KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
AUGUST 22, 2017
BROOKLYN, N.Y. AT BARCLAYS CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
-Freeze-frames aired of the finish to the A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens U.S. Title match at Summerslam with Shane McMahon as special referee.
-Styles made his ring entrance as Phillips introduced the show. They showed the announcers on camera. JBL said Shane called it down the middle, but Owens will disagree. He said it’s a shame the controversy took away from how good of a match it was otherwise. Styles received an “A.J. Styles” battle chant. Yes, two factions of fans battled each other over which cadence would rule, and it was a stalemate. Styles said this “is the House that A.J. Styles Built!” He said he is still U.S. Champion. He said he told the world that he is the workhorse of WWE. He reinstated the United States Title Open Challenge tonight.
Owens’ music played and he walked out. Styles said he isn’t doing this because he already beat him at Summerslam. “We’re done,” he said. Owens said Styles didn’t beat him. He said 20 years later history repeated itself as a McMahon screwed a legendary Canadian once again. He said Styles can’t take credit for beating him because Shane McMahon screwed him.
Shane McMahon’s music interrupted. Out danced Shane. He entered the ring and stared at Owens. A “Shane-o-Mac” chant broke out. He asked, “What’s up, Brooklyn?” He got cheers. He said he loves being “back here in the BK.” He told Owens he may be upset, but he did exactly what he said he was going to do – he called the match right down the middle. He said in the end, Styles won fair and square. Owens said Shane may have survived a helicopter crash and jumped off Hell in a Cell and got back up got grazed by a Styles 450 splash, but he couldn’t get over to count to three after he powerbombed him. He said he physically assaulted him, which is what led to Styles beating him. He pointed at the big screen and showed in slo-mo Shane counting to three when Styles’s foot was on the bottom rope.
Owens asked Shane if he saw what he just showed on the “tron.” Owens said when the idiot referee counted his shoulders down a couple weeks ago even though his shoulder was “like ten feet off the ground,” his decision stood. He asked why his three count didn’t stand. Shane nodded. He said it’s simple. He said he immediately called it off. The referee’s decision stands, and since he was the referee, his decision stood. Owens yelled at Shane that he counted to three, so “give me my damn title!” He said Styles is a joke of a champion. Styles called Owens a “whiny ass little bitch.” He gave in and offered him another U.S. Title shot tonight. Shane said it goes against his better judgment, but if that’s what Styles wants, Owens gets it. Owens said that wasn’t enough. He said he got screwed by an official referee a couple weeks ago and on Sunday by a guest referee, so he said he should get to pick the referee tonight. Styles said Owens could have his mom be the ref and he’d still lose to him. He pointed at a kid in the crowd to be ref. Owens said he gets to pick. Shane said okay, but this is his last shot at the U.S. Title and no more excuses. Phillips said they’ll get some finality in this rivalry. Owens and Styles yapped back and forth a little more.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment. They covered their bases well. It’s a good mystery, which is often good for helping ratings. Shane was reasonable and made his case logically. Owens was a heel who was desperately looking for a technicality. Styles had the confidence of a babyface at the end who knows he has someone’s number.)
-Backstage Daniel Bryan was shown talking on his phone. He told the person they have a few big surprises. You won’t believe it, but in walked some people – in this case, the Singh Brothers. They asked Bryan to pay reverence to the WWE Champion. In walked Jinder Mahal, who was especially raspy tonight. He said Bryan is a progressive thinker. He said Smackdown was a huge international success thanks to him and he knows he has shown himself to be an unstoppable champion. Bryan said what he sees is someone who can’t win without help. Jinder said he’s just like other xenophobic Americans who paints him to be a bad guy when in reality he’s a hero. Bryan said a hero doesn’t take shortcuts. Bryan said Shinsuke Nakamura deserves retribution tonight. Jinder said his contract gives him the power to refuse. Bryan said he doesn’t have to face Nakamura tonight, he meant the Singh Brothers.
-Saxton announced Natalya & Carmella vs. Naomi & Becky Lynch later. [c]
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-Freeze-frames aired from Summerslam.
-Owens approached Sami Zayn backstage. He said he is just the guy he’s been looking for. Owens said they’ve been fighting each other for their entire careers. He said they’ve done a lot to each other, but tonight he needs someone he can trust to be his referee, and he’s the only one who fits the bill. Zayn said he watched his “Kevin Owens Story” DVD recently. He said it feels like they’ve been fighting for so long, sometimes he forgets what they’re fighting about. Owens said he’s right, and maybe they shouldn’t be fighting each other. Owens said he’s not fighting tonight because when he came to Smackdown he hasn’t really done much, but tonight he can be part of something that counts. He told him to think about it.
(Keller’s Analysis: The insult at the end was pretty funny, but I don’t really understand Owens wanting Sami as his top choice to be referee in his last U.S. Title match ever. Was it all just for the ha ha comedy? Or will it make some sense later?)
-Aiden English sang under a spotlight. He was interrupted by the debut of “Glorious” on Smackdown. The crowd popped.
(1) ROBERT ROODE vs. AIDEN ENGLISH
Phillips said the landscape of Smackdown has just been significantly altered. JBL celebrated it and said everybody wanted him and they got him. It’s been a long journey from Team Canada to Smackdown. Roode led the crowd in yelling “Glorious.” English said this night is about him. When he bowed, Roode clotheslined him over the top rope, although it was a bit of a struggle to get him over. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on a split screen. [c]
Roode beat up Aiden back in the ring for a minute. At ringside, Aiden reversed Roode into the barricade and then charged into him. He choked him over the middle rope. Back from the break, Roode charged at English and chopped away at him in the corner. Phillip said Roode has won championships all over the world and has been a “sports entertainer” for over 20 years. He said he ruled NXT for over a year. Roode hit a blockbuster. English caught Roode with a Director’s Cut for a near fall. JBL declared it over, saying “so much for debut of…” Of course, Roode kicked out. English went for a top rope senton, but Roode moved and then planted English with a spinebuster. He led the crowd in chanting “Glorious,” then hit the Glorious DDT for the win.
WINNER: Roode in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Athletically, he wasn’t anything special or memorable. He was crisp, but pretty basic. It was all about his ring entrance. The crowd was into him and expecting him based on social media “leaks” – as in WWE put his graphic on the big screen before the show started. Interesting they positioned him against a heel jobber.)
-Renee Young interviewed Roode in the ring afterward. She said he shocked the entire WWE Universe with his arrival tonight. Uh, no. She asked what brought the former WWE Champion to Smackdown tonight. He congratulated Bryan and Shane for breaking the bank on the hottest free agent in sports entertainment today. He said everything he touches is big box office. He said Smackdown Live in a New York Minute went from great to being absolutely glorious.
(Keller’s Analysis: WWE is often about giving fans something easy to digest and chant at arenas. That said, to reach that top tier, you have to have depth to the character and promos, and this was the very very basic one-dimensional, but catchy, upper-mid-card version of Roode. It’s fine for the debut, but there has to be more than him soon or he’ll hit a ceiling. He relied too much on the catch phrase “It pays to be Roode” years ago and now he has something better – and he’ll do very well with merchandise revenues – but he can’t get too hung up on having that be the start and end of what defines him. It’s up to him and the writers and Vince McMahon to be sure “Glorious” is the cover of the book, but there’s a lot of content to the pages inside.) [c]
-Bryan talked with Chad Gable backstage. Bryan apologized for what happened to him since his tag partner got “moved over to Raw.” He apologized for what that did to his career. Gable said that all anyone wants to talk to him about is Jason Jordan and Kurt Angle. He said he is worried about his future. Bryan said he is worried about it, too. Bryan said he made a deal with Kurt Angle; he didn’t just give up Jordan for nothing. He said in exchange, he gets to sign one of Angle’s friends. He said he thinks this person might be a great new tag team partner for him. He introduced Shelton Benjamin. In walked Shelton. Gable smiled and said this is great. He said he followed him back to his college days. He said he’s a Minnesota guy, too. Bryan said they should take their new team for a test drive next week. Gable said that sounds great and he left. Shelton wasn’t sure what to think of Gable’s enthusiasm. Shelton shook hands with Bryan and smiled. The crowd applauded.
(Keller’s Analysis: Shelton is identified with the Smackdown brand for those who were around during his first stint, so this is a nice return – finally. After losing John Cena, gaining Shelton and Roode helps freshen things up. This isn’t a Superstar Shake-up per se, but it’s adding some new match-ups and faces to the brands.)
-They showed Owens backstage approaching Sami again. He offered him a referee shirt. Sami said he thought about it real long and real hard, but as he thought, he remembered all the rotten things Owens did to him and all the times he stabbed him in the back, he’s not going to referee for him. He threw the ref shirt at him.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t get it. Shouldn’t Sami then want to accept being a referee to be sure Owens can’t pick a referee who wouldn’t favor him, but would know how to hold Owens’ accountable? This made absolutely no sense. It would have been better if Sami, at the end, said something like, “I believe matches should be won fair and square, and I don’t want to be part of refereeing a match where I was rooting for someone to lose. That someone is you. Go find someone else to be your lackey.” It still wouldn’t make sense that Owens would want Sami to be the referee, though.)
-Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder made their ring entrance. [c]
(2) THE USOS vs. MOJO RAWLEY & ZACK RYDER
The Usos made their ring entrance after the break. The showed action clips from the Usos vs. New Day match at the Kickoff Show at Summerslam. They show action from the pre-show but only freeze-frames from the main show. Phillips talked about the “bombshell” of Shelton’s return to WWE. Ryder got a nice crowd reaction for his high-energy rally a couple minutes in. The Usos bailed out at ringside. Mojo charged at the Usos. He took down Jimmy. Jey then superkicked Mojo at ringside. Ryder threw Jimmy into the ring, but a distraction by Jey led to Ryder eating a superkick and getting pinned. JBL said the Usos just keep getting better and better, and said their match at Summerslam was one of the best he’s seen.
-Jimmy welcomed Brooklyn to the Uso Penetetiary afterward. Jey said they had a message for every tag team. He said they’ll start to feel what New Day felt. They said it’s not paranoia, it’s the Usos. Phillips said they have Smackdown Live on lock.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why didn’t these two talk for all of these years until turning heel?)
-They showed Shinsuke Nakamura warming up backstage. [c]
(3) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. THE SINGH BROTHERS (w/Jinder Mahal)
Shinsuke dominated early. He threw the Singhs to the floor near Jinder. He yelled at Jinder. The Singhs attacked Shinsuke from behind. They double-stomped and then pounded on him in the corner. Nakamura ended up submitting one of them with a triangle out of nowhere.
WINNER: Nakamura in 4:00.
-Afterward, as Nakamura celebrated, Jinder attacked him. He took off his jacket and snarled in the direction of the hard camera. Nakamura recovered enough to surprise Jinder with a kick to the gut and then the Kinshasa. Phillips said that must be gratifying for him. JBL said Shinsuke wants the WWE Championship to complete his career. Phillips said he never got to use the Kinshasa at Summerslam because of the Singh Brothers.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like the idea that they’re selling the idea that Nakamura would win with the Kinshasa, but the Singh Brothers prevented him from hitting it at Summerslam. It gives him a chance to save face for not winning the title at Summerslam.)
-Tyler Breeze and Fandango offered to be referees for Kevin Owens. Owens yelled, “No. You’ve got to be kidding me! Get out of here!” He told them not to touch his referee shirt. Tyler said as he walked away, “To be continued.” Owens said there is no “to be continued.” In walked Baron Corbin. He said he’d referee, and if Owens wins, he gets first dibs. Owens said, “It’s when. And you’ve got a deal.” Corbin said he better be a man of his word. [c]
(Keller’s Analysis: I loved Breeze saying “To be continued.”)
-The announcers commented on freeze-frames of the Naomi vs. Natalya match at Summerslam. They framed it as Natalya lifting her knees on a top rope splash by Naomi leading to the Sharpshooter and new champion. Phillips said Naomi had no choice but to tap out. He said it was heartbreaking for her.
-Natalya made her ring entrance and strutted with her newly won gold. She said Summerslam will forever be known as “The Day the Glow Was Unplugged.” She said she proved she is the best there is, was, and ever will be. She said Naomi can wipe the tears away and see what a real champion looks like. She said she is their new and forever Smackdown Women’s Champion. She promised to restore order and dignity to the title. “It’s not Glow Time, it’s My Time!” she declared.
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Over the next week, we will be adding two Summerslam Audio Roundtables per day to a Podcast RSS Feed (compatible with iTunes and popular podcast apps on iPhone and Android devices) that were recorded the night of each event led by PWTorch Wade Keller and two or three columnists. The shows begin in 2005 and end with last year’s 2016 Audio Roundtable.
(4) NATALYA & CARMELLA (w/James Ellsworth) vs. NAOMI & BECKY LYNCH
Ellsworth said it only took Natalya “what, a billion years” to finally win something. Carmella arrived at the ring and told Natalya that she’s on her time. She said she let Natalya have her moment at Summerslam, but when the time is right, she’s going to turn in her contract for that championship. Ellsworth said it’s honorable for Natalya to trust Carmella to be her partner because she could not tag in and let Natalya get beat up the whole match and cash in her MITB contract tonight. JBL said Natalya is “as sharp as a bowling ball.” Lynch’s ring entrance took place next. Naomi came out in a light-up robe and danced her way to the ring. They opened with Carmella vs. Naomi. Natalya should have just walked out on the match here after what Ellsworth said. Carmella tagged in Natalya even before there was any contact. She ordered Natalya to “get her.” They went to commercial but showed the action on a split screen. The babyface duo worked over Natalya. [c]
Back from the break, Natalya tried to call for a time out, then side-stepped Lynch and stomped away at her in the corner. Natalya tried to tag in Carmella, but Carmella dropped down and told Natalya, “You got it covered. You’re the best there is, baby. Go ahead!” Lynch schoolgirled Natalya for a near fall. Lynch kicked Natalya and then crawled over to tag Naomi. Fans began doing the wave. Natalya knocked Lynch off the ropes and then mouthed off to Carmella. Lynch small packaged Natalya for a two count, then tagged in Naomi. Naomi sunset flipped herself into the ring and scored a two count. Then Naomi shifted into a submission. Natalya powered out. Carmella turned her back to the ring and talked with Ellsworth. Natalya then blind-tagged in Carmella. Natalya chased Carmella into the ring. Lynch then surprised Carmella with her exploder suplex. Ellsworth mouthed off to Natalya at ringside as Naomi landed a split-legged moonsault for the pin on Carmella. JBL said Natalya might have dodged a bullet there.
WINNERS: Lynch & Naomi in 9:00. [c]
-More Summerslam freeze-frames aired.
-They showed the exterior of Barclays Center. Phillips thanked the fans of Brooklyn for making the weekend so special.
-Dasha Fuentes interviewed Dolph Ziggler. He said he’s so happy to be reintroducing himself to WWE Smackdown viewers. He then complained that it was in a backstage interview. He said when he was gone, he was watching a lot of Raw and Smackdown. He said now he knows what it takes to be a star in WWE now. He looked off to the sky and said he’s going to start singing and playing guitar and maybe rap a little bit and dance around like an idiot and then get a big spotlight on him and lots of lasers and a big fancy robe because that’s what it takes. He said he’d have a beautiful woman escort him to the ring who glows in the dark because that’s what it takes and it’s what exactly he plans on doing next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ziggler’s character is so obnoxious in a bad way because he talks about needing to do everything other than win. His character is a big loser, and the fact that he always seems on the hunt for a push and a gimmick and seems to be never get that fans aren’t going to buy into him as long as he keeps lamenting his lack of a push while constantly losing. It’s a losing proposition.)
-Backstage Lana was on her cell phone. Then she told Tamina that the ravishing journey begins next week. Tamina asked what happens this week. She said they are going to close their eyes and remember why they are on this journey. She told Tamina to remember the feeling of being in a locker room with people but feeling all alone because you don’t fit in and are different. She told Tamina to take those feelings of being ignored and laughed at and let it fester inside until the anger boils over. She told her to open her eyes. She said she can see the rage, so now she is ready. She said one by one they will crush the competition as the ravishing reign of terror begins. “We will not stop until you become champion,” she said.
-Backstage Styles was headed down the hallway when Corbin in a referee shirt approached him. Styles said when he wins tonight, there will be an open challenge every week, so if he wants a shot at the U.S. Title, answer the challenge. Corbin said, “See ya’ out there champ.”
-Corbin made his way to the ring to his entrance music. JBL said you cannot trust Corbin. [c]
(5) A.J. STYLES vs. KEVIN OWENS – U.S. Title match
Owens bailed out at ringside as soon as the bell rang. Corbin forced Styles to back away. Owens took a cheap shot at Styles and took over. Styles came back with a dropkick and regrouped at ringside. JBL said there’s no reason for Corbin not to call this down the middle. Styles slingshot himself onto Owens at ringside with a forearm. [c]
Styles went for a kick at ringside, but Owens ducked and then swept Styles’s leg and then overhead tossed him hard into the barricade. Phillips said Corbin has been calling it down the middle. Owens scored a two count in the ring. Owens settled into a long chinlock. Styles made a comeback and landed a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for a two count. Styles discussed the pace of the count with Corbin. Styles next went for the Calf Crusher. He sunk it in and leaned back. Owens teased tapping out. When he got near the rope, Styles rolled him back to the center. Corbin made Styles break, claiming that Owens touched the bottom rope and that forced a break. Styles said he has to hold the rope, not touch it. Corbin pointed at the WWE logo on his shirt and told him to deal with it because he’s the ref. Owens shoved Styles into Corbin. Styles turned and went after Owens. Corbin grabbed Styles and yelled at him. Owens schoolboy Styles and Corbin counted quickly. Styles kicked out. Owens went for it again. Styles kicked out again, but it was another fast count. Styles and Owens hit each other with clotheslines in mid-air. Corbin looked down at them. Shane McMahon ran to the ring to scold Corbin. Corbin said he’s doing his job. Shane said he’s doing a terrible job. Owens gave Styles a low-blow as Corbin and Shane yelled at each other. Owens then covered Styles. As Corbin counted, Shane yanked him out of the ring. Corbin told him not to touch him. Shane said he’s done. Corbin yanked off his ref shirt and gave it to Shane. Owens yelled at Corbin to come back. Shane put the ref shirt on. Fans cheered. Owens was beside himself. Owens re-entered the ring and yelled at Shane, then went after Styles. Styles snapped Owens’ neck over the top rope, then hit a Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
WINNER: Styles to retain the U.S. Title in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was well done, and put the heat in the right places. I don’t know what’s next for Corbin, but this was a good way to redirect his energies after the loss to the nonchalant Cena at Summerslam, who has moved on to Raw. Shane stood up for what was right and foiled Owens’ plan, but Owens only has himself to blame. So it all worked out logically.)