TJR: WWE Smackdown 09/18/20 Review

Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. It was two weeks ago when Smackdown had a great episode and then last week was back to an average show. Let’s hope for a bounce back as we head towards WWE Clash of Champions on September 27.
Just a reminder that on TJRWrestling there’s a listing of all the WWE pay-per-views in company history and you’ll be able to see which ones I have reviewed. I’ve done most of them, but there’s still a lot left. I have a goal to complete the project by next year at some point and I will. A lot of the reviews that I post are going to be random at least for a bit, but then I may go in order. Next up is Vengeance 2002 (amazing main event) per request from my graphics guy Melo Man, so look for that on the weekend or maybe Monday. Thanks for the support.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1100. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present.

There was a shot of the Thunderdome as Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show. No Smackdown intro video or pyro.
The Dirt Sheet Hosted by The Miz and John Morrison
The Miz and Morrison were seated in the ring doing their schtick talking about what was going down in the WWE Universe. They’re there to give us the dirt, but not just Otis’ underwear. They talked about what they are going to cover as if they were some tabloid news show. Miz mentioned the Smackdown departure of Mandy Rose. That led to a clip of Miz and Morrison on Talking Smack talking about how Mandy was traded to Raw because of Miz’s influence.
Miz said that people accused him of being vindictive because he’s trying to break up Otis and Mandy. Miz said he’s not playing mindgames to get some revenge. Miz is trying to help Otis because he knows the pressures as a former Mr. Money in the Bank. Miz said he sent Mandy away so he can focus on his contract, so Otis should be thanking him. Miz said that Otis will get over and joked that from what he hears, Mandy has already gotten over it as Morrison reminded us that Dolph Ziggler used to date Mandy.
Otis made his entrance with his briefcase and lunchbox. Otis tackled Miz and threw both guys out of the ring. When Miz tried to leave, Tucker was there to send Miz back in the ring. Otis with an overhead suplex on Miz. Otis dumped Morrison over the top to the floor. Otis hit a corner splash on Miz followed by the Caterpillar into the elbow drop. Otis hit the Vader Bomb splash off the ropes on Miz. Otis stood tall as his music played.
Otis left briefly, but then he went back into the ring. Otis pulled off the suit and shirt that Miz was wearing. Miz was left in his white underwear. Miz left with Morrison in humiliating fashion.
Analysis: I’m sure Miz being stripped to his underwear made Vince McMahon laugh, so that’s what matters. Some of the dialogue in the promo was okay, but the idea is that it's like a TV tabloid show with the "scoops" so they're always going to be over the top. The Dirt Sheet segments were more fun in the mid-2000s as 20 somethings instead of guys in their 40s now. This rivalry isn’t that interesting to me because Miz/Morrison have been booked like jokes for a long time. I still think Otis as Mr. Money in the Bank wasn’t a great choice, so it's hard for me to get excited about him. As a tag team wrestler, Otis is fine. As Mr. Money in the Bank, I'm not that interested.

There was a backstage scene with The Miz and John Morrison with Miz saying this was all part of the plan. Kayla Braxton showed up asking a question, Miz never answered her. Miz answered the phone, said: “Did you see it? Was it enough?” Then they left happily.
Last week on Smackdown, Lucha House Party beat Cesaro and Nakamura (in a non-title match) due to Street Profits showing up, so now Cesaro gets a singles match. A new match announced for WWE Clash of Champions on September 27 is Cesaro/Nakamura defending the Smackdown Tag Team Titles against Lucha House Party.

Gran Metalik (w/Kalisto and Lince Dorado) vs. Cesaro (w/Shinsuke Nakamura)
Metalik with a headscissors, then his buddies argued about giving him advice. Cesaro took over for a bit, but then Metalik jumped off the ropes with a hurricanrana. Cesaro hit a clothesline. Metalik with a jumping kick to Cesaro while on the apron. Kalisto and Dorado on the apron to coach their partner, so the referee ejected them to the back even though they didn’t actually do anything. Cesaro punched Metalik off the apron and tossed Metalik back in the ring. While Cesaro told Kalisto/Dorado to go the back, Metalik recovered with a somersault dive off the top onto Cesaro on the floor. That was impressive as the show went to break.
The returned with Cole mentioning it was episode #1100, which was not treated as a big deal at all. Metalik bounced off the ropes right into a boot to the face from Cesaro. They went over to the turnbuckle with Cesaro setting up Metalik on the top rope, Metalik went over to the top of the ring post and jumped off with a hurricanrana on Cesaro, who sold it off the middle ropes. Metalik went up top, he went for a moonsault, Cesaro got the knees up, running uppercut and Cesaro hit a Neutralizer for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cesaro
Analysis: **1/2 A solid match by two good workers. I loved the hurricanrana off the ring post by Metalik, but then Cesaro blocked the moonsault and it was all over from there. The Neutralizer is one of my favorite finishers in WWE. I doubt Cesaro/Nakamura will lose the titles to Lucha House Party, who continue to have issues in terms of getting on the same page.

Jey Uso was interviewed by Kayla Braxton as we got highlights of Jey winning a tag team match with Roman Reigns last week. Jey said that Paul Heyman told him that last week was a miscommunication and he trusts Roman has his back. Jey said that they have been fighting since they were little. Jey said that one of them is going to leave as the Universal Champion. Jey welcomed the opponents Sheamus and King Corbin to the Uso Penitentiary to end it.
Alexa Bliss hosts her talk show up next.
Matt Riddle was backstage doing a pre-tape promo explaining that “bro” is like a universal language that can explain any thought. He said “bro” to represent feelings of being Happy, Sad, Anger, Introspective, Afraid and Confident. He said it’s that easy…bro.
Analysis: That’s a lesson in bro behavior. I guess you could consider that character development by repeating the word “Bro” in different ways.

A Moment of Bliss
Alexa Bliss was seated in a chair on the stage as she introduced her best friend Nikki Cross. Bliss has the same pigtail look she has had recently since being influenced by The Fiend. Bliss hit Sister Abigail on Cross during the match last week and then Cross beat Tamina to earn a Smackdown Women’s Title Match at Clash of Champions.
Bliss congratulated Cross on the win and she is so happy for her. Bliss asked Cross what is her plan of action because Cross lost to Bayley throughout the summer and hasn’t beaten Bayley since last year. Cross said this is different because there’s no Sasha Banks watching over Bayley and now she can focus on beating Bayley. Cross said she saw what Bayley did to Sasha with that steel chair. Cross stared into the camera saying that come Clash of Champions, she will be the new WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion. I don’t think so, but it’s a nice thought.
Cross said she had a question for Bliss and asked what’s going on with her. Cross said that Bliss hit Nikki with Sister Abigail and then just walked off. Bliss said she didn’t know how to explain it because she doesn’t fully understand it and she can’t even control it or handle it.
Lacey Evans showed up for the interruption in her ring gear since she’s wrestling Cross. Evans said that Bliss is changing while asking if they should talk about her feelings. Evans told Cross to thank Bliss because when Bliss walked out of the match, it made Lacey go off of her game and that’s the only reason Cross won last week. Evans said that Bayley has a mean streak while Cross is too nice, too short, too weak and she damn sure doesn’t have a backbone, which is why Cross will never beat Bayley.
Cross took Lacey’s tissue, then comically spit in it and threw it at Evans. The women exchanged punches and Evans went towards the ring because that match is next.

Analysis: It’s a slow build to Bliss becoming a different character as she talked about how she didn’t know why she was acting the way that she was. I liked Nikki’s promo showing confidence and explaining that she had to worry about Sasha in the past, but now she doesn’t. It does make logical sense. Evans showing up to cut the promo wasn’t a surprise because as I said they are doing the slow build for Bliss acting in an odd way.
This Monday on Raw: Drew McIntyre takes on Keith Lee in a rematch from last week. Plus, Braun Strowman faces Dabba Kato on Raw Underground.
Analysis: The McIntyre/Lee match on Raw was ruined by Retribution, so they’re doing it again and I don’t know if there will be a finish this time.

Lacey Evans vs. Nikki Cross
Alexa Bliss was on commentary. I like Bliss in that outfit because it’s a bit of a character tweak. Cross jumped on Evans back, then a back elbow and then a cross body block off the middle ropes. Cross with a clothesline leading to a rolling cradle and Evans hit an armbar that sent Cross into the mat. Evans with knee drops onto the arm of Cross. Evans with a punch to the ribs followed by some kicks to the left arm. Evans kicked Cross into the turnbuckle leading to a corner splash where there’s barely any contact since it is just Lacey’s legs hitting the ropes. Evans with a chinlock, then she took down Cross to the mat and pulled on the left arm. Cross got back up, but then Evans took her down with a running clothesline. Evans slammed Cross down by the head and continued to work on the left arm. Lacey did an arm wringer that sent Cross into the mat. Evans with a standing moonsault that got a two count. Evans got some hand sanitizer, she rubbed it in Nikki’s face and Cross came back with a neckbreaker. Cross with a corner splash, forearms to the chest and a monkey flip across the ring. Cross stepped on the arm and Cross hit the Tornado DDT off the ropes. Cross hit the neckbreaker off the ropes for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross
Analysis: **1/4 A decent match with Evans on offense for 80% of the match until Cross made the comeback after the sanitizer came into play. Cross winning makes sense since she is getting the title shot at Clash of Champions while Evans has nothing going on.
Post match, Cross was happy about the win while Bliss was very happy about it as well. Evans went over towards the commentary table, Bliss smirked at her, Evans said “The Fiend” at her and Bliss looked up as if she was in a trance. Bliss kissed the forehead and hit Sister Abigail on Evans on the floor. The announcers mentioned Evans said The Fiend's name as Alexa was shown looking far away.

Analysis: The strange behavior of Alexa Bliss continues. I think she’ll attack Nikki Cross and cost her the Smackdown Women’s Title at Clash of Champions. It makes sense to me.
Sasha Banks was shown in a neckbrace and getting mic’d up for an interview.
The Undertaker, wife Michelle McCool and their daughter were at home playing WWE 2K Battlegrounds video game, which is available now.

There was a video narrated by Paul Heyman talking about the family legacy of Roman Reigns and the Anoi’a Family. They mentioned Roman’s uncle Afa, father Sika, titans like Yokozuna, The Rock (a distant cousin), Umaga (Rikishi’s brother) and Rikishi, who is Jey Uso’s father. Heyman said that Roman’s dominance is not just his will, but his birthright. Heyman said that Roman has made his family proud with victory after championship victory. Heyman said that Jey has done a respectable job as a tag team champion with his brother Jimmy. Heyman said that they are cousins who may as well be brothers from the living room to the football field to the squared circle. Heyman said there will be pride in their fight, but make no mistake that Roman Reigns is your Universal Champion.
Analysis: That was great. I liked that they mentioned the history as well a the closeness of Roman and Jey because it is true that they grew up together as cousins, but they were close like brothers.

Sasha Banks Interview
Sasha was interviewed at the WWE Performance Center with a neckbrace on as she sat in a chair. There was a long video package of Bayley attacking Sasha Banks on Smackdown two weeks ago.
Banks said she was “still here” in response to the nature of her injuries. Cole mentioned that Bayley said that Banks was waiting for the right time to strike. Banks said that Bayley was using her. Banks said she heard every single word that Bayley said last week and she can’t help but be full of emotions at the Performance Center that they helped build. Banks said that they used to walk the halls in the past talking about how they were going to run this company (like they did this summer). Banks said when she sees all the girls that go there now…then paused for emotion...and it’s because of what Bayley and Banks did together. Banks said all of their accolades, they did it together and if these walls could talk…she was emotional and having trouble talking.
Banks regrouped saying that she knows Bayley is watching this and she said Bayley is an idiot that is naïve. Banks said that Bayley is nothing without Banks and she said it a second time to drive the point home. Banks said she is useless to Bayley now, she will take the one thing that Bayley loves – the Smackdown Women’s Championship. That led to Bayley showing up with a steel chair that she used to hit Banks in the back. Bayley put the chair around Sasha’s throat, but some people showed up to get Bayley out of there.
Analysis: That was a pretty good promo from Sasha. It was obvious that Bayley was going to attack just based on the way it was shot and that’s okay because it gets more heat on Bayley. Banks said what she needed to say about going for the Women’s Title held by Bayley and I expect Banks to win it perhaps at Hell in a Cell in October if that’s where WWE chooses to do it. They could also do an even longer build, have Banks lose there, then win the Royal Rumble and win the title at WrestleMania. That would mean an extremely long title reign by Bayley, but I can see WWE doing it that way. Anyway, this was effective in terms of making Bayley look like a mean heel while building more sympathy for Banks. It is one of the best things about WWE TV right now.

Sasha Banks was shown at the WWE Performance Center getting checked on by people that work there. Banks was holding her neck to sell that injury.
AJ Styles made his entrance for a match as we got highlights of last week when Sami Zayn attacked Styles and Jeff Hardy during their match last week. Sami Zayn entered with his Intercontinental Championship, Greg Hamilton didn’t mention the title, so Zayn complained to “The Ham” about that. Styles attacked Zayn to start the match.
AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
This was Zayn’s first match in about five months. Styles hit a running forearm on Zayn followed by a slam off the shoulders with AJ’s knee hitting him in the back. Zayn left the ring, then they went back in and Styles hit a backbreaker. Zayn worked over Styles with some kicks followed by a DDT. Zayn with a back body drop on Styles onto the apron, then Zayn charged with a Helluva Kick, but Styles moved and Sami kicked the ring post. Styles with a clothesline to send Zayn out of the ring. Styles jumped over the top with a forearm onto Zayn on the floor as the show went to break.

This heel vs. heel match continued with Zayn in control as he tried a superplex, but Styles did his spot where he slipped under leading to Styles sending Zayn into the turnbuckle. Styles charged, but Zayn gave him a stun gun into the top rope. Zayn tried a suplex, Styles fought out of it and Styles hit a neckbreaker. Styles with some forearms to the face, Zayn came back with strikes of his own and Styles hit a Pele Kick to knock him down. Styles went for a suplex, Zayn fought out of it, Zayn held onto the tights and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. That looked great and it’s a move Zayn usually gets a two count with, but he has won some matches with the Blue Thunder Bomb in the past. Styles went for the Calf Crusher, Zayn got out of it, Styles with a kick to the head and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex on Styles into the turnbuckle. Styles set up for the Helluva Kick, Styles avoided it, Zayn got a rollup with the tights, the referee stopped it and Zayn complained about it. Styles got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and held onto the tights (the referee Jessika Carr didn’t see it) and Styles pinned Zayn to win the match after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/4 This was really good between two of the best on Smackdown although it was a bit difficult to get into it since they are both heels. I liked some of the nearfalls with Zayn coming close to win a few times. The referee catching Zayn’s cheating attempt, but failing to catch it when AJ did is a creative finish that can lead to justified complaining from Zayn. Plus, we all know the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is deadly, so of course it was enough to win the match.
Post match, Zayn sent Styles out of the ring and Zayn wanted Greg Hamilton to announce him as the champion. Jeff Hardy showed up at ringside, he knocked down Styles and then beat up Zayn around ringside. Hardy went under the ring, grabbed a table, then changed to a ladder and Hardy knocked down both guys with the ladder. Jeff set up a ladder in the ring, but Zayn rolled out of the ring before he could attack.
Jeff Hardy, the Intercontinental Champion, said he was sick of this. Hardy said that they will have a match at Clash of Champions, but not in a normal match. It will be a Triple Threat Ladder Match. Hardy walked under the ladder and held up his Intercontinental Title. Zayn and Styles were both down selling after being attacked with a ladder.

Analysis: There’s the Ladder Match at Clash of Champions that I have been mentioning for weeks. It just makes sense based on the booking to put the IC Title (or both of them) above the ring and have three talented guys in a Ladder Match. It should be one of the best matches of the night at Clash of Champions.
Otis and Tucker were shown in the locker room. A guy walked up to them saying that Otis has been served. Tucker opened up the folder to say that Otis has been served with a lawsuit and we assume it is from The Miz.
Analysis: More cheesiness in this feud.

It was back to Otis and Tucker in the locker room. Tucker read some of the claims that Miz and Morrison were making against Otis. Tucker said that the papers say that Otis has to forfeit Money in the Bank or they have to take him to court. Tucker told Otis that he has to get a lawyer. Otis said “we” are in trouble and Tucker said sorry, but “you” (as in Otis) are in trouble.
Analysis: I think lawyer angles in wrestling are lame and this is heading down that path. Perhaps it will lead to some match with Otis against Miz or Morrison for the Money in the Bank briefcase or a tag team match with the briefcase on the ring. It’s a decent story, but as I mentioned earlier it’s not a rivalry that I am that interested in.
Sheamus and King Corbin were shown talking backstage with the security guy showing up. It was the same security guy that set up Big E two weeks ago when Sheamus attacked him. The security guy said Sheamus’ car was being towed, so Sheamus went out to the parking lot and Big E was there. Big E punched Sheamus a few times and Sheamus ran away. Big E attacked the security guy with punches, kicks and sending him into the garage door. Big E did hard slaps to the face of the security guy. Big E gave the security guy with a belly to belly slam onto the windshield. There were referees and WWE Official Adam Pearce showing up. Big E put the security guy in the trunk and Pearce told Big E to leave.
Analysis: It was payback for Big E with Sheamus getting away from the attack, but the security guy (likely an indy wrestler) got beat up badly. I like it because Big E is a bit of a comedy character at times, so it’s nice to see Big E taking a more serious approach and it showed how much of a badass he is.
The Samoan Street Fight main event is next.

There was a video of the mystery woman getting changed behind a screen. She turned around to face the camera, but she had a mirror in her hand.
Analysis: It is expected to be Carmella and it clearly looks like her. No idea when that will be revealed.
This week on Talking Smack the guests are Otis, Tucker, Lacey Evans and Jeff Hardy. It’s hosted by Kayla Braxton and Xavier Woods.
Roman Reigns, the Universal Champion, made his entrance with his special counsel Paul Heyman joining him as usual. Reigns was wearing his “Wreck Everyone & Leave” tank top as he held the Universal Championship above his head. When Heyman was about to speak, Reigns held out his hand and Heyman handed him the microphone.
Reigns said that this is his yard, his island and his WWE. Reigns said if you want, come and take it from him. Reigns tossed down the microphone while Heyman was smiling about it.
Jey Uso made his entrance as Roman’s partner as well as Roman’s opponent at Clash of Champions in nine days.

Sheamus was already in the ring while the end of Corbin’s entrance was shown.
Samoan Street Fight: Jey Uso and Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Sheamus and King Corbin
There wasn’t that much time left in the show. Reigns cleared house to start the match, Jey hit a dive on Corbin on the floor and a superkick on Sheamus. Corbin threw a chair at Roman’s face. Corbin came back with a Deep Six slam on Jey on the floor. Reigns got his hands on a chair and hit Corbin in the back with it repeatedly. Reigns went for a table under the ring, but Sheamus showed up with a running knee to the face of Reigns to knock him down. Corbin and Sheamus sent Reigns over the announce table and into the barricade at ringside. Corbin and Sheamus set up the table in the ring. Jey with an enziguri kick on Sheamus, boots to the face by Jey on Corbin, but then Sheamus and Corbin tripped up Jey on the top rope. Sheamus and Corbin gave Jey a double team Powerbomb on Jey through the table, which was only good for a two count. Reigns threw a leather chair at Corbin, but then Sheamus came back with a forearm to the face. Sheamus set up Reigns on the announce table, Reigns fought him off and Reigns hit a low blow and a Samoan Drop on Sheamus on the announce table, which did not break. Reigns whipped Corbin into the ring post. Reigns gave Sheamus a Spear through the barricade right in front of the Thunderdome screens. Corbin sent Reigns into the steps, Jey with a suicide dive on Corbin and Corbin caught him while sending Jey over the barricade. Corbin faced off with Reigns, but Jey hit Corbin with the Universal Title, Reigns hit a Spear on Corbin and Jey hit an Uso Splash on Corbin for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jey Uso and Roman Reigns

Analysis: *** It was an entertaining street fight that had some big spots during the match and a bit of a different ending from last week. It was Reigns pinning Sheamus last week while this week it was Jey beating Corbin. I liked the bit with the belt shot to the head because Reigns wasn’t happy about it while Jey felt like he did what he had to do to set up the win and it worked. I’m not sure if the announce table was supposed to break, but there was enough impact that it probably should have broke. Hopefully it didn’t hurt Sheamus too badly when he landed on it. That Spear by Reigns on Sheamus through the barricade always looks great. The result was the right call since Reigns and Jey are facing off at Clash of Champions. It was pretty obvious that they would win.
After the match, Reigns stared at his cousin and stared at the Universal Title as if to wonder why Jey grabbed it during the match. Jey grabbed the Universal Title, held it up briefly and tossed it back to cousin Reigns, who smiled with the title in his hands. Roman and Jey hugged in the ring, Reigns had a big smile on his face and Jey left while Reigns held the Universal Title. As Jey turned his back, Reigns had a very serious look on his face, he stared at Heyman and Reigns had that angry stare on his face. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: The evil stare from Reigns and the nod from Heyman suggests that next week there’s going to be a Reigns attack on Jey as they head towards Clash of Champions over one week away. Since Jey had his back turned, he didn’t see Reigns staring at him like that. Jey thought that things were good because of the post match hug. I like how it was done. We all know Reigns is beating Jey Uso at Clash of Champions, but I think the key thing in doing Reigns vs. Jey is establishing Reigns as a heel that attacks everybody in his path, even his cousin that he is very close with.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. AJ Styles
  2. Sami Zayn
  3. Roman Reigns/Jey Uso

The Scoreboard
6.75 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
2020 Average: 6.34

Final Thoughts
It was a slightly better than average edition of Smackdown this week. The second hour was a lot better than the first hour. The second hour was strong with AJ Styles beating Sami Zayn in the match of the night. Plus, it set up the Ladder Match at Clash of Champions with Jeff Hardy involved, so I’m all for that. It also had the Sasha Banks interview that led to the obvious attack from Bayley. Easy way to sympathize with Banks while Bayley got more heat out of it. That’s one of the best stories going in WWE right now. The story of the main event was Roman Reigns and Jey Uso working well together, but Roman didn’t like Jey touching the Universal Title. Jey thought things were cool although Roman’s face suggested otherwise, so perhaps Roman will kick Jey’s ass next week on Smackdown as they head towards Clash of Champions on September 27.
I don’t think the Miz/Morrison story with Otis/Tucker is very interesting. Now they’re doing a lawsuit angle out of it? Lame. I like how Alexa Bliss continues to morph into a different character every week. Plus, I think she has an improved look now after so many years of the same thing.
There wasn’t anything on the show that was especially great, but they are building most of the key Smackdown stories well and some of them are moving at a slow pace. I like that better than rushing stories, especially in the case of Bayley and Banks.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Clash of Champions on Sunday, September 27. Here’s the lineup so far.

WWE Championship Ambulance Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso
Intercontinental Championship: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Sami Zayn (c?) vs. AJ Styles
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Nikki Cross
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (c) vs. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro (c) vs. Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik)

Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams and Toronto Blue Jays. My contact info is below.
John Canton
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