This week’s Smackdown is taking place just one day after WWE’s Crown Jewel event on Thursday. This show is also the start of a new era of Smackdown with the newly drafted rosters in place following the draft picks that were made earlier this month.
I thought Crown Jewel was a great show (the review is here if you didn’t read it yet). They finished off some feuds while others will continue. No Smackdown titles changed hands while Roman Reigns kept the Universal Championship away from Brock Lesnar thanks to some help.
From the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, this is Smackdown for episode #1157. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past (including my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order) and present. Let’s get to it.
Smackdown began with highlights of the Roman Reigns victory over Brock Lesnar. There was a referee bump after Lesnar hit Reigns with an F5 (so Lesnar did a pin with no referee), then Paul Heyman tossed the Universal Title into the ring (between Reigns and Lesnar), they fought over the title and The Usos appeared to deliver a double superkick to Lesnar. Reigns hit Lesnar with the Universal Title and another referee went into the ring to count the pin for Reigns to win the match.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
The familiar music of the “Head of the Table” Roman Reigns made his entrance with the Universal Championship, which was held by Special Counsel “Wise Man” Paul Heyman. Reigns held up one finger and some pyro went off. Reigns was wearing that cool-looking Bloodline shirt. The announce team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were at ringside to welcome us to the show as they put over the Reigns/Lesnar match.
Reigns asked Heyman if he was holding that title for Reigns or for Brock? Reigns said that when he put his hand out, Heyman did the right thing with the microphone, but last night (at Crown Jewel), Paul just threw the title in the ring. Reigns put his hand out and Heyman handed Reigns the title. Reigns told Heyman he’s not great at his job, but Roman said he (Roman) was. Reigns said he’s the best of the best leading to a mix of cheers and heels. Reigns said he’s carried WWE on his back for a year and a half (not that long really), he’s the Tribal Chief, he’s the Head of the Table, he’s the Greatest Universal Champion of All-Time. Reigns said he smashed everyone. Reigns said that the list has gotten so long so let’s go back to WrestleMania. Reigns said Daniel Bryan, Edge, Cesaro, Finn Balor, Hollywood megastar John Cena and Paul’s boy Brock Lesnar…“I smashed Brock Lesnar.”
Reigns said speaking of Brock, what did he say about Smackdown. Heyman pulled out his phone to find the tweet. Heyman read it for Brock saying: “The moment I arrive at Smackdown, I will beat Roman Reigns senseless.” The fan cheered that. Reigns knocked the phone out of Heyman’s hand. Reigns said he beat Brock so bad that he’s tweeting now. It was not a Brock tweet, it was a WWE tweet, but that was funny. Reigns said he runs WWE and he’s not going anywhere. Reigns asked the fans if they want to see Brock Lesnar tonight? The fans cheered. They booed when Reigns asked if they wanted to see Reigns whoop Brock’s ass and Reigns told the fans to acknowledge the Tribal Chief. The fans were booing. Reigns looked at the entrance. There was no sign of Lesnar. Reigns said Lesnar must be scared. Reigns said he wasn’t leaving until Brock comes out there.
Analysis: A strong heel promo from Reigns as usual. I like how he was a jerk to Heyman saying that Heyman isn’t good at his job, but Roman is. That was a great line. I think Roman has really come into his own in terms of promos and the fans always react to him whether it’s booing, cheering or a mix of both things. They also did a nice job of teasing the idea of Lesnar showing up to kick Roman’s ass, so it gives fans a reason to keep watching if they want Lesnar to do that.
Reigns was still in the ring talking about how he was the greatest of all-time while the fans were booing him. Reigns said that Lesnar fears him. Reigns wondered why does Brock Lesnar run his mouth and not show up to back up his words? Reigns said he’s given these people far too much time. Reigns said he took care of his obligation and claimed there was nothing else for him to do there. The fans chanted: “We Want Lesnar.” Lesnar held the microphone to acknowledge the chant. Reigns: “So do I, but Brock don’t want me because he’s scared of me. I told you this.” Reigns said that they are all scared of him. Reigns said this is where they part ways…and there is Brock’s music!
Brock Lesnar made his entrance to a huge pop once again just like at Crown Jewel and whenever he has appeared in the last few months. Lesnar slowly walked down to the ring and he went after Reigns.
Lesnar ducked a title shot from Reigns and hit a clothesline. Lesnar hit a clothesline that sent Reigns out of the ring. Lesnar whipped Reigns into the steel steps. Lesnar stared at his former advocate Paul Heyman and Lesnar hit Reigns with the steel steps. Lesnar tossed the steel steps into the ring with McAfee screaming about Lesnar being angry. Lesnar picked up Reigns for the F5, but the Usos showed up. Lesnar tossed the Usos into the ring post and into the barricade. Reigns tried going after Lesnar again, but Lesnar drove Reigns back first into the ring post. Lesnar grabbed a camera from ringside and shoved a camera guy down. Lesnar swung the camera, Reigns moved and Lesnar hit the ring post. Lesnar tossed referee Chad Patton down and WWE Official Daivari over the announce table. Adam Pearce sent some wrestlers down to ringside and Lesnar tossed them down. Reigns and The Usos were on the stage. Lesnar grabbed the Universal Title in the ring and posed with it.
Analysis: That was a great segment with Lesnar kicking ass just like the fans wanted and Reigns retreating with The Usos showed that they were dominated. The fans were strongly behind Lesnar from the moment his music hit and having Brock dominate Reigns like that was the right way to book this. It’s what the fans wanted to see since Brock was screwed out of the Universal Title, so it’s giving the fans what they want in the first part of the show.
The announce team of Cole and McAfee were shown at ringside talking about the chaos before the break. They replayed Lesnar destroying, Reigns, The Usos and others that tried to get in the way.
The WWE Official Adam Pearce did a promo in the ring saying Brock Lesnar’s unacceptable and irresponsible. Pearce said that Lesnar caused property damage, he endangered the crew, our officials and the WWE Universe. Pearce said he can’t allow that to happen. Pearce informed us that due to his actions tonight, he is indefinitely suspending Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar slowly walked out to the ring pointing to his ear as if he didn’t hear what Pearce said about him. Lesnar got into the ring with Pearce as the fans chanted “Suplex City” for Lesnar, who grabbed Pearce by the shirt collar. Lesnar told Pearce to tell him again. Pearce said he didn’t have a choice. Pearce: “I said you’re indefinitely suspended.” Lesnar shoved Pearce into the turnbuckle. Lesnar picked up Pearce and gave him an F5 in the ring. Lesnar gave Pearce another F5. Part of Pearce’s pants ripped around the legs! That’s funny. Lesnar asked Pearce to tell him again, but Pearce was out. Lesnar laughed with the fans cheering.
Analysis: Lesnar gave the fans what they wanted with the F5 two times in a row on Pearce. The suspension will likely lead to Lesnar being off for a few months and come back for the Royal Rumble in January. Maybe Lesnar will be in the Rumble match or maybe he’ll be in a match at the show. It just seems likely that Bock’s suspension will end around that time. Anyway, I thought this was great just like the segment before it. It did take 30 minutes to go through all of that and there hasn’t been a match yet, but I thought it worked well.
There were replays shown of Lesnar’s attack on Adam Pearce and then Pearce was shown getting helped to the back.
Sonya Deville was shown talking on a phone while a bunch of wrestlers were behind her. Kayla Braxton tried to talk to Sonya, who was on the phone, so Kayla left. Naomi wanted a match with Sonya tonight, but then Sonya said she has other things to do and told her to get out of her face. Drew McIntyre said there was chaos out there. Drew said he’s going to issue an open challenge and see what Smackdown superstar has the balls to fight Drew McIntyre, so Drew walked towards the ring.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with Angel the sword for his Smackdown “debut” or return to the brand, if you want to put it that way. Since Drew has been on Raw for a few years, it is a change for Drew, who is a former two-time WWE Champion. Drew did a promo asking for somebody to get their ass out there so Drew can kick it. That led to Sami Zayn showing up to answer the challenge. The start of Sami’s song was the same and then the rest of it was something different.
Sami Zayn did a promo about he was a master strategist and said he was forgotten about. Sami said he’s actually the longest-tenured member of Smackdown, so he’s a locker room leader and the gatekeeper around. Sami said Drew is a former WWE Champion, but around here he’s a “newbie, kid.” Sami said that he is the best superstar on Smackdown and the fans booed him, so he accepts Drew’s challenge. Sami said when he beats Drew, he’ll remain the best superstar on Smackdown.
Analysis: Sami is one of my favorites in WWE, but I don’t have much hope in him being used that well. Drew is awesome and also one of my favorites as well.
Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn
It took 42 minutes into the show for the first match to begin. Zayn ran away from Drew to start the match, then Drew got a hold of him and Drew sent Zayn into the barricade. They went to break one minute into it.
Zayn was in control of Drew with an elbow smash off the middle rope for a two count. Zayn did some trash talk, so Drew powered back with punches and hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Drew with clotheslines, then a belly to belly suplex and a neckbreaker. Drew set up in the corner, Zayn bailed to the floor, Zayn with a neckbreaker against the top rope, Drew blocked a move and Zayn with elbow smashes. Drew came back with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt, then Drew charged, Sami moved and Drew went shoulder first into the ring post. Zayn whipped Drew shoulder first into the ring post on the other side. Zayn set up in the corner, then he mocked Drew with a countdown, Zayn ran and Drew hit the Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: **3/4 A pretty good match between two talented guys with McIntyre picking up the win as expected. Zayn did a nice job of getting heat and playing to the crowd. The Claymore Kick remains one of the most devastating finishing moves. It was only seven minutes and we got to see four minutes, so I would have liked to see more. The fans liked Drew a lot.
A brief video aired letting us know Hit Row debuts on Smackdown later.
The king’s crown was at ringside and it’s the King of the Ring coronation of King Xavier Woods up next. Kofi Kingston made his entrance to support his friend.
A commercial aired for the Season Premiere of Raw on Monday featuring the new roster.
The Progressive Match Flo was shown with highlights of Xavier Woods beating Finn Balor to become the King of the Ring at Crown Jewel.
Coronation Ceremony for King Xavier Woods
Kofi Kingston was in the ring doing a promo and introduced us to King Xavier Woods. That led to Woods making his entrance with a trumpet in hand. Woods played the New Day song on the trumpet as he likes to do. There was a throne in the ring along with a cape and a crown.
Kingston mentioned the cloak that provides protection that Woods shall bestow on his kingdom. Kofi put the cloak on Woods while fans chanted “you deserve it” for Woods. Kofi presented Woods with the scepter, which Woods held up in the air. Kofi said that the crown will serve as a physical representation that you have earned as king and Kofi placed the crown on Woods.
King Xavier did a promo saying that the fans have shown him so much love and affection in the arenas as well as on social media. Xavier thanked the fans for making his dream a reality. Xavier said that while he’s king there will be opportunities. Xavier got a cheap pop mentioning Wichita, Kansas and there was the King’s Gospel, which Kofi read: “Hail King Woods.” The fans chanted that repeatedly to the tune of “New Day Rocks.” Kofi was playing with the cloak and New Day’s song played.
Analysis: A simple coronation ceremony for the new king. I thought there would be an interruption from some heel, but there wasn’t any of that. The fans were supportive of King Woods. I assume some fans will think that Kofi will turn on Woods or maybe Woods becomes a heel king, but I hope not. I like New Day being together.
Becky Lynch was backstage with the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Becky said instead of a title change, maybe Becky Two Belts makes a title since she never lost the Raw Women’s Championship. Lynch had a smile on her face to end it.
Mansoor entered to face Mustafa Ali again. The reaction to Mansoor was huge in Saudi Arabia where he’s from and then these fans barely reacted to him. Poor guy.
A brief video aired about Xia Li debuting on Smackdown soon.
They showed images of Mansoor beating Mustafa Ali at Crown Jewel.
Mansoor vs. Mustafa Ali
Mansoor with a back body drop and a clothesline to the floor. Mansoor to the apron followed by a back body drop to the floor. Mansoor jumped off the top with a cross body block for two. Ali pulled Mansoor by the tights and into the rope. Ali hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Mansoor hooked the arms leading to a Tiger Suplex. Mansoor with a clothesline that Ali sold with a flip bump. Mansoor charged, Ali with a boot up and a sunset flip attempt, but Mansoor hooked the legs for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mansoor
Analysis: *3/4 A clean win for Mansoor over Ali two days in a row. It was more of a back and forth match with Mansoor outwrestling Ali to get the win. I think they wanted to book a close finish like that to set up a rematch or just show how close it was between them.
Ridge Holland was standing backstage with a club talking about how tough he is.
Aliyah did a promo saying she’ll give Smackdown and Smackdown will be a lot more bougie.
Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo did a promo about when you look this good, winning is easy.
Sheamus said that everybody knows he delivers banger after banger after banger. That means good matches. I agree.
Analysis: It was a quick way to introduce main roster newcomers Holland and Aliyah while Garza/Carrillo were known from Raw, but they are also young guys with bright futures. Sheamus is obviously a future WWE Hall of Famer that does put on banger matches as he said.
The Hit Row foursome of Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab. They introduced themselves talking about money. B-Fab said every time you see her, she “be fab.” Scott talked about his experience and winning titles everywhere. They said that Top Dolla had the best raps. They all spoke with Dolla saying that the WWE Universe got four new stars and if you didn’t know then now you know.
Analysis: I really liked the Hit Row group in NXT a lot. Obviously, WWE liked the group a lot since they were picked by Smackdown. When they were in NXT as a heel group, I liked them even more, but then they became faces when the fans started supporting them, so I guess this is the role they will be in. Scott is the best wrestler in the group, but Dolla is the biggest, so he might get featured the most. Adonis is solid in the ring too. B-Fab isn’t that experienced in the ring, but she’s strong as a talker.
Hit Row – Isaiah “Swerve” Scott & Top Dolla vs. Daniel Williams & Dustin Lawyer
Hit Row’s opponents were two local guys. Swerve started for the team and hit an elbow smash off the middle rope to the back. Top Dolla with a senton splash. Top Dolla caught both guys and slammed them down. Scott got the tag leading to a running kick into a sidewalk slam for the pinfall win in about one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott & Top Dolla
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Hit Row. I think they have a lot of potential as a babyface tag team if that’s the direction for them and it appears that it is the plan for them. Scott is the best wrestler in the group as I already said, so as long as he is featured regularly that’s a good thing.
There was a replay of Brock Lesnar attacking Roman Reigns earlier in the show. Lesnar destroyed others as well, so WWE Official Adam Pearce suspended Lesnar and then Lesnar hit Pearce with two F5’s to take him out.
Kayla Braxton was shown standing outside the trainer’s room. Sonya Deville walked out saying that Adam Pearce is going to be okay eventually. Sonya claimed she said she was going to tell Lesnar he was suspended, but Adam insisted it should go his way. Sonya said we have another combustible situation with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch later, which Sonya will have to handle, so Sonya left.
Rick Boogs was on the ramp to introduce the Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. McAfee called Boogs “the greatest musician” on Earth and claimed it was majestic. Nakamura is against Happy Corbin up next.
The heel duo known as Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss made their entrance. Both guys were laughing a lot as usual while the fans booed them. There was a pre-tape promo with Corbin thanking Nakamura for causing his happy days and Moss doing a bad joke and then they laughed.
Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. Happy Corbin (w/Madcap Moss)
Corbin with punches, Nakamura with a knee to the ribs and a sliding kick to the head. Nakamura with two knee strikes followed by a jumping knee drop. Nakamura worked over Boogs with strikes, kicks to the body, knees and a foot attack to the throat. Nakamura charged, Corbin moved and Corbin sent Nakamura to the apron. Corbin with a suplex with Nakamura bumping off the apron to the floor. That led to a break.
Corbin was in control with punches while Nakamura was out on the mat. I was a bit slow coming back from the break. It happens sometimes. Nakamura ducked a clothesline and hit a jumping kick to the head. Nakamura with punches, kicks and a roundhouse kick to the face. Nakamura with the running knee lift to Corbin’s ribs for a two count. Nakamura charged, Corbin went for a slam, Nakamura got out of that and Corbin hit a spinning slam for two. Boogs started to play Nakamura’s song on the guitar so the crowd hummed along with it. Nakamura with a spin kick and Moss grabbed the guitar to make Boogs stop playing the guitar. Nakamura left the ring and kicked moss. Corbin sent Nakamura into the steel steps. Corbin sent Nakamura into the ring and Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Nakamura for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Happy Corbin
Analysis: **3/4 It was just an average match between two guys that wrestled many times earlier this year when Nakamura was beating Corbin a lot while they feuded over the crown. The presence of Moss made a difference in shutting up Boogs, so that led to Corbin taking advantage to win. I don’t love this kind of booking because it’s the same “champion loses non-title to set up a title match” formula that WWE always does. Corbin might get the title from Nakamura just to change things up since Raw’s US Champion is a face Damian Priest, so maybe WWE wants to change this title before Survivor Series.
Charlotte Flair, the Raw Women’s Champion, was backstage saying Becky Lynch should hand over the title and pretend it was like Charlotte’s suitcase that Becky carried for most of her career. Charlotte smiled.
Highlights were shown from Crown Jewel when Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch held onto the title while pinning Sasha Banks and holding onto the ropes, which didn’t matter in a triple threat with no disqualifications. Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks were both sad about the loss while Lynch was happy about her win.
Becky Lynch made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion and she was dressed in her wrestling gear. There were mostly cheers for Lynch even though she is more of a heel now. That main event segment is up next.
Women’s Championship Ceremony
There were about ten minutes left until the top of the hour. Charlotte Flair made her entrance in a robe and her wrestling gear along with the Raw Women’s Championship around her waist. Charlotte main evented Raw earlier in the week and now she’s main eventing Smackdown too. As a reminder, Charlotte was drafted to Smackdown while Becky was drafted to Raw. WWE Official Sonya Deville was in the ring with both champions. Charlotte was greeted by boos from the crowd.
Deville said that we are gathered here for a very special transaction while Sonya summarized the situation. Sonya told that them that they will exchange their championships and they will go to their brands as the new champions. Lynch and Flair were both hesitant to do what they were told. Lynch knocked Flair’s title out of her hand. Deville took the title from Flair and Lynch tossed her title at Flair.
Charlotte held up the Smackdown Women’s Championship above her head and said: “How about winner takes all tonight?” The fans cheered that.
Sasha Banks showed up to join the festivities as part of the Smackdown brand. Sasha said that she runs the blue brand. Sasha said that Charlotte thinks she’s going to take over and said: “Bitch, you’re out of your damn mind.” Charlotte said that this is a PG show and that was not very nice. Charlotte asked Banks if she felt left out. Lynch said that she’s going to go to Raw and see one of them at Survivor Series.
Analysis: There’s the official title swap with Lynch as the new Raw Women’s Champion while Flair is the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. No twist or anything like that. Just a title swap. Do I love it? No, not really. I think they should come up with something else or something that is more creative, but that’s just how WWE is with these sorts of things. I think they could have done something else or something better. Put the champions in a match, the loser gets the title from their show and the other title goes up for grabs in a tournament. That’s just one idea. There are a lot of things they could do.
Sasha Banks said that she is the star of any show she is on and said that Friday night is “Boss Time.” Flair mocked Banks and wondered if anybody even remembers when Banks was the champion. Banks punched Flair, then Flair tried a kick and Banks avoided it. Flair hit a shot to the ribs or something like that and Flair left the ring. Banks hit a Meteora double knee attack on Flair on the floor. Deville tried to separate the two women. Flair backed up the ramp while Banks was on the apron. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: It looks like Banks is back in the babyface role that she was in earlier in the year before she turned on Bianca Belair. That’s not really a surprise since Smackdown is lacking in terms of babyface women, so putting Banks in that spot makes sense. Sasha doesn’t have to change much as a character since she’s always doing the same kind of promos. Flair always gets heat as a cocky heel champion, so she’s fine in that role. We know Banks and Flair have feuded many times in the past, but it has been several years since the last time, so I guess it can be fresh again.
Three Stars of the Show
- Brock Lesnar
- Roman Reigns
- Drew McIntyre
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.75
2021 Average: 7.03
It was a solid show overall built around the Reigns/Lesnar story that dominated the first 40 minutes of the two-hour broadcast. Those segments really worked in terms of delivering what they promised with Brock kicking Roman’s ass and then Brock causing even more destruction. Lesnar is suspended now, so he should be gone until the new year around Royal Rumble time or something like that.
Regarding the main event, I don’t like the title swap move. It wasn’t that creative or that interesting, but it’s an easy way out of a situation. Charlotte continues to get a lot of TV time since she main evented both shows this week and now it looks like Sasha Banks will be a babyface challenger in the near future.
I think some fans might complain that there wasn’t enough action on the show. The first hour had one match and the second hour had three matches, but one of them was a squash. There just wasn’t a lot of wrestling. In WWE’s defense, they did do a four-hour PPV one night earlier, so I think the lack of wrestling can be forgiven at least a bit. Sometimes Smackdown is great because of the matches. This was not one of those weeks.
Some of the new Smackdown talents got a chance to be on the show while others did not. You can’t feature everybody all the time.
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