bray Wyatt Is Going To Drive John Cena To Do Something Extreme At Extreme Rules!

And here it is, everything wrong with Bray Wyatt in a nutshell — a boundary pushing character trapped in a promotion that’s simultaneously a) strictly PG and b) obsessed with empty faux edginess.

Bray is trying to push Cena over the edge, but Cena can’t actually go over the edge, so instead the guy who’s made a career out of throwing guys through ambulance roofs is suddenly afraid to use a chair. The result is a battle of wills over whether John Cena will sell his soul and stoop to the use of, gasp, foreign objects at XTREME RULES THE SUPER RAD SHOW WHERE THE ONLY RULE IS THERE IS NO RULES. Spoiler alert — yes, John Cena will use a weapon at Extreme Rules, and no, it won’t matter because he’s John Cena.

Worst: What Am I Supposed To Think About This Cesaro Stuff?

What is going on with Cesaro? They build him up as a good guy for months, finally have him break from Zeb, give him a career-making Wrestlemania moment and then team him with Paul Heyman? The guy who just engineered the end of The Undertaker’s streak? The most hated guy in the company? This is the equivalent of Darth Vader finally dumping the Emperor so he can join up with, I dunno, Space Hitler or something.

It would be one thing if Cesaro was now a definitive heel, but he isn’t. He wrestled most of his match with Big Show on defense like a babyface, then teased going for the GIANT GIANT SWING before being attacked from behind by dastardly heel Jack Swagger. Can’t Cesaro just be a cool guy who beats people up in amazing ways with his super muscles? Speaking of which…


Best: Okay, I Know What To Think About This

How is this even possible? Big Show is like, three times the size of Cesaro, and he’s not made of pillow fluff — dude’s 500 pounds of solid cheeseburgers. We’re in “ant carrying an entire potato chip” territory here. Somebody check if Cesaro has an exoskeleton.

Best: Rybaxel Don’t Always Have To Look Like Clowns?

I’m no great fan of either Ryback or Curtis Axel, but there’s some value in not making these guys look like assholes ever week. There should be some basic underlying logic determining who wins and loses aside from, “Who does Vince like this week?” Goldberg plus 30 pounds of muscle should probably win most of his matches. The technically gifted son of Mr. Perfect should probably win most of his matches. That way when the Usos or whoever beats them, it means something. When Ryback and Curtis Axel fight the stupid comedy matadors I should expect them to win (as they did on Smackdown) because this is supposed to be real. If you’re looking for somebody to lose like clowns, I believe R-Truth and Xavier Woods are still a part of the roster.

Worst: Daniel Bryan, Lifelong Hulkamaniac

Okay, sure — Hulk Hogan is totally jazzed brother about Daniel Bryan being World Champion. If he had even a fraction of the power he had in the 80s and 90s he wouldn’t use ever molecule of it to make sure a guy like Bryan never came within a 100 feet of a world title. Right.

And yeah, Daniel Bryan is just the world’s biggest Hulkamaniac. You can tell from all those backrakes and big boots he incorporates into his matches. Shawn who? Kawada-what? William Regal? That jobber? Nope, Hulk Hogan is clearly his biggest inspiration.

Man, it’s not easy being the most insincere segment on a show with John Cena shouting in his southern accent about how excited he is about Bo Dallas and Cesaro, but this one pulled it off. I guess that’s the price of being a top guy in WWE — sometimes you have to pretend to love a thing you could care less about, but WWE thinks is important. And by “sometimes” I mean “every time, all the time”.

Anyways, after the Hogan/Bryan lovefest, Bryan did Hulk’s poses with him while JBL and Cole snickered and verbally eyerolled. Guys, remember how you devoted an entire Wrestlemania to Daniel Bryan? You can’t put the confetti back in the rafters and go back to “Daniel Bryan is a nerd” jokes now.

Best: I’m The One Guy

Show of hands, does anyone else enjoy Wade Barrett in the ring, but find the whole Bad News Barrett shtick consistently unfunny and stupid? No? Just me then?

I’m so glad Barrett is wrestling again. I think the guy’s hugely underrated in the ring — he’s got a great swagger and physicality when WWE isn’t beating the life out of him. I even like his stupid elbow. Before he hits it a big red weak spot appears on him like a Zelda boss exposing it’s final form! How can you not love that? I’ll take another thousand elbows over another serving of d-grade comedy writing from WWE’s failed sitcom writers. Also his new cape looks like he just pulled his grandmother’s curtains down and threw them over his back. Screw the stupid podium, curtains cape forever.

Best: FandangEl

YES! Fandangel! Laylango! Fandeever!

Summer Rae has developed into a pretty solid solo performer, but she’s always sucked on ice as Fandango’s dance partner. You know it’s true. She a terrible dancer and her and Fandango’s chemistry make Santemma look like f–king Tracy and Hepburn. You can pretty much draw a direct parallel between Fandango dumping Ann Dango for Summer Rae and Fandango’s spiral into mediocrity.

Will aligning with Layla fire Fandango back to the top? I dunno, but if it involves Layla shaking her butt on a frequent basis I’m on board. Hell, I’m willing to officially declare FandangEl segments Worst-proof if they bring back Layla’s curly hair.

Worst: What Are You Talking About Paige?

Okay listen, Paige is very pretty and a talented wrestler and I’m glad she’s been called up, but I’m not looking forward to WWE pushing how unique she is. In this video package/promo Paige goes on about how WWE Divas are all tanned, light haired and wear lots of color before cutting to footage of her beating AJ Lee. You know, the longest reining Divas champion ever who’s dark haired and mostly wears black. Also, you’re getting into some dangerous territory going after AJ for her tan. This is the same problem Sheamus has run into — you can’t boast about your differentness when what sets you apart is being extra super Caucasian. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

Aside from the lack of tan, you’re a super attractive legacy wrestler who won the title when you’re barely old enough to drink. You’re lady Randy Orton, Paige — own it. It worked out okay for him.

Best: Brothers in Arm Tattoos

Speaking of Orton, I just have to take a moment to say how happy I am he and Batista have found their way back to one another. On their own both guys can get the job done okay, but kind of feel like they’re missing something. As a duo though, they’re a hairless, flesh-colored dynamic duo — WWE’s version of The Johnsons who have somehow won 18 World Titles between them. If there’s a better duo to face off against an exciting, passionate team on the rise like The Shield I don’t wanna know about it.

Of course we’re all probably hoping for a little too much from this feud. War Games isn’t coming back, and neither is CM Punk, but hey, everyone is in the position they should be, John Cena isn’t sticking his nose into things (yet) and the matches are going to be great even if they don’t take place in a double ring. That’s about all you can ask of WWE. Get ready for a summer of wrestling being good.