Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. It’s the go-home show for the WWE Hell in a Cell preview. As I sit here writing this before Smackdown begins, there are only four official matches going into HIAC so here’s hoping more matches get added because we have a HIAC preview to post on Saturday morning as well. This show was also on FS1 in the US instead of Fox due to the MLB World Series, so that means the TV audience will be the lowest of 2020 because fewer people are going to watch on that channel. It happened last year and it’ll happen this year too.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1105. 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.
The show began with a shot in the WWE ThunderDome setup at Amway Center with the announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcoming us to the show.
KO Show with Daniel Bryan
Kevin Owens was in the ring wearing a tie with a tank top shirt as he welcomed us to the first Kevin Owens Show on Smackdown. Owens introduced us to his first guest, a former 4-time WWE Champion and one of the most technically skilled superstars he’s ever been in the ring with, the leader of the Yes Movement…Daniel Bryan. The great Bryan made his entrance in a jacket and slacks with the fans greeting him with “YES” chants and Bryan had a big smile on his face.
Bryan said it was a beautiful setup here. I hope that was sarcasm. Owens thanked Bryan for mentioning him last week about guys that Bryan wanted to face. Bryan said that they pushed eachother to be better when they had matches in the past. Owens asked Bryan what he sees about where Smackdown is going. Bryan wanted Smackdown to highlight the best superstars and said that they have the best, fresh, young talent in the world. Bryan spoke about guys stepping up like Jey Uso, Big E and he wants to see who wants to step up next.
Bryan said that one thing that would make Smackdown better is if one championship was defended every single week and he thinks it should be the Intercontinental Title. Owens said he was pumped that Bryan brought up championships, with KO speaking up about the Tag Team Championships. Owens said that he has never been a tag team champion and Bryan made a comment about Owens’ history with friends. Owens suggested a name with Bryan as Team Hell-KO and Bryan said that would mean you have to team with Kane, so that was funny. Owens said he thought they would be a great team.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode showed up in their wrestling gear. Ziggler said that they were fresh, young talent. They are both in their 40s, but heels lie. Roode said that they are two of the greatest acquisitions in Smackdown history and the greatest tag team in history right here.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance with the titles around their waists. The red solo cups filled the arena on the stage. Ford said that they are good with this and Dawkins said that Ziggler/Roode looked like they stepped out of 1984. Ford said they’re so excited to be on Friday Night Smackdown because the Street Profits are up and they want the smoke.
The interruptions continued with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura with Cesaro saying that they have carried the Smackdown tag team division for months. Bryan suggested that maybe they should test the theory of how good of a tag team they could be right now.
That led to a fight between the eight wrestlers as WWE Official Adam Pearce running out to the ring with referees/officials to try to break it up. That led to a break.
Analysis: This was okay as they gave some airtime to the tag team division although I didn’t expect that at the start of the promo. I really like what Bryan said about the Intercontinental Title being defended every week, so I thought maybe Sami Zayn would show up, but there was no sign of him. I’m definitely fine with the tag team division on Smackdown growing because these are all talented wrestlers and if Bryan/Owens are a team at least in the short term then that’s another pair of great wrestlers to add to the division.
The match started during the break and picked up as we returned.
Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan and The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Owens started with Nakamura with a senton splash, Dawkins tagged in and Cesaro/Nakamura hit a double boot to the face. Bryan went to the back, changed to his wrestling gear and was on the apron for the match. Roode faced off with Dawkins, Ford got the tag and Dawkins lifted Ford into a moonsault on Roode for a two count. Ziggler got the tag, Ford off the ropes and Ziggler hit a dropkick for two. Ziggler choked Ford on the ropes, Nakamura with a cheap shot boot to the face and Roode was back in with a punch to the ribs. Roode with a backbreaker, Cesaro back in with a kick to the ribs and an uppercut that sent Ford into the ropes. Nakamura got his turn to work over Ford with a knee drop for two. Cesaro sent Ford into the turnbuckle, Ford fought out of the corner with a leaping kick on Cesaro and Bryan tagged for his first action in four months. Bryan sent Cesaro over the top to the floor followed by a suicide dive on Cesaro on the floor. Bryan with a cross body block off the top, Cesaro caught him and Bryan hit a running dropkick. Bryan did a backflip off the turnbuckle and he favored his right knee. Cesaro stomped on the left knee and drove the knee into the mat. That led to a break. I hit rewind, Bryan did grab the right knee, but Cesaro worked on the left, so that’s the knee that Bryan is selling. It’s not a legit injury. Just selling.
The match returned with Bryan being isolated by his team. It was Cesaro, Roode and Ziggler each working over the leg of Bryan and now they are working on the right leg that Bryan grabbed initially. Cesaro did a bit of a swing while holding onto the leg. Ziggler back in, Bryan caught him and did a catapult into the turnbuckle with Ziggler selling it in a big way. Roode got the tag, prevented Bryan from tagging out and Roode slammed the knee into the mat. They battled on the turnbuckle, Bryan with a headbutt to knock Roode down and Bryan hit a missile dropkick. That led to Dawkins tagging in against Nakamura with a jumping back elbow, a flapjack on Cesaro, a dropkick on Ziggler, Dawkins with a splash on Nakamura and a running bulldog for two. Nice job by Dawkins after the hot tag. Nakamura came back with a spinning lefty kick to the face and a backstabber. Cesaro was back in leading to a knee by Nakamura and gutwrench Powerbomb by Cesaro. Owens sent Nakamura out of the ring, Stunner by Owens to Roode, Ziggler DDT on Cesaro, Ziggler was sent out of the ring and Dawkins hit a spinebuster on Cesaro. Bryan with a knee on Nakamura on the floor while Owens hit a dive off the apron onto Roode/Ziggler on the floor. Ford hit an incredible Frog Splash on Cesaro after leaping very high to deliver the move for the win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan and The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
Analysis: ***1/2 That was really good with Bryan as the right choice to be the face in peril and then the pace picked up big time after Dawkins got the hot tag. That Frog Splash by Ford is amazing because he leaps so high and when they show it in slow motion, it makes you appreciate it even more. The heel side worked well together too. They’re all talented in the ring, so it was not a surprise that they would have a good match when they got more than ten minutes to show what they can do. It was so nice seeing Bryan back in action. If we could see a long match between him against Cesaro or Nakamura at some point that would be awesome.
Law & Otis – Part One
There was a Law & Order type theme to the court case between Otis and Miz/Morrison, who had a lawyer with them. They were in a small room with two tables facing the “judge” area. Otis did not have a lawyer. Ron Simmons was the bailiff in an APA shirt and John Bradshaw Layfield was the judge. The Miz spoke instead of his female lawyer. Miz said he’s there for the truth saying that case law is on his side. Miz said that the defendant has victimized him physically and emotionally and has not been responsible enough to be Mr. Money in the Bank since Miz is a former Money in the Bank holder. Miz said he should be Mr. Money in the Bank and that is the truth. Otis said that he deserves the Money in the Bank contract because he won the Money in the Bank ladder match and that was it. The Miz lawyer said it was a good argument, so Miz fired her.
Analysis: Riveting television. More skits to come.
Bianca Belair, the EST of WWE, made her entrance for her first match since she was drafted by Smackdown. She had white gear with the Smackdown logo on it.
The teams of Street Profits with Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan were celebrating. Bryan got the Street Profits catchphrase wrong and said “fist me, bros” which was awkward and the guys left. Bryan’s that awkward dad guy. Sami Zayn showed up with the Intercontinental Championship asking Bryan how he was doing and Bryan said he’ll be okay. Zayn told Bryan that he heard him out there earlier in the night. Zayn made it clear that he gets to defend the title when he wants to defend it while noting that he has beaten the best competition out there including Bryan earlier this year at WrestleMania. Zayn said as long as he is the champion, he’ll do things his way. Bryan said nothing as Zayn left.
Analysis: I liked the Zayn vs. Bryan match at WrestleMania, but I would love to see it again.
Zelina Vega entered to lose a match with Cole noting they had an issue on Raw earlier in the year. What was the issue? Belair beat her repeatedly and then Belair was taken off television for months. The bad booking on Raw is the issue.
Bianca Belair vs. Zelina Vega
Belair pushed Vega into the turnbuckle, Vega with a slap and Belair with a slam off the turnbuckle. Vega kicked the arm of Belair, but Belair came back with a body slam. Vega ran the ropes, Belair avoided a slam attempt and Belair hit a running shoulder tackle. Belair with a standing moonsault on Vega, who crawled to the apron. Vega hit two rolling kicks to the head and another kick. Vega jumped off the turnbuckle with a headscissors. Belair caught Vega and hit her with a punch to the chest. Belair picked up Vega off the mat, pressed her over her head and sent Vega face first into the top turnbuckle. Belair picked up Vega for the KOD slam for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair
Analysis: * An easy win for Belair. Vega got a bit of offense with some kicks, but it was all about showcasing Belair and showing off her athleticism. I agree with the announcers that Belair is a future champion, most likely at some point within the next twelve months or so.
There were clips of Lars Sullivan shown. Sullivan was backstage staring into the camera because he’s in action up next.
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 it is always being updated. I posted two retro reviews earlier this week with WWF King of the Ring 1994 right here. It was a night when Owen Hart became the King of Harts by winning the KOTR tournament and there’s a pretty good Bret Hart vs. Diesel match on that show. I also reviewed the two-hour WWF In Your House 6: Rage in the Cage (February 1996) show that featured another Bret Hart vs. Diesel match although this match wasn’t that great. The highlight of the show was Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart and it was a decent show overall. I’m hoping to get the next retro review done in a few days, so keep checking TJRWrestling.net daily to see when they get posted.
Shorty G was in the ring for an interview with Kayla Braxton asking Shorty why he wants to face Lars Sullivan. Shorty said he’s had it up to here, he can’t get drafted on Raw or Smackdown and he said it was blatant disrespect. Shorty said that tonight he’s going to prove that he belongs here. Lars Sullivan entered as the opponent.
“The Freak” Lars Sullivan vs. Shorty G
Sullivan with a fallaway slam across the ring. Sullivan whipped Shorty into the ropes leading to a lifting slam where he drove Shorty in the mat. Shorty did a blatant eye gouge that the referee didn’t see, then a forearm into the corner. Shorty hit a rolling kick, then he tried it again and Sullivan moved as Shorty hit the turnbuckle. Shorty with a hip toss across the ring along with a stiff short-arm clothesline. Sullivan hit the Freak Accident on Shorty for the pinfall win in under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “The Freak” Lars Sullivan
Analysis: 1/2* An easy win for Sullivan. Get used to it because he’ll probably win squash matches for several months before WWE figures out what they want to do with him.
After the match, Kayla Braxton asked Shorty G how he feels. Shorty was coughing to sell the attack and said: “I quit.” Shorty left.
Analysis: I really hope this leads to a good angle for Shorty G and hopefully he gets the Chad Gable name back. That’s the second wrestler to “quit” this week since Austin Theory quit on NXT, but I don’t know if this will be related to that. After the break, he mentioned being Chad Gable again and now I’m optimistic about the future.
Alyse Ashton was backstage for an interview with Seth Rollins as the camera zoomed in on Seth’s face. Seth spoke about how the greater good is all of us and Murphy has a role to play because he’s a disciple. Rollins said he’s a disciple while Murphy has to walk behind him and there’s no shame in that. Rollins said that he will define Murphy’s role for him and that sounds like a lot of fun to him.
Roman Reigns was in his special dressing room with plates of food in front of him with Paul Heyman standing behind him. We’ll hear from Roman later.
Shorty G was in the medical room where he was putting ice on his shoulder. Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, asking for clarification of what Shorty said. Shorty said he quit being Shorty G and spoke about how he’s going to an Olympian again, he’s going to be Chad Gable. Good.
Analysis: That’s fine with me. The Shorty G name wasn’t helping him at all, so at least using the Chad Gable name again is a fresh start. Now, book him like a serious wrestler.
Let’s Hear from Bayley
Bayley, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, was in the ring doing a promo with a “Ding Dong! Hello” t-shirt. Bayley said she did all these interviews with all the same questions about Banks. Bayley said Hell in a Cell won’t be able to fit Sasha’s head since Sasha has a big ego. Bayley said she’s not signing the contract.
Sasha Banks showed up with the folder that had the contract. Banks got in the ring with Bayley, which led to Bayley trying to attack with the chair and Banks avoided it. Banks grabbed the title and the contract while telling Bayley to sign, but Bayley refused. Banks put the chair around Bayley’s throat. Banks choked Bayley against the steel chair and told her to sign the contract. While Banks was choking Bayley with a steel chair, Bayley signed the contract. Banks said that on Sunday, she is going to take Bayley’s title and finish what Bayley started. Banks took the contract to the back with her. Their match at Hell in a Cell inside Hell in a Cell is official.
Analysis: There’s the official signing. I loved the intensity by Banks, who knows how to turn it up when it comes to these rivalries like what she did last year with Becky Lynch. At least they got creative with it since Banks had Bayley in a position where she was forced to sign and couldn’t do much to get out of it. Are fans supposed to think that if Bayley didn’t sign then there would be no match? It’s silly because it’s not like every match has a contract singing. Anyway, they should have an awesome match at Hell in a Cell and they might even get to main event the show too.
Law & Otis – Part Two
John Morrison was on the witness stand crying about how the scars on the inside hurt the most.
Rey Mysterio was on the stand saying he was in the Money in the Bank match and Otis won the match straight up, so he can cash in the MITB contract any time he wants.
Asuka was on the witness stand ranting in Japanese. Everybody looked at her confused. Teddy Long was there as well to write all the words in the court as the stenographer.
Tucker was on the witness stand saying that Miz crossed the line, so he deserves everything that is coming your way. Miz summarized that Tucker was saying that Miz deserved the attacks from Otis. Tucker said that since Miz has made Otis’ life hell, Otis wants to beat the hell out of Miz and Tucker wants to beat up Miz too. There was a lot of yelling, Simmons told them to “shut up” and Judge JBL said they’ll take a break and when he comes back he’ll give his verdict. Teddy Long left because he had to go pee. Did I need to provide that info too? No, but that’s what I do.
Analysis: The Asuka part was funny at least. The rest is mildly funny.
Law & Otis – Part Three
The judge JBL said that Otis was a WWE superstar that was doing his job. If what Otis was doing was a crime then JBL and Ron would be in jail for life. JBL said that it is clearly established in the contract that the Money in the Bank winner has a full year to cash in. JBL sounded like he wanted to declare Otis the winner, but Miz had a final key piece of evidence. Miz provided a briefcase.
JBL opened a briefcase, there was a cash register/money sound to suggest that Miz bribed the judge with money and JBL smiled when he saw it. JBL said that in light of the new evidence he’s going to rule in favor of The Miz. JBL ruled that Otis has to defend the Money in the Bank contract against The Miz at Hell in a Cell on Sunday. Simmons ended it with a “DAMN” as Law & Otis ended.
Analysis: The bribe was a nice heel move by Miz and JBL sold it with a funny facial expression. Settling this story in a match at Hell in a Cell is fine because it’s WWE, so you might as well settle things with a match. Otis is a Smackdown guy while Miz is on Raw now, so the point of the draft is ignored already, but at least in this case it is coming off of a story that was on Smackdown.
There was a video package about the Seth Rollins story with former disciple Murphy leading up to this match.
Seth Rollins entered for his match.
Murphy entered for this match against his former mentor Rollins.
Seth Rollins vs. Murphy
Rollins got in Murphy’s face to tell him that Seth is the messiah and Murphy is the disciple, so Murphy took him down with an armbar and Rollins countered into an armbar of his own. Rollins with a punch followed by a headlock. Rollins ran the ropes, Murphy decked him with a punch to the face and that sent Rollins into the corner. Murphy with a headscissors that sent Rollins out of the ring. Rollins ducked an attack on the floor as Murphy hit a back body drop on Rollins onto the announce table as the show went to break.
The match continued with Rollins in control as Rollins was in control of Murphy on the floor. Aalyah Mysterio was watching on a TV backstage, Rey Mysterio showed up asking what she was doing with Dominik there as well. Aalyah said she was watching Murphy while adding she can do what she wants. Rollins with a gutbuster followed by Rollins grabbing a waistlock on Murphy on the mat. Murphy drove Rollins into the turnbuckle, Murphy with a boot to the face and Murphy hit a dropkick off the middle ropes. Murphy with a clothesline, a jumping leg lariat, Murphy sent Rollins out of the ring and Murphy hit a somersault dive over the top on Rollins on the floor. Murphy almost jumped too far, but he got enough of Seth to knock him down. Murphy went up top and hit a Meteora double knees to the chest for a two count. Murphy was favoring his left shoulder, went to stretch it against the barricade and Murphy hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Rollins hit a springboard knee to the face for two. Rollins with an arm wringer that sent Murphy shoulder first into the ring apron as we got a shot of Aalyah Mysterio (with Rey and Dominik) looking sad as the show went to break about 11 minutes into the match.
The match returned with Murphy hitting a superkick by the turnbuckle, but then Murphy was selling the left shoulder injury. Rollins hit the Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle as I’m reminded that was a banned move at one point, but there it is again. Murphy avoided a Stomp attempt with a knee to the face for two. As the referee checked on Murphy, he had a look of sadness/frustration on the face, so I don’t know what that is about. Rollins with a back elbow to knock Murphy down and Rollins slapped Murphy repeatedly. Rollins did some more trash talking, another punch and Murphy came back with a forearm. Rollins with a punch, Murphy with a punch, they exchanged punches and Murphy kicked the ribs along with a kick to the body, but Rollins hit a step up enziguri. Murphy got an inside cradle, Rollin got out at two and Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count. Rollins went for The Stomp, Murphy avoided it, Murphy with a kick to the side of the face and Murphy went for a move off the shoulders, but Rollins drove the shoulder into the mat again. Rollins hit The Stomp for the pinfall win after about 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match with Rollins beating his Disciple after Murphy did an excellent job of selling the left shoulder injury during the match. Even though Rollins winning was the right call as the heel that is higher up on the card, the fact that it took so long for Rollins showed that Murphy can do well on his own as well. The story done with Murphy dealing with the left shoulder injury during the match is done to make fans feel sympathy for Murphy working hurt like that. This was a PPV quality match that got a lot of time and is a nice reminder of what Rollins can do when he gets to have a long match like that. Murphy is very skilled too. I enjoyed this a lot.
Rollins grabbed the kendo stick from under the ring. Aalyah Mysterio went out to the ring to check on Murphy, so Seth hit Murphy repeatedly with the kendo stick. Aalyah checked on Murphy while Dominik went out to the ring to say this was none of their business. Seth attacked Dominik, so then Rey Mysterio, who had his music play, went out to the ring to save Dominik with Rey carrying a steel chair. Rollins bailed at that point. Dominik and Rey talked about it with Rey saying that she was here to support Dominik while Dominik said that this was none of her business.
Analysis: The Mysterio family drama continues after getting a break from it last week. It’s back as if it never left although now it’s on Smackdown instead of Raw. Anyway, I’m sure the dude in his 30s Murphy appreciates the help from the 19-year-old Aalyah who likes him.
A random guy in a suit knocked on the Roman Reigns dressing room door, Paul Heyman walked out and the guy told Paul that it’s time for Roman. Paul said you don’t tell Roman when to go out there and Paul said he will let Roman know.
There was a plug for Talking Smack on FS1 after the show.
A Progressive Match Flo replay aired showing last week’s Smackdown when Roman Reigns beat Braun Strowman by submission. After the match, Roman attacked Strowman, Jey refused to join in and Roman got into a fight with Jey.
Roman Reigns Time in the Main Event
Roman Reigns entered wearing a “Show Up & Win” shirt with Paul Heyman by his side.
Reigns was about to speak in the ring, but he was interrupted by one of the Usos in the dressing room that Reigns was in earlier in the night. A face covering covered everything but the eyes. It was Jimmy Uso telling Reigns that he has lost his damn mind as the Tribal Chief and told him that Jey was right behind him.
Jey Uso attacked Reigns from behind and sent Reigns into the turnbuckle. Jey went for a chair shot, Reigns got the chair from him and then Jey hit a superkick. Jey went up top and hit the Uso Splash off the top rope onto Reigns in the ring. Reigns was down in the ring while Jey went back up the ramp. That led to Jimmy joining his brother on the ramp and they were excited about what happened.
Analysis: That was really well done. Using Jimmy to set up the attack from Jey. I like how they did that.
Reigns struggled to get back up and when he did, it was promo time. Reigns said that if you make Jey quit then Roman is not the Universal Champion, he’s not the face of WWE, the Tribal Chief or the provider of generations of their Bloodline. Reigns wondered if Jey can make him quit. Reigns said when he makes Jey quit you will fall in line, you will take orders, you will acknowledge Reigns, you will respect him for who he is in WWE and all that he does for their family. Reigns said if you can’t do that then you’re out and so is your brother. Reigns said that means you are both out, your wives, your kids and all of you are out of the family. Jey and Jimmy didn’t like that.
Reigns remained in the ring as the red Hell in a Cell structure lowered around the ring with Reigns and Heyman standing in the ring. Jey went down to the ring, he climbed halfway up the cell and stared at Reigns. Cole yelled about how it was not just about the Universal Championship, it’s about the bloodline and family dominance. It’s all about the consequences at Hell in a Cell. Roman and Jey’s staredown ended it.
Analysis: The consequences are known now. The match has a strong personal feel to it. I liked the promo from Reigns because it was simple and didn’t drag on too long. Reigns wants to prove his dominance as the leader of WWE along with being the leader in the family while Jey wants to try to stop him. It’s an easy story that is very relatable to the viewer at home. I like it a lot. Long term, I think what we’ll see is Jey becomes an ally of Reigns, Jimmy is against when he first comes back and then Jimmy is an ally of Reigns as well, so the family becomes a dominant heel stable. That’s going to be amazing.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Daniel Bryan and Montez Ford for the Frog Splash height.
Shoutout to Chad Gable too since I don’t have to type out the stupid Shorty G name anymore!
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2020 Average: 6.45
I thought it was another very good edition of Smackdown for the third week in a row. Two longer matches that were great with Rollins vs. Murphy as a PPV-quality match that was probably the best WWE TV match of the week. I liked the eight-man tag match a lot as well with a strong finish. There were also strong angles to heat up the HIAC matches with Sasha Banks looking dominant against Bayley, who finally signed the contract, and The Usos outsmarting Roman Reigns in the main event. The Otis/Miz court stuff was a bit silly, but not too bad overall and at least they can settle it at the PPV on Sunday. Plus, Shorty G gets to go back to the Chad Gable name, so that’s a wonderful thing too.
Smackdown is rolling lately in terms of delivering consistently good shows on a weekly basis. Easy show to watch and get through.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell this Sunday, October 25. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton
WWE Universal Championship Hell in a Cell “I Quit” Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso
Smackdown Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Jeff Hardy vs. Elias
Money in the Bank Contract Match: Otis vs. The Miz – The winner gets possession of the Money in the Bank contract.
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