Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Live Review for the second last time on a Tuesday night. There’s the September 24 Smackdown on Tuesday next week and then after that, Smackdown moves to Fridays on October 4 on Fox.
Live from Atlanta, Georgia, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1048. 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.
The show began with a shot of the crowd and then a highlight of from Clash of Champions when Luke Harper returned to help Erick Rowan. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton did a rundown of what’s coming up on the show including Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair.
The New Day trio of WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods made their entrance. They had pancakes with them and the crowd cheered the popular trio. The Revival, who are the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions, entered first for their team. They were joined by their buddy Randy Orton.
Analysis: Starting with a match five minutes after the show started is a great way to begin. I prefer this over a show opening promo that we get most weeks.
The New Day - Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E vs. Randy Orton and The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Big E hit a belly to belly suplex on Wilder followed by a Big E splash on the apron on Wilder. Woods tagged in with a brace on his left knee to sell his worked knee injury as Big E slammed Woods onto Wilder. When Wilder got back up, he kicked the left knee of Woods. Dawson with chops, but Woods came back with a spinning elbow to the face. Kingston tagged in with a double axehandle onto the arm of Dawson. Orton tagged in, Kingston with a springboard dropkick, there was a splash from Kingston, an elbow drop from Woods and Big E with a splash on Orton as well. The Revival got knocked off the apron. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise on Orton, but Randy bailed to the floor and that led to a break.
The match continued with Dawson and Wilder working over the left knee of Woods. Dawson put the leg of Woods on the bottom rope and then he splashed onto it. Orton tagged in with a kick to the left leg of Woods. When Woods tried to fight back with punches, Orton gave him a thumb to the eye to stop him. Orton with chops to the chest of Woods as Phillips noted that some of Xavier’s family was sitting ringside because he’s from Atlanta. Dawson tagged in with a leg lock on the left knee of Woods to keep him grounded. Woods kicked Dawson out of the ring, Wilder tagged in and Woods got a sunset flip on Wilder for a two count. Orton got the tag, Woods kicked Wilder and Wilder launched Woods over the top to the floor. That’s where Orton picked up and delivered a belly to back slam on Woods on the announce table. The table didn’t break as usual when Orton does that move, but Woods sold it very well.
The match returned with Kofi Kingston getting the hot tag with clotheslines on Orton, a dropkick on Wilder and Kingston hit the SOS slam on Orton for two because Dawson broke up the pin. Orton tossed Dawson out of the ring, Big E clothesline on Dawson, Wilder DDT on Big E, Wilder tripped up Woods on the apron, Kingston kicked Wilder down and Kingston wanted a dive, but Orton caught him with a draping DDT off the ropes. Wilder tagged in, then Dawson tagged in and the heels wanted a triple team move, but Big E sent Orton into the ring post. Kingston with a double DDT on both Revival guys. Woods up top with an elbow drop across the ring on Wilder. Dawson was left in the ring with Kingston and Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise kick on Dawson for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day - Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E vs. Randy Orton and The Revival
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a pretty good tag team match. They followed the usual tag team formula with Woods as the face in peril, then Kingston was on fire after the hot tag and New Day got the clean win. The crowd was really into the match. New Day worked so well together. They’re awesome. I’m not surprised that Kingston pinned somebody other than Orton although that feud is over now based on what happened next.
After the match, the music of Brock Lesnar hit and “The Beast” Brock Lesnar was in the arena with his advocate Paul Heyman. They were staring at New Day, especially Kofi Kingston, in the ring. Kingston told Big E and Woods to leave because he’s got this.
Analysis: The Lesnar appearance was unadvertised, so it was a surprise to me when I saw him.
Lesnar, who had a bit of a beard, walked on the apron with Heyman while Kingston stood in the ring holding the WWE Title. They went into the ring with Paul Heyman doing his introduction. Heyman said that Lesnar stands in front of Kofi and Lesnar stands in the way of the longevity of Kofi's title reign. Heyman said it’s a bad day for the New Day…yes it is.
Heyman said that his client Brock Lesnar hereby challenges Kofi to a match for the WWE Championship of the world on Friday, October 4 at the Friday Night Smackdown premiere on Fox.
Kofi Kingston said when he won the WWE Title he said he was going to be a fighting champion, so as far as the challenge is concerned, he accepts. Lesnar grabbed Kingston and hit the F5 on him to leave the WWE Champion down on the mat. Lesnar grabbed the WWE Title and tossed it towards Kingston on the mat.
Analysis: There’s a big match for the first Smackdown on Fox, which was expected. I think Lesnar will win the WWE Title. I know that pisses off a lot of people that don’t like him, but Lesnar is the biggest name in WWE for casual fans and I think WWE wants to get the WWE Title on him. Lesnar wrestling on TV is rare, so obviously WWE considers the Smackdown on Fox debut to be a huge deal if they are having Lesnar vs. Kingston for the WWE Title. I am not shocked that WWE would move Lesnar to Smackdown with the Fox deal starting in two weeks. That was fully expected.
Coming up next we’ll hear from Erick Rowan about his recent actions.
Sasha Banks and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Banks said she is the star of the women’s division, so she’ll take on any challenge of any jealous wannabe. Banks noted that she has been in Hell in a Cell before, but Lynch has not. Bayley said that Banks will answer all the questions about her match tonight when she’s in the ring later.
There were highlights shown from Clash of Champions when Erick Rowan beat Roman Reigns thanks to the surprising return of Brock Lesnar.
Interview with Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan did a sitdown interview with Michael Cole with Cole asking why Luke Harper chose that moment to help Rowan. That led to Rowan asking if he had a question for him. Rowan said that the attacks on Reigns were to scare the man and Cole said you tried to kill him. Rowan said he doesn’t allow anybody to speak to him like that. Rowan claimed he did what he did to Reigns to show that his dominance is an illusion while Rowan said he was underappreciated and disrespected. Rowan said that people like Reigns and Daniel Bryan think that he’s just a goon meant to do somebody else’s bidding. Rowan said he’s not a puppet, he’s not a follower and he said he’s a leader. Cole asked why Rowan betrayed Bryan. Rowan said that Bryan thinks they were intellectual equals and he claimed he was smarter than Bryan will ever be. Rowan said that Roman, Bryan and all of WWE will learn to never disrespect him again.
Analysis: That was fine, but some fans are going to be bored by Rowan's promos just based on his delivery. Rowan continued to make his point that he didn’t want to be disrespected and he is his own man. I don’t mind WWE wanting to try a push with him because they need to utilize different people once in a while. Plus, he’s a big dude and we know Vince is always going to want to push guys like that.
Still to come: Daniel Bryan is on Smackdown for the first time since Rowan attacked him.
Ali made his entrance for a match after the break.
Sami Zayn made his entrance with a neckbrace saying he was still in pain and wanted the fans to respect him. Zayn did a big introduction for the Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. He was really over the top with his introduction. Nakamura entered with his red cape.
Zayn pointed out that several weeks ago, Ali beat Nakamura and he said luck had a little to do with it. Zayn said that was before Nakamura partnered with Zayn. Zayn claimed that he respected Ali, he likes him, he’s super athletic and Ali will never be a champion.
Zayn held the leg of Ali and Nakamura hit Ali with a knee to the back of the head. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa on Ali to put him down.
Analysis: No match. Just an angle. Ali already beat Nakamura non-title and then he didn’t get a title shot after it, so WWE is picking up that storyline to likely set up an IC Title match at Hell in a Cell. That’s fine with me. They’ve wrestled a few times and have good chemistry together. Plus, the presence of Zayn adds to the heat that Nakamura gets, so I think the fans will rally behind Ali, who may end up winning the title.
Kevin Owens was shown arriving at the arena with a spotlight on him and Owens sat in the crowd where there was an empty seat because he had a ticket.
Shane McMahon was in the office when referee John Cone showed up. A guy in a suit went up to Shane and gave him papers saying that he has been served. Shane opened the envelope, didn’t look happy about it and left.
A commercial aired for NXT on USA Network on Wednesday.
Owens was seated in the crowd.
Let’s Hear from Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon walked out with the envelope in his hands. Shane was with the indy wrestler security guys and told them to stand near the barricade. Shane entered the ring. Shane posed in the ring as Greg Hamilton did the “best in the world” entrance for him while Owens acted as if he was sleeping while Shane was out there.
Shane said that it’s no coincidence that he gets served while Owens is in the crowd. Shane invited Owens to come into the ring, he told security to let him in and Shane said to give Owens a microphone to let him talk. Owens got into the ring while Shane told security to leave the ring.
Shane said what he’s holding in his hand is the largest wrongful termination lawsuit in history. Shane said if Owens wins he would be awarded $25 million. The fans cheered. Owens told him to shut up. Shane told Owens his case is weak.
Owens said that ever since he came out there to say that Shane has ruined Smackdown to make it his personal playground, things haven’t been fair. Owens pointed out that he beat up Elias the referee at SummerSlam and then Owens pointed out that last week, Shane put his hands on the official (Owens) and then he fired Owens. That led to Owens saying that Shane thought Owens was insubordinate. Owens talked about how last week he tried to help Shane beat Chad Gable, but he couldn’t do it because “you tapped out” and the fans chanted along with it. Owens said because of that, Shane tried to take away KO’s life’s work, his family’s future and that doesn’t work for him. Owens said that now all he wants to do is hurt him, but then he realized he wants to hit him where it hurts the most – his wallet and his proud. Owens told Shane he had a case and Shane knows it because he has a legitimate case against Owens. That led to Owens saying there was another clause in there saying that when he wins, he gets to stand in the middle of this ring and look at Shane in the eyes and say: “Shane McMahon, you’re fired.” Owens left the ring, jumped over the barricade and walked out of the arena. Shane was left in the ring looking at the papers.
Analysis: A wrongful termination lawsuit for $25 million is rare for a WWE angle, but it does fit this storyline. As Owens correctly pointed out, Shane did hit him when Owens was a referee last week, so Owens has a case. There’s some good continuity there, which is not always something WWE is great at following. I’m not sure if this is an angle that will lead to Shane being off TV for a while or where they are going with it, but obviously Owens winning the blowoff match is the right way to go with it.
Daniel Bryan was shown backstage because he will appear on the show later.
Charlotte Flair was shown in the locker room in her wrestling gear while her father Ric Flair was there with her. Flair’s match is next.
Analysis: Good to see Ric doing well. Ric lives in Atlanta and was at an appearance with Charlotte earlier in the day.
There was a video featuring the AOP tag team. It was the same video that aired on Raw where they said other tag teams are afraid to face them.
The announcers talked about the WWE Draft on October 11 Smackdown and October 14.
Offset, who is a rapper in a Ric Flair robe, introduced Charlotte Flair. The fans popped for him because he’s from Atlanta. I don’t know much about him, but I know he mentioned Ric Flair in a song, so that’s why he was there. Charlotte Flair made her entrance in her robe and gave Offset a hug as he went to the back.
Sasha Banks entered for the match with her best friend Bayley by her side. They showed highlights from Raw when Flair and Becky Lynch took care of Banks and Bayley with the help of steel chairs.
Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks (w/Bayley)
Flair with a kick to the head, she sent Banks into the turnbuckle and stomped on her. Phillips said this is one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history, Graves said you could write a book about the history they made. Flair hit an overhead suplex, Bayley tried to unhook a turnbuckle pad and Flair saw it. Flair tossed Banks out of the ring. Flair with a forearm to Banks on the floor, Bayley with a distraction and Banks shoved Flair into the ring post to take control.
Banks was in control with kicks, Flair came back with a kick while on the apron and a clothesline. Flair and Banks worked over Banks with chops followed by a fallaway slam. Flair with another forearm to the face followed by a knee drop onto the back of the knee of Banks. Flair hit a neckbreaker on Banks for a two count. Banks went for a hurricanrana style move, but Flair caught her and slapped on a Boston Crab submission. That was a sweet counter by Flair using her size advantage. Banks got out of it with a rollup for two. Banks with a knee to the face, Flair sent Banks to the apron and hit a boot to the face to knock Banks to the floor. Bayley checked on Banks. Flair went up top and jumped off with a moonsault onto both women on the floor where Flair used her arms to knock them both down. The crowd popped for it and Flair urged the crowd on since she’s a face now. When Flair went back in the ring, Bayley grabbed the leg and Banks got a two count rollup on Flair. Flair went for the Figure Eight submission on Banks, but Bayley went into the ring and kicked Flair for the DQ finish. The match went about eight minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: **3/4 It was the usual good match from these two women that are very familiar with eachother. Bayley has done a great job as a heel so far and Flair did her best to fight off Bayley from interfering while Banks got some good nearfalls because of the cheating. The moonsault to the floor was the big spot in the match. I’m not surprised by the DQ ending. It keeps the story going.
After the match, Bayley and Banks got some double team offense on Flair. Carmella went out to the ring to go after Banks. Bayley asked Carmella, her good friend, what she was doing out there and Carmella hit a superkick on Banks. Flair kicked Bayley out of the ring.
Analysis: That will set up an obvious tag team match with Carmella stepping up to watch Flair’s back. I also predict Carmella will be pinned when they have that match.
Coming up after the break is the official coronation of King Corbin.
King of the Ring Coronation Ceremony
Baron Corbin made his entrance wearing a suit (without a tie) as highlights aired from Raw where Chad Gable nearly beat Corbin to win the King of the Ring finals. Corbin hit the End of Days slam to win a great match.
The King of the Ring throne was in the ring along with a cape. Corbin was very obnoxious and over the top talking about Corbin. There was a short bald guy in the ring that put the cape around Corbin and Corbin put the crown on his head. The fans booed.
Corbin said he knows we are all very excited while saying that him as King of the Ring is a breath of fresh air. Corbin said that most of you wanted somebody else to be King of the Ring, but he is a king you believe in. Corbin said he was dominant, strong, but he is also generous and fair. Corbin said that he won the King of the Ring tournament with honor and for that he should be shown the respect and adulation that he deserves. Corbin said that his first act as King of the Ring is that he wants to acknowledge somebody and he called out his opponent from Raw, Chad Gable.
Chad Gable made his entrance in his ring gear and he got into the ring with Corbin. Corbin joked that it is mighty “big” of Gable to be there and he’s a “little” upset about what happened last night and it’s important to “hold your head up high.” The short jokes from Corbin drew mild heat. Corbin said that Gable showed the people that no matter how big you dream and how hard you work, in the end, you just come up short. Gable tackled Corbin through the throne that was in the ring and hit Corbin in the ribs with the scepter. Gable hit Corbin in the back with the scepter. Gable ripped the robe and threw pieces of the cheap throne at Corbin. Gable grabbed the crown and stomped on it in the ring. The fans cheered. They enjoyed that.
Analysis: It was a good way of booking Gable. The fans hate Corbin and didn’t want him winning King of the Ring. With the way this segment was booked, Gable ended up looking like a bigger star because he ruined Corbin’s moment after Corbin went out of his way to brag and make fun of Gable. I think Gable destroying the King of the Ring material means that Corbin won’t be wearing it in future weeks, which is fine. Their match on Raw was great, so continuing the feud with a match at Hell in a Cell would be cool with me.
The announcers plugged the NXT premiere on USA Network on Wednesday night.
The introduction of Heavy Machinery was shown while The B Team were already in the ring.
Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis) vs. The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)
Otis wrestles in trunks now, which shows off too much of his body. Tucker controlled Axel early on with waist lock takedowns. Dallas caused a distraction, Axel stomped away on Tucker and Dallas tagged in leading to the “B Team” song that they do. Axel went back in with a DDT on Tucker for a two count. Tucker showed off his athleticism leading to a clothesline on Axel. Otis got the hot tag with clotheslines for both opponents, body slam on Dallas and Otis with a shoulder tackle on Axel. Otis with a fallaway slam on Dallas and a corner splash. Otis did the Caterpillar into an elbow drop. Tucker got the tag, he kicked Axel out of the ring and Heavy Machinery hit the Compactor on Dallas for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis)
Analysis: *1/2 It was an easy win to put over Heavy Machinery in a short match. The fans like them and I find them entertaining as well. Building up tag teams is something WWE needs to do on both shows, especially babyface teams.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage and he’s up next in the main event spot.
There was a recap of the Kofi Kingston segment where Brock Lesnar challenged him for the WWE Title on October 4 when Smackdown is on Fox for their debut show. Kofi accepted and the match will take place over two weeks away.
Let’s Hear from Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan made his entrance in his street clothes for the main event segment. The fans chanted “Daniel Bryan” for him.
Bryan said that the people chanting for him thought he was the one behind the attacks on Roman Reigns. Bryan said good or bad, he has never lied to us. Bryan said he’s exonerated for the attacks against Reigns. Bryan said that’s not what he is out there to talk to you about, he’s there to talk about Erick Rowan.
Bryan claimed that nobody saw Erick Rowan, but Bryan said he saw Rowan’s talent and he saw how special he was. Bryan said when they won the Tag Team Titles he didn’t just see him as his equal, he treated him as his equal. Bryan said he didn’t just treat him as his equal, he treated him as his friend because Rowan is his friend. That led to Rowan making his entrance.
Rowan told Bryan he’s sick and tired of hearing him speak. Rowan said that he was always standing behind Bryan and Bryan didn’t let him talk. Rowan got in the ring saying that Bryan never asked him how he felt about anything. Rowan told Bryan that he will not be disrespected.
Bryan told Rowan if he feels disrespected then he should do something because there’s nothing he can do that’s worse than ending their friendship and there’s nothing worse than lying to him. Luke Harper showed up for the cheap attack with a forearm to the back. Rowan sent Bryan into Harper, who hit a clothesline. Rowan hit the Iron Claw slam on Bryan.
Roman Reigns made his entrance for the save. Reigns avoided Harper and went into the ring with a Superman Punch on Rowan. Reigns punched Harper. Reigns with a Drive By dropkick on Rowan, but Harper came back to knock down Reigns. Harper whipped Reigns into the steel steps. Harper picked up Reigns and Rowan gave Reigns a Powerbomb into the ring post. There were security guys at ringside, so Harper and Rowan beat them up easily body slams on the concrete because they pulled off the mats at ringside. Rowan picked up a piece of the barricade from ringside and Harper whipped Reigns into it. Rowan and Harper cleared off the announce table as the announcers scrambled. Tom Phillips even took a bump near the barricade. Rowan and Harper gave Bryan a double Chokeslam through the announce table. Rowan and Harper stood tall to end the show.
Analysis: Good angle that got the point across that Rowan and Harper are serious threats to main event guys like Reigns and Bryan. It was another ass kicking by Rowan, who was joined by his buddy Harper just like at Clash of Champions. Clearly, WWE feels the need to put these guys over on every show for the past couple of weeks to try to build them up as viable threats to Reigns. This will probably lead to a big tag team match in two weeks on the October 4 Fox show. They could do it next week, but that Fox show is more important, so they might as well save it for October 4.
The interesting thing was how they booked Daniel Bryan because it could have been a promo where he said he wanted revenge on his former friend Rowan. Instead, Bryan said he was loyal to Rowan and Rowan turned his back on him. I think we’ll get a full blown babyface promo from Daniel Bryan next week with those familiar “yes” chants making their return. That’s just my gut feeling on it. I’ll miss heel Bryan. That was my favorite character in WWE since he turned last November.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kofi Kingston
- Kevin Owens
- Chad Gable
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2019 Average: 6.74 (Raw is 5.81)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 5.5, 7, 8, 6.5
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 6.5 out of 10
There wasn’t a lot of wrestling this week with only one match in the first hour, but that match went nearly twenty minutes. Three matches in all. The women’s storyline continued during the Banks/Flair match with Bayley as a heel and Charlotte as a face while Carmella also got into the back.
I don’t think a promo heavy show is necessarily a bad thing because they advanced a lot of issues like the Owens/Shane segment was good in terms of Owens getting some revenge on Shane. The main event was a wild brawl with Rowan/Harper standing tall again. That’s going to lead to Reigns/Bryan teaming up and it should be a big deal when that match happens maybe in two weeks. We also found out about Kingston vs. Lesnar on October 4 for the WWE Title in Brock’s first match on Smackdown in over 15 years. A Nakamura/Ali rivalry should produce some quality matches for the IC Title. Plus, I liked the way Chad Gable was booked to ruin the Baron Corbin celebration and the fans loved that. I’m all for more TV time for Gable. He’s earned it.
The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell on October 6. Here’s the official lineup so far.
Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Hell in a Cell Match for the Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks
That's all for now. More matches to come.
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