The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 11/13/18 Review (Styles vs. Bryan for WWE Title)


Live from St. Louis, Missouri, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1004. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you want to support us at TJRWrestling, here’s a Donate Link for our Paypal where anything you send will go towards building the site. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The show began with a shot of the live crowd in St. Louis. The Smackdown announce team Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were shown welcoming us to the show.

A video package aired showing the end of Raw featuring the Smackdown women invading Raw including Becky Lynch’s vicious attack on Ronda Rousey in the locker room and in the ring. The Smackdown women dominated the action. The big story was that Becky Lynch was a mess due to what was believed to be a bloody nose thanks to a stiff punch from Nia Jax during the brawl. That wasn’t shown in the video. They showed Lynch walking away from Rousey standing tall.

The announcers were shown on camera again and cued up the video of Nia Jax with the punch on Lynch leading to a “broken face” according to the announcers, plus a concussion. They noted that Lynch is there on Smackdown. Here’s that stiff punch from Jax that did a lot of damage to Lynch's face.

Analysis: The “broken face” diagnosis is weird because they could just say broken nose and that would suffice, but maybe she has an issue with other parts of her face too. I don’t know that right now. Anyway, it sucks that Lynch is hurt. Sadly, the show must go on.

Let’s Hear from AJ Styles
AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, made his entrance to a big ovation with the WWE Title around his waist.

Styles said that he has beaten them all over the last year except Brock Lesnar at last year’s Survivor Series. Styles said he’s not just going to survive against Lesnar this time…and there’s Paul Heyman at ringside. Heyman was given the microphone because Styles told the ring announcer to give it to him.

Heyman stood outside the ring and he did his classic “ladies and gentlemen” introduction leading to boos. Heyman said that last night on Raw, the premiere show in WWE, he said there’s no one that Lesnar wants to fight this Sunday at Survivor Series more than AJ Styles. Heyman said that the reason for that is because when you think about the greatest in-ring performers in WWE history like Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and you…AJ Styles. That’s some elite company. Heyman also mentioned Daniel Bryan suggesting that he’s better than Styles. Heyman said that Styles said that we all know we’re not going to get Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan and then Heyman called Styles the second greatest in-ring performer in WWE.

Styles said that he has nothing but respect for Daniel Bryan and he always has respected him. Styles said that he didn’t just beat Daniel Bryan, he tapped him out. Styles spoke about how he didn’t forget Survivor Series from last year and he knows that Lesnar won. Styles said that Lesnar may have walked out with a victory while Styles pointed out that Lesnar limped out, which tells him that Lesnar is vulnerable. Styles said for 371 days he has gotten better at tapping out while Lesnar has become more vulnerable to tapping out. Styles said that it gives him two ways of beating Lesnar by pinning his shoulders to the mat or tapping him out. Styles said that this Sunday won’t be about Lesnar or Bryan, it’s going to be about the “Phenomenal” AJ Styles.

Here comes Daniel Bryan for the interruption. Bryan got into the ring to say that he’s not sure why they are talking about him. Bryan said that they had their championship match and Styles did tap him out. Bryan said that he respected Styles and he meant that, but he also was looking for a reason to punch him in the face. Bryan told Styles if he mentions his name again without reason, Bryan will punch him in the face. Styles pointed out that Heyman brought up Bryan’s name, not Styles.

Styles said that when somebody asks him who is one of the best technical wrestlers ever, Styles can’t tell them Daniel Bryan? That led to Bryan attacking Styles with punches. Shane McMahon ran down to ringside to try to break it up along with a bunch of referees and producers. The fans chanted “let them fight” as Bryan and Styles were separated on opposite sides of the ring. The guys were kept apart to end the segment.

Analysis: That was an interesting scenario to set up a brawl with Styles and Bryan due to Heyman insinuating that Bryan is better than Styles. That led to Bryan getting upset because he was still angry about his loss to Styles two weeks ago, so Styles pissed off Bryan enough to set up a fight. The crowd was into this with that “let them fight” chant, which shows that fans want to see this match again. Of course they do. We all do. It was clever to use Heyman as the guy that instigated the whole thing. He’s good at that.

Still to come is The New Day vs. Cesaro, Sheamus and Big Show.
(Commercial)

There was a shot of Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon arguing in the office with Paige in the background. Styles got into the room to join the argument. Shane said that if they want it then the WWE Champion is on the line tonight: Styles vs. Bryan for the title one more time.
Analysis: That’s a huge main event and a rematch from two weeks ago. That should be very interesting.
The duo of Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega made their entrance for the first match. Jeff Hardy was up next as the opponent.

Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Jeff Hardy
Almas was aggressive early on as he kicked Hardy against the turnbuckle. When Hardy got a few chops in, Almas and Vega did their tranquilo pose against the ropes. Hardy kicked Almas out of the ring leading to a break.
(Commercial)
The match returned with Hardy hitting a double leg drop into the low dropkick for a two count. Almas sent Hardy into the corner, Hardy up top, Almas tripped up Hardy upside down and Almas did a double stomp off the top onto Hardy for a two count. Almas with a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Almas missed a kick, but connected with a back elbow to the face for a two count. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Almas and went up top. Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb on Almas and pinned him to win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jeff Hardy
Analysis: ** The match was okay, but it never got going to that level of excitement that you might expect out of wrestlers of this caliber. It was just an average match overall. I was hoping for an Almas win since he’s the younger guy although I guess it doesn’t matter that much anyway.

The Miz and Paige were in a locker room watching the match. They mentioned that Daniel Bryan is no longer on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. Miz said that Jeff was impressive, so he’s on the team. Miz wanted to kick Mysterio off the team because he was Daniel Bryan’s team. Miz smelled coconut oil on Joe and said that he smelled terrific, which was awkward. Paige told Miz that if he wants Rey off the team, Miz must beat him and she said that match is next. Miz wasn’t thrilled about that part.

Analysis: That’s an interesting way of changing things up for Survivor Series. This WWE creative team likes changing their mind.
(Commercial)
PLUG TIME: Check out our WWF in 2000 section only on TJRWrestling with weekly recaps of every Raw and Smackdown from the WWF in 2000, which was my favorite year in WWE history. I’m a bit behind this week, but new reviews (of 18 year old shows) will be up later in the week.
Shinsuke Nakamura was interviewed by Dasha Fuentes backstage. She said that the WWE Universe thinks of his match at Survivor Series as a fantasy matchup, so she asked how he was getting ready for Seth Rollins. Nakamura said that last night on Raw, Rollins said that he’s not thinking about Nakamura while Nakamura said that all he was thinking about was Rollins. Nakamura said he’s going to break his face or something to that effect.

Analysis: I’m pumped for Rollins vs. Nakamura. I think it will be great with Dean Ambrose possibly costing Rollins the win.
The Miz made his entrance holding his new DVD for The Marine 6 or 36. They have made a lot of those movies. Rey Mysterio got a good pop.

The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
Miz was in control early with a clothesline followed by a headlock. Mysterio came back by kicking Miz out of the ring. Mysterio went for a sliding attack under the bottom rope and tried to splash Miz, but Miz got the feet up to block it. That led to a commercial two minutes into it.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Mysterio getting a two count after a kick to the head. Mysterio went for a springboard cross body block, Miz moved and Mysterio hit the mat hard. Miz hit a DDT for a two count. Miz connected with a sitout Powerbomb for another two count with Miz looking frustrated about not being able to put away Mysterio. Miz tried a running kick, Mysterio moved and sent Miz into the ropes. Mysterio connected with a 619 kick to the head. Mysterio went up top with a Frog Splash and Miz got the knees up to block leading to a two count. Mysterio came back with a pinfall where he hooked the arms of Miz to keep the shoulders down for the Mysterio win. It went about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: **1/2 It was a typical good match between these two guys that have already wrestled a few times since Rey has been back. Mysterio won to keep his spot on his team. It gives Mysterio some momentum going into Survivor Series while Miz isn’t hurt because he was pinned by a move that wasn’t a finisher.

Post match, Randy Orton showed up for an attack, Mysterio managed to get away and Orton hit a RKO on Miz since they bumped into eachother.
Analysis: It’s nice to see somebody actually avoid an Orton attack since that doesn’t happen that often.

There was a shot of some security in the backstage area to protect against a potential attack from Raw.
There was a clip from a USA Network show called Real Country that looks terrible. No thanks.
Still to come is AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship.
Becky Lynch was shown backstage with her Smackdown Women’s Title and she had a huge shiner on her face. She is up next as we head to the top of hour two.
(Commercial)

The Women's Division and Becky Lynch Have Things To Say
Paige, the Smackdown General Manager, was in the ring. She called out the Smackdown Women’s division to join her for some sort of announcement.

The women made their entrance with Charlotte Flair out first looking great in her ring gear. Everybody else was in their ring gear too. The other women were Carmella, Lana, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Mandy Rose, Asuka and Naomi.

Paige said that she brought the ladies out there because Becky Lynch suffered a severe concussion on Raw while she was fighting for Smackdown Live. Paige said that Lynch is going to come out there to pick her replacement to face Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series. Paige introduced “The Man” Becky Lynch.

Becky Lynch entered to a big ovation from the crowd and held the title in the air when she got in the ring. Lynch had on “The Man” t-shirt as she stood in front of the other women on the roster. The fans greeted her with “Becky” chants.

Lynch said that she is angry as hell and said that she took a good beating, but it has never stopped her before. Lynch said that unfortunately, the medical team will not let her fight on Sunday, which led to boos. Lynch said that she was hoping somebody would let her fight, but unfortunately, she ran out of time. Lynch said that she got a taste of blood when she beat up the Raw locker room while mentioning that she had Rousey screaming in pain. Lynch: “Even with a severe concussion and a broken face, I can still kick Ronnie’s ass.” That led to more “Becky” chants.  Lynch said that Rousey isn’t the baddest bitch on the planet, she’s the luckiest.

Lynch said she had to pick her replacement and it had to be somebody that she knew could get the job done. Lynch walked down the line of the other women on the roster. When Lynch got to Charlotte and Asuka, the crowd responded the most.

Lynch went over to Charlotte: “Go beat Ronda the way I was going to beat Ronda and make her tap out the way I was going to make her tap out.” Lynch hugged Flair and spoke to her ear. Lynch left while the other girls (at least the faces) hugged and congratulated Charlotte. Lynch looked emotional as she left with her title.

Analysis: It was an unfortunate situation and I hate that Lynch had to go through that, but WWE had no other choice with the injury she suffered. Lynch had some good lines about how Rousey is lucky that Lynch can’t compete. Lynch did not mention Nia Jax, who was the one that punched Lynch in the face causing the injury. Picking Charlotte was the right move although Asuka would have been a cool choice, but she’s really not being booked at that top level like she should be. I liked the hug at the end of it with Becky and Charlotte showing respect. If there’s a positive thing in this whole ordeal it’s that Lynch gets to keep her title, which likely means she’ll be back in action soon or else WWE would have stripped her of the title. I expect Lynch vs. Rousey soon, so either Royal Rumble or WrestleMania for that match. Get better soon, Becky.

Still to come: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. New Day vs. Sheamus, Cesaro and Big Show is up next.
(Commercial)
A clip aired of promos for Mixed Match Challenge later. I’ll have a review up on TJRWrestling on Wednesday.

Charlotte Flair was shown walking backstage with Dasha Fuentes showing up for an interview. Flair said that she has spent half of her career against Becky, last night she fought with Becky and this Sunday she’ll fight for Becky. Flair said that it will be her honor when this queen beats Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series and proves that Smackdown is the superior brand.

Analysis: Solid promo from Charlotte talking about her history with Becky and it looks like WWE is going to embrace Becky as a face now to where she might become an ally of Charlotte again after their feud. I guess it can be the story where they respect eachother.

The trio of Cesaro, Sheamus and Big Show made their entrance for the six man tag. The New Day are out as the opponents with the fans cheering them as usual.

The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro, Sheamus and Big Show
The New Day boys were in control early on with a lot of moves in succession on Sheamus to keep him down including a Big E splash. Cesaro tagged in and drove Woods into their corner. Big Show worked over Woods with chops to the chest followed by a big chop that knocked Woods down. That led to a break.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Cesaro and Sheamus hitting a double team backbreaker on Woods with Cesaro as the legal man. Show walked over to Big E and tossed him into the barricade. Sheamus back in the ring with a running knee lift to the face of Woods. Sheamus set up Woods on the top, Woods fought him off and Woods hit a missile dropkick to take down Sheamus. Kingston got the hot tag on Cesaro with a dropkick, Cesaro with an uppercut, Kingston with the boots to the face and Kingston hit a cross body block on Cesaro. Sheamus and Big E back in the ring with Sheamus hitting a Brogue Kick that sent Big E out of the ring. Show whipped Woods into the announce table. Kingston with a Trouble in Paradise on Woods. Cesaro rollup on Kingston and Kingston hit a SOS on Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro wanted a Swing on Kingston, Big Show tagged in, Kingston jumped off the ropes and Show hit a KO Punch on Kingston for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cesaro, Sheamus and Big Show
Analysis: **3/4 Good tag team action with the heel champions looking like the much smarter team by having Big Show tag in for the KO Punch for the win. I liked the flurry of offense from Kingston, who came close to winning, but then that momentum was stopped. I always like how Sheamus and Cesaro focus on the guys on the apron on the other team to try to take them out. It really helps to make these tag team matches more interesting. I can see Sheamus and Cesaro losing to AOP at Survivor Series, but it’s also a match that could go either way featuring two heel tag teams.

There was a shot of The Usos in the backstage area. They had Smackdown Live shirts for other teams and they gave them a pep talk. They gave shirts to The Colons, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and then the Sanity trio. The Usos are the captains of the team and New Day are already on it. The Usos said that there’s something called unity between them and they welcomed us to the Smackdown penitentiary.

Analysis: The Smackdown tag teams are clearly superior to the Raw teams even with The Colons a part of it. Anyway, that’s the Kickoff Show match, so it’s not like it will be treated as a big deal at Survivor Series.

A clip aired of what happened earlier to set up AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. It’s up next with about 30 minutes left in the show.
(Commercial)
The announcers were shown on camera doing a rundown of Survivor Series. This card has changed so much in the two weeks since it was first promoted. I don’t know if it will change again before Sunday, but it might. Anyway, the lineup is at the bottom of this post and our preview will be up Friday.

Daniel Bryan was up first as the challenger for the WWE Title match. Lots of “yes” chants for him of course. AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, was out last to a big ovation as well. Each man stood in their corner as ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced them. This is day 371 of AJ’s WWE Title reign.

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan
The match began at 9:39pm, so they should get plenty of time. After an exchange of strikes, Styles with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Styles jumped over the top with a forearm to Bryan’s face as they went to break one minute into it.
(Commercial)
The match returned with some strikes from Styles. When Styles went for an attack off the top, Bryan tripped him up leading to Styles falling to the floor. Bryan grabbed the left arm of Styles and whipped Styles shoulder first into the ring post two times in a row. Back in the ring, Bryan wrenched on the left arm of Styles. Bryan with a running kick to the left arm of Styles for a two count. Bryan worked over the left arm of Styles. The replay of Bryan’s kick to the arm of Styles looked brutal. The match turned into a slugfest as they exchanged strikes, Styles with a backfist and a running clothesline. They did a spot where they ran the ropes leading to a double cross body block that led to another break.

(Commercial)

Bryan was in control with a running dropkick on Styles against the turnbuckle. Bryan followed that with a hurricanrana off the top rope for a two count. Bryan was selling a left knee injury. Bryan went up top, Styles stopped him with a punch to the foot and Bryan was crotched on the top rope. Styles came back with a Pele Kick to the head that didn’t connect that well, so Phillips called it a “grazing” kick. Good word for that. Bryan got back into it by sending Styles into the turnbuckle and crotching him on the top rope. Bryan with a running dropkick on Styles, who was upside down against the turnbuckle. Bryan picked up Styles on the top rope and hit a belly to back superplex for a two count. Bryan with the Yes Kicks to the chest, Styles avoided the roundhouse kick, Styles wanted a Styles Clash and Bryan kicked Styles away to break free. They did a spot by the turnbuckle with  Styles getting a victory roll pin for a two count. Styles hit another Pele Kick to put Bryan down. Styles went for a springboard 450 Splash and Bryan got his knees up to block it. Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock submission on the left arm of Styles, but Styles was by the ropes and got his hand on the bottom rope. Bryan charged with an attack, but Styles hit a dropkick to the knee to stop Bryan. Styles slapped on the Calf Crusher on Bryan, but Bryan broke free and slapped on an armbar. Bryan wanted the Yes Lock, Styles fought out of it and hit a slingshot that sent Bryan into the turnbuckle. Bryan sent Styles to the apron. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, Bryan moved and Styles went into referee Charles Robinson. Bryan with a low blow kick to Styles that the referee never saw. Bryan had this crazed look on his face. Bryan with the running knee to the face and Bryan covered Styles to win the WWE Championship! The match went 19 minutes.
Winner by pinfall and New WWE Champion: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: **** That was a very good match as usual from these guys although the match two weeks ago was a little bit better. The story is that Bryan took the cheap route to win by hitting that low blow that the referee never saw and following it up with the pinfall victory. They told a good story throughout the match with Bryan working on the left arm and Styles going after the knee. I thought the crowd could have gotten into the match more. The ref bump spot was clever with Charles Robinson selling it well and it was done in such a way where it wasn't a huge bump by the ref, but it was enough to stun him for long enough to allow Bryan to cheat to win. The fans reacted to the heel turn just like they should, so I’m sure WWE is happy about that. Any time a guy uses a low blow to win a match like Bryan did, it’s going to lead to boos.

The win by Bryan means that he will face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series.

Post match, Bryan continued to attack Styles with some vicious kicks that were like stomps on the upper body of Styles. Bryan pulled at his own hair and the fans were booing Bryan.

Bryan looked at the WWE Championship in his hands, the fans were booing him and that’s how Smackdown ended this week.
Analysis: The cheap attack was a way to continue the heel turn from Bryan. It got him booed more. Long term, this can set up Bryan as the heel champion with Styles chasing him for the title and I think Styles could be a favorite to win the Royal Rumble now just because that’s a match WWE can do at WrestleMania if that’s the plan.

I did not see the Bryan heel turn coming. I can see it being explained by Bryan saying that he did what he had to do to win the title and he didn’t know if he was ever going to get another shot. This title change freshens things up a bit on Smackdown with Bryan as the heel champ. If you're mad about Bryan as a heel, don't be. Heels are more fun and he's going to great in the role like he did as an awesome heel earlier this decade. I'm genuinely happy for Bryan becoming WWE Champion again after four years and what he came back from to live his dream again.

As for Survivor Series, I think WWE wanted to create a “first time ever” match for Lesnar’s opponent, so that’s why they went with Bryan instead of Styles, who faced Lesnar last year. I’m certainly fine with it although with Lesnar and Bryan as heels it will lead to an interesting dynamic for the match.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Daniel Bryan
  2. AJ Styles
  3. Becky Lynch

 

The Scoreboard
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 8
2018 Average: 6.61
Last 5 Weeks: 8, 5, 7.5, 5, 7.5
2018 High: 8.5 (July 31)
2018 Low: 4.5 (January 2, January 9)

Final Thoughts
I give this week’s Smackdown a 7.5 out of 10.

It was a very newsworthy show with the Bryan WWE Title win, his heel turn and the Becky Lynch injury story. It was also the kind of show where there was so much happening in terms of news that it was hard to keep track of it all.

For those of you expecting a Raw invasion, that didn’t happen. I thought there might be one with the men’s roster attacking. Nope. The build for Survivor Series has been weird for the last two weeks and I am intrigued by some stuff on the card, but it’s not like the build could be called great. Anyway, I’ll dive into it more later in the week.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series this Sunday, November 18 in Los Angeles. Here’s what we know so far.
Raw’s Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Smackdown’s WWE Champion Daniel Bryan
Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair
Men’s 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw (Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Bobby Lashley) vs. Team Smackdown (The Miz, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy)
Women’s 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw (Nia Jax, Mickie James, Tamina, Natalya, Ruby Riott) vs. Team Smackdown (Asuka, Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, ????)
Raw’s Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. Smackdown’s United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
Raw Tag Team Champions AOP (Akam & Rezar) vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali
Tag Team 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw (Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, Lucha House Party, The Ascension, The B Team and The Revival) vs. Team Smackdown (The Usos, New Day, Sanity, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and The Colons) - This is going on the Kickoff Show.

Our preview goes up on Friday and my review on Sunday.
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John Canton

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