This week’s WWE Smackdown featured a big women’s tag team match, plus Bobby Lashley facing Carlito, LA Knight in action and more.
I wrote this several days after the show due to being on vacation last week.
Kevin Owens made his entrance to join the commentary. Owens was in a tank top as usual with a tie he borrowed from Smackdown GM Nick Aldis. Owens joined Kevin Patrick & Michael Cole on commentary. Owens was filling in for Corey Graves, who had a baby with his wife WWE’s Carmella, earlier in the week so Graves was given the show off. It was also mentioned that if Owens gets physically involved he’ll get suspended, which is what Aldis told him before the show.
Analysis: Owens was a great choice for commentary since he’s such a terrific talker and a funny guy too.
Let’s Hear from Rey Mysterio and the LWO
Rey Mysterio was joined by the Latino World Order’s Santos Escobar, Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde and Zelina Vega. They replayed how Logan Paul beat Rey Mysterio for the US Title at Crown Jewel thanks to some brass knuckles usage.
Rey did a promo saying that he knows that Logan Paul couldn’t beat him without using those brass knuckles. Rey said he’ll do whatever he can to get a rematch against Logan.
Carlito interrupted the promo in his wrestling gear because he had a match. The announcers said Carlito was in the LWO too. Carlito wondered if Rey wanted to talk about what happened at Crown Jewel. Carlito said you have to blame the person that left the brass knuckles on the apron for Logan…it was Santos Escobar. That led to Carlito and Santos arguing. Escobar left through the crowd. Rey and Zelina went after Santos into the crowd.
Bobby Lashley’s music hit since he was in a match with Carlito.
Analysis: I mentioned during the Rey-Paul match that the brass knuckles were put on the apron by Escobar, so I figured it had to come into play in the storyline. Well done by Carlito mentioning it.
Bobby Lashley (w/Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Carlito (w/Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde)
It was a matchup between two veterans in their mid-40s who are both in great shape. Lashley was in control early on with a shoulder tackle as well as a neckbreaker. Carlito countered a Lashley suplex into a suplex of his own. Owens: “You see, eating apples? That’s what it does!” That was good. The action spilled to the floor with Lashley sending Carlito into the barricade. Lashley put Carlito on his shoulders and rammed him into the ring post.
Carlito tried a Backstabber, but Lashley held onto the ropes. Carlito managed to send Lashley out of the ring. B-Fab was shown watching on a TV and Ashante Thee Adonis talked to her, so they left. Ford grabbed Carlito’s foot on the apron, so Lashley hit a flatliner. The guys on the floor started fighting with Dawkins cleaning house. Escobar was back at ringside to fight, which distracted the referee and Ford hit a cheap kick on Carlito. Lashley hit a Spear on Carlito for the pinfall win. It went nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: **3/4 It was okay as a matchup between two veterans who are in opposing groups. Lashley benefited from the cheap shot by Ford and Lashley was able to finish off Carlito right after. All the chaos on the floor was booked well in terms of having it affect the finish.
Post match, Lashley and The Street Profits attacked Carlito with stomps and punches. Escobar watched it from the apron and chose to do nothing. Rey Mysterio ran in with a steel chair, so Lashley and the Profits left.
Rey went up to Escobar wondering what he was doing by not helping Carlito. Escobar said it’s supposed to be about the two of them. Rey turned, Escobar grabbed his arm and Rey shoved him. Rey told Escobar they are all family, they are all LWO. Escobar teased leaving as Rey checked on Carlito, so Escobar hit a running forearm to Rey’s left side. Escobar picked Rey up, so Rey slapped him in the face repeatedly. Escobar was on the apron, Rey checked on him there and Escobar shoved Rey back-first into the ring post. Rey bumped so that his right leg was trapped against the steel stairs/ring post. Escobar hit a running dropkick. Owens said he couldn’t get involved or else he’d get suspended. Escobar said that he loved Rey, he said Rey was his hero and Rey made him do this. Zelina Vega walked up wondering what he was doing and said they were supposed to be family. Escobar backed away. Wilde and Escobar got back up to check on Rey, who was selling a right leg injury.
Analysis: I thought this was really well booked. We have been expecting the Escobar heel turn for several months now, so there it is. When they had Rey check on Escobar on the apron it was pretty obvious what was coming after that. Rey sold it great as usual because Rey is a terrific seller.
Santos Escobar was backstage leaving with his suitcase. Cathy Kelley asked why did he turn on Rey? Santos said, “Rey had it coming.” Santos left.
A Progressive Match Flo was shown about Kairi Sane returning to WWE to help IYO SKY retain the WWE Women’s Title at Crown Jewel. Bayley was shocked by it.
Let’s Hear from Bayley
Bayley did a promo in the ring saying that everything she wanted for Damage CTRL came true. The fans chanted “WHAT” her as Bayley talked about how Damage CTRL has won championships and it’s obviously IYO’s Era all thanks to Bayley’s plan. Bayley said that she was saying “WHAT” at the sight of Kairi Sane’s return at Crown Jewel.
IYO SKY made her entrance as the WWE Women’s Champion with Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai (with a right knee brace) by her side.
Sky said that it was her era. Sky said that she had Kairi Sane to help her retain the title. Bayley said that’s what she wanted. Bayley said that the last time we saw Sane in WWE, this is what happened. They showed July 27, 2020 on Raw when Bayley viciously beat up Sane for Sane’s exit.
Bayley said that after watching that, you can understand her concern with having Sane around. Kai spoke up saying they didn’t bring Sane into Damage CTRL to hurt Bayley, they did it to make Damage CTRL stronger. Kai said they’re grateful for what Bayley has done, so they wanted to take the weight off her. Kai said that Damage CTRL is stronger than ever, so this should be a celebration.
Kairi Sane said that she respects Bayley as the leader of Damage CTRL. Sane said she forgives Bayley. Sane extended her hands for a hug, but Bayley said she doesn’t do that anymore. All four women embraced in the ring with the fans cheering the hug effort.
Bianca Belair arrived for a promo by the entrance. Belair said she didn’t forgive Damage CTRL. Belair said she was mistaken thinking that Sky could fight on her own, so she’ll just whoop all their asses.
Charlotte Flair joined Belair with Flair already dressed in her ring gear. Belair mentioned somebody else being upset about Kairi joining Damage CTRL.
Asuka also joined Belair and Flare to make it three former Women’s Champions together. Asuka shouted in Japanese and then she said “no one is ready for Asuka.” A graphic was shown setting up the obvious six-woman tag team match.
Analysis: It did a nice job of covering the Bayley/Sane history while having Sane forgive Bayley for her past and now they are on the same page. I think having the babyface trio interrupt to set up a tag team match made logical sense and it sets up a big tag team match main event.
A video aired about Dragon Lee since he’s in action up next.
Cedric Alexander vs. Dragon Lee
It’s a rematch from when Lee beat Alexander recently. Each man hit dropkicks leading to Alexander hitting a suicide dive on the floor. Alexander hit a bunch of moves including a forearm smash and a running dropkick. Lee gave Alexander a hurricanrana to the floor followed by a somersault dive over the top onto Cedric on the floor. Lee hit a Ligerbomb for a two count. They did a great spot where Lee charged and Alexander launched him with a suplex into the turnbuckle. Lee hit a release German Suplex, but Alexander caught him with a Spanish Fly slam for two. Alexander hit a Michinoku Driver for another two count. Lee hit a knee smash followed by a spinning reverse DDT that needs a name for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dragon Lee
Analysis: ***1/4 It was very good for a shorter match. They had some very creative spots in the match. There isn’t a storyline or anything like that for a match like this. It was more about putting on a fast-paced, exciting match to put over Lee. Alexander got plenty of offense too, but it was obvious who was going to win here.
The Highlight of the Night video aired showing Logan Paul’s win over Rey Mysterio at Crown Jewel, which led to Paul winning the US Title.
LA Knight was shown walking backstage for a match up next.
Let’s Hear from LA Knight
There was a big pop for LA Knight as usual. They showed highlights about what happened at Crown Jewel when Knight had Roman Reigns beaten, but Jimmy Uso saved his cousin yet again. Reigns would come back to beat Knight to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
LA Knight said that he could tell you that he came up short and he didn’t live up to the expectations. Knight said he did exactly what he said he would do, he took Roman Reigns to within an inch of that WWE Championship, he dropped him on his head with the BFT and he had him for the 1, 2, 3 if not for Jimmy Uso. Knight said he got robbed. Knight wanted Reigns to give Jimmy a raise and promotion. Knight said if Jimmy wasn’t there then you’d be looking at a new WWE Champion right now. Knight said he’s not done with The Bloodline until he owns Roman Reigns and he owns the WWE Championship.
Grayson Waller arrived for the interruption since he was Knight’s opponent. Waller said that Knight is blaming everybody but himself. Waller said that maybe Knight just isn’t the guy. Waller walked into the ring so Knight called him Kangaroo Jackass. Waller asked Knight if he really thinks he belongs in the ring with Roman Reigns? The fans shouted “YEAH” in reply to that. Knight said that the Grayson Waller Effect sounds like an STD. Knight mentioned Waller was dropped by a Saudi movie star and he’s asking if Knight belongs in the ring with Roman Reigns. Knight mocked Waller saying he looked like a creep. Knight mocked Waller for starting a fight on the internet while making a “mother’s basement” joke. Knight got the point saying he will mop the floor with him for their match tonight. Knight sent Waller out of the ring and poured some water on him. That match is up after a break.
Analysis: LA Knight did the usual “I would have beat Roman Reigns if The Bloodline didn’t interfere” promo that we have heard many times from different babyfaces over the last three plus years. Waller is good in his role as an annoying midcard heel.
LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller
Knight with a clothesline followed by a suplex. Knight did a hair pull takedown followed by some arm wrenching. Waller broke free and went to the floor to regroup. Knight left the ring to slam Waller onto the apron along with an elbow smash. Knight hit a slingshot shoulder tackle on Waller for two. Knight hit a neckbreaker for two. Waller got some offense going with a spinning forearm to the jaw. Knight lifted Waller over the top to the apron leading to Waller going to the floor. Knight dropkicked Waller into the commentary table. Knight rammed Waller’s head into the hood of the commentary table repeatedly. Knight broke the count, then back out with Waller sending Knight into the table. Waller tackled Knight into the steel steps. Waller slid out of the ring and clotheslined Knight on the floor. Owens told Waller he had too many sparkles on his gear.
Waller was in control of Knight with a half crab submission against the turnbuckle. Waller applied a half crab submission. Waller hit an elbow drop off the middle rope onto Knight’s back for a two count. Waller did a head slam to knock Knight down. Waller went for the elbow drop again, Knight moved and Knight sent Waller out of the ring. Waller tried his rolling Stunner, but Knight avoided it and Knight hit a belly-to-back suplex. Knight did a punch combo routine along with a leaping clothesline, Russian legsweep and a DDT for two. Knight hit his running elbow drop followed by the BFT for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: LA Knight
Analysis: **3/4 It was an average match to give Knight a win over a midcard heel that tends to lose matches against the top guys. They worked hard and had some creative spots. I think the result was pretty obvious with Knight winning while Waller had no chance.
The replay was shown of the match with Owens circling Waller’s face and pointing out it was an ugly face. They showed the clip from two weeks ago when Owens punched Waller and Austin Theory at the same time. Owens said they should be happy because Owens proved his theory that he could punch both of them at the same time.
The trio of Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair and Asuka were shown getting ready for the main event.
A flashback video aired showing John Cena’s WWE debut in June 2002.
There was a video package of the Crown Jewel match between Solo Sikoa and John Cena. Solo won the match after striking Cena repeatedly with the Samoan Spike and beat Cena clean. After the match, Cena took his time getting up as he was acknowledged by the crowd with a standing ovation. Michael Cole wondered if it was Cena’s final time in a WWE ring.
Analysis: The SAG-AFTRA strike is over, so that’s it for John Cena’s run in WWE during this fall season. We don’t know when Cena will be back, but for now he’s gone after Solo Sikoa destroyed him at Crown Jewel. I doubt that was Cena’s last match. However, I think it’s smart for WWE to put the question out there and leave people wondering.
Michael Cole said that “thank you” to John Cena. Owens said that a way to cheer people up was to show when Owens punched Waller & Theory, so they showed it again.
Austin Theory and Grayson Waller made their way down to ringside. Theory shoved Owens while Waller poured water on KO’s head. Owens said that he had to go get some revenge. Owens went after Theory and Waller when they were in the aisle. Owens punched both guys. Owens went for a Stunner on Theory, but Theory slipped out of the ring and left. Owens hit a Stunner on Waller.
Analysis: This would lead to Owens getting suspended based on the agreement he had with Nick Aldis. Enjoy the vacation, KO.
The women from Damage CTRL entered for tag team action in the main event.
Jimmy Uso did a backstage promo speaking into the camera. Jimmy said that if LA Knight wants him then he gets him next week. Jimmy said “YEET” then he got a phone call from Roman Reigns and Jimmy said “no yeet” because Roman doesn’t like that.
Next week on Smackdown (November 17):
* LA Knight vs. Jimmy Uso
* Solo Sikoa returns
The trio of Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair made their entrance in that order and they did it separately.
Asuka, Charlotte Flair & Bianca Belair vs. Damage CTRL – Bayley, IYO SKY & Kairi Sane (w/Dakota Kai)
Belair hit a body slam on Bayley followed by a moonsault. Bayley went to the floor, so Belair jumped onto Bayley and Sky. Flair kicked Sane off the apron to the floor.
Flair gave Sky a fallaway slam. Belair tagged in against Sane with Belair hitting a running shoulder tackle. Belair hit a vertical suplex on Sane. Belair was on the apron as she tried to lift Sane, but Sane pulled on the left arm against the top rope. Sky and Sane did a double team clothesline/trip at the same time. Sane hit a running clothesline on Belair. Sane hit a forearm smash off the top rope. Sky and Bayley made quick tags as they took turns working over Belair. Belair sent Bayley to the apron, Belair hit a forearm smash and Belair sent Sane out of the ring. Sane pulled Flair off the apron and threw Flair into the steel steps. Bayley pulled on Belair’s hair, but Belair hit a spinebuster on Bayley. Belair tried a tag and Asuka pulled her hand away. Asuka sprayed the DREADE BLUE MIST in Belair’s face. Asuka kicked Belair in the head. Asuka hugged Sane in the middle of the ring along with Sky. Bayley joined the four way hug. Flair went into the ring to try to fight back, but the other women attacked Flair and it led to a disqualification. It went about eight minutes.
Winners by disqualification: Asuka, Charlotte Flair & Bianca Belair
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match that was used as an angle to set up Asuka’s heel turn against Belair and Flair. I thought they set it up well with Belair reaching for a tag, Asuka refusing it and spraying the DREADED BLUE MIST in Belair’s face to signify the turn.
The foursome of Bayley, Asuka, Sky and Shirai worked together to attack Flair. Shotzi ran out for the save, but she was overwhelmed by the heels. Bayley hit Roseplant on Shotzi. Sky went up top and hit the Over The Moonsault on Flair. Belair tried to fight back, but she was overwhelmed. Sane hit Belair with a spinning elbow. Sane went up top and hit the Insane Elbow on Belair.
Damage CTRL celebrated above their fallen rivals as Bayley, Sky, Asuka, Sane and Kai posed over the face. Cole claimed that the entire control of Friday Night Smackdown is now in the hands of Damage CTRL. I don’t know about that.
Analysis: It was a two-minute post-match attack with nobody trying to stop it except for Shotzi. Sometimes there are fights that last ten seconds with officials and security and officials there to break it up, but it didn’t happen here. I’m not complaining necessarily. It’s just a consistency thing. Anyway, I think that was Asuka’s third turn this year since she was a face to start the year, turned heel to become the champion, then she was a face again and then another heel turn now. I like Asuka the most as a heel, so it’s the right role for her.
All of this is likely leading to WarGames. There’s a rumor (or spoiler) that Becky Lynch will join the babyface side, which is certainly fine with me. I wonder if it will be 5-on-5 or 4-on-4 because I think 5 vs. 5 is better. Dakota Kai still isn’t cleared from her knee injury as far as I know so that means there would need to be more women added to the teams.
Three Stars of the Show
- Asuka, Bayley, IYO SKY & Kairi Sane
- Bobby Lashley
- Rey Mysterio/Santos Escobar/Carlito
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2023 Average: 7.23
Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown
I think it was a very good show in terms of story development. The Asuka heel turn at the end to strengthen Damage CTRL was good to see.
In terms of matches, there were some solid matchups although the results were obvious and the main event was a disqualification that was more about setting up Asuka turning on Belair. That women’s match was clearly the main focus this week to set them up for WarGames, which isn’t official yet. Asuka is the new Big Show/Kane due to multiple turns this year.
There was also the Santos Escobar heel turn as well, which was coming for a few months now. You just knew that group would have issues. Anyway, I liked how it was booked although I think the Asuka turn was booked better.
The next WWE PLE is Survivor Series on November 25th from Chicago. Here’s the lineup:
* Men’s WarGames Match: Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn & ??? vs. The Judgment Day – Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, JD McDonagh & ???
* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. The Miz
* Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zoey Stark
WWE Survivor Series airs on Saturday, November 25th, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, streaming live exclusively on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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