This week’s Smackdown has several big matches advertised plus a Miz TV segment. Becky Lynch is defending the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair while WWE World Cup qualifying matches are taking place with Randy Orton facing Big Show and Jeff Hardy squaring off with Samoa Joe. The Miz TV segment hosted by The Miz has WWE Champion AJ Styles and Crown Jewel challenger Daniel Bryan as the guests. Plus, next week is Smackdown 1000, so there should be a lot of promotion about that.
Live from Indianapolis, Indiana, this is Smackdown Live for episode #999. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
Smackdown began with lead announcer Tom Phillips talking about the matches coming up later.
The Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and challenger Charlotte Flair were already in the ring for their title match to start the show. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton did in the in-ring introductions to start the match.
Analysis: I’m a big fan of starting a WWE show with a match instead of the usual promo.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
If Lynch is disqualified, she will lose her title.
They had a tight lockup leading to a break against the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “Becky” for the champ. Flair with an arm wringer, Lynch stepped on the foot to get control into an armbar of her own. The fans did chants for both women. Flair tripped up Lynch, but Lynch got back to her feet quickly. Flair with a body slam. Lynch came back with a kick and a whip into the turnbuckle. Lynch kicked Flair into the turnbuckle leading to a two count. Lynch with a running leg drop, Lynch did an elbow drop along with a Flair strut, which was funny. Lynch missed a leg drop, Flair got a two count with a cover and they got back up at the same time. They did a double clothesline spot. Flair went for a suplex, Lynch got out of it with a knee to the face. Lynch jumped off the ropes leading to a kick. Flair escaped the armbar attempt and applied a dragon screw leg whip. Lynch with an elbow to the face and Lynch slapped on an armbar, but it was not her finishing move armbar. When they got back to their feet, Lynch went for a dropkick, Flair caught her legs and Flair did a slingshot that sent Lynch into the top turnbuckle. Flair with a slingshot cross body block over the top rope onto Lynch on the floor as the show went to break.
The match returned with Flair going to the top and Lynch slammed her off the top. That’s a bump that Ric Flair did thousands of times, so it’s a nice tribute to her dad. Lynch with a kick to the gut followed by a Bexploder suplex for a two count. Flair with a backbreaker followed by a head slam into the mat. Flair with the chops to the chest as the crowd chanted “woo” with her and after a whip into the ropes, Flair hit a belly to back suplex. Flair with a kip up to get back to her feet first. Flair went up top, but Lynch pulled her off leading to Flair bumping hard to the mat. Lynch off the second rope, Flair moved and got a rollup for two. Lynch with an enziguri kick that looked like it didn’t hit, but Flair sold it like it did. Lynch went up top, Flair went to the ropes to trip Lynch on the top and Lynch managed to come back with an armbar on the left arm. Flair fought out of it with forearms to the face as she fought the hold. Flair powered out of it with a one-armed Powerbomb for two. Great spot leading to a break.
The match returned with both women down on the mat looking fatigued since it was nearly twenty minutes into the match. Flair went for a Figure Four, so Lynch kicked her into the turnbuckle. Lynch grabbed her title and tried to leave. The ref counted Lynch out as she left, so Flair went up the ramp to bring Lynch into the ring. Lynch shoved Flair into the ref. Lynch tried to hit Charlotte with the title, but the ref stopped that. Each woman got a rollup for two and Flair hit a Spear. Lynch left the ring again. That was a good sequence. Lynch was on the floor, Flair went up top and went for a moonsault. Lynch moved, so Flair hit the floor hard. That was a rough landing. Charlotte really needs to consider not doing bumps like that because you can easily hurt a knee from that height. Lynch hit a Bexploder into the barricade. With the ref counting Flair out, Lynch slid out of the ring just before the ten count to break the count and Flair hit a suplex on the floor. They went back into the ring with Flair hitting a Natural Selection neckbreaker and Lynch rolled to the floor again before Charlotte could pin her. Flair went after her on the floor, so Lynch drove Flair into the ring post. Lynch tried to get back in the ring, Flair grabbed her and the ref counted to ten, so it’s a double countout finish. The match went about 22 minutes.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match. The finish makes it tough for me to rate it at the four star level, but it was still an entertaining match with a lot of psychology. I liked the way Lynch kept going for the arm, Flair kept fighting back and there was that cool one-armed Powerbomb by Flair to break free at one point. I liked the intensity of the match. That moonsault to the floor by Charlotte looked scary, so I hope she stops doing that because she could get hurt doing that one day. I think that spot was done to show that they were willing to go to great lengths to win. Lynch running away when Charlotte kept coming back also fit Lynch as a heel champion, so I liked the story.
I called the finish of the match about an hour before the show just based on the usual booking in a match like that where they say the champ can lose by DQ.
It was announced that Becky vs Charlotte is opening #SDLive for SD Women’s Title. There’s a stip that if Becky gets DQ’d she loses title. I think there will be a countout finish to set up a stipulation match at Evolution later this month.
— John Canton (@johnreport) October 9, 2018
The fight continued to the top of the stage where Flair hit a Spear on Lynch that sent them both crashing into the video wall. Ouch. Referees and agents went to check on the women. When Charlotte got back up, her right arm was bleeding, so the camera cut away.
Analysis: That looked like a rough landing. I hope both women okay. I’m not sure what kind of material that video wall is made of, but it sounded painful. Charlotte having blood on her arm was likely not part of the plan, so of course WWE cut away as soon as they the blood.
The announcers shilled what’s still to come on Smackdown this week.
Jeff Hardy was shown finishing up his face paint because he’s up against Samoa Joe up next.
PLUG TIME: The TJRWrestling on Patreon page is no more because it was an idea that just didn’t work out for me. I don’t stop, though. I keep moving forward. In addition to all of the content I write about current WWE, I am covering my favorite year in WWF history in depth – it is the year 2000 and you can read about the entire month of January in our WWF in 2000 section on TJRWrestling. Every Monday I’ll post a 2000 Raw review and every Thursday it’s Smackdown while all PPVs from that year will be reviewed in the order they took place. My Royal Rumble 2000 review is up and it’s a 9 out of 10 show that is one of WWE’s best PPVs ever. It’s a lot of fun to re-live the days of The Rock, Triple H, Chris Jericho, Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz and so many others as they were on their way to becoming legends in the wrestling business. Check it out exclusively only on TJRWrestling in the WWF in 2000 area of our website.
Next week on Smackdown, The Undertaker returns for Smackdown 1000.
There was a replay of Charlotte spearing Lynch through the LED wall on the stage. Corey Graves noted that Charlotte Flair had cuts on her arms.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance to a good ovation. They aired a video package showing some of his career highlights for some reason. I don’t think we need a reminder of who Jeff is.
Samoa Joe entered as Hardy’s opponent with a video package airing about him. The videos about each guy were about 45 seconds or so.
WWE World Cup Tournament Qualifying Match: Jeff Hardy
They wrestled for about thirty seconds, Joe bailed to the floor and it was time for a break.
The match returned with Joe in control. Joe was selling the left leg injury from Super Show-Down on Saturday as he slapped on a headlock on Hardy. Joe with a senton splash on Hardy for a two count. Hardy made a comeback with an atomic drop followed by a double leg drop on the left knee of Joe. Hardy did the “delete” hand sign, so the fans chanted along with him as Joe whipped Hardy out of the ring. Joe sent Hardy into the steel steps. Joe with a kick, Hardy moved and Joe’s injured left leg hit the steel steps. Back in the ring, Hardy with a leg drop to Joe’s left leg. Hardy continued to stomp on the left leg of Joe. When Joe stood again, he collapsed to the mat, so the referee called the bell to stop the match. The match ended after about eight minutes. The crowd booed the finish while Joe continued to sell the leg injury.
Winner by ref stoppage: Jeff Hardy
The win means that Hardy is one of the eight men in the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel.
Analysis: ** It’s not a finish that WWE does often, nor should they, but in this match, it fit because of how much Joe was selling that leg injury the entire match. I don’t mind seeing a ref stoppage ending occasionally especially since Hardy was relentless in working on the left leg. It made Hardy come across as being a smart guy instead of just a high flier. I don’t think it hurts Joe that much to lose a match that way. He could always come back for revenge.
A quick video aired about Randy Orton because he’s in a match later. Orton faces Big Show later.
Still to come: The rest of “One Night in Milwaukee” with Aiden English about Lana and Rusev.
Next Tuesday on Smackdown Live the group Evolution that contained Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista will be on the show even though they were never on Smackdown as a group. They were a Raw stable. It is Batista’s first time on WWE TV in four years.
The Miz made his entrance to host Miz TV as we head to end of the first hour.
A video aired about Mixed Match Challenge with Finn Balor and Bayley facing Braun Strowman and Ember Moon in the Raw match. My review will go up on Wednesday only on TJRWrestling.
There was a replay of Charlotte Flair spearing Becky Lynch earlier. Phillips said that Charlotte is fine and will be a part of Mixed Match Challenge later in the night.
Paige, the Smackdown GM, was in her office talking about Becky vs. Charlotte. She said they will have another Smackdown Women’s Title match in the first ever Last Woman Standing match.
Analysis: That should be an awesome match. I like the stipulation and I think it’s fitting for their rivalry. There was a Last Woman Standing match in NXT when Asuka faced Nikki Cross, but they don’t count NXT matches.
The Miz was in the ring in a suit. He said that he was told by GM Paige that he had to be professional for this interview. Miz sounded cranky about the situation. Miz introduced the WWE Champion AJ Styles.
AJ Styles made his entrance with the WWE Championship around his waist. Images were shown of Styles beating Samoa Joe at Super Show-Down on Saturday. Read my review of that here in case you missed it.
When Styles got into the ring, Miz asked Styles how his family was. Styles didn’t like that. Miz did a weak introduction for Daniel Bryan saying that if he goes to your house he might want to work on your garden. Miz was not enthusiastic as he introduced Bryan as expected.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance with the crowd chanting “yes” for him as usual. A replay aired of Bryan beating Miz with a small package or inside cradle for the win at around 2:25 or so.
Bryan shook hands with Styles since they are facing off for the WWE Title at Crown Jewel on November 2. Miz was not fond of the handshake. Bryan asked Miz if he wanted to talk about their match and he had a good line saying it won’t take very long as fans chanted “Daniel Bryan” for him. Styles said that Samoa Joe brought it to him and made it personal, but this match with Bryan will be between the ropes in the house that AJ Styles built. Miz tried to interpret it saying that Styles thinks he’s better than everybody else. Miz didn’t like that Bryan said he was “glad” that Styles felt that way.
Bryan said that he wants to beat a worthy opponent and nobody has proven more worthy as Styles has defended the most coveted championship in WWE for over 300 days night in and night out. Bryan said that Styles has earned the right to be better than him and everybody else while Bryan added that he feels like he has a lot to prove. Bryan said that he’s glad AJ thinks he can beat him while Bryan said that he KNOWS he can beat Styles. Styles said that since he’s come back from his injury it’s not like he has faced anybody who is phenomenal while discreetly pointing at The Miz. Bryan called Miz the “two minute man” and said he’s heard that about him for a long time.
Bryan said that this match at the Crown Jewel, this is the kind of thing and the very reason why Bryan fought so hard to come back for retirement. Bryan said that he never actually explained what his dream was. Bryan said that his dream was not to reunite Team Hell No or fight this jerk (The Miz). Bryan said that his dream that he was fighting for was one thing and one thing only…the WWE World Championship. Bryan said that the only thing standing in the way of Bryan and his dream is AJ Styles.
Styles got up to stand face to face with Bryan. Styles said he’s not moving for him or anybody. Miz said it took them both long enough by finally doing something interesting. Styles asked Bryan how good does it feel to punch Miz in the face. Bryan said punching the “two minute man” feels great. Styles said that he knocked Miz’s tooth out. I think that was two years ago.
Miz said that it figures that they would be so bored by eachother, so they turned their attention to him. Miz said that Bryan stole the win and Miz’ shoulder was up, but Paige wouldn’t give him a rematch. Miz whined about the rollup to win and said that at least when he beat Bryan, he knocked him out. Miz called Styles another one of him (meaning Miz thinks Styles is boring like Bryan) with an annoying southern accent. Miz talked about how the WWE Title has never been less prestigious and he told Styles to look in the mirror to see why the WWE Title doesn’t headline PPVs. Miz said no matter who is WWE Champion, he has got next. Miz said that tonight, Styles isn’t facing him, he’s facing the superstar that beat Daniel Bryan next week…it’s Shelton Benjamin.
Analysis: That was well done. Bryan and Styles did the respect thing to eachother as babyfaces that they are while also teaming up to make fun of Miz for being the “two minute man” due to his quick loss against Bryan on Saturday. I loved the tirade by Miz because he’s right that his shoulder was up and Bryan’s win over him wasn’t that decisive. It makes Miz come off as a whining heel, but it’s also something that is true coming from his mouth and it’s something he believes. We want our heels to believe in what they. Miz is great at that. This can lead to a triple threat between them down the road (perhaps at Survivor Series), but for now the focus is on Bryan vs. Styles at Crown Jewel on November 2. Great work by all three guys. Oh and if you’re wondering why the WWE Title didn’t headline Super Show-Down it’s because Triple H married well. Just saying.
The Miz and Daniel Bryan were guests at the announce table.
Shelton Benjamin vs. AJ Styles
This is not for AJ’s WWE Title.
Benjamin was in control with a headlock early on. Styles charged and Benjamin hit a back body drop. Miz and Bryan bickered with Miz pointing out that Benjamin beat Bryan last week. Styles with a Pele Kick to the head of Benjamin. When Styles went to the apron for a springboard attack, Benjamin countered with a leaping knee to the face that knocked Styles to the floor. That was a great spot. Bryan put over Benjamin for being ten times the wrestler that The Miz is. Benjamin whipped Styles into the barricade and the side of the ring as the show went to break.
The match returned with Styles hitting the Electric Chair Drop slam on Benjamin as both guys were on the mat selling it. Styles with a clothesline on Benjamin, quick strikes with punches and Styles hit a running forearm. Styles with a corner clothesline. Benjamin went for a suplex, Styles landed on his feet and Styles slapped on the Calf Crusher with Miz saying that Styles will tear Bryan’s leg off. Benjamin got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Benjamin with a headbutt to the chest, Styles with a kick to the leg and Benjamin sent Styles to the apron. Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: *** Good match with Benjamin getting in plenty of offense, Styles making the comeback and finishing him off with the Phenomenal Forearm. There were a few cool spots in the match with Benjamin hitting that running knee to counter a Styles attack. I also loved the way Styles countered a move leading to the Calf Crusher. These guys worked well together, which was no surprise considering the caliber of wrestlers they are.
After the match was over, Bryan clapped for Styles for his win. That made The Miz sick, so he left.
A video package aired about Big Show because he’s facing Randy Orton later. It will be Show’s first match in over a year.
Up next is the Aiden English reveal of his “one night in Milwaukee” with Lana.
A commercial aired for Smackdown 1000 next week in Washington, DC.
Aiden English presents “One Night In Milwaukee”
The show returned with Aiden English in the ring. He said tonight he gives us the “Director’s Cut” edition of the “One Night in Milwaukee” video with Lana.
The video played showing what we saw last week with Lana saying that “I want you” then she paused and said, “to know how much you mean to Rusev.” She thanked him for how much he’s contributed to Rusev and she appreciates everything he’s done for his career. English thanked her saying that they both mean the world to her. That led to English getting closer to her, but it stopped. English asked if they wanted to see the rest, the fans cheered and English called out Rusev.
Rusev showed up with a microphone. English said that we all know what happens in that video, but he will destroy the video if Rusev kicks Lana to the curb and he reunites Rusev Day. Lana joined Rusev in the aisle.
Rusev said that this is something real serious and asked Aiden to play the full thing. English said this is a family show and no man should ever have to see that. Lana said that if Aiden won’t, she will. Aiden asked how, Rusev said he got hacked and Lana said it’s very possible when your password is “iheartrusev” anybody could have done it.
The video played again with Lana praising English. When English leaned closer to her, she told him “whoa” and said that English misunderstood. Lana left and English was alone looking frustrated. English turned the phone off that was in the room.
English said that it’s fine they found out the truth, but the offer to Lana still exists. Rusev got his hands on English and English managed to get away to avoid a Machka Kick. English ran up the ramp looking frustrated while Rusev posed with Lana in the ring.
Analysis: The whole thing was a big tease with English suggesting that something happened with Lana, but it was really nothing. If this was twenty years ago then maybe things would be different with this storyline. In today’s WWE, they are not going to do something risqué like that. Since English is a heel, it’s not a surprise that he would lie about something like that. That seemed like the obvious outcome from the moment they teased this storyline.
A video aired about Rey Mysterio appearing at Smackdown 1000 next week. Welcome back, Rey.
Next week on Smackdown: Rey Mysterio vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a Crown Jewel World Cup Qualifying Match. That should be awesome.
Analysis: Mysterio signed a deal with WWE to return as a regular wrestler, so it appears as though he’s going to be on Smackdown. I think Mysterio will win that match.
Big Show was shown walking backstage because he is up next.
The show returned with the announcers plugging WWE’s charity work with Komen.org/DonateWWE for breast cancer research.
Big Show made his entrance. He has not wrestled in a year, but he is in good shape and announced at 383 pounds. The fans gave him a good reaction. Show is in his mid-40s now, so his days as a regular wrestler are over. Using him as a part timer is fine with me.
Randy Orton did his slow walking entrance with Graves calling them two of the greatest superstars ever. They have certainly had long careers in WWE, so it’s not a terrible statement. I’m not saying I agree. From a kayfabe point of view, there’s nothing wrong with saying it.
Big Show vs. Randy Orton
Orton slithered out of the ring (he’s a viper, right?) at the start of the match and they went to a break less than one minute into it.
The match returned with about five minutes in the show, so there’s not much time left. Show had Orton in a choke hold and Orton came back with a DDT that led to a power kickout from Show. Orton stomped on the limbs of Show leading to a chinlock. Show got back into it with a belly to back suplex. Show with two clotheslines, plus a running shoulder tackle and Show signaled for a Chokeslam, but Orton bailed to the floor again. They went back into the ring with Orton hitting a dropkick and Orton hit a DDT off the ropes with Show’s feet on the top rope. That was a bit of a rough landing on Show, but he looked to be okay. Orton teased the Punt, which was obviously not going to connect and Show hit a Spear for a two count. The fans chanted “you still got it” for Show. Orton tried to leave again, Show brought him back in by the head and Show hit a Chokeslam that was good for just two as Orton got his left shoulder up. The fans chanted “one more time” for Show, but Show signaled for the KO Punch. Orton left the ring again, Show grabbed him by the head, Orton with an eye poke that the ref missed because he was behind Show and Orton hit a RKO for the win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ** It was a decent main event with Orton getting the obvious win since he’s the more regular wrestler at this point. There was a good nearfall with Show’s Chokeslam. The finish was simple with Orton getting the eye poke that the ref never saw leading to the RKO for the win. Show controlled most of the match, but Orton’s craftiness won it.
The win means that Orton has qualified for the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel on November 2.
The graphic let us know four of the first eight guys in the World Cup tournament: John Cena, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton. Orton celebrated the win as Smackdown went off the air.
Analysis: They are all veteran guys that have had careers that have lasted nearly 20 years or in Jeff’s case, over 20 years. It’s all about pleasing that Saudi prince that loved the Attitude Era and early 2000s wrestlers, I guess. It would be nice if some younger names were in it too. All four guys are also American, so obviously WWE isn’t trying to get an international flavor in there.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Charlotte Flair
2. Becky Lynch
3. (tie) AJ Styles
3. (tie) Shelton Benjamin
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 5
2018 Average: 6.55
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 7, 7.5, 6, 6.5
2018 High: 8.5 (July 31)
2018 Low: 4.5 (January 2, January 9)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 7.5 out of 10.
That was a pretty good show that started off hot with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch having a long title match. The countout ending prevented it from being that memorable of a match, but I understand the storyline reasoning behind it to set up another match. Plus, the big spot with the spear into the video wall was impressive. I liked Styles vs. Benjamin for the time given as well as that Miz TV segment.
The main event was with Orton beating Show was just decent and prevents me from giving this a higher score, but a 7.5 out of 10 is a high score. I gave Raw a 7 as well, so that means it was a pretty good week for WWE’s two main shows.
Here’s the updated lineup for women’s only Evolution on October 28.
These. Are. OFFICIAL! #WWEEvolution
— WWE (@WWE) October 9, 2018
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella
Smackdown Women’s Championship in a Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Trish Stratus and Lita vs. Mickie James and Alexa Bliss
NXT Women’s Championship: Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
There will be more matches and I’m not going to spoil Mae Young Classic matches, so those are the only ones official now.
— WWE (@WWE) October 9, 2018
Here’s the updated lineup for men’s only Crown Jewel on November 2.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman
Triple H and Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker and Kane
WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan
WWE World Cup Tournament: There are eight competitors. Announced so far: John Cena, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton.
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