This week’s Smackdown follows up on Sunday’s Hell in a Cell event, which led to some memorable moments for Smackdown superstars like the new Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and the controversial ending to AJ Styles’ WWE Title defense against Samoa Joe. If you missed it, here’s my review of WWE’s Hell in a Cell PPV featuring some great in-ring action and a controversial (dumb) ending to the show. I also wrote an article for The Comeback with even more thoughts on the show. Over on our TJRWrestling on Patreon page, I also have a podcast review of Hell in a Cell as well as a podcast review of last night’s Raw in addition to the written Raw Deal here. I’m a busy man and that’s how I like it! Let’s get to Smackdown for this week.
Live from Tulsa, Oklahoma, this is Smackdown Live for episode #996. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Please check out even more of our great content over at TJRWrestling on Patreon now!
The opening of Smackdown showed video highlights of Becky Lynch beating Charlotte Flair for the SD Women’s Title after countering a spear into a pinfall. Flair wanted a post match handshake, but Lynch just walked away. Lynch will be there later for a championship coronation.
The Miz was already in the ring for his talk show segment. The crowd booed him heavily. Miz claimed he had some big news for us and the big news he shared was that Daniel Bryan would face The Miz at Super Show-Down with the winner facing the WWE Champion. That was announced online several weeks ago, but this is the first time on Smackdown. Fans chanted “yes” for that. Miz said that the winner gets a championship opportunity and Miz added that Bryan is not on his level. Miz said that he is superior to Daniel Bryan. Miz talked about how he beat Bryan at SummerSlam, he beat him at Hell in a Cell and he’ll beat him at WWE Super Show-Down. Miz said that he moved heaven and earth to get his guest on Smackdown Live this week while noting that when they do, they make headlines and shift conversations.
The Miz introduced Maryse as his guest. Maryse walked out to her Pourquoi theme song looking great while the announcers mocked Miz for thinking it was a big deal to get Miz’s wife Maryse on the show. Images were shown of Maryse pinning Brie to win the mixed tag team match.
Maryse ripped on Brie saying that she was easy to beat and claimed that Brie’s heart wasn’t in it. Miz said that Brie married Bryan because she thought that Bryan was a big star. Maryse noted that the only reason Brie married Bryan is so that she could stay relevant in this company. The fans booed. Miz said that Brie used Bryan to market her image and Bryan used Brie to fight his battles. Miz said that he and Maryse a real couple with real love and real talent. Miz asked Maryse what’s next.
Maryse said she had breaking news of her own. Maryse said that for now, tonight is her last night on Smackdown Live. Fans cheered and some chanted “yes” for that. Miz said that they are saying yes because they know Maryse is going back to being the mother of the century. Miz said that five months after giving birth, this is what Maryse looks like. Miz ripped on the fans saying some of them look like they gave birth 30-40 years ago and they look like they still haven’t forgotten. The fans booed, so Miz yelled at the crowd for booing his wife. Miz said that if they boo his wife, he’ll give them something to boo about. Miz called out Daniel Bryan for a fight.
Analysis: It would make sense for Maryse to take a TV break. They used her for the tag team match, but since she’s got a five-month-old daughter, she should probably stay home more and take care of the little one. I can see her returning regularly early next year because her chemistry with Miz is great.
Bryan did a promo on his way to the ring saying you can talk about him all you want, but when you talk about Bryan’s wife, this is what you get. Bryan unloaded on Miz with punches. Bryan hit Miz with a dropkick and Miz landed on Maryse against the turnbuckle. Bryan was distraught after what happened while Miz checked on Maryse. Referee Charles Robinson called for help. Maryse laid on the mat in pain while EMTs checked on Maryse. Bryan apologized to Maryse, Miz got some water and when Bryan stood up, Maryse laughed at him and Miz attacked Bryan from behind. Miz tried a Skull Crushing Finale, but Bryan got out of it. Miz charged at Bryan, so Bryan moved and Miz accidentally hit Maryse although she landed on her feet. Bryan hit Miz with a clothesline to send him out of the ring. Bryan celebrated with “yes” chants.
Analysis: That was a solid opening segment. Miz and Maryse did the cheap heel thing by faking an injury for Maryse, but Bryan was ready for it and got the upper hand. The heat is very good for this rivalry. They should have one of the best rivalries at Super Show-Down on October 6.
Still to come is AJ Styles vs. Andrade Almas and Becky Lynch gets her championship coronation.
The New Day trio were backstage in some unique attire as they walked up to guys backstage and Kofi Kingston is in a match up next.
A video aired for Mixed Match Challenge returning this week. We don’t get it on Facebook Watch in Canada, but I download it and watch it like I did the first season. I’ll have a review up later in the week.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage when Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview. Bryan said that he knew Miz had something planned because he knows Miz is a coward. Bryan said that at Super Show-Down, he’s not just going to punch him in the face, he’ll punch his opportunity at the WWE Championship.
Analysis: Bryan has been calling Miz a coward for months and even going back to Talking Smack two years ago, so he was just repeating what he always says.
Cesaro made his entrance with Sheamus. The Bar challenges The New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at Super Show-Down on October 6.
The New Day trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods had a pre-match promo. Woods and Big E were dressed like they were ready for the outback. Kingston said that they proved there was just one “day” on Smackdown and it’s not Rusev Day, it’s The New Day. Woods said what’s next on the menu is the fact that they will be defending their championships against The Bar in Australia at Super Show-Down. Big E did a “crikey mate” yell in a bad accent. Woods said that was a terrible accent. Kingston said the accent was offensive. Big E said the Iiconics said it was cool. They went into the ring with their pancakes. Big E called them the Celtic Warrior and Super Manus. Big E mentioned Cesaro’s areolas, which means nipples. Cesaro said New Day were dressed like clowns while recycling old jokes. Sheamus said New Day is a joke and Sheamus said that they can elevate the tag team division because they are the bar. The match is after a break.
Analysis: That was a bit awkward and not as funny as some of the usual shtick we get from The New Day. The Cesaro nipple thing was something people used to mention about Cesaro, which is why he mentioned the old joke thing. At least the matches they have are better than that segment. The crowd didn’t react to it much.
Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods and Big E) vs. Cesaro (w/Sheamus)
There was a huge uppercut from Cesaro early in the match. Kingston was selling a leg injury Sheamus had his phone out at ringside and was posting to social media as the match was going on. Kingston with an enziguri kick, boot to the face and Kingston got a boot to the face. Kingston went up top, but Cesaro stopped him with a standing dropkick to knock Kingston down. Kingston managed to create some space and hit a Tornado DDT off the middle rope for a two count. Cesaro charged, Kingston ducked and Cesaro bumped to the floor. Kingston springboarded off the top onto Cesaro on the floor. That looked great. Kingston hit the SOS for the two count. Backslide by Kingston got two. Cesaro kicked the knee of Kingston and hit the Neutralizer for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cesaro
Analysis: ** It was good for the time given. Maybe if they cut back on the lame promo before the match they could have had more time for the match. I liked that one spot by Kingston by the ropes. It was very unique.
Rusev was backstage with Lana. Aiden English showed up. Rusev talked about his match tonight saying he can win because English isn’t in the match. English was shocked by that because he didn’t think they lost due to him and English said he tried his best. Rusev questioned him about trying his best. Rusev and Lana walked away. Aiden ranted to a random backstage guy saying that Rusev Day was a success because of him. English said that Rusev’s failures were her fault. The random backstage guy pointed behind him to show that Lana was there. English apologized when he realized that she heard him, she busted out he accent again and said she’ll tell Rusev. English walked after her.
Analysis: That was well done in terms of getting the story across quickly without too much dialogue. Rusev is frustrated with English, who feels bad about what happened, but then when English thought Rusev and Lana were gone, English said what he really felt about Lana being the cause for Rusev’s failures.
Still to come is Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev for the US Title and AJ Styles vs. Andrade Almas.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were shown on camera. They said there was something in the production truck about Randy Orton.
Randy Orton was in the production truck with some guy working the area and Orton said that he wanted the footage. Orton put his hands on the guy’s back and shoulder. There was an image from Hell in a Cell with Orton putting a screwdriver through Hardy’s earhole. The techie said he was hurt by Orton grabbing him, so Orton grabbed him even harder. Orton said that everything that he has done to Jeff Hardy will pale in comparison to what he does to his next victim. Orton stared straight ahead with a crazed look in his eyes.
Analysis: The Hell in a Cell match with Orton and Hardy was likely the end of the rivalry. There aren’t enough big faces on Smackdown right now other than AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, both of whom are busy with rivalries, so I’m not sure who it might be. It would be nice if Finn Balor was on this show since he’s not doing anything on Raw.
There were images shown from AJ Styles’ controversial win over Samoa Joe at Hell in a Cell.
AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Styles said that after everything Joe put his family through, the worst thing that could have happened would have been Joe as WWE Champion. Styles said sometimes lady luck shines on you and sometimes it is karma. Styles said they’ll do it one more time at Super Show-Down in Australia with no disqualifications and no countouts. Styles said that he needs to stop focusing on Samoa Joe because he’s facing Andrade Cien Almas while noting that the last time, Almas almost beat him, so he’s got to get his mind right to pick that W (win).
Shinsuke Nakamura, the forgotten US Champion, made his entrance for his title match.
The announcers talked about WWE Crown Jewel on November 2 in Saudi Arabia with Roman Reigns defending the Universal Championship against Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar.
Rusev was shown backstage walking to the ring. Lana and Aiden English walked up to him. Lana said she wanted to tell Rusev something, but he told her that he was focusing on his title match. Rusev asked English to do the honors. Lana tried to ask again, but Rusev said he had a match.
Aiden English did the introduction for Rusev on…you guessed it…Rusev Day. Rusev made his entrance with Aiden English and Lana at ringside with him.
United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English and Lana)
The fans were chanting “Nakamura” and “Rusev Day” for this match. Rusev took down Nakamura with a shoulder tackle, Nakamura kicked him in the back of the leg, Nakamura did the “come on” hand gesture and Nakamura put his foot against Rusev’s throat. Rusev came back with a belly to belly suplex. Lana had her back to English at ringside, not wanting to look at him. Rusev with a back body drop that sent Nakamura out of the ring. Nakamura drove Rusev throat first into the top rope followed by a jumping kick to the head for two as the match went to break.
Nakamura had Rusev grounded in a headlock while Lana argued with English at ringside. English had a microphone in his hand as he led the crowd in “Rusev Day” chants followed by Rusev hitting a body slam on Nakamura. Rusev worked over Nakamura with punches, a knee to the ribs, kick and two clotheslines. Rusev with a kick to the chest, splash against the turnbuckle and a spin kick from Rusev. Rusev did his yell, he went for a kick, Nakamura went for a kick, Rusev ducked and Rusev hit a roundhouse kick to the head for a two count. That was a good sequence. Rusev whipped Nakamura to the turnbuckle, kick to the back by Nakamura and he stomped on the back of the neck of Rusev. Nakamura went for a running knee, Rusev avoided it by the turnbuckle and Rusev teased a suplex to the floor. They battled on the apron, Nakamura did an eye gouge and a jumping knee off the turnbuckle to Rusev on the apron. Graves tried to say that the ref didn’t see the eye gouge as if that would lead to a disqualification. Nakamura whipped Rusev into the barricade. Back in the ring, Nakamura set up in the corner, he charged and Rusev hit a Machka Kick. Both guys were down, so Rusev wasn’t able to cover right away. English got on the apron with the microphone he yelled “Rusev crush” and that distracted Rusev, so Nakamura did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after 12 minutes. It is so deadly!
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good match with a predictable finish with English accidentally (or perhaps on purpose) costing Rusev the win and I would have predicted a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish as well because WWE loves doing that. They should have had Nakamura hit Rusev with the Kinshasa because that would be more impressive, but I think the point was they wanted to make it look like Rusev barely lost the match due to English. I liked some of the spots in the match like the Nakamura knee off the turnbuckle onto Rusev on the apron. Nakamura and Rusev could have a pretty good rivalry down the road.
After the match, English attacked Rusev with a punch to the back of the head. English pummeled Rusev with punches. English stood on top of Rusev and said: “Happy Rusev Day.” Lana did an over the top screaming routine yelling at English to leave the win. English went up the ramp. The announcers said they were at a loss for words.
Analysis: There’s the heel turn for English that was teased for several weeks. It was obvious that was coming, so I’m glad they went through it and I hope this turns out to be a good rivalry for both guys. I think English has a lot of potential as a singles wrestler while Rusev could do well as a face.
Still to come is Becky Lynch’s championship coronation and AJ Styles vs. Andrade Almas up next. The announcers plugged the WWE 2K19 on October 9. The trailer aired for the video game.
There was a video sponsored by Progressive that showed AJ Styles retaining the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe at Hell in a Cell.
The duo of Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega made their entrance. AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, made his entrance and Styles had special gloves with the Connor’s Cure logo on them. Those gloves are going up for auction on WWEauction.com now.
As soon as Styles got in the ring, Almas decked Styles with a punch to the back of the head. Almas beat on Styles with punches. Styles told the ref he was good to go, so the match started with Styles selling the attack.
AJ Styles vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega)
This is not for the WWE Championship held by Styles.
Almas attacked with punches to start the match. Styles came back with punches on Almas, but Almas came back with a running boot to the face. Almas with a backbreaker on Styles for a two count as they went to break one minute into it.
The match returned with Styles running the ropes and hitting a DDT for a two count. Almas got back into it with a spinning forearm to the head for two. Vega got in a slap on Styles when the referee wasn’t looking. Styles got back into it with the Ushigoroshi neckbreaker. Styles wanted the Styles Clash, but Almas backed out of it and Almas went up for a moonsault, Styles moved and when Almas went for a second moonsault, Styles got his knees up to block it. Cool spot. Styles to the apron, forearm to the face and when Styles jumped, Almas tripped him up. Styles held onto the top rope while Almas hit a double foot stomp to the chest of Styles onto the apron. It’s an impressive spot, but silly to see a guy like Styles holding onto the top rope for like five seconds while waiting for Almas to get to the top. When Styles got to the apron, Almas kicked Styles to the floor again. Another commercial for them.
The match returned with Almas charging in, but that failed and Styles sent him to the floor. Styles hit a running knee to the face while on the apron and he knocked down Almas on the floor. Styles sent Almas back in the ring. Styles with a forearm over the top leading to a forearm to the back of the neck. Styles wanted the Styles Clash, but Almas got to the ropes and Almas drove Styles throat first into the top rope. Almas was selling a left knee injury and then Almas hit a missile dropkick off the top to knock down Styles. Almas with a double knee attack against the turnbuckle for a two count with Vega freaking out at ringside. Styles fought out of a Hammerlock DDT, he tripped up Almas into a jackknife cover, then he flipped backwards into a Styles Clash that connected for the pinfall win at the 15 minute mark.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 I enjoyed that match a lot. Very good action with Styles selling for much of it, Almas came close to winning a few times and in the end, the great wrestling ability of Styles is why he won. I was impressed by Almas once again and I don’t think he was hurt by losing to Styles, who is the WWE Champion. Losing the champ doesn’t hurt. Losing to others might, but not in this case especially when you go 15 minutes with the guy. They have awesome chemistry and I hope that one day they can have some major matches on PPVs in the future.
Post match, Samoa Joe attacked Styles. Joe told Styles that he will never be safe. Styles tried to fight back with punches, Joe gouged the eyes and Joe left over the barricade while walking away through the crowd. Styles stayed at ringside. Styles went back in the ring and posed with the WWE Championship.
Analysis: That was quick. I thought Joe should have done a promo about how he was screwed and he should be the WWE Champion right now. It’s too bad they didn’t get more time to brawl because I wanted to see more.
Asuka and Naomi were shown walking backstage because Asuka has a match up next.
A commercial aired about WWE Network Wednesday nights with 205 Live, NXT and the Mae Young Classic for three hours.
The Iiconics duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were in the ring. They insulted Tulsa saying it was the worst. Kay and Royce mocked Asuka and Naomi while doing some mock dancing. They were shocked by the interruption from Naomi’s music. I was not.
Naomi made her entrance first. Asuka was up next since she’s the one that has a match. The Super Show-Down match is Asuka and Naomi vs. Kay and Royce since Kay and Royce are from Australia.
Asuka (w/Naomi) vs. Billie Kay (w/Peyton Royce)
Kay used a distraction from Royce to send Asuka into the bottom rope. Kay grabbed a headlock. Asuka got a two count out of it. Asuka hit a running hip attack on Kay, but Kay came back with a running boot to the face for two. Kay complained to the ref about it. Kay set up for a slam, Asuka took her down and slapped on the Asuka Lock leading to Kay tapping out to lose the match. It went about two minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win by Asuka as expected. They might put the Iiconics over in Australia, but a lot of wrestlers lose “hometown” matches, so it could be a win for Naomi and Asuka. It’s probably the weakest match on the card since Asuka has fallen so far from what she was.
The Becky Lynch championship coronation segment is up next as the main event of the show.
The announcers talked about the people in the Carolinas affected by Hurricane Florence. They plugged Redcross.org so you can see how to help them out.
The commercial aired for Total Divas starting a new season on Wednesday on E Network at 9pmET. Good luck with that, ladies.
Becky Lynch Championship Coronation
Paige, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, was in the ring to host this Championship Coronation. It was the first time Paige was on the show. Paige introduced the new Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch.
Becky Lynch made her entrance wearing street clothes that included a black leather jacket just like Paige was wearing. Paige unveiled the Smackdown Women’s Champion that was on the table in the ring with the name plates for Lynch.
The fans chanted “you deserve it” for Lynch. Lynch said that it took two long years for her to get back to where she belonged and there’s no more of being left off PPV posters and being on the morning talk shows. Lynch said Paige had a nice setup here. Lynch said she wanted one woman to be out there and she called out Charlotte Flair.
That led to Charlotte Flair making her entrance also in black street clothes. Flair walked into the ring to join the new champion Lynch, who is her former best friend after Lynch turned on her. Paige stood between the women and said that they are not going to do anything right now. Charlotte said that she’s not there to fight while noting that Paige has known her a long time.
Charlotte told Lynch that she wanted to tell her that she was the better woman at Hell in a Cell, so she gave her credit for the win. Charlotte said that Lynch threw away a friendship to get that championship back. Charlotte said that it’s going to be great when she wins the title and holds it up in front of 60,000 people in Australia. Charlotte told her that she can lose it in one night.
Lynch said that she stopped listening when Charlotte said that Lynch was the better woman. Lynch reminded her of things that Charlotte has said about like like how Lynch was second best, but Lynch pointed out that this title says otherwise. Charlotte said that she was showing her respect. Lynch said she didn’t want to let Charlotte steal the spotlight at Hell in a Cell, so Lynch said that Charlotte can raise her hand now. Charlotte said that’s not how this works. Lynch told Charlotte to put the title around her waist. Charlotte said that she has always shown Lynch respect and she was hoping that there was some of her best friend left in whatever this has become. Lynch said that she was kidding and didn’t want Charlotte to raise her hand or put the title around her waist.
Lynch: “I just wanted you to call me queen…bitch.” Charlotte punched Becky and Lynch managed to take control with a boot to the gut as they went out of the ring. Lynch whipped Charlotte into the steel steps. Charlotte was adjusting her top trying to cover up the goods, as they say. Lynch launched Flair over the announce table. Lynch sent Flair into the barricade at ringside. Lynch slapped on the Dis-Harm-Her submission on the left arm of Charlotte. Lynch went back in the ring and hit a Bexploder on Charlotte in the center of the ring.
Lynch left with the Smackdown Women’s Title on her shoulder while Charlotte was down in the ring selling the attack. Lynch stared from the top of the ramp with the SD Women’s Title in the air while Flair looked on with a serious look on her face. Replays aired of Lynch beating up Flair.
The show ended with Lynch holding up her title while Flair remained down in the ring.
Analysis: That was great. I thought Lynch really stood out as a star with the way she responded to Charlotte’s comments. The crowd was mixed during a lot of it, but they showed a lot of support to Lynch, who was the more heelish of the two. Charlotte was more of the noble babyface that said she was out there to show respect to Lynch while Lynch called her a bitch and acted as if she didn’t hear what Charlotte had to say. As for the brawl, it was a dominant showing from Lynch. She beat up Charlotte outside the ring, then she slapped on the armbar and looked like a badass. I think the HIAC match plus this performance from Lynch is some of the best work she’s ever done. You could see throughout the attack that Charlotte was covering up her chest because of her boobs possibly popping out on live TV. She kept them under control, but I think she was worried about it because she had one of her arms there the whole time. Anyway, maybe next time she’ll wear a shirt that covers up more. I am not complaining at all, believe me. I’m just observant, that’s all.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Becky Lynch
2. AJ Styles
3. (tie) Andrade “Cien” Almas
3. (tie) Charlotte Flair
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2018 Average: 6.55
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 6.5, 6.5, 8, 6
2018 High: 8.5 (July 31)
2018 Low: 4.5 (January 2, January 9)
Smackdown gets a 7.5 out of 10 this week.
I thought it was a very good Smackdown this week thanks to the entertaining main event segment, I like Styles vs. Almas a lot as the longest match, every other match just okay and I thought the Miz/Daniel Bryan stuff was effective in terms of adding to their rivalry. Aiden English turning on Rusev was well done too. An enjoyable Smackdown this week from start to finish.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) September 18, 2018
The next major WWE event on WWE Network is Super Show-Down on October 6 in Melbourne, Australia. Here’s the lineup so far.
Triple H (with Shawn Michaels) vs. The Undertaker (with Kane)
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) vs. Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Bobby Lashley and John Cena vs. Elias and Kevin Owens
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz – The winner is the #1 contender for the WWE Championship
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella) vs. The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan)
Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Buddy Murphy
Asuka and Naomi vs. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)
That’s ten matches. There could be more. It’s going to be a long show.
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