Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. This show follows the WWE Clash of Champions pay-per-view from this past Sunday. I thought the Smackdown crew did very well at the show with better matches than what Raw presented. The best match was Sami Zayn’s Intercontinental Title win over AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match. They really put on a show in that match. I also liked the match with Roman Reigns beating cousin Jey Uso to retain the Universal Title. We all knew Reigns would win, but I liked the drama with Jey’s brother Jimmy having to throw in the towel for Jey to save him from their mean cousin Roman. It was really well done.
This week’s Smackdown is also one year since Smackdown debuted on Fox (last year on October 4). I have gotten used to Smackdown back on Friday after it was on Tuesdays for the previous three years. A lot has changed in that one year due to the global health pandemic and I miss hearing the vocal crowds at shows, but I have gotten used to the ThunderDome feeling too.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1102. 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. Let’s get to it.
A video aired about Clash of Champions showing highlights of Roman Reigns beating Jey Uso to retain the Universal Title. Post match, after Jimmy Uso checked on his brother, Reigns put on the lei that Jey brought down to the ring before the match to show that Reigns is the “Tribal Chief” because that name WWE uses for Reigns now.
There was a shot of the ThunderDome crowd watching on the screens with Michael Cole and Corey Graves on commentary as usual. Cole noted it was a full year of partnership on Fox. As I noted above, it’s one year since WWE Smackdown started on Fox.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns entered as the Universal Champion with Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. Reigns was wearing a “Show Up & Win” shirt as he held up the Universal Title and Heyman stared at it. Reigns and Heyman went into the ring for a promo. Heyman said that Reigns is the Tribal Chief not just of his own family or of Smackdown, but of the entire WWE Universe. Heyman said that’s why it is so important that Reigns is the WWE Champion. Heyman mentioned Peter Maivia, his uncle Afa and his father Sika.
Reigns said he didn’t want Heyman to acknowledge Roman as the “Tribal Chief.” Reigns said that "his" brother acknowledged him (referencing Jimmy Uso), but “he” did not acknowledge me. Reigns called for Jey Uso to come out there right now.
Jey Uso joined Roman in the ring as he went face to face with his cousin. Jey had a bandage on his head. Jey said he didn’t know Roman saying he was supposed to be his cousin and his family, but at Clash of Champions he showed his true colors. Jey said he showed his true colors too noting that Roman beat his ass, but Jey was ready to go to war. Jey said if Jimmy didn’t throw the towel in then that championship would be Jey’s right now.
Roman Reigns said that Clash of Champions was the worst night of his career and professionally/personally the worst night of his life. Reigns said he was trying to do Jey a favor and try to help him. Reigns said he wanted to put Jey’s name in the main event, help him get that huge payday and do something nice for his wife and kids. Reigns said that he loves Jey, he loves Jey more than his brother (Jimmy) loves Jey. Reigns said that Jey has been there for Roman his whole life, so all Roman wanted to do was raise him up and all Jey had to do was acknowledge him. All Jey had to do was acknowledge Roman as the Tribal Chief while claiming that this was his birthright, he has earned this and Jey has seen it the whole way. Roman said he wanted to represent the family to the fullest, to share the main event with him and Jey disrespected Roman. Reigns claimed that Jey embarrassed Roman and their whole family while adding that Jey broke his heart. The fans were booing. Reigns said that Jey can’t even look at him in the eyes because all Jey is looking at is the Universal Title. Reigns asked if he wants another shot at the Universal Title he can get another shot, then it’s yours at Hell in a Cell. Reigns told Jey that this match will have the highest stake that any match has ever had in WWE history. Reigns hugged Jey, who didn’t hug Roman back. Reigns said something in Jey’s ear and left.
Jey said that whatever the stakes are, “You’re on, Uce.” Reigns and Heyman walked to the back.
Analysis: I’m a bit surprised that they are going to do Reigns vs. Jey at Hell in a Cell also, but it’s another way to cement Roman’s heel turn by beating up his cousin inside the cell in what is supposed to be WWE’s most brutal match environment assuming it's a HIAC match. I liked the promos from both guys with Jey standing up to Roman and believing he can beat him even though it sure looked like Reigns was going to win before Jimmy Uso threw in the towel. Reigns claiming he loved Jey more than Jimmy does is a way to show Reigns is a heel now because we know that…say it with me…heels lie. It’s really all about the ego with Reigns because he wants Jey to call him the Tribal Chief in order to make Reigns feel more powerful. The Universal Title means power and Reigns having power over his cousin is something he wants and needs. That’s the Reigns character now - he’s driven by having power.
AJ Styles showed up with Jey still in the ring. Styles said he wanted somebody else to get a shot at the Universal Championship. Styles suggested that he’s the one that deserves a shot. Styles said that we all know Jimmy Uso is the better athlete compared to Jey, so Jey took him down with a tackle. Styles was on the floor, so Jey ran across the announce table and hit him with a clothesline. That led to a break.
Analysis: It set up a match with Jey facing one of Smackdown’s best. Styles is a good choice for this spot.
AJ Styles vs. Jey Uso
The match began when the show returned. Styles was talking trash early, Jey missed a corner splash and Styles kicked him down leading to a fist drop for two. Styles had the breast cancer awareness symbol on his tights, which is cool to see. Jey with a jawbreaker and a slam where he lifted Styles up into the air leading to a bump into the ring. Jey with a clothesline that sent Styles over the top to the floor. Styles blocked a dive attempt with a rising kick to the body. Styles picked up Jey on the apron and hit a suplex onto the hood of the announce table. It wasn’t strong enough to break the table, but it was a cool looking move with Jey bumping into the barricade.
Styles was in full control as he grounded Jey with some stomps. Styles sent Jey into the turnbuckle, Jey moved, kick to the gut and uppercut. Styles charged right into a popup Samoan Drop by Jey. Lifting neckbreaker by Jey for a two count. Styles came back with the slam off the shoulder into the knee for the Ushigoroshi for a two count. Jey managed to hit a back body drop to the floor and then he followed up with a suicide dive forearm on Styles. Back in the ring, Jey jumped off the top for a splash, but Styles got the knees up to block. Styles went for the springboard attack, but Jey hit him with a superkick and then a superkick to the head. Jey hit a third straight superkick. Jey went up top and hit the Uso Splash on Styles for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jey Uso
Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good and all that it needed to be with Jey winning in decisive fashion. Styles got in plenty of offense, Jey stopped him before he could hit the Phenomenal Forearm off the ropes and Jey finished him off with the superkicks leading to the splash off the top. Jey’s a very good worker and I think he’s opening a lot of eyes for people that may not have appreciated him. It’s cool to see him getting this kind of spotlight.
Jey Uso left the ring looking confident and talking to himself as if he was hyping himself up. The announcers put it over as a big win over a former WWE Champion like Styles.
Analysis: I can see Styles getting moved to Raw in the Draft later this month because he has spoken about wanting to be able to see his son playing football on Fridays and I think WWE would be okay with honoring that request. The reason Styles was moved off Raw months ago was because he didn’t like Paul Heyman as the Executive Director, but now that Heyman is out of that role (and on Smackdown), I think Styles will be moved back to Raw.
A video package (sponsored by Progressive) was shown of highlights of Sami Zayn’s Intercontinental Title victory in an incredible Ladder Match.
Sami Zayn was shown backstage with both IC Titles. Zayn said that you might expect him to be gloating as the undisputed Intercontinental Title. Zayn talked about the risks he had to take and put his body through just to win back his title. Zayn said that the real people to blame are the fans for going along with the ride. Zayn said that when WWE put on a tournament to crown a new champion, “you” went along for the ride. Zayn said when Styles won the title, then lost it to Jeff Hardy, everybody accepted it and now it’s up to Sami Zayn to do the ring thing. Zayn said that he’ll do what those two should have done. Zayn put the second IC Title right where it belongs – a garbage can. Sami: “This belongs in the trash of history.” He put it in a garbage can.
Analysis: The classic “title in the garbage can” visual is effective. It makes sense for Sami’s character since he believed he was the rightful IC Champion, so it works when he’s the one to toss it in the garbage can. The "all of you people are at fault" promo is a common heel tactic especially for the type of heel that Sami is. Nice promo by Sami, who is one of my favorites in all of WWE.
John Morrison made his entrance for a match. They showed a replay of Otis beating up The Miz with John Morrison. That would lead to Miz and Morrison wanting Otis to forfeit Money in the Bank or go to court for attacking them. They said Miz was barred from ringside as has Tucker. Otis entered with the Money in the Bank briefcase and the lunchbox. A pre-match promo was shown with Otis saying he was ready for a fight. Otis said next week he’ll represent himself in court. I’m sure that will be riveting television.
Otis vs. John Morrison
Morrison with a kick to the chest, then to the turnbuckle and a kick to the head. Otis decked Morrison with a punch on the apron and he stood on Morrison. Otis with a clothesline, high elbow, a slam and then an overhead belly to belly suplex across the ring. Otis with a running splash on Morrison against the turnbuckle. Otis did the Caterpillar leading to an elbow drop. Otis went to the middle turnbuckle and hit the Vader Bomb (Otis Bomb?) for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Otis
Analysis: * This was basically a squash match to show Otis was a force. Morrison could be doing so much more than this. I hope Miz enjoyed the week off.
Sasha Banks was shown backstage with a neckbrace on because she’s on the show later.
A commercial aired for NXT Takeover 31 on Sunday night. Check out our preview on TJRWrestling on Saturday and then I’ll have a review late Sunday night. It won’t be a live review.
Sheamus made his entrance with Shorty G in the ring for a match. Big E did a pre-tape promo telling Sheamus they will have a Falls Count Anywhere match next week on Smackdown.
Analysis: That’s cool. Falls Count Anywhere matches can be pretty brutal as a feud ender, so it works well for the Big E/Sheamus rivalry. It wouldn't shock me if Sheamus was moved to Raw in the Draft while I would think Big E stays on Smackdown. I guess it could go either way.
Sheamus vs. Shorty G
Shorty sent Sheamus into the middle turnbuckle and hit a German Suplex. Shorty jumped off the top with a moonsault, Sheamus moved and Sheamus hit him with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus with another Brogue Kick for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: 1/4* This was an even shorter squash match than the match before it. I really hope Shorty G gets utilized better either on Raw in the Draft or maybe they’ll care about him on Smackdown. Even a return to NXT would be good for him. Sheamus winning in dominant fashion was not a surprise at all.
Kevin Owens was shown backstage wearing a Street Profits shirt. He was looking at some cards as the Firefly Fun House/Fiend logos were shown on-screen because Owens will have Alexa Bliss as the guest of his talk show.
This week on Raw: Drew McIntyre looks for revenge on Randy Orton.
PLUG TIME: Please check out the special section on TJRWrestling where I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I have reviewed listed in order by the date it took place. As you can see there, I have reviewed a lot of WWE PPVs over the years and there is more to come this week. Earlier in the week, I added a review of St. Valentine's Day 1999 featuring Steve Austin beating Vince McMahon in a Steel Cage Match where Big Show also made his WWE debut to accidentally help Austin win the match. It's not a great PPV overall with some matches that sucked, but the last three matches were all pretty good with a really hot crowd. My plan is to post at least one retro review per week, but some weeks I'll get two or three posted.
The KO Show with Alexa Bliss as the guest
Kevin Owens was in the ring to host his talk show. Owens was there as part of the “brand to brand invitational” that WWE recognizes sometimes and ignores at other times. Owens said that this could be his home after the WWE Draft. Owens said that even though he has been on Raw, he pays attention to Smackdown and he introduced his guest, Alexa Bliss. Nice pyro display for Bliss, who was rocking her new look. A replay aired of last week when The Fiend’s red lights showed up and Bliss got disqualified against Lacey Evans.
Owens thanked her for being there and was glad that she accepted the invitation. Owens said he’s seen this change in her, this shift in attitude and this anger. Owens said it reminded him of what he sees in his adversary on Raw, Aleister Black. Owens talked about how when he first met Bliss five years ago, she always tried to make people laugh and she was happy. Bliss said that people change, you should try it and change to be better. Owens said that he’s tried to change, better himself and do things the right way. Owens said it’s not about him changing, it’s about her changing. Owens wanted to understand the darkness that’s taken over him, so maybe he can understand what’s happened to Aleister Black.
Bliss asked if you have ever been around “him” while noting it was terrifying and captivating at the same time. Bliss said when he touches you, your whole body goes number and when he touches you, it feels like pins and needles. Bliss said when you look at him, it’s like he’s looking right through you and you can’t see him. Owens said that clearly they’re not talking about Aleister Black. Owens commented that it was like Bliss was brainwashed. Bliss said that her brain has been washed, the lies have been washed away and now she sees the truth. Bliss said that she has been cleansed by him. Bliss said that she can hear him now and she said “let him in.”
The lights went out in the arena with Owens pushing the chair away. The lights came on with the red lights in the arena as “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt showed up to attack Owens with the Mandible Claw along with some yelling. The Fiend took Owens down to the mat with Owens writing in pain until it stopped because he was selling as if he was knocked out. The Fiend stared at Bliss, who stared right back at him. Fiend extended his hand, Bliss put her hand on his and Bliss had an evil smirk on her face. That led to a break.
Analysis: That was interesting enough with The Fiend showing up for the cheap attack, which wasn’t a total surprise with Bliss involved. I wonder if Owens will be put on the same show as The Fiend to follow up on this attack or if this is just a one-time thing. I like the changes to Alexa Bliss as a character. She was at her best as a heel, the face run was okay and now she's more intriguing due to the changes week after week. Using The Fiend to "change people" can be used well with proper planning.
There was a plug for AC/DC’s new album “Shot in the Dark” since they provide the “Are You Ready?” theme song for Smackdown. Good for AC/DC cranking out new music.
It’s time for a six-man tag team match with King Corbin out first for his team. The announcers talked about how he beat Matt Riddle last week. Smackdown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura were on Corbin’s team for this match.
The trio of Matt Riddle, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik were backstage getting ready with Kayla Braxton showing up for an interview. They didn’t say much other than they were ready for the match. When Dorado was asked where Kalisto was, Dorado said he was in the back and might have trouble getting his mask on because his head was getting big. Dorado and Kalisto have had issues of late. Anyway, those three guys entered for the match.
Matt Riddle, Kalisto and Gran Metalik vs. King Corbin, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Dorado with a dropkick on Nakamura. Kalisto showed up with his mask on with pants and a jacket. Kalisto complained that his teammates forgot him. Anyway, the show went to break about 20 seconds into this match.
The match returned with Corbin stomping on Metalik with the help of his partners. Cesaro hit a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Nakamura grabbed a headlock, then knocked Dorado off the apron. Metalik countered a Nakamura move into a spinning DDT. Riddle got the tag for his team against Corbin with two forearms and an overhead suplex. Riddle missed a moonsault, but then hit a broton and ran the ropes with a running kick to the chest. Nakamura broke up the pin, then Dorado with a Stunner off the ropes and Cesaro tagged in leading to a two count on Riddle, but Dorado broke that up. Metalik hit an impressive dive over the top onto Corbin. Kalisto wit ha kick on Dorado by accident because he wanted to kick Cesaro. Riddle hit Cesaro with the Final Flash knee and then the Bro Derek slam on Cesaro got the pinfall win after about eight minutes…bro.
Winners by pinfall: Matt Riddle, Kalisto and Gran Metalik
Analysis: **1/2 It was a way to give Riddle a win after losing clean to Corbin last week. I would have rather seen Riddle pin Corbin instead of Cesaro there, but I understand why they did it this way to build to another Riddle/Corbin match most likely. It was the usual WWE tag team match where a bunch of big moves happen right before the finish.
Post match, Kalisto went into the ring to raise Riddle’s hand as the winners. Dorado didn’t like that, so he shoved Kalisto due to Kalisto kicking him in the face. Riddle separated them as the camera cut away.
Analysis: The Lucha House Party problems continue even when they win a match.
A video aired about Bayley’s story with Sasha Banks, which saw Banks beat on Bayley with a steel chair and kendo stick at Clash of Champions this past Sunday.
Sasha Banks made her entrance in some street clothes including really tight pants and a neckbrace to sell her injury.
There was a video about Carmella as we got to hear her voice and then they showed some images of her in action. The "mystery" is over. Carmella said that she got a little lost along the way, but she knows who to blame. Carmella blamed the fans for making her dance around and have fun, but look at where that got her. Carmella said she’s better than each and every one of us. Carmella said she is not our princess anymore. Carmella said it didn’t matter if she’s drafted to Raw or Smackdown – she’s untouchable unless she doesn’t want to be.
Analysis: There’s the big reveal that we all figured out weeks ago. Carmella did the same classic heel thing that Sami Zayn did by blaming the fans for something. It’s what heels do. I assume that Carmella will still be on Smackdown with boyfriend Corey Graves on this show as well. I doubt Cole or Graves will be moved from Smackdown, but I could be wrong about that.
Let’s Hear from Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks said that you would think Bayley would learn how to have a backbone. Banks told Bayley she is nothing but a coward. Banks looked into the hard camera saying that Bayley was using her every step of the way to become the longest-reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion in history. Banks said she knows that Bayley isn’t there because Bayley is scared of Sasha. Banks told Bayley that next week, it is going to be Banks against Bayley for what Bayley loves the most – the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Banks said when it comes down to them and there is nobody there to save Bayley (she took off the neckbrace): “You don’t stand a chance, bitch.”
Analysis: Great promo without going too long. A lot of intensity shown by Banks there. That’s exactly what it needed to be. It’s also a big match next week with Banks facing Bayley although I would not expect a clean finish to that match.
Sami Zayn entered for the IC Title match main event.
The 2020 WWE Draft begins next Friday, October 9 on Smackdown and concludes Monday, October 12 on Raw. WWE still has yet to give details on the format.
Next week on Smackdown: Kevin Owens vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (The Fiend’s first match on Smackdown), Big E vs. Sheamus in a Falls Count Anywhere Match and Bayley defends the Smackdown Women’s Title against Sasha Banks.
Analysis: Big show for part one of the WWE Draft. I expect Bayley vs. Banks at Hell in a Cell in a HIAC match, so there will probably be a cheap ending to help them get there. Big E should beat Sheamus and I assume The Fiend beats Owens.
Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn vs. Jeff Hardy
They did a spot where Zayn went for a leapfrog, but Jeff stopped him with a boot to the ribs. The top turnbuckle pad was removed early on with Zayn removing it and the announcers just realized it. Hardy with a back body drop, which led to Zayn going to the floor. Hardy wondered where the turnbuckle pad was and the referee didn’t know. Hardy kicked Zayn into the announce table. Hardy went for a running attack on the floor, Zayn moved and Hardy went crashing into the barricade as the show went to break.
They were back in the ring with Hardy hitting a jawbreaker, then he bounced off the ropes and Zayn hit a clothesline for two. A replay was shown from Jeff’s entrance with Zayn taking off the turnbuckle pad and throwing it away. Jeff tried to break free from a chinlock, but Zayn took him down by grabbing the head. Zayn kept going for pin attempts with Jeff kicking out and Sami was frustrated. Zayn went to the middle rope and hit an elbow to the back of the head for two. Zayn did a slow climb to the top rope, but Jeff was there to trip him up to crotch Sami across the top. Hardy went up top with Zayn and delivered a superplex with Zayn writhing in pain since he had his ribs taped up. Hardy with a forearm, then an inverted atomic drop, basement dropkick and a splash for a two count. Hardy does that sequence in every match for a two count as part of his comeback. Zayn countered a Twist of Fate attempt into a backslide, Hardy countered a Blue Thunder Bomb into a sunset flip for two. That was really close as Zayn got back up and hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn looked up at the turnbuckle that he exposed earlier in the match. Hardy blocked a whip into the turnbuckle, then a spin kick to the ribs by Hardy and Zayn avoided a corner attack leading to a Blue Thunder Bomb by Zayn for a two count. Hardy knocked down Zayn while on the top rope and Hardy went for a Swanton Bomb, but Zayn blocked it by getting his knees up. Zayn charged, Hardy moved, Zayn stopped himself at the turnbuckle, they each avoided hitting the steel on the turnbuckle and Zayn tripped up Zayn on the turnbuckle with Hardy hitting his head against the exposed steel. The referee saw it, but there was no disqualification for it. Zayn covered Hardy for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Analysis: ***1/4 The new Sami Zayn style of matches is to find ways to do something cheap to win. I don’t mind it at all because I like heels that do that. I doubt most people watching thought that Jeff Hardy was going to win the title back, so it was the right result even if it wasn’t clean. You could make a case that the referee should have disqualified Zayn for using the exposed steel, but I think you can chalk it up to the referee having no choice because he had no idea where the turnbuckle pad went when Jeff mentioned it earlier. I’m all for Zayn as the crafty IC Champion. I’m excited to see where things go from here.
Zayn celebrated with the IC TItle while Hardy was down selling the bump into the steel. Zayn was kissing the IC Title and that was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jey Uso
- AJ Styles
- Sami Zayn/Jeff Hardy
7 out of 10
Last week: 7
2020 Average: 6.38
It was another pretty good episode of Smackdown that goes by fast in two hours. I thought the opening match between Jey Uso/AJ Styles and the main event of Sami Zayn/Jeff Hardy were the best matches. I really liked the opening promo with Roman Reigns and Jey setting up another match with reason teasing some sort of major stipulation. There was an advancement of Alexa Bliss’s new character as well with The Fiend joining her in the ring after he attacked Kevin Owens. I loved that fired up promo from Sasha Banks. There was no women's division match this week, but at least some of them got promo time including Carmella re-appearing on the show. They set up three big matches for next week's WWE Draft (Part 1) episode, so that’s nice to see as well. Smackdown is clearly better than Raw right now, but that all might change after the WWE Draft is done.
Any time somebody loses a match on Smackdown this week or Raw on Monday you can certainly make the "maybe they are moving to the other show in the draft" prediction. Then again, stuff changes randomly all the time. It’s hard to predict WWE things these days since they don’t follow their own rules for things like that.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, October 25. There’s nothing official right now although Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso was mentioned on Smackdown.