Reviews

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 11/04/22 Review

wwe smackdown nov 4

This week’s edition of WWE Smackdown featured Gunther defending the Intercontinental Title against Rey Mysterio, Ricochet facing LA Knight and more.

Happy birthday to me. I have had a very busy day writing/editing as usual, but I wanted to thank everybody for the kind messages on my birthday. I appreciate all the support as we continue to grow TJRWrestling. Without going into specifics, we are doing the best numbers we have ever done on the site, we have tripled what we were doing earlier in the year and you probably notice there are a lot more news/interview-type posts, which is helping us grow a lot because we get a lot of content up on the site. That’s because we have a dedicated team producing a lot of the content including me doing a lot of news, my reviews of the shows that I do weekly and I’m working on a book too (the second one actually). I’ll try to have a bit of birthday fun on Saturday night, but that’s after writing about Crown Jewel. Check out WWE Crown Jewel Preview on TJRWrestling right here.

This edition of Smackdown was taped last Friday after last week’s show in St. Louis because the crew had to fly to Saudi Arabia a few days before Crown Jewel to get acclimated and promote the show. I did peak at the spoilers a bit, but not much

From the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri this is Smackdown for episode #1211. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The commentary team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcomed us to the show.

It was right to the action with Liv Morgan making her entrance for a match that was set up in the last few weeks of television. Sonya Deville entered as the opponent to no reaction.

No Disqualification Match: Liv Morgan vs. Sonya Deville

Deville with a forearm to the head along with a kick to leave Morgan down. Deville grabbed a kendo stick under the ring, but Morgan attacked with a tackle on the floor. Deville tried a kendo stick attack only for Liv to get a kick to the head. Deville was back in the ring with three kendo stick shots to the body. Devilled used the kendo stick as a weapon against Morgan’s face as Morgan got to the apron. Morgan got her hands on the kendo stick, Morgan hit Deville with the kendo stick and kendo stick was splintered. Morgan pulled a table from under the ring, the fans cheered, Deville kicked Morgan down and put the table back under the ring leading to boos. Deville was on the apron and Morgan took her down with a headscissors. Morgan hit a suicide dive on Deville on the floor with Liv nearly coming up short. Morgan sent Deville on the floor on the other side of the ring leading to Morgan hitting another dive onto Deville. Morgan sent Deville into the steps again. Morgan pulled the table out from under the ring again leading to cheers from the crowd. After Morgan set up the table on the floor, Deville hit a jumping kick. They were on the apron teasing a suplex through the table, Morgan with some back elbows and then Morgan jumped off the apron to put Deville through it with Morgan landing on top. Liv was laughing about it because she likes the pain.

(Commercial)

Deville was in control with a running knee along with another knee off the ropes for two. Deville tossed several chairs into the ring. When Deville went back into the ring, Morgan kicked her and hit a jumping kick to the head. Morgan with a running knee in the corner followed by Morgan jumping off the ropes leading to double knees for two. Morgan set up Deville on the top rope, Deville with some punches to the ribs and Deville gave Morgan a Powerbomb on the pile of chairs for a two count. Good nearfall there. Morgan countered a Deville move, Morgan hit double knees again and Morgan hit the Oblivion (a flatliner off the ropes) on the pile of chairs for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Liv Morgan

Analysis: ***1/4 They worked hard and had a very physical match here. While it was obvious that Morgan was going to win, I like that Deville got a lot of offense while also getting that nearfall after the Powerbomb on the pile of chairs. Morgan came back to win shortly after that to show that Morgan can take punishment and dish it out. The story has been about Liv liking it when she goes extreme in matches.

A Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of last week’s Smackdown when Emma answered the open challenge to face Ronda Rousey. Emma put up a fight, but Rousey won in under ten minutes to keep the Smackdown Women’s Title. The replay made sure to feature the eye rake by Rousey.

Emma was interviewed by Megan Morant, who asked Emma how it felt to be back. Emma said that she wasn’t sure if she would ever come back, but when she answered the challenge she had something to prove to herself. Xia Li interrupted it saying that she watched Emma lose and the only thing Emma proved is that she is weak. Emma made the point that it was Ronda Rousey and another point by hitting Li with a forearm to the head.

Analysis: A simple way to give Emma a win in the future by facing Xia Li, who rarely wins.

The Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER and Rey Mysterio were shown walking backstage after they arrived.

(Commercial)

A video aired about how Logan Paul will have his brother Jake Paul in his corner at Crown Jewel on Saturday.

There was a video package about the Roman Reigns-Logan Paul match at WWE Crown Jewel this Saturday, November 5th. It started with Logan issuing the challenge after Roman was on his podcast in mid-September and then the match was announced at a press conference in Las Vegas the next day. They showed the few interactions they had since then and pushing the story that Logan could win with “one lucky shot” while Reigns was confident he would win.

Analysis: Here’s part of what I wrote about this match in our Crown Jewel preview: “Since WWE has been pushing the ‘one lucky punch’ story for Logan for weeks, I can see Jake hitting Reigns with a punch for a two count or a delayed two count after a referee bump. In other words, Logan will come very close to winning, but ultimately he won’t win. Reigns will win this while Logan will continue to impress as a wrestler.” We all picked Reigns in our Crown Jewel preview.

Ricochet made his entrance for a singles match against LA Knight, which was set up last week.

(Commercial)

There was a Viking Raiders promo out in the wilderness where you could also see a woman’s body (Sarah Logan) putting black paint on Erik and Ivar as she said “Valhalla awaits” to end it.

LA Knight made his entrance doing one of his promos. Knight told the crowd that they will want to jump on the gravy train and support Knight. LA trashed ring announcer Samantha Irvin for doing a bad job on Knight’s entrance, so Ricochet hit a dive on Knight. Ricochet is dating Irvin, but they didn’t say that. Ricochet hit a forearm to the head as the referee separated them and started the match.

Ricochet vs. LA Knight

Ricochet hit an uppercut, but Knight came back with an elbow to take control. Ricochet jumped over Knight, then Ricochet got a headscissors and a dropkick. Knight to the floor, he grabbed Ricochet while on the apron and choked him across the top rope. Knight went for a springboard moonsault, Ricochet moved and hit a knee to the head. Ricochet teased a dive out of the ring onto Knight, but then Ricochet did a backflip off the ropes back into the ring. They went to break.

(Commercial)

Knight was still in control as he sent Ricochet into the turnbuckle along with some stomps to the body. Ricochet worked over Knight with punches, then Ricochet drove him into the middle rope and Knight hit a knee to the face. Knight jumped over the top rope with a shoulder tackle. Knight grounded Ricochet with a chinlock, then Ricochet got out of it and hit a running forearm. Ricochet with a chop, then Knight sent Ricochet into the turnbuckle and Knight hit a neckbreaker for two. Knight to the middle rope, Knight with a kick to the face and Ricochet jumped back up with a hurricanrana off the top rope for two. Ricochet continued the offense with a cross body block along with a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Ricochet went up top, he jumped off because Knight was back up and Ricochet got a rollup for two. Knight countered into a rollup of his own with Knight sitting on top while holding the middle rope for the pinfall grab or the tight grab. The referee did not see the rope/tight grab by Knight. It went 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: LA Knight

Analysis: **3/4 It was okay with a heel finish as Knight did a tights grab and rope grab for an extra cheap pinfall. It wasn’t that exciting for some of it because of Knight’s slow in-ring style, but Ricochet’s offense is fun to watch. I like Knight more as a talker than a wrestler, but he’s fine in the ring with the right oppeonents.

The Bloodline group was backstage with Sami Zayn, Solo Sikoa and The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) talking about their matches at Crown Jewel with Zayn talking about Roman Reigns (who was not there) facing Logan Paul and The Usos having a title defense against The Brawling Brutes. Jey Uso said that they were going to go call out The Brawling Brutes now and Zayn tried to talk them out of it. Jey said they were Tag Team Champions before Sami was with them and they will be after Sami’s gone too. Jimmy said that Jey had a point. The Usos left while Sami was frustrated about it as Solo stood there beside Sami and the scene ended there.

(Commercial)

Bray Wyatt was shown backstage talking about how it was hard for him to talk about his feelings and he didn’t like being interrupted. Some random backstage guy was there with a headset on, so Bray talked about how he can’t stand the way he is thinking about things. Bray said that he hates himself right now because he wants to smash this guy’s head into the wall, but Bray can’t handle himself. Bray said he needed the guy to look Bray in the eyes and apologize to Bray that he didn’t mean to interrupt him and to tell him he is sorry. Mr. Howdy’s voice was heard saying “it’s all your fault.” The guy said he’s really sorry and he didn’t mean to. Bray told him to please go away. The scene ended there while there was also a cut away featuring some Mr. Howdy images along with other things we have seen recently with Bray.

Analysis: The odd story with Bray continues where he continues to try to do the right thing, but he’s haunted by being evil.

They also promoted that Bray Wyatt will be at Crown Jewel, so it will be interesting to see how the story progresses.

Let’s Hear from The Usos

The Usos made their entrance as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions with Cole saying it was their 474th day as Tag Team Champions (when they won the SD Tag Team Titles in 2021). It’s nine days short of the record. The fans were chanting “Ucey” at them.

Jey Uso said that The Bloodline is now in your city. Jimmy said that they are on their way to make history and it starts at Crown Jewel because they’re going to be the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions ever. The fans chanted “Ucey” again. Jey said it starts with The Brawling Brutes while adding that they are the two’s while The Usos are “the ones.”

The New Day’s Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston told them to settle down. Kofi said at Crown Jewel it’s The Usos facing The Brawling Brutes for the Tag Team Championships and Kofi is ruling for the Brutes. Woods said if by stroke of luck and The Usos retain those championships, The New Day will be waiting to pretend their record. Kofi said that “we got next.” The fans chanted “New Day rocks” right on cue.

The Brawling Brutes attacked The Usos from behind with forearms to the back. Woods told the Brutes to beat them. The New Day and the Brutes worked together to stomp on The Usos, so Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa made the save. Solo slammed down Butch, then a superkick on Ridge and both Usos hit superkicks on New Day. The Usos hit a double superkick on Ridge while the fans chanted “Sami Uso” for Zayn. The Usos went up top, but Butch used a shillelagh piece of wood to hit The Usos down. Solo kicked Butch and Solo hit a Spinning Solo slam to stand tall. The Bloodline left together while their rivals were down around the ring.

Analysis: That was a good segment that covered a lot without taking up too much time. The New Day wants to protect their record, so that likely means when The Usos retain against The Brawling Brutes then they might have The Usos defending the titles against New Day next week on Smackdown with New Day trying to keep their title length record. That works as a story. The Bloodline working well together to clear the ring makes them look strong while Solo was dominant as usual. I liked how that segment was booked.

Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Rey talking about how he has given his whole life to his business. Rey said he misses his son, but he’s not giving up now and said even when the worse happens, you have to keep fighting. Rey said he’ll take that pain from GUNTHER and turn it into rage as he chops GUNTHER down in size to become the new Intercontinental Champion.

Analysis: A positive attitude by Rey as usual.

Shayna Baszler made her entrance joined by Smackdown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey because they are aligned as heels. Baszler was in action up next.

(Commercial)

Natalya made her entrance as a clip was shown from last week with Baszler attacking her former tag team partner Natalya. I guess this means Natalya is back in babyface mode and certainly had on an outfit to make her more popular.

Shayna Baszler (w/Ronda Rousey) vs. Natalya

Natalya grabbed a tight headlock followed by a shoulder tackle. Baszler got an arm takedown, Natalya avoided an elbow stomp and sent Baszler into the turnbuckle. Baszler hitting a jumping knee in the corner. Baszler stomped on the left arm while also wrenching on the left arm against the middle rope. Natalya fought back with punches, a back elbow and a forearm to the head. Natalya hit a running low dropkick for two. Baszler countered a suplex attempt with a rollup. Natalya avoided a corner attack and hit a discus clothesline for two. Natalya went for a Sharpshooter, Baszler kicked her away and Baszler applied a Kirifuda Clutch submission. Natalya tried turning it into a pin attempt, but Baszler held onto the Kirifuda Clutch submission and Natalya sold it like she was knocked out, so the referee called for the bell. It went about five minutes.

Winner by submission: Shayna Baszler

Analysis: ** A dominant win for Baszler against a veteran opponent in Natalya, who has a lot more credibility than some of the other women they could have picked for this match. By beating Natalya that way, Baszler showed that she is back to being very aggressive again after Rousey motivated her.

Post match, Rousey congratulated her buddy Rousey. After the match, Baszler lowered her knee brace and hit Natalya with a stiff knee to the face. Natalya had a bloody nose after that and a towel in her hand. Rousey left proudly with Baszler.

Analysis: The blood image to sell it puts over the knee as being more devastating. It doesn’t mean it actually caused Natalya to bleed. They filmed it in a smart way because Natalya could have put it on after grabbing the towel and we never would have seen it. I think Rousey being paired with Baszler is smart because they are both going to be booked strong, so it will be hard for a babyface wrestler to beat them.

A video package aired about the Drew McIntyre-Karrion Kross rivalry leading to their Steel Cage Match at Crown Jewel on Saturday.

Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Alexa Bliss and Asuka winning the Women’s Tag Team Titles on Raw.

MVP Calls Out Braun Strowman

MVP was in the ring for a promo talking about how Braun Strowman was in action tonight ahead of his match at Crown Jewel against Omos. MVP said that he got five opponents for Strowman tonight.

Five local wrestlers made their entrance to face Strowman with MVP smiling about it.

Braun Strowman made his entrance and he ran over the five guys in the aisle. As Strowman approached the ring, MVP tried to calm him down and then MVP rolled out of the ring. MVP tried to hit Strowman with the cane he carries, then Strowman blocked it and Strowman sent MVP into the apron. Strowman sent MVP into the barricade. Cole mentioned that Omos was sent to Saudi Arabia already. Strowman gave MVP the running powerslam. The fans chanted “one more time” so Strowman hit another running powerslam on MVP. Strowman hit a third running powerslam on MVP. Cole wondered if Strowman can do a running powerslam to Omos like that. Strowman celebrated to end it.

Analysis: It was a way to have Strowman take out MVP ahead of Braun’s match against Omos at Crown Jewel. Strowman should beat Omos and probably hit that powerslam. Strowman has been doing a Powerbomb regularly since returning, but I think sticking with a powerslam for Omos is the smarter move.

The Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER and his Imperium buddies were about to be interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Ludwig Kaiser handed the microphone to GUNTHER said he’ll defend the title with respect and honor. GUNTER said that Rey has no honor, which is why Rey’s son turned on him. GUNTHER said something will never change and that’s GUNTHER remaining the Intercontinental Champion. That main event match was next.

(Commercial)

Next week on Smackdown: The Usos or Brawling Brutes defending the WWE Tag Team Titles against The New Day. Also, the Smackdown World Cup begins with eight superstars. They didn’t name who was in it. Shisnuke Nakamura faces Santos Escobar as well.

There was a pre-tape video featuring Legado del Fantasma. It was Santos Escobar, Zelina Vega, Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro in a backstage segment. Escobar issued a warning to Shinsuke Nakamura while Vega said that the time for talking is done. Vega said that their growing empire cannot be stopped. Escobar said they are the perfect enterprise.

Rey Mysterio made his entrance to a pretty good ovation. GUNTHER was up next as the dominant Intercontinental Championship joined by his Imperium allies Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci. GUNTHER sent his buddies to the back while Cole mentioned Rey is a former two-time Intercontinental Champion. Samantha Irvin did a great job with the championship introduction.

Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. Rey Mysterio

Gunther had a big size advantage since he’s about 75 pounds heavier and much taller as well. Gunther set up Rey on the top turnbuckle, then a hard chop to the chest and Gunther put his boot against Rey’s throat. Gunther pulled Rey off the apron leading to a bump on the floor.

(Commercial)

Gunther sent Rey under the bottom rope to the floor. Gunther gave Rey a Powerbomb on the apron leading to Rey collapsing to the floor. Rey got back into the ring before the ten count. Gunther with two body slams. When Gunther tried more body slams, Rey blocked a slam by locking his hands together. Rey jumped on Gunther’s back leading to a crucifix bomb sending Gunther crashing on the mat on his neck. Rey with punches, then a leap off the second rope, Gunther caught Rey and Rey jumped on Gunther’s back with a sleeper. Gunther slammed Rey off his shoulder onto the mat. Rey with a boot to the face and jumped on Gunther’s back with a sleeper hold. Gunther sold it well, but then Gunther climbed the turnbuckle and fell back with a slam to counter the hold as Rey let go.

(Commercial)

Gunther put his feet against Rey’s head and did a twist to wrench Rey’s head. Gunther did some eye-gouging/mask-ripping, so Rey slapped him in the face. Rey delivered some strikes, but Gunther hit Rey with a forearm to the back. Gunther with a Powerbomb attempt, Rey countered it with punches and Rey hit a bulldog. Rey fought back with punches to the ribs, a kick to the rib and Rey jumped off the top with a senton splash along with a moonsault off the middle rope for two. The fans were chanting for Rey as he sent Gunther into the middle rope, then Gunther was back up and Rey hit a dropkick into the ropes. Rey hit the 619 kick while Gunther put his forearms up to take the blow. Rey up top, but Gunther was back up with a slam off the top. Gunther went up top, Rey met him there with punches and Rey hit some headbutts. Gunther was seated on the top rope, so Rey went for a top rope hurricane, but Gunther blocked it. Gunther went for a powerbomb only for Rey to counter it with a hurricanrana for two. That was an awesome counter! The fans chanted “this is awesome” or maybe it was piped in. I don’t know. Rey got a sunset flip powerbomb for a two count for another nearfall. Rey did an Eddie Guerrero shake to cheers, then Rey went up top and jumped with a Frog Splash, but Gunther moved out of the way. Gunther with a dropkick into the ropes followed by a Powerbomb for two. Gunther was frustrated that it was only a two count while Cole wondered how Rey was in this match. Rey fought back with a punch, Gunther with a chop, Rey sent Gunther into the ropes, but Gunther was back up with a boot to the face. Gunther picked up Rey leading to a mid-air clothesline for the pinfall win after 19 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match between two talented veterans that knew their roles and did it very well. Gunther was completely dominant in the early going, Rey finally managed to get some offense after that and then the third part of the match was more exciting. That spot out of the corner with Gunther going for a powerbomb only for Rey to hit a hurricanrana was really cool. The finish was a bit flat in terms of the moves they did. While Gunther has won matches with a clothesline like that, it just didn’t look as devastating as some of his other moves. As usual, Rey sold the beating well and was exciting to watch during his comeback while Gunther was terrific as the heel champion that won clean.

They showed some replays and Gunther held up his title. Cole plugged Crown Jewel on Saturday. End show.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Gunther
  2. Rey Mysterio
  3. Liv Morgan

 

The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was an enjoyable show for the most part with four matches going over ten minutes while the Gunther-Mysterio match in the main event was clearly the best match. They got a lot of time with plenty of great nearfalls. I doubt most people thought Rey would win (especially if you read the spoilers), but it was good in terms of telling the story of the dominant heel champion against the smaller challenger. They worked well together.

The backstage segment with Bray Wyatt furthered his story where he’s trying to be a good story, but he’s still dealing with demons that want him to be evil. We’ll see more of him at Crown Jewel.

They promoted Crown Jewel well in some cases like The Usos looking strong and Braun Strowman beating up MVP without Omos there. They also had video packages for other feuds featuring people that weren’t on Smackdown this week. I wouldn’t call this a great episode from start to finish, but I think Gunther-Rey is worth checking out if you missed it.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Crown Jewel on Saturday, November 5th. Here’s the lineup.

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Logan Paul

* Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

* Steel Cage Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross

* Last Woman Standing Match for the Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley

* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. The Brawling Brutes (Butch & Ridge Holland)

* Braun Strowman vs. Omos

* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss & Asuka (c) vs. Dakota Kai & IYO SKY

* The OC – AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley)

You can watch WWE Crown Jewel on Saturday, November 5, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT, streaming live from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport