KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 12, 2017
LAS VEGAS, NEV. AT THOMAS & MACK CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-A video package aired on last week’s Kevin Owens-Shane McMahon segment that led to Vince McMahon saying he was coming to Smackdown this week to address the situation. They did include Owens saying Shane’s entire family would be better off had he died in the helicopter crash. Despite the death of Troy Gentry, they didn’t think it might be better to exclude that and focus on other offensive insults? It closed with the narrator saying “The Chairman” would be on the show tonight.
-Phillips introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. This week they were very proud about emanating from Las Vegas, Nev., or “Sin City” as they repeatedly have called it.
-Owens made his full ring entrance. Phillips said Owens’ lawsuit threats could change the landscape of Smackdown Live. Saxton said Owens has been “poking the system, but tonight the system could poke back.” There’s a Ted Cruz joke in there somewhere. Maybe not. Owens welcomed everyone to the Kevin Owens Show. He told the audience they ought to get used to that. He said Shane was guilty of a cowardly attack. Owens said he never fought back because he respects authority. He said he is now suing “everyone in WWE.” That hardly seems fair. “Every board member, every McMahon, anybody who is anybody until Smackdown Live is no more,” he said. He said every Tuesday night will become “Kevin Owens Present the Kevin Owens Show Starring Kevin Owens.” He said he’s going to start firing people, starting with Sami Zayn. Then he looked down at Phillips and Saxton. He said from now on they’ll have to wear the same suit – not two suits that look the same, but “two guys, one suit.” He said they sound alike on TV so they might as well become the same person too. He said “The Fashion Files” are cancelled forever. Boos. “I don’t get it, so they’re done.”
He called Vince McMahon to the ring because he was the one person he needed to speak to. After a pause, Shane’s music played. Owens threw a fit and screamed “No!” Instead, though, Dolph Ziggler came out imitating Shane’s mannerisms. I’m so conflicted at the moment. Owens said for a second he thought he was actually Shane, but he’s actually a talented person who works there, so that rules out Shane. Ziggler said he’s trying out a new entrance, but he’ll put it in the “maybe” pile. Owens said no one else is using it, so why not. Ziggler left.
Owens began to explain more about the Kevin Owens Show, but he was interrupted by Daniel Bryan’s music. Bryan led the crowd in “Yes!” chants. Bryan entered the ring. He told Owens that he doesn’t run the show. He said Owens’ fun and games are going to end soon. Owens said Bryan looks happy, and he’d like to keep him happy. He said when he takes over the show, he’s still going to employ Bryan – as the Smackdown janitor. Bryan said he’s not afraid of a little hard work and manual labor. He looked at Owen’s mid-section and said, “You should probably try it.” Bryan said Mr. McMahon will be there very soon and he isn’t going to like what he has to say. Owens said he cannot wait. He said McMahon won’t like what he has to say. He dropped the mic and walked away.
-The announcers hyped the line-up including three title matches: New Day challenging The Usos in a Sin City Street Fight for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles, Naomi challenging Natalya for the Smackdown Live Women’s Title, and Tye Dillinger challenging A.J. Styles for the U.S. Title. [c]
-The announcers sent best wishes to those who were affected by the hurricanes over the last week. Graves said his parents were in the path of Hurricane Irma. He said this is a chance to rebuild not just properties, but communities.
-The announcers commented on highlights of the incident last week when Baron Corbin and Dillinger fought for the opportunity to face Styles.
(1) A.J. STYLES vs. TYE DILLINGER – U.S. Title match
Styles came out first for some reason. Then Tye. Graves said he’s known Dillinger for a long time and nobody works harder than him. I can’t say hard work made his pre-match finger-flicking “10” dance any less embarrassing looking, unfortunately. Same for the 1999 hot pink trim. They locked up at the bell and then went into a rapid-fire sequence. Tye shoved Styles into the ringpost during a battle on the ring apron. They cut to a very early break. [c]
They stuck with the action on split screen. Tye controlled Styles during the break including a chinlock. Back from the break, Styles powerbombed Tye out of the corner when Tye had mounted him and began punching him. Tye ducked a Pelé kick and kicked Styles. Both went down; both were slow to get up. Styles got up and set up a Phenomenal Forearm. Corbin ran out. Styles redirected himself toward Corbin and knocked him off the ring apron. Tye schoolboyed Styles from behind for a soft two count. Tye went for the Tye Breaker, but Styles escaped. Tye went for it again seconds later and hit it and scored a near fall. Tye regrouped and showed frustration. Graves said Tye has to keep his foot on the gas pedal because Styles is down. When Tye finally moved in, Styles put him in the Calf Crusher for the tapout win.
WINNER: Styles in 7:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Decent match. Predictable interference from Corbin playing into it. This seems to be building toward Tye turning heel out of frustration with not being good enough to win when he plays by the rules. It was a little heelish for him to roll up Styles when Styles was going after Corbin for him.)
-Styles and Tye shook hands. Tye limped out of the ring. On the other side of the ring, Corbin yanked Styles to the floor and clotheslined him. Tye ran at Corbin to make the save, but Corbin dropped him, too. Corbin gave Styles the End of Days on the floor. Corbin said next week he’s Styles’s opponent in his ongoing U.S. Title Open Challenge.
-A robot woman recited an introduction for Rusev’s interview. Rusev walked into the picture and she asked about his trip back to Bulgaria. She asked what it was like to return home. He said after Randy Orton beat him in ten seconds, he needed to recharge back home with family. He said they didn’t greet him with open arms. He said they looked at him with shame and embarrassment. He said they expected him to return home as a winner, but instead he returned as a loser. “But Rusev is not a loser,” he said. He added that he knows what it will take to get his killer instinct back. “I must break a legend!” he declared.
-They showed scenes from Las Vegas briefly, then hyped the tag title match.
-They showed Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers backstage heading toward the entrance stage. [c]
-The Singh Brothers introduced Jinder Mahal. Jinder walked onto the stage. He said the next challenge for his WWE Championship is “The Artist” Shinsuke Nakamura, then smiled condescendingly. He said he has a wealth of experience and charisma unlike anything seen in WWE. He said his preparation isn’t just physical, it’s also mental. He said he gets inside of Shinsuke’s head. They showed a picture of Shinsuke making a weird face on the big screen. Jinder and the Singh Brothers laughed uproariously. A loud “Nakamura!” chant broke out. He said some see inspiration and motivation, but what he see is constipation. The Singh Brothers literally dropped onto the rug and rolled around laughing. He said Shinsuke forgot the most important phrase in the English language: “Where is the bathroom?” Then they showed another picture of Nakamura. “This is Shinsuke Nakamura listening to Michael Jackson thinking, ‘What can I rip off next?'” The Singh Brothers continued to be Nakamura’s biggest fans. A third picture showed another Nakamura face. He said that’s what Nakamura does when someone yells out “Godzilla!” Singh asked fans if they are laughing at what he is saying. He said this is the American way. He said whatever he just said they have already thought. He said Nakamura shouldn’t want to win the WWE Title because the fans will treat him poorly, like chanting “USA” when he tries to speak. He said they will say you don’t speak correctly and your eyes and hair and skin are different. He said Shinsuke should walk away because it won’t be worth the suffering he’ll feel when he faces the Modern Day Maharaja. He spoke in Punjabi. Graves said he is usually a fan of Mahal, but that was a little too much. Saxton said he might have ignited a fire in Nakamura.
(Keller’s Analysis: Mahal showed more obnoxiousness and more range on that promo than any prior. His delivery was strong, and the Singh Brothers’ reaction was over the top in a way heels like them should aim for. The idea was his jokes were meant to be terrible, but the Singh Brothers found them hilarious. Then his denial that fans dislike him not because of his appearance or home country or culture, but because of his personality and arrogance is the right approach to take. I think fans are used to heels being genuinely entertaining this could be seen as a bad segment, but I don’t think it overstayed its welcome and it set up a desire to see Nakamura confront him and set him straight.)
-Backstage Owens told someone that he wants a private jet for his wife and kids to come to every show, a limo for himself and his buddy Jimmy, a new opening for Smackdown, and a new entrance video for himself. He then saw someone and walked over to them. It was Sami. Owens said he’s having a great night. Owens shared a memory of him and Sami driving in a blizzard after wrestling in an armory in front of 42 people. He said they promised each other they’d do everything in their power to get to WWE so they never had to do that again. Owens said he’s about to own the biggest company in Sports Entertainment in the world, and Sami is about to be out of a job. He said he’s a nice guy, but when things get tough and the armories start calling again, he’s giving him permission to break that promise. Sami said he’d rather go back to wrestling in armories than ever work for him. He walked away. Saxton said he hopes that prospect doesn’t become a reality.
-They hyped the tag title match again. [c]
(2) THE USOS vs. THE NEW DAY (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods) – Smackdown Tag Team Title match with Street Fight rules
Before the match, highlights aired of their Kickoff Match at Summerslam. New Day knocked the Usos out of the ring in the opening seconds and then went for tables under the ring. Phillips said anything goes, but the only way to win is inside the ring. Saxton said you don’t have to tag in and out. As they set up the table, the Usos recovered and attacked New Day. They threw Big E into the ringpost. They cut to a break. [c]
Back live, the Usos were still in control. They showed that during the break the Usos threw Big E shoulder-first into the ringside stairs, then hit him with a chair in the back. Big E avoided a charge and then went to slam Jey into Jimmy, but the Usos superkicked the chair into Big E’s face for a near fall.
Graves wondered where Kofi was. He popped up from next to their desk and tried to fight but, but was beat down quickly. Jimmy tossed Jey a kendo stick and he bashed Big E across the back with it. Kofi re-entered the ring and took it to the Usos with a flurry of moves. He picked up the kendo stick and bashed the Usos with it until it fell apart. Kofi backdropped Jey over the top rope and he took a Big Cass style landing at ringside. Then he threw the chair at Jimmy and dropkicked the chair into him off the second rope. That led to a near fall. Jimmy rolled to the floor. Kofi threw a chair at Jimmy on the floor, then climbed to the top rope. He leaped off, but both Usos caught him and awkwardly threw him into the barricade. It seemed someone thought he was going over the barricade and someone thought he wasn’t. Big E ran over and took it to the Usos aggressively. He threw Jey over the announce table and looked around angrily and fired up. Back in the ring, he gave Jimmy the urinage. He then gave Jey a belly-t0-belly. Then he gave his running splash to both of them. Big E clotheslined Jey over the top rope, but Jimmy then schoolboyed him for a near fall with his feet on the middle rope for extra leverage. Big E caught him with a Big Ending seconds later for a near fall. Jey broke up the pin, although Jimmy didn’t raise his shoulders so the ref could have easily just kept counting since it wasn’t illegal for Jey to interfere and hit Big E on his back. The Usos came back with a double superkick on Big E. The Usos went for a double splash out of opposite corners on Big E, but Kofi knocked Jey off of the top rope and through the table at ringside. Jimmy looked down at his brother. Kofi kicked Jimmy, and then New Day delivered the Midnight Hour for the win.
WINNERS: New Day to capture the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Exciting match, with enough use of tables and chairs and kendo sticks to live up to the street fight stips.)
-A producer talked with Bryan backstage, apparently about the pending arrival of Vince McMahon.
-Graves plugged Natalya vs. Naomi. [c]
-They showed the Red Carpet style event before the Mae Young Finals including Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Dana Warrior, Bayley, Becky Lynch, and Ronda Rousey posing for pictures. They hyped the Mae Young Classic. They showed Ianna Sarkis in the crowd. Then Ronda Rousey who smiled and waved to the fans. Graves called her the baddest woman on Earth.
(3) NATALYA vs. NAOMI – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
They did formal ring introductions, but neither woman’s entrance aired on TV. Carmella and James Ellsworth joined the announcers on commentary. Carmella had Ellsworth on a leash, but when Phillips asked about it, she told him to mind his own business. Someone on the creative team is perhaps listening to the “Deliberations” podcast series. Naomi hit her rapid fire rotating leg roundhouse kicks. Rousey’s thought bubble would have been fun to read there. Natalya came back and dropped her face-first over the top turnbuckle. They cut to a break around two minutes in, but stayed with the match on split screen. [c]
Natalya dominated during the break, but got cocky and Naomi schoolgirled her. Natalya regained control and settled into a chinlock mid-ring. Back live, Naomi promptly began fighting out of the chinlock. They both cross-bodied each other mid-ring and were slow to get up. Natalya avoided a split-legged moonsault by Naomi. When Natalya went for a sharpshooter, Naomi kicked out of it. Carmella and Ellsworth confronted Natalya. Naomi dove at them, but Natalya ducked and Naomi landed on Carmela and Ellsworth. Natalya then threw Naomi into the ringpost. Natalya threw Naomi back into the ring and applied the sharpshooter mid-ring. Naomi tapped out. Afterward they showed Natalya clutching her title belt as Naomi absorbed the reality of the loss (without crying!).
WINNER: Natalya to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title.
-Backstage Owens walked up to Aiden English. He said he enjoys his voice and encouraged him to sing his new entrance song. English sang “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the Kevin Owens Show.” Fans applauded. Owens smiled and nodded.
-They showed a picture of Vince McMahon and said he’s headed to Smackdown Live. [c]
-They showed scenes of the Las Vegas strip and hyped Vince McMahon’s forthcoming appearance again.
-Ziggler walked out onto the stage. He said last week he tried to show everyone that the so-called elaborate entrances are nothing, done by wanna-be supposed Superstars who couldn’t lace his boots. He said he shouldn’t need elaborate entrances so fans see him as a star, but fans associate those two things together. He said “fine” and threw the mic in the air and walked backstage. Then after a few seconds of silence, Bayley’s music played and he walked out imitating her and dressed like her. The blow up things popped up. Ziggler punched one of them and threw his shirt on another. He asked if that was superficial enough for them. “Am I star yet? Are we having fun? Is this it?” he asked sarcastically. He said the sad reality is the bell eventually rings and the performer has to be able to compete. He said the biggest waste of them all is a Superstar who couldn’t hold a candle to his ability, yet every fan idolized him. He threw down the mic and returned to the back again. Then Ultimate Warrior’s music played. Ziggler ran to the ring and imitated Warrior’s entrance. He ran the ropes and shook the ropes. Saxton said it’s ridiculous. Graves said you have to be ridiculous to make your point. Ziggler then asked if this is what it’s come to. “This is what you think makes a star!” he yelled. He said anyone can do what he just did. “Anyone!” he yelled. YELLED! “But no one can do what I do in the ring,” he said. What, lose almost always? Or just look really flashy when losing? He said the fans couldn’t care less, but he couldn’t care less about them, either. He threw down the mic and left to largely silence and some scattered boos.
(Keller’s Analysis: They should just do this every week until there are no WWE fans left. So, for another three or four weeks.)
-They showed Bryan on his cell phone backstage pacing.
-WWE Fact: WWE is the no. 2 YouTube channel in history with almost 17 billion views, beating the NFL, NBA, and some celebrities. [c]
(4) SHELTON BENJAMIN & CHAD GABLE vs. THE HYPE BROS.
They aired the tail end of the Hype Bros. entrance. And then the full entrance for Gable & Benjamin. They came out to new entrance music. Mojo began the match. He tagged in Ryder, who within a minute was pinned after a top rope clothesline by Gable into a powerbomb by Benjamin.
WINNERS: Gable & Benjamin in 2:00.
-After the match, Mojo shook hands with Shelton and Gable. Mojo encouraged Zack to do it, too, but he was dismayed and just left instead.
-They showed Bryan chatting with Vince McMahon backstage. He then began his swagger toward the entrance stage. [c]
-Owens entered the ring. Phillips said this could be Smackdown’s last night as it could become The Kevin Owens Show. After a dramatic pause as Owens paced, McMahon’s music played. Owens said this is a first, getting to stand in the ring with the Chairman and CEO of WWE. “Now I get to feel what every Superstars has felt – and that’s you’re intimidated.” McMahon said he feels nauseated, not intimidated. McMahon said he heard that earlier Owens claimed that he didn’t fight back because he respected authority. Vince said he didn’t fight back because Shane McMahon was beating your ass. Vince asked how Owens has any self-respect at all when he looks in the mirror. He said Owens is now threatening to sue everyone because he believes he has the upper hand and wants the power. Vince said the moment Owens files the lawsuit, he’s going to be on the phone to his attorney and he hopes Owens is there to hear, “Kevin Owens, you’re fired!” The crowd chanted “Yes! Yes!” McMahon dared him to file a lawsuit. He said he’s been involved in a lot of lawsuits and courtroom battles. He said he hasn’t lost one. “For better or for worse, the laws of this land are written for people for me.” He said there is a B associated with his name and it stands for Billionaire. He said by the time the lawsuit gets to court, there will be a B next to Owens’ name – and it’ll stand for Bankrupt. He dared Owens to file his little lawsuit.
Owens said his son put his hands on him. Vince said he knows, and he suspended him. He said he suspended him not because he put his hands on Owen, but because he didn’t finish the job. Vince said Owens got what he’d deserved after he made disparaging words against him and his family. Vince said he’s reinstating Shane for a match against him inside Hell in a Cell. Mild pop. Owens said, “Fine.” He asked Vince to promise that he’s not going to get fired after he beats his son senseless. “I need you to give me your word that if provoked, I can beat a McMahon senseless,” Owens said. Vince gave him his word and shook his hand. McMahon said a few things off mic that hit a wide range of emotions. Owens then headbutted McMahon. McMahon bled hard-way from the forehead. Blood began to stream from his forehead as McMahon tried to stand up. Vince stood and took a swing at Owens, but Owens blocked it and punched him. Vince went down again. A ref entered the ring and asked Owens if he’s crazy. “Get out of here!” he yelled. Owens wound up and kicked Vince in the ribs. Graves said Owens has lost his mind. Saxton said Owens has become a different human being. Two other referees entered the ring. Owens gave Vince a superkick. Owens threw one ref down, then climbed to the top rope. Producer Adam Pearce ran out and ordered Owens off the top rope. Owens leaped. Pearce got out of the way and let McMahon absorb the impact. The fans chanted ‘”Holy shit!”
Stephanie walked out and had a few words for Owens before going to the ring to help her dad walk to the back. He turned down a gurney. Vince dropped to his knees and gasped, “My ribs.”
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a big angle. It’s not often these days Vince takes a beating and draws blood to get over a match.)
(Wade Keller, the founder of PWTorch, has covered Raw since the very first episode. He has covered the pro wrestling industry full time since 1987 via the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter and eventually PWTorch.com and now the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on PodcastOne four day a week. Search “Wade Keller” in iTunes (click here) or wherever you listen to podcasts to subscribe FREE.)