Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. This feels like the longest week in the year in part due to the election going on in the United States (even though I’m from Canada, eh) that started on Tuesday. As I write this on Friday night, it’s still going…for now. I also celebrated my 40th birthday on Wednesday, so thanks for all the nice messages (along with old man jokes!) on Facebook, Twitter and emails as well. I appreciate the kind words. I’m here for Smackdown, which is a good thing since I have been watching a lot of election coverage while feeling a bit lazy in terms of writing earlier in the week. I didn’t write detailed reviews of WWE NXT or AEW Dynamite and I didn’t even get a retro review done during the week. My bad. I just wanted to take it easy for a week. Anyway, I feel refreshed and ready to get back to the usual routine.
Before I get started, I wanted to share a story about a friend and longtime TJR reader Tim Mirabitur. Tim is a 39-year-old married father of three that has gone through a lot over the last two years. In November 2018, Tim was rushed to the hospital and nearly passed away. Initially, he had a heart attack and extreme blockage in his arteries to his heart, which made the doctors give him a stent. Then they found sepsis, which set in motion an all system organ failure. He was put on life support for ten days. Somehow, someway, he pulled through and sadly he's had to deal with other things including a paralyzed right foot. Recently, he had his right foot amputated and now he has to live the rest of his life without his right leg. I know Tim well enough to know he's a huge wrestling fan that spent a lot of his life playing sports (a Master in Taekwondo as well) and encouraging his kids to do the same. Tim had a great job that he loved at Ford in Michigan. He was a healthy man that’s just a few months younger than me when suddenly life took a turn for the worse...out of nowhere. Yeah, I had to use a term we know in wrestling. Anyway, Tim's friends set up a GoFundMe page to help out with medical costs, so please consider donating if you're able whether you're a fan of my writing or whether you just want to help a good, decent man get through the fight of his life. Tim, I know you will continue working hard, my friend. Everybody that knows you loves you and is inspired by you. You can get past this. When the world becomes “normal” again, I can't wait to head to Michigan one day and go to a WWE show with you and your family. We'll have a blast. Thank you to anybody that is able to help on GoFundMe right here. If you have a message for Tim, please just contact me using my info at the bottom of this post and I’ll get it to him. Thanks, my friends. Shoutout to Tim's wife Megan, who has done an incredible job of keeping things together while Tim keeps on fighting. And Tim, this review is dedicated to you, buddy.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1107. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s get to it.
The show began with a shot of the ThunderDome arena with the fans on the screens for another Smackdown episode sponsored by Progressive. The announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves were at ringside to call the action.
Sasha Banks made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion because her title defense is opening the show. They aired a long video package showing the Banks/Bayley story that saw Banks put an end to Bayley’s 381-day reign as Smackdown Women’s Champion at Hell in a Cell a few weeks ago. That led to Bayley challenging Banks to a title match and now we get to see it.
Bayley was standing backstage with Kayla Braxton there to interview her. Bayley noted that every time Sasha defends her championship, she loses. Bayley managed to work in her "hello, ding dong" catchphrase in there too. Bayley said that she takes back what is hers and this rivalry ends with Sasha crippled in the ring by her own failure. Bayley made her entrance after that. The women stood in the ring as ring announcer Greg Hamilton aka The Ham did the championship introductions.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
It took nine minutes to get the match started, so it’s not like it started right away. Banks with an arm drag off the ropes leading to a two count. Bayley with a trip leading to a two and Banks got a takedown grabbing the arm, but Bayley got to the floor to break it.
The match returned with Banks tripping up Bayley while on the apron leading to Bayley bumping into the apron. Banks with the double knees against the turnbuckle for a two count. Bayley was on the apron, Banks kicked her into the ring post. Banks charged at Bayley on the apron and Banks took a bump where she landed face first on the apron (or at least that was the idea). Banks took a bump to the floor and then Bayley took over in the ring. Bayley with a slingshot that sent Banks throat first into the bottom rope. Banks used her feet to drive Bayley into the turnbuckle and then a double knee attack got two. Bayley hit a clothesline for two. Banks fought Bayley off of her while against the turnbuckle and Banks jumped off the middle ropes with the double knee attack on Bayley. Both women were down selling the physicality of the match. Bayley was on the floor, so Banks hit a running cross body block off the apron onto Bayley to take her out. Both women were down as the show went to break about 10 minutes into the match.
The women battled by the turnbuckle, Banks tried to hit Bayley with a Powerbomb on the floor, but Bayley did a headscissors that sent Banks into the announce table. Back in the ring, Bayley up top, Banks tripped her up and Banks hit a running knee. Bayley was on the apron with Banks running off the steel steps and she hit an elbow drop. Back in the ring, Banks hit a Frog Splash off the top rope for a two count. Banks avoided a Bayley to Belly suplex, Bayley blocked a Bank Statement attempt and Bayley kicked Banks into the barricade. Bayley sent Banks into the ring as Bayley brought in a kendo stick from under the ring. The referee saw the kendo stick, got it out of the ring, Bayley got a steel chair, Banks kicked the chair and threw it over the barricade. Bayley with a backstabber and a Bayley to Belly suplex for a two count. Nice nearfall. Bayley went up top with an Elbow Drop for a two count. That elbow didn’t look good because there was too much air between the bodies. It didn’t come close to connecting or looking like a big move. Bayley with a running knee to the face and a belly to back suplex for a two count. Bayley slapped on a Crossface style submission almost like Sasha’s finisher, but not the same. Banks got a jackknife cover for two. They went to the apron again, Bayley charged, Banks moved and Bayley went shoulder-first into the ring post. Good bump there. Banks with the Backstabber into the Bank Statement submission and Bayley tapped out to give Banks the victory after 18 minutes.
Winner by submission: Sasha Banks
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a really good match with each woman working hard and they had a lot of believable nearfall spots, especially for Bayley. The turning point was Bayley going for the move on the floor, Banks moved and Bayley hit the ring post, so that led to Banks getting the win. It’s a smart way to book the match to show that Banks was able to outsmart her former best friend. Banks getting the clean win puts an end to the rivalry at this moment. They might go to it again next year when fans are back, but it seems like they are moving on now. While I liked this match quite a bit as a PPV-level match and I’m glad they got nearly 20 minutes, their Hell in a Cell match was definitely better.
Banks left with her Smackdown Women’s Title and held it above her head while standing on the ramp. Carmella appeared in some red leather gear and she hit a superkick on Banks. Carmella hit a sitout facebuster on Banks on the ramp. Carmella posed on the ramp. Cole was screaming about it while Graves, who is dating Carmella, didn’t even comment.
Analysis: I called that on Twitter before the match. That’s because Carmella strongly hinted at a return tonight, so I figured this was her spot. Carmella looked great with a bit of a different look. As a heel character, Carmella is at her best, so I hope she does well in this new role for her.
Jey Uso was shown getting a drink with Kevin Owens walking up to him saying that they are on the same team at Survivor Series. Owens joked that Jey was getting Roman’s coffee and said that should be Heyman’s job. Jey took offense to it, so KO told him he was kidding. Owens said they are partners at Survivor Series, he hasn’t done well there and wanted to check on him, but he obviously had things on his mind. KO recommended that Jey switch to decaf and KO left.
The announcers talked about how The Undertaker’s “Final Farewell” will be at Survivor Series on November 22 to celebrate his 30 years in WWE.
Analysis: Perhaps some heel will show up to eat a “final” Tombstone even though most fans probably don’t believe it’s the final Undertaker appearance. After I did a news post about this earlier on Friday, I got a bunch of people asking who he's wrestling at WrestleMania next year, so it's not like people believe he is done wrestling either.
They replayed the cheap Carmella attack on Banks. Cole asked for Corey's thoughts with Graves saying he thought it was fantastic and the women’s division got even more interesting.
Jey Uso was interviewed by Kayla Braxton as highlights were shown of last week when Jey beat Daniel Bryan and attacked him after the match. A three-minute video aired. Jey said he did what he had to do, he said he considered DB (Daniel Bryan) a friend, but family is forever. Braxton pushed on for more, Jey didn’t seem to want to say more and Paul Heyman showed up asking if Roman Reigns authorized this interview while adding no he did not. Heyman told Jey it was time to go, Kayla said that maybe Heyman has a better spot in the family than Jey and Jey complained about Kayla throwing shade.
Rey Mysterio was shown backstage talking on his phone. Dominik Mysterio showed up to ask what he was doing. Rey said he was looking for Dominik’s sister Aalyah, but they didn’t know where she was. Dominik told Rey that his match is next, Rey told Dominik to get Rey his gear, so Dominik left and King Corbin showed up to attack Rey. Corbin shoved Rey into an equipment case and ran away while Dominik came back to check on his dad. Corbin was supposed to face Rey in a match after the break.
This week on Raw: Alexa Bliss hosts a Moment of Bliss talk show with Drew McIntyre with a message for Randy Orton and we’ll find out if The Fiend is involved. That was all they advertised.
There was a backstage segment with Paul Heyman talking to Jey Uso about how he needs permission from Roman Reigns to do an interview like that. Jey didn’t seem to agree with that logic, so Paul got Reigns out of his dressing room. Reigns wondered why Jey was on there talking to Kayley trying to tell his story. Reigns said that Jey should talk to Roman or talk to Paul. Reigns wondered what is all this about Kevin Owens with Jey saying KO was making dumb jokes. Reigns said if Owens disrespects Jey then he disrespects Reigns, who reminded Jey that their family runs things. Roman asked Jey if he’ll let Owens run his mouth and Jey said that he’ll handle this, so Jey left. Reigns told Heyman that Paul is supposed to know about this and Paul is supposed to handle everything, so Roman doesn’t have to. Reigns told Heyman to find Adam Pearce so they handle this KO problem tonight.
Analysis: Evil Roman Reigns is so great. Easy to hate right now as a character, but I really like him from a performance standpoint.
King Corbin was already in the ring. Rey was in his street clothes (athletic pants and a t-shirt) with some Dominik by his side. It’s a qualifying match for Survivor Series as Rey favored his back while getting into the ring.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: King Corbin vs. Rey Mysterio (w/Dominik Mysterio)
Rey charged right into a spinebuster by Corbin for two. Corbin sent Rey into the turnbuckle followed by Corbin driving his leg on Rey against the ropes. Corbin sent Rey into the apron. Back in the ring, Rey tried some punches, but Corbin hit him with a knee to the body to knock him down. Corbin tossed Rey out of the ring. Corbin with a forearm to the face. Corbin charged at Rey, who moved and Corbin hit the steel steps. They were back in the ring with Rey hitting a forearm, but then he ran into a back elbow from Corbin. Rey countered a Chokeslam into a sunset flip for two. Rey hit a headscissors that sent Corbin out of the ring, which led to Seth Rollins making his entrance with his music playing. Rey was angry about that as the show went to break.
The match continued with both men on the floor as Rey sent Corbin into the ring post. Dominik was staring at Rollins, who was on the ramp. Corbin sent Rey into the turnbuckle, Rey with a boot to the face and Rey went for a moonsault, but Corbin caught him with a backbreaker on the shoulder for two. Rey tried a move off the top, Corbin caught him and Corbin hit two backbreakers leading to a front slam for a two count. Corbin pulled back on Rey’s head with a chinlock while putting a knee on the back with Rey rolling to the floor. Corbin worked on the back some more and then worked over Rey with repeated punches to the face. Rey charged, Corbin caught him and slapped on a bearhug to work over Rey’s back some more. Rey bought Corbin to break free with the referee Jessika Carr not able to see it. Mysterio with a boot to the face, up top with a senton splash and two dropkicks connected. Mysterio with a springboard senton off the top for two. Rollins: “Come on, Corbin!” Mysterio with a dropkick that sent Corbin into the ropes and Corbin left the ring where Dominik was, so Corbin hit Dominik with a forearm to the back. Rey kicked Corbin down and jumped over the top with a cross body block while Dominik told his dad he was okay. They were back in the ring, Rey with a headscissors into the ropes and Rey hit a 619 kick on Corbin. Mysterio whipped Rollins into the barricade. Murphy showed up with Aalyah Mysterio, Rey told her and Murphy to get out of there and Rey walked into the ring, right into the End of Days slam by Corbin for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: King Corbin
Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay with Rey doing a nice job of selling throughout the match. I thought it was a bit too slow and probably went a few minutes longer than it needed to be. As soon as Rollins was out there, I figured we’d see Murphy/Aalyah and that led to Rey losing the match. Corbin hasn’t been featured much of late, but he’ll always be pushed at a decent level, so it's not that much of a surprise that he's a part of Survivor Series.
The win by Corbin means that he joins Jey Uso and Kevin Owens on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.
It was announced that Jey Uso will face Kevin Owens later on Smackdown.
Natalya made her entrance for a triple threat women’s match that’s a Survivor Series qualifier. It’s the second week in a row where Natalya gets to be in a triple threat Survivor Series qualifying match. Her opponents Ruby Riott and Zelina Vega were already in the ring.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Zelina Vega vs. Ruby Riott vs. Natalya
Natalya tried a rollup on Riott, but Zega kicked Natalya to break that up. Natalya tripped up Vega to pull her out of the ring. Natalya with a body slam on Riott followed by a surfboard submission with Vega showing up for a pin attempt. Vega with a headscissors on Natalya to send her out of the ring. Riott with an STO trip on Vega. Riott went up top with a senton attempt, but Vega moved and Natalya went for a Sharpshooter on Riott, but Vega hit a bulldog on Natalya. Vega with a running knee on Riott. Vega with a hurricanrana into the mat. Natalya and Vega exchanged some holds, Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter on Vega and Vega tried to get out of it, but Natalya pulled her off the ropes, which would not cause a break in a triple threat (as Cole said). Riott joined the submission by pulling back on Vega’s head, Natalya let go and Riott held on so Riott got the win after four minutes.
Winner by submission: Ruby Riott
The win by Ruby Riott puts her on Team Smackdown with Bianca Belair and three others to be determined.
Analysis: ** It was a clever finish with Riott getting the win after Natalya did all the work with the Sharpshooter. It was another loss for Natalya in a triple threat where she wasn’t the woman that lost the match. I assume that Natalya will lose another triple threat match next week too.
Big E was shown backstage playing a board game. The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins), who are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, showed up saying “Big E rocks” and they asked Big E if he wanted to hang out in the Champions Lounge. Big E figured they were looking for some info on New Day for Survivor Series. Big E told them that if they lay down in the ring then Kofi and Woods won’t beat them up too bad. That led to some outrageous laughter by all three guys. Billie Kay walked up to them. Kay offered her headshot and her resume on her info on the red brand. Dawkins told Billie that they were on Raw at the same time as her and gave her back the resume.
Analysis: No Big E match again this week. I hope he’s on the Survivor Series team.
Otis entered for his match.
A video aired about the Mysterio Family drama involving Murphy, Aalyah and Seth Rollins, who is in the next match.
Seth Rollins made his entrance for his match. There was a shot of Rey Mysterio watching the match on a TV backstage with Dominik and Aalyah with him. No sign of Murphy there.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Seth Rollins vs. Otis
Otis with a waist lock takedown, so Rollins bailed to the floor. That led to Murphy on the ramp, which explains why he wasn’t watching on a TV backstage. Rollins went for a kick, Otis caught the foot and sent Rollins into the turnbuckle. Otis with a back body drop over the top to the floor with Rollins landing near where Murphy was standing. Otis ran over Rollins with a shoulder tackle. Otis checked out Murphy on the floor, then he went back into the ring and Rollins hit a Slingblade neckbreaker. Graves had a funny line about how when Otis looked at Murphy it was like he was looking at a Funhouse mirror. Cole was legitimately laughing about that. A nice moment there. It was a good line. Otis did his no selling routine with a running shoulder tackle and a flapjack into the mat. Otis with a spinning slam. Rollins jumped into the arms of Otis, who hit a fallaway slam and a corner splash. Otis teased going for the Caterpillar as Murphy jumped on the apron, Otis went after Murphy, who dropped down and Rollins hit a superkick followed by The Stomp on Otis for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: **1/4 A decent match with Otis getting plenty of offense until he became an idiot that was distracted and Rollins capitalized to win. I don’t think this means Murphy is working with Rollins again. It’s more about mind games played by Murphy to try to get Rollins to trust him. The right man got the win here, but poor Otis has lost a lot of momentum in the last few months.
The win means that Rollins joins Team Smackdown at Survivor Series with Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin and one more team member.
Murphy walked up the ramp without saying a word while Rollins looked on confused about what happened.
There was a shot of Murphy walking backstage with Rollins wanting Murphy to tell him if he saw what he think he saw. Murphy said that Seth was the messiah while Murphy was the disciple. Rollins said he knew the Mysterio family would never accept Murphy and Rollins was happy about it as he left. Aalyah showed up screaming at Murphy, who told her that she needs to trust him.
Analysis: That means that Murphy is trying to outsmart Rollins. If Rollins were to watch this show, wouldn’t he able to figure that out? Yes, but we are supposed to assume the wrestlers are idiots that don't watch the show or know a single person that could tell them what happened.
Lars Sullivan was shown backstage in a sitdown interview that was conducted by Michael Cole. Lars said he was bullied his entire life. Lars once again talked about how other kids would laugh at his expense. Lars noted that at 13 years old, he started lifting weights and gained about 50 pounds of muscle in about 18 months. Lars said that he became the bully because he bullied the bullies and that was so much fun. Lars said he would bully the kids that laughed at him because they deserved it. Lars said that he learned that he could bully whoever he wants and make them do whatever he wants. Lars added that he could make them eat dirt, glass, bugs and he laughed about it. Lars said he could do this and he let out a loud yell. Lars: “Now that’s intimidation, that’s bullying and I love it.” Lars laughed to end it.
Analysis: It was another sitdown interview to put over the weirdness of Lars Sullivan, who is a bullying heel type of character. While I don’t love his promos, I’m fine with the idea of doing stuff like this because it’s character development for him.
Jey Uso made his entrance for the main event.
This week on Talking Smack the guests are Seth Rollins, King Corbin and Carmella. The hosts are Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman. I'll miss Sami Zayn as co-host, but Heyman is still good too.
Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Owens said he didn’t expect to fight his Survivor Series partner. Owens said he likes to run his mouth sometimes. Owens noted that what Jey did to Daniel Bryan last week was out of hand. Owens said that he did things in his career while noting nobody made him do those things because he’s his own man, which Jey can’t say. Owens said that the beating that Jey has coming is 100% from Owens. That led to KO’s entrance.
Jey Uso vs. Kevin Owens
Owens with a shoulder tackle on Jey as Reigns and Heyman were shown watching on a big screen TV in the backstage area. Owens hit a senton splash. Jey sent Owens to the floor, Owens with a punch to the face and while Owens was on the apron, Jey choked Owens across the top rope. Jey tried a suicide dive on the floor, Owens caught him and Owens sent Jey into the barricade. Owens hit a Frog Splash off the apron onto Jey on the floor as the show went to break.
The match returned with Jey in control with punches, then he tried a Samoan Drop, Owens got out of that and KO hit a neckbreaker into the knee. Owens went to the turnbuckle as Paul Heyman walked down the ramp and Owens was distracted by it. Jey capitalized on that with a superkick to send Owens to the floor. Jey with a suicide dive on Owens on the floor. They were back in the ring with Jey hitting a superkick along with Jey throwing punches while Heyman had a grin on his face. Jey grabbed a chinlock, Owens broke free, blocked a superkick and KO hit a superkick of his own. Jey missed a corner attack, he hit the turnbuckle and KO hit a superkick followed by a cannonball attack against the ropes. Owens went up top and hit a Senton Bomb for a two count. Graves said “too close to call” as if we were watching an election. Jey with a superkick of his own leading to a neckbreaker for two. Jey went up top where Owens met him with a punch to the face. Jey jumped off the ropes, then he charged and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for two with Jey getting his left foot on the bottom rope. The music of Roman Reigns hit, Owens turned his head and Jey hit a low blow headbutt to the groin that I guess the referee didn’t see. Jey hit a superkick and an Uso Splash for the pinfall win. Cole called it a Frog Splash instead of an Uso Splash. It went about 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jey Uso
Analysis: ***1/4 I liked how that was booked with yet another cheap ending to a match involving either Jey or Roman. They get the heat by doing the cheap shots like the low blows and it works for them. While it sucks for Owens to have to do the job in a match like that, it’s important to keep giving Jey wins to prove he belongs as a threat as a singles wrestler. Owens will be fine after losses like that. Jey needs the victories as they continue to build him up as a heel, so I think they made the right call there.
Post match, Jey exited the ring and slapped hands with Heyman, who was smiling. Jey went up the ramp where Reigns was standing with the Universal Championship. Reigns was proud of Jey as he put his arm around him and Reigns held the Universal Championship in the air. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Sasha Banks
- Jey Uso/Kevin Owens
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2020 Average: 6.48
It was a pretty good show overall with a strong opening match and main event I thought the SD Women’s Title match between Banks and Bayley was definitely the highlight in terms of in the ring with Banks holding onto her title, but then Carmella showed up with a cheap attack. Jey Uso beating Kevin Owens thanks to a low blow continues the story of Jey (and Roman Reigns) cheating whenever they can, which makes them good heels. We found out some more names for Survivor Series elimination matches with Seth Rollins, King Corbin and Ruby Riott picking up wins. At least in those cases, you can say that the matches had stakes rather than just throwing random matches out there.
I like the continued development of the alliance between Roman Reigns and cousin Jey Uso as they targeted Kevin Owens this week. It’s probably the best storyline on Raw or Smackdown right now because it’s booked well every week, they aren’t rushing it and I think if there was a crowd, the cheap tactics would get booed a lot.
There were also some dull parts and shorter matches too. However, it seems like Smackdown is always in the 7 out of 10 range these days and that’s where I have it again this week.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series on Sunday, November 22 with a Raw vs. Smackdown theme to the show. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. WWE Champion Randy Orton
Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks vs. Raw Women's Champion Asuka
5-on-5 Men's Elimination Tag Team Match: Team Smackdown (Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins and one more superstar) vs. Team Raw (AJ Styles, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Braun Strowman and one more superstar)
Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn vs. United States Champion Bobby Lashley
5-on-5 Women's Elimination Tag Team Match: Team Smackdown (Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott and three others) vs. Team Raw (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Dana Brooke, Mandy Rose and Lana)
Plus, The Undertaker will make a special appearance.