Previously on the Best and Worst of Smackdown: Rob Gronkowski danced a jig, humped the ring post, and humiliated a wrestler to call WWE Celebrity Guest Bingo. Plus, Otis made a HAM sandwich out of any heel willing to show to to work during a global pandemic.
One more thing: Hit those share buttons! Spread the word about the column on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you use. Be sure to leave us a comment in our comment section below as well. I know we always ask this, and that this part is copy and pasted in every week, but we appreciate it every week.
Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Friday Night Smackdown for March 27, 2020.
Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain
This column contains some reported WrestleMania news spoilers. Just wanted to let you know. No match results or anything, but if for some reason you’re reading about Smackdown on a wrestling blog and haven’t been inundated with OH NO WRESTLEMANIA news, I don’t necessarily want to be the one to break it to you.
Watching this week’s Friday Night Smackdown felt like two hours of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Per multiple reports, Roman Reigns opted to back out of his Universal Championship main event match against clown killer Bill Goldberg due to, well, you know, being immunocompromised after two battles with leukemia and not wanting to catch a virus that could kill him. That match has already been taped, too, with Roman being replaced by just the worst possible backup option. They could’ve shoehorned the Constable King in there or whatever, I guess, but WrestleMania, your main event, woof. I can’t WAIT to see what THAT Jackhammer looks like. I bet they did five takes and took a three hour nap break before it looked right.
Roman dropping out was reportedly due in part to The Miz showing up to the taping sick and getting sent home. So what is this week’s Smackdown mostly centered around? Promoting the Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg match like it’s still happening, and having The Miz set up a Smackdown Tag Team Championship match for WrestleMania. So … pretty depressing. The show was taped before all of this went down and there’s still another episode next week to explain the card changes, but it’s awfully carny of them to keep promoting matches they know aren’t going to happen not because of on-screen storylines, but because of real-world fear. I’m trying to give WWE the benefit of the doubt as they keep blindly marching toward oblivion while every other major sports organization and entertainment property has shut down, but man, at this point why are you even doing this show at all?
In other words,
Oh well, at least we’ve still got the Boneyard Match, which is called a “boneyard match” instead of a “graveyard” or “cemetery match” because they don’t want a world full of people scared about dying to hear words that make them think about dying. It’s not a graveyard, it’s a boneyard. Just a yard with some bones in it. Due to circumstances, not the “global pandemic” or the “coronavirus.” It’s not a disease, pal, it’s a championship!
Worst: Words Matter!
On last week’s show, Not General Manager Paige (with help from “her friends at Fox,” who I guess are booking matches now) announced that Bayley would be defending her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke. Bayley responded with, “oh you wanna add like, Tamina in there? Does she even work here anymore? I haven’t seen her in years.” It was such an accurate burn that WWE edited out the second half of it in their YouTube clip of the segment. This week, Tamina shows up and they treat her like she’s scary and dominant. It’s almost like what WWE says and what WWE does are two different things, and that heels are the ones who tell the truth because WWE wants to equate reasonable criticism and basic deductive reasoning to villainy and unpopularity in the eyes of their audience!
Also, Dana Brooke’s no longer in the match because she’s under quarantine, and Lacey Evans is calling Bayley and Sasha Banks “nasties” again in a really shitty tone only a few weeks after jokingly explaining to fellow affluent white lady Renee Young that “nasty” is actually a term of affection in the south. Narrator: It is not. Things are just great all over.
Best: Bye, Felicia
I’ll be straight with you, the only real highlight from this week’s episode for me is King Corbin sceptering Elias off the Cathy Kelley Memorial Juliette Balcony at the Performance Center and apparently murdering him in cold blood for singing another song about how Corbin’s a turd. Couldn’t have happened to a spoonier bard.
It’s the second best WWE moment of the year, right behind Elias singing a song about Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble and Brock leaving the ring to beat the piss out of him in the aisle. I hope the only interaction these two get at WrestleMania is Corbin nonchalantly filling a grave plot with dirt in the background during the Boneyard Match and making a cross out of a broken guitar neck.
This Week In Fine But Underwhelming And Flat Wrestling Matches In An Empty Gym
Two weeks ago, Daniel Bryan defeated Cesaro with a roll-up. Last week, Daniel Bryan teamed up with Drew Gulak against Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura and defeated Cesaro with a roll-up. So it only makes sense that this week, Drew Gulak would defeat Shinsuke Nakamura with a roll-up. There’s something truly Monkey Pawish about there being a lengthy Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak versus Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura WrestleMania feud over the Intercontinental Championship, but it being performed exclusively through half-assed Smackdown matches in front of nobody. Imagine Savage/Steamboat, but the WWF spent 18 months telling you over and over that Randy Savage is a helpless coward, George Steele pinned him like six times in a row, and then Savage wrestled Steamboat in an abandoned warehouse.
In other Smackdown news to make you go, “for fuck’s sake what??” here’s Alexa Bliss beating Asuka clean with a DDT. Michael Cole trying to deal with Nikki Cross on commentary was pretty funny, though. Welcome to a strange new world where the best part of an Asuka match is Michael Cole.
As mentioned earlier, the main event of the show is The New Day and The Usos doing their best and trying to set up a WrestleMania match with that old booking chestnut of, “champion watches a number one contender match, thinks that if he attacks both contenders to ruin the match he won’t have to face anybody, and is then shocked to find out that since he ruined the match he’ll actually have to face BOTH of them in a TRIPLE THREAT MATCH!” Miz and Morrison on commentary doing a bunch of WWE fan chants and not really meaning it is the best part, but even that’s hurt by the knowledge that Miz isn’t actually doing anything at WrestleMania, and that the triple threat for the Tag Team Championship isn’t a triple threat and doesn’t involve any tag teams.
As a quick side note, New Day is maybe the worst example of WWE Superstars having to do their entire bit and animations without paying attention to context. Big E doing the pre-entrance New Day declaration to an empty building was sad, man. Miz and Morrison were right to make fun of Kofi for spending 80% of the match clapping out of habit with nobody there to clap along. Read the room, y’all, damn. The people at home will understand.
Also In “WrestleMania” News
Otis is still infuriated about Instagram’s run-in from last week, and ends up getting challenged by Dolph Ziggler to a match at WrestleMania. Otis accepts, Ziggler says Mandy Rose is going to be in his corner (although she helpfully notes in a later segment that she’s not a “prize” to be awarded to the winner), and Tucky is like, “okay, guess I’ll die.” Just kidding, he’ll almost certainly be in Otis’ corner and either end the match by professing his love, or by swerving him to become Ziggler’s latest attempt at a Diesel.
Such a shame that the Otis and Mandy Rose story is going to come to a head at WrestleMania and nobody will be there to react to it. It’s like the romance novel equivalent of Gargano and Ciampa.
Bray Wyatt challenges John Cena to a “Firefly Funhouse Match” at WrestleMania, which I’m guessing is House of Horrors but with puppets hanging from the ceiling instead of creepy dolls. I hope they have the Vince McMahon doll driving the ghost tractor. Wyatt punctuates this challenge by murdering Ramblin’ Rabbit in a blender and drinking his corpse. In all seriousness, I am so excited to watch John Cena wrestle a clown on a bootleg Pee-wee’s Playhouse set and avenge the liquefying of the rabbit puppet who loved him. I bet he loves that he put Hollywood and his spot in a bad Instagram cover of ‘Imagine’ on hold for WrestleMania and ended up here.
And In Case You Weren’t Bored Enough
This week’s match from the archives shown in full is Triple H vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32, which is the worst possible thing to show if you’re trying to get people hyped for a Roman Reigns WrestleMania main event. They should’ve followed it with the match from 34 just to see if we’d put our heads through the TV. This is one of the best examples of an aging Triple H muddling through 30 minutes of an “epic match” formula to prove he’s the best worker in the world or something, despite never, ever being that. It’s the same thought process that leads to WWE revisionist history saying Triple H, “ruled the Attitude Era with an iron fist.” The man spent a decade doing matches like this over and over and over, hoping we’d think ANY of them were as good as Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, or Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. None of them were.
And I’m not saying Roman Reigns needs to keep his matches at Goldberg length, but whoever keeps asking him to go 25 minutes needs to take a Xanax.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Vince: Hey, Roman! You should check out Goldberg’s last few matches to get a feel for Mania.
Roman: Sounds good, boss!
:Roman watches Goldberg’s matches against the Fiend and the Undertaker:
Roman: Uh, hey Vince, it’s Roman. I’m not really comfortable risking my health by wrestling Goldberg at the Mania tapings.
Vince: Oh, you mean because you’re immunocompromised?
Roman: Yeah, let’s go with that.
Miz: “All my movies are dynamite to watch!”
Vince (in headset): “Stop… saying… DYNAMITE…!”
Throwing pancakes all over an empty arena?
The Real Birdman
Me: “Nothing could possibly be worse than WrestleMania 32”
The World: “Hold my beer I just coughed on”
BRYAN: Thankfully, my wrestling has improved thanks to Sensei Drew teaching me grappling, catch as catch can, and karate.
Current Topic Reference!
Elias has hit WWE Babyface BINGO!
Lots of recent orders of the “I wasn’t at WrestleMania 36” clothing line from WWE Shop…
… from current talent.
Ramblin Rabbit, WILL IT BLEND!
If an Elias falls and no one’s around to see/hear it, does anyone care?
Dave M J
You know we’ve made wishes on Monkey’s Paws before. It’s an easy joke.
But GOOD LORD, what did we wish on for this match between Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn? A Babboon Ass that breaks wind when you wish on it?
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Smackdown. As always, thanks for getting through this with us and checking out the column, especially during this pandemic. I’m trying, I promise. There’s just not much WWE can do if they won’t shut down for a few weeks, and not much I can write about them putting their heads down and trying to push through it. We appreciate you, as well as your comments in our comments section below, and your social media shares. It’s hard to stay employed and paid in new media without my country’s lifespan hinging on how nice certain governors are to the guy who shaved Vince McMahon’s head at WrestleMania 23.
See you next week, when Roman Reigns and Goldberg come face to face only hours before “their” match at WrestleMania, and John Cena responds to Bray Wyatt’s challenge for a Public Access Television For Haunted Children Brawl.