Smackdown – October 18, 2019

Smackdown
Date: October 18, 2019
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

This is an important show as we are officially into the new era with unique rosters for both Raw and Smackdown. That means they need to have something special here as they are running at half power and don’t have many excuses yet if the audience isn’t there. I’m not sure what to expect here but Roman Reigns is getting an Intercontinental Title shot against Shinsuke Nakamura. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Intercontinental Title: Roman Reigns vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Nakamura is defending and has Sami Zayn with him. Sami sits in on commentary as Roman drives the champ into the corner to start but Nakamura is right back with the knees. The slugout easily goes to Reigns though and he plants Nakamura with the Samoan drop for two. That’s enough to bring Sami off commentary to help his buddy, which includes pulling Nakamura away from the apron kick.

Nakamura hits a kick of his own and we take a break. Back with Reigns fighting out of a sleeper and hitting the running clothesline. Nakamura goes for the cross armbreaker, which is muscled up into a powerbomb for two. The Superman Punch draws Sami to the apron for a distraction and Nakamura hits a kick to the back of the head. There’s the sliding German suplex but Reigns is right back with the Superman punch for two. The spear is loaded up but here’s King Corbin, who Reigns had argued with on social media earlier today, to hit Reigns with the scepter for the DQ at 11:55.

Rating: C. This worked well enough, even if the title never really felt in jeopardy. It’s nice to have Nakamura wrestling actually defending the thing against some bigger competition for a change, but it is still clear that Nakamura isn’t exactly giving his best effort in WWE. The Zayn connection helps though and what we got was a nice enough match, even if it seems to be setting up something else.

Post match Corbin hits Deep Six but it’s Daniel Bryan running in for the save. The numbers get the better of it though and Nakamura hits the running knee to the back of Bryan’s head.

New Day is singing in the back when Tucker brings in a table. After Kofi says he’s fine with losing the WWE Championship because of the power of positivity, Otis brings in a bowl of pancake mix and protein powder, which he pours into his mouth. Big E. does the chant and I’m really glad this segment is over.

Corbin has nothing to say about Reigns.

Shorty Gable vs. Curtis Axel

We actually get a video on why Gable is now named Shorty. If you don’t get why someone is named SHORTY, you might want a low level of intellect in your entertainment. Gable armdrags him to start but gets sent into the corner. The Hennig necksnap gives Axel two and we hit the armbar. Gable fights up, knocks Bo Dallas to the floor, and finishes Axel with the ankle lock at 1:55.

Post match Gable says be who you are, even if it means being short. He isn’t even Shorty Gable anymore. Now it’s Shorty G.

Seth Rollins is out of Team Hogan vs. Team Flair as Rollins has to defend against Bray Wyatt.

Hulk Hogan is on Skype and seems to announce Ali and Shorty G. for his team. The new captain will be announced tonight and he wants to beat up Ric Flair once and for all.

New Day/Heavy Machinery vs. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler/Revival

Tucker and Ziggler grapple for a bit to start until Tucker dropkicks him down. Roode tries to run in but it’s a double suplex from Heavy Machinery. Everything breaks down and Big E. and Otis seem to realize that they’re soul mates. Roode plants Woods with a spinebuster on the floor and we take a break. Back with Woods fighting out of Wilder’s chinlock and enziguring Dawson.

Ziggler and Roode are smart enough to break up the hot tag attempts and it’s Wilder coming in for something like the Demolition Decapitator (or at least its cousin). Woods gets in a dropkick to Ziggler and it’s the double tag to bring in Otis and Roode. House is cleaned and Roode’s chops just make Otis jiggle (though that may be automatic). We get some Caterpillarizing but Ziggler saves Dawson from the Compactor. Instead, Otis picks Dawson up for a suplex and hands him off to Big E. for the Midnight Hour and the pin at 10:25.

Rating: C-. Just a preview for the Crown Jewel Tag Team Turmoil. That isn’t something I’m going to get behind as there are all kinds of teams in the thing and it’s going to be a lot of filling in time on the already long show for a token prize. If that’s the best they’ve got for the division, normally I would say it’s a waste of time show, but that’s been the case since the Saudi Arabia shows began at last for the fans.

Bryan rants about Corbin and Nakamura and tonight he’s teaming with Reigns to face the two of them.

Video on Ali.

It’s time for MizTV with special guest Bayley, flanked by Sasha Banks, the latter of whom surprises Miz. Bayley and Sasha brag about the title change last week and we see a clip of Bayley’s new attitude, setting up the win over Charlotte. Thankfully the viral clip of the child crying is included. Miz asks Bayley what was up with that but she doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. Miz: “Are you Brock Lesnar? Is this your Paul Heyman?”

Banks brings up Miz being a fifth rounds draft pick, which Miz laughs off because he’s always relevant. Bayley talks about crying after losing the title to Charlotte but no one was there to hug her. She has put herself second for years to be a role model but they weren’t there when he needed them. The reality is that Bayley has outgrown these people so here’s some reality: life sucks and then you die.

Cue Nikki Cross to interrupt and say that she is going to be the #1 contenders after winning her match tonight. This brings out Dana Brooke to say she is motivated by being underused and tonight is a new beginning. She’s bringing the Flex Appeal but here’s Lacey Evans to interrupt and it’s time for a #1 contenders match.

Carmella vs. Nikki Cross vs. Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville

The winner gets a shot at Bayley for some point in the future. Lacey goes outside to start, leaving Mandy and Sonya to start taking over on everyone else. Cross’ comeback is cut off by Mandy’s clothesline, leaving Mandy and Sonya alone. Brooke takes them down on the floor, only to get run over by Lacey. Carmella crossbodies Lacey down though and we take a break.

Back with Mandy and Sonya in control again, this time beating on Carmella but she pops back up with a double Bronco Buster. The suicide dive takes Mandy and Sonya down again and Nikki dives onto a bunch of people. Back in and Dana powerbombs Lacey to set up the Swanton for two as Mandy and Carmella make the save. The Code of Silence is broken up and it’s time for the parade of strikes to the face. Cross grabs the Purge to finish Rose at 9:01.

Rating: C-. The match was the usual messy insanity that these things can be but at least they have a fresh challenger in there for a change. You can only do the Horsewomen stuff for so long and it is a good idea to find someone who hasn’t been in there for a long time. I doubt Cross gets the title but at least they are trying something new.

Video on Braun Strowman.

Video on Seth Rollins vs. the Fiend inside the Cell, followed by Rollins burning down the Firefly Fun House. The graphic for the rematch now says “cannot be stopped for any reason.” They seem to know that they screwed up, but I don’t think they’ll do anything to make it better.

Braun Strowman vs. Drew Gulak

Strowman scares him into the corner so Gulak grabs a mic. He declares himself an historian in the world of combat sports and if Strowman is too aggressive at Crown Jewel, he’ll get knocked out. Gulak has a 345 slide PowerPoint presentation to walk Strowman through his match against Fury. That earns him a toss across the ring and a big boot. A headbutt puts Gulak on the floor and there’s the running shoulder. The running powerslam ends Gulak at 3:05.

Rating: D-. I know the cruiserweights mean nothing but did we really need to have Gulak go back to doing the same stuff that he did for months? It was really goofy stuff back then and he moved on to a more serious character and won the Cruiserweight Title. Now he’s just a comedy guy again? And there was no one else on the roster to take this loss? Not a single one?

Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin/Shinsuke Nakamura

Reigns is named the new captain of Team Hogan and Sami Zayn is here with the villains. Corbin gets punched in the head and face to start and it’s quickly off to Bryan for the running dropkicks in the corner. Nakamura comes in for the slugout with Bryan, who knees him in the ribs for another knockdown. A low bridge from Sami sends Bryan to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Bryan backflipping out of a double belly to back suplex. A kick to the head should allow the hot tag to Reigns but Corbin pulls him off the apron for a ram into the steps. Corbin puts Reigns on the steps but throws the other set away thanks to a threat from the referee. Bryan dropkicks Corbin down and gets the LeBell Lock on Nakamura. That’s broken up by Corbin, who is speared through the barricade for his efforts. The YES Kicks have Nakamura in trouble and the running knee gives Bryan the pin at 9:01.

Rating: B-. I can certainly go for Bryan vs. Nakamura for the title and it could make up for a lot of the idea of Corbin vs. Reigns. This feels like Corbin getting moved back up towards the main event scene and while that isn’t as terrifying as it had been before, I don’t trust WWE to not push him way too far. The match itself was energetic as Reigns feels so much more acceptable as an upper midcarder who pops into the main event from time to time instead of the focal point of the show.

Overall Rating: C+. They kept the show moving fast enough and that’s the best thing that they could have done here. You don’t want to give the fans a reason to check out during the show and they kept things going here. What mattered most here was setting up some matches for the future and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the things they have coming up. It was a fun enough show and hopefully we can get on to the more normal shows instead of the special editions almost every week.

Results

Roman Reigns b. Shinsuke Nakamura via DQ when King Corbin interfered

Shorty Gable b. Curtis Axel – Ankle lock

New Day/Heavy Machinery b. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode/Revival – Midnight Hour to Dawson

Nikki Cross b. Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville – Purge to Rose

Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns b. King Corbin/Shinsuke Nakamura – Running knee to Nakamura

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