Live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin this is Smackdown Live for episode #948. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top with a shoutout to Steven Seagal too!

The opening video package showed clips from Raw including Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon talking backstage. It showed the end of Raw when Smackdown’s superstars invaded Raw and beat up most of the Raw talent. The video took about four minutes.

Let’s Hear From Shane McMahon

Shane McMahon, Smackdown’s Commissioner, made his entrance. He was cheered. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were shown on camera. Cole is filling in for Tom Phillips, who is “on assignment” again according to Cole. The graphic actually said “Tom Phillips” instead of Cole, so that was weird.

Shane got a nice ovation when he asked Milwaukee what’s up. Shane said that over the last two weeks he’s been going through some physical rehab, but he’s happy to be back in the ring and back in charge. Fans chanted “welcome back” for him. It was only two weeks, people.

Shane mentioned Survivor Series on November 19 that will include Raw vs. Smackdown matches. Shane said he learned at an early age when you get in a fight it’s better to strike first. Shane said that they were willing to give AJ Styles to Raw for TLC and Raw because they knew exactly what they were going to do. Shane said that Kurt should have been more leery when Shane visited him and then Kurt had the audacity (Shane said o-dacity) to insult the Smackdown roster saying they couldn’t level up and weren’t as good as Raw. The crowd booed. What Kurt didn’t know is the Smackdown talent was waiting, which led to #UnderSiege being unleashed and the fans chanted “under siege” for that. Shane said they caught Raw by surprise, but they won’t be surprised by them because they are ready.

Analysis: Shane covered everything well with an explanation of what happened on Raw with Smackdown wanting to strike first in the battle with Raw. He did what he needed to do.

Sami Zayn interrupted Shane. Sami did some obnoxious dancing on his way to the ring and in the ring. Sami mentioned what happened at Hell in a Cell and wanted a handshake, but Shane pushed the hand away. Shane went over Sami helping Kevin Owens because he was concerned with KO’s health and how they put Shane’s well being at risk. Shane also talked about Sami putting Owens on top of him to win. Shane said there are a lot of hard feelings.

Zayn told Shane that if he was a competitor then Sami would take him out in one second and he would leave him hurting worse than what happened at Hell in a Cell. Zayn said that his brother Kevin Owens and him decided that they will be a part of Smackdown Live’s team at Survivor Series. Zayn said they are fearless leaders and the rest of the guys can follow. Zayn claimed that Shane needed them to be a part of Smackdown’s team at Survivor Series. Zayn once again said that Sami and Kevin volunteer themselves for Survivor Series.

Shane said he didn’t want or need Kevin and Sami representing Smackdown at Survivor Series. Shane said that he’s going to give Sami an opportunity since it’s the Land of Opportunity. If Sami beats his opponent then he can be on the Survivor Series team. Sami wanted to know who it is. Shane told Sami that tonight he’s going one on one with “The Viper” Randy Orton. The crowd cheered. Shane left.

Analysis: Good promo by both guys. Followed the usual formula of the opening promo to set up a match for later. Zayn continues to be very entertaining as a heel, which I wouldn’t have expected a few weeks ago, but he is thriving in this role. Zayn is showing a lot of charisma as well as cockiness as a heel, so it’s really entertaining to watch him and how he reacts to the fans booing him. Plus, Zayn was barely visibile as a face, so it’s so nice to see him playing a much more important role.

Coming up later is AJ Styles vs. Sunil Singh. The New Day was shown walking backstage. There was “raw fruit” on a table, so they threw it in the trash since they don’t like Raw. They face Benjamin and Gable up next.

A commercial aired for the Total Bellas season finale. That’s good because I’m sick of the commercials.

(Commercial)

The Usos, Smackdown’s Tag Team Champions, joined the commentary team for the next match.

The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods made their entrance. They didn’t do a pre-match promo. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable made their entrance. A clip aired from their quick backstage promo from last week.

The New Day’s Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston (w/Big E) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable

This match is presented by Jolly Rancher so Cole said, “keep on sucking.” It’s the catchphrase and also describes Cole’s announcing. He’s not that bad, really. The Usos were ranting on commentary. Benjamin hit a monkey flip on Kingston, but Kingston landed on his feet. Kingston did it to him and Benjamin landed on his feet. Kingston kicked the knee of Benjamin, Woods tagged in and hit an elbow drop off the middle rope for two. Kingston back in, Benjamin sent Kingston into the ropes and Benjamin hit a clothesline that sent Kingston over the top to the floor as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Kingston hit a DDT on Benjamin as Woods got the tag against Gable. The Usos said they already beat American Alpha and then said this is the sequel. That was funny. Woods hit a dropkick to the back of Gable. Rolling kick by Gable connected on Woods for two count. Double team lifting suplex by Gable and Benjamin got a two count on Woods. Comeback by Woods with a forearm on Benjamin followed by a knee to the head. Benjamin picked up Woods and hit a spinebuster. Gable got the tag, Kingston knocked Benjamin out of the ring and Gable with a clothesline off the top on Kingston. The ref tried to get Kingston out of the ring, so Gable shoved Woods into the ropes, Benjamin kicked Woods in the back and Gable covered Woods for the win. It went about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable

After the match, The Usos were on commentary saying that Benjamin & Gable cheated, which is true.

Analysis: **3/4 Pretty good match with a weak finish. I don’t mind the cheap finish although it would have been better if it was something more than just a kick to the back. Why does a kick to the back pin somebody? It shouldn’t be a finish even though it was a surprise. I can understand not wanting to hurt New Day by having them take the finisher of Benjamin/Gable, but that finish could have been better. I think the right team went over, though, so it was successful in that regard.

The Smackdown women Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Lana and Carmella were bickering backstage. It feels like WWE books them to argue with eachother every week or every other week. Smackdown’s General Manager Daniel Bryan walked up to them. Carmella said James Ellsworth was missing. Bryan said that all of them will be on the Smackdown team. Lana said there’s six of them, so Bryan said not her. That was mean, but fair. Bryan said that last year the Raw women won, but he felt confident in Smackdown winning. Charlotte Flair volunteered as the leader. The other women didn’t like that. Bryan put them in a Fatal 5-Way match and the winner of that match will be Smackdown’s team captain.

Analysis: Another multi-woman match to determine a captain just like on Raw. It also feels like they have done a women’s 5-Way match within the last month or two. I can’t remember because they do them so often.

Fashion Dogs video is up next.

(Commercial)

The “you suck” moment sponsored by Jolly Rancher showed Kurt Angle spraying milk on The Alliance back in 2001. Milk-o-Mania was running wild, brother.

The announcers spoke on camera with Cole noting that security was all around the arena.

Fashion Dogs

This time it is a parody of the movie Resevoir Dogs starring Fandango, Tyler Breeze and The Ascension, who are in their wrestling gear. They argued about being Mr. Pink. James Ellsworth was shown tied up in a chair. Konnor and Viktor captured him. Konnor had a tank that said “GAS” on it and then he drank some of it. They took tape off Ellsworth’s mouth and he just barked at them. Carmella walked in with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Fandango opened up the MITB briefcase and pulled out some dirty underwear that they said belonged to Ellsworth. Fandango put it on his shoulders. The Ascension told them that the Bludgeon Brothers are the one that have attacked. Breeze couldn’t figure out the 2B thing and then said “B in brothers is silent.” Fandango said things are bout to get stranger-er and Breeze said Stranger-er Things. It’s Stranger-er Things next week.

Analysis: This was something we had known for a few weeks with the “2B” thing in the office, so perhaps this will lead to a match between the Bludgeon Brothers and Breezango. If not, the skits will continue with no end in sight. The skit wasn’t very funny aside from Breeze being an idiot. I don’t watch Stranger Things, so I won’t get the references next week.

Baron Corbin entered with his United States Title. He taunted the fans at ringside with it. Show went to break there.

(Commercial)

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon were backstage in the office. Bryan asked Shane why he did what he did on Raw. Shane said sometimes he has to make decisions. Bryan said he understands that Shane is the boss, but he thought they were a team that made decisions together. Bryan walked off looking frustrated.

Analysis: I’m not sure if this angle is going to lead to Shane becoming a heel authority figure, but I would be okay with it. Having so many face authority figures is pretty boring.

Sin Cara made his entrance. He beat Corbin by countout last week.

Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara

Corbin was very aggressive as he launched Cara across the ring. Corbin shoved Cara back first into the turnbuckle. Cara got his feet up, kicked him in the face, punches and a springboard back elbow by Sin Cara. Corbin was sent out of the ring, so Sin Cara hit him with two suicide dives that sent Corbin back first into the barricade. Back in the ring, Cara hit a missile dropkick for a two count. Corbin left the ring to take a break. Corbin stomped away on Cara in the corner followed by punches. Corbin wouldn’t stop punching, so Corbin was disqualified after five seconds of not stopping the punches. The match went about three minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Sin Cara

Analysis: *1/2 That means that Sin Cara has beat Corbin two weeks in a row. It should mean that Sin Cara gets a title shot even though he was unable to pin Corbin both times. This is a booking thing WWE does once in a while where a guy gets wins without getting pinfalls, but he is declared the winner of matches and then gets a title shot out of it. I don’t expect there to be a title change in this feud. It’s just something to keep Corbin busy for a few weeks.

Post match, Corbin left while Sin Cara was tended to by the ref. Corbin pulled Sin Cara out of the ring and hit the End of Days slam on the floor. That drew a big reaction because it’s a great looking move.

Analysis: Good attack there. Corbin is better at beating people up when he’s not in a match rather than when he’s in an actual match. It’s just something about him and the way he carries himself as a bullying type of heel.

There was a shot of one of the exits in the arena with Cole noting there could be retaliation from Raw tonight.

AJ Styles vs. Sunil Singh is next.

(Commercial)

There was a commercial for new episodes of Ride Along on WWE Network.

Analysis: I watched the new version uploaded on Monday with Rollins/Reigns/Ambrose and Bayley/Banks. Boring episode. At least other episodes people tell interesting stories, but none of them did.

Video package aired about the Smackdown Live roster doing their #UnderSiege attack on Raw. It included cell phone promos from the talent that they posted to social media.

Sunil and Samir Singh did the introduction for WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, who was in a suit. They added the word “undisputed” before WWE Champion to take a shot at Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Mahal faces Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series.

A clip aired from Heyman’s promo on Raw ripping on Mahal and saying that he’s going to Suplex City at Survivor Series. A mild “Suplex City” chant started, but it didn’t get far.

Mahal said that unlike the used car salesman Paul Heyman, he will tell us the truth. Mahal said he started at the bottom and now he’s the most powerful man in WWE. Mahal bragged about beating Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura while noting these people don’t give him respect like the 1.3 billion people of India. Mahal said that he is not Lesnar’s equal, contemporary or counterpart – Mahal said he is Lesnar’s worst nightmare. Mahal said at Survivor Series he will prove to all of us why the Maharajah Era has only just begun.

Analysis: It was the typical average Mahal promo. He says how great he is, the fans don’t really believe it and he gets some heel heat, but it’s not a lot. Heyman’s promo was on another level compared to this. I’m not excited for Lesnar vs. Jinder at all.

Mahal said that as for tonight, his loyal brother Sunil Singh will face AJ Styles and here comes Styles.

AJ Styles vs. Sunil Singh (w/Jinder Mahal & Samir Singh)

Sunil is wrestling in a tank top and dress pants. Ref Mike Chioda sent Mahal to the locker room.

Styles hit Sunil with a forearm and a headbutt. Samir on the apron, so Styles whipped Sunil into Samir’s chest and knocked him down. Styles slapped the Calf Crusher on Sunil for the submission win in less than one minute.

Winner by submission: AJ Styles

Analysis: 1/2* It was what it needed to be with Styles winning in dominant fashion. Sunil didn’t get in any offense.

Sami Zayn was in the locker room when Kevin Owens showed up in the locker room. Owens said he had a qualifying match next week for the Survivor Series team and he would be against Shinsuke Nakamura. Zayn said it’s perfect, so they can qualify and Smackdown Live becomes Kevin and Sami. Kevin corrected him saying Team Sami and Kevin.

Analysis: Good to see Owens there after he left the Smackdown live events earlier in the week due to a family matter. Things must be better if he’s at the show. Whenever heels are that confident it usually doesn’t turn out well for them. The end had some Owens/Jericho similarities except this time they said the other guy’s name first.

The women’s five-way match is next.

(Commercial)

There was a shot of Daniel Bryan in his office. Jinder Mahal walked in with the Singh Brothers. Mahal said that Samir Singh is going to face AJ Styles next week. Bryan seemed okay with it, so it’s on for next week.

The Smackdown Women’s Champion Natalya showed up at ringside with her title and she was in a dress. She brought the ring announcer Greg Hamilton in the ring and he announced her as “the greatest superstar of the entire Hart family” among other things and then said Natalya’s name. Natalya left so the match could begin.

Fatal 5-Way: Tamina (w/Lana) vs. Carmella (w/James Ellsworth) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Naomi vs. Charlotte Flair

First fall wins. Winner gets to captain the Smackdown women’s team at Survivor Series.

The ring was cleared early and Tamina hit a Samoan Drop on Carmella leading to a break. The action continued in the US during the commercial, but there’s a commercial here in Canada.

(Commercial)

When the action returned from break, the women were brawling outside the ring. Charlotte nailed Tamina with chops followed by a running kick to the head of Carmella. Charlotte hit a fallaway slam on Tamina on the floor. Lynch nailed Charlotte with a forearm off the apron. Naomi hit a slingshot dive over the top onto Lynch. Naomi tried a hurricanrana, Charlotte caught her and sent her into the barricade. Lana attacked Charlotte from behind, Charlotte hit her with a forearm and Tamina capitalized with a superkick on Charlotte. Tamina sent Charlotte over the barricade into the crowd or “into the WWE Universe” as Cole says because he is a robot trained to talk like how Vince wants him to. Naomi kicked Tamina to knock her down. Naomi got a two count on Lynch with a rollup. Carmella sent Naomi hard into the ring post. That sounded bad. Carmella superkick on Lynch got a two count. Good nearfall there. The crowd was chanting for Becky. Carmella was mad about her nearfall, so Lynch tripped her up and slapped on the Disarmer submission to win after seven minutes.

Winner by submission: Becky Lynch

The win means that Lynch is the captain of the Smackdown women’s team at Survivor Series.

Analysis: **1/4 The match was okay, but they have had better multi-women matches on this show. I liked the intensity of it as they brawled on the floor after returning from the break and had a good sequence out there. It looked like Charlotte might win until Tamina dumped her into the crowd to get rid of her. Lynch didn’t get much offense in until she won the match, so it was a crafty win for her. The captains of these teams are pretty irrelevant, but I guess it’s a talking point and that’s why they had the match. As for Carmella, it feels like she has lost every match since winning Money in the Bank. It’s probably not every match, but she loses way more than she wins.

There was another shot of the EXIT door in the arena teasing a possible attack.

Up next is Zayn vs. Orton.

(Commercial)

A video aired about the Bludgeon Brothers – Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. It was similar to the others where they were in a forest.

Dolph Ziggler was interviewed by Renee Young in the interview area. Ziggler was a jerk talking about how people only cared about interviews where people recite a cool catchphrase so he teased a Rock catchphrase. Ziggler said “told you so” is his new catchphrase as he ripped on Bobby Roode for not being able to hang with him while saying “told you so” repeatedly. Ziggler bragged about how last week he beat Bobby Roode. That led to Roode showing up. Ziggler said that they were in the same group of people that beat people on Raw and said they are not friends. Roode said they are not friends. Roode said he had the time of his life fighting on Raw. Roode figured they should have one more match since they each have a win. Ziggler said he beat him once, then said twice and Roode said he’s onto something. Roode suggested a match next week on Smackdown Live: Roode vs. Ziggler in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Ziggler said he’s in and that Roode will be embarrassed when he loses twice in one night. Ziggler left. Roode said next week will be glorious.

Analysis: That should be a good match. Ziggler mentioned catchphrases in that promo and Roode ended it with his catchphrase. Funny how that works huh? Their first two matches were a bit disappointing in terms of how they were structured and then the second match was too short. A 2/3 Falls match should have a better story and get more time as well. That means next week’s show has Roode vs. Ziggler and Owens vs. Nakamura. Two pretty good matches on Halloween. I saw on WWE’s Twitter that the winner of this match is also on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. It should be a win for Roode.

Sami Zayn made his entrance. I love the heel version of his dancing entrance. I had said in the past that he should change the theme song, but now I hope they keep it long term.

Analysis: On another note, Zayn never got to main event as a face even though he was so good as a face. Now as a heel, he has main evented three weeks in a row. Thanks WWE.

Randy Orton made his entrance to a nice ovation. The announcers hyped up the idea of Orton wanting revenge about Zayn pinning Orton last week after he hit a low blow that the ref didn’t see. It went to break as he did his poses in the ring.

(Commercial)

Next week: Ziggler vs. Roode in 2/3 Falls match and Nakamura vs. Owens in a qualifying match for the Survivor Series team. Also Styles vs. Samir, which they didn’t mention. It’s Halloween next Tuesday, but they made no mention of that.

Analysis: Those are very good matches. I also expect the Raw roster to invade Smackdown next week. There are no house shows next week, so WWE will likely have the Raw crew on the road for Monday and Tuesday to do the invasion. The following week both crews are in England and it would be hard to have both crews on the same show because they are booked for live events.

Randy Orton vs. Sami Zayn

Zayn was hilarious as he backed Orton into the corner and did some mock dancing. Zayn nailed Orton with chops, so Orton destroyed him with an uppercut. That sounded painful. Two more uppercuts by Orton slowed Zayn down. When Orton sent Zayn into the ropes, Zayn went to the floor and Orton brought him back in the ring. Zayn dropkick knocked down Orton. When Orton whipped Zayn into the barricade, Zayn jumped on top of the barricade and jumped back with a moonsault to take down Orton. Great spot as they went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Zayn had Orton grounded, Orton broke free and Zayn hit a leaping side kick to the head for a two count. Orton nailed a suplex where he draped Zayn’s stomach across the top rope. Orton hit with clotheslines followed by a snap powerslam. They battled by the ropes with Zayn pulling Orton out of the ring. Orton with a back suplex onto the announce table like he tends to do. Orton sent Zayn back in the ring for a two count. Orton hit an exploder suplex for a two count. Zayn broke free a bit with a kick followed by a cross body block off the top rope for a two count. Backslide by Zayn got a two count. Boot to the face by Zayn. Orton went after Zayn on the top rope and Orton hit a huge superplex off the top rope for a two count. Great nearfall even though that move doesn’t usually win a match, but it looked great. Zayn left the ring, Orton went after him and Zayn sent Orton into the ring post. Zayn did his sweet looking DDT after he dove through the ropes and connected with the DDT on the floor. Zayn went back in the ring and Orton beat the ref’s count to get back in. Zayn missed his Helluva Kick in the corner leading to Orton hitting a draping DDT off the ropes. Kevin Owens ran down to the ring, rollup up by Zayn and that got a two count. Owens was on the apron, ref told him to get down, so Orton hit an uppercut low blow to Zayn that the ref never saw. Drew a big reaction. Orton slowly picked Zayn back up and hit a RKO (that wasn’t out of nowhere, but still very effective) for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

The win by Orton means he’s on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. It doesn’t make him the captain, but he’s on the team.

Analysis: ***1/2 Really good match with a sense of revenge by Orton with the low blow leading to the win just like Zayn did in the tag match last week. I loved the way the match was structured and they got plenty of time to tell a story. It was booked in a way where it was more of a 50/50 match rather than one of them was in control for most it. Zayn brings out the best in Orton reminding me a lot of the Orton/Christian feud in 2011 that was one of Orton’s best. Love that Zayn got to do his DDT spot on the floor with a guy like Orton because that’s such a big move in Zayn’s arsenal. Finish was clever with Owens accidentally costing Zayn the win by distracting the ref, which allowed Orton to hit the deadly low blow and the RKO to win. Good booking. It went exactly the way it should have even though I like Sami more. It was right to have Orton get revenge in that manner.

Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were talking in their office. Shane said that Orton is the first member of Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. Bryan said he thought Raw would attack, but not tonight. Shane was happy about that. Bryan said they didn’t attack tonight, but they will eventually and Shane would have to be prepared for the consequences because that’s in his job description. Bryan left as the show ended with Shane left to think about what Bryan said.

Analysis: They spent all show teasing the Raw crew invading Smackdown, but it didn’t happen. It ended with the guys running the show talking about the invasion and teasing it happening in the future. Smart way to end it because it gives people something to think about next week.

As for the Survivor Series team, Nakamura will likely beat Owens next week, which would mean Orton, Nakamura and Roode (after he beats Ziggler) would be on it. I’m surprised that they would keep both Owens and Zayn off, but there will likely be a twist. AJ Styles is another name to consider, so that’s six. Owens and Zayn are the top heels on the show (sorry Jinder), so they need to be featured in the match. Perhaps WWE goes another route and puts on a match like Styles vs. Zayn since they will probably need a singles match or two.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Sami Zayn – Love heel Sami. Much better character than he was before and also utilized much better.
  2. Randy Orton – Good match. Think Zayn is the perfect kind of opponent for him.
  3. Becky Lynch

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 6

2017 Average: 6.70

Average Post Brand Split (July 26, 2016): 6.61 – Raw is at 5.86

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 6.5, (No Review), 5.5, 6, 4

2017 High: 8.5 (April 11, August 1)

2017 Low: 4 (August 29)

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7 out of 10.

I thought it was a fun show thanks to an enjoyable main event match, the tag team match in the first hour was very well done and the women’s match was solid. There wasn’t anything that was that bad on the show this week. I can understand if some fans were mad that there wasn’t a Raw invasion, but why give it away the next night? Save it and build it up for possibly next week. There’s no need to rush it.

They also set up two big matches for next week with Nakamura taking on Owens and Roode vs. Ziggler in a 2/3 Falls match. There’s also AJ Styles vs. Samir Singh in what should be another classic! Or not. Anyway, I like the way they are setting up matches a week ahead.

The next WWE PPV is Survivor Series on Sunday, November 19. Here’s what we know.

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal

Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin

Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos

Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Natalya

Raw’s 5 men vs. Smackdown’s 5 men (Randy Orton is on the team)

Raw’s 5 women captained by Alicia Fox vs. Smackdown’s 5 women (Becky Lynch as captain, Charlotte Flair, Tamina, Naomi & Carmella)

There will probably be some singles matches between people that are on the same brand, so Braun Strowman vs. Kane is likely as well.

That’s all for now. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.

My contact info is below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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