Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Review right here on TJRWrestling for the third episode of Friday Night Smackdown on Fox. It’s also the first episode following the 2019 WWE Draft, which concluded after last week’s Smackdown and this past Monday’s Raw. They also did free agent moves where WWE assigned wrestlers to a roster. What all that means is that the new, regular Smackdown crew is in place starting tonight and going forward. Here’s what WWE has advertised for Smackdown tonight.
* Shinsuke Nakamura defending the Intercontinental Championship against Roman Reigns in the opening match.
* The New Day and Heavy Machinery vs. The Revival and Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler.
* Six-Pack Challenge: Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Nikki Cross, Sonya Deville, Carmella and Lacey Evans. The winner gets a future Smackdown Women’s Title shot against Bayley.
* Miz TV with Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley as the guest.
Live from Indianapolis, Indiana, this is Smackdown for episode #1052. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The Smackdown intro video aired. Now that the WWE Draft is over, it only featured people that are on Smackdown along with some legends like Steve Austin, Triple H and The Undertaker to name a few.
The pyro went off on the stage and that’s always a good thing because it gets the crowd excited. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show because he’s on commentary with Corey Graves.
Roman Reigns made his entrance as the challenger for the Intercontinental Title. I like the graphics they have on screen for the entrances. It’s a good way to show the accomplishments of the wrestlers and inform the audience.
The announcers ran down some of the things still to come on the show. Cole and Graves talked about how some superstars were upset that Reigns was the first pick on Smackdown to try to get a storyline out of the draft that took place. The Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance along with his buddy Sami Zayn.
Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn) vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns locked up with Nakamura and Zayn went on commentary to say he was the liberator of Nakamura instead of a business associate. Nakamura worked over Reigns with knee strikes followed by a knee drop while Zayn complained about the draft order while saying that he and Nakamura should be picked above Reigns. There was a back elbow by Reigns, then he sent Nakamura into the turnbuckle, an uppercut by Reigns and a Samoan Drop got a two count. Zayn checked on Nakamura at ringside, Reigns went for the Drive By kick, Zayn pulled Nakamura out of the way and Reigns hit the apron. Nakamura followed with a kick on Reigns on the floor, which led to a break.
The match continued with Nakamura still in control with a headlock. It looked like Reigns was bleeding from the mouth, so it could be from a tooth or a lip. Reigns charged, Nakamura with a kick, but Reigns came back with an uppercut, a clothesline and a leaping clothesline. Reigns did the ten clothesline spot against the turnbuckle followed by a boot to the face. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Nakamura caught the arm and slapped on an armbar, which he turned into a triangle choke. Reigns powered out leading to a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. The fans were really getting into the match. Zayn wanted Cole to talk about Nakamura’s resiliency instead of singing the praises of Reigns. Sorry, but Cole is a robot that does what he’s told. Zayn went on the apron to distract Reigns, Nakamura capitalized with a kick while Reigns was against the ropes and a snap German Suplex by Nakamura. Reigns got back to his feet and hit a Superman Punch for a two count, which is what that move usually gets, but people are still shocked by it. Reigns set up in the corner, but Baron Corbin showed up with the scepter and hit Reigns in the back with it for the DQ finish. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns (Shinsuke Nakamura remains IC Champion)
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match as expected from these two and the DQ was also expected if you read my preview of the show. I’m glad that Nakamura is still the champion because he’s doing really well in the spot. The fans really got into the match as it got going and they built up the nearfalls, but they probably figured it would have a cheap ending too. The Corbin/Reigns thing was teased on Twitter earlier in the day with some Corbin trash talk.
Post match, Corbin hit the Deep Six slam on Reigns. Daniel Bryan ran out for the save, he punched Corbin and Nakamura. Bryan sent Corbin out of the ring and hit a missile dropkick on Nakamura. Bryan was fired up, but when he ran the ropes, Zayn grabbed Bryan’s leg. Nakamura got back in the ring and hit a Kinshasa on Bryan, which Cole called a “running knee” as if the move doesn’t have a name. The heels left while Reigns and Bryan were in the ring selling the attacks.
Analysis: I assume this leads to Reigns feuding with Corbin as his main rivalry. I’m also ready for a Bryan vs. Nakamura feud. That one should be a lot of fun. As for this week’s show, it set up an obvious tag team match.
There was a graphic shown on the screen showing the new Smackdown roster following the WWE Draft. Here it is.
The New Day trio were in the locker room. Tucker showed up saying they need to build some camaraderie. Kofi Kingston said he’s got the power of positivity after losing the WWE Title. Otis showed up with some pancake batter, Tucker put some Protein Powder (that was labeled “Protein Powder”) and Otis drank some of the batter mix. They all chanted “New Day Rocks” together.
A video aired featuring WWE’s women talking about the fight against breast cancer.
Baron Corbin aka King Corbin was shown backstage walking when Kayla Braxton asked if he had anything to say. Corbin put his crown on and he left without saying a word.
Shorty Gable made his entrance. They showed a video package of people making short jokes about him. Did that really need a video package? It was silly. Anyway, Cole said Gable was embracing the name.
Shorty Gable vs. Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas)
Gable with an arm drag takedown. Dallas grabbed the legs of Gable, so Axel stomped away. Running neckbreaker by Axel like his dad Mr. Perfect used to do. Gable came back with a rolling pin attempt. Gable kicked Dallas to prevent him from interfering. Gable avoided a move, tripped up Axel and slapped on the Ankle Lock for the submission win after two minutes.
Winner by submission: Shorty Gable
Analysis: * Easy win for Gable, who continues to get a mild push. I’m glad Shorty is getting matches nearly every week. I hope it continues.
After the match, Gable was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the ring. Gable said that the people that mocked him are what drive him and he’s embracing who he is. Gable said we all have insecurities, but you can overcome and you should accept who you are. “I’m Shorty Gable…actually let’s shorten that up…I’m Shorty G.”
Analysis: It’s a new name for Gable. I don’t think it was needed, but that’s what it is. I guess we can be less mad about it since Shorty G has embraced the new name he has for himself. It’s a gimmick that will allow him to relate to the fans that think they’re too short. I was the tallest kid in school most of my life, so I can’t relate, but as I said above I’m all for anything that gets good wrestlers like Shorty G on the show. Would I have done the name change? Nope, but here we are.
There were tweets from Ric Flair talking trash to Hulk Hogan about their 5 on 5 match at Crown Jewel.
Hulk Hogan was interviewed via Skype by Cole and Graves. The fans cheered. Hogan said he’s been chasing Flair around since Graves was in diapers. Hogan said he’s got the whole WWE locker room wanting to be on his team, so don’t worry who is on his team. Hogan said that Shorty G and Ali will be on the team, but at the end of the show we’ll learn the team captain. Hogan said he wants to kick Flair’s ass again.
Analysis: Good spot for Shorty G and Ali being on Hogan’s team. The team captain is likely a Big Dog.
Heavy Machinery made their entrance for the eight-man tag team match. The New Day trio entered to join Heavy Machinery for this match. Kofi Kingston continues to look happy for a guy that lost the WWE Title because of the “Power of Positivity” that exists.
The heel teams of Roode/Ziggler and The Revival made their entrance. It was funny because Otis was dancing with New Day as well.
The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) and Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) and Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Ziggler with a dropkick on Tucker, then Tucker came back with his own dropkick. Otis and Tucker each hit suplexes on Roode and Ziggler. Otis and Big E, after some gyrating, hit a double belly to belly suplex on The Revival guys. Woods followed up with a somersault dive onto The Revival out of the ring. Roode and Ziggler hit a spinebuster/Zig Zag combo on Woods on the floor.
The match returned with Woods as the face in peril. Woods was isolated in the heel corner and Woods hit an enziguri kick to the head of Dawson. Ziggler and Roode pulled the faces on the apron off the apron to prevent a tag. Wilder tagged in with an elbow drop on Woods for two. Cole mentioned Smackdown would be on Fox Sports 1 next week. That’s because regular Fox has the MLB World Series next Friday. It’s the only week where Smackdown won’t be on Fox. Ziggler tried a superplex on Woods, but Woods fought out of it with a headbutt and hit a missile dropkick. Otis got the hot tag as fans chanted his name. Otis with a shoulder tackle on legal man Roode, body slam by Otis on Ziggler, Otis punched The Revival off the apron, Roode attacked, Otis no-sold it and a headbutt on Roode. Otis charged, Dawson made a blind tag, Otis slammed down Ziggler and a fallaway slam on Roode. Otis with a clothesline on Dawson. Otis splashed Roode against the turnbuckle and followed up with the Caterpillar into an elbow drop. Dawson jumped off the top, Otis caught him and Tucker went in the ring, but Ziggler pulled Tucker out of the ring. Wilder knocked Dawson onto Otis for a two count. Tucker took out Roode and Ziggler with a double clothesline on the floor. Otis blocked a suplex, picked up Dawson, Big E put Dawson on the shoulders and Woods got the tag with the Midnight Hour double team move for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods and Heavy Machinery
Analysis: **3/4 It was a pretty good tag team match with Woods as the face in peril, Otis got the hot tag and New Day got the win. As soon as the match was announced, I figured the face team would go over and that’s exactly what happened. The New Day or Heavy Machinery could get a Tag Team Title match next, but they could go for a multi-team match too.
Later tonight on Smackdown: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event. That means Reigns and Nakamura work twice.
Analysis: It’s the Teddy Long holla holla holla tag team match special.
Daniel Bryan was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the backstage area. Bryan said he didn’t care about getting beat up, he didn’t care about Twitter beefs, he didn’t care about who got picked where and Bryan said he’s excited about his first match on Friday Night Smackdown. Bryan showed confidence as he left.
Analysis: I will miss heel Daniel Bryan, but I’m cool with him in any role because he’s the best wrestler in WWE.
Bayley was shown walking backstage with her Smackdown Women’s Title because she is up next.
A video aired about Ali talking about his goals in WWE where he wants to break down barriers and he wants the fans to find the light in the dark. Ali knows he’s the underdog, but he has hope and he has heart.
Miz TV with Bayley as the Guest
The Miz was in the ring to host Miz TV and he was wearing a suit. After a quick introduction, The Miz introduced Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley.
Bayley made her entrance to her new generic theme song because she has new theme music to go along with her shorter hair look. Sasha Banks joined her best friend. They were not in their wrestling gear. They all sat down on chairs in the ring.
Banks said she is there to support her best friend Bayley. When Miz said what Bayley did, Bayley noted she defeated Charlotte Flair to become a two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion. Banks noted that Bayley was the first Grand Slam Champion in WWE. That means Bayley won the Raw, Smackdown, Tag Team and I assume they’re referring to the NXT Title as well.
There was a video package that showed Bayley destroying her inflatable “Bayley buddies” balloons last week and then she beat Charlotte Flair to win the title. They inserted clips of fan reactions including a fan at home that was crying when Bayley was destroying the Bayley buddies. It ended with Bayley saying “screw all of you” to the fans.
The Miz asked Bayley “why?” and Bayley paused before answering. Bayley said she didn’t owe Miz or anyone an explanation. Miz asked Bayley about the kids that idolized and cheered her. Miz said are you champion that doesn’t talk, are you Brock Lesnar and is Sasha your Paul Heyman? Well played. Miz asked why Bayley did what she did, was it because of insecurities or maybe it was because of all her accolades, Bayley will play second fiddle to Banks. Banks ripped on Miz for getting drafted in the fifth round. Miz said it didn’t matter because when he talks, people listen. Miz said that Bayley slashed the Bayley Buddies to be relevant.
Bayley said she didn’t slash the Bayley Buddies to be relevant. She did it because of what “they” saw her as. Bayley said she gave high fives and hugs, but all “they” did was take. Bayley said that the night she won the Smackdown Women’s Championship, she said she would elevate the women’s division and she did exactly that. Bayley said that at Hell in a Cell when she lost her title, she was heartbroken, in pain and crying, but was anyone there for her to hug her? No. She said she put herself second to be a role model for their children, but when she needed them most, where were they? Bayley said that like the role model she is, she picked herself up and won her title back. Bayley said there was nobody there to give her a big hug. Bayley said that this division is lazy, it lacks desire, it lacks passion and she used to be what “they” wanted her to be. Bayley said that she has outgrown them. Bayley said if you want some inspiration: “Life sucks and then you die.” That’s a famous Vince McMahon line from about 19 years ago. That was the end of the promo.
Analysis: Bayley’s heel promo was what I expected because she kept talking about trying to impress “them” meaning the fans, but then she had to look out for herself. She didn’t rip on the fans as much as I expected, but it’s the same kind of heel turn promo we usually get. I think for her character it was fitting because she tried to please the fans as much as anybody.
The music of Nikki Cross hit after that. Nikki Cross showed up saying that the time for action is now. Cross talked about how she’s going to win this match and give Bayley a big hug.
Dana Brooke was next up making her Smackdown debut. Brooke said what fuels her passion and desire is being underutilized and overlooked. Brooke said tonight marks a new beginning and she can feel it. Brooke said that the Flex Appeal is here on Smackdown.
Analysis: It was a fine promo from Dana, who was barely on Raw this year. I was impressed by her matches on Main Event when she got a chance to show what she can do. She has improved.
Lacey Evans was up next as three of the six women were ready to go in the Six Pack Challenge match.
Carmella made her entrance. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville were already in the ring. I disapprove of not showing Mandy’s entrance. Just saying. Bayley and Sasha Banks were watching from ringside.
Six-Pack Challenge: Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Carmella vs. Lacey Evans vs. Nikki Cross vs. Dana Brooke
Evans went to the floor right away, Rose with a delayed suplex on Carmella and Deville with a running knee to the back of Carmella to send her out of the ring. Cross sent Deville into the turnbuckle, but Rose followed up with a clothesline. Rose and Deville were the only two women in the ring, so left the ring and Rose whipped Carmella into the barricade. Brooke hit a handspring into a back elbow on Rose and Deville. Evans took out Brooke with a clothesline. Evans tossed Cross back in the ring, Cross kicked Evans and Carmella hit a cross body block off the barricade onto Rose, Deville and Evans leading to a break.
The match returned with Deville and Rose doing a double team slam on Carmella. They showed a during the break spot where they did a triple suplex spot involving all six women. Carmella hit a running splash on Rose and Deville in the corner. Cross got a rollup on Carmella. Carmella hit a suicide dive on Rose and Deville on the floor. Cross was up top and hit a cross body block on Brooke, Rose and Deville on the floor. Evans whipped Cross into the steel steps. Evans with two boots to the face of Brooke. When Evans tried another attack, Brooke caught her and Brooke hit a Powerbomb on Evans. Brooke went up top and hit a Senton Bomb for a two count with Carmella and Rose making the save. Rose got a cover on Carmella for two. Carmella slapped on the Code of Silence submission, but Deville made the save with a running knee. Brooke got a rollup on Deville. Evans with a Woman’s Right on Brooke, Carmella with a superkick on Evans and a superkick for Deville, Rose hit a running knee to take out Carmella and Cross hit a neckbreaker on Rose to pin her to win the match after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross
Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay. The finish was what they usually do in WWE where everybody lines up and hits a big move in succession before the last person gets their finisher, which led to Cross beating Rose. There were some good spots in there and I’m glad that Brooke got to shine a bit while Carmella got in some offense too. There was a lot of Deville and Rose controlling things. My prediction was Evans, who I think may become a face in the future, but they went with Cross, who was probably the most popular of the six women in the match at this point. Bayley and Cross have wrestled a lot this year already, but we’re going to get it again.
After the match, Cross had a staredown with Bayley, who held up the Smackdown Women’s Title.
A video package aired about Braun Strowman, who is on Smackdown now after three years of being a Raw guy. Strowman faces Tyson Fury at Crown Jewel.
There was a video package about Seth Rollins vs. “The Fiend” Bryan Wyatt and their rivalry leading to a Universal Title match at Crown Jewel on October 31. It’s a Falls Count Anywhere. The graphic said the match “can’t be stopped for any reason” as well.
Braun Strowman made his entrance to a good ovation from the crowd. They really need to add pyro to his entrance when he does his yell on the stage, but there was no pyro. There was another plug for Strowman vs. Fury at Crown Jewel on October 31.
Braun Strowman vs. Drew Gulak
Welcome Drew to Smackdown. Strowman charged at him, Gulak went to the ropes, Gulak grabbed the microphone and he said he wants to introduce himself. Gulak said he’s a former Cruiserweight Champion and the pre-eminent combat sports historian. Gulak said if Strowman does his same old “Monster Among Men” thing…yes, the match is still going on. Gulak said he didn’t want to see Fury knock him out, so he did Strowman a favor and he created a 345 slide Powerpoint presentation. There was a graphic on the Titantron, Strowman grabbed Gulak and tossed him across the ring. Strowman tossed Gulak across the ring followed by a headbutt that knocked Gulak out of the ring. Strowman did his move where he ran around the ring leading to a shoulder tackle to Gulak on the floor. Strowman tossed Gulak back in the ring, corner splash and punch to the chest. Strowman picked up Gulak, yelled: “Tyson Fury, I hope you’re watching” and hit the Running Powerslam for the pinfall win. The match went about three minutes because of when the bell rang, but it was more like one minute after Strowman started the attack.
Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman
Analysis: 1/2* A squash win for Strowman to continue to build him up for the match against Tyson Fury at Crown Jewel. At least Gulak got to do something with the Powerpoint presentation as he has done in the past.
A video aired promoting the WWE 2K20 video game that comes out on Tuesday. It featured Steve Austin/Hulk Hogan, Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch, Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels and Paul Heyman accidentally knocked some food on Roman Reigns. Well done.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance. There were no “YES” chants from Bryan, but the fans chanted it for his entrance.
A video aired promoting Total Divas on Tuesday.
The team of Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura with Sami Zayn were already in the ring. Roman Reigns was announced as the captain of Team Hogan at WWE Crown Jewel. Reigns made his entrance.
Next week on Smackdown: It’s on Fox Sports 1 if you live in the US for one week only. Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez will be there along with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.
Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns vs. “King” Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn)
The match started with about 13 minutes left in the show. Reigns started with Corbin, then Bryan tagged in with three running dropkicks on Corbin and a bulldog. Nakamura tagged in with some strikes, but Bryan stopped him with a knee to the ribs. Bryan went up top, Zayn distracted Daniel and Nakamura kicked Bryan off the top rope to the floor.
Corbin was in control of the action with a Deep Six slam on Bryan for two. Nakamura tagged in, Bryan with a kick against him and Bryan sent Corbin into the steel ring post. Bryan with a backflip off the corner followed by a running clothesline on Nakamura. Reigns wanted the tag, but Corbin pulled Reigns off the apron to prevent the tag. Good job by the director not showing the wider shot, it was a tight shot and that made the Corbin attack on Reigns look even better. Corbin sent Reigns into the steel steps at ringside. Nakamura with a running kick on Bryan. Corbin grabbed the top half of the steel steps, but the referee told Corbin he’ll get disqualified if he di that. Bryan dropkicked Corbin to the ground. Nakamura rollup on Bryan, who slapped on the LeBell Lock and Zayn threw Corbin in the ring to break up the pin. Corbin missed a corner charge, slide out of the ring and Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Corbin. Reigns hit a Spear on Corbin through the barricade at ringside. The crowd popped big for that. Bryan got back up with the Yes Kicks to the chest of Nakamura with the fans chanting along and the roundhouse kick connected. Bryan set up in the corner, but Nakamura hit a jumping kick to the face. Bryan avoided the Kinshasa knee attempt by Nakamura and Bryan hit a running knee to the face for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns
Analysis: *** It was the usual tag team match with Bryan getting the big win to show that he’s back to being a good guy. Bryan worked most of the match. There was no hot tag because Bryan didn’t bring Reigns in to finish off the heels. Instead, Bryan got to make the comeback on his own while Reigns took out Corbin with the big Spear on the floor that led to a big pop. Bryan pinning Nakamura should lead to a feud for the Intercontinental Title between them, which is fine with me. The crowd was into the match as well.
Bryan and Reigns celebrated in the ring with fans chanting “YES” for them. Bryan and Reigns shook hands. Cole plugged Smackdown on Fox Sports 1 next week (for those of you in the US) and that was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Roman Reigns
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Daniel Bryan
6.75 out of 10
Last week: 6
2019 Average: 6.70 (Raw is 5.83)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7, 6.5, 7, 6.5
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 6.75 out of 10.
It was a solid wrestling show with four matches that were all pretty good, but nothing that really stood out. I think they really need to consider doing some bigger, long term angles in order to keep fans more interested. Give us more complex angles that get people talking. They have obviously built to Nakamura vs. Bryan after what happened on this show and Reigns is probably feuding with Corbin. They added a bit to Crown Jewel as, but it’s not like that feels like a big deal at all. It was just a regular wrestling show.
Every match was won by a babyface wrestler. I guess they were going for a “feel good” type of show tonight. The fans were hot for most of the night, but it wasn’t that interesting in terms of building storylines. That’s why this week’s Smackdown got an average score from me.
The next WWE PPV is Crown Jewel on Thursday, October 31. Here’s the official lineup so far.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Cain Velasquez
Falls Count Anywhere Match for the Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury
Five on Five Tag Team Match: Team Hulk Hogan (Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Ali and Shorty G) vs. Team Ric Flair (Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura and one more)
Tag Team Turmoil Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods), Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar), Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis), Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado), The OC (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson), and The B Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel).
Cesaro vs. Mansoor
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