This week’s Smackdown is taking place just over two weeks away from Survivor Series. Surprisingly, WWE hasn’t promoted Survivor Series much at all going into the pay-per-view that takes place on Sunday, November 21.
It is one of those weeks where WWE didn’t advertise anything going into Smackdown until a few hours before the show. They advertised Roman Reigns returning to Smackdown since he was not on the show last week and Shayna Baszler faces Naomi in singles action. Last week’s Smackdown featured The New Day beating Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos in a non-title match in the main event.
From the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, this is Smackdown for episode #1159. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The show began with a shot of the crowd, and they did not mention Evansville since it’s a smaller city. They said it was the Ford Center, which is the arena they are in. The familiar entrance of Roman Reigns was up next. The announcers were Michael Cole and Pat McAfee, who put over Reigns a lot on commentary.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
The Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance along with Special Counsel Paul Heyman and the Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos. They showed highlights of last week when The Usos and The New Day had issues early in the show, which led to The New Day beating The Usos in the main event. Reigns and company took their time getting into the ring to pose with their titles.
Reigns was ready to speak while the crowd greeted him with “you suck” chants. Reigns said last week he wasn’t at Smackdown because when you smash somebody like Brock Lesnar, you gotta celebrate and take a vacation. Reigns said don’t worry, he’s here now. McAfee: “Yes!” Reigns told this “tiny, little, no-name town” to acknowledge him. Reigns said he had a great week on a private island, he was running around naked, his wife loved and not everybody had a good week. Reigns said that dumbass Brock Lesnar had a bad week because he got fined $1 million and suspended indefinitely. Reigns said that he’s got the stroke and the juice around here because he makes it happen.
Reigns asked “Wise Man” Heyman what else happened last week. Heyman rambled on about Brock Lesnar, then he looked at The Usos and Heyman rambled on again before saying that New Day beat The Usos. That led to “New Day rocks” chants. Reigns said that they are great and entertaining, but not better than The Bloodline. Reigns said he had a tough time understanding how his cousins, the greatest tag team of this generation, The Usos lost to The New Day. Reigns asked who lost and both Usos pointed at eachother, but it was Jimmy. Reigns talked to Jimmy saying he lost and Roman wanted to know how Jimmy was going to fix this problem. Jimmy is going to make him acknowledge who the real king is, your Tribal Chief and your Universal Champion, Roman Reigns.
The New Day’s King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston made their entrance. Kofi wanted us to hear the creed of King Woods. Woods said he thought when you were king around here, you sat at the head of the table and then make a shirt saying Head of the Table like somebody forgot who was the head of the table. Kofi mocked the “island of relevancy” saying it must be sad and lonely. Woods said it’s time for the part of the program that the people actually care about. Woods mentioned Evansville, Indiana (Pat: “There’s the name.”). Woods said he had a challenge saying if Jimmy Uso can beat him, then Woods will acknowledge Reigns. Woods said when he beats Jimmy, he will have to bend the knee. Jimmy said that they aren’t bending the knee. Jey said that they bend the knee to nobody. Reigns wanted to speak, so Heyman took the microphone from Jey and put it in Roman’s hand.
Reigns spoke up: “The Bloodline accepts.” Kofi and Woods went over Jimmy’s name wondering if it’s James or Jiminy and announced that Jimmy will face Woods tonight.
Analysis: It was a way to set up a match later. Solid promo work from everybody involved, but I don’t think that match is that exciting. They continue to not mention Survivor Series, which is strange. For what it’s worth, Reigns was at Smackdown last week and wrestled in the dark match after the show (Drew McIntyre & Street Profits vs. Reigns & Usos). Maybe he did go on a vacation other than during the week, but I don’t know. He was there, though. What matters in the storyline is that Reigns was off Smackdown last week, so he was upset that The Usos lost and wanted them to make things right.
The announce team of Cole and McAfee talked about the issues between Sonya Deville and Naomi with Shayna Baszler beating Naomi in singles action due to Deville being a corrupt referee. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch to Naomi after the match.
Naomi made her entrance for another singles match against Shayna Baszler.
A video aired with Steve Austin letting us know WrestleMania 38 tickets are on sale next Friday, November 12.
There were graphics that showed Jimmy Uso will face King Woods.
Shayna Baszler entered for a match. Sonya Deville was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Sonya said that she lit a fire under Naomi and maybe one day she’ll grant her a singles match.
Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler
Naomi with a Thesz Press followed by punches. Baszler went for a move on the legs, but Naomi got out of it and kicked Baszler. Shayna came back with a release German Suplex. Baszler went for a kick, Naomi moved and Naomi kicked Baszler to the floor although Baszler barely got touched on that. Naomi with a kick to the head and Naomi sent Baszler into the side of the apron. Naomi went up top and hit a cross body block for a two count. Naomi to the apron, Baszler got a hold of her and hit a gutwrench powerslam on the floor. They went to break there.
The match continued with Naomi put Baszler’s heads between the knees and drove her head into the mat. Naomi with a sunset flip for two. Baszler went for the Kirifuda Clutch, Naomi slipped out of it and got a pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Naomi
Sonya Deville, the WWE Official, said that nobody is going to leave the ring until she says what she has to say. Sonya said that Naomi touched the rope while Naomi was in the submission, so they should have broken the hold. Deville said that the match will restart.
The bell rang, Shayna Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch while Naomi was looking at Baszler and then Baszler choked out Naomi, who was out on the mat. It went seven minutes.
Winner by submission: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: *3/4 This story has been going on for months and it keeps on going. I like Naomi. If they want to push her then that’s great. I just think that at some point there needs to be a bit of a payoff and I’m not sure when they’ll get the match between Naomi and Deville. Anyway, I liked some of the moves in the match especially that unique move by Naomi on the apron.
Roman Reigns was backstage in the dressing room with The Usos and Paul Heyman. Reigns said he took one week off, then the show sucked and it was almost as bad as Raw. The Usos laughed at that, but Reigns told them this isn’t funny. Reigns got in Jimmy’s face and Jey reiterated Roman’s message saying they don’t lose and when Reigns asked why, Jey said because they’re “the ones.” Jey said they’ve got this and left with Jimmy.
Analysis: It’s another way of showing that Reigns is obsessed with winning and wants The Usos to keep on winning as well.
Up next is Shotzi to discuss her attack on Sasha Banks last week.
A video aired about Xia Li coming to Smackdown soon.
Ridge Holland was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the backstage area. Ridge talked about how the “Irish Warrior” Sheamus was his idol. Ridge said that when Sheamus would have a big match, they all watched it. Ridge talked about some big Sheamus moments like winning the WWE Title from John Cena and winning the Royal Rumble. Holland said he’s learned a lot from watching Sheamus.
Analysis: That should lead to a story with Holland perhaps being paired with Sheamus as heels and maybe Holland can turn on him to turn Sheamus into a face.
They showed highlights of last week on Smackdown when Shotzi attacked Sasha Banks.
Shotzi was interviewed by Megan Morant. Shotzi said that she’s had enough. Shotzi said that ever since being on Smackdown, she lost out on title opportunities, she lost her tag team partner, she lost the support of the WWE Universe and thanks to Sasha Banks last week, she lost the biggest match of her career (against Charlotte Flair). Shotzi said that last week was her breaking point. Shotzi said that she is going to run over Sasha Banks and anybody else who gets in her way. Shotzi added that she didn’t need a tank to do it.
Analysis: That was a very good promo from Shotzi. It doesn’t always have to be an in-ring promo doing a monologue to explain a heel turn. She got right to the point, she explained how she’s frustrated by things on Smackdown and she reached a breaking point. I think Shotzi was really good as a natural babyface during her NXT run as well as on Smackdown, but this heel turn could be the best thing for her. Working with Sasha Banks is a great thing for her as well. I’m excited for Shotzi.
Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo are called Los Lotharios now. They are legitimately cousins. They face the team of Cesaro and Mansoor.
This Monday on Raw: Kevin Owens faces Seth Rollins. That was set up on Raw this past Monday.
Cesaro and Mansoor entered for tag team action. The Progressive Match Flo was shown with Los Lotharios costing Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs their Trick or Street Fight match, which led to Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss getting the win.
Cesaro & Mansoor vs. Los Lotharios (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo)
Garza applied an armbar, a pre-tape promo was shown from the heels and then Mansoor hit a dropkick. Garza drove Mansoor into the turnbuckle, Carrillo tagged in and hit a double dropkick. Carrillo and Garza hit a double team splash on Mansoor followed by Garcia hitting a back body drop. Garza with a dropkick on Mansoor for two. Mansoor hit Garza with an enziguri kick to create some space and then Mansoor hit a DDT to counter Garza. Cesaro tagged in for the first time against Carrillo with Cesaro hitting four uppercuts followed by a spinning clothesline. Cesaro with a running uppercut on Garza on the floor. Back in the ring, Cesaro with a springboard corkscrew uppercut. Garza back in, Cesaro gave him the Swing and Carrillo hit Cesaro in the back to break that up. Mansoor into the ring, Carrillo sent him to the ropes, Cesaro saved Mansoor, Carrillo with a superkick and a jumping heel kick off the ropes. Carrillo held Cesaro by the neck while Garza hit a dropkick for the pinfall win on Cesaro after about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Los Lotharios (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo)
Analysis: **1/2 I like Los Lotharios as a team a lot. They work well together and there is always room for more credible tag teams in WWE. Cesaro was on fire after the tag, the fans loved him and then he got beat. I hope WWE listens to the crowd to give Cesaro a singles push. Maybe put the IC Title on him soon or something like that. Mansoor was okay here. This was about putting over the regular tag team instead of the two singles wrestlers teaming up.
There was a backstage scene with Jeff Hardy talking to Aliyah backstage. Jeff was talking to her about one of his daughters. Kayla Braxton tried to interview Jeff, who then left and walked up to Sami Zayn, who was talking to Aliyah. Zayn said he was the elder statesman on Smackdown, so he had advice for her. Zayn suggested Aliyah wears a pantsuit. Aliyah asked if he is always like that, Jeff said “yes” and welcomed her to Smackdown.
Analysis: I hope Aliyah gets a shot to be part of a good storyline soon. She has been in the company for several years, but hasn’t had much to do, so let’s hope she gets some opportunities. There doesn’t appear to be any storyline for Jeff Hardy yet.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with Angela the sword. Drew’s open challenge is up next.
Drew said it was time for the Smackdown Warrior’s Open Challenge and he wondered who wants to fight him? It was Ricochet, who also came over to Smackdown from Raw. The announcers got excited about seeing Ricochet even though WWE barely uses him. Ricochet said he’s known Drew for a long time and he’s the biggest/baddest guy that he knows. Ricochet said that one of these days going to walk out there, step into that ring and then Ricochet said all of those catchphrases won’t Ricochet from slapping him in the mouth. Ricochet slapped Drew in the face!
Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet
Drew destroyed Ricochet with some hard chops followed by a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Drew charged, Ricochet sent him over the top to the floor and Ricochet with a kick on the floor. Drew got a hold of Ricochet on the floor and a belly to back suplex on the apron. Drew tossed Ricochet back into the ring. Drew with another belly to belly suplex across the ring. They showed Mustafa Ali watching on a TV backstage. Megan Morant talked to him with Ali saying Ricochet and him have a lot in common. Drew jumped off the top with nothing, so Ricochet hit him with a dropkick. Ricochet with a springboard cross body block and a standing SSP, but Drew caught him and hit a suplex. Drew went for a slam, Ricochet rolled his way through it and got a two count. Ricochet with a superkick. Ricochet went for a moonsault off the turnbuckle, but Drew hit him with a Claymore Kick! That was impressive. It went about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: **3/4 A fun match that was only five minutes, but I enjoyed it for the most part since they made the most of their time. Drew winning was never in doubt. Ricochet might be part of some story with Mustafa Ali now, so hopefully that’s a good thing for them.
The replays showed the incredible Claymore kick to Ricochet, who was doing a moonsault off the turnbuckle.
Drew told Ricochet that was a hell of a challenge. Drew left as the winner.
King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Woods ripped on Roman Reigns saying if he walked any slower it would look like he was moving in reverse. Woods said they would hate to see Jimmy pull a muscle since he will “bend the knee” later on Smackdown.
Happy Corbin made his entrance with Madcap Moss for a talk show segment with The Viking Raiders as their guests.
Happy Talk with Viking Raiders as Guests
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss were seated in leather chairs. They did some bad jokes while talking trash about Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs since they beat them last week. Corbin introduced the Viking Raiders as guests.
The Viking Raiders duo of Erik and Ivar were in their wrestling outfits along with their helmets. Erik said that they aren’t there to be happy. Ivar said that they are there to raid Happy Talk because it’s corny and it sucks. Corbin ripped on them for being two guys still dressed in Halloween costumes. Moss did a bad joke about a viking followed by some ridiculous laughter. The Viking Raiders were mad, so they tossed furniture around and that led to a break.
Analysis: That was a very short talk show. It’s probably for the best. I don’t think the Happy Talk show is working very well as a talk show segment.
The match was made official after the break. Of course it was.
Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss
Erik with a forearm to Corbin, then Corbin with a boot to the face and Ivar tagged in against Moss. Erik tagged in, body slam on Moss and Erik slammed Ivar onto Moss. Corbin distracted Erik, so Moss hit a spinebuster. Corbin worked over Erik with elbows followed by a chinlock. Corbin did his slide out of the ring and slide back in spot leading to a clothesline on Erik. Moss knocked Ivar off the apron. Corbin with a Deep Six slam for a two count. Erik with a huge knee (with a leg slap) on Corbin and Ivar tagged in. Ivar with a sidewalk slam on Moss and a flying cross body block. Ivar decked Corbin with a kick. Ivar with a senton out of the corner on Moss. Erik tagged in with a throw on Corbin and Erik slammed Ivar into Moss against the turnbuckle. Erik hit a Powerbomb on Moss. Ivar was going for a move of the ropes, but Corbin saved Moss. Corbin and Moss backed away, referee Jessika Carr counted them out and Corbin/Moss went to the back to lose by countout. It went about six minutes.
Winners by countout: Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Analysis: ** Lame finish to end an average match. The crowd really wasn’t into this even when the Vikings were doing their tag team offense. The countout ending is such a dumb way to end a match. I know it’s fitting for heels like Corbin & Moss, but it’s a stupid ending. I thought we might see Nakamura & Boogs attack them in the aisle. That didn’t happen.
The Hit Row group of Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis were walking down a hallway. Sami Zayn was there to tell them that their entrance on Smackdown was a little flat and he thought it sucked. Top Dolla and the guys asked Sami to show them how to make an entrance. Sami told them to follow him.
Analysis: I like seeing Sami interact with the new people. No more B-Fab since she got released.
A video aired showing the Raw Rebound with highlights of what happened on Raw. This took about three minutes. They only started doing it since the new rosters were in place.
Sami Zayn made his entrance with his new theme song while doing some ridiculous dancing on the stage. Zayn had a microphone saying that is how you do it. Zayn said that is called being fearless, having presence and that is what you need to be a part of “my” locker room. Zayn introduced us to Hit Row.
Hit Row’s trio did promos with Zayn saying they were great liberators in the house. Zayn did some of his ridiculous dancing. Top Dolla, Swerve and Ashante trashed Zayn with Dolla saying that Sami sucks, to the fans chanted “Sami sucks” at Zayn. When Sami tried to leave to the back, the Hit Row guys stood in his way. Zayn said he wasn’t there to fight, he was trying to help. Hit Row let Sami go through and Sami said he’s not going to forget this. Hit Row ended it: “If you didn’t know, now you know.”
Analysis: Poor Sami Zayn looking like a fool again. It’s a way to show off Hit Row’s personality and how they aren’t going to be treated like fools by a heel like Zayn.
The Usos were in the dressing room with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman. Jimmy asked Reigns if he was coming, so Reigns asked: “How many of your problems do I need to fix around here?” Good line.
King Woods entered with Kofi Kingston. New theme song for King Woods instead of going out there to the classic New Day song.
It was main event time with Jimmy Uso making his entrance with brother Jey by his side.
Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. King Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston)
If Jimmy wins then Xavier has to “bend the knee” towards Roman Reigns. If Woods wins then Jimmy will have to be “bend the knee” towards King Woods.
Woods got a rollup on Jimmy for a two count. Woods with a kick to the chest, then a side Russian legsweep and a basement dropkick. Jimmy to the apron, he punched Woods and sent him into the turnbuckle. Jimmy jumped off the top with nothing and Woods hit a dropkick for two. Jimmy managed to get some momentum by sending Woods into the top turnbuckle. Jimmy sent Woods out of the ring by going under the bottom rope, Woods hit the rope a bit and Woods landed on the floor.
The match returned with Jimmy hitting a spin kick to Xavier’s head. Jimmy with a running hip attack against Xavier’s head followed by a running knee for two. Jimmy went for a suplex, Woods slipped out of it and hit a running forearm. Woods with a jumping kick to the head. Woods with a suplex across the top rope followed by a running knee to the head. Woods with a running kick that knocked down Jimmy on the floor. Back in the ring, Woods went up top and hit a leg drop off the top for a two count. The fans bought that as a nearfall. The replay showed how Woods got a lot of height on that move. Woods up top, Jey with a distraction and Jimmy tripped up Woods on the top rope. Jimmy hit a Samoan Drop off the middle rope for two. That was really good as a nearfall too. Jimmy went up top, he went for the splash, Woods got the feet up and a pin attempt for two. Jimmy with a thumb to the eye that the referee didn’t see, Jimmy tried to pin with an assist from Jey and the referee caught the cheating. Jimmy argued with the referee and Woods did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! while grabbing the tights for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: King Xavier Woods
Analysis: ***1/4 This was the best match of the show that was given the most time, which always helps, but also had some fun moments like the nearfalls where it looked like either guy could win. They worked well together. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is so deadly as usual. They went with that kind of ending since The Usos tried to cheat, it failed and then Woods ended up cheating to win because it was payback for what The Usos tried against Woods. Make sense, right? Yeah, I think so.
Post match, it was announced that Jimmy Uso has to bend the knee towards King Woods.
Jimmy Uso didn’t want to do it, but he was told by the referee that he had to do it. Jimmy kneeled down right in front of Woods although it wasn’t very long because there was Roman Reigns! Huge Superman Punch by Reigns to King Woods. The Usos double-teamed Kofi with kicks. Woods went after Reigns with punches, but The Usos saved Reigns with a double superkick on Woods. The Usos sent Kofi into Reigns, who hit a Spear on Kofi. Jimmy held Kofi in a headlock, so Jey kicked the right knee of Kofi. Jey held the left leg of Kofi in a half crab, so Jimmy went up top and hit an Uso Splash onto Kofi’s right leg. Reigns was holding Woods to make him watch what they were doing to Kofi. It drew a lot of heat and boos from the crowd.
Reigns told Woods that if he shows up next week then he’ll show him what a king looks like. Reigns and The Usos celebrated as the fans booed them. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: That was a good show ending angle with The Bloodline getting a lot of heat for the attack on Woods while it looks like it sets up a TV match between Reigns and Woods as well.
Three Stars of the Show
- The Bloodline – Roman Reigns & The Usos
- The New Day – King Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston
- Drew McIntyre
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
2021 Average: 6.99
It felt like a slightly above average show that is an improvement over last week. However, I don’t think this post-draft era of Smackdown has been as good as what Smackdown was before the draft took place. The roster is a bit weaker, they are doing more promos/backstage segments and less time for matches. It’s probably a case of the bosses wanting to develop the “new” characters more, but I think you can still do that without sacrificing the good matches that used to make Smackdown a better show.
The Bloodline feud with The New Day was given a lot of attention since they were in the opening segment, they had backstage interactions and then the main event slot. The fans like The New Day as top faces, but it also feels like Smackdown is lacking top faces other than Drew McIntyre right now.
I was surprised by no Charlotte Flair on the show. Sasha Banks was probably off to sell the attack by Shotzi last week.
Even though Survivor Series is just over two weeks away, they barely mentioned it again. No matches pushed or teams set up or anything like that. I’m stunned by the lack of attention given to it.
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