Date: October 4, 2019
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Well here we go. It’s time for the biggest opportunity WWE has had in a generation, if not ever, as they debut their weekly television series on a major broadcast network. They aren’t scaling back on anything either, with every major name you could ask for and a slate of huge matches to boot. Tonight is all going to be about the presentation and that could go various ways. Let’s get to it.
Vince and Stephanie McMahon come through the rather cool looking new set (it looked like a tunnel of parentheses for lack of a better term) and welcome us to the show.
Opening sequence, which looks awesome as it makes the wrestlers look larger than life.
Here’s Becky Lynch to open things up. She talks about changing the game and how she wants to beat someone up right now. Cue King Corbin of all people to say Becky is no longer the man. A threat is made and here’s the Rock to interrupt. After some soaking in of the cheers, Rock calls Corbin a crackhead looking Burger King knockoff. That sets up FINALLY, but Corbin tells them both to know their roles and shut their mouths. Rock: “Beck do you mind if I take this one?”
It turns into a discussion of Corbin’s testicles until Corbin says he is the real king of Los Angeles. Rock: “Is that what you think?” Corbin: “Well yeah I…” Becky: “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!” They determine that Corbin is a super tough dude, which Rock turns into an STD chant. More insults are exchanged and the beatdown is on. Rock and Becky pose a good bit. This went on WAY longer than it should have and some of the jokes/insults just were not good whatsoever.
Lita, Trish Stratus and Maria Menunos are in the front row.
Becky Lynch/Charlotte vs. Bayley/Sasha Banks
Banks sends Charlotte hard into the corner to start so Charlotte chops right back. Charlotte gets knocked off the apron though and we take an early break. Back with Becky coming in off the hot tag to kick Bayley in the corner. The Bexploder into the middle rope legdrop gets two and it’s back to Charlotte for Natural Selection for two more.
Banks makes the save and it’s the big showdown with Becky as they slug it out. That’s broken up by Bayley and everything breaks down in a double brawl. A missile dropkick puts Banks down and Charlotte moonsaults onto both of them. Back in and the Figure Eight makes Bayley tap at 8:18.
Rating: C+. This wasn’t as good as their previous match but they didn’t have the time to make it that big. What mattered here was getting Becky on the big stage in a match this important before the showdown with Sasha on Sunday. It was energetic while it lasted and no one botched anything horrible so….well done?
FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews interviews the New Day, including asking Kofi Kingston about challenging for the WWE Championship (the title that she is literally one foot away from as it hangs over Kofi’s shoulder). Kofi talks about climbing mountains, but Xavier and Big E. aren’t going to be there because Kofi has requested to do it himself.
World boxing champion Tyson Fury is here.
So are Mick Foley and Kurt Angle.
Seth Rollins comes out for his match but it’s Firefly Fun House time. Bray Wyatt shouts a welcome to the Fun House and introduces his friends. Ramblin Rabbit is in a Seth Rollins shirt and has a Rollins beard painted on. He wants to be just like Seth when he grows up so DO NOT GET IN THE CELL WITH THE FIEND. Bray interrupts and starts speaking in an accent, because setting up his own Cell match between Ramblin Rabbit and Mercy the Buzzard. Biting ensues and stuffing flies as Rabbit’s head comes off. Bray says history will repeat itself. See you in h***!
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Non-title. We come back from a break to see Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Rock’s mom in the crowd as the bell rings. That was a rather quick cameo and Nakamura takes the attention off of them even more as he tries an early cross armbreaker. That’s broken up and Rollins kicks him down….and there go the lights for a no contest at we’ll say 1:30. Rollins runs to the stage and there’s the Fiend for the Claw, because no one in this company knows how to look over their shoulder. The Fiend throws him off the stage.
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
Ladder match and loser leaves WWE. Owens cuts him off in the aisle and sends him face first into a ladder to start. The ladder is bridged between the ring and the barricade but Shane is fine enough to cut off an early climb attempt. Owens throws the ladder at him but it goes flying over the top, allowing Owens to hit a clothesline. The ladder is dropkicked into Owens’ face and Shane loads up the announcers’ table. That means the top rope elbow actually connects and we take a break.
Back with Owens frog splashing Shane through the bridged ladder as they missed quite a transition during the commercial. The crowd seems to be muted for a second for what may have been a HOLY S*** chant. Owens climbs the ladder but Shane chairs him down and hits Coast to Coast into the ladder. Shane goes up but Owens powerbombs him onto another bridged ladder. That’s enough to pull down the briefcase and get rid of Shane at 11:58.
Rating: C. That’s one of the weakest ladder matches that I can remember in a long time as it was just one spot after another with almost no selling and no emotion to the whole thing. They didn’t do a good job of making me want to see Shane gone and it felt like a story where we missed most of what led up to it. The spots were good but there was no building to them, especially with just a commercial between the elbow and the frog splash. I’m assuming it was Shane’s limitations, but this was rather lifeless and led to an obvious ending which didn’t have any emotional impact.
Post match Owens gets to tell Shane that he is fired.
We get a montage of Smackdown highlights over the years.
Paul Heyman shows us a clip of Brock Lesnar destroying Rey Mysterio and Mysterio’s son Dominick. Heyman says Mysterio was in Lesnar’s way, just like Kofi Kingston is tonight. Here’s a spoiler: tonight, Lesnar is WWE Champion again.
Braun Strowman/Heavy Machinery/Miz vs. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler/AJ Styles/Randy Orton
Ziggler hits a quick Zig Zag on Miz to start but takes too long posing, allowing Miz to grab the DDT. It’s off to Strowman to clean house but the RKO hits Miz. Otis runs Orton over but walks into the Phenomenal Forearm. Tucker Cactus Clotheslines AJ to the floor and it’s time for Strowman’s shoulder block train. Strowman stops to pose with Tyson Fury, but Ziggler jumps on Braun, meaning it’s time to get knocked into Fury. Back in and the powerslam ends Ziggler at 3:10.
Rating: D. What the heck was that??? It was like a drive by eight man tag with a celebrity angle in the middle. It came, it went, it might as well have been an in-ring interview gone awry. At least there was a thing with Fury, though I can’t imagine that actually gets to go anywhere for a long time. This felt very random, but at least it came and went quickly while getting some people on the show.
Post match Fury jumps the barricade but security holds him back from Strowman.
In honor of the new movie Gemini Man, we get a look at some WWE youth vs. experience matches (such as Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. HHH and young Mark Henry vs. old Mark Henry).
We look at Fury jumping the barricade again.
Earlier today, R-Truth and Carmella were in the back with a DJ named Marshmello winning the 24/7 Title from Carmella. She would win it back later in the night.
Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan
Lumberjack match with Daniel Bryan on commentary. It’s a fight to start with Roman being sent outside, only to get tossed back in. Rowan gets the same treatment, though Rowan beats them up to stay on the floor. Roman goes out after him and it’s back inside for a big boot from Rowan as we take a break. Back with Roman fighting out of Rowan’s fist vice around the head.
The Superman Punch connects and everyone is down but here’s Luke Harper. Bryan gets up as Harper beats up the lumberjacks but Bryan is on him as the big brawl breaks out. Roman hits the big dive over the top to drop everyone, leaving Rowan to throw Ali at Roman to take him down. Back in and Rowan hits a crossbody for two but the Iron Claw is broken up. Reigns Superman Punches Rowan but Harper comes in to drop Reigns. Bryan knees Harper and the spear finishes Rowan at 8:54.
Rating: C+. It was an entertaining brawl and I want to see the tag match on Sunday, though I have almost no idea where the story is going after that match. Bryan seems to be a face again and unless there is a heck of a twist coming, I’m not sure how many more directions they can take with the whole thing.
We look at the Rock and Becky beating up Corbin.
Smackdown World Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi is defending. The F5 makes Brock champion in six seconds.
Post match here are Rey Mysterio and CAIN VELASQUEZ as Brock looks like he’s seen a ghost. Cain takes him down with a double leg and the scared Brock bails in a hurry. Brock teases coming back to the ring but backs off and walks away as we’re off the air at 9:58.
Overall Rating: D+. And really, that’s being pretty generous. This show felt like a mess as everything was being crammed together to try and get everything they could in. The opening segment was the longest part of the night and it went on way longer than it needed to. The show should settle down a bit next week and the big angle at the end worked really well, but egads this show was crammed full of stuff and a lot of it really didn’t work. It wasn’t a terrible show but this needed a third hour or to be spread over two weeks. Hopefully next week is better because they stumbled coming out of the gate.
Becky Lynch/Charlotte b. Bayley/Sasha Banks – Figure Eight to Bayley
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura went to a no contest when the Fiend interfered
Kevin Owens b. Shane McMahon – Owens pulled down the briefcase
Braun Strowman/Heavy Machinery/Miz b. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler/AJ Styles/Randy Orton – Powerslam to Ziggler
Roman Reigns b. Erick Rowan – Spear
Brock Lesnar b. Kofi Kingston – F5
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