The SmarK Rant for WWE Friday Night Smackdown–10.18.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE Friday Night Smackdown – 10.18.19

Live from Indianapolis, IN

Your hosts are Michael Cole & Corey Graves

Intercontinental title: Shinsuke Nakamura v. Roman Reigns

They fight for the lockup while Sami Zayn joins us on commentary to air his grievances, and Nakamura beats Roman down with knees. Reigns puts him down with an elbow and follows with a samoan drop for two, which brings Sami over for some moral support. Roman tries a drive-by and misses and Shin hits him with his own kick on the apron as SMACKDOWN ROLLS ON and we take a break. Back with Nakamura holding a chinlock, but Roman CREATES SEPARATION and makes a comeback. Jesus, we’re only two weeks into this new era and already we’ve got Vintage Michael Cole spouting catchphrases and Kevin Dunn shaky-cam and rapid cuts everywhere. Nakamura counters the superman punch with an armbar, but Roman slams out of it for two. Sami interferes again and Nakamura hits a german suplex as a result, which sets up the Kinshasa, but Roman hits him with the superman punch and gets two. Nice little sequence there. And then we get SEVEN MILLION changes of camera angle (literally, I counted) as Roman pumps himself up, but King Corbin runs in for the DQ at 12:14 and Daniel Bryan makes the save. I don’t relish the thought of Roman Reigns feuding with Burger King Corbin, but Bryan can probably motivate Nakamura into something. Hopefully. This was OK. **

Meanwhile, the New Day is singing and enjoying pancakes, but Tucker interrupts in the name of team spirit. Kofi is all “I don’t care that I lost the World title in six seconds because I’ve got the power of positivity!” And then Otis chugs a big bowl of protein powder. But where was Ron Simmons to walk in and go “Damn!”? They’re really slipping.

Shorty Gable v. Curtis Axel

And watch the ratings plummet right here. Gable tries for the arm, but Axel stomps him down in the corner for two while Cole reminds us that the B-Team are former tag team champions and Axel is a former IC champion. That doesn’t say much for the prestige of your titles. Every time someone reminds me that Axel was IC champion it makes me scrunch up my eyebrows and try to remember when that was and what they were thinking. Gable gets rid of Bo Dallas and then takes Axel down and finishes with the anklelock at 1:55. And then Shorty gives an inspirational speech about how it’s really a blessing that he’s Shorty and he loves being short and gosh darn he’s better off being Shorty. And then he changes his name again, so they can finally use that Shorty G trademark they got. He’s fine as long as Vince thinks it’s hilarious, but once that ends, look out below. *

Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan joins us via video chat to announce the rest of Team Hogan, brother. Naturally Shorty G and Ali will be there. I mean obviously. But the big announcement of his team captain is still to come. Why do they keep hyping up “a week from Thursday” as the date? Are they deliberately trying to avoid reminding people that it’s on Halloween?

The New Day & Heavy Machinery v. The Revival & Roo-Dolph

Ziggler slugs away on Tucker and gets a dropkick, but Tucker gets his own and we get stereo suplexes from the babyfaces. Big E and Otis clean house and Cole points out how happy that Kofi is outside. He’s just a happy fella who’s happy to be in the midcard doing midcard things happily! We take a break and return with Woods fighting out of the heel corner as we learn that the show moves to FS1 next week because of the World Series. Well, that leaves me out, then. The Revival get a Demolition elbow on Woods to retain control and Dolph tries for a superplex, but Woods fights him off and gets a missile dropkick. Hot tag Otis and he runs wild with slams and no-sells chops from Roode to set up the Caterpillar, but the Revival double-team him for two. Dawson tries a suplex and that goes badly for him, and the New Day finish him with the Midnight Hour at 9:22. Because yeah, might as well have the champions do the job. **1/2

BREAKING NEWS! Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan team up to face King Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura later tonight. Really? We’re back to the Teddy Long “gonna have a tag match, playa” trope already? So we get some words from Bryan backstage, and he doesn’t care about Twitter beefs or who was drafted where and when. Join the club.

Miz TV with special guests Bayley and Sasha. Miz wants to call her out for poor sportsmanship and we take a look at last week’s title change and Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Man murders. Plus a million horrified crowd reaction shots. And of course, OF COURSE, Bayley’s explanation is “I don’t owe anyone an explanation.” Miz and Sasha exchange heated barbs about who was drafted when, and Bayley whines about how no one was there for her when she lost the title to Charlotte at the PPV. My wife chimes in: “He should ask her why her eye liner is so terrible.” So Bayley gives her pre-scripted heel turn speech and no one in the crowd particularly cares. Finally Nikki Cross interrupts and promises to give Bayley a hug after she wins the six-way match tonight. And then Dana Brooke comes out and pleads her case. Oh god, we’re gonna have to sit through six people, aren’t we? And then Lacey Evans makes her entrance and thankfully we take a break so we don’t have to listen to Carmella cutting a promo too. This whole thing was death. DEATH.

Carmella v. Mandy Rose v. Sonya DeVille v. Nikki Cross v. Dana Brooke v. Lacey Evans

The winner of this gets the prestigious future championship opportunity at an indeterminate point in time. Mandy and Sonya double-team Cross, but Nikki escapes and they go after Carmella on the floor instead. Lacey attacks Cross outside while Cole declares her “a dark horse and a wild card draft pick” and we take another break from all the nothing going on. Back with Fire & Desire double-teaming Carmella in the ring, but Carm fights them off and then Nikki rolls her up for two. Everyone fights on the floor and Cross hits them with a dive, but Evans sends her into the stairs. Back in, Evans gets two on Brooke, but Dana comes back with a powerbomb and a swanton for two. Carmella and Mandy have a slapfight on the mat, but Sonya breaks it up and we get a bunch of superkicks and Cross pins Mandy with a neckbreaker to win the championship opportunity at 8:14. We already saw that match several times this year. It wasn’t very good. Much like this one, which was a sloppy mess with no heat. *1/2

Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins do stupid shit on RAW. And then you can watch them in a falls count anywhere match a week from this Thursday! You know, just after the draft where they swore that we’d never see any of these RAW v. Smackdown matches ever again!

Braun Strowman v. Drew Gulak

Hell of a start for Gulak on Smackdown. Drew offers some free advice before the match, noting that if he’s doing the monster gimmick at Crown Jewel, he’s getting knocked out. So we get a Powerpoint presentation with 345 slides, but Strowman squashes the shit out of him with the running shoulderblock and powerslam at 3:00, although 2:00 of that was Gulak’s promo. DUD Cole is in rare form here, declaring “If you’ve never seen this, you’re in for a treat!” while Strowman does the run around the ring, as though there’s this huge audience watching that has somehow never seen Braun Strowman, one of their biggest stars, wrestle before.

Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan v. King Corbin & Shinsuke Nakamura

And here we learn that Roman Reigns is now the captain of Team Hogan, and I have no earthly idea why they couldn’t just have Hogan announce that himself earlier in the show. Roman slugs away on Corbin in the corner and Bryan adds the running kicks, complete with ZOOM ‘N SHAKE action, but Corbin escapes the Yes Kicks and brings in Nakamura. Bryan goes up and gets distracted by Sami, leading to him landing on the floor as we take a break. Back with Corbin working Bryan over as Roman has disappeared. Bryan fights free from Nakamura, but Corbin takes out Roman on the apron to get rid of him again, and Nakamura gets a knee strike for two. Bryan hits Corbin with a baseball slide, and takes Nakamura into the LeBell lock, but Corbin breaks that up. Roman hits Corbin with the superman punch outside and spears him through the timekeeper railing, which always gets over. Meanwhile Bryan hits Nakamura with the Yes Kicks, but walks into a high knee. Kinshasa misses, however, and Bryan hits the Yes knee for the pin at 8:10. This was fine. **1/2

Well, in the storied history of Smackdown on FOX, this episode was certainly the most recent one. I’m gonna be shockingly honest and tell ya, I don’t know how long I’m gonna be able to recap this show. I thought they’d make some effort to do new and different stuff, but NOPE.  They couldn’t even stick with the non-Dunn camera production for ONE WEEK.  So I know, I bet you’re all gasping for air right now with the revelation that I’d already be getting bored with the FOX era, but it’s true.  Next week I’m definitely skipping because it’s on FS1 anyway, and we’ll see how I feel after that.