Smackdown – September 18, 2018

Date: September 18, 2018
Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton

We’re past Hell in a Cell now and AJ Styles is still the Smackdown World Champion, despite having tapped to Samoa Joe. That almost guarantees a rematch in Australia next month and that means the title is in jeopardy. Other than that, Becky Lynch won the Smackdown Women’s Title, which isn’t going to make people boo her any more. Let’s get to it.

We open with a video on Lynch taking the title from Charlotte.

Here’s the Miz for MizTV to get things going. He starts things off by announcing Miz vs. Daniel Bryan in a #1 contenders match, which was announced weeks ago. His guest this week is Maryse, who apparently was rather hard to get. Miz lists off everything that Maryse has done, though she found beating Brie Bella on Sunday to be the easiest thing in her career. They talk about the reasons neither Brie nor Bryan are really happy for each other and their marriage was one of convenience.

As for something more personal, this is Maryse’s last night on Smackdown. The fans are very happy so Miz calls out Bryan for a fight right now. Cue Bryan, to say you don’t talk about his wife that way. So where was he before Miz called him out? Politely waiting to stand up for his wife’s honor?

Bryan dropkicks Miz, sending him right into Maryse. Everyone panics but Maryse smiles as Miz jumps Bryan. That goes badly as well and Maryse gets dropped off the apron again allowing Bryan to stand tall. This feud still doesn’t have that spark, and it probably has something to do with three big matches taking place in less than two months.

New Day is on a safari for….something not specified.

Post break Bryan says he knew that was coming because Miz wouldn’t call him out without some ulterior motive. In Australia, he’ll punch Miz in the face and punch his ticket to a title shot.

Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston

Prelude to the Bar’s Super Show-Down title shot, proving that yes indeed that tournament was a waste of time. Before the match, New Day talks about getting rid of the other day and Big E. goes into an Australian accent, which Woods says is terrible and Kofi finds offensive. Cesaro cuts him off too and we’re ready to go.

Joined in progress with Kofi in trouble as Cesaro works on the knee and an uppercut rocking Kofi for two. An enziguri gives Kofi a breather but Cesaro catches him with a dropkick on top. Kofi sends him outside for a rolling dive (Woods: “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT WAS BUT IT WAS GOOD!”) and the SOS gets two back inside. That’s enough from Kofi though as the knee gives out and the Neutralizer finishes him off at 3:39.

Rating: D+. Just a quick match to help set up the Bar as challengers, because again, that tournament meant nothing and they’re in trouble again because there’s so much stuff going on that they have to rapid fire teams into title shots. Why they couldn’t do a double DQ between New Day and the Bar on Sunday to set up a rematch in Australia eludes me. Just go with something that makes sense so it’s not all screwy.

Rusev blames Aiden English for the loss on Sunday so English rants about Lana behind Rusev’s back. Speaking of behind a back, Lana is behind English’s so the apology begins in short order. She leaves to tell Rusev.

Randy Orton demands that a production guy show him the violent clips from Sunday and asks how those make him feel. More destruction will ensue.

Clip of the ending of AJ vs. Joe from Sunday.

AJ says he got lucky and maybe that was karma catching up with Joe. There’s a rematch in Australia where anything goes and there must be a winner. Tonight though, AJ has to deal with Andrade Cien Almas and he can’t look past him.

Rusev asks English to intro him and says he’ll talk to Lana later.

US Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

Nakamura is defending. Feeling out process to start until Nakamura kicks at the leg and says COME ON. An overhead belly to belly throws Nakamura down and it’s time to go to the floor for a breather. Back in and Nakamura kicks him in the face to send us to a break. We come back with Nakamura kneeing his way out of a suplex attempt as English starts up the RUSEV DAY chants, much to Lana’s chagrin.

Rusev fights back with clotheslines and the spinwheel kick, followed by the kick to the back of the head for two. Nakamura’s running knee in the corner hits turnbuckle but he rakes the eyes and hits a middle rope knee to the chest instead. Kinshasa runs into the Machka Kick though but English jumps on the apron to tell Rusev to CRUSH. That’s enough for the distraction so that Nakamura can roll Rusev up to retain at 11:22.

Rating: C-. While the ending wasn’t exactly in doubt, I do have to wonder how WWE has managed to botch Nakamura again. You spent two months setting up his stuff with AJ and now he can manage one or two matches a month without even appearing at the first pay per view after winning the title. Nakamura could have been anyone here and that’s not a good sign for the US Champion.

Post match English jumps Rusev with the microphone and says Happy Rusev Day.

AJ Styles vs. Andrade Cien Almas

Non-title. Almas jumps the champ during his entrance but AJ says ring the bell. That earns him a big boot to the face and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two as we take a break. Back with AJ scoring with a tornado DDT as he still doesn’t even have his shirt off. A spinning back elbow takes Styles down but he’s right back with the fireman’s carry backbreaker and the seated forearm. The Styles Clash is broken up but Almas double moonsault hits knees. Almas is fine enough to catch AJ on the ropes and hits the top rope double stomp to drive him back first onto the apron.

Back from another break with Almas falling to the floor and AJ hitting a slingshot forearm for two more. The Clash is broken up again but Almas is favoring his knee. A springboard missile dropkick sets up double knees in the corner for another two so Almas loads up the hammerlock DDT. That’s reversed into a jackknife cover but AJ backflips into the Styles Clash for the pin at 14:55.

Rating: B-. They clearly have big plans for Almas as you don’t have someone go move for move with Styles and Bryan without wanting to turn him into something special. The ending was awesome and one of those things where you look at Styles do it and then wonder how he pulled that off. Not many people can do that and it’s a big reason why he’s in the spot he’s in.

Post match Samoa Joe jumps AJ but bails into the crowd after raking the eyes.

Asuka vs. Billie Kay

Before the match, Billie and Peyton Royce get in their usual insults to the town and say Asuka’s hair looks like Naomi’s glow. Peyton offers an early distraction so Billie can slap Asuka down and put on the cravate. A big boot gives Billie two but Asuka reverses a suplex into the Asuka Lock for the tap at 1:48. This was on the same level of every Asuka vs. Billie match.

The announcers tell us how to donate to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Florence victims.

Here’s Paige to introduce Becky Lynch for the Championship Celebration. Becky is glad that she’s finally getting the recognition that she deserves but wants Charlotte out here. Charlotte comes out and says Becky was the better woman on Sunday. The thing is Becky gave up a lot to become champion and Charlotte is coming back for it at Super Show-Down. Becky: “I’m sorry, I stopped listening after you said I was the better woman.”

Becky wants Charlotte to put the title around her waist but she’ll settle for being called queen. Charlotte: “B****.” The fight is on with Charlotte being thrown over the announcers’ table and the Disarm-Her going on. The Bexploder leaves Charlotte laying to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. I know I talk about this a lot but it’s almost remarkable how much easier this show is when they don’t hype up three shows at the same time. We’re coming up on Super Show-Down and that was the focus tonight. WWE knows how to set up a regular pay per view and that’s what they have here. That’s all this needed to be and the show was a million times easier to sit through as a result. Good show with mostly good wrestling and angle advancement, which is what this week needed to be.

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