Welcome to the WWE Smackdown Live review for the last week of August. Announced for this week’s show is a New Day celebration for the fifth reign as Tag Team Champions, Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella for the Smackdown Women’s Championship and a triple threat tag team match with Gallows & Anderson, The Bar and The Colons (yes, they are back) to help determine the next challengers to the New Day’s Tag Team Titles. The winners of that match face the winners of a triple threat tag team match next week. All of that and a whole lot more on the road to Hell in Cell on September 16.
Here’s my WWE Raw Deal review for the week in case you missed it. The big story from that show was Braun Strowman may have turned heel in the main event. There was a lot to decipher with that ending where Strowman celebrated with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, so I wrote a column about Strowman’s actions for The Comeback that you can check out here. Let’s get to Smackdown.
Live from Toronto, Ontario (for the second night in a row), this is Smackdown Live for episode #993. I had my numbers wrong for a while there, but I got it right this time because it is episode 993 of Smackdown. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
New Day’s Championship Celebration
The show began with The New Day making their entrance for their Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship celebration. It is their fifth reign as champion. They had a trophy cup with them along with pancakes of course.
Xavier Woods talked about their championship win last week, Kofi Kingston gave credit to the Bludgeon Brothers and Big E said they are happy to be there to celebrate right there in the Six, which is a nickname for Toronto coined by Drake many years ago. Big E said he was looking forward to saying this and mentioned they were the five time Tag Team Champions…but here’s an interruption from King Booker? That’s a nice surprise.
Booker T walked out in his King Booker gear from over a decade ago. Booker had the red robe, crown and scepter to complete his get up. Booker got into the ring as the fans chanted “Booker T” at him.
Booker said he was King Booker and said he was the ruler of the Smackdown world. Woods asked if he is the WWE Hall of Famer, the master of the Spinarooni and their king. The New Day knelt before Booker. Booker said that he had a royal decree in front of the lovely people in Toronto, Canada (cheap pop). Booker granted Lord Xavier the Wise, Sir Kofi the Brave and Big E (no nickname) access to the biggest club of them all. Big E asked where is his regal name. Booker said he already has it because Big is in his name. Big E said that he went full Saxton on him. Booker did his “tell me you didn’t just say that” and Booker told them to bow down kissing his feet. Booker said that there’s only one person that should be in the five time, five time, five time, five time, five time championship club and then Booker welcomed them to the five timers championship club of all time. All four guys said “now can you dig that....sucka?”
Booker was about to leave, but New Day made him do one more thing: The Spinarooni. Booker obliged and did a Spinarooni in the middle of the ring, which drew a big pop. It looked as good as ever. Woods did his own Spinarooni that was pretty good. Kingston did a Spinarooni that was solid. Big E was up last, there were a lot of theatrics and Xavier/Kofi spun Big E around so that was it. The crowd loved it.
Analysis: It was a fun segment to do to have New Day celebrate their Tag Team Title win with a cameo from Booker T. There wasn’t anything in terms of angle development, but I thought bringing Booker out there for it was a good idea since he had the famous “five time” catchphrase for his five WCW Title reigns and he had one World Title in WWE too. It doesn’t always have to be a segment to set up a match for later. Doing a fun opening segment is fine with me.
The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show. They advertised Daniel Bryan with Brie Bella, AJ Styles is there and Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella for the SD Women’s Title.
The Bar duo of Sheamus and Cesaro entered first for the triple threat tag team match after the break.
The other teams in the tag team match are Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows as well as The Colons. This is The Colons first match in a long time because Epico was out for a long time with a shoulder injury.
The New Day were on commentary for this match at their own table, which they have done before.
The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Colons (Primo and Epico)
The first fall wins this match. Two guys are in the ring and the others are on the apron.
Gallows worked over Cesaro with punches. Uppercut by Cesaro on Anderson and then Primo tagged himself in leading to Anderson slapping on an armbar. The New Day announce table was shown for a bit and Epico tagged in with kicks at the same time to the upper body of Anderson. Inside cradle got a two count for Anderson. Epico missed a corner attack, Anderson with a kick to the face, Primo distracted and Epico shoved Anderson off the top to the floor. Primo tagged in with a clothesline on Anderson on the floor.
The match returned with Sheamus hitting a shoulder block to Anderson’s ribs and Cesaro jumped off the top with an elbow smash for a two count. The New Day commentary was shown again. Sheamus with a backbreaker submission with Anderson on his shoulders and Anderson broke free with a neckbreaker. Cesaro and Gallows tagged in with Gallows hitting an uppercut, corner splash kick to the head and a boot by Gallows to Epico. Gallows with a pumphandle slam on Cesaro followed by a splash for two. Primo tagged in, Cesaro boot to Cesaro and Gallows kicked Primo. Sheamus in the ring, Anderson with a spinebuster to him and a double team neckbreaker from Gallows and Anderson on Sheamus. Epico with a Backstabber. The Colons with a double team Backstabber to Gallows. Cesaro with an uppercut to Epico. Sheamus with a boot to Primo and Cesaro covered Gallows for the win after about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus and Cesaro
Analysis: **1/4 It was an average tag team match with an obvious outcome because The Bar are pushed the most out of those teams. The Colons were booked like they could compete with the others, so that’s good for them. The finish was typical of a triple threat where Gallows took a move from The Colons and Cesaro stole the pin for his team.
Paige, the SD GM, was in her office with Rusev, Lana and Aiden English. She said that next week it will be Rusev Day (Rusev and Aiden English), The Usos and Sanity in a triple threat match. The winners of that match will face The Bar and be one step closer to becoming Tag Team Champions. Rusev said it was a great present for Rusev and Lana Day. Rusev thought it was due to Lana, but English said it was due to him. They sang their songs to end it.
Analysis: Any of those three teams could win next week because The Bar may be the team to get the title shot no matter who they face. I think The Usos will probably win that match next week while English might turn on Rusev since they have had issues for weeks before fixing things.
There was a video package about the Charlotte Flair story with Becky Lynch with Lynch turning heel by attacking Charlotte after Lynch failed to win the Smackdown Women’s Title.
Still to come: Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella for the Smackdown Women’s Title.
Jeff Hardy was shown backstage because he’s up next.
COMING THIS THURSDAY: I’m happy to announce a new project that will feature more content available to you, the reader. It’s called TJRWrestling on Patreon and it launches this Thursday, August 30. It will allow us to produce even more for our readers. I’m going to do an audio review of Raw and Smackdown every week, plus I will review my favorite WWE year ever, which was 2000, by going over every Raw, Smackdown and PPV in detail meaning written plus audio reviews of every Raw, Smackdown and PPV from 2000. Plus, there will be retro PPV reviews. It’s going to be a lot of new and interesting content. It is not free, though. I've been writing online for nearly 20 years and never asked for anything, but in order to keep going I need to change things up a bit. It's about evolving. I’m doing this to try to keep doing this writing gig for a living and if you’re wanting to support, please sign up to TJRWrestling on Patreon when we launch on Thursday. I’ll have another post on TJRWrestling on Thursday with the link and how you can be a part of it.
Let’s Hear From Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy made his entrance to a big ovation. He had his face painted as he entered in the ring. Orton had RKO on his face.
Hardy talked about how Randy Orton has this obsession with him where he’s messed with his mind, attacked physically and Randy even makes him think he can fly, which is why Jeff did this. A clip aired from last week with Jeff destroying Orton with an attack that ended when Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb on Orton through a table.
Hardy said that Orton thinks that Hardy is a stepping stone in his career, but he’s wrong. Hardy said he felt like the Jeff Hardy of old, he felt rebroken by fate and this is just the beginning. Hardy told Orton to come out there to let Jeff finish what Orton started.
Orton showed up on the ramp to say that thanks to Orton, Jeff finally knows who he is. Orton said the truth is, he is not finished working on Jeff yet. Orton said that this version of Jeff Hardy is the career that he is going to end and leave Jeff a pile of broken bones in the ring. Orton said that Hardy was stupid if he thought that Orton was going into the ring right now and Orton insulted the dumb Canadians in the crowd.
Hardy told Orton that he’s going to hell with him and Hardy challenged Orton to a Hell in a Cell match at Hell in a Cell. Orton just dropped the microphone and left.
Analysis: I am not surprised that they are getting a Hell in a Cell match because I could see Jeff Hardy doing some crazy stunt bump since that’s something he has done throughout his career.
Carmella was shown backstage looking fabulous when Renee Young walked up to her to ask her if she’s upset about the buzz going off her and people talking about Becky Lynch. Carmella bragged about how she was the focus for four months, so she was the reason for Evolution and then she bragged about how she beat Charlotte Flair twice. Carmella said that Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are chump change and Mella is Money. Carmella left. R-Truth showed up asking where she went. Tye Dillinger showed up asking what he was doing. Truth said when the timing was right, the truth shall set her free. Truth left and Dillinger said, “this is my life.” It sure is.
Analysis: The R-Truth comedy gimmick continues. I would be fine with Dillinger and Truth booked as a regular tag team because it would give them something to do, but it seems like Truth is only used for backstage segments these days.
Naomi made her entrance for a match against Billie Kay after a break.
The Iiconics duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce did a pre-match promo. They ripped on the locals by saying the Toronto Raptors will have a dismal season. The fans drowned them out with a “Let’s Go Raptors” chant. The women finished the promo to start the match.
Naomi vs. Billie Kay (w/Peyton Royce)
Naomi with a leg drop early on. Kay pulled on Naomi’s hair and pulled her down by the hair. Kay with some punches on Naomi for a two count. Naomi with a jawbreaker, Naomi with a kick to the face, clothesline, back elbow and a bulldog that sent Kay into the middle turnbuckle. Kick to the head by Naomi. Royce on the apron, Naomi rollup, Kay kicked Naomi into the ropes, Royce with a forearm and Kay with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Naomi for the pinfall after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Billie Kay
Analysis: * A quick match to put over Kay due to the dreaded NUMBERS GAME and the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! in the same match. Yeah, I put NUMBERS GAME in all caps because WWE does that finish so often in women’s matches where one side has a friend on the floor and other side does not. They repeat that finish so much.
AJ Styles will be on Smackdown later in the show.
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella were shown watching highlights from last week on a TV because the yare up next.
A commercial aired for Miz & Mrs, which is the final episode of their first season that only had six episodes. They were announced for a season two with 14 episodes coming next year.
Let’s Hear From Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
The dreaded “Brie Mode” song hit as Brie Bella made her entrance. Her husband Daniel Bryan made his entrance as the happy couple entered to “yes” chants.
The fans chanted “Daniel Bryan” and Bryan said it was great to be in Toronto. Bryan ripped on Miz for his fake retirement last week as well as cheating at SummerSlam and then all of his cowardly behavior. Bryan mentioned when he wanted to get after Miz last week, Miz pulled Maryse in front of him and that’s when Brie got involved.
Brie said that a wife can’t sit back and take all of that without having enough. Brie talked about how Maryse is always helping Miz win and they’re always running their mouths. Brie said it felt so good to punch Miz in the face. Bryan said he wasn’t acting when he said it was pretty hot too. Bryan called Brie a diaper changing, hot punching mom and Bryan said that together they are going to shut down…here’s the interruption from Andrade “Cien” Almas.
Almas walked down to the ring with Zelina Vega. Vega said it was an honor to be standing next to two legends…Brie Bella and Andrade “Cien” Almas. Vega formally introduced themselves, she said she is the breathtaking, deal making, business manager to El Idolo. Vega bragged about Almas putting Sin Cara on the shelf, taking AJ Styles to his limits and destroyed Rusev. I guess barely winning matches counts as destroyed. Vega said that it’s time for Almas to outwrestle Bryan. Almas did a promo in his broken English saying the only star in the ring is him.
Bryan said that he would love to make this match official right now, but unfortunately, he’s not the Smackdown Live General Manager. Bryan said if only there was somebody in the back that could come out to make this match. There was no Paige right away, but then she showed up.
Paige appeared on the stage looking like she was out of breath. Paige said that she was in the office on the other side of the building and she had to run in heels. Paige said she didn’t want to give the WWE Universe a match they don’t want, so she asked if the fans wanted to see this match. The fans chanted “yes” of course to set up the match and Paige called out a referee. The match will begin after a break.
Analysis: That was an easy way to set up a match. Bryan and Brie did some simple trash talk, the heels interrupted and now we get a match I really want to see. That’s fine with me. Bryan has talked about wanting to face Almas in recent interviews because he likes the lucha style, so now he gets his chance.
The match began after the break.
Daniel Bryan (w/Brie Bella) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega)
There was a tranquilo pose against the ropes by Almas early in the match, Bryan went after Almas and then Almas took control with a reverse DDT off the ropes. The Miz and Maryse were shown watching on the TV backstage. Almas picked up Bryan with a submission move on Almas’ back. Bryan slipped out with a sunset flip for two. Almas with a very hard chop to the chest of Bryan. Ouch. That was loud. Bryan worked over Almas with chops of his own, Bryan with kicks to the chest as Graves said it was paying homage to Miz, which was bullshit. Bryan with a corner dropkick, then Almas came back with a running knee to the head that looked nasty and Bryan sent Almas over the top to the floor. Almas was going for a running knee, Bryan avoided it and sent him to the floor. Bryan with a running knee off the apron onto Almas on the floor. Bryan tossed Almas back in the ring, Almas missed a kick and Almas hit a spinning back elbow for a two count. Maryse and Miz were shown leaving their position backstage by the TV and the show went to break there.
The match returned with Almas in control as he went to the top rope, but Bryan hit a running dropkick to crotch Almas on the top rope. Bryan hit a double underhook superplex. The Miz’s music hit as Bryan and Almas wee on the mat. The Miz walked down to ringside. Bryan went after Miz. Almas hit a corkscrew cross body attack on Bryan on the floor. Back in the ring, Almas hit a spinning reverse DDT for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Almas went for a moonsault, Bryan got his knees up and Bryan had Almas trapped in the Yes Lock submission. Brie decked Vega with a punch. Maryse showed up from behind Brie and shoved her into the ring post. The Miz attacked Bryan from behind with a forearm for the DQ finish. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: *** It was very good while it lasted and I wish it went longer, but it’s understandable why it was short with a finish like that to build up the Hell in a Cell mixed tag match. A DQ finish is fine because it protects Almas by not having him take a pin or submit. It's a match/feud I hope they do again down the road.
Post match, Miz tossed Bryan to Almas and Almas hit a Hammerlock DDT on Bryan. Miz also hit his Skull Crushing Finale. Miz slapped on his own weak version of the Yes Lock on Bryan. Maryse set up Brie in the corner, so Vega hit a running double knee attack on Brie. Maryse hit a DDT on Brie to lay her out in the ring. Miz and Maryse celebrated with a kiss while the crowd booed them.
Analysis: That was an effective way to get some cheap heat on Miz and Maryse to give them the advantage in their rivalry for this week. I expect Bryan and Brie to win at Hell in a Cell.
There was a shot of Charlotte Flair’s locker room and Renee Young was there to interview Flair. Renee asked about Becky Lynch, so Flair said that you don’t deserve anything that you don’t win. Flair said this isn’t a game where everybody gets a trophy. Flair talked about her hard work and success. Flair said that she’s not going to roll over for anyone that tries to take what’s her away from her even if it was her best friend. Flair said that Lynch wants the spotlight and after Flair runs through Carmella, it’s exactly what she is going to give Lynch. Flair left.
Analysis: Good promo from the champ heading into her match although you can tell the focus is already on her rivalry with Lynch while Carmella is being treated like an afterthought.
AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, made his entrance to a good ovation.
A clip aired of Samoa Joe attacking AJ Styles last week.
Let’s Hear From AJ Styles
Styles stood in the ring with a serious look on his face as fans chanted his name. Styles said it’s official: Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles at Hell in a Cell for the WWE Championship. Styles said that Joe is good with these mind games because he’s got Styles right where he wants him since he got his wife and daughter in this. Styles said the only thing Joe proved is he’s not man enough to take the title from him. Styles wondered why Joe plays these mind games and Styles said it’s because Joe is not a man. Styles said he’ll put a stop to these mind games right here, right now. Styles said as the WWE Champion he makes the rules here on Smackdown Live, he doesn’t have to wait until Hell in a Cell and told Samoa Joe to get out there right now. Styles said this is not a threat, it’s a demand from your WWE Champion while adding he will knock Joe’s teeth down his throat.
Joe was shown on the video screen in the parking lot with his “Joe Joe Joe Joe” shirt. Joe said he won’t come out there, he said maybe he’s not done playing games. Joe grabbed his phone, he called Wendy (AJ's wife), asked about Annie (AJ's daughter) and said that he’ll send Styles home to his family. Joe asked if they are still on the for the back to school BBQ and Joe said he might show up next Tuesday. Styles left and ran to the back.
Analysis: The personal build to this story continues, but I think this week could have used something else like one of them winning a match. Neither guy has wrestled on TV very much in the last few months. Winning a match or doing some angle after a match could have helped. I understand wanting to have Joe as the devious heel that throws Styles off his game, but this week felt a bit flat compared to the other weeks. It’s still going to be a good match at Hell in a Cell and I think Joe might win the title there. I thought he would win at SummerSlam, so I’ll probably go with Joe again.
It’s official for Hell in a Cell on September 16: Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy in a Hell in a Cell match.
Carmella made her entrance for the main event in her pink, black and white attire.
A commercial aired for the Mae Young Classic starting on WWE Network next Wednesday, September 5 and it ends at the Evolution PPV on October 28.
The show returned with AJ Styles running backstage to the parking lot area. Styles yelled for Joe wondering where he was. A security guy walked up to Styles, so AJ almost punched him and then he stopped. Styles stood there frustrated while Joe was gone.
Analysis: The mind games continue.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance with the Smackdown Women’s Title around her waist. There were mostly cheers, but also some boos in there. When they stood in the ring for the in-ring introductions, there were a mix of cheers, some boos and “Woo” chants too of course.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella
The match started at 9:43pm, so they will get a solid amount of time. Carmella and Flair each got rollups. Carmella slammed Flair down by the hair. There are “We Want Becky” chants. Carmella slapped on a headlock. Flair came back with a rollup followed by an overhead suplex and a kip up. Flair went up top, Carmella shoved her off and Flair went crashing into the barricade at ringside. Carmella hit a suicide dive under the middle rope that took out Flair on the floor. Carmella rolled Flair back into the ring for a two count as the show went to break.
The show returned with Carmella in control with a headlock followed by a “Woo” taunt. Flair got back into it wit ha belly to back suplex. Carmella got back into it with forearms, Flair hit forearms Carmella with a snapmare takeover followed by a running kick to the face. Carmella with a hard kick to the chest while they were on the apron. Carmella up top with a cross body block, Flair rolled through and covered for two. Carmella avoided a spear and hit a flatliner for a two count. Carmella was frustrated, Flair with an elbow out of the corner and Carmella managed to hit a hurricanrana off the top rope for a two count. That’s not an easy spot to do, but they made it work. Flair was on the middle rope, so not totally off the top, but it was still impressive. Carmella was frustrated, so she slapped Flair repeatedly while screaming at her to give up. Carmella managed to hit two superkicks back to back for a two count. The kicks did not look that good. Carmella kept going for covers leading to another two count. Flair got back into it with a Spear followed by the Natural Selection neckbreaker. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission, Carmella tapped out and that was the end of the match after about 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent match, but not really that interesting because the outcome was obvious. Carmella works hard and I respect her improvement. However, she’s not at the same level in the ring as Flair, Lynch, Banks, Bayley and so on. She’s just not as good as doing the little things. I give them credit for working hard as well as some of the big spots like the hurricanrana off the top, but the match was hurt because it was so obvious Charlotte would win. You could tell the crowd didn’t care that much toward the end. They also chanted for Becky Lynch quite a bit too. Anyway, Charlotte winning in dominating fashion was the right way to end it. That's the end of Carmella in the title picture for now.
Flair was handed the title and Becky Lynch attacked from behind. The fans chanted “yes” as Lynch attacked with punches. When Flair got up, Lynch kicked her down. Lynch asked for a microphone.
Lynch held the Women's Title. grabbed the microphone to say: “Come Hell in a Cell, I am taking back my title back…you bitch.” The fans chanted “Becky” after the promo. Flair was left in the ring alone while Lynch walked up the ramp looking proud of herself.
Replays aired of the attack from Lynch.
Charlotte Flair was shown sitting up against the ropes with her title. Fans were doing a mix of cheers, boos and “woo” chants at her. Charlotte was shown looking frustrated as the show ended.
Analysis: I think the crowd is going to be firmly behind Lynch as the feud continues. I would have Lynch be the face because that’s who the fans want, but I assume WWE is going to stay the course with Lynch as the heel and Charlotte as the face. That’s the WWE way where they don’t want to deviate from their plans. Maybe in the past they would have been more likely to change, but these days they sure like to go in the direction they want. I guess we’ll see how it goes next week.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan
2. Andrade “Cien” Almas
3. Charlotte Flair
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 8
2018 Average: 6.54
Last 5 Weeks: 8, 6, 7.5, 8.5, 5.5
2018 High: 8.5 (July 31)
2018 Low: 4.5 (January 2, January 9)
Smackdown gets a 6.5 out of 10 this week.
It was a pretty good Smackdown this week, but I thought a step back from last week’s show. The best match was Bryan vs. Almas although it was cut short and definitely left me wanting more. The main event got the most time. It was just okay. The promo segments were not as interesting as some of the other weeks. I also enjoyed the random appearance of King Booker to congratulate New Day on being five-time champions. That was a smart way to open up the show this week. The major thing people will talk about again is the Charlotte/Becky story with Becky being cheered again even though she's been booked like a heel for the last two weeks. The fans are into the storyline, so that's a positive.
— WWE (@WWE) August 29, 2018
The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell on September 16. Here’s what we know so far:
Universal Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Hell in a Cell Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
More matches will be announced soon. We can pencil in Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch too.
Thanks for reading. My contact info is below. Go Los Angeles Rams.