The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 09/04/18 Review

Live from Detroit, Michigan, this is Smackdown Live for episode #994. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Please check out even more of our great content over at TJRWrestling on Patreon now!
The show began with Renee Young in the ring as she welcomed Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan. Oh no, they played the dreaded Brie Mode song! At least it stopped for Bryan’s entrance. The announcers mentioned Bryan supporting Connor’s Cure and Bryan was close with Connor the Crusher. Brie and Bryan face The Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell.
The fans chanted “Daniel Bryan” before Renee could ask a question. A clip aired from last week on Smackdown Live when The Miz and Maryse attacked Daniel and Brie with cheap attacks while working with Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega. Bryan joked about how the whole arena was chanting “Daniel Bryan” and now Renee got them really upset.
Renee cued up a video from WWE.com earlier. It was Miz and Maryse in the empty arena from before Smackdown. They called out Daniel and Brie. Miz said they were trying to save them from the embarrassment of being beat up in front of millions of people again. Maryse said that Brie and Daniel were afraid.
Bryan said that was a perfect encapsulation of who Miz and Maryse were as people. Bryan said that they attacked them from behind last week while calling out Bryan and Brie when they weren’t even there. Bryan said that Miz and Maryse refer to themselves as the “It Couple” but Bryan said that they are a “couple of cowards.” Brie said that cowards talk. Brie said that they’re not going to talk about what they are going to do Miz and Maryse while adding that they don’t have to wait until Hell in a Cell. Bryan said it’s Smackdown time, they are live on USA Network and now is the time to fight. They called out Miz and Maryse. Renee said that Miz and Maryse were there earlier, but they are not there in the building anymore.
Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega made their entrance for the interruption. They were in their ring gear as they stood on the stage. Vega said they were whining again and said that they star on the TV show Total Bores. Almas said that it reminded him of how much fun it was to walk all over the great Daniel Bryan. Almas said he’s ready to do it again. The fans chanted “what” at him because of his broken English. Vega said that Almas wanted to finish what he started right now. They walked to the ring to set up the match.
Analysis: It was a typical show opening promo to set up a match after the break. That’s what we get all the time on Raw and Smackdown. In this case it’s fine with me because I enjoyed Bryan vs. Almas last week even though they didn’t have a proper finish. I thought they might do a mixed tag team match this week, but maybe they are saving it for another time.


(Commercial)
The bell rang as they returned from break. The announcers said that GM Paige made it official.
Daniel Bryan (w/Brie Bella) vs. Andrade Cien Almas (w/Zelina Vega)
Almas with a shoulder tackle, Bryan leap frog, Bryan kicked the left arm of Almas repeatedly and sent Almas’ left arm into Bryan’s shoulder. Almas worked over Bryan with a forearm to the face, Almas went for a kick and hit a spinning back elbow for a two count. That move looks so vicious. Almas slapped on an armbar with Bryan’s arm against the ropes, so that looked painful. Almas with a running attack that sent Bryan into the barricade at ringside. Almas rolled Bryan back in for a two count. Almas charged at Bryan near the turnbuckle, Bryan moved and Almas hit his knee into the turnbuckle leading to a bump over the top to the floor. Bryan went for an attack on the floor and Almas hit a dropkick. Ouch. That looked like a rough landing for Bryan. Back in the ring, Almas got a two count. Almas charged, Bryan hit a back body drop over the top and Bryan hit a suicide dive that sent Almas into the barricade. Bryan was selling his left arm. I think Bryan got his feet caught up against the ropes, but it didn’t look bad or like a botch or anything like that. It was fine.
(Commercial)
Back from break, Almas was in control with a body slam. Almas went up top, Bryan went after him and crotched Almas on the top rope. Bryan set up Almas upside down in the tree of woe. Bryan with a several yes kicks to the chest and a running dropkick to the head. Almas with an elbow to the head, Bryan went down, Almas with a moonsault, Bryan moved and Almas hit a standing moonsault on Bryan for two. Bryan unloaded on Almas with Yes Kicks, then Almas dodged the last one and Almas sent Bryan back of the head first into the turnbuckle. Almas hit a running double knee attack on Bryan against the turnbuckle. Almas wanted the Hammerlock DDT, Bryan avoided it, kick to the back by Bryan and Bryan hit the running knee with Almas flipping over to sell it. Bryan pinned Almas for the win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match by two of the best in-ring performers on the show. They got plenty of time to tell an interesting story with Bryan selling the arm injury the entire time while Almas also sold his arm early in the match. Bryan getting the win makes sense since he’s got the big tag team match at Hell in a Cell and he recently lost to Miz at SummerSlam, so giving Bryan the win was the right call. I don’t think Almas is hurt by losing that match since he was very competitive against Bryan for most of the match. I would love to see these two in an even longer match in a PPV setting down the road.

Post match, Vega was in the ring, Brie kicked Vega down and Brie hit a running knee on Vega. Bryan and Brie led the crowd in “Yes” chants.

The Miz and Maryse were shown on the video screen. Miz said that they were at a restaurant called Scarfoni’s and they had the restaurant to themselves because they didn’t want to be around people from Detroit. Bryan and Brie talked about what they said.
Analysis: That should lead to Bryan and Brie going to the restaurant to get after them later in the show. The announcers never mentioned it, but it’s obvious that is coming.
Up next is an exclusive interview with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch.
A commercial aired for Mixed Match Challenge returning on September 18 on Facebook Watch. I reviewed season one. I’ll probably review season two. Check out more info that I posted on TJRWrestling earlier in the day.
(Commercial)
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Bryan and Brie were shown walking backstage with their luggage. They were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Bryan and Brie said they were leaving to go for dinner at Scarfoni’s where Miz and Maryse were. Bryan joked that he hoped that they didn’t have a dress code since he was in his wrestling gear.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were shown on screen. They introduced clips of Becky Lynch attacking Charlotte Flair last week on Smackdown.
Interviews with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
The women were in separate locations in the arena. Phillips conducted the interview. Fans were chanting “Becky” for this. Charlotte said at SummerSlam she won the Smackdown Women’s Title, but she lost her best friend and asked “Becks” what she wanted her to do. Charlotte said that Becky said in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. Charlotte said that now Becky wants to blame her. Charlotte said if anybody knows what it’s like to be in the shadows it is her. Charlotte told Becky that she could have asked Charlotte for a title shot and Becky called her “your majesty.” Becky talked about how it was a full time job being Charlotte’s friend. Becky said that the only thing she cares about is taking her title back. Becky said that she didn’t care anymore and that she’s going to take her title back.
Charlotte said that it’s going to be her and Becky at Hell in a Cell. Charlotte talked about how when she looks at Becky it won’t be the woman that she spent 24 hours a day with and traveled the world with. Becky told her to shine up the title for her.
A graphic let us know that it’s official at Hell in a Cell: SD Women's Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch.
Analysis: That should be a great match. I thought the interview was okay, but they let Charlotte talk too much and Lynch spoke way less. Perhaps that was by design because WWE knew the crowd would cheer for Lynch, who they are booking to be more heelish. I don’t know. Just a thought. Anyway, I think Charlotte will retain at HIAC, but I think they will do a rematch at Evolution later in October as well and that may be where Lynch wins the title.
Still to come is a closer look at Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton.
Naomi made her entrance to a good ovation.
(Commercial)
The Iiconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay did their annoying pre-match promo. They did a bit where they kept saying “no” and “me” and then realizing they were saying “Naomi” so they laughed. I thought it was poor.

Naomi vs. Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay)
Royce took over with a forearm early on. Naomi managed to get a rollup where she sat on top for the win. I had a phone call and missed the details, but this was only a one minute match. I don’t think it matters that much.
Winner by pinfall: Naomi
Analysis: 1/2* It was just a quickie to set up the post match angle.
Post match, Royce and Kay attacked Naomi with Kay holding her and Royce hit a knee to the head. Asuka made her entrance with kicks, a suplex and a running kick to the head. That cleared the ring of the Iiconics. Asuka helped Naomi to her feet and Asuka’s music played to end it.
Analysis: It made sense to have Asuka make the save since she has nothing going on anyway. I don’t even remember the last time Asuka had a match on Smackdown. It’s been too long.
A video package aired about Jeff Hardy talking about how he is focused because his body knows what comes next. Hardy said that Randy Orton tried to erase his identity because he resents the connection that Hardy shares with the WWE Universe. Hardy said that Orton despises Jeff’s self expression and the reckless abandon that Hardy shows in the ring. Hardy said in his career he has taken more risks than anybody and defied all limits. Hardy said that fighting for his honor, for a title, for his family (pics were shown of his wife and two daughters) and Hardy said that he had never had the honor of doing it inside Hell in a Cell…until now. Hardy said Hell in a Cell will not contain him, it will set him free and he’ll be sent to the deepest depths of hell. Hardy said that Orton’s obsession will be his own destruction.
Analysis: That was a great video. The selling point for Hardy vs. Orton is they have a long history, but also Hardy doing something crazy because he’s got a rep for doing that and he’s never been in a Hell in a Cell match before. It’s not the main event by any means, but with Hardy in a match like that you know he’s going to do something to get people talking.

Paige was in her office on her cell phone. The Miz and Maryse showed up saying they cut their date night short. Miz and Maryse said they wanted to confront Bryan and Brie. Paige said that Bryan and Brie left the building while she told Miz that he’ll compete in a match tonight. Miz said he was not prepared. Paige joked that they are free to go, but if they do…don’t ever come back. Paige went back to her phone as Miz and Maryse left.
Analysis: The mind games continue. I guess WWE didn’t feel like wrecking a restaurant and paying for it.
(Commercial)
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A commercial aired for the Mae Young Classic part two that begins on WWE Network this Wednesday after NXT. I will review it for TJRWrestling after this week’s show with reviews likely up on Thursdays.
R-Truth was shown walking backstage. He called out for Carmella, he saw a blonde and he went up to Maryse. Truth touched her on the back, Maryse said she is not Carmella and called her trash. The Miz showed up telling Truth not to touch his wife. Truth kept thinking it was Carmella. Miz asked Truth when was the last time they teamed together, Truth said seven years ago and Miz said that was the last time Truth was relevant. Miz said he was surprised Truth still worked there. Truth called Maryse “Carmella” again and left.
Analysis: The Truth comedy tour continues. Truth is teaming up with Carmella in the Mixed Match Challenge, so that should be interesting.

Let’s Hear From Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe made his entrance in his ring gear. Joe grabbed the microphone and yelled “Oh Wendy!” Joe had a cut about his left eye. Joe said that the Styles family has started to take his threats seriously. Joe said he knew the Styles clan was watching in the living room with Wendy holding her daughter Annie and Joe said that her husband is probably standing by the door waiting for Joe to come busting through the door. Joe said that’s not going to happen because (he mentioned Wendy) he is not a monster. Joe told Wendy that he is not the man that they think he is. Joe said he needs Wendy to see what Joe has done because he delivered Styles to be home with his family on a Tuesday night while adding that Joe’s actions have forced Styles to care about Wendy. Joe said that his actions led to Styles to look after the family. Joe talked about how he wanted the Styles family to enjoy tonight and for daddy to tuck in Annie because there will be more nights like that. Joe told Annie that at Hell in a Cell, a very, very bad man is going to take her daddy’s championship and make him go night night. Joe licked his lips in a creepy way.
AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, appeared on the video screen. Styles said that he understands threatening another man, but when you threaten AJ’s family that is when the talking stops. Styles stared straight ahead. Styles’ music hit, but he did not walk out with the WWE Title with him.
Styles ran down to the ring for a fight. Joe worked over Styles with punches, but Styles connected with punches of his own. Joe bailed to the floor, he pulled Styles out of the ring and Joe tossed Styles knees first into the steel steps. Joe grabbed a steel chair from ringside, but Styles came back with a Phenomenal Forearm off the steps. Styles grabbed the steel chair, Joe moved and Styles hit the ring post. Referees ran down to ringside to break up the fight. The crowd booed that. Styles went into the ring and hit a springboard cross body block onto Joe on the floor and he took out a referee as well. Paige, the GM, told Styles he made a promise to her that he wouldn’t do this on her show. Referees tried to keep Styles back and they were successful in doing so because Styles backed his way up the ramp while Joe was selling a rib injury at ringside.
Analysis: That was great. Last week I wrote that they needed some physicality in this rivalry and now they got it this week. I think the brawl could have lasted longer, but with Smackdown being a two hour show they sometimes rush through segments like that where they could have used more time. I still liked it and think this feud is one of the better ones in all of WWE right now. Joe might win the WWE Title at HIAC, but I also thought that at SummerSlam too.

R-Truth was shown backstage looking for Carmella. Tye Dillinger was with him. Truth finally found her and then asked Carmella if she knew where Carmella was. That was funny. Truth wondered if Carmella wanted to accompany him to the ring for his match against The Miz later. Truth mentioned talking to a Carmella, Dillinger told her that it was Maryse and Truth had a funny line that he had a cousin Maurice in Detroit. Carmella didn’t seem interested until Truth mentioned that Maryse called Carmella “Long Island Trash” earlier. Carmella said that if Maryse wasn’t married to Miz, she would be bagging groceries in Montreal. Carmella said she’ll rip off Maryse’s hair and she left. Truth said he was trying to teach Dillinger something and Dillinger asked what he could teach him. Truth said he taught him how to get into the main event of Smackdown Live, so Truth put on his sunglasses and left.
Analysis: The Truth comedy segments make me laugh. It's stupid at times, but it's funny.
The tag team triple threat match is next.
(Commercial)
PLUG TIME: Check out my review of the massive All In show right here. I thought the highlight of the show was Cody Rhodes winning the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, my favorite match was Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon and I wish they timed it better because the main event was way too short considering the talent in that match. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope that group produces more big shows soon. Since it had over 10,000 fans and made a lot of money, they'll probably announce something soon. Kudos to Cody and the Young Bucks for having such a successful debut event.
R-Truth vs. The Miz is the main event for later. That's not a joke. Truth is really main eventing in 2018 for some reason.
A video package aired with Randy Orton talking over highlights of his attacks on Jeff Hardy. Orton said that he promised to make everybody squirm and that his actions would not be for the faint at heart. Orton said that promised he would erase our heroes and destroy our idols while noting that Hardy wouldn’t go away quietly. Clips aired of Orton beating different superstars in the last 16 years in WWE. Orton said he’s not a stranger to Hell in a Cell as clips aired of Orton in Hell in a Cell matches. Orton said it destroys a sense of morality. Orton said what he’ll do to Hardy will be sickening, perverse, make you gag and keep us up at night. Orton said it will make him smile. Orton said inside HIAC he’ll erase Jeff Hardy…for good.
A graphic reminded us of Orton vs. Hardy at Hell in a Cell in on September 16.
Analysis: It was another very good video package. It’s a way to keep the spotlight on the rivalry by putting both guys in three minute videos talking about how ready they are for the Hell in a Cell match. Orton’s new heel character is an improvement over what he was doing as a face.

The Usos made their entrance for the triple threat tag team match. The Sanity trio was up next. Aiden English did a quick song leading to the intro for Rusev Day. Rusev made his entrance with his lovely wife Lana with him.
(Commercial)
The winners of this match face The Bar next week for a Smackdown Tag Team Title match against The New Day at Hell in a Cell.
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. Sanity (Eric Young and Killian Dain) w/Alexander Wolfe vs. Rusev and Aiden English w/Lana
The first pinfall or submission wins this match. Two guys are in the ring and the others have to stay on the apron.
Jey Uso hit a running splash on English followed by a body slam. Dain tagged himself in and hit a clothesline on Jey on the floor. Young tagged in with an elbow drop off the ropes. Dain tagged in with a suplex on Jey. Dain slapped on a chinlock to ground Jey. Lana was seated at ringside watching the match rather than standing in the corner for her team. When Jey broke free, Dain dropped Jey with a dropkick that sent Jey out of the ring. Young tagged in with an elbow drop off the apron onto Jey on the floor.
(Commercial)
The match returned with Jimmy on fire with an enziguri kick on Young followed by a running butt splash against the turnbuckle. Rusev tagged in, Young sent Jimmy into the ropes and Rusev hit a running attack on Young against the ropes followed by a spin kick. The fans chanted “Rusev Day” for Rusev. Wolfe on the apron, Rusev kicked him, Young avoided a kick, Jimmy Jey tagged in, Young with a neckbreaker and Jey hit a splash on Young, but English broke it up. Dain hit The Divide on English (a running cross body block) to take him out. Jey kicked Dain out of the ring and Jey hit a dive on Dain and Wolfe on the floor. English saved Rusev from an Usos attack wit ha DDT into the apron. Young with a rollup on English with his feet on the ropes, but English knocked Young’s feet off the ropes. Rusev capitalized with a Machka Kick on Young for the pinfall win for the team after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Rusev and Aiden English
Analysis: *** Good action in that tag team match with Rusev Day working well together to get the win. The story with them for months was that English was messing things up, but this time he was there in the right spot every time Rusev needed him and that’s why they won. I thought maybe The Usos would win, but I’m fine with Rusev Day getting the win. Sanity has yet to be booked that strongly as a team, which is a shame. It happens because you can’t push everybody.
Post match, The Bar duo of Sheamus and Cesaro showed up to point at their next challengers. Next week it’s The Bar vs. Rusev and Aiden English for a shot at the Tag Team Titles.
Analysis: I think The Bar will win to face New Day at Hell in a Cell, but I would prefer Rusev Day just to see if they can get the job done to win the gold or have issues to cause a split.

The Miz and Maryse were shown backstage getting ready with Graves noting that Carmella will be with R-Truth at ringside.
A clip aired of Super Messiah, a kid dealing with cancer in support of WWE’s efforts with Connor’s Cure that helps dealing with research for pediatric cancer.
(Commercial)
A commercial aired for Mixed Match Challenge returning in two weeks on September 18.
The announcers talked about the teams in the MMC tournament with five Raw teams and five Smackdown teams. There’s more info here if you want to see who the teams are.
The Miz and Maryse made their entrance for The Miz match against R-Truth. Miz did a pre-match promo about how after eight years, he is forced to remind everyone that he is superior to Daniel Bryan. A clip aired from last week when Miz and Maryse beat up Bryan and Brie Bella.
The Miz said that they are so sick of chasing Daniel and Brie all around this godforsaken city and Miz ripped on the Detroit Lions saying that they will drop Daniel and Brie the way a defense will drop Matt Stafford. Good line. Maryse noted that Daniel and Brie weren’t there. Miz ripped on Bryan saying that now Bryan has Brie fighting for him. Miz asked Bryan “who is the coward now?” The crowd said “you” at him. Miz said that Bryan brought Brie into this and what happens at Hell in a Cell will be Bryan’s fault.
Analysis: It was the typical Miz promo talking about the same things he usually rants about as it relates to Daniel Bryan.
Carmella made her entrance with a microphone in her hand. R-Truth did his “What’s Up?” entrance with Carmella joining in with the “What’s Up?” chanting. They went to break while Truth was still singing his song.
Analysis: I don't think this makes Carmella a face, but it might happen since she is teaming with Truth in the Mixed Match Challenge. Perhaps WWE feels the need to turn her since they could use some more face women on the show. I'm not sure if it's an official turn yet, though. We'll see what happens next week.
(Commercial)
The match started during the break.
R-Truth (w/Carmella) vs. The Miz (w/Maryse)
Truth was in control with punches. It was noted by Phillips that it was seven years ago when R-Truth was in the main event with Miz as his partner. Miz took control with a knee to the ribs followed by a kick to the head. Miz grabbed a chinlock and you could see he was talking to Truth while he had him in the hold. Miz hit his backbreaker into a neckbreaker combo that he does every match. Miz mocked Carmella with a moonwalk. Miz with another chinlock. Miz hit weak looking kicks against the turnbuckle followed by a running dropkick against the turnbuckle. Miz with a running clothesline. Miz up top with a double axehandle that knocked down Truth. Miz hit his weak looking kicks to the chest, Truth got a rollup and that was good for two. Truth with a boot to the face. Truth with two clotheslines, plus a forearm although it looked like it didn’t even come close to connecting. Truth with a corner splash, kick to the gut and Miz came back with a DDT. Graves had a good line about how Truth has been asking “What’s Up?” for twenty years with no answer. Truth came back with a spin kick. Miz with a forearm to the back of the leg, Truth with an inside cradle and Miz hit a boot to the face. Daniel Bryan’s music hit as Miz set up for the Skull Crushing Finale, so Truth got a cradle pin and sat on top of Miz for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: R-Truth
Analysis: ** It was a decent match. There wasn’t anything special about it. Truth getting the win was done in a fluke fashion where Bryan’s music distracted Miz and Truth sat on top for the pin. They will probably do the match again next week with Miz getting the win back. Is it a surprise that Truth won a main event match on Smackdown? Absolutely. I did not expect that to happen this year, that’s for sure. It was done in a fluky way like I said, so there’s no harm in it.
Bryan went after Miz with a Yes Lock and Brie went after Maryse, but Almas and Vega showed up for revenge. Bryan took down Almas with a Yes Lock and Brie put Vega in a Yes Lock as well. Miz and Maryse were on the stage staring at what happened. Miz and Maryse teased going into the ring, but they stopped leading to Bryan and Brie letting go.
Bryan and Brie celebrated to end the show by leading the crowd in “Yes” chants. That was the end of Smackdown for this week.
Analysis: It was revenge for last week with Bryan and Brie standing tall this time after they were beaten up last week. Miz and Maryse escaped because that’s the smart way to book it since you want fans to be excited when they have the match at Hell in a Cell. Don’t give up too much on the build to the PPV match. Build it slowly. That’s why Vega and Almas were used to getting beat up. It sucks for them, but they aren’t in the match at the HIAC PPV.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Daniel Bryan
  2. Andrade “Cien” Almas
  3. Rusev and Aiden English

 
The Scoreboard
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2018 Average: 6.54
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 8, 6, 7.5, 8.5
2018 High: 8.5 (July 31)
2018 Low: 4.5 (January 2, January 9)
Final Thoughts
Smackdown gets a 6.5 out of 10 this week.
It’s a solid 6.5 that is the same score that I gave last week’s Smackdown because there was some good in-ring action with Daniel Bryan vs. Almas and the tag team match, but the last hour was slow. I also think that Miz vs. R-Truth in 2018 is one of the weakest main events that WWE has done this year considering Truth is barely on television and when he has been on, he’s usually losing matches. I just think they could have come up with something better.
The build to the Smackdown HIAC matches were mostly good. I liked the videos for Hardy and Orton while I thought that Charlotte/Becky interview could have been better if Becky talked more. It was fine, though.

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
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Smackdown Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
Hell in a Cell Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
That’s it for official matches right now, but there will be more in the coming days and weeks.

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John Canton

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