Smackdown – November 13, 2018

Smackdown
Date: November 13, 2018
Location: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

It’s the final show before Survivor Series and last night’s big angle saw the Smackdown women’s division invade Raw with Becky Lynch laying out Ronda Rousey. Now though, it seems that Lynch is going to have to miss the show thanks to a concussion. I’m not sure what that means for Sunday, but I know it’s a downgrade overall. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of the end of last night’s show with Alexa Bliss naming the Raw women’s team but Lynch attacked Rousey to kick off the huge brawl. The bloody nosed Lynch hit Rousey in the arm several times with a chair and posed like a star to end the show.

Lynch is officially out due to the broken face and a concussion. We see Nia Jax throwing a ridiculously hard right hand to cause the injuries. What is that, three women she’s hurt so far?

Here’s AJ Styles to get things going. For the second year in a row, he’s ready to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. He’s been defending this title day and day out because he’s the workhorse of WWE. No matter who has come after him, he’s beaten them all….except for Lesnar. As AJ is talking, cue Paul Heyman at the timekeeper’s area to say he represents the champion of champions.

There is no one that Brock wants to fight more than Styles. Heyman lists off some great champions, who is this close to being as good as Daniel Bryan. The fans wanted to see Bryan vs. Lesnar but it’s going to be a pleasure to be at ringside when Lesnar steps in the ring with the second greatest in-ring performer in WWE history. AJ isn’t buying this because while he has nothing but respect for Bryan, he’s already made him tap out.

Yes, Lesnar beat him last year but AJ (who stumbles over his words, including saying he talked out with his head hung high) walks out while Lesnar limped out. Lesnar has been vulnerable for the last 371 days (the length of AJ’s title reign) and on Sunday, he’s getting pinned or tapping out.

Cue Daniel Bryan to say he’s not sure why he was brought up. He did indeed tap out to AJ two weeks ago and has no excused. Bryan respects AJ but he’s been looking for a reason to punch him in the face. If AJ brings him up one more time without reason, he’ll be getting punched in the face.

Bryan goes to leave but AJ says it was Heyman that brought up Bryan’s name. AJ says his name again and the fight is on, drawing out Shane McMahon with agents and referees to break it up. Are we really getting Bryan vs. AJ again tonight? I mean, I’m not complaining but this was really, really forced and I’m not buying the animosity.

Post break Bryan and AJ try to get at it again, this time in the bosses’ office. Shane makes the title match for tonight while Paige literally stands in the background.

Andrade Cien Almas vs. Jeff Hardy

Almas kicks him right at the bell and hammers away in the corner with more aggression than usual. Jeff chops his way out and that means the double Tranquilo pose. A kick to the ribs knocks Almas to the floor and we take a break. Back with Jeff hitting a forearm and the legdrop between the legs.

Almas avoids a charge in the corner and hits the top rope double stomp for two, meaning it’s time to look to Zelina for inspiration. That seems to be the running knees in the corner but Jeff small packages him for two. The Twist of Fate is countered and Almas elbows him in the face for two instead. Hardy is right back with the Twisting Stunner and the Swanton for the pin at 7:53. For some reason, this makes Graves talk about Stephanie.

Rating: C. I feel sorry for Almas, who seems to be the latest toy that WWE has thrown out of the crib. He was looking like a star in the making and for some reason now he can’t win a match. It’s nice that he’s losing to big names, but the losses are still losses. Nice little match here, as both guys know what they’re doing.

Miz and Paige are in the back with Miz confirming that Bryan is now off the team (Huh?) so Miz, as sole captain, names Jeff Hardy as his replacement. He then throws Rey off because Rey was Bryan’s pick. Paige says not so fast as they’ll have a match next and Rey’s spot on the team is at stake.

Shinsuke Nakamura takes his headphones out for an interview about Seth Rollins. Nakamura isn’t worried about Rollins because he’ll….eat him on Sunday? Rollins is obsessed with Dean Ambrose so Nakamura can knee him in the face.

Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz

For Mysterio’s spot in the Survivor Series match. They trade rollups for two each but Miz misses a kick to the head, giving us a standoff. A clothesline gives Miz two and we’re off to the chinlock. Back up and Rey sends him outside but the sliding splash hits knees. We come back from a break with Rey headbutting him off the top and hitting the top rope seated senton. Rey misses the springboard spinning crossbody though and Miz gets two off a slingshot sitout powerbomb. The Skull Crushing Finale is countered into the 619 but the frog splash hits knees to give Miz two more, only to have Rey grab a crucifix for the pin at 7:41.

Rating: C-. They were moving out there but the story being made up and solved in the span of twenty minutes didn’t do this much good. It’s another example of the rapidly changing card, which I’m sure has something to do with the general lack of caring from a lot of fans. Not too bad here, but Mysterio still being on the team doesn’t change much.

Post match Randy Orton comes in to try the RKO on Mysterio but Rey slips out. Miz takes one instead as Rey leaves.

Here’s Paige to introduce the Smackdown women to the show, introducing them one at a time. It’s time to have a new opponent for Ronda Rousey named and here’s Becky to get to make the pick. Becky is rather furious because she’s taken a beating before but now she’s being held out of Sunday’s title match.

Last night Becky got a taste of blood when she had Ronda in the Disarm-Her and that was just a taste of what Ronda was getting at Survivor Series. She could still beat Ronda up, even with a broken face and a concussion. Ronda isn’t the baddest b**** on the planet. She’s just the luckiest. Becky picks…..Charlotte, telling her to make Ronda tap out and giving her a hug. I mean….who needs to save the biggest match the women’s division could ever have for a possible Wrestlemania main event? This is about BRAGGING RIGHTS!

Charlotte says she’s spent half of her career fighting against Becky but on Sunday’s she’s fighting for Becky.

The Bar/Big Show vs. New Day

Sheamus runs Kofi over to start but it’s off to Xavier for the knockdown and the rapid fire knees and splashes from all three New Dayians. Cesaro makes a save and easily blocks the Honor Roll, allowing the tag off to Big Show. The power easily takes and Woods is in trouble as we take a break. Back with Woods taking a double backbreaker and Big E. being knocked to the floor.

Show starts cleaning house and Sheamus takes Woods all the way to the top but gets shoved back down. That means a missile dropkick and the hot tag brings Kofi back in to clean house. Everything breaks down and a Brogue Kick knocks Big E. off the apron. Show pulls Woods to the floor but Kofi hits Sheamus with Trouble in Paradise. The SOS gives Kofi two on Cesaro, who can’t get the Swing. Instead Show tags himself in and punches Kofi out of the air for the pin at 7:33.

Rating: D+. Just another match from these teams with Big Show thrown in for some spice. That’s quite the weak spice though as Show hasn’t been interesting in a long time. That being said, maybe if you want these teams to look important for Sunday, you wouldn’t have one of them taking a clean fall here. Just a thought.

The Colons, the Good Brothers and Sanity are down in the bowels of the building. The Usos come in and name them to the Survivor Series team. Sanity is all cool with this, because even anarchy falls in line for brand loyalty. The Usos give a speech about unity and everyone is happy.

We look back at the opening segment.

Survivor Series rundown.

Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan

Styles is defending and drives him straight into the corner. That just earns him some kicks to the chest but a big backdrop puts Bryan on the floor. The slingshot forearm drops Bryan and we take a break. Back with Bryan hammering away in the corner but AJ takes him down by the knee. An enziguri staggers Styles and Bryan shoves away a springboard. Bryan, working more aggressively here than usual, posts AJ’s arm and it’s time for an armbar.

AJ fights up and they slug it out with the Phenomenal Blitz getting the better of Bryan. A dropkick gives us a double knockdown though and we take a break. Back again with Bryan hitting the running dropkick in the corner, followed by a top rope hurricanrana for two. AJ catches Bryan on top with the Pele, only to get crotched into the Tree of Woe. That means the kicks tot he chest and the top rope belly to back superplex for a delayed two. Bryan misses the big kick and has to fight his way out of the Styles Clash.

AJ messes up the moonsault into the reverse DDT but thankfully Bryan is smart enough to put him in an electric chair, which is reversed into the victory roll for two. The springboard 450 hits Bryan’s knees and it’s the YES Lock but AJ is right next to the ropes. Bryan’s running knee is kicked out and AJ slaps on the Calf Crusher, which is reversed into the YES Lock in the middle of the ring in a sweet counter. AJ powers out of that and catapults Bryan into the corner but AJ’s forearm hits the referee. Bryan kicks AJ low and the running knee gives Bryan the pin and the 19:15.

Rating: B. I’m not sure where we are right now but I think I like it. Bryan’s magic wasn’t connecting again this time around and it makes for a very interesting change of pace for him. The fans clearly care about him and AJ vs. Bryan in a full on face vs. heel match could be incredible. That being said, heel Bryan vs. heel Lesnar would certainly be something. I’m not sure what something, but something.

Post match Bryan kicks AJ in the head and stomps away at AJ’s head, all with a maniacal look on his face.

There was no invasion, despite the security guards being shown multiple times.

Overall Rating: C+. All the twists and turns for the sake of the almighty (for this week at least) brand supremacy aside, they threw a lot of stuff out the window for the sake of shock and necessity tonight and I’m really not sure how to handle that yet. I don’t know if they realized that Survivor Series was dying before their eyes or what, but they certainly made a big splash with the two big deals tonight and those are going to keep people interested for the time being. Bryan vs. Lesnar is happening, albeit with five days’ notice. It certainly wasn’t boring though, and right now I’m good with just that.

Results

Jeff Hardy b. Andrade Cien Almas – Swanton Bomb

Rey Mysterio b. The Miz – Crucifix

The Bar/Big Show b. New Day – KO Punch to Kingston

Daniel Bryan b. AJ Styles – Running knee

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