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The John Report: WWE Smackdown 11/12/21 Review

roman reigns wwe smackdown king xavier woods

The road to WWE Survivor Series continues with a Smackdown episode that will see the Universal Champion Roman Reigns taking on King Xavier Woods in a non-title match.

Reigns doesn’t wrestle on television that often, so it does feel like a big match especially after Reigns and The Usos beat up Woods/Kofi Kofi Kingston on last week’s Smackdown. WWE is also advertising Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs vs. Los Lotharios (Angel & Humberto) and Sasha Banks is back after Shotzi attacked her on Smackdown two weeks ago. Most of the Smackdown crew was in Europe for four shows over the last week. Reigns and The Usos were not part of that tour. Drew McIntyre is still in Europe since he noted on Twitter he’s in Budapest on Sunday presenting at the Europe VMA Awards. At least WWE announced some Survivor Series related things over the last week, so we can talk about that during the show.

From the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia this is Smackdown for episode #1160. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show began with the Smackdown Women’s Survivor Series team standing in the ring along with WWE Official Sonya Deville. That led to Sonya introducing us to the team standing in a line: Shotzi, Natalya, Shayna Baszler and Aliyah, who is a new addition to Smackdown. Sonya introduced the team captain last – it’s Sasha Banks. The announcers were Michael Cole and Pat McAfee as usual.

Sasha Banks went to the ring with a purpose and wanted to go after Shotzi, but the other women broke them up.

Naomi made her entrance since she was mad about not being on Team Smackdown and Naomi went after Sonya, so the other women broke it up. Naomi fought with Baszler, then the other women got involved and they were all brawling around the ring. Baszler sent Banks into the turnbuckle while the other women were fighting on the floor. Cole and McAfee were yelling about how everybody hated everybody, which pretty much summed up the team. Sonya was frustrated by it. They went to break about six minutes into the show.

Analysis: That was an early break. The deal was that Sonya wanted it to be a harmonious team where everybody worked together, but they clearly have a lot of issues and that’s why there was a brawl. Sasha Banks has gone from face earlier this year to a heel in the summer and back to a face role in the fall. Everybody was dressed in their ring gear, so you know what’s coming.

A WrestleMania 38 video featuring Steve Austin was shown to let us know that WM38 tickets are on sale now for the two-night event in Dallas in April.

(Commercial)

The events from before the break led to a tag team match here. That was obvious.

Sasha Banks, Aliyah & Naomi vs. Natalya, Shayna Baszler & Shotzi

The Banks team are the faces while the Natalya team are the heels in this match. Banks hit an impressive bulldog counter on Natalya. Baszler with a waistlock takedown on Banks and a punch to Naomi, but then Aliyah tagged in with a headscissors followed by a dropkick. Shotzi tagged in with Aliyah hitting a dropkick. Shotzi with a head whip takedown followed by a senton on Aliyah. The heel side worked over Aliyah a bit, Aliyah got a cradle on Natalya and then Natalya hit a clothesline. Baszler went for the Kirifuda Clutch, Aliyah got out of it and Naomi tagged in with a dropkick. Natalya tagged back in, she sent Naomi throat first into the top rope and Baszler hit Naomi with a knee. Natalya suplexed Naomi off the apron on the floor by the announce table. That was cool. Natalya with a snap suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Natalya with a third suplex for two. Naomi tried to fight back, she bounced off the ropes and Natalya hit a discus clothesline for two. Baszler tagged in, Naomi was on the floor and Baszler whipped Naomi into the barricade. That led to a break five minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Naomi remaining as the face in peril with Shotzi hitting a splash to Naomi’s back against the ropes. Baszler stomped on Naomi’s left elbow followed by an armbar on the left arm. Naomi with a jawbreaker to break free, then a kick to the body and a leaping kick to the head to knock Baszler off the apron to the floor. Natalya tagged in to punch Banks, Naomi rollup for two, Aliyah got the tag and hit a cross body block off the top for two. Aliyah with two Thesz Press takedowns on Natalya followed by a neckbreaker for two. Aliyah with a rollup for two and Natalya came back with a Michinoku Driver for two. Aliyah hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Natalya for two with Baszler breaking it up. Banks with a knee to Baszler and a meteora double knee on Baszler on the floor. Naomi with the Rear View on Shotzi on the floor. Natalya knocked down Naomi on the floor. Back in the ring, Natalya countered Aliyah and applied a Sharpshooter, Natalya grabbed the ropes, Naomi sent Natalya into the ropes (the neck into the top rope) and Aliyah rolled up Natalya with an inside cradle sitting on top for the pinfall win after 13 minutes. The crowd popped big for the finish.

Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks, Aliyah & Naomi

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match. The fact that they got 13 minutes was great to see because sometimes the women on Smackdown don’t get a lot of time except for the bigger names, so it’s cool to see that this six-woman tag got plenty of time. Aliyah was impressive on offense, Natalya worked so well with her, Naomi did well as the face in peril and the crowd was so into it. That was fun.

Aliyah celebrated her first win on Smackdown with Banks and Naomi. The crowd loved it. Aliyah was ecstatic.

Sami Zayn was in the locker room doing some sort of pep talk speech for the team at Survivor Series. He was speaking into a mirror, but then the camera panned over to show Jeff Hardy was standing there. Sami asked Jeff what he thought. Jeff said it sucked. That was funny.

Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown walking backstage.

(Commercial)

Aliyah was shown walking backstage after the win. Megan Morant asked her how she felt and Aliyah was so happy about winning her first match on Smackdown. Sonya asked Aliyah how long she has known Naomi. Aliyah didn’t really know how to answer that and Sonya congratulated her on winning her first match on Smackdown. Sonya claimed she was advised that Aliyah is no longer on the Smackdown Survivor Series team. Sonya took a phone call and left while Aliyah was sad. The announcers were shown with McAfee saying that stinks.

Analysis: It’s another change to a Survivor Series team just like we saw on Raw with the men’s team. They have a few options here, so hopefully it makes sense. It certainly gets sympathy heat for Aliyah being taken off the team.

The Progressive Match Flo was shown from last week’s show when Xavier Woods beat Jimmy Uso, who had to bend the knee to acknowledge King Woods. That led to Roman Reigns & The Usos beating up King Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston (they targeted Kofi’s knee) to end the show.

Roman Reigns and Special Counsel Paul Heyman were backstage. Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview, so Reigns wondered if she was there to acknowledge the Tribal Chief or flirt with the “Wise Man” Heyman. Paul laughed in the background. Kayla tried to ask a question, Roman didn’t care, told the Wise Man to smarten her up and Roman went into the dressing room. Heyman said that the Tribal Chief advised him to up the ante against Xavier Woods. Heyman said that Woods will take a bended knee and acknowledge Roman Reigns as his Tribal Chief tonight. Heyman said Reigns is not man enough to make that happen to Xavier then Roman will take a bended knee towards Woods. Heyman added that if Reigns violates that stipulation then you may strip Reigns of the Universal Championship and be banished from Smackdown. Heyman claimed since they were in the commonwealth of Virginia that makes it a legally binding oral contract agreement. Heyman said that just made tonight’s show a lot more interesting.

McAfee said there was no way Heyman was telling the truth right there. McAfee said if Reigns was banished then that would be his nightmare.

Analysis: That was an interesting stipulation from Heyman for the match later although I doubt anybody watching believes Reigns would do either of those things if he failed to make Woods “bend the knee” later.

The duo of Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs made their entrance with Boogs on the guitar while McAfee was dancing on the commentary table. That always makes me laugh.

(Commercial)

Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss were shown talking backstage. They showed last week’s Smackdown when they made a bad joke towards the Viking Raiders. Moss did a viking joke for Corbin and they laughed.

Los Lotharios made their entrance. They are Angel and Humberto. Their last names were dumped over the last week.

Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs vs. Los Lotharios – Humberto & Angel

Boogs with an overhead suplex on Humberto followed by the gutwrench suplex across the ring. Angel tagged in with a kick to the head to take control. Angel and Humberto hit a double team dropkick on Boogs for a two count. Humberto worked over Boogs a bit, Angel with a punch and a low dropkick. Angel with a chinlock, Boogs powered out and sent Angel into the top turnbuckle. Boogs kicked Angel away and Nakamura tagged in against Humberto. Nakamura with kicks for both opponents, a kick to the back and a sliding German Suplex off the ropes. Nakamura jumped off the middle rope with a knee smash on Humberto for two as Angel broke up the pin. Boogs with a clothesline on Angel out of the ring. Angel sent Boogs into the ring post. Angel saved Humberto, then Nakamura left the ring, Nakamura kicked Humberto and Angel grabbed the leg. Humberto with a dropkick. Los Lotharios did a sweep kick/spin kick combo and Angel pinned Nakamura for the win after five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Los Lotharios – Humberto & Angel

Analysis: **1/4 A solid tag team match for the time given. They are trying to solidify Los Lotharios as a new heel team on Smackdown and that’s fine with me because they always need more teams. Nakamura and Boogs are not a regular team, so they can lose a match like that and it’s not going to harm them. I thought the finish was set up well.

Adam Pearce was talking to Sonya Deville in the office. It sounded like Pearce asked about Sonya’s decision to change the women’s team and Sonya said something about how she wanted to make the team stronger, so he should too. Von Wagner from NXT 2.0 was standing there with Pearce. They didn’t mention his name. Sami Zayn walked into the room saying he was the team captain (not necessarily true) and that he was disrespected by Jeff Hardy earlier. Sami demanded Jeff Hardy be removed from the Survivor Series team. Pearce said they want to make the team stronger, so Sami faces Hardy and the loser is off the team. Sami wasn’t happy about that and left. McAfee mentioned the big guy standing beside Pearce, but again they didn’t mention Von Wagner by name.

Analysis: I find it strange that McAfee didn’t say Von Wagner’s name there. They should promote NXT 2.0 way more than they do since Smackdown is the most-watched WWE show while NXT is obviously third out of the three main shows.

Charlotte Flair, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, made her entrance in a dress that’s non-wrestling gear, so she gets some promo time after a break.

(Commercial)

There was a video about the WrestleMania ticket on-sale party that took place in Dallas this past Wednesday. A lot of fans were there and plenty of tickets were sold. They had comments from Stephanie McMahon, The Undertaker (not dressed in character), Rhea Ripley and others.

Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair

The graphic reminded us that Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair will face Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. Charlotte mentioned Becky saying that she has gone from the Irish Lass Kicker and went over nicknames like The Man and Big Time Becks. Charlotte claimed there was nothing natural about Becky. Charlotte mentioned Becky winning the main event of WrestleMania (because of Charlotte apparently) and then mentioned her triumphant return at SummerSlam. Charlotte claimed Becky will have a new nickname “Becky Uh Oh” and then went over different scenarios mocking Becky. Charlotte said Becky came back from having a baby too soon and Charlotte will beat her. Charlotte said not only can she beat Becky, but she can also beat any woman in between these ropes. Charlotte said that two weeks ago, Shotzi became a star even when Charlotte beat her. Charlotte claimed her nickname should be “the star maker.” Charlotte said “here’s the thing” and it’s an interruption.

Toni Storm arrived in her ring gear. Toni claimed it was generous of Charlotte to offer opportunities, but the reality is that Charlotte doesn’t do that. Toni said that Becky Lynch defended her title on Raw just over a week ago while Charlotte has not defended her title since she’s been on Smackdown. Pat: “Uh oh.” Storm said that Charlotte has not. It led to Storm issuing a challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Title and Charlotte said, “absolutely not.” Charlotte’s music played and she left.

Analysis: Charlotte’s promo was the same kind of speech she always does. Her trash talk towards Becky Lynch was okay, but nothing that interesting. It’s nice of the creative team to remember Toni Storm exists and have her do a promo, so hopefully it leads to a match in the future.

Becky Lynch responded to part of that Charlotte promo. Nice!

King Xavier Woods was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Woods took his crown off for a bit to mention he won’t have Kofi Kingston with him since Kofi was taken out last week. Woods said that The New Day has had a rough week since Kofi was attacked last week and Big E was Powerbombed on the apron on Raw. Woods spoke with confidence about how he was going to beat Reigns and walked away smiling.

Jeff Hardy entered for the match against Sami Zayn after the break.

(Commercial)

Aliyah was shown backstage talking on the phone saying she didn’t know what happened – she was just kicked off the team. Mustafa Ali walked up to her, she hung up the phone and Ali tried to give her advice. Ricochet told Aliyah not to listen to Ali. Ricochet said she was impressive, she was in there with legends and held her own. Aliyah walked off to talk with Ricochet.

Sami Zayn made his entrance for this match against Jeff Hardy with the loser being removed from the Survivor Series team.

Jeff Hardy vs. Sami Zayn

Zayn with an armbar on Jeff, who came back with a hiptoss for a two count. Jeff worked over Sami with punches, then a slam into the turnbuckle and Zayn came back with a knee to the face. Zayn with punches, Jeff with a whip into the ropes, Sami to the floor and Jeff hit a running dropkick. Jeff went for a running attack off the steel steps, Zayn moved out of the way and Jeff hit the barricade. They went to break three minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Zayn was in control with a headlock as they showed a clip from the commercial with Zayn hitting a clothesline. Jeff hit some of his patented moves with an atomic drop and a basement dropkick for two. Jeff hit a Whisper in the Wind attack off the ropes for two. Zayn with a backslide pin for two. Zayn went for a pin attempt using the ropes, referee Jessika Carr saw the cheating attempt and Jeff hit the Twist of Fate on Zayn. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jeff Hardy

Analysis: **3/4 A good match between two veterans that know how to build up the excitement in a match. Zayn tried to cheat to win, the referee caught him, Zayn complained about it and Jeff capitalized to get the win. A simple story that worked.

Post match, Jeff celebrated the win while a graphic was shown on the screen and Sami was removed from the Smackdown team at Survivor Series. Sami was freaking out about it.

Hit Row did a promo backstage talking about how much fun they are having on Smackdown. They did some rapping together.

Jinder Mahal and Shanky were backstage “dropping bars” with Jinder doing a rap with Ice Ice Shanky. They did some awkward rapping, then they mocked Hit Row. Jinder said Hit Row was more like “Cringe Row” and they laughed.

Analysis: That was really bad by Jinder and Shanky. I understand that was the point, but that was just…a bad idea. I don’t know. It was rough to watch. I guess that’s a new feud coming with Hit Row dealing with Jinder/Shanky in the future.

King Xavier Woods was shown getting ready for his match later. The announcers promoted Woods vs. Reigns again.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Xia Li coming soon to Smackdown.

Ridge Holland was interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who mentioned that Ridge called Shamus his idol last week. Ridge said Sheamus is his idol. Ridge said he saw Sheamus fighting like he fought and he never knew he could make good money by hurting people, so Sheamus showed him the way. Ridge said he is proud to follow in his footsteps. Cesaro walked up saying he’s known Sheamus a long time and they are like brothers, but Sheamus is different now (since Sheamus is a heel while Cesaro is a face). Cesaro mentioned The Bar tag team he had with Sheamus. Cesaro warned Ridge to be careful. Ridge said he is taking Cesaro’s place and that he’ll be a far better team with Sheamus than The Bar ever was. Ridge said if you don’t like that then you can take it up with Sheamus when Sheamus is back next week.

Analysis: This was okay. It does seem like WWE is doing a nice job of trying to utilize most of the roster with promos and segments like that. Putting Ridge Holland with Sheamus will be good for Ridge while they can obviously feud with Cesaro as well.

The Raw Rebound was shown.

The Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance with Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. Roman’s title reign is at 438 days and Cole mentioned that Brock Lesnar held that title for 503 days. Reigns took his time getting into the ring as usual. It’s the slowest entrance in WWE and there was a big reaction for Reigns as he got into the ring.

They showed WrestleMania 32 highlights from Dallas in 2016 since that is where WrestleMania 38 is next year. I was there for about seven hours. I’m glad it’s on April 2 and April 3 next year. Two night WrestleMania is a great idea.

(Commercial)

Next Friday on Smackdown: Sasha Banks vs. Shotzi in Hartford.

King Xavier Woods made his entrance for the main event. Woods was alone without Kofi Kingston, who was injured last week by Reigns and The Usos. Woods got a nice ovation from the crowd.

Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. King Xavier Woods

This was not for Roman’s Universal Title. Reigns worked over Woods with punches, then Woods with punches and Reigns sent Woods into the turnbuckle. Woods with a dropkick that sent Reigns out of the ring. Woods kicked Reigns into the announce table followed by punches and chops with Cole putting over how aggressive Woods was. Back in the ring, Woods went for a spinning forearm, but Reigns connected with an uppercut punch. Reigns gave Woods a uranage slam onto the hood of the announce table. The table didn’t break from it, but Woods sold it well. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Woods bouncing off the ropes and then Reigns knocked him down with a boot to the face. Reigns worked over Woods with repeated clotheslines against the turnbuckle, but then Woods came back with a forearm. Woods charged right at Reigns, who hit him with an uppercut. Woods with a boot to the face and a DDT off the ropes. Woods with a chop, then punches/chops and Reigns hit a knee lift to the gut. Woods with a jumping side kick for two. Woods got another nearfall. Woods went up top, Reigns with punches, Woods knocked Reigns off the turnbuckle, Woods jumped off the top and Reigns hit a uranage slam for a two count. Reigns ran into a superkick and then Reigns hit the turnbuckle when Woods avoided a Spear attempt, so Woods had Reigns down. Woods went up top, he hit an elbow drop off the top and covered for two, but The Usos showed up to break up the pin. That’s a disqualification. It went about 11 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Xavier Woods

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match that was very competitive with Woods getting a lot of offense. Woods hitting that top rope elbow is his finisher, so the story goes that The Usos saved Reigns from losing to Xavier’s finisher. Reigns had some moments looking dominant, but it was mostly an even match and Xavier was very competitive the whole way. I was not shocked by the DQ ending.

Post match, The Usos whipped Woods into the barricade. The Usos used the steel steps to hit Woods twice and knock him down on the floor. In the ring, Reigns went down on a bent knee in the ring and both Usos put the King Woods crown on Roman’s head. McAfee said Reigns was crowned king of WWE. Reigns had the crown on his head and pointed up saying they are “The Ones” as they usually do. Roman’s music played as he celebrated with The Usos, McAfee said that the crown looked perfect on Roman. The celebration continued and that was it for Smackdown.

Analysis: A new look for Reigns for however long it lasts. It was a bit rushed as a post match angle because it was right up against the end of the show, but they got through it fine and Reigns has the crown for now.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Xavier Woods
  3. Aliyah/Natalya

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 6.5

2021 Average: 6.99

 

Final Thoughts

A pretty good show from top to bottom. They at least mentioned Survivor Series a bit while also changing things up for the PPV, so that’s an improvement over last week. I think match quality was pretty strong with the women’s tag team opener really helping Aliyah a lot and I liked Reigns/Woods in the main event too. The Zayn/Hardy match was solid as well.

They had a lot of backstage segments to start feuds or feature new characters, which is fine with me. I liked the show overall.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series on Sunday, November 21 from Brooklyn. Here’s the lineup so far:

Raw WWE Champion Big E vs. Smackdown WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns

Men’s 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw – Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Rey Mysterio & Bobby Lashley vs. Team Smackdown – Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, King Xavier Woods, Happy Corbin and one more wrestler.

Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair

Women’s 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw – Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella & Queen Zelina Vega vs. Team Smackdown – Sasha Banks, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi, Natalya and one more wrestler.

There might be more matches for other titles, but WWE hasn’t promoted them yet.

Find out what happens at Survivor Series on Sunday, Nov. 21, streaming live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network everywhere else.

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