It’s time for WWE Smackdown Live. This week’s show has advertised a Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler rematch from Hell in a Cell when Roode won by holding the tights of Ziggler. Also, there’s a special challenge from WWE Champion Jinder Mahal.
Live from Seattle, Washington this is Smackdown Live for episode #947. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top.
The Smackdown opening video aired to start the show. It doesn’t happen every week, so it’s nice to see it.
Daniel Bryan, Smackdown’s General Manager, made his entrance to a thunderous ovation because he was in his home state of Washington and Seattle is close to where he grew up, so it’s considered his home arena. The crowd chanted his name and chanted “yes” for him.
Bryan said it was good to be home. Bryan calmed them down by telling them the show is only two hours long. Bryan said they will have a six-woman tag team match featuring Natalya, Tamina and Lana facing off against Naomi, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Bryan said there would also be a very special announcement from their WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. Bryan also mentioned Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode.
Bryan moved on saying that he wanted to address somebody whose actions at Hell in a Cell disappointed him. Bryan mentioned Sami Zayn and the crowd booed. Bryan talked about how he wanted Sami on Smackdown Live, but Sami’s music started up.
Analysis: Zayn still has the same theme song. I figure they will change that soon, but it’s still there for him.
Zayn made his way down to the ring smiling and got in the ring with Bryan. That led to Bryan asking Zayn if this is really the Zayn he has known for 13 years. Zayn spoke about how he’s a great guy, nothing has changed, but he has taken ownership of his career back. Bryan asked if it made him a bad guy because he took back ownership of his career and the fans chanted “yes” for that. Zayn said that he thought Bryan would understand. Bryan spoke about how he had been in Zayn’s shoes. Zayn told him that they are both gifted in-ring performers (“well I still am” drew some heat) and Zayn said that the difference between them is that Bryan had them (speaking of the crowd), which led to the “yes” chants. Zayn talked about how the “yes” movement made Bryan what he was and they are why Bryan was in the WrestleMania main event. Zayn ripped on the fans saying that the fans didn’t do their part in supporting him and making him undeniable to management. Zayn said he didn’t care anymore because it’s fine now. Zayn said it feels amazing to not care. Zayn suggested that Bryan could have worked harder and smarter and he wouldn’t have had to retire in that building. Crowd chanted “Sami sucks” at Zayn.
Zayn said it broke his heart when Bryan retired. Zayn said that Bryan was the performer of their generation. Zayn talked about how he spent his career trying to catch up to him, but Bryan was always two steps ahead. Zayn ripped him saying now Bryan is the last person he would ever want to be like. Zayn spoke about how Bryan broke his body and the adulation just to end up a housewife.
Kevin Owens joined the festivities with a smile on his face. Owens went into the ring to tell Sami that he’s so happy for him and how he was right about everything he said about Daniel Bryan. Owens called Bryan a pathetic martyr, Owens said he was a housewife and called him “Mr. Bella.” Owens said that Bryan has become what he fought against for so long because he is a hypocrite.
Bryan told Owens he doesn’t care about Sami and he never has. Bryan told Owens he doesn’t care about anybody except himself. Bryan said that Owens resents him because Bryan does what’s best for the fans. Owens said what Bryan means is he’s doing “what’s best for business.” Owens claimed that Daniel Bryan is now The Authority.
Zayn said that Owens was right again and that Bryan has become the very thing that he spent his entire career fighting against. Zayn said there’s only one word for a person like that: sellout. The crowd booed. Zayn thanked Owens for helping to open his eyes and Owens saved him from becoming like Bryan. Owens hugged Zayn.
Bryan left with a disappointed look on his face. Owens asked where Bryan was going and said walking out of the arena is the best thing he’s got nowadays. Bryan said he’s going to find a couple of dudes to punch those guys in the face. Bryan went up the ramp as his music played to end it.
Analysis: Awesome heel promo from Zayn with Owens joining in as well. They went the cheap heat route with Zayn’s promo by having him blame the fans (a classic way to explain a heel turn) and then he really turned up the heat on Bryan in the city where Bryan is loved more than anywhere else. That’s why it really worked well. Zayn said he chased after Bryan to be like him, but now he wants to be nothing like him. Owens calling Bryan “Mr. Bella” was great too. Bryan walking away from it is all that he can do, which gives the heels the advantage for now. In this case, I don't mind a 15 minute opening promo because it was about developing Sami's heel character and I thought Zayn did very well to get himself over as this new heel.
Coming up is Jinder Mahal’s Survivor Series announcement. Also, Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler. The six women tag is up next.
They showed what happened with Natalya and Charlotte in the last week to set up this match.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance as the show went to break.
The entrances of the women in the match took place during the break with the end of Natalya’s entrance shown.
The announce team for this week is Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. Carmella joined commentary for this match.
Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Tamina & Lana
Naomi was on fire against Natalya early on. Natalya went to the floor and Naomi hit a dive over the top rope to take out the heels on the floor. Lynch tagged in with a kick to the stomach of Natalya followed by a leg drop by Lynch for a two count. Lynch went for her armbar, Natalya rolled to the floor and the show went to break three minutes into it. I think it continued in the US, but not here in Canada.
Back from break, Lana had Naomi in an armbar. They showed a spot during the break where Tamina hit a superkick on Naomi. Lana whipped down Naomi by the hair. Naomi fought her way out of the corner and tagged in Charlotte for the hot tag. Charlotte opened up on Lana with several chops to the chest followed by the strut and the knee drop. Overhead suplex by Charlotte. Lana with a boot to the face, but Charlotte came back with a boot to the face of her own. Natalya sent Charlotte face first into the turnbuckle. Lynch with a Bexploder Suplex on Natalya, Tamina superkick on Lynch, Naomi with a crossbody block on Tamina off the top. Lana rollup on Charlotte. Charlotte slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Lana for the submission win after 10 minutes.
Winners by submission: Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch
Analysis: ** That was the standard six person tag match in WWE. If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all where they do the finishing sequence where everybody hits big moves before getting to the end of the match. Charlotte tapping out Lana was the most predictable ending as well. Sorry for not having more analysis here, but I watch way too much WWE and see this kind of ending to six-person tags all the time. It’s such a common formula they even do it at house shows. Nothing wrong with it. Just feels like a repeat.
Post match, Natalya pulled Charlotte out of the ring. Natalya grabbed a steel chair, she went after Charlotte, but Charlotte kicked her to knock her down. Natalya ran away through the crowd to avoid a further attack.
Analysis: Good to have Charlotte prevent the heel attack to show that she will fight back against Natalya’s cheating ways. I figured Carmella was out there to get involved somehow, but she did nothing.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage. He walked up to Zayn and Owens. Bryan said he had a lot of superstars come up to him wanting to punch Zayn and Owens to the face. Bryan said he thought he would give them an opportunity against Randy Orton and Owens asked who his partner is. Bryan said it’s Shinsuke Nakamura. The crowd cheered. Bryan did the Nakamura hand gesture as Owens and Zayn left.
Analysis: That sounds great. It’s a fresh tag team match.
Fashion Police segment is up next.
Pulp Fashion Video
This is the Fashion Files video where they are doing a parody of the 1990s classic film Pulp Fiction.
Fandango was in a suit with The Ascension duo of Konnor of Viktor, who were in their wrestling gear. Fandango told them to be cool. Tyler Breeze was dressed like Uma Thurman. Breeze did the “Royale with Cheese” line, but said “Royal Rumble with Cheese” instead. Breeze passed out on the floor. The Ascension said they would help him if Breezango would be their friends. Fandango agreed to it. They did the part of the movie to revive Breeze, but he got up before that. Somebody stole the briefcase in the room, so that's the big mystery. The Ascension wanted to do a hand gesture to end it for this alliance, but Breezango just left.
Analysis: It was okay. They’ve had funnier segments in the past. This was done to try to get The Ascension more over. I don't mind stupid comedy bits. This one just wasn't that funny.
Baron Corbin, the United States Champion, made his entrance as the show went to break.
There was a video about women living with breast cancer.
Sin Cara is the opponent for Corbin.
Corbin grabbed the microphone to ask if he should make this the “United States open challenge” match. He said too bad and it’s closed for good. He forgot to say “title” in there.
Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara
This is not for Corbin’s US Title.
Sin Cara hit a running dropkick, leaping kick sent Corbin to the floor and Sin Cara hit a suicide dive to send Corbin into the barricade. Sin Cara went up top, he went to the top of the ring post and hit a cross body block to take out Corbin on the floor. Corbin was counted out and he couldn’t get back in the ring. Sin Cara won by countout in two minutes.
Winner by countout: Sin Cara
Corbin was mad about the loss outside the ring. The announcers called it a big upset.
Analysis: * It was a quick win for Sin Cara, which wasn’t expected even in a non-title match. Champions losing non-title is very common, but doing it that way is definitely a bit of a surprise. It will probably lead to a title match that Corbin wins.
The Usos, Smackdown’s Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Renee Young backstage. The Usos did a rap talking trash about their next opponents, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Gable and Benjamin showed up telling them they are going to be the be the next Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Benjamin and Gable extended their hands for handshakes, but then they pulled their hands away for the classic “psych” move.
Analysis: It should be a good match whenever they have it. The “pull the hand away during a shake” move worked great on my nephews when they were three years old too. Way to be creative, WWE creative team.
Jinder Mahal and the Sing Brothers were shown walking backstage.
There was a video package featuring Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a forest somewhere. They said where they go, annihilation follows. Harper and Rowan said they were the Bludgeon Brothers.
Analysis: I like the reboot of this team. They should have always been part of the Wyatt Family, so at least having them back together will help both guys. I wish Harper would have had more of a run as a singles wrestler, but for whatever reason WWE’s creative team didn’t want to do it with him.
The announce team was shown with Cole saying Tom Phillips was on assignment. It doesn't really bother me that Phillips was gone. Cole and Phillips are like robots at that desk. Neither one stands out or calls moves properly. They sound the same.
There were clips shown of Jinder Mahal’s recent trip to India promoting WWE’s shows in December. Cole called him a “home grown champion” to the people of India even though he grew up in Calgary. That’s not what WWE is going to tell you, though.
Jinder Mahal’s Announcement
The Singh Brothers introduced the WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. It led to Mahal walking out in a suit with the WWE Championship around his waist and he made his way down to the ring.
Mahal said there are some things you get to experience when you are the Modern Day Maharajah and he mentioned he’s the first ever Indian WWE Champion. Mahal said he took the WWE Championship to the homeland and was given a true hero’s welcome. Mahal talked about how after he dined with some of the biggest celebrities, he talked to a young boy that was there. Mahal said that he had beaten Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura multiple times. Mahal said the kid told him that in America he didn’t get the same respect he does in India. Fans chanted “you can’t wrestle” at Mahal, who reminded them he is the WWE Champion.
Mahal said he must beat somebody that you all think is unbeatable. Mahal said that at Survivor Series, he is challenging The Beast. Mahal said that he is challenging Brock Lesnar. The crowd cheered the mention of Lesnar's name. Cole: “Are you kidding me?” Mahal said he wants us to kiss his feet after he wins and bow down to the Modern Day Maharajah. Mahal said he is the greatest WWE Champion of all time.
Analysis: Mahal challenging Lesnar was expected from last week when Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported it. I’m not a fan of the idea and think it would be a terrible match. Mahal needs to be in the ring with guys selling his awful offense and making him look good. Lesnar’s not going to do that, so it could be really bad. Anyway, it’s not going to be a title match either. I just don’t think the fans view it as a big match while WWE probably thinks it is.
The music of AJ Styles started up and Styles walked out to a big ovation.
Styles said he didn’t think he heard Mahal correctly. Mahal said that he heard correctly. Fans chanted “AJ Styles” for Styles as he made his way into the ring. Styles didn’t care about the Lesnar thing. Styles complained about how Mahal said he had beaten every worthy opponent on Smackdown Live, but he hasn’t beaten AJ Styles. Mahal said that those were the boy’s words. Mahal said that he meant there was no worthy competition on Smackdown Live. Mahal told Styles he’s a loser and that Mahal is a winner that’s WWE Champion.
Styles said if he’s a loser then Mahal would have no problem defending the WWE Championship against him. Mahal said in his country they don’t think Styles is worthy of being in the ring. Styles said they are not in his country, which the crowd loved. Fans chanted “USA” at Mahal.
Mahal called Styles delusional and said it was an absolute joke that Styles was challenging him for the WWE Championship. Styles punched Mahal and hit him with a forearm. The Singh Brothers were sent out of the ring while Styles hit a Pele Kick on Mahal. That led to Mahal leaving with the Singh Brothers.
Analysis: Good segment with Styles getting in Mahal’s face. It was no surprise after Styles lost the US Title at Hell in a Cell and then got beat clean in the rematch two days later. Styles needed to get back in the WWE Title picture, so I’m glad he’s where he belongs. The sad thing is I think WWE is determined to keep the WWE Title on Mahal all the way until WrestleMania and that Styles is just another credible wrestler for Mahal to have boring matches with. I’d rather see Styles win the WWE Title from Mahal, but I don’t believe it will happen. Anyway, the segment worked really well because the fans love Styles and genuinely don’t want Mahal holding the WWE Title. I’m not sure when the title match would be. Perhaps the December PPV since Survivor Series will be Mahal vs. Lesnar.
Roode vs. Ziggler is next.
Daniel Bryan was in his office on the phone. Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers went up to Bryan in the office. Mahal said that Sunil Singh will face AJ Styles next week. Bryan said he’s got it.
Analysis: Feeding one of the Singh Brothers to Styles next week sounds like a way to slowly build up to the WWE Title match. Makes sense to do that.
Bobby Roode made his Glorious entrance with the crowd singing along with him. Images were shown of Roode’s win at Hell in a Cell when he held Ziggler’s tights.
Ziggler made his entrance with his music playing for about three seconds and then the entrance shut off with Ziggler walking to the ring with a serious look on his face.
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
Roode started with a clothesline. Then the action spilled to the floor (I missed it) and Roode was out on the floor as they went to break one minute into it.
The break was short as the guys were back in the ring with Ziggler hitting a slingshot on Roode that sent him into the ring post. Ziggler blocked it with his hand unlike when Cesaro hurt his teeth last month. Both guys sold as if they were exhausted even though it was two minutes into the match. That's what tells you they are having a short match. Roode hit a uranage slam for a two count. Roode went for an attack off the ropes, Ziggler rollup with tights got a two count. Roode rollup got two. Ziggler sent Roode into the turnbuckle and did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights for the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: *1/2 Good effort by them in the time given. It felt rushed because it didn’t even go five minutes. That’s why they were selling so much early in the match. The advantage of going short is the pace is better and that was more fun than their Hell in a Cell match. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish with tights by a heel is just a way to continue the feud. It was Roode’s first loss on the main roster too.
Post match, Ziggler was happy about the win saying “I told you so” while Roode was mad about it.
The announcers shilled WWE TLC from the Raw brand coming up Sunday on WWE Network. They shilled the 3 on 5 main event as well as Asuka vs. Emma, so that is the number two match in WWE’s eyes. Weakest undercard of the year.
Up next is Orton and Nakamura vs. Owens and Zayn.
A video aired about WrestleMania 34 tickets for WM in New Orleans on April 8, 2018 with tickets available on November 17.
It was announced that Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) will appear on Raw on Monday in Green Bay to answer Jinder Mahal’s Survivor Series challenge.
Analysis: The answer is going to be yes. I don't think WWE fans think of Lesnar vs. Mahal as a big match at all, but WWE management sure does. That's an example of how 2017 has been such a bizarre year for WWE in terms of the creative team being out of touch on a lot of things.
Aiden English was shown singing backstage. Two random guys (let's call them "nerds") were backstage talking and looking at a cell phone. English complained about them not paying attention to him and wondering what music they like. That led to New Day bursting into the scene as the guys danced with them. The New Day mocked English. Rusev walked in to say no more New Day and that it’s Rusev Day. Woods played the Rusev song on the trombone as he left. That was pretty funny actually.
Analysis: That could set up an English/Rusev vs. New Day tag team match next week. I like English/Rusev as a team, but WWE needs to book them stronger because so far they have been booked like losers. Other than that, it was just a segment to get all of those characters on the show.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance with Cole saying he was honored to be able to call a Nakamura match for the first time. The crowd was really into the Nakamura entrance and hummed along with it.
Randy Orton got a nice reaction for his entrance as well.
Kevin Owens walked out first for his team followed by his partner Sami Zayn. The match starts after a break.
The bell rang as they returned from break.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton
The announcers did a good job of reminding us about how great Zayn vs. Nakamura was in NXT last year. That was my WWE match of the year in 2016. Nakamura did his taunts to Zayn early followed by the “come on” yell and Nakamura hit a knee to the ribs. Nakamura hit a spinning left footed kick to the jaw of Zayn. Orton tagged in, so Zayn backed away. Owens tagged in to face off with Orton. Uppercut by Orton, boot to the face by Owens, Orton went for a RKO and Owens bailed to the floor to get away. Zayn distracted Orton, so Owens capitalized by sending Orton into the ring post and Owens hit a fallaway slam that sent Orton into the barricade. Show went to break with Orton out on the floor.
Back from break, Nakamura missed an attack on Owens in the corner because Zayn pulled Owens out of the way. Nakamura hit the turnbuckle with his knee attack. Zayn worked over Nakamura’s left knee. Owens hit a running senton on Nakamura for a two count. Fans chanted “Randy” for Orton. Owens missed a corner charge leading to Nakamura hitting a running knee lift that knocked down Owens.
Hot tag to Orton against Zayn with Orton hitting clotheslines. Orton caught Zayn with an overhead suplex. Orton with a back suplex on Owens on the top of the barricade. Zayn with a dropkick sent Orton into the announce table. Orton with a punch to the face blocked a Zayn dive attempt. Orton gave Zayn a back suplex onto the announce table. The table broke. Usually it doesn’t break, but it did this time because Orton launched Zayn more than he usually does it. Nakamura sent Owens out of the ring. In the ring, Zayn charged at Orton and Orton nailed a snap powerslam for a two count. Owens tripped up Nakamura and sent him into the steel steps. The ref was distracted by Owens, so Zayn hit a low blow punch to Orton. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Orton and pinned him to win the match after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good tag team match and I’m glad they were given a decent amount of time to tell a story in the match. It was the right finish putting Zayn over. I don’t even mind the cheap finish because that’s what they should do to put over Zayn as a new heel that will do anything to get the win. Since Zayn was booked so poorly for so long he needs wins to be accepted as a top guy on Smackdown. I like the idea of Zayn and Owens feuding with Orton and Nakamura in singles feuds too. Any pairing works because it would feel fresh. Orton isn't really hurt by the loss because it was so cheap while Zayn and Owens are the kind of heels that can brag about it because they don't care how they win as long as they do.
Post match, Owens and Zayn celebrated the win. When they got through the curtain, Daniel Bryan was there waiting for him. Owens and Zayn bragged about how they beat the top two guys on Smackdown Live. They asked Bryan what he had for him next week. Bryan said it’s not up to him. Bryan told them it’s up to Shane McMahon. Owens and Zayn didn’t look happy about Shane being back.
Analysis: It makes sense to bring Shane back after sitting out two episodes of Smackdown. It’s also smart to promote Shane’s return to give fans something to get excited about to see what Shane might do to get revenge against Kevin and Sami.
Replays aired of the finish of the main event with Zayn doing the low blow followed by the Helluva Kick for the win.
The duo of Orton and Nakamura were shown standing outside the ring looking angry about what happened.
Owens and Zayn appeared on the ramp chanting “yes” with Owens bragging about how they beat Orton and Nakamura. Owens said they are Smackdown Live and there is nothing anybody can do about it. “My name is Kevin Owens, this is Sami Zayn and he is my best friend.” Sami and Kevin hugged. Owens: “Hug me. Hold me tight!” That was funny. That’s how the show ended.
Analysis: The hugging bit at the end was funny. Owens shouldn’t revert back to the comedy heel stuff like he did with Jericho, but I guess it’s okay once in a while. I prefer more of the badass heel version of Owens that he did leading up to the Hell in a Cell match against Shane.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Sami Zayn
2. Kevin Owens
3. (tie) Randy Orton
3. (tie) Shinsuke Nakamura
6 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2017 Average: 6.70
Average Post Brand Split (July 26, 2016): 6.60 - Raw is at 5.86
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, (No Review), 5.5, 6, 4, 6.5
2017 High: 8.5 (April 11, August 1)
2017 Low: 4 (August 29)
It gets a 6 out of 10.
I’m happy that Zayn and Owens were featured so much because the best parts of the show were the opening segment as well as the main event. Plus, they are my favorite guys in WWE along with Styles, so seeing them in featured roles makes me enjoy the show more.
The rest of the show was just average stuff. Styles getting in the face of Jinder Mahal was nice to see, but I’m already dreading the thought of Styles having to put over a very mediocre wrestler that is the current WWE Champion. The tag teams took a back seat this week because they were only in brief backstage segments, which hurt the quality of the show too.
It was just an average show this week.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.