Date: November 28, 2017
Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We’re still in the fallout period from Survivor Series and that means it’s still Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn. However, the big question continues to be Daniel Bryan, who seems to be leaning a bit more towards the villains, which could make for quite the power struggle down the line. Let’s get to it.
Of note: I was in the arena for this show, meaning it’s the second time I’ve seen it.
We open with a recap of Owens and Zayn vs. Shane, with Bryan holding Shane up from firing them. Instead, he put the two of them in a lumberjack match against New Day, which Sami won off a quick rollup. As a result, Bryan made Owens vs. Randy Orton for tonight. For some reason Shane left the arena halfway through the show, leaving Bryan in charge for the night.
Here’s Shane to get things going. After sucking up to the Lexington fans (works for me), Shane recaps everything we just saw in the recap. Therefore, he’d like an explanation straight from the horse’s mouth. As Bryan makes his entrance, I try to figure out why he didn’t just say the goat’s mouth.
The fans go bananas for Bryan, who talks about having been fired a few times. Therefore, he believes in second chances, including some for Owens and Zayn. Shane actually agrees with him, but recaps all the issues that Owens and Zayn who have caused him over the last few months. Bryan thinks they were doing it in the name of competition but points out that if they’re fired, they’ll just wind up on Raw. Shane: “Great. Then they’ll be my sister’s problem.”
That’s not cool with Bryan, who thinks they should make the best of it here on Smackdown. Shane left him in charge last week so Shane has to trust Bryan when he’s left in charge. As for tonight though, Shane is going to adjust the Orton vs. Owens match. Therefore, we’ll have Sami Zayn barred from ringside and we’ll make it No DQ.
Post break, Owens and Zayn run into Bryan and ask for some mercy. That turns into a demand, which doesn’t sit well with the boss.
New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable
The Usos are on commentary and New Day brings out pancakes for everyone. Eh Wrestling Revolver already did it. Xavier and Chad start things off as the fans are firmly behind New Day. Kofi comes in for a running kick to the ribs and something like a bottom rope Vader Bomb for two. It’s off to Shelton as we take a quick break.
Back with Woods hitting a jawbreaker but not being able to get away from Benjamin. A belly to back suplex/top rope knee to the head combo (that’s a new one) gets two on Woods. Chad can’t quite hit a belly to belly superplex though and it’s a missile dropkick to put him down (like he was shot). The hot tag brings in Kofi as things speed up in a hurry. Kofi flips out of a monkey flip and there’s the Boom Drop. Gable gets low bridged to the floor so Woods can hit a good looking flip dive. Back in and a backbreaker/top rope stomp to the face gives Woods the pin at 8:40.
Rating: B-. They had some good looking double team moves here (that knee to the head looked great) but it just makes me wish it was New Day vs. American Alpha instead. Like really, has there been much of a worse split in recent memory? Either way, it was an entertaining match, even if the Usos are REALLY needing some fresh competition. Maybe some Brothers of the Bludgeoning variety?
We look back at Ruby Riot/Sarah Logan/Liv Morgan debuting last week.
Charlotte, Naomi and Natalya are ready to face the newcomers in a six woman tag later. Charlotte and Naomi are together but Natalya thinks she’ll be the boss. The only thing I could think of during this whole thing: NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS. It was the most forced, scripted conversation I’ve heard in WWE in a long time and it really shows how they’re horrible actresses. Do you really not trust them to have a simple conversation?
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Hype Bros
The Brothers deck Rawley off the apron and a spinning Boss Man Slam plants Ryder. The double spinebuster ends Zack at 45 seconds.
Post match Ryder says they were top contenders for the Tag Team Titles a year ago. Now things have changed though and….Rawley decks him from behind to end the team.
Post break, Mojo says Ryder was right: the landscape has changed.
We look back at Baron Corbin decking Bobby Roode during the lumberjack match.
Roode wants a shot at Corbin’s US Title but Corbin laughs him off with a no.
Singh Brothers vs. AJ Styles
Before the match, Jinder Mahal attacks AJ, sending him ribs first into the post. After a break (and Mahal doing his standard promo), the match is on with AJ getting double teamed. The Brothers get in some shoulders to the ribs in the corner but AJ kicks them away without much effort. AJ knocks the two off them off the top, kicks Mahal in the face, and blocks a super hurricanrana attempt. He’s not done yet though as it’s a SUPER STYLES CLASH with one Singh landing on the other for the easy pin at 3:56.
Rating: D. This wasn’t much to see but it was exactly what it needed to be, especially with an awesome ending like that. Really, what else was AJ supposed to do against a couple of goons like this? Styles vs. Mahal isn’t an interesting story but at least Mahal has goons to send out there instead of having us watch the same match over and over.
Post match Mahal lays out the Singh’s, including a TERRIBLE looking Khallas to the second one. The guy’s head and back never came close to the mat as he basically bounced off his elbow (it looked even worse in slow motion). As I’ve said many times: Mahal just isn’t very good and that finisher makes things even worse.
Riot, Morgan and Logan are officially dubbed the Riot Squad. They’re not here to be Total Divas but rather to turn the division on its head. Logan says she’s a country girl from a family of hunters. Last week they set a trap and tonight they’re bagging some trophies. The country accent was absolutely dreadful and the fans around me were groaning after she was done.
Charlotte/Natalya/Naomi vs. Riott Squad
Yes Riott and no I don’t know why. During Charlotte’s entrance we see clips from Starrcade, WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN FREAKING BROADCAST ON THE NETWORK! Logan takes Natalya into the corner to start and scores with a clothesline. It’s off to Charlotte but that’s enough for Natalya, who walks out on the match less than a minute in. Back from a break with Charlotte fighting off the trio but getting caught by the numbers game on the floor. Morgan gets two off a floatover suplex and it’s off to Ruby for a chinlock. That leaves the other two Squad members to take Naomi down on the floor.
They send her hard into the steps and then bridge them over the barricade, catapulting Naomi face first into the steel. The best the referee can do is glare at them, making me wonder HOW IN THE WORLD THIS ISN’T A DQ. Seriously do they need to break out a pair of nunchuks and beat the stuffing out of Naomi before the match is called off? So it’s now three on one with Charlotte actually managing to fight them off for a bit. A spear hits Morgan in those impressive abs but Logan hits a knee from the apron, setting up the Riot Kick to the face for the pin at 9:12.
Rating: D+. The beatdown was impressive enough though none of them seemed capable of hanging with Charlotte or Naomi on their own. That already puts them a few steps back of Absolution (I can feel my brain melting as I write these names over and over) but at least they’re looking a bit more polished than people like Mandy Rose. Not a great match or anything but the divide and conquer strategy worked just fine.
Randy Orton has nothing to say. What is up with that growing hair?
It’s Fashion Files time, featuring a Saw theme this week. Breezango and Ascension wake up chained in a shower when a video pops up on a tablet. A Jigsaw style voice says that to escape this room, they must destroy what they love most. They have a minute before a poisonous gas fills the room and a countdown begins.
There’s a backpack in the middle of the room containing Tully the Horse’s head. Konnor finally rips it apart to find the key, allowing Breezango to escape in time. Fandango comes running back….to get his hat, leaving Ascension to die I guess as the gas fills the room. Wouldn’t Breezango leaving the door open help them a bit? To be continued of course.
Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton
No DQ with Sami Zayn banned from ringside. The threat of an RKO sends Owens bailing outside in the first few seconds but Orton is right on his trails. Randy starts loading up the announcers’ table but stops to send Owens into the barricade instead. A kendo stick to the arm has Owens swearing and a second shot makes him swear all over again. The slow beating continues with Owens being belly to back suplexed onto the barricade.
The fans want tables but settle for Owens posting Orton instead. A fall away slam into the barricade takes us to a break with Orton in big trouble. Back with Owens still swinging the cane and getting two off the backsplash. More stick shots continue to show that weapons based fighting is becoming a lost art in WWE. A DDT gives Owens two but Orton is right back up and catching him with a top rope superplex. It’s a great crash but only good for two.
They head outside again with Owens getting dropped onto the barricade again. The brawl heads up to the stage….meaning Sami Zayn can come out with a chair to take Orton out. See, it’s not at ringside so the one illegal thing is now legal. That’s stretching pretty hard people. Back in and Owens gets caught in the hanging DDT, only to escape the RKO. A superkick into a frog splash puts Orton away at 16:47.
Rating: C+. Rather than being a match where it felt like they were out for blood, it felt more like how many times can we hit each other with a kendo stick and throw each other into the barricade. The Sami interference didn’t do anything for me, though I was betting on them heading to the back and having him interfere there. It’s still good but I could have gone for something different to mix things up a bit.
Overall Rating: B-. Smackdown is in a weird place at the moment as they have some big stuff coming up, though I have absolutely no idea what in the world they’re planning for Owens and Zayn at Clash of Champions. I mean, are we heading for Orton/someone likely named Shane McMahon facing the two of them? Or are they going to do the common thing and have them win the Tag Team Titles? In theory Bryan is going to turn and join them, even if it makes no sense to get people to boo him.
There are actually some interesting stories going on around here for a change but I have a bad feeling it’s going to end with Shane wrestling again, getting most of the attention, and giving someone a rub that he doesn’t have to give. Tonight’s show was entertaining at times though and has me wanting to know what comes next. However, it also has me wondering how long they can pretend that Shane is the good guy in this whole thing.
New Day b. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable – Backbreaker/top rope double stomp combination to Benjamin
Bludgeon Brothers b. Hype Bros – Double spinebuster to Ryder
AJ Styles b. Singh Brothers – Super Styles Clash
Riott Squad b. Charlotte/Naomi/Natalya – Riot Kick to Charlotte
Kevin Owens b. Randy Orton – Frog splash
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