The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 5/9/14: You’re By Yourself Tonight

On tonight’s Smackdown — the real Mark Henry.

Pre-show Notes:

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Best: Frowny Sheamus

As Brandon elucidated in the Raw report, Sheamus is just so much more likeable as a bad guy. Well, maybe likeable isn’t the word — it’s easier to appreciate his dickish performances when he’s actually supposed to be a dick. This applies both outside and inside the ring.

Of course Sheamus isn’t a full-on heel yet, but everything he did in his match with Dean Ambrose he did with a frown on his face, and that made all the difference. I mean, Sheamus has always wrestled like a heel — he ties dudes up in the ropes and, when possible, pulls their shirts over their heads before pummelling their man-breasts. This never leads to anything, he just does it for fun. He sucker kicks people in the face absolutely whenever possible. Face Sheamus and heel Sheamus are exactly the same except one has a furrowed brow.

For instance, this match ended when Sheamus blindsided Ambrose with a brogue kick, knocking him out of the ring, then when Ambrose valiantly drug his body back in before the 10-count, Sheamus just kicked him in the face again before he could regain his composure and pinned him. Good guy Sheamus did that kind of shit all the time, and I’d be left feeling empty and vaguely annoyed. When bad guy Sheamus does it I can be “oh f–k you buddy” and feel good that I’m doing the thing I’m supposed to do. Please continue enabling my Sheamus hatred WWE.

Best: An Inconvenient News

BNB went big picture this week with the bad news that climate change was going to cause droughts and super storms that are going erase our civilization from history. It’s true! In fact I believe the first super storm of the season has struck Rob Van Dam’s face…

Jesus. Remember when they took John Cena, the only guy in the company that matters, off multiple shows because he had a black eye? At this point RVD is so far under the “we don’t care” radar he could probably walk into the arena with an alien facehugger attached to him and they’d still just wave him through the curtain.

Best: Man, I Can’t Wait Until This Vladimir Putin Guy Debuts

As the amount of Putin praising in Lana’s introductions increases, the amount of Rusev content decreases. This week she went on about Putin for a solid minute, then was like, “oh, and here’s Rusev.”

I hope the Putin stuff gets more and more elaborate until one day Lana comes out, cuts a 10-minute promo about Crimea, then leaves without ever introducing Rusev. Or better yet a Putin impersonator comes out instead — halfway through Putin’s match they could cut to a very sad Rusev doing his pre-match dance in front of a monitor backstage while eating a pint of rocky road.

And yes, Rusev beat up a black guy again on Smackdown. Also, according to tha dert sheetz Rusev and Lana are doin’ it in real life. I’m not sure which is more apalling.

Worst: Fandango’s Back

Fandango, dude, you got triple powerbombed off the stage through a pile of tables. It was the most violent thing to happen on WWE TV in, I dunno, years? You could have taken more than a couple weeks off. Did you really need to rush back for another Santemma match? No, you didn’t.

Speaking of Santemma, I was back to hating them again this week, and I think I know why. As long as they stick to childish slapstick I don’t mind their antics. I like Santino killing Emma’s arm with the cobra. The pink cobra is cute (come on, it is). It’s when the Santemma stuff gets sexual in any way that my bile starts to churning. So, when Fandango and Layla started making out and Santino was all, “Heya Emma-a, lookit that-a [bonerface]” I fell into a deep despair. Is it just Emma? Would I be reacting this way if, say, Rosa Mendes was making Santino’s snake turgid? I guess I could try to think of Rosa Mendes every time I see Emma, but I think that might make the despair worse.

Best: Mark Henry’s Back

Yeah, I know, Mark Henry’s back doing uh, stuff for a while, but it’s been bald, bland happy Mark Henry. Smackdown saw the temporary return of the real Mark Henry. Angry Mark Henry. Loud funny words shouting Mark Henry. Trim and in shape as I can remember seeing him Mark Henry.

This match didn’t last long, but it was probably the best Roman Reigns singles match to date. It was certainly the most satisfying. Henry’s offense was succinct and impactful instead of sweaty and sloppy (as it sometimes is) then Roman Reignsed up, hit an impressive feat of strength and got the decisive win. Like I said, satisfying.

Oh, and if Mark Henry is feeling his oats again, let’s get a Henry/Rusev thing happening now. Some possibly racist Bulgarian’s wig needs splitting.

Best: The Most Heated Feud In WWE

I really should stop enjoying this Hornswoggle/Torito thing, but dammit, I can’t deny the joy they bring me. I mean, yeah, aspects of the feud are problematic, but all the guys involved are talented (or Jinder Mahal) and they’re busting their asses and, well, it works! Okay? It just works!

It helps that this is the most heated feud happening right now in WWE. I mean, what else is going on? The Wyatt/Cena shitfest? The Shield/Evolution thing is good, but it’s the two coolest teams in the company trying to out-cool one another. Not that much raw emotion there. I suppose Kane is trying to murder Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, but they sell Kane’s attempts to drag them to hell as more annoying than terrifying. Like maybe Kane trying to slaughter them might make them late for the 9:30 movie or something.

Hornswoggle, on the other hand, f–king hates Torito — the second he sees him he’s screaming about ripping the bull’s face off. These two murdering each other with tiny adorable props was the most violent match on WWE’s annual ode to weapon violence. This is how a feud oughta be done just, you know, with extra short jokes.

Worst: Almost Like a Scene Out of a Horror Movie!

Hey, did you know Kane doing parking lot sit-ups on Raw was almost like something from a horror movie? Michael Cole confirmed it around a dozen times on Smackdown! I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised WWE seems to only have the vaguest notion of what a horror movie is — this is after all the company that produced See No Evil, No One Lives and The Chaperone (well, okay, they got pretty close with that last one).

Best: Seth Rollins Does Kofi Kingston Right

First off, here’s Batista interrupting his cool dude pose to make fat face at somebody in the audience…

…come on everybody, how can you hate this guy?

Seth Rollins was sent out on Smackdown to have a Kofi Kingston match. You know the Kofi Kingston match I’m talking about — the one where he faces someone above his station and just gets beat on forever before rallying and sometimes scoring a shocking surprise victory. When Kofi does a Kofi match they’re boring as shit.

Rollins actually managed to make the template semi-interesting. He always seemed to be fighting back in some way instead just flopping around like a rag doll, and when it was time for his rally his offense looked crisp and like something that might believably beat somebody. I also liked the finish a lot — Batista just sidestepped a dive, threw Rollins into the announce table and took a count-out victory. Much like the end of Ambrose/Sheamus, it wasn’t satisfying, but it wasn’t a cop-out DQ or cheating finish. Both Sheamus and Batista won in cowardly dickish ways, but they did it within the rules. More finishes like this and less distraction roll-ups, thanks.

Worst: John Cena vs. Even Odds

John Cena came face-to-face with his kryptonite on Smackdown — fair competition.

As has been frequently discussed around here, John Cena’s chances of prevailing in a match actually go up the higher the odds are stacked against him. Pit him against three giant men and a steel cage and he runs roughshod — it’s only when he has to face a single small child that the odds are enough in Cena’s favor that he might lose.

John Cena’s incessant odds overcoming has frequently led to annoying situations where he tears through an entire stable on his own, but then loses a fair tag match because of his stupid weak tag partners, which we’re supposed to buy as a crushing Cena defeat. This week Cena’s stupid weak tag partners were the tag-team champions and sure enough after Cena ran around for a few minutes effortlessly fisherman suplexing 300-pound hillbillies, the Usos tagged in, got beat like chumps and Cena made sad face. Then I made sad face. When I can’t even take pleasure in John Cena being beat, you’re doing something wrong.