KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
AUGUST 8, 2017
TORONTO, ONT. AT AIR CANADA CENTRE
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
-They opened with a video package with highlights of last week’s John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura main event, and then new footage from after Smackdown went off the air last week including Baron Corbin attacking Nakamura and then Cena making the save and giving Corbin an Attitude Adjustment through a table at ringside.
-They went live to the arena with Phillips saying “actions have consequences.”
-Cena’s music played and he came out to a chant of “John Cena sucks” to the beat of his music. JBL touted Cena as one of the greatest of all-time, if not thee greatest. He said he’s getting a great ovation. Phillips mentioned that it was bizarro world last night for Raw. Phillips and JBL talked about Cena being suplexed onto his head last week. Phillips said last week Cena shook Nakamura’s hand after losing and said he was the better man the night. They showed the announcers on camera briefly. Phillips said the WWE Universe is wondering what’s next for Cena.
Cena stood in the ring as his music stopped and smiled at the crowd, waiting for something. “Man, we got some people excited,” he said. “We may have some people upset.” He said they are all gathered because any night in WWE can create moments that last a lifetime. He talked about the Nakamura dream match last week. He said he found out Nakamura wasn’t afraid of anything. A “Nakamura” chant broke out. He said he wasn’t sure why fans chanted for Nakamura, but then he found out how hard he hits. He said he didn’t remember the end of the match, because he was doing the “You can’t see me” routine and next thing he knew, the referee was raising the arm of Nakamura. He said, “No blind referee, no foul play, no Montreal Screwjob – I just lost. I know you guys know this, that doesn’t really happen a lot to me.” He said he did the only thing he could do – he dusted himself off and shook the hand of the man who earned the right to become the champion. He said Nakamura shook his hand back.
He was interrupted by Baron Corbin’s new music. He walked onto the stage with his Money in the Bank briefcase. He told Cena to stop because he’s tired of people talking about the handshake. He said last week Cena stuck his nose in his business. He said as the MITB briefcase holder, he does what he wants, when he wants. He said if Cena is looking for someone to respect, it should be him, not Nakamura. He said he is the future, and he has no problem making Cena the past.
Cena said he has no problem telling it like it is. “You’re a skinny fat loudmouth overrated dumpster fire, just like that sign says right there.” He pointed at a fan holding up a sign that said, “Baron Corbin is a Dumpster Fire.” He said he’s heard a lot of chants, but never heard a crowd chant “Dumpster fire!” before. He told him to sashay his way to the ring if he wants to dance so he can put his ass through another table. Corbin teased walking to the ring, but then stopped and said, “Why would I do that, John? I have this.” He held up his briefcase. He said with the contract, he does what he wants when he wants. The crowd loudly chanted “Dumpster fire!” at him. He turned and walked back to the stage. Cena said Canadians are nice people and they must mean that in a nice way. Corbin told him he can take his respect and shove it. He said all he needs is the WWE Championship, so Cena isn’t worth his time.
Daniel Bryan’s music played. and he walked onto the stage. A “Daniel Bryan” chant broke out. Bryan soaked it up. He said it’s great to be in Toronto. He told Corbin that he isn’t sure if he’s a dumpster fire or the future. He said he doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he can tell him that at Summerslam, it will be Corbin vs. Cena. Cena waved his hand in front of his face as Bryan’s music kicked in again. Corbin shook his head. JBL said Bryan is a great general manager even if he dresses like a homeless lumberjack.
-Phillips plugged Orton vs. Jinder Mahal for the first time ever on Smackdown, and the Singh Brothers are out with an injury. Also, Shane McMahon would announce his “Rules of Engagement.”
-They showed the Usos backstage, who wrestle next. [c]
-They aired the Usos attacking New Day two weeks ago.
(1) THE USOS vs. TYE DILLINGER & SAMI ZAYN
The Usos came out first. Then Tye. Then Sami. Each got their own full ring entrance. When Sami went for an early Helluva Kick, Jey pulled Jimmy out of the way. They regrouped at ringside, so they cut to an early break. [c]
During the break, they showed the action on a split screen. Sami frustrated the Usos for a while until Jimmy took over with a kick and then tagged in Jey. He settled into a chinlock. Sami fought back right after the break and hot-tagged in Tye. Phillips mentioned Tye is from St. Catherines outside of Toronto. Fans chanted “Yes! Yes!” and then “10! 10!” Jimmy superkicked Sami at ringside. Tye climbed to the top rope, but Jey met him at the top. Jimmy tagged himself in. Tye set up his finisher, but Jey broke it up with a kick. Then Jimmy kicked him in the back of his knee. Jey applied Tequila Sunrise and forced Tye to tapout.
WINNERS: The Usos.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to it, but fine for what it was. It showed the Usos using their double-teaming chemistry to outmaneuver Tye and score a relatively clean win. It’s good to have a TV match like this now and then with a team higher in the rankings getting a decisive win over mid-card competition.)
-After the match, the Usos asked, “Where New Day at?” They said after Summerslam, they’ll be the new WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions. They imitated New Day. New Day’s entrance song interrupted them. The Usos looked at the stage, waiting for them. Phillips said, “They’re baaaack!” Big E came onto the stage, but Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods attacked the Usos from behind. A “New… Day Sucks!” chant started amidst the cheers. New Day triple-teamed the heel duo, which seemed a little unusual for a babyface-heel angle. Kofi grabbed a chair and was about to hit Jimmy when Jey yanked Jimmy out of the ring. The Usos fled.
(Keller’s Analysis: I know the Usos blind-sided New Day, but the “revenge” this week shouldn’t have been a three-on-two attack by the babyfaces. Just having Big E watch from the stage as Kofi and Xavier got revenge would have been better.)
-JBL plugged that they’d air a Shinsuke Nakamura interview later. Phillips plugged a new “Fashion Peaks” segment next. [c]
-They showed downtown Toronto and the exterior of the Air Canada Centre.
-Renee Young interviewed Orton backstage. Orton said last week Rusev was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He said after Rusev said he wasn’t scared of anyone, he decided to take it upon himself to give him someone to be afraid of. Renee asked about tonight’s match against Mahal. Orton said for the past three months, Mahal has done everything in his power to escape with the WWE Title. He said he’s gotten away with it, but tonight without the Singh Brothers, Jinder won’t get away, period.
(Keller’s Analysis: Renee didn’t look as weak-kneed and smitten as she did last night after Roman Reigns melted her with his manliness. She looked concerned instead with what Orton had planned for Jinder.)
-Saxton threw to the “Fashion Peaks” segment. He said it went viral last week and called it a mix between Forensic Files and Unsolved Mysteries. He said maybe they’ll get some answers tonight.
-“Fashion Peaks” with Tyler Breeze and Fandango. Breeze said his dream last week was too weird. He told Ascension about it. He said he thinks his dream was a code and he wants to crack the code. Ascension walked away with a pie. Breeze looked in a mirror and asked, “Where are you ‘Dango?” In walked Fandango, but he looked like he was in a trance. Breeze had him drink something out of a mug. It woke Fandango up. He said it was a damn good cup of coffee. Fandango said he was with aliens. Breeze asked how he escaped. Fandango said he could have left anytime, but he didn’t because of “anal probes, I mean war, war, wardrobes.” He said the aliens gave him the ability to see into the future. He said the next person to walk through the door is the one destroyed his hobby horse. In walked Arn Anderson, who asked which way to catering. Breeze asked if Arn destroyed Telly the Horse. Arn admitted he did it. Arn said he should have named it Arn because he was the horse of that group. He then took two donuts and walked away. Fandango said their work has just begun. Breeze said they’d need more pies.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ehh. A weaker version. I mean, an Arn cameo is nice and all, but it didn’t feel like a payoff that leads anywhere. It was built around an anal probe joke, which means Vince McMahon gives it six stars.)
-Charlotte made her ring entrance. [c]
-A clip aired of a WWE.com exclusive of Lana telling Tamina that she is her inspiration and she wants to fight like her and be like her one day. “You are incredible,” she said. Then she added: “But a more charismatic, a more beautiful, a more ravishing you.” Tamina looked upset. Lana said she’s going to challenge Charlotte next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: That didn’t really address much of anything, including why Tamina chose to associate with Lana originally. But now we know that Lana has her Russain accent, rather than her Total Divas lack of accent, in her new dancing gimmick.)
(2) CHARLOTTE vs. LANA
Charlotte snickered at the video that aired of Lana insulting Tamina. Charlotte outmaneuvered Lana early, but Lana went for a sunset flip and apparently yanked on her tights, based on the crowd reaction and Charlotte reaching back to yank up her shorts. The crowd chanted “Thank you, Lana!” They went into a backslide battle, which Charlotte got the better of leading to a soft two count. Lana slapped Charlotte. Charlotte fired back with a boot to the face and then a figure-four into a figure-eight for the tapout win.
WINNER: Charlotte in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This didn’t really do anything other than give Charlotte a chance to show off her finisher. I still don’t understand the Lana gimmick and what the point of it is.)
-Phillips plugged Naomi vs. Carmella coming up later, saying it’d be more competitive.
-They showed Shane walking backstage. [c]
-Shane came out to his usual music. He said Bryan used his power as G.M. last week to make him the special referee for the U.S. Title match at Summerslam. Out came Kevin Owens and then A.J. Styles to their respective entrance music. An “A.J. Styles / Kevin Owens” battle chant broke out as Styles and Owens exchanged some words. Shane said, “There’s 50/50 sentiment going on here.” He said last week Owens was screaming in his face that he doesn’t think he can be an impartial referee. Owens agreed.
Owens said what he did last week was in the heat of the moment and he wanted to apologize to him tonight. Shane nodded. Styles laughed at the prospect that Owens was being sincere. He said he’s not worried about a McMahon screwing him over because a McMahon already screwed over a legendary Canadian before. “Of course, he deserved it,” said Owens, masterfully turning the crowd against him. “But I don’t.” He said it’d be terrible p.r. if he did the same to another legendary Canadian, so he’s not worried about that. He said he is worried, however, about Styles. He asked Shane how he can be unbiased against someone who attacked him last March. They showed Styles beating up Shane backstage in the lead-up to WrestleMania, including throwing him through the side window of a car. No car-cam footage, thankfully.
Back live, Styles said he’d be the first to admit he wasn’t happy when Bryan made Shane the special referee at Summerslam. Styles said refereeing hasn’t been great anyway, so good luck with that. He said Owens must think everyone is stupid because he’s trying to stir the pot like some master manipulator. He told him to save his breath because it wasn’t working. He said if Shane screws him, well, he’ll have to deal with the repercussions just like he did at WrestleMania. Shane took a step toward him like a tough guy. Styles said, “Don’t take offense to it, I don’t trust anybody, let alone a McMahon.” Shane said Styles is confusing him with other family members because he doesn’t operate like that.
Owens said Summerslam won’t be the first time he’s a special guest referee. He said he’s a pretty smart guy who has done his research. He pointed at the big screen again and told Styles to look at what could happen to him. They went back to 1998 Survivor Series with Steve Austin giving Mankind a stunner and then Shane running in to make the three count, but stopping at two and giving Austin two middle fingers, then fleeing. Owens said, “Offensive gesture notwithstanding, it’s amazing what you can find on the WWE Network.” He told Styles to search and he’ll find hours of examples of Shane screwing people over as special referee. Shane told Owens he was clever. He asked if they were done. Then he continued. He said he and Owens don’t get along, and he and Styles have battled before but come out the other side. Shane said he will call it down the middle and won’t get involved unless he has to. “So don’t give me a reason to get involved,” he said.
Styles suggested they get rid of Shane and not wait until Summerslam and do this right here, right now for the United States Championship. Shane shrugged and left the ring. Owens said that sounds great, but he’d rather win the U.S. Title in the United States in a city that actually matters. The crowd booed again. Styles held up the U.S. Title belt and told Owens that’s as close as he’ll get to it. They shoved each other. Shane got in the middle. Owens gave Styles a forearm. Styles went for a Pelé kick, but it hit Shane by mistake. Owens rolled out of the ring and laughed. The crowd chanted “You screwed Shane!” Styles turned and looked down at Shane. JBL asked if Styles just gave Shane the reason he needed not to call the match down the middle.
-They went to the announcers at ringside who reacted to a clip of what just happened. Phillips then plugged Summerslam and a free 30 day subscription to WWE Network. Saxton plugged the NXT Takeover special. He called Drew McIntyre “undefeated.” Going how far back, exactly? They touted the four-hour format and the pre-show with Lita and Jerry Lawler. [c]
-Backstage Tamina walked up to Lana. Lana asked if she was there to gloat. “Please, get it out of your system,” Lana said. Tamina asked how it went for her earlier trying to be more ravishing than her. Lana said she lost, but she asked Tamina to please go now that she made her point. Tamina said she’ll never wrestle like her. Lana said Tamina will never be as ravishing as her. Tamina then softened her tone and said it wasn’t her in-ring ability that got her back-t0-back-to-back title opportunities, it was her ambition. She said she will help her get hers. They shared a look.
(Keller’s Analysis: Who talks like that, standing side by side looking at each other peripherally? It’s just so phony looking. I’m still not sure what the idea is here with these two, but Tamina is now giving life lessons to Lana and asking for her supporting return?)
-A clip aired of Naomi making Carmella tapout last week in a tag match.
(3) NAOMI vs. CARMELLA
Carmella wore a top that had a picture of James Ellsworth on it. Carmella trash talked Naomi early and got cocky after shoving her. Naomi kicked her in the head, then slapped her. Carmella rolled to the floor and they cut to a very early break. [c]
Carmella took over during the break. The action was shown on split screen. Carmella settled into a chinlock. They showed Natalya watching the match on a monitor backstage. Naomi hit Carmella with a barrage of rapid-fire kicks. Naomi strutted a bit and then charged in the corner. Carmella lifted her over the top rope, but Naomi kicked her and then climbed to the top. Carmella knocked her off balance. The ref stepped between them as Carmella yanked on Naomi’s hair. Ellsworth jumped up and shoved Naomi off the top rope. The crowd popped. Carmella then surprised Naomi with a superkick for the win. Phillips said Ellsworth’s suspension ended late last week.
(Keller’s Analysis: It appeared Naomi actually slipped off the top rope before Ellsworth could shove her. JBL tried to cover for it on commentary saying the distraction caused her to slip. The match was clunky.) [c]
-A commercial aired for NXT Takeover’s main events of Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre and Asuka vs. Ember Moon.
-Backstage, Naomi walked up to Carmella and Ellsworth. She called Ellsworth a “chinless, turtle-faced freak of a friend.” She said he’s already sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Ellsworth said, “Nice to see you too, Nattie!” She warned them to keep their nose out of her match at Summerslam because it’s her night to shine. She vowed to give Carmella a chin like Ellsworth’s if she sees either of them hanging around. Ellsworth celebrated the effect he’s already having on the Women’s Division. Carmella and Ellsworth said they are really counting on her to win at Summerslam so they can cash in on her.
-They went to the announcers, who threw to the Nakamura interview.
-Renee interviewed Nakamura earlier in the day. She asked him about debuting the Tuesday after WrestleMania and the big splash he made. He said he has wanted to be in WWE his whole career and compete against the best in the world. He said first he did in NXT, and now Smackdown. Renee brought up his matches against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin, but then last week he beat Cena. He said Cena has been the measuring stick in WWE. He said John Cena is “the guy, but I beat him.” He said he cannot describe what it was like to stand in the ring with Cena. She asked about facing Jinder at Summerslam. He said more than an opportunity, it is his destiny. He said he will become WWE Champion and the “Nakamura Dynasty” begins.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was okay. It was much better than anything else he’s done lately, but it just lacked the gravitas that you’d hope for. WWE just isn’t reciprocating Nakamura’s praise for WWE and Cena by talking about what a big deal he was before he got to WWE. It’s not in their DNA to do that, unfortunately, and it’s hurting this build-up.)
-Jinder Mahal’s ring entrance took place. [c]
(4) JINDER MAHAL vs. RANDY ORTON
Orton took it to Mahal with some punches and a Thesz press early. There were some boos, so the crowd must realize Mahal grew up in Canada. The announcers are in the awkward position of not being able to say why the crowd is booing Orton because Mahal isn’t from Canada in the WWE narrative. Orton lifted and dropped Mahal onto the edge of the ringside barricade. Mahal tried to regroup, but Orton clotheslined him. More boos. Orton then back suplexed Mahal onto the announce desk, including a monitor which he failed to clear first. Orton then cleared the table, but couldn’t pull one of the monitors free, so he just pushed it down through the hole, but it wouldn’t go down all the way. That gave Mahal enough time to regroup and take it to Orton. Orton fired back with a clothesline. More boos. Orton threw Mahal over the table and onto one of those super-dangerous padded office chairs. Orton set up an RKO, but Mahal shoved him off of the table and Orton flew into the time keeper’s era. They cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Jinder was stomping away at Orton, then settled into a chinlock. They showed Nakamura watching on a monitor backstage. Orton came back and landed a superplex. Orton followed up with a flurry of offense including a fallaway slam. He mounted Jinder and got more boos. When Orton punched Mahal, the crowd chanted “10” each time. He followed up with a snap powerslam for a two count. Mahal came back with a high knee for a two count. A “Jinder!” chant broke out. Orton countered with a DDT off the middle rope. He played to the crowd and was booed some more. Orton pounded the mat and then went for an RKO. Jinder countered with a schoolboy for a two count. Then he kicked Orton in the face. Jinder went for the cobra clutch, but Orton countered with an RKO out of nowhere for the clean three count.
(Keller’s Analysis: I was expecting Rusev interference to get out of a clean finish there. Instead, the champ loses clean two weeks before Summerslam. If Nakamura does anything but also win clean, it is going to make Nakamura look weak as they just established that without the Singh Brothers, Jinder isn’t a big threat. Or the Singh Brothers help Jinder win and everyone yawns.)
-Afterward, Rusev jumped Orton just as Smackdown went off the air.