WWE News CALDWELL'S WWE SMACKDOWN TV TAPING REPORT: In-person coverage of "Halloween" Smackdown TV taping (with no Vince McMahon message that aired on Smackdown)
Oct 31, 2014 - 12:20:22 AM
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WWE Smackdown TV taping report
October 28, 2014
Houston, Tex. at Toyota Center
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Late-arriving crowd for the 6:45 local start time. Plus, with enough Smackdown tapings here, people have figured out how time the start of Smackdown. The upper decks are tarped off on the hard camera and middle upper decks. By the time the arena fills up, it'll be about 7-8,000 attendance, an okay draw for Smackdown. The lack of an advertised special appearance - John Cena, Booker T, Undertaker in the past - probably hurt the draw along with it being a mid-week school night.
The demographics are the usual mix of kids with their parents or older siblings, Attitude Era fans, and older fans from the Paul Boesch Era. There's also the emerging demo of adult males wearing John Cena gear. It was noticeable for the first time at the last Houston show and more noticeable this time around. The ritual is still there to duel-chant before the show, though.
Dark Match: Adam Rose beat Tyson Kidd in 3:00. No Natalya with Kidd for the opener. Rose won a basic match with the Party Foul, setting off a celebration with the Rose Buds and Bunny.
Main Event Results
Michael Cole and Byron Saxton were introduced for commentary prior to the dark match. JBL was also on the call.
Miz TV: Miz complained about the Usos stealing a win last night on Raw. So, instead of advertised guest Mark Henry, Miz brought out the Usos as his guests. Usos copied Miz and Damien Sandow's stunt double routine, angering Miz to demand a re-match ... with a different referee than last night.
(1) The Usos beat Miz & Sandow in 13:00. Usos pulled the switcheroo again for a roll-up pin. This time, Miz saw the first try and alerted ref Charles Robinson, but Miz didn't catch the second try moments later. Before the finish, a long isolation segment was built around Miz not letting Sandow in the match, increasingly becoming jealous of Sandow's popularity and wanting to shine alone.
Tonight: Sheamus vs. Bo Dallas.
(2) Paige beat Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd) in 7:00. Kidd was shown sitting ringside with his feet propped up on the announce table, selling disinterest in his wife's match. Even Paige smashing Natalya in front of Kidd drew no reaction. Kidd focused on the match toward the end when Paige teased the Sharpshooter, but Natalya broke free of her own finisher, only to be rolled up for the win. Afterward, Kidd "consoled" Nattie by patting her on the head like a pet.
A vignette aired with someone vowing to be pieced back together. They only showed the person's eyes. The voice sounded like Heath Slater or one of the Wyatts, although the Wyatt filter wasn't used. Basically, a Southern accent jobber.
For the main event, Bo Dallas came out talking about splitting himself into two to be part of the Survivor Series main event. But, until he can do that, he's offering his services to whichever team ... Bo-lieves. The bit got laughs from the crowd since he's presented as a light, somewhat silly joke.
(3) U.S. champion Sheamus beat Bo Dallas at 5:00 flat. Sheamus toyed with Bo, delivering the 10 Forearms to the Chest to a pop. Bo then made the mistake of slapping around Sheamus, getting a Brogue Kick to end his night.
JBL and Saxton took off after the main event, leaving Cole alone with his thoughts for the following match.
Second Dark Match: Kofi Kingston beat Curtis Axel in 7:00. Basic deal with Kofi on the early offense, Axel in control and mockery of the Boom Clap, high-flying response from Kofi to wow the crowd, missed Trouble in Paradise, and eventual finisher for the win.
Smackdown SPOILERS 10/31
Big Show came out first asking the crowd to send a message to Daniel Bryan, who he said had neck surgery in May and might need a second elbow surgery. Big "Yes!" chants. The crowd still remembers. Three renditions, including Show saying they need him back, and Show signed off. Apparently that was not for TV or something to be spliced in later. (Friday Update: On Smackdown, it was revealed this was spliced in later for a Vince McMahon Network message using the Daniel Bryan chants.)
Divas champion A.J. Lee came to ringside before the SD intro. First up was a #1 contender Divas Halloween Costume contest. Paige and Natalya were out again, then Naomi, Summer Rae, Layla, Emma, Rosa Mendes, Cameron, Alicia Fox, and Nikki Bella (big pop despite being a top heel; more of a pop for the Bella family theme music, though). No Brie Bella. (Brie was at a WWE rally in California with Daniel Bryan.)
(1) Nikki Bella won a #1 contender battle royal to the Divas Title. The final four were Nikki, Paige, Alicia, and Natalya. Fox cut Natalya, then Fox speared herself and Paige out of the ring, leaving Nikki alone as the winner. Nikki had a staredown with A.J. at ringside. Pop for Nikki confronting the champ; a case of the crowd getting behind a winner and not investing in the flimsy writing.
Still to come: Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro in a Trick or Street Fight. Plus, Miz TV with Mark Henry.
Kane and Seth Rollins came out to talk about the Ambrose vs. Cesaro main event. First, a review of Randy Orton RKO'ing Rollins on Raw. Kane spoke first about Halloween and Survivor Series, then Rollins started talking, drawing big boos. They finally have a wrestling heel who gets heavily booed as soon as he talks (as opposed to the likes of Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman). Kane eventually called out Dolph Ziggler, representing Team Cena.
(2) Kane beat IC champion Dolph Ziggler in 11:00 in a non-title match. Super Kane kicked out of the Zig-Zag. The crowd was hot for nearfalls that followed, then Kane surprised Dolph with a chokeslam for a clean pin.
Afterward, Kane chokeslammed Dolph again, then Rollins, Joey Mercury, and Jamie Noble put the boots to him. Kane informed Dolph that he has another match and it's against Seth Rollins right now.
(3) Seth Rollins beat Dolph Ziggler in 20 seconds. Rollins hit the Curb Stomp on a prone Dolph for the win. High cost to stand up to The Authority. And Dolph loses twice to make up for a rash of recent wins. After The Authority left, Dolph got sympathetic applause on the way out.
Tonight: Bray Wyatt speaks.
Heath Slater, dressed as a scarecrow, came out to address John Cena giving him the AA at the end of Raw. But he was interrupted by Ryback.
(4) Ryback squashed Slater in 1:00. Ryback comically tore apart Slater's costume leading to the Meathook Clothesline and Shellshock for the win.
Miz TV Law of Diminishing Returns edition: Mark Henry made up for this being the second Miz TV segment of the night with a fantastic heel promo explaining the turn on Big Show. As expected, Henry grew tired of Show taking the spotlight from him. Show came out to respond. Henry shoved Miz and Sandow in the way, but Show ran past them and went after Henry. Big brawl on the outside. Show got the advantage, but Henry posted him, then speared him through the gimmicked barricade. Henry stood tall on the way out while Show recovered.
The return date to Houston is Sunday, January 18 for a house show.
(5) Los Matadores (w/El Torito) beat WWE tag champs Goldust & Stardust in 8:00 in a non-title match. Curiously, this was not announced as a Halloween costume contest. Apparently it was implied. The crowd was quiet for this one with the champs dominating and no reason to invest in Los Matadores. So, Torito got on the apron for the sole purpose of Cody bumping him to the ground. Torito sold as if he were KO'ed to get a reaction. Cody and Torito then did a bit on the outside, allowing un Matador to surprise Goldust with a pin back in the ring.
Next out was Great Khali. His entrance took so long that the production crew was able to change the entire ring canvas while he walked. Rusev, with Lana, came out for an international affair.
(6) Rusev (w/Lana) squashed Khali in 1:00. Khali can barely move in the ring. Rusev did the movement selling one move before hitting a sidekick into The Accolade for the tap out.
Afterward, Lana tried a promo over loud boos and "USA" chants. No dice, so Rusev took the mic to brag about being all Americans. Next, he will crush the American champion, Sheamus. He vowed to present the U.S. Title to Vladimir Putin. Sheamus was to be heard from, as he came out for a response. Sheamus said he takes personal pride in representing everything the title stands for. He charged the ring for a fight, but Rusev ducked out. Sheamus stood tall in the ring.
After a break, Bray Wyatt was introduced to the ring for a message, which he delivered from a rocking chair in the middle of the ring in a darkened arena. Bray cut a promo on people dressing up for Halloween to escape their miserable lives. But, Dean Ambrose is different because he wears crazy every day of the week. He said Dean is different and they love it. Bray said Dean is like him - a monster. And, at Hell in a Cell, he had Seth Rollins in his hands. It was powerful and thrilling. Because in that moment, you are immortal and you can take it all away. Bray didn't want Dean to have it all taken away, though. Or something like that. He added a note that said "she" still cries for you. Bray knelt down, then disappeared. End scene. A bit of a scattered puzzle thus far.
WWE ran some Network propaganda pieces while the production crew set up the ring for the main event. Lots of Network video ads throughout the taping.
(7) Dean Ambrose beat Cesaro in 10:00 in a Trick or Street Fight. Ambrose brought a Kendo Stick with him to the ring. Cesaro stole it and went for some fake-looking stick shots that got no reaction. Not his strength in the ring. Cesaro then set up a bunch of pumpkins for a suplex, but Dean blocked. Moments later, Dean back dropped Cesaro into the pumpkins for a pop. On the outside, Cesaro suplexed Dean and a skeleton to laughs. But, Dean responded by coming off the top rising a witch's broom for an elbow splash through Cesaro and a trick or treat candy table. Back in the ring, Dean stuffed Cesaro's head in a pumpkin for Dirty Deeds to get the win. Dean stood tall as the winner and Cesaro stumbled around as the expendable butt of the joke to close Smackdown.
After the match, the production crew cleared the ring of Halloween scraps. Dean then took the mic and said he's having a great time in Houston and he's not leaving Texas until he gets his hands on that rotten Seth Rollins. Rollins marched down to the ring and a fight broke out with Ambrose. Noble and Mercury tried to stop a match, but the bell sounded. Of note, Noble and Mercury were not wearing their suit jackets, making their production/agent earpieces visible. Earlier in the show, Mercury was talking into his wrist mic, like a Secret Service agent, during the Kane vs. Ziggler match.
Dark Match: Dean Ambrose beat Seth Rollins via DQ in 5:00. After some back and forth, the agents interfered for a DQ. Dean fought them off, then ended the night with Dirty Deeds on Seth to get a measure of revenge to close things out. Dean posed in the ring, then took a victory lap to close the event. Ring announcer Eden Stiles signed off with a reminder for the January 18 return date.
Finally, although John Cena did not make the Houston stop this time around, WWE integrated him throughout the taping with "WWE 2K15" video game commercials, photo shoot videos, and promotional spots. It was a clear reminder who the #1 star is, even when not present.
On the way out, a Mountain Dew truck was posted up outside the arena handing out Kickstarter drinks. No sign of the TV announcers. Also, the mobile merchandise truck was still moving items. Notably, there was a John Cena rally monkey to go with the rest of the usual Cena items. They've thought of it all.
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