Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Live review here on Rajah. In case you missed it, here's my review of NXT Takeover Toronto, here's my SummerSlam review from Sunday night and here is my WWE Raw Deal review from Monday night.
Live from Toronto, Ontario (for the fourth night in a row), this is Smackdown Live for episode #1043. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. 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.
The show began with a shot of the crowd, Tom Phillips welcomed us to Smackdown and Kevin Owens made his entrance to a big ovation in his home country. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were shown on camera welcoming us to the show.
Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens was greeted with "Kevin Owens" chants as he stood in the ring ready to deliver a promo. Owens said that yesterday was five years since he signed his WWE contract. He said over those five years, he's experienced incredible things and he's been in the ring with some of the best in the industry. Owens said last Sunday, he was in the ring with somebody that calls himself the "best in the world." Owens ripped on the moniker that Shane calls himself. Owens said that his wife, his kids and his parents were sitting ringside and they got to watch him kick Shane McMahon's ass. Owens said that Shane's ass wasn't the only thing that he kicked (referring to a low blow) and Owens noted how he got to hit Shane with a Stunner as well. Owens said because of the fans, he will remember that moment for the rest of his life.
Owens said now that is done and he's focusing on King of the Ring. Owens spoke about how he loved the King of the Ring tournament when he was growing up and he's thrilled that it's back. Owens said that winning the King of the Ring tournament would mean as much as winning the titles he's already won. Owens mentioned the names of legends that won King of the Ring like Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Edge, Bret Hart, Owen Hart (yes!) and he said he's adding his name to that list. (Nobody ever says Mabel with good reason.) Shane McMahon showed up for the interruption with the fans booing him loudly. Owens asked "why?" at Shane.
Shane said that Owens was celebrating his tainted victory while fans chanted "Asshole" at Shane, who joked there was no reason to call Owens that. Shane said that he has footage that shows what a lowlife Owens is. They showed an image of Owens kicking Shane in the groin while the referee's back was turned. Shane actually had his hand there to block. Anyway, the fans chanted "you deserve it" at Shane. Shane asked Kevin is that what makes him feel like a man?
Owens said that if he is going to be lectured about being a man, he won't listen to a guy that was part of the Mean Street Posse. Great line! Owens spoke about how his job was on the line and said that being a man meant shutting Shane's stupid face.
Shane told Owens he was a lowlife that will always be known as a cheater. Shane claimed that Owens will have to go through his whole life living with that. Shane said that Owens should be in the unemployment line outside this building and it makes Shane want to come down there to beat the crap out of him. Owens invited him to come and fight. Shane said he didn't want to soil his hands. Shane said Owens will be in competition tonight.
Shane called for more footage as a clip aired from SummerSlam when Owens beat up Elias with a steel chair. Elias was the special enforcer at ringside. The referee never saw it. Shane said he gave Elias the night off, so the 24/7 Title is suspended for tonight, which drew boos. Shane pointed out that Elias was wearing an actual WWE referee jersey, so Elias was an official referee. Shane told Owens you can never go after an official. Shane said that there will be repercussions. I think there were some "boring" chants. Shane told Owens he will be fined $100,000 US dollars. Owens said that was a joke. Owens said that $100k may be nothing to Shane, but to Owens it is his kids' future, a down payment on a house and he told Shane to reconsider this because he knows it is crap. Shane: "Nope." Shane left. Corey Graves, who is the heel announcer, said that was a fair ruling. It went about 13 minutes.
Analysis: It was a long promo, but Owens did an excellent job and Shane did well as the heel authority figure. The fans were interested in what both guys were saying for the most part, which shows that this rivalry has worked well in terms of making Owens more beloved while Shane is one of the most hated guys on the show. The $100k fine is just a storyline designed to get more heat on Shane for being an asshole boss. I think Owens mentioning his family and providing for his kids is a way to make him more relatable as a hard-working dad. Same thing they do with Kofi Kingston, but they don't mention heels having kids as often. It's easy to respect a guy like that. King of the Ring nostalgia is easy to do because some of the best superstars of the 30 years won it, but they ignore some guys that didn't do much with the crown. The last time they did King of the Ring in 2015, Wade Barrett won and they didn't do much with it. Now it's back, so we'll see how it goes.
Still to come: Xavier Woods and Big E vs. The Revival, Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy and Charlotte Flair vs. Ember Moon is next because both women were shown walking in separate areas backstage.
A commercial aired for the King of the Ring tournament starting next Monday on Raw.
Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage and he entered the office of Shane McMahon. Shane told Owens that if Kevin punches him then he will sue him and take every single dime from him. Shane told Owens it had to be done because Elias was an official, so they had to set an example. Owens grabbed a stool and tossed it into a TV while saying "let's just make it $105" thousand. Owens left.
The women's match did not have entrances shown, which is rare for a Charlotte Flair match.
Ember Moon vs. Charlotte Flair
Flair was in control with a headlock, Moon sent her into the ropes and Flair hit a shoulder block that sent Moon to the ropes. When Moon grabbed a waistlock, Flair hit a back elbow to the head. Moon came back with a headscissors, a jumping kick to the head and Flair punched the arm to break free. There were "Let's go Charlotte/Charlotte sucks" chants from the crowd. Flair left the ring, Moon charged, Flair with a forearm and Moon hit a dropkick to knock Flair off the apron to the floor. Moon went to the turnbuckle and jumped over the top onto Flair on the floor. Moon tried a pinfall after that, so Flair bailed to the floor again. Moon went after Flair on the floor, but Flair drove her back first into the side of the ring and into the barricade.
During the split-screen action shown in the US broadcast (not here in Canada), Flair hit an overhead suplex and then did the “tranquilo” fist pose that her boyfriend Andrade does. Cool. I like both of them.
The match returned with Flair in control as she worked over the left leg of Moon. Flair slapped on a Boston Crab submission (almost like a Walls of Jericho), Moon tried to fight it off and nearly got to the ropes, so Flair let go. Flair dropped a knee onto the left leg followed by a jumping attack on the knee. Moon avoided an attack, which led to a kick to the side of the face, Moon with another kick and a spinning forearm to the chest. Moon with a pump kick into a cover for two. Moon charged, Flair moved, but Moon came back with a double knee attack off the ropes for a two count. It was like a jumping Codebreaker that got the believable nearfall for Moon. That looked cool. Moon went up top, but Flair yanked her off the top by the hair. Flair charged with a Spear, Moon moved and Flair hit the turnbuckle leading to a two count for Moon. Kick by Moon got a two count. Moon off the ropes, but Flair stopped her with a boot to the face. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission in the middle of the ring and Moon tapped out to give Flair the win. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: *** It was a good match as Charlotte Flair continued her positive momentum after beating Trish Stratus at SummerSlam on Sunday. Flair worked over the leg a lot, Moon made the comeback with some cool moves that nearly got her the win and Flair managed to get the win as I expected her to. It was a simple story to the match and it worked well. I have been impressed with Moon since her NXT days mainly because she's excellent at selling and her energetic comebacks are fun to watch. Flair is an outstanding overall performer. I enjoy her work, especially as a heel. This would be cool to go back to as a future feud. Based on the win at SummerSlam and this win, it seems likely that they will do Smackdown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Flair at Clash of Champions.
Up next is a recap of the Roman Reigns situation.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan were shown walking backstage in their street clothes.
It was mentioned that Boston will host SummerSlam in 2020, which was first announced last week.
There was a video package that focused on the mystery attacks on Roman Reigns over the last few weeks. They also showed this video at SummerSlam and Raw, plus other times as well. Obviously, it's a big storyline involving Reigns, but it feels repetitive if you watch WWE regularly.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan appeared on the stage with Bryan holding a microphone. Bryan said there is no question now that somebody has to get Roman Reigns. Bryan said that they had nothing to do with the car accident and the backstage accident. Bryan said that despite Buddy Murphy saying Rowan had something to do with it (and by association Bryan himself), Murphy is a liar. Bryan said that all of you would lie if Reigns had your face pressed up against a wall, so he does not blame Murphy. Bryan said that Murphy had to give a name, but the problem is that Murphy gave the wrong name. Bryan asked if they think that they did it, which led to "YES" chants. Bryan said that's what is wrong with all of you and that's what is wrong with society. Bryan said that lies get spread, then it becomes the truth, but they had nothing to do with these incidents. Bryan said that tonight, they are going to prove it.
Analysis: A very good heel promo from Bryan as usual. He's my favorite guy in all of WWE and I wish they put him in the ring more often. I'm hoping for a good payoff with this storyline.
Shane McMahon was in his office when Sarah Schreiber asked if he knew who Kevin Owens would face. Samoa Joe walked in to say the only badass around there is him. Shane said that Joe will teach Owens a lesson, so Kevin will learn that he must respect authority. That made me think of South Park.
Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage for his match up next.
Aleister Black was seated in a darkened room for one of his promos. Black talked about how we all must pay a debt. Black said that all the locker room must do is knock on his door for a fight. He said "knock" to end it. I find it strange that he's not in the King of the Ring tournament, but I guess they want to keep him strong and if he were to lose, that would hurt him.
Buddy Murphy was already in the ring for what is his first official TV match on Smackdown for him. Roman Reigns got his full television entrance.
Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy
Reigns powered Murphy to the corner, Murphy slapped him and Reigns with a punch. Murphy with a running knee to the face for two. Reigns left the ring, so Murphy whipped him into the barricade. Murphy whipped Reigns face first into the announce table. Reigns with a punch to the face followed by a move where he tossed Murphy onto the announce table. The table didn't break, but Murphy went crashing into the barricade. Reigns went for the Drive By kick by the apron, but Murphy avoided it and shoved Reigns into the steel steps. Murphy jumped off the steps with a double knee attack on Reigns on the floor.
It was the top of hour two as Murphy grounded Reigns with a chinlock. Murphy missed a corner charge, Reigns with a rollup for two and then a Powerbomb from Reigns got a two count. Reigns with two clotheslines followed by a leaping clothesline. Reigns hit the ten clotheslines in the corner followed by the big boot to the face. Reigns charged, Murphy avoided the punch and sent Reigns shoulder first into the ring post. Murphy with a rollup and feet on the ropes for two. Murphy sent Reigns to the floor, kick to the chest and Murphy hit a somersault dive over the top onto Reigns on the floor. That was great. Murphy rolled Reigns back in and hit the Meteora double knees off the top rope for a two count, which was perfectly done. Murphy with kicks, Reigns with a punch, Murphy with a superkick and Reigns hit a Superman Punch for two. Reigns was shocked that move only got a two count even though that's what it usually gets him. Reigns set up for the Spear, but Murphy hit three knees to the face and a brainbuster leading to Reigns getting his right shoulder up at the last moment. That reminded me of New Japan matches, which is not a bad thing at all because that style works so well. Murphy up top, Reigns punched him and knocked him out of the ring. Reigns with a Superman Punch on the floor. Back in the ring, Reigns with a Spear and Murphy did a flip bump to sell it in a big way. Reigns covered for the win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: **** That was an awesome match. It was of the best singles matches on Smackdown this year. Murphy got in a lot of offense with several moments in the match where it looked like he might win until Reigns was able to get the victory. The crowd was really into it. They could have booked this as a five-minute match with Reigns winning easily, but I'm glad they didn't do it. They had a competitive match with Murphy proving that he belongs to be featured more on Smackdown. Hopefully, this will lead to more big matches for Murphy. This was probably Roman's best match this year. Great performance by both guys.
After the match, Reigns nodded his head at Murphy as a sign of respect.
The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Dawson and Wilder mentioned on Raw they were the first-ever 24/7 co-champions, but it was a slap to the face of the tag team division. Dawson ripped on New Day with Wilder saying that New Day was ruining tag team wrestling. Dawson pointed out that New Day has never beat them, so they will show them a new meaning for a punchline (no flips, just fists).
Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage for his match up next.
There was a plug for Smackdown’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on October 4, which is the Smackdown on FOX debut. I saw Brock Lesnar is now advertised, which is not a surprise to me. I think he’ll be on Smackdown regularly starting in October.
The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E were backstage rocking their Toronto Raptors themed gear with Kofi and Big E consoling Woods, who was sad he isn’t part of King of the Ring. Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview. They did a comedy bit about things they have ruined (like that one time they stumbled upon an adult circumcision) since The Revival ripped on them for ruining things. Kingston said he attacked Randy Orton because it’s always about family first.
Analysis: Fun interview from New Day as usual. Kayla is very short and makes them look really tall even though they are average size guys. That’s what WWE does, though. They hire shorter interview people to make the superstars look taller.
Samoa Joe made his entrance. Kevin Owens was up next as the opponent.
Analysis: This is a unique match. I believe this is their first televised match on the main roster in WWE. They did have a match in NXT four years ago. Since they have spent most of their careers as heels, their paths didn’t cross before.
It was announced that Shane McMahon appointed a special guest enforcer…Elias. Just like at SummerSlam, Elias was at ringside in a referee shirt. Owens was not happy about it.
Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe
They exchanged punches, Owens with a clothesline and Joe bailed to the floor. Elias stood in front of KO’s way to avoid an attack on the floor, so Joe tripped up Owens on the apron. There was a commercial here.
Joe was in control with a chinlock, then a headbutt and Owens came back with a kick to the face followed by a dropkick. Owens with a running senton splash for a two count. Joe with a forearm followed by a uranage slam for two. Saxton and Graves argued, Graves said “as your friend” and Saxton goes: “You actually acknowledged that I was your friend?” Breaking news there. Owens knocked Joe off the top and Owens hit a Senton Bomb off the top for two. Owens wanted a Stunner, Joe blocked it, then Joe charged and Owens hit a sitout Popup Powerbomb. The referee counted, but Elias pulled the referee out of the ring. Elias got in the ring, Owens argued with him, Joe did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and Elias did a very fast three count to give Joe the win. It went about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Samoa Joe
Analysis: **1/4 A cheap finish to screw over Owens while continuing KO’s issues with Shane McMahon and Elias. The action was good while it lasted. I would love to see this as a feud one day. Owens hitting the Popup Powerbomb on a big guy like Joe looked impressive. Owens came into Smackdown on a big high thanks to his win, but then he got screwed out of a victory here. Owens will probably get screwed out of winning King of the Ring too, if I had to guess.
Post match, Elias ran up the ramp quickly, Joe smiled and Owens was furious about the loss.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan were shown walking into a locker room where they told everybody to get out, but they told Buddy Murphy to stay there. They sat on chairs very closely to Murphy. Bryan said that he knows that Murphy lied when he said Rowan had something to do with the backstage accident, he understood why he lied and Bryan told him to admit that he lied. Murphy smirked, so Rowan headbutted him and tossed him across the room. Rowan threw Murphy into a trash can. Bryan yelled at Murphy that he lied. Murphy said “okay.” Murphy admitted it: “I lied. I lied.” Rowan let him go. Bryan said that he hated liars and Rowan whipped Murphy into a trash can again.
Analysis: The madman version of Bryan as a heel is so entertaining. I like how he is really over the top in his promos and actions now.
Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage. He asked a random guy where Bryan and Rowan’s dressing room was. The guy told him it was down a hallway, so Reigns walked that way.
A commercial aired for King of the Ring returning next week on Raw and Smackdown.
The 16 superstars are: (Raw) The Miz, Ricochet, Cedric Alexander, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro. (Smackdown) Kevin Owens, Ali, Apollo Crews, Chad Gable, Elias, Andrade, Buddy Murphy, Shelton Benjamin.
Analysis: The matchups haven’t been announced yet. It is believed that the finals will take place at Clash of Champions on September 15, but that’s not official yet.
The New Day trio of Smackdown Tag Team Champions Big E and Xavier Woods along with WWE Champion Kofi Kingston made their entrance. They were tossing pancakes into the crowd as usual. They showed images of the double countout finish for Kingston’s match against Orton at SummerSlam after Orton taunted Kofi’s kids at ringside.
Randy Orton made his entrance in his ring gear with a microphone in hand. Orton wondered how Kofi can cheerlead for his boys when he ran away from a fight at SummerSlam. Orton said he knows why he ran away – it’s because Kofi can’t beat Orton. Orton said Kofi couldn’t beat him 11 years ago, he can’t beat him now and he’s not ready to do it then or now. Orton told Kofi he ran away from a fight in front of his wife and two sons. Orton said that one day Kofi’s kids will ask him why he took the easy way out, then Kofi will say to his kids that Kingston can’t beat Randy Orton. Orton said he’ll give him an opportunity to prove him wrong. Orton suggested a six-man tag team match right now. Kingston was fine with that.
Analysis: The Orton/Kingston feud is obviously going to continue after the double countout finish at SummerSlam. I hope their Clash of Champions match has a stipulation to make it stand out more. It wouldn’t shock me if they continued the rivalry until Hell in a Cell as well.
The end of The Revival’s entrance was shown. They are a Raw team, but we all know the brand split doesn’t matter right now. I like the team of Orton with The Revival as guys with that old school wrestling mentality.
Randy Orton, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E
Orton was going to start with Kingston, but then Orton tagged in. Kingston with a monkey flip on Dawson followed by a dropkick. Woods tagged in with Big E slamming Woods onto Dawson for a two count. Dawson whipped Woods into the knees of Wilder. Woods came back with a headscissors followed by a dropkick to the face. Dawson tagged in and Wilder hit a single arm takedown on Woods. Wilder slapped on an armbar on Woods, then Woods broke free with an elbow and Dawson tagged in to prevent a tag. Orton tagged in, Dawson sent Woods out of the ring and Orton with a slam on Woods on the announce table like Randy loves to do.
The match returned with Dawson in control of Woods with a belly to back suplex. Dawson with an armbar on Woods’ left arm since Woods was selling an arm injury and Woods sent Dawson into the ring post. Big E got the hot tag against Wilder, so he did his usual hot tag offense with the two belly to belly suplexes, side belly to belly and the running splash. Dawson distracted Big E, Wilder with a rollup, Kingston tagged in and the Revival hit a double DDT on Big E. Kingston jumped off the top with a double chop to Revival followed by a Boom Drop legdrop on Wilder. Orton went in the ring for a RKO, Kingston avoided it and hit a dropkick on Orton. Woods tagged in while Kingston hit a dive over the top onto Orton. Woods wanted a DDT on Dawson, but he avoided it and Woods hit a back body drop on Dawson. Woods was selling the left arm injury, Dawson got the tag and The Revival hit the Shatter Machine double team move for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good tag team match as usual when New Day is in a six-man tag that gets over ten minutes. Put them in there with quality opponents like this and it’s always going to be a fun match to watch. Woods did a great job of selling the left arm in the match along with the energy he showed for the finish. The Revival winning for their team was a way to set up a title feud, which is fine with me because New Day were lacking in rivals on Smackdown.
Post match, The Revival worked over Big E with kicks. They went for a double team move, but Kingston hit a dropkick on Wilder and a Trouble in Paradise kick on Dawson. Orton went back in the ring and dropped Kingston with a RKO. There was a huge reaction from the crowd for that. Orton went over to Woods, picked him up and hit the RKO on him too. The Revival picked up Big E and Orton hit him with a RKO as well. Orton hit a second RKO on Kingston. Orton posed over the fallen New Day members and I think he said “stupid” to Kingston again.
Analysis: It was an RKO-fest with Orton hitting his finisher four times. It’s amazing how the crowd reacts to that move after all these years (and with Diamond Dallas Page doing it in the 1990s too). Anyway, this was an effective post match attack to get heat on the heels even after they won the match.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan were shown in their locker room. Roman Reigns entered the room. That meant it took Roman about 15 minutes to find the room? I don't expect an answer to that question. Bryan said that they have been waiting for him. Bryan told Reigns to apologize. Bryan said that Reigns apologized to Samoa Joe last week, then he thought Rowan was involved with his incidents and Bryan told him to apologize. Reigns said nothing. Bryan said before this turns into a melee and Roman gets hurt, Bryan said they did their own investigation and they found who did it. Bryan: “And next week, we’ll bring you the culprit.” Reigns stared at Bryan and Rowan. Reigns didn't say a word. That’s how Smackdown ended.
Analysis: The mystery continues with a big tease for next week. I think it will still end up being Bryan and Rowan as the attackers at Reigns, but I don’t know that for sure. It makes a lot of sense because a Reigns/Bryan feud would be great for both guys since they have had some awesome matches together in the past.
Three Stars of the Show
- Buddy Murphy
- Roman Reigns
- Kevin Owens
8 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2019 Average: 6.80 (Raw is 5.64)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 7.5, 7.5, 6.5, 7
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)
I give this week’s Smackdown an 8 out of 10.
I thought it was a great Smackdown this week. I really liked this show. There were three really good matches with Reigns/Murphy especially standing out as one of the best WWE TV matches this year. They crushed it. I'm so happy for Murphy getting a chance to have a competitive match with Reigns like that. I enjoyed Flair vs. Moon and Orton/Revival as a trio against New Day was cool too. Even the fourth match (Owens/Joe) was fun to watch as well because it was a fresh matchup. Most of the promos were solid as well. They also kept the Reigns mystery attacker storyline going for another week, so it’s a way to keep viewers interested in what Bryan plans to reveal next week.
When I watch Raw every week, there are several segments that come across as filler because they have three hours to fill. When Smackdown is great like it is this week, there's no filler because they make the most of their two hours. Everything has a purpose. I enjoyed it a lot.
No Bray Wyatt on Raw meant that maybe they’ll put him on Smackdown. Nope. I’m surprised by it because of how much his SummerSlam appearance got people talking in a big way. I guess views him as a character they will feature when there’s a storyline, but not necessarily as an every week character. That’s fine.