The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 09/24/19 Review


Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Live Review for the last “Smackdown Live” show because it’s the end of Smackdown’s run on Tuesday nights. Starting next week on October 4, Smackdown moves to Friday nights on Fox to become Friday Night Smackdown again. It’s going to be weird not having Smackdown on Tuesday anymore, but from a writing perspective, I definitely like having that break between Raw and Smackdown. I think going back to a brand extension that is actually enforced will help both brands as well. Smackdown has been on Tuesdays since July 2016, so the three year Tuesday run is over for now.
Live from San Francisco, California (for the second night in a row), this is Smackdown Live for episode #1049. 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.
Smackdown began with a video package showing the history of Roman Reigns being attacked by Erick Rowan, who was reunited with Luke Harper and Daniel Bryan was also attacked by Rowan and Harper.

Let’s Hear from Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan made his entrance in a Killswitch Engage shirt along with a leather vest and leather pants. Rowan said that what he has done has been a work of art while noting that some people paint, but what he does is annihilate. Rowan said that what he created is violence that demands respect. The fans chanted “you suck” at him with Rowan saying that people like to call him names like a Redwood Tree, which makes him feel less than human. Rowan said that “might makes right” and what matters is if you can destroy and dominate, that makes you right. Rowan said Reigns and Bryan know he’s right, which is why they are afraid.
Daniel Bryan’s music started up as the San Francisco crowd chanted “YES” for Bryan, who was in his ring gear.
Bryan told Rowan that if he feels disrespected and he wants respect then he should fight Bryan right now. A referee showed up to make the match.
Analysis: The Rowan promo wasn’t very good with some weird dialogue. It sounded like a guy memorizing lines instead of things that the character should say. I think the crowd was booing because they feel like he’s weak at doing promos as opposed to hating him for his attacks on Reigns. The good thing is the promo was only a few minutes and fans were happy to see Bryan, who did not pander for the “YES” chants, but the fans chanted it anyway. This is Bryan's first match on Smackdown since August 20 when he put over Buddy Murphy clean.

Erick Rowan vs. Daniel Bryan
Rowan was aggressive early on, which led to Bryan being sent to the floor and Rowan took him out with a running cross body block. Rowan whipped Bryan into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Rowan grounded Bryan with a headlock, but Bryan came back with kicks. Bryan ran off the ropes and Rowan hit him with a spin kick.
(Commercial)
Rowan continued on offense as he gave Bryan a Powerbomb into the ring post. Rowan was very gentle as he put Bryan up against the post. It was not a violent bump. Bryan got back in the ring before the ten count. Rowan whipped Bryan into the corner followed by a splash. Bryan with a dropkick to the left knee. Bryan with two chop blocks to the left leg followed by Bryan wrapping the left leg into the post three times along with a dropkick to the leg. Bryan with two corner dropkicks, but Rowan caught Bryan and turned it into a slam for two. Rowan slapped on a bearhug, Bryan fought out of it with punches and Rowan hit a Powerbomb for a two count.
(Commercial)

It was about 15 minutes into the match as Rowan teased another Powerbomb, but Bryan fought out of it and Bryan sent Rowan to the floor. Bryan with a suicide dive, Rowan caught him, but Bryan followed that by sending Rowan shoulder first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Bryan with a missile dropkick to the back of Rowan and fans chanted “YES” for Bryan. The Yes kicks followed for Bryan and the roundhouse kick actually connected for a one count. Bryan went up top, he jumped, Rowan caught him and Bryan slapped on a guillotine choke. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock on the mat and Rowan crawled to the ropes to break it up. Luke Harper was at ringside, Bryan attacked him and hit a suicide dive over the announce table. Harper got back up, Rowan grabbed Bryan on the apron and gave him an Iron Claw slam, but Bryan’s foot was caught between the ropes. That wasn’t supposed to happen. The referee helped Bryan out of the ropes. Rowan hit another Iron Claw slam on Bryan and Rowan pinned Bryan for the pinfall win after 19 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Erick Rowan
Analysis: ***1/2 Great match with Bryan putting on a tremendous performance. That was the best Erick Rowan singles match I’ve ever seen because Bryan is the greatest opponent for him. Rowan was on offense for most of it, Bryan made him look like a huge star and then Bryan made the comeback with the fans strongly behind him. Harper didn’t touch Bryan, so that’s why it was a finish without a disqualification. That spot where Rowan did the Iron Claw slam and Bryan’s leg caught in the ropes was a little scary for Bryan, but he appeared to be fine while selling the right ankle. If Bryan's ankle didn't get caught in the ropes then I doubt Rowan would have done the Iron Claw again. I think Rowan winning was the right call because they want to legitimize him as a threat against every opponent. Awesome work by Bryan, who reminded us that he’s the best wrestler in WWE.

Note: They used some different camera angles and apparently used 4K cameras for it to prepare for how they are going to shoot Smackdown on Fox, so if it looked a bit different, that's why.
Roman Reigns ran out for the save. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Harper, but Rowan was there to take down Reigns. Rowan and Harper tried to do double team attack on Reigns. Harper went back in the ring and Bryan hit him with the running knee. Reigns went back in the ring and hit Rowan with a Spear. Reigns tried to help Bryan up, but Bryan slapped Roman’s hand away.
Bryan said all he wants is a one-word answer and he asked if the fans want Bryan and Rowan to kick Rowan and Harper’s disrespectful asses. The fans chanted “YES” for that. Reigns wanted it too. Bryan was selling the right knee injury after his leg was caught in the ropes.
Analysis: They built up the tag team match well. I loved Bryan's heel act since his turn last November, but it feels like this is the face turn. It is possible they do a swerve in the future as well with Bryan siding with Rowan and Harper even after all this. The fact that it's a possibility is a good thing that can keep the fans guessing. I'll say he's a face again, but it can go the other way too! I like not knowing. Let the viewers decide if they can trust Bryan again or if he's going to remain a heel. The way this was booked, it just makes a lot of sense for Bryan to be a face and bring back the "YES" chants.

Still to come: Charlotte Flair and Carmella vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks. Up next is Brock Lesnar’s return from Smackdown.
(Commercial)
They showed members of the 3-0 San Francisco 49ers at ringside like George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Dante Pettis and others. Good luck to them except when they lose to my LA Rams twice this year.
The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton appeared on camera to set up a video package.
A video package aired about Brock Lesnar’s accomplishments as if WWE fans don’t know about him.

Kofi Kingston Interview
Kofi Kingston, the WWE Champion, did a sitdown interview with Michael Cole. Kingston said the accepted Lesnar’s WWE Title challenge because he’s a fighting champion. Kingston said you can’t really prepare for a guy like Lesnar, but Kingston feels like he is at the top of the game because he’s beat guys like Samoa Joe, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens. Kingston admitted that he feels pressure, but he feels it’s an amazing opportunity for WWE to be on Fox and it’s amazing for himself to be at the forefront of it all. Kingston said people think Brock will walk out as WWE Champion, but Kofi said he’s not ready to let go of that title. Kingston said he’s going to walk out of that Fox premiere on October 4 beating Brock Lesnar and he’ll remain your WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Kingston said he feels real good.
It’s Kingston vs. Lesnar for the WWE Title on Smackdown on Fox on October 4.
Chad Gable made his entrance for a match for the second night in a row. There was a decent reaction for him, so the fans are responding to him after his good showings against Baron Corbin in back to back weeks.
(Commercial)

They showed clips from Raw with Baron Corbin attacking Chad Gable with his scepter.
Gable did a promo saying that Corbin claimed no matter how hard he tries, he’ll always come up short and yes, that was a short joke. Gable said that his run in King of the Ring was no joke and last night on Raw was no joke, so Corbin got intentionally disqualified. Mike Kanellis showed up for the interruption.
Mike Kanellis said he’s sorry to come out there to cut Gable short (another bad joke), but he came there tonight to prove to his pregnant wife that “size does matter.”

Chad Gable vs. Mike Kanellis
The bell rang and Gable hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Gable hit the Chaos Theory into a German Suplex. Gable slapped on the Ankle Lock for the submission victory after 30 seconds.
Winner by submission: Chad Gable
Analysis: 1/4* I don't mind Gable winning any matches, much less squash matches. I'm glad they are using Gable more.

Elias appeared on the screen with his guitar. Elias did a song saying if it was up to him, Gable would be fired and he made jokes about how Gable can’t see over the steering wheel. Elias ended it saying Randy Newman (a famous singer/songwriter) was right when he said your people don’t have a reason to live. Something like that. Gable just looked on from the ring.
Analysis: The song effort was weak. They keep doing the short jokes to build up sympathy for Gable. It's annoying, but I guess it's working to some degree as long as Gable is booked to be competitive against all opponents.
A clip aired from Raw when Carmella pinned R-Truth to win the 24/7 Title. That ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is scary.
Charlotte Flair was shown walking down a hallway where she walked up to R-Truth. Flair asked if Truth has seen Carmella and Truth said he didn’t know anybody named Carmella, who was on the run with the 24/7 Title. Carmella showed up and Flair said she hopes Carmella is focused on their match. Carmella said she’s been friends with Bayley for years, but this is not the Bayley she knows while Flair claimed this is who Bayley has always been. Truth let out a “WOO” at the girls. The women’s tag team match is next.
(Commercial)

The announce team thanked USA Network for being the home of Smackdown Live for many years. They also talked about Raw having the season premiere on September 30, which is the start of the same week that Smackdown debuts on Fox on October 4.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance first for her team with a traditional robe and a pink outfit. Carmella was up as Flair’s partner with Carmella in pink/black bringing the 24/7 Title to the ring and R-Truth was with her. Sasha Banks entered first for her team along with the Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley, who is from nearby San Jose. This match is presented by Domino’s. I give you all the info, my friends.

Charlotte Flair and Carmella (w/R-Truth) vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley
They said the 24/7 Title rules are off for this match. Carmella with a boot to the face of Banks, then a headscissors and a clothesline for two. Banks punched Carmella in the face and tossed her out of the ring. Bayley tagged in with forearms to her friend Carmella and she sent her into the announce table. Back in the ring, Bayley got a two count. Banks tagged into the match with a chinlock and then she tossed Carmella down. Bayley tagged back in with Carmella taking her down with a hair whip. Flair tagged in with chops on Bayley and a belly to back suplex. Flair also kicked Banks on the apron. Flair hit an overhead suplex on Bayley across the ring. Flair with a backbreaker followed by a boot to the face. Flair with the Figure Four leglock on Bayley, but Banks went back in with a double knee attack on Flair. Banks tagged in, Flair slammed her down, Banks kicked Flair to the turnbuckle and Carmella tagged in. Carmella with a cross body block off the top and two superkicks got a two count as Bayley broke up the pin. Carmella kicked Bayley off the apron. Carmella with a rollup on Banks. Banks turned it into a Bank Statement submission on Carmella after about five minutes.
Winners by submission: Sasha Banks and Bayley
Analysis: **1/4 It was an obvious finish with Banks beating Carmella since Carmella isn’t treated as big of a star as the other three women in the match. Flair did a good job with the babyface comeback, but then she made no attempt to save Carmella from tapping out. They should have had Bayley take Flair out there by knocking her off the apron and then Banks could still get the win. They continue to book Banks well by having her win matches on nearly every show.

Post match, Truth put Carmella on his shoulders and ran away through the crowd. The women’s wrestlers doing nothing backstage went running after Carmella. It was Ember Moon, Sonya Deville (happy birthday), Mandy Rose, Asuka and Kairi Sane.
Analysis: Poor Asuka being wasted by being forced to chase after the lame 24/7 Title. I think Asuka tops the list of the most poorly used wrestler in the entire company. I know there are others, but considering how good Asuka is, I would pick her above the others.
Banks and Bayley double-teamed Flair with Banks hitting a backstabber on Flair. Becky Lynch showed up for the save with Bexploder Suplexes on Banks and Bayley. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher on Banks, but Bayley pulled Banks out of the ring for the save. The fans cheered for Lynch alone in the ring.
Analysis: The Lynch/Banks feud is good. It’s one of the best rivalries in WWE right now.

Shane McMahon was shown backstage with three lawyers going over his papers for his issue with Kevin Owens. At least they looked like lawyers instead of indy wrestlers.
(Commercial)
The announcers talked about the success of NXT on USA Network last Wednesday night. The main event of NXT this week is Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain in a Street Fight with the winner getting a NXT Championship match in the future.
Ali made his entrance for a match. Sami Zayn did an over the top introduction for his buddy Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, so we are getting this match non-title again.

Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn) vs. Ali
This is not for Nakamura’s IC Title. Nakamura with a dropkick that sent Nakamura out of the ring. Ali with a suicide dive on Nakamura near the announce table and Ali had a rough landing on his neck, but he was fine. Back in the ring, Zayn distracted Ali, so Nakamura whipped Ali into the ring post. Zayn trash-talked Ali saying that’s what you get for trying to go after him.
Analysis: The way Ali sells those bumps into the ring post are amazing. He does that better than anybody in WWE.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Ali hitting a kick to knock Nakamura down. Nakamura charged into the corner, Ali moved, Ali with a kick to the head and Ali with an X-Factor into the mat. Ali set up Nakamura on the top rope, Nakamura shoved him off, Nakamura jumped and Ali hit a dropkick to the ribs for two. Nakamura came back with a spinning kick to the face. Nakamura with a kick to the back followed by the sliding German Suplex off the ropes with Zayn celebrating. Nakamura charged at Ali, but Ali stopped him with a superkick for a two count. Ali hit a running knee to the ribs. Nakamura went for a slam, Ali countered into a rollup for two. Ali jumped off the middle turnbuckle with a DDT. Ali went up top and Zayn pulled Nakamura out of the ring. Isn't that a DQ? It sure could be. The referee saw it, but did nothing. Ali jumped over the referee and the top rope to take out Nakamura on the floor. Zayn distracted Ali again, so Ali chased him into the ring and Nakamura hit a Kinshasa on Ali for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: *** Good match with Ali getting plenty of offense, but Zayn’s distraction played a factor in the finish. It was the second heel win on this show due to help on the outside because Rowan beat Bryan in the same manner. This might put an end to Ali’s chase for the IC Title because WWE might get another challenger for Nakamura. With the draft coming in a few weeks, that makes sense. I like Ali and hope he continues to get TV time. Please don't forget about him like how they have forgotten about Aleister Black.

A video aired recapping the Shane McMahon story with Kevin Owens where Shane fired Owens two weeks ago on Smackdown. Last week, Owens informed us that he is suing Shane for wrongful termination.
Shane McMahon was shown backstage with his three lawyers because that’s still to come likely in the main event spot.
The same video package aired about WWE’s fight against Pediatric Center that they have shown every show all month long. Visit Connorthecrusher.com for info on how to donate.
(Commercial)
A new match was announced for Hell in a Cell with Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns teaming up against Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. It’s a Bludgeon Brothers reunion.

The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)
Axel with a dropkick on Woods and Woods with a dropkick on Axel. No more knee brace for Woods. Dallas with a distraction, so Axel hit a forearm to Woods to knock him down. Dallas stomped on Woods and then Axel tagged back in with a headlock. Dallas tagged back in with a clothesline and Axel with a DDT leading to Dallas pinning Woods for two. The B Team did their “B Train” run across the ring with Big E joining them and Big E tossed Axel into the barricade. Back in the ring, Woods got a rollup for two. Big E got the hot tag, he picked up Dallas and Woods jumped off the top with the Midnight Hour double team move for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods)
Analysis: * Easy win for New Day. Big E didn’t even get to do his hot tag offense because they went to the finish when he got the hot tag.

Post match, Big E and Woods celebrated with George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers at ringside since George is a big WWE fan.
Mandy Rose was shown backstage with her Maxim Australia magazine. Mandy said that the fans in Australia will go wild for her next month. Rose handed out magazines to people backstage. Sonya Deville told Mandy they had a match. Otis of Heavy Machinery got a selfie with Mandy and she gave him a magazine. Tucker congratulated Otis for it.
Analysis: Mandy’s photos are fantastic. It’s nice to see her getting more exposure. I had no idea Maxim was still a thing, but it is still going in Australia and I thank Mandy for sharing the photos. She’s fantastic.
Asuka and Kairi Sane aka the Kabuki Warriors entered for a match. Thank you WWE creative for remembering that they exist.
(Commercial)

A commercial aired for Monday’s Season Premiere of Raw: Miz TV with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss, Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio for the Universal Title and Brock Lesnar is there.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville aka Fire & Desire made their entrance. Graves drooled over Rose as usual. He stopped doing it for Bliss because she’s a face. Rose gave a signed magazine to Graves. When Saxton asked if he could look at the pictures, Graves said no.
Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) vs. Fire & Desire (Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose)
Deville and Asuka exchanged kicks. Asuka with a running shoulder tackle on Deville, Sane tagged in leading to a dropkick/kick combo for two. Deville dumped Sane out of the ring and Rose tagged in. Rose grabbed the magazine at ringside and told Sane she will never look like Rose, so Sane kicked the magazine out of Rose’s hands. Sane sent Rose back in the ring. Sane with a headscissors on Rose off the ropes. Sane with a running knee on Rose, then a forearm to the face and Deville slammed down Sane. Rose with a forearm to Sane for a two count. Sane fought her way out of the heel corner, she kicked Rose down and Asuka got the hot tag. Asuka with a dropkick on Rose and a knee to the face. Asuka with a running hip attack against the turnbuckle followed by a bulldog and a kick to the face. Deville broke up the pin. Sane kicked Deville out of the ring. Rose rolled up Asuka for two. Asuka kicked Rose down and hit a Codebreaker. Sane went up top and hit the Insane Elbow on Rose for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane)

Analysis: ** A clean win for the Kabuki Warriors after some good teamwork. The right team went over because WWE needs to build the Kabuki Warriors back up as threats in the women’s tag team division. Mandy’s my favorite of course, so I want to see her do well, but this was the right booking decision. The crowd wasn’t into it that much although they did pop for Asuka’s offense and Sane’s elbow drop finisher, which is impressive.
Shane McMahon was shown backstage with his lawyers for the main event segment.
(Commercial)

There was another plug for Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title one week from Friday on October on Fox. Also announced for the Smackdown on Fox debut is Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
Analysis: They did the women's tag team match in Madison Square Garden two weeks ago on Raw and it was very good. I'm not surprised that they are doing it again since they are the top four women in WWE, so it's a big match on the Fox debut show.

Let’s Hear from Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens
Shane McMahon was in the ring with his three lawyers, which were two men and a woman. Greg Hamilton did the special “Best in the World” introduction for Owens.
Kevin Owens made his entrance by walking in through the crowd even though Shane had KO’s music play. There were about six minutes left in the show when Owens got in the ring.
Shane told Owens he could keep him tied up in courts for years and cost Owens millions of dollars in a legal battle. Shane said they could go for option two with Owens asking what that is. Shane said that option two is for Owens to drop the lawsuit, then Shane will re-hire him on the spot and told Owens he won’t be fined $100,000 as well. Shane said they should start with a clean slate. The fans chanted “no” when Shane wanted a handshake.

Owens told Shane he’s a real idiot. Owens said the thought of the courtroom and the lawyers makes him sick. Owens said that Shane doesn’t belong back there in the locker room. Owens said that this lawsuit has always been about something that matters to Owens and it’s not about money. Owens told Shane that this is about gaining leverage and getting Shane fired from WWE.
Owens challenged Shane to a match. Owens told Shane if Shane wins then Owens drops the lawsuit and he’s gone. Owens told Shane if he loses then Shane is gone from WWE. Owens brought up how Shane has talked about for years about wanting superstars to climb the ladder. Owens told Shane they should have a ladder match with a briefcase above the ring and Shane said, “you’re on.” KO’s music played, so we couldn’t hear Shane.
Analysis: It felt rushed especially with how they wrapped it up without hearing Shane accept the match, but they made their points well. Shane had a moment where he told Owens to hurry because they were running out of time. It should lead to Owens winning the Ladder Match and it will be the end of the Shane McMahon character for now. I’m sure he’ll be back eventually, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea for Shane to take a break.
After Smackdown was over, WWE specified on WWE.com that Owens vs. Shane in the Ladder Match will be on Smackdown on October 4.

Becky Lynch was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. As Lynch was talking, Sasha Banks showed up from behind with a cheap attack. Banks sent Lynch back first into some equipment case and Banks sent Lynch into a cage. Banks trash talked Lynch until a referee and producer (Pat Buck) pulled Banks off. Lynch was down on the floor as Banks sent Lynch into a cage door that was there. Lynch was down selling as the show came to an end.
Analysis: A cheap attack by Banks to keep the feud going. There wasn’t much to it due to the lack of time. If they had more time then perhaps Bayley and Charlotte Flair could have joined in to have it end with a wild brawl.
That’s it for Smackdown on Tuesday nights. The next episode is Friday, October 4 on Fox and it’s a big one. I’m excited about it.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Daniel Bryan
  2. Erick Rowan
  3. Shinsuke Nakamura/Ali

The Scoreboard
7 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2019 Average: 6.74 (Raw is 5.84)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 5.5, 5.5, 7, 8
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)

Final Thoughts
I give this week’s Smackdown a 7 out of 10. That's what I gave Raw this week too.
It was a good show with Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan having the best match that went about 20 minutes, which is a lot of time for a Smackdown match. Some of the other matches were on the short side, but nothing was that bad. I thought the storyline advancement was very good all night long. The Owens/McMahon segment felt rushed, but they were able to get their points across to set up the Ladder Match. There was nothing on the show that bored me. Every match result made sense. It was a well-booked show.

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
Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
That’s all for now. More matches to come.

Here's what has been announced for Smackdown's debut on Fox on October 4:
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
Ladder Match Where The Loser is Fired: Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
Plus, it's the 20th anniversary of Smackdown, so there will be many legends on the show in Los Angeles.
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John Canton

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