Live from Charlotte, North Carolina this is Smackdown Live for episode #951. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top.
There was a backstage scene with Shane McMahon addressing the Smackdown roster. Shane gave them a pep talk while warning them that the Raw roster may be there to get revenge for what happened a few weeks ago when Smackdown attacked Raw. Becky Lynch talked trash about breaking Asuka’s arm and Baron Corbin said it would be End of Days for The Miz. Shane said that Raw added his brother in law Triple H, but they went over the top by adding John Cena to Team Smackdown. Shane said that they will dominate, nobody can stop them, not Kurt Angle, not Stephanie and certainly not The Shield. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E talked about The Shield with Big E leading them in chanting “Smackdown Rocks.”
Analysis: It’s a positive way to show that the Smackdown roster was ready for Survivor Series. A little cheesy too, but I don't mind. It's foreshadowing.
Let's Hear From Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan, Smackdown’s General Manager, made his entrance. Big pop for him like usual. Highlights were shown of Bryan getting attacked by Kane a few weeks ago on Raw.
Bryan said it was great to be on Smackdown and after getting Chokeslammed by Kane, he knew it was risky. Bryan said that the thing about him and Smackdown Live is they don’t stay down. Bryan said when you knock them down, they hit you back twice as hard. Bryan claimed Raw is afraid, which is why they added Triple H to their Survivor Series team. Bryan said he didn’t agree with Smackdown ransacking Raw because he knows how vindictive Stephanie McMahon can be while noting there’s a good chance that Team Raw will counter attack.
Bryan said they are not afraid and they will be ready. Bryan said he’s proud of this show, proud of the performers and proud of the heart of everybody in the back. Bryan said that this Sunday at Survivor Series, they will prove Smackdown is a better show with far better performers than Monday Night Raw. Bryan noted that for the last member of their Survivor Series team, they added John Cena. Also, it his with his pleasure that he introduces to us the new WWE Champion AJ Styles.
Styles walked out with the WWE Championship around his waist. He received a great ovation like usual. Styles faces Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series on Sunday. Styles was in his ring gear.
The crowd chanted “AJ Styles” before Styles could say a word. Bryan said here on Smackdown Live, they like to treat their champions just as good if not better than on Raw while noting that Brock Lesnar has his own personal advocate. Bryan asked Styles if he wants his own personal advocate just for tonight.
Bryan: “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Daniel Bryan. And I am the advocate for the reigning, defending, undisputed, WWE Champion of the World…The Phenomenal AJ Styles.”
Analysis: Very well done by Bryan.
Bryan talked about how Paul Heyman gave five reasons why Brock Lesnar was going to beat Styles and Bryan talked about how big Brock Lesnar is. Bryan also said that Lesnar is a quitter that quit WWE years ago, he quit UFC to a half-assed knee bar and the crowd let out an “ohhh” for that. Bryan said that Styles is going to push Lesnar. Bryan said that when Lesnar gets tired after ten minutes, he’ll be uncomfortable, he’ll be pushed against the wall and Brock Lesnar will mentally quit. Bryan said that Lesnar is big and strong, but Lesnar can not go all night long and he can’t keep up with the Phenomenal One.
Bryan said he had one reason to watch Survivor Series: To see a 6’3” 285 pound beast mentally beaten and mentally conquered by the best in-ring performer of this generation, “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles.
Styles said that he can talk and he’s not a puppet like Brock Lesnar. That was funny. Styles said he agreed with Paul Heyman because he is the underdog and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Styles said this isn’t a Rocky movie, this is an AJ Styles production. Styles claimed he would find a way with every breath in his body to beat Brock Lesnar and prove that Smackdown Live is the A Show and the house that AJ Styles built. Styles’ music played to end it.
Analysis: That was impressive by Bryan. He was very convincing in putting over Styles as being the best wrestler in the world. I liked the way he did the advocate role of Paul Heyman and pointed out that Styles was going to be able to outlast Lesnar because he knows Lesnar is going to get tired after ten minutes. I sure hope they get ten minutes at least in that match because it would be amazing if they do. Styles had a funny line about how he’s not a puppet like Lesnar. Most shocking thing about that promo was that there was no interruption by Jinder Mahal, which is what I expected. I’m glad it didn’t happen, though. The spotlight was on Styles with Bryan as it should have been.
Still to come: New Day vs. Owens/Zayn, Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair for SD Women’s Title and up next is Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara for the US Title.
Styles was shown backstage and Jinder Mahal was there. Mahal told Styles that what Brock Lesnar does to him will be nothing compared to when Mahal beats him to become the WWE Champion again.
Sin Cara made his entrance for the US Title match. The announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were shown at the announce table.
Baron Corbin made his entrance with the US Title in his hands. The wrestlers stood in the ring while Greg Hamilton did the intros for the title match.
United States Championship: Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara
Cara with a headscissors takedown early on. Cara with a springboard armdrag and a dropkick that sent Corbin out of the ring as the show went to break.
Back from break, Sin Cara tried to fight back while Corbin was in control, but Corbin hit a corner clothesline and sent Cara face first into the mat. Corbin with a punch to the face. Cara came back with punches, kicks to the legs and a springboard back elbow. Running clothesline by Cara sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Suicide dive by Cara sent Corbin into the barricade. Back in the ring, Corbin kicked out of a nearfall. Springboard cross body block by Sin Cara got a two count. Corbin did his run out of the ring, then run back in move and back in the ring Corbin hit a Deep Six slam for a two count. He never wins with that, but it is a good nearfall. Cara with a kick to the head and Corbin was sent to the floor. Cara off the second rope with a moonsault onto Corbin on the floor. Back in the ring, Cara went up top, Corbin back up and Corbin hit the End of Days slam for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: **1/2 Pretty good match that had a fast pace to it. They made the most of the time they were given with Sin Cara getting in some offense while the fans got behind him because he was getting some nice reactions. Corbin got the nearfall with the Deep Six and eventually was able to put him away with End of Days. I don’t think anybody watching this thought Sin Cara was going to win. This was just a program over the last month to give Corbin a meaningful win in a title match.
The win by Corbin means that he is officially facing The Miz at Survivor Series.
A look at the Men’s 5 on 5 match at Survivor Series is up next.
There was a shot of some Charlotte Hornets NBA players at ringside including Dwight Howard and Jeremey Lamb.
A video package aired showing some of the events leading to up to the men’s 5 on 5 match at Survivor Series.
Daniel Bryan was in his office with Shane McMahon. Shane thanked Bryan for his support, Bryan said Smackdown has his support and Survivor Series is important. Shane said they need cohesion as a team. Bryan said that they need to talk about cohesion after Survivor Series. Shane tried to talk to him, but Bryan told him they’ll talk on Sunday.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in her hometown. Big ovation for her.
Natalya made her entrance. They got the in-ring intros since it’s a title match.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair
They brawled early on. The action spilled to the floor. Charlotte sent Natalya into the barricade. They went back towards the ring and Charlotte kicked Natalya out of the ring. With Natalya on the floor, they went to break a couple of minutes into the match with the crowd cheering Charlotte for her aggressiveness.
Back from break, Natalya had Charlotte in the position of the surfboard submission. Charlotte got out of it, chopped Natalya repeatedly and the fans were chanting “WOO” for them. Natalya came back with the spinning discus clothesline for a two count. Natalya slapped on a headlock to keep Charlotte grounded. Natalya did her step on the upper back move and Charlotte kipped up right into a Spear for a two count. That was a great nearfall. Charlotte went for her submission, but Natalya kicked her face first into the middle turnbuckle leading to a two count for Natalya. When the crowd cheered Charlotte on, Natalya yelled at them to shut up. Natalya wanted a Sharpshooter, but Charlotte slapped her in the face and got a rollup for two. Charlotte hit an overhead suplex that sent Natalya into the corner. Running boot on the apron by Charlotte knocked down Natalya. Charlotte teased a moonsault off the barricade, Natalya grabbed her and sent Charlotte back first into the ring post. Great spot that looked painful. Natalya rolled Charlotte back into the ring. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter submission in the middle of the ring. Charlotte was screaming in pain. Natalya locked in the move in the middle of the ring. Charlotte crawled to the ropes and got to the bottom ropes. Natalya attacked Charlotte with punches to the back. Charlotte dumped Natalya to the floor. Back in the ring, running boot to the face by Charlotte connected. Charlotte slapped on the Figure Eight submission. Natalya tried to fight it, but Natalya tapped out and Charlotte won after 11 minutes.
Winner by submission and New Smackdown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: ***1/2 That was really good. I thought the physicality of the match helped set the tone early on because it felt like a fight right away rather than a slow paced match that doesn’t really excite. Big moves by each woman. I really liked the spot on the floor with Natalya driving Charlotte back first into the ring post. That set up the Sharpshooter in the ring with the crowd thinking maybe Natalya was going to retain. Charlotte showed good fire in coming back and getting the submission win. The title change seemed obvious. I’m a huge Natalya fan and of course I want her to hold the title, but the timing was perfect for a title change. I don’t mind it at all. Happy for Charlotte too.
The win by Charlotte means she faces Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series.
Post match, Charlotte celebrated with the title. The crowd was going wild for her.
Charlotte was interviewed by Renee Young in the ring post match. Charlotte said ever since the Superstar Shake-up from Raw to Smackdown, this title is what she wanted. Charlotte said winning in her hometown meant everything to her. Fans chanted “you deserve it” to her. Charlotte thanked them. Charlotte said this Sunday she’s going to walk into Survivor Series and she’s going to make Alexa Bliss bow down to the Queen because there was a Queen of Raw before there was a Goddess. Charlotte said she will win for Team Blue. Charlotte noted her dad has had a really hard time in the last few months. She said that she knows her dad is at home watching Smackdown like he does every Tuesday and that this win was for him tonight.
Analysis: Nice speech by Charlotte. She’s better as a talker as a heel, but she has improved a lot in general and the crowd loved her.
Charlotte went up the ramp and Ric Flair’s music played. Ric was in tears of course as he greeted his daughter on the stage. The crowd was going wild for him. Ric and Charlotte did the Flair strut on the stage together. Charlotte held up the title in the air. Great moment.
Analysis: That was cool. Some wrestlers posted pics with Ric earlier, so when she said he was at home it was just a way to throw people off. I’m glad he was able to be there for that moment.
The Usos are up next.
There was a video for the Bludgeon Brothers duo of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a forest like usual. Harper said they don’t hear anything and Rowan said except for the scream. Harper said they don’t feel anything and Rowan said except for the cracking of the bones. Harper said their purpose is and Rowan said obliterate everyone. They smashed their sledgehammers to end it. Video ended with “Next Week” so that’s when they make their return.
Analysis: I’m glad they will be in action next week. Enough with the promos.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin were already in the ring.
The Usos made their entrance holding the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. They noted that last year at Survivor Series it came down to The Usos vs. The Bar. They talked trash about Cesaro and Sheamus. Jimmy said it’s true what they say about Sheamus: “You do look stupid.” Jey said Survivor Series won’t be any different. They mentioned all the tag teams on Smackdown and ended it saying, “welcome to the Usos penitentiary.”
Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. Chad Gable (w/Shelton Benjamin)
Gable was aggressive early on as he worked over Jimmy’s left leg. They went to break about one minute into it.
Back from break, Gable was still in control of the action. Gable teased a moonsault, took way too long going up there and Jimmy moved out of the way. Jimmy kicked Gable in the knee to knock him down. Jimmy with clotheslines, uppercut and a Samoan Drop. Jimmy hut a running butt splash in the corner for a two count. Gable hit a rolling kick followed by a move where he sent Jimmy face first into the middle rope. Gable trash talked Jey. Benjamin went after Jey, so Jey kicked him down. Gable knocked Jey off the apron. When Gable turned around, Jimmy hit a superkick on Gable and got the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jimmy Uso
Analysis: **1/4 Fun match that didn’t get a lot of time, but again the pacing of it was very good. I felt like I said that a few times tonight because these wrestlers are really going hard out there and it shows in the work with their quality matches. I thought the finish was done really well. Jimmy capitalized on Gable being distracted and got the win because of it.
The announce team went over the matches at Survivor Series including Bliss vs. Charlotte, which is new because of the title change. I’ll have the list of the matches at the bottom of this post.
The New Day vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn is up next.
Sami Zayn was shown in the locker room. Kevin Owens showed up. Zayn complained about them not being on Survivor Series. Owens said that Shane had a personal vendetta fighting against them. Owens said they should be facing The Shield on Sunday. Zayn mocked New Day playing the trombone and feeding people cereal. Owens said the only show that matters is the Sami and Kevin Show, so Sami said the Kevin and Sami Show. Sami put on his hat and they were ready for their match.
Analysis: It is ridiculous that they are not on the Survivor Series card. I’m just glad that whatever issue they had that led to them getting sent home from European tour last week didn’t lead to them missing more time.
The New Day trio made their entrance to a big ovation. They face The Shield at Survivor Series.
Xavier Woods started the pre-match promo saying this Sunday is Survivor Series, which is the only time of year where Raw and Smackdown compete head to head. Kofi Kingston said that they will be competing against The Shield. Big E said between the three of them they have 13 title reigns. Big E said that between them they have at least 27 and joked that it’s almost all Kofi. That’s funny. Kingston said it was the “Hounds of Justice” against “Unicorns.” Kingston talked about dogs eating their own poop while unicorns bring magic onto this Earth. Kingston said that they know they can trust eachother 100% and The Shield can’t. Woods said when it’s WrestleMania season, The Shield will not be a team anymore, but do you know who will be? The New Day. Big E said when Survivor Series rolls around they will survive because they have true brotherhood, he said that they have never turned their backs on eachother and never betrayed eachother. They led the “New Day Rocks” chants to end it.
Analysis: Good promo from them like usual. Full of energy. They made some good points about their group being a cohesive unit that has never turned on eachother while The Shield has, so it gives them an advantage in theory. Do I expect them to win at Survivor Series? Absolutely not, but I do think it will be an awesome match.
This week on 205 Live is Kalisto’s birthday celebration.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens made their entrance walking out to Owens’ theme song.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. The New Day’s Big E & Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston)
It started at 9:40pmET, so about 20 minutes left in the show. Woods hit a flying headscissors takedown on Zayn. Woods and Big E did the corner stomp routine on Zayn. Corner dropkick by Woods on Zayn for a two count. Owens tagged in and stomped away on Woods in the heel corner. Woods tripped up Owens leading to a dropkick to the back by Woods to Owens. Big E hit a running shoulder tackle and Woods nailed a clothesline. Woods back in the ring, so Big E slammed him stomach first on Owens. Woods hit a forearm smash on Zayn that sent Zayn out of the ring. Woods ran the ropes, but Owens tripped him up and slammed Woods onto the floor. Owens hit a senton splash on the floor as the show went to break.
Back from break, the heels were in control with Owens slapping on a headlock on Woods. When Woods got back up, Owens hit a DDT for a two count. Zayn sent Woods into the corner, so Woods hit Owens with a forearm and Woods tagged in Big E. That led to Big E hitting two belly to belly suplexes and a side belly to belly on Zayn. Running splash by E on Zayn. That is Big E’s usual hot tag offense. Big E dumped Owens to the floor, so Woods hit a somersault dive to take out Woods on the floor.
The Shield’s music hit as the trio of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were shown walking down through the crowd. They had on these awful shirts that were half Raw and half Shield.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: ** Fun while it lasted for ten minutes, but I’m not surprised that it ended that way.
Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose stood on the apron as the crowd went wild for them. Owens and Zayn left the ring. Shield and New Day got into a fight.
The Usos ran down to the ring to help Team Smackdown and they fought with New Day against The Shield although they didn't go after cousin Roman Reigns.
Sheamus and Cesaro ran in through the crowd. They got into the ring to start a brawl with The Usos. Raw women’s team members were shown backstage. They opened the women’s locker room door and got into a fight with Smackdown’s women. The women all stood around Charlotte when Bliss nailed Charlotte with a forearm to the face.
There were more members of Team Raw including Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil. They went into the ring to brawl with the Smackdown guys. The Smackdown roster emptied out including Commissioner Shane McMahon. Others like Baron Corbin, Bobby Roode, the Hype Bros, Dolph Ziggler, Shinsuke Nakamura and others were in there.
Kurt Angle was on the stage and Braun Strowman’s music played. Strowman walked down to the ring. He destroyed a couple of losers (I think the Hype Bros) on the ramp with punches. Strowman battled with Nakamura in the ring and Strowman dumped Nakamura out of the ring. Shane tried to fight Strowman, but that was a mistake as Strowman nailed Shane with a clothesline. Strowman whipped Ziggler into the barricade. Angle watched on from ringside. The Shield trio held Shane McMahon in the ring. They taunted The New Day guys outside the ring. Samoa Joe nailed Big E in the back with part of the trombone.
Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose held Shane in the ring as Angle went into the ring to face him. Angle: “How’s that feel, Shane? If you think this is bad, wait until Sunday.” Angle did the thumbs down signal. Rollins and Ambrose hoisted Shane up to Reigns leading to The Shield hitting the Triple Powerbomb on Shane.
Angle stared over a fallen Shane McMahon in the ring. Angle took off his jacket. Angle nailed the Angle Slam on Shane. Rollins and Ambrose picked up Shane again. Reigns delivered the Triple Powerbomb with his buddies. Angle stared at a fallen Shane and finally left.
The show ended with the Raw theme music playing while the Raw wrestlers went up the ramp with Angle. It was a staredown to end the show right at 10pmET as usual.
Analysis: There was a lot that took place. I thought it was well done. Predictable? Sure. I expected it and I’m sure you did too if you follow along with WWE programming regularly. That doesn’t matter, though. It was the right way to end Smackdown before Survivor Series because it allowed the Raw wrestlers to get revenge for the initial attack by Smackdown several weeks ago. A lot of names on both sides were missing in action during this segment, but that’s okay. You can’t include everybody. The point was that Raw’s talent wanted to get revenge on Smackdown and more specifically it was Raw’s boss Angle getting the advantage against Smackdown’s boss Shane. Doing it on the last show before Survivor Series prevents Smackdown from striking back, so strategically it makes sense.
I am probably picking Team Raw to win the men’s match at Survivor Series, but I am not sure. I’ll save more detailed picks for the Survivor Series preview we will post on Friday.
Three Stars of the Show
- Charlotte Flair
- The New Day
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2017 Average: 6.74
Average Post Brand Split (July 26, 2016): 6.64 - Raw is at 5.80
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 8, 7, 6, 6.5, (No Review)
2017 High: 8.5 (April 11, August 1)
2017 Low: 4 (August 29)
It gets a 7.5 out of 10.
Very good show from start to finish. It would have been nice if some of the matches got more time, but as I said all night long there was a lot of energy out there. Guys worked hard and it showed. Intensity was high in those matches.
I liked the ending a lot. It was exactly what it needed to be with the Raw guys getting revenge. The crowd was really hot for it as expected too.
— WWE (@WWE) November 15, 2017
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion AJ Styles
Raw’s 5 men (Kurt Angle is the captain of the team with Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe & Triple H) vs. Smackdown’s 5 men (Shane McMahon is the captain of the team with Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode & John Cena)
The Shield vs. The New Day
Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin (or Sin Cara)
Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
Raw’s 5 women (Alicia Fox is the captain with Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks & Bayley) vs. Smackdown’s 5 women (Becky Lynch is the captain with Naomi, Tamina, Carmella & ????)
Cruiserweight Championship (Kickoff Show): Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto
It’s a four-hour show with a two-hour Kickoff Show. I doubt I’ll watch any of the Kickoff Show. I plan on writing a live review on Sunday night too.
That’s all for now. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.
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