Live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York (for the second night in a row), this is Smackdown Live for episode #1047. 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. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
There was a shot of the mostly packed house in New York City and The Undertaker’s gong sounded in the arena. The fans screamed loudly for The Undertaker as the Deadman made his slow entrance to the ring. The Undertaker was in his full wrestling gear including the black hat on his head. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton talked about The Undertaker’s legacy. After nearly four minutes, The Undertaker got into the ring.
Let’s Hear from The Undertaker
There were “Undertaker” chants from the crowd. There’s a “Wyatt or We Riot” sign in the crowd. The fan holding the sign won’t do anything. Good effort, though.
The Undertaker said that for 30 years he’s been coming here and he doesn’t know how many more times he’ll be back. The Undertaker spoke about the legends and heroes that were created right here in Madison Square Garden. Taker said that for each of those souls, he took a piece of them. Taker said they will not be forgotten because the echoes of their memories will go through these hallways for all of eternity. Taker said now we usher in a new era of superstar…and here comes Sami Zayn.
Zayn walked out with a microphone as the fans booed him while Taker had a look of disgust on his face. Zayn said he knows that New York City respects legends and The Undertaker is a legend. Zayn said what he finds most impressive is Undertaker has been selling out this arena for 30 years and Madison Square Garden has been his yard. Zayn got in the ring and told Undertaker he has the utmost respect for him, but however it shouldn’t be Undertaker opening Smackdown Live in MSG. Zayn said it should have been him opening the show. Zayn asked, “when is enough, enough?” Zayn talked about how everything Undertaker has done is paving the way for the future and Zayn told him the future is here, the future is now and the future is Sami Zayn. The fans booed that idea. Zayn said the unruly fans want him to take out The Undertaker, which led to “you suck” chants. Zayn told Undertaker to turn around and leave this ring right now. Taker was not impressed.
Taker put the microphone into Zayn’s chest, which shocked Zayn and Taker teased leaving. When Taker got to the apron, Zayn laughed about it, so Taker went back in the ring, shook his head “no” and gave Zayn a Chokeslam. The fans loved that. Graves said Zayn needs to learn when to be quiet. Taker did his slow walk out of the ring, posed on the stage and the fans cheered some more. Undertaker left.
Analysis: It was a basic opening segment to pop the crowd by having Undertaker beat up an annoying heel like Zayn. I like Zayn and his schtick is entertaining to me, but it’s not like WWE is going to have him get the advantage over The Undertaker here. This was all about creating a MSG moment by having Undertaker on the show as a special occasion. For the people that want Bray Wyatt to attack The Undertaker, keep waiting. It didn’t happen here.
There was a shot of Shane McMahon backstage watching on a TV backstage. Chad Gable showed up in the office. Shane complimented Chad for his matches in the King of the Ring tournament. Shane said that Elias has “broken his ankle” and Gable thought that meant he was going to the finals. Shane said he knows about tournaments. Shane said Gable wants to earn his way and Gable said yes. Shane said that the opponent could be somebody from Raw, Smackdown or somebody that has been eliminated already. Gable said thanks and Shane said he’ll let him know.
Analysis: I’m not sure if Elias broke his ankle like Shane said, but it is an ankle injury for Elias. We don’t know how long he’ll be out of action.
The Miz entered for his match against Andrade after the break.
The end of Andrade’s entrance was shown with Zelina Vega by his side. Shinsuke Nakamura was on commentary with the IC Title at his table. Nakamura faces Miz at Clash of Champions.
The Miz vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega)
Miz worked over Andrade with arm drags. Nakamura spoke in Japanese, Graves claimed he said “shut up Saxton” and that made me laugh at least. Andrade did his tranquilo pose on the ropes. Miz came back with a flapjack followed by a tranquilo pose of his own. Miz sent Andrade over the top with a monkey flip. Miz ran the ropes, Vega got on the apron, Miz avoided Andrade and got a rollup. Nakamura kept talking in Japanese while he was on commentary. Vega with an eye gouge to Miz that the referee didn’t see, so Andrade hit a dropkick followed by a double knee attack against the turnbuckle for two.
The Miz was in control with his backbreaker into a neckbreaker combo. Nakamura kept on talking in Japanese. Miz with the It Kicks to the chest, Andrade avoided the roundhouse kick, Miz hit a kick to the head and Miz hit more kicks to the chest. Miz with running knees against the turnbuckle two times, Andrade tried an attack, but Miz moved and Andrade went over the top to the floor. Miz with a running kick through the ropes. Nakamura got in the face of Miz, so Miz whipped Andrade into Nakamura by the announce table. Miz back in the ring, Vega grabbed his foot and Andrade hit a spinning back elbow for a two count. Andrade went up top, moonsault missed twice, Miz hung onto him and hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: *** It was a good match with Miz getting a lot of offense and getting the win because he’s in a PPV match while Andrade is not. They could have done a better job of setting up some believable nearfalls for Andrade because there was really only one moment where I thought he might win, but even then I didn’t expect it. Miz winning was the predictable outcome.
Post match, Nakamura with a kick to the back of the head of Miz. Nakamura followed up with the Kinshasa knee strike to put Miz down. Nakamura’s music played to end it.
Analysis: I don’t expect Nakamura to lose the IC Title at Clash of Champions, but the fact that he got the upper hand here could mean The Miz will win it. I’ll probably pick Nakamura.
Still to come: Erick Rowan will prove he is nobody’s puppet.
Matt Hardy and Apollo Crews were in the locker room with Shane McMahon walking into the room. Shane asked them where Gable was and then he made a short joke. Shane said he found a guy right outside, then he left the room, walked back in and said Gable will face himself…Shane McMahon.
Mandy Rose, who is definitely a favorite of mine, made her entrance with Sonya Deville for her match up next.
A graphic let us know that Chad Gable vs. Shane McMahon is coming up in the King of the Ring semifinals.
Mandy Rose had a microphone in hand in the ring. Rose said that last week, she told Nikki Cross she’ll never be like her and she would be embarrassed if she looked like Cross. Rose said that she is beautiful while Cross is ugly. They showed images of Rose and Cross on the Titantron. Rose said that handsome men open doors for her, they slam doors shut on Nikki and she said that Nikki looks like an oversized rat crawling out of the Lincoln Tunnel.
Analysis: It was an evil heel promo making fun of Cross to make Cross into more of a face. I think WWE wants Bliss and Cross to be the faces in this rivalry, so that promo was done to make Rose come across as a mean girl.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance and she is one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Nikki Cross made her entrance with the Women’s Tag Team Title in her hands. Nikki ran down to the ring to attack Rose to start the match.
Nikki Cross (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville)
Cross jumped on Rose’s back and grabbed her in a headlock. Cross ran the ropes, Rose caught her and hit a fallaway slam. Rose slapped on a chinlock while trash talking Cross by saying she’ll never look like her. Cross made her comeback by no selling her head being whipped into the turnbuckle and Cross hit a bulldog. Cross went up top, Deville to the apron, Bliss pulled her off the apron and Cross missed a diving attack. Rose went for a running knee, Cross moved and Cross got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross
Analysis: *1/2 It was fine for a short match. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again because it’s so deadly. It was Rose and Deville bating Cross and Bliss last week, so this was Cross getting the payback.
The Heavy Machinery team of Otis and Tucker were drinking shakes ahead of their match.
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Bayley was in the women’s locker room. Ember Moon walked up to her asking what’s happening with her. Bayley said that what she did was for the women’s division and it’s about the title. Moon wondered how Bayley attacking Lynch was for the good of the women’s division. Moon pointed out that Bayley lost to Charlotte Flair last night on Raw. Bayley had a remark about Moon not knowing what it’s like being a champion. Moon was champion in NXT, but not the main roster. Anyway, Moon told Bayley to save that energy for the ring later, so they have a match later in the show.
Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) vs. Johnny Silver and Alex Keaton
Tucker with an arm drag on one guy, then a boot to the face and a clothesline. Otis got the tag and he did a running splash on both opponents. Otis did his Caterpillar move into an elbow drop. Tucker got the tag and they hit the Compactor double team move for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker)
Analysis: 1/2* This was just a squash match to get Heavy Machinery on the show. They haven’t had anything meaningful to do for a few months.
Shane McMahon was backstage talking to a guy wearing a headset. Kevin Owens walked into the office because Shane wanted to see him. Shane said he knows Kevin was there last week (KO said it was a few weeks ago), then Shane said yeah it was a few weeks ago and Shane said he’s reconsidered the $100,000 fine against Owens. Shane talked about wanting to be the King along with being the Best in the World. Shane said he’s got something for Owens to do and he gave him a referee shirt. Shane told Owens if he does his job correctly then he won’t have the fine and to think about his family. Owens wondered what if he didn’t do it correctly, but then he just left.
Analysis: That was the end of the first hour. It wasn’t that interesting, but they did set up some things for the second hour at least.
The video package aired for the Roman Reigns storyline with Erick Rowan admitting that he was the one that did the mystery attacks on Reigns. Rowan beat up Reigns on Smackdown and he also beat up Bryan because he was sick of taking orders from him.
Let’s Hear from Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan made his entrance alone. The theme song had a slow beat to it and it came off as intimidating just like him. He will face Roman Reigns at Clash of Champions on Sunday.
Rowan said that all of his life, people just don’t seem to get him or get to know him. Rowan said you all think somebody tells him what to do until last week. Rowan said that all of you need to look at him in the eyes and see what it is that makes him tick. The fans were chanting “WHAT?” at him. Rowan said all you people see is a big brute that brutalizes and terrorizes just like he did to Roman Reigns last week.
Analysis: The promo was boring, but it was only about two minutes until the interruption. Keeping it short was the right call.
Roman Reigns made his entrance. Reigns went into the ring and he hit a Superman Punch on Rowan to send him out f the ring. Rowan came back with a kick, Reigns with a punch and Reigns sent Rowan over the barricade into the crowd. They went brawling into the crowd a bit, then Rowan sent Reigns back to ringside and Reigns hit a Superman Punch. There as security, referees and producers that tried to break it up. Rowan picked up a fan that’s obviously a plant and tossed him onto Reigns and others. Rowan ran around the ring and hit a running cross body block to knock down Reigns on the floor. Rowan slammed Reigns’ face into the ramp. Reigns got back up with another Superman Punch on the stage and they were on the King of the Ring throne area. Rowan got a hold of a camera that’s on a crane and he whipped it into Reigns. Rowan yelled “Sunday” at Reigns, who was down. Rowan went to the back.
They showed replays of the brawl. Reigns slowly got back to his feet and the fans were behind him with “Roman” chants.
Analysis: Good brawl that was exactly what it needed to be with Rowan looking dominant once again. The attack with the camera was unique because it’s not something we normally see. I also liked how even though there were guys there to try to break it up, the fight kept going because they wanted to get at eachother so much. They are trying to push Rowan as a singles heel, so he needs to have the advantage in a segment like that and I think Rowan should win at Clash of Champions too although I’m not sure if that part will happen.
There was a replay of Rowan shoving the camera crane into Roman’s face.
There was a shot of Rowan backstage where he was pacing around and kept saying “Roman” repeatedly.
The announcers did a rundown of the Clash of Champions card. You can check out the card below. I will have a preview up on Friday.
Charlotte Flair was on commentary for the next match. Bayley made her entrance with Flair saying that she is glad that Bayley’s true colors are finally showing. Ember Moon entered as the opponent in this rematch from SummerSlam.
Bayley vs. Ember Moon
Bayley’s Smackdown Women’s Title is not on the line here. Moon with a jumping kick to the head. Moon with an arm drag, Bayley went to the floor, Moon went up the barricade and Bayley tripped her up. Bayley with a rising knee strike on Moon leading to a break.
Moon was in control with kicks to the head, a forearm to the face and a springboard cross body block got two. Bayley came back with a headscissors takedown. Bayley kicked Moon out of the ring, but when she charged to the ropes, Moon kicked Bayley in the ribs. Moon went up top, she wanted the Eclipse, but Bayley avoided it and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for the pinfall. It went about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: *3/4 A simple match to put over Bayley after she was pinned on Raw. There wasn’t a moment in the match where anybody thought Moon was going to win. They should have given Moon more offense.
Post match, Charlotte Flair went into the ring and clapped in Bayley’s face. Flair pointed at the Smackdown Women’s Title as the fans chanted “WOO” for her. Bayley backed out of the ring and left. Flair flashed ten fingers because she thinks she’ll be the 10-time Women’s Champion. Bayley left.
Analysis: The build for Bayley/Flair has just been decent. The Lynch/Banks match has been built up a lot better.
Kevin Owens was shown backstage in a referee shirt where he was thinking about what he’s going to do later tonight.
Kofi Kingston was shown looking at a photo of him and Randy Orton from ten years ago. Kofi is up next.
Kofi Kingston made his entrance alone with the WWE Championship around his waist. Good pop for him along with some “Kofi” chants.
Let’s Hear from Kofi Kingston
Kingston said it feels good to be back in Madison Square Garden, baby. Kingston said it was in this building where his career changed forever. Kingston said it was here where he stepped up to a top WWE superstar to prove he belonged here and that’s what he did when he whooped Randy Orton’ ass in this entire building. Kingston said he beat him up in the arena and then he put his ass through a table. Kingston said that the arena was chanting his name, so there were “Kofi” chants. Kofi said that he knew one day he would be back here standing before you as the WWE Champion.
Kingston said there might be some kids that don’t remember what happened or they might have forgotten. Kofi called for the clip, so they showed the November 16, 2009 episode of Raw with Kofi doing the boom drop leg drop on Orton through a table.
Randy Orton interrupted the promo by saying “stupid” repeatedly. Orton spoke about how in the last ten years he won the WWE Title seven times and two Royal Rumble. Orton talked about Kofi being fake like that Jamaican accent or that phony “Power of Positivity” shit. It got bleeped here in Canada.
Kingston was mad, so he left the ring and went after Orton to the side of the ramp. Kingston ran at him and Orton him in the ribs with a steel chair. Orton hit Kingston in the back with the chair two more times. Orton whipped Kingston into a steel railing. Orton teased a DDT off a table, but Kingston fought back with punches. Kingston came back with chair shots to the back four times in a row. Kingston pulled out a table near a railing. Kingston said they will relive history, but Orton stopped him with punches. Kingston kicked Orton with a chair and the table broke while Kofi was sitting on a table. Kingston grabbed another table and he put Orton back first onto a table. Kingston hit Orton in the left arm with a chair. Kingston climbed up a railing, he stood on it and he jumped off with a Boom Drop double leg drop that put Orton through the table. The fans loved it and Kingston celebrated the attack.
Analysis: It was a big spot that looked familiar because it was like what they did ten years ago although it was not in the same location. Kofi got a lot of height on the leap, so it looked impressive. The issue with a segment like this is these guys brawled for five minutes and nobody tried to break it up, yet with Rowan and Reigns there were about a dozen people out there. Maybe the storyline explanation was that they wanted to let these guys fight, but it’s not like the announcers are going to mention it. Anyway, it was effective in terms of advancing this storyline. It's possible that Orton wins the WWE Title at Clash of Champions, but it would be better for Kofi if he were to retain.
Up next: Shane McMahon vs. Chad Gable with Kevin Owens as the special guest referee.
It was announced that Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan is now a No Disqualification Match.
Kevin Owens was in the ring in a referee shirt. Chad Gable made his entrance and before he got to the ring, Shane McMahon’s music hit. Shane had the Best in the World trophy with him.
King of the Ring Semifinals: Shane McMahon vs. Chad Gable (Kevin Owens is the referee)
Shane got onto his knees to tease fighting to mock Gable for his (lack of) height. Gable hit a rolling German Suplex into a pinfall and Kevin Owens counted the pin to give Gable the victory after about 20 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Chad Gable
Post match, Shane announced that this match is now two out of three falls. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Shane for changing the match.
Shane attacked Gable with a clothesline to the back and then he whipped Gable into the announce table repeatedly. Shane tossed Gable over the barricade leading to a break.
The show returned with about six minutes left. Shane was in control with punches. Gable came back by hooking the arms of Shane and had a pin attempt, but Owens did a slow count because he was there to try to be nice to Shane. When Shane got a rollup, Owens did a fast count and Gable kicked out at two. Gable with a kick, a rolling kick to the head and a spinning neckbreaker. Gable went up top and he hit a perfect moonsault, but Owens did a slow count and Shane got his shoulder up. The fans booed while Owens looked mad at himself. Shane with a neckbreaker using the top rope, clothesline to the back and Shane put Gabel on the shoulders leading into a slam for two. Shane brought a chair into the ring, Owens tried to tell him not to use it, so Shane gave it to Owens and told Owens to put it out of the ring. Shane tried a low blow kick, but Gable caught the leg and Gable slapped on the Ankle Lock into the Heel Hook. Shane tapped out to give Gable the win after about 12 minutes.
Winner by submission: Chad Gable
Analysis: **1/4 Good finish with the right guy going over, but it was more about the Shane/Owens angle instead of making people care about the match. I’m all for Gable using the Ankle Lock like Kurt Angle because it’s perfect for him.
After the match, we found out that the King of the Ring Finals have been moved to Raw with Baron Corbin facing Chad Gable. It was advertised for Clash of Champions, but that changed.
Shane and Owens were in the ring. Owens said there was nothing he could do because Shane tapped out. When Owens tried to leave, Shane attacked him with a clothesline to the back. Shane to Owens: “You’re fired.” Shane told him he was fired repeatedly. I could hear some “AEW” chants as the show went off the air.
Analysis: I don’t really care about firing angles. They have been done so many times over the last twenty years and the fans never buy it, so it ends up coming across as a lame angle to try to get heat. I'm so tired of Shane McMahon in this role. Raw has been refreshing of late because they don't have an authority figure, yet here we are on Smackdown with the same Shane stuff they do way too often.
With all of that said, it was nice to see Chad Gable winning a main event match in MSG. I'm happy for him.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kofi Kingston
- Randy Orton
- Chad Gable
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2019 Average: 6.74 (Raw is 5.78)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 7, 8, 6.5, 7.5
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 5.5 out of 10.
This felt like a below average episode of Smackdown (as you can see above the SD average is pretty high this year) that was lacking in terms of great matches that we often see on this show. The Undertaker’s opening segment with Sami Zayn didn’t do much other than popping the crowd. The brawling segments with Rowan/Reigns and Kingston/Orton were similar although one of them had referees trying to break it up while the other one had nothing of the sort.
The main event match between Shane and Gable was not a classic match by any means. Gable winning was the right call, but then they had Shane fire Owens. Firing angles don’t interest me that much.
Raw was clearly better than Smackdown this week. It wasn't even close, really.
The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions, which takes place this Sunday, September 15. Here’s the official lineup so far.
WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Braun Strowman
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks
No Disqualification Match: Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (w/Sami Zayn) vs. The Miz
United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Cedric Alexander
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (c) vs. Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville)
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado
As noted above, the King of the Ring finals has been moved to Raw instead of Clash of Champions.