WWE held Friday Night SmackDown live from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas in front of real live paying fans this week and I couldn’t be happier to have watched it from beginning to end, grinning like an idiot all the way. I’ve already seen complaints ranging from “they’re still pumping in crowd noise” to “it’s the same show just with fans at it” and you know what?
I don’t care.
I don’t care if they sweetened the crowd, or if the show was more or less exactly what we were getting at the ThunderDome. I bought right in, and I ignored any naysayers, and I let myself believe that everyone was going batshit insane for everything and I had a damn good time doing it. It felt like pro wrestling is supposed to feel, like a spectacle you enjoy for what it is and not something to be so damn critical of.
That’s a bit hypocritical of me, of course. I do very much believe in being critical of WWE and its practices. But for this one evening, and probably for the next couple shows minimum, I can’t help but drink the Kool-Aid.
It tastes damn good too.
See for yourself in the playlist from SmackDown this week:
- King Nakamura is out to prove himself the one true king for the fans
- Carmella envies the WWE Universe since they get to see her live on SmackDown
- Big E is super positive heading into Fatal 4-Way in front of the WWE Universe
- Mr. McMahon welcomes the WWE Universe home
- Edge & The Mysterios vs. Roman Reigns & The Usos — Six Man Tag Team Match
- Finn Balor journeys to SmackDown and attacks Sami Zayn
- Shotzi & Nox vs. Natalya & Tamina
- Otis runs over Cesaro
- Bianca Belair vs. Carmella — SmackDown women’s championship match
- Cesaro vs. Otis
- Big E brings the power of positivity to Paul Heyman
- Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. King Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins
- It’s not about luck for an emotional Liv Morgan
- The Usos will be out to get respect at WWE Money in the Bank
- Natalya & Tamina are focused on bigger things
- Harry Smith competes for the first time in a decade
- Kevin Owens and Big E try to entice Baron Corbin back into the ring
- The WWE Universe boos Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez
- Bianca Belair’s first match back in front of the WWE Universe was special for her