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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
AUGUST 29, 2017
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
-Phillips announced the main event of Jinder Mahal & Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton.
-The Singh Brothers led Jinder Mahal to the ring. Jinder spoke about facing his two fiercest rivals in the main event. He said, in response to a “USA” chant, whenever he goes to an airport or hotel, he gets the same disrespect. Byron actually said: “He gets disrespected because he’s a jerk, that’s why!” (More of THAT from the announcers. Bravo.) He said he should be “revered as their WWE Champion.” He said the fans are jingoistic naysayers who laugh ever since he Shinsuke made him look like a fool. He said somebody must pay a price. One of the Singh Brothers spoke up and said they let him down last week. He apologized to everyone in Asia and the 1.3 billion people in India. He began to sob cartooonishly and in an over-the-top way (I hope on purpose or this is awful acting). He went on about how sorry he was to Jinder personally. The other brother said last week they embarrassed him through their ignorance and lack of skill, but vowed to never let Nakamura touch him again. He said they don’t deserve him, so in front of the great nation of India, on behalf of the great nation of India, they’d like to publicly kiss his “royal feet.” JBL called it an act of “great patriotism and devotion and loyalty.” He said great leaders inspire devotion like this. As the kiss was about to commence, Shinsuke’s music played.
Shinsuke danced his way onto the stage with strobe lights. When he entered the ring, he easily swatted away the Singh Brothers. They took slapstick cartoonish bumps that diminished the moment. Then he got in Jinder’s face and had a stare down. Jinder wound up to punch him, but Nakamura blocked it. He was eventually overwhelmed by the three-on-one odds. Orton ran out to the make the save, his entrance music telegraphing his arrival. When he arrived, Rusev showed up too and kicked Orton in the chin. Rusev kicked Orton out of the ring, then Jinder stomped Nakamura and gave him his Khallas.
(Keller’s Analysis: Paint by numbers set-up for a TV main event, which isn’t bad. Mostly I was impressed and happy to hear Saxton point out that WWE fans don’t dislike Jinder for the reasons he claims, but rather because he’s a jerk. That needs to be said every time Jinder claims those in the crowd booing him are doing so because he looks and sounds different than they do.)
-The announcers hyped A.J. Styles’ U.S. Title Open Challenge and the return of Shelton Benjamin for the first time in seven years, teaming with Chad Gable next. They showed Shelton and Gable heading to the entrance stage. [c]
-Phillips announced that Orton vs. Nakamura takes place next week on Smackdown with the winner receiving a future World Title shot.
(1) THE ASCENSION vs. CHAD GABLE & SHELTON BENJAMIN
JBL talked up the resumes of Benjamin and Gable. He talked up the shape Shelton is in, too. Gable charged into the ropes, but Konnor pulled the top rope down and he spilled to the floor at 2:00. They cut to a commercial, but kept a split screen view of the action. [c]
Viktor rammed Gable into the edge of the ring apron and then threw him back into the ring. They still settle into rest holds mid-ring during commercials even when they’re showing the action on split screen. So strange. Konnor scored a two count after the break, then tagged in Viktor. Shelton got a nice pop when he got the hot tag in. Phillips said, “Here comes the gold standard.” He rallied, but turned his back to celebrate and Viktor took over briefly. Shelton kicked him in the head and then climbed to the top rope with a flying clothesline. Konnor broke up the cover. Shelton delivered a leaping face plant on Viktor for the win.
WINNERS: Gable & Benjamin in 7:00.
-The announcers hyped New Day vs. The Usos, winner picks stipulations for the Smackdown Tag Team Title rematch, plus the Styles U.S. Title Open Challenge.
-They showed Baron Corbin backstage. Renee Young walked up to him and said it’s been two weeks since he squandered his Money in the Bank opportunity. He took issue with the term “squandered.” He said Cena distracted him in his moment to become WWE Champion. He said the problem is John Cena hid from him by going to Raw, preventing his opportunity to right a wrong. He said that’s fine, that’s life, but he’s tired of people asking him where his briefcase is. He said he doesn’t live in the past like the fans do. He said he is going to cash in on the U.S. Title Open Challenge.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good promo from Corbin.) [c]
-Styles came out to his entrance theme. The fans chanted “A.J. Styles” when he arrived in the ring. He said last week Kevin Owens lost out on the opportunity to challenge for the U.S. Title for as long as he holds it. He said tonight on Smackdown Live, the house that A.J. Styles built, they can reopen the U.S. Title Open Challenge to the rest of the Smackdown Live roster, starting now. Tye Dillinger’s music played and he walked out onto the stage. “First come, first served,” said Bryon. Obviously, people were expecting Corbin. Corbin ran out and spun Tye around in the aisle and asked what he’s doing. They shoved each other. Tye shoved Corbin hard off the ramp. Corbin jumped him from behind and then climbed onto the ring apron. When Corbin climbed onto the ring apron, Tye knocked Corbin off of it and then called for the bell.
(2) A.J. STYLES vs. TYE DILLINGER – U.S. Title match
Tye went after Styles aggressively at the start. Styles came back with a Calf Crusher less than two minutes into the match for the tapout win.
WINNER: Styles in 2:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
-Corbin yanked Tye out of the ring and threw him hard into the barricade. He entered the ring. Styles hit him with a forearm. Corbin threw a fit at ringside and kicked the steps. “A.J. Styles!” chants rang out from the crowd.
-Backstage they were showing Rusev tying his boots. Suddenly, conveniently, in walked Jinder Mahal. He said it’ll be a great night for their great nations together – Bulgaria and India – standing side-by-side as they crush Nakamura and Orton. Rusev said tonight’s match isn’t about all of that, it’s about revenge. Rusev told Jinder he’s not his friend. He said he came to Smackdown Live to be a WWE Champion and after tonight’s win, he’s coming after his title. Jinder snarled as Rusev walked away.
-Saxton hyped “Glorious” Bobby Roode up next. [c]
(3) MIKE KANELLIS (w/Maria Kanellis) vs. “GLORIOUS” BOBBY ROODE
Mike and Maria were smooching on the ring apron after the break. Then Roode made his full ring entrance. JBL said Roode likes designer suits and is a great athlete, then declared, “I like him!” Roode taunted and frustrated Kanellis early. Kanellis took control with an unclean break out of the corner. Roode fired with back with some punches and clotheslines, then a blockbuster. He got caught with an elbow when he charged Kanellis, but Roode fired right back with a spinebuster. Roode then finished him with a Glorious DDT. Roode strutted and celebrated.
WINNER: Roode in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Pretty uneventful, but that’s good for this stage of Roode’s push. Just establish his moves and his personality.)
-They plugged the main event tag match, then showed Kevin Owens backstage and said he was headed to the ring. [c]
-Aiden English was in the ring after the break with a spotlight on him. He began to sing when Owens’ music interrupted. English looked exasperated. Owens arrived at the ring and said the “unrefined Arkansas hillbillies” aren’t able to appreciate his talent. He asked him to vacate the ring so he can get to important business. He said he wouldn’t ask twice. English said a few words and then left the ring. Owens said he was promised a chance by Shane McMahon to pick his own referee for the rematch for the U.S. Title against Styles. He said, “You know who I didn’t pick? Shane McMahon.” He pointed at the big screen which showed Shane replacing Baron Corbin as special referee last week. He said Corbin was just doing his job and then Shane put his hands on him. He said Shane counting three shouldn’t have counted. He said one year ago today he was crowned the Universal Champion, “the greatest moment in WWE history.” He said he stands there without a championship belt because of Shane screwing him out of it “not once, but twice.” He said Smackdown isn’t the land of opportunity, it’s that egomaniac Shane’s playground.
Shane danced onto the stage to his theme song. He bowed to the fans. Owens said he’s out right on cue, about to take the spotlight away from the real talent and make it all about himself. The fans chanted “Shane-o-Mac.” He asked, “What’s up, Little Rock!?” Shane then said he apparently needs an explanation for what happened last week. He said Owens picked Corbin to be his referee, but Corbin was extreme biased toward him during the match, which brought him down. He said Corbin took off his referee shirt and threw it at him and left. He said a match of that magnitude needed a referee, and he counted Owens’ shoulders to the ground 1-2-3. He said he lost to Styles. Owens yelled that Shane screwed him again. Shane said fans are tired of hearing him complain, so he asked him to please leave the ring. He told English he has a match now against Sami Zayn.
(4) SAMI ZAYN vs. AIDEN ENGLISH
Owens joined the announcers on commentary. It took him all of four seconds to tell Byron to shut up. English went after Sami aggressively at the start. Sami made a comeback and landed a flip dive not onto English at ringside. Back in the ring, he made the cover and scored a two count. Owens complained about the referee and said he’s sick of people not doing their jobs right, so he’s going to show how things work. Owens entered the ring and took off the referee shirt and put it on. Sami asked what was going on. English jumped Sami from behind. Owens gave Sami a Pop-up Powerbomb. English covered him and Owens counted a fast three. The bell ringer rang the bell. Owens raised English’s arm. Owens took off the ref shirt and threw it back to the original ref at ringside.
WINNER: Apparently English.
-JBL plugged Orton vs. Nakamura for a future WWE Title match next week on Smackdown. Phillips plugged Usos vs. New Day.
-A commercial aired for the Miz vs. Jeff Hardy match for the IC Title next week on Raw. [c]
-After a replay of the finish of the prior match, Renee asked Shane about what just happened. Shane said that decision does not stand. He said he’s not happy with Owens. He said Owens just left the parking lot. He said he’ll be doing that in just a second himself.
(Keller’s Analysis: Wait, the G.M. is leaving before the show? First, that makes the main event seen less meaningful. But most of all, talk about telegraphing a parking lot angle!)
-Dasha Fuentes interviewed Dolph Ziggler. She asked what he’s going to reveal about himself tonight. Ziggler said they’re in Little Rock, and they get nothing. He said what he’s going to do is going to take longer. She asked what motivated the change. Ziggler said he has nothing to show for being the best sports entertainer for years. He said he gives and gives and gets nothing in return. He said he’s taken for granted and is an afterthought. He said he’s a star. He said “they” get distracted by fancy sequins and hand waves in front of his face and a guy playing guitar. He asked if that’s what he has to do to get noticed. He said he could hop on a dumb four wheeler like Stone Cold would and open cans of beer and act like he’s drinking them while they pour all over his face. He said maybe he could douse himself in paint like Finn Balor “so you can hopefully forget that I’m a charisma vacuum.” He said maybe he could have a lovely lady escort him to the ring. Or he can be a super hero. He said all of his years of dedication and sacrifice have meant nothing, so if you want all flash and no substance, he’s going to deliver it next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is this like Emma? He’s going to promise every week, but delay it until his contract runs out?)
-The Usos full ring entrance aired. The New Day danced out. Xavier was with them, but his right knee was in a brace. He held a sign that said, “It’s sore.”
(5) THE USOS vs. THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E.) – Winner Picks Stipulation for Tag Team Title rematch
They cut to an immediate commercial, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]
The match began on split screen. Big E put Jimmy in an abdominal stretch, then spanked him. Big E launched Kofi onto the Usos as they tried to regroup at ringside. Xavier played the trombone and then Kofi danced. When Big E went for a running splash on the edge of the ring apron, Jimmy moved. Jey then hit Big E at ringside with a running dropkick. Then Jey shoved Big E back-first into the edge of the ring apron before throwing him back into the ring. Big E kicked out of a subsequent pin attempt. The commercial ended at this point, with Jey in control of Big E. Then Big E caught a charging Jey with a one-armed slam. Both wrestlers tagged out. Kofi rallied against Jimmy, including a Boom Drop. Kofi hit a crossbody on Jimmy. Chaos broke out with all four. Kofi leaped onto Jey’s back and applied a modified dragon sleeper. More chaos including a blind tag, and then Jimmy rolled up Kofi and yanked on his tights for a three count. Saxton said this doesn’t bode well for New Day’s tag title rematch. JBL wondered what the stipulation will be. He suggested No Holds Barred, Street Fight, who knows!
WINNERS: The Usos in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Are the a limited number of stips that the Usos can choose? Why not choose a more lop-sided stip, like New Day have to score a four count to win, or New Day have to be blindfolded?)
-Dasha interviewed James Ellsworth, but he waved her off and he interviewed Carmella instead. She told Ellsworth he opened his big mouth last week and if not for him she’d probably be champion. He said he is sorry for screwing up, but did she get his flowers. In walked Natalya, who asked Carmella why she can’t keep her pet on a leash. She told Carmella she should be glad James “stooged her off.” She said if she ever faces her with the MITB cash-in, “I’m going to make you the Baron Corbin of the Women’s Division.” She said she’ll make her pay net week. Ellsworth said that’s a big mistake. Carmella told her to keep the title shiny for her. Naomi told Natalya that she has Carmella next week, but in two weeks they’re going to have their rematch for the title on Smackdown. “Meow, meow!” she said.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ellsworth might be the worst actor in WWE history, but fortunately his cardboard reading of his memorized lines almost fits his personality.)
-Up next: Fashion Files. [c]
(6) TAMINA vs. UNNAMED WOMAN
Lana stood mid-ring after the break and introduced Tamina. Saxton called it “one of the most compelling relationships he’s ever seen.” Lana yelled encouragement to Tamina to be aggressive, and she won in a minute with a superkick. Saxton said he wasn’t sure if Lana and Tamina even like each other. Tamina threw the opponent out of the ring and then Lana raised her arm. Then two photographers came into the ring and took pictures of Tamina.
WINNER: Tamina in 1:00.
-The announcers welcomed viewers in Africa watching on Supersport World of Champions. Saxton said the channel is available over 50 territories in Africa. Saxton said he was a little sad two weeks ago when it seemed Fandango and Tyler Breeze were handing in their water guns and badges, but it’s now time for season two of Fashion Files.
-FASHION FILES: A new opening aired with cheese 1980s style shots of them doing various activities. They showed Chuck Norris and said, “Still Not Starring Chuck Norris.” Then they went to the bulletin board again which included “Two B” on a sheet of paper, pictures of Bob Backlund, Buff Bagwell, Bobby Heenan, among others. Breeze showed off red headphones that he said were actually a high-tech long distance listening device. And then a black light flashlight that lets you see hidden clues. Breeze then showed off a leather belt, which he said is just used to hold your pants up. Breeze then showed off friendship bracelets to make friendship stronger. Fandango put one on. Then they turned off the lights and showed off arrows written in ink only blacklight could see on boxes marked “Fashion Vice” and “Fashion X-Files.” Fandango turned a box to point at “Two B” which also said “or not to be.” Breeze decided the clues pointed to Shakespeare, Poetry, Artist, but they disagreed on what it meant. Somehow that took them to “Aiden English.” They agreed crime never takes a vacation. The segment ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is there someone who can send me a decoding of their segments? I enjoy these, but I know there are a lot of references going right over my head.) [c]
-A commercial aired hyping Enzo on “205 Live” next.
(7) RANDY ORTON & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. JINDER MAHAL & RUSEV
They came back for the end of Nakamura’s ring entrance, and then Orton’s full ring entrance. Orton stared down Rusev and Mahal. They brawled before the bell. Orton threw Rusev into the barricade at ringside. Nakamura threw Jinder into the time keeper’s area. They cut to a break right away. [c]
Nakamura made a comeback after the break, with the match in progress, and tried to hot-tag Orton. Jinder stopped him. Nakamura eventually did hot-tag in Orton, who went to work on Jinder. The Singh Brother distracted the ref, and then Rusev threw Orton into the ringpost. Rusev stomped away at Orton at ringside when the ref turned around. Saxton said Jinder built a statue of himself to display in his own home. JBL felt this was entirely reasonable. Orton side-stepped Mahal and threw him shoulder-first into the ringpost to give himself an opening to crawl over and tag Nakamura. Jinder also tagged in Rusev. Nakamura rallied with a running kick and then a series of round kicks to the chest. Rusev caught his leg eventually, but Nakamura broke free with an enzuigiri. Nakamura went for a reverse exploder suplex, butRusev blocked it. Nakamura then applied the cross arm breaker. Jinder broke it up with a stomp. Orton went after him and gave him a DDT off the middle rope. Nakamura then hit Rusev with a flying kick off the second rope followed by his kinshasa for the twin.
WINNER: Nakamura & Orton in 10:00.
-Afterward, Nakamura and Orton celebrated together, but there was tension because they face each next week. Orton stared at Nakamura and had a few words for him. Nakamura talked back. They shared a smile and a laugh, but then out of nowhere Orton hit an RKO. Never trust a rattlensnake. “Vintage Randy Orton,” said JBL. “It only takes one.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Good quick little angle to add some juice to next week’s main event.)