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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-A four minute video package aired on the Vince McMahon-Kevin Owens segment last week and some highlights of his promo with Shane McMahon the week before. The headbutt of Vince was replayed in slo-mo from a couple angles, and it looked stiff and skull-shaking.
-Shane McMahon came out looking very serious. No dancing, just a little fist-to-the-heart deal he does. Phillips plugged Hell in a Cell. Graves said McMahon was diagnosed with three fractured ribs. Shane’s music stopped when he entered the ring and he looked around (at all the empty seats in the darkened arena lower bowl). Shane said what Owens did was a cowardly act. He said his dad is “one tough salty SOB.” He said he and his father have had their differences, but at the end of the day, he’s still his father and he loves him. He asked Owens to imagine sitting at home with his kids watching on TV his father beat down by a coward. He said his kids watched his grandfather take a beating. He said if you cross a line going after a McMahon, his family will strike out with massive vengeance. He said because Owens beat down the patriarch of his family, he condemns him to a beating at his hands in the Hell in a Cell. He dropped the mic and walked out, keeping the serious look.
(Keller’s Analysis: I think that was fine. Maybe a bit understated, though. I think Shane’s reaction was more along the lines of Owens saying really really mean things about Vince. Going so far as to beat him down like he did, I’d like to have seen Shane bring emotions to boiling level.)
-The announcers shifted to hyping A.J. Styles vs. Baron Corbin in a U.S. Title Open Challenge. [c]
-Aiden English stood center-ring and sang about Randy Orton. “He hears voices in his head which is surprising because it’s filled with lead. He is a fool. He is a tool.” He was interrupted by Orton’s music.
(1) RANDY ORTON vs. AIDEN ENGLISH
English attacked Orton at the bell and stomped away at him in the corner. Orton made a comeback with a powerslam. When English rolled to the ring apron, Orton set up his second rope DDT. English dropped to the floor. Orton went after him and backdropped him onto the edge of the ring apron. When he tried to slam English on the announce table, English flipped out of it and then dropped Orton on the table. He returned to the ring and they cut to a break. [c]
A split screen showed English staying on Orton with grinding offense the entire break. Orton was in a chinlock as they came back to the full screen. Orton fought out of it quickly and beat up English in the corner. The ref scolded Orton for not breaking clean. English popped Orton in the eyes and then dropkicked him. Orton avoided a charge in the corner a minute later, but English caught him with a boot seconds later. When English leaped off the top rope, Orton caught him in mid-air with an RKO for the win.
WINNER: Orton in 7:00.
-Rusev walked out afterward and said going into Summerslam, he was going to be a national hero in his homeland of Bulgaria, but in ten seconds he turned him and his family into a national disgrace. He said tonight he is going to rip the fangs out of the Viper’s mouth. He marched to the ring.
(2) RANDY ORTON vs. RUSEV
The ref asked Orton if a match okay, and he said yes. Rusev entered the ring and approached Orton. Orton went for an early RKO, but English stood on the ring apron. Orton shoved him down. Rusev, though, caught Orton with a side kick to the chin and scored a pin.
WINNER: Rusev in 10 seconds.
-They went to the announcers. Phillips said Owens will be live via satellite tonight to respond to what Shane said. Saxton said he’s curious to see where his mind is at, and whether he’s remorseful or braggadocios. Graves said he expects a contrite Owens now that the consequences of his actions have sunk in. Phillips said Charlotte would be live to address the support fans have shown for her dad.
CHECK OUT MY REPORT ON SMACKDOWN TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S SMACKDOWN REPORT (9-21-2007): The season premiere features Teddy Long’s wedding with Krystal that ends in tragedy
-They showed Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers backstage. Graves said he’s “address the WWE Universe” next. [c]
-Renee Young interviewed Rusev backstage as he yelled, “I got him! I got him!” She said he looked elated. He asked, “What does that mean?” Rusev said: “Of course I’m excited! I just beat the Viper. I pulled his little teeth, and drained his little poison. I beat him! I beat him! I broke him in half! Now I return home a conquering hero! Rusev, number one!” He repeated that as he walked away.
(Keller’s Analysis: Rusev was great here. His celebration of beating Orton made that match, and really all matches, feel a touch more important. The thrill of victory is such a big and underrated ingredient in pro wrestling, and heels and babyfaces reacting to wins can make a big difference.)
-The Singh Brothers introduced Jinder. Graves said you may not agree with what Jinder says or how he carries himself, but you cannot deny he is a worthy WWE Champion.
(Keller’s Analysis: Graves is such the mouthpiece for Vince McMahon these days, transparently so, and it’s hurting Graves’s “street cred” that he had when he first arrived on the main roster. He said Jinder has been unstoppable and unbeatable since becoming WWE Champion. No countering comments from Phillips or Saxton that Jinder wouldn’t be champion ten times over if it weren’t for the Singh Brothers interfering. WWE has lost their way when it comes to getting fans worked up to see babyfaces triumph over heels. The heels need to be criticized and shamed for cheating, and not have the only voice be praising them for dominance and resilience. It’s not about “kayfabe being dead,” it’s about “basic storytelling being lost.”)
Jinder said people were in an absolute uproar over what he said last week about Nakamura, and apparently Nakamura wasn’t happy, either, “but at least his face was still full of delight.” They showed Nakamura on camera making a face, which the Singh Brothers and Jinder made fun of. Jinder then showed his “angry face.” It was the same picture. They laughed some more. He said he bets half of the people are jingoistic and believe the fine people of Japan feast on feline and dine on dolphin. “Your prejudice is all Shinsuke Nakamura has to look forward to.” He said the fans will turn on Shinsuke just like they turned on him. He pointed at Nakamura’s “artistic face” and it was the same picture again. The Singhs laughed more. He then said, “Shinsuke, you always rook the same!” The crowd booed the reference to Japanese people not pronouncing the “L” in words and using “R” instead. The “crowd” chanted Nakamura. Jinder said the crowd sings along with his entrance music and chants his name to hide their own xenophobia. He said they’re not worth it because behind his back, they’re saying he gets his haircut by a dog groomer. “They call you Mr. Miagi.” The Singh Brothers did mock karate moves. The crowd chanted “That’s too far! That’s too far!” Jinder said if that’s too far, wait until he says what he says in his language of Punjabi.
-Saxton said that went too far. Graves said he never thought he’d say this, but Saxton is right. Graves said he hopes Jinder knows what he’s getting himself into. Saxton said Jinder poured gasoline on the fire that is Shinsuke Nakamura. Then they plugged Corbin vs. Styles. [c]
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s not really entertaining. I mean, it’s cringe-inducing and hard to imagine watching in mixed company. It’s WWE at a low-brow level that hurts more than it helps.)
-Renee interviewed Nakamura backstage. He said, “Very funny, but it not so funny at the Hell in a Cell when I win the WWE Championship.”
-Clips aired of Corbin beating up Styles last week at ringside and declaring himself Styles’s opponent this week in the U.S. Title Open Challenge.
-Styles entered the ring to his music. As he was about to speak, an A.J. Styles chant broke out. He paused for a moment. He said he first wanted to say that Owens has no idea what he’s done. He said he beat up a man responsible for him being in WWE and “the WWE Universe being here tonight.” He said he was glad to hear it would be Owens vs. Shane, “and trust me when I tell you, Owens, you won’t make out.” He then shifted to talking about Corbin, whom he called “The Shortcut King.” He said he will fail when he steps in the ring with him.
(Keller’s Analysis: The arena was so empty behind the hard camera – totally tarped off – that Styles actually cut the promo sideways and the camera shot it at a different angle so Styles wasn’t talking to a hard camera and black emptiness.)
-Corbin the made his ring entrance. They did formal ring introductions for the U.S. Title match. Corbin lived up to his nickname, attacking Styles before the bell and as the ring announcer was finishing introducing Styles. He stomped away at Styles in the corner aggressively. Saxton said Corbin is desperate to become U.S. Champion. Tye Dillinger then entered the ring and clipped Corbin’s leg from behind. He clotheslined Corbin over the top rope. Then he attacked him on the floor. Corbin rolled back into the ring, but held his left ankle in pain. He tried to stand, but couldn’t. This seemed reminiscent of Big Cass, actually. Styles hit Corbin with a flying forearm and then put him in a Calf Crusher. Corbin tapped and yelled out in pain. So the match is apparently off.
-Graves plugged that Charlotte was out next. [c]
-Renee approached an enraged Corbin backstage. He yelled that he feels violated. He said he was about to win the U.S. Championship “when that Perfect Zero attacked me from behind.” He said Styles then put him in the Calf Crusher and now he’s got a sprained ankle. He said he won’t whine and bitch and moan, he plans to get even.
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-Charlotte made her ring entrance. She thanked fans for their cards and prayers while her dad was sick. She said it’s been an emotional six weeks, “literally life and death.” She laughed and said, “But my dad is making a comeback. Of course he is.” She said when she was away, she learned a valuable lesson. “Life is fragile and it’s unexpected, and that’s why you have to make moments count.” She said she is going to make every moment here on out as big as possible for her and her dad. Natalya’s music interrupted.
Natalya walked out with a hilarious smile. She said they are all so happy her dad is doing better. She said they were all worried about him, “but now it’s time to focus on something more important.” She said Charlotte can stay in the ring because this concerns her. She said it’s been women leading the charge to break down barriers and nurture future generations, and now it’s time to focus on one women who completed the journey “that, quite frankly, Amelia Earhart could not.” She then revealed a large photo of herself on an easel. Charlotte said she’s glad she interrupted her because she’s there to challenge her for the Women’s Championship. Suddenly Becky Lynch’s music played (because we can’t just have a one-on-one feud in either Women’s Division in WWE).
Becky said she and Charlotte can agree that Natalya is crazy. She said she’s the craziest there is, was, and ever will be. She said the Smackdown Women’s Championship is going nowhere except back to its rightful owner, Becky Lynch. Out came Naomi next. She said Natalya doesn’t represent women, not even the women of Smackdown Live, but rather just her cats. She was interrupted by next by Tamina and Lana. Lana said Natalya is “a crazy cat lady and you need to shut up.” Lana said everyone in the ring has had shots at the title and they have all failed, so now it is Tamina’s time. Natalya bailed out to ringside and said it’s all about her representing women. “I am not a crazy cat lady!” she insisted. “I am Natalya and I will be your Smackdown Women’s Champion forever.”
Suddenly Daniel Bryan’s music played. He walked onto the stage and called Natalya “Gloria Steinem.” Bryan said this is the land of opportunity, so in tonight’s main event, Naomi, Lynch, Tamina, and the returning Charlotte Flair will battle in a Fatal Four-way match, the winner facing Natalya at Hell in a Cell. Graves said it’s a great decision by Bryan.
Send your questions and comments about tonight’s Smackdown to firstname.lastname@example.org for tonight’s recording of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast which drops on PodcastOne a few hours after Smackdown ends.
(3) NEW DAY (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods) vs. HYPE BROS. (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley)
The Usos joined the announcers at ringside. Saxton said: “Take out your umbrella, gentlemen, it is raining positivity.” Phillips said that doesn’t make any sense. They plugged that the Usos will challenge New Day at Hell in a Cell. They noted that the New Day is the first team to win both the Raw and Smackdown tag team titles. Big E knocked Mojo down with an early mid-ring collision. They cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on a split-screen. Mojo took over during the break on Kofi. Ryder tagged in and beat up Kofi for a couple minutes. Graves asked the Usos why they didn’t invoke their rematch clause tonight. The Usos said they wanted to scout them more. Ryder lifted his knees on a Big E splash after Big E took time to gyrate and swivel his hips before executing his move, making him look foolish. Ryder then gave Big E his Broski Boot for a two count, broken up by Kofi. Mojo went after Kofi, but Kofi ducked and Mojo flew to the floor. Kofi then dove over the top rope onto Mojo at ringside. Then New Day delivered The Midnight Hour finisher on Ryder for the win.
WINNERS: New Day in 6:00.
-They replayed Owens head-butting Vince last week.
-They interviewed Owens via satellite. Owens solemnly said, “The first thing I’d like to do is apologize. I’ve watched the footage over and over and I still can’t believe what I did.” He apologized to the WWE Universe, WWE management, and the McMahon family. “I can also say with complete sincerity, Shane, you had it coming.” He said Shane made him want to headbutt his father’s skull off his shoulders and kick and punch him like he was a garbage bag. He said in his mind, he was obliterating Shane when he was attacking his father. He said he has nothing but respect for his father. He said suddenly he saw Shane’s face on Vince’s head. He said what he did to Vince is nothing compared to what he’ll do to Shane at Hell in a Cell. He said Shane condemned him to hell but for what he’s going to do to Shane, “people like me don’t go to hell, people like me go to heaven.” [c]
-Backstage Mojo told Ryder that he’s getting sick and tired of losing. “I mean, something’s gotta give,” he said. He looked at Ryder and said if he wants things to change, he has to do something drastic. Ryder nodded. The situation was tense.
-Dolph Ziggler walked onto the stage and said he has been exposing elaborate ring entrances of so-called Superstars who couldn’t lace his boots. He said he is the greatest in-ring performer in WWE history, yet fans still don’t get it. Ziggler then left the stage. Triple H’s entrance music played. Ziggler walked back out imitating Triple H including spitting his water after a swig from a bottle. He asked how he did and if he could run NXT now. He said he didn’t have his “mom jeans” on, but spitting out that water is a lot harder than it looks. Ziggler said that’s not really him. A “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. He left and came back out as Shawn Michaels. “It doesn’t get an more superficial than that,” he said. “I can actually feel myself losing my smile.” He said he can’t imagine how anyone could perform like that and be expected to be taken seriously. He said you can go even lower, though. Then came DX music. He danced out with green glow sticks and flexed like Michaels. Another “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. He said nobody cares about two dads acting like teenagers begging for you to laugh at their corny jokes and keep them relevant as they coast off their name into retirement. He said all they, the fans, care about is about elaborate entrances and they don’t “give a damn about in-ring performance of lack thereof.” He yelled and yelled and yelled that he is the best ever “and you couldn’t care less.” He said he doesn’t care about them. He threw down the mic and walked away.
-They went to the announcers who plugged No Mercy and Hell in a Cell and WWE Network. [c]
-The ring entrances for the main event took place.
(4) CHARLOTTE vs. TAMINA (w/Lana) vs. BECKY LYNCH vs. NAOMI
Tamina beat up everyone and threw Becky onto Naomi at ringside. Then she clotheslined Charlotte. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Charlotte made a comeback. They showed Natalya watching on a monitor backstage. Lynch put the disarm her on Naomi, but Tamina broke it up. Tamina went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Charlotte took over on Tamina and set up a moonsault. Naomi got in her way, so she slammed her down. Charlotte then landed a moonsault onto both of them and scored a two count on both. She went for another cover on Tamina and scored a near fall. Charlotte then went to Naomi and applied the figure-four, although she didn’t get it on right at first. Becky resurfaced with a quick legdrop off the top rope on Charlotte to break it up. All four women were down. Tamina got up and ended up landing a top rope splash on Lynch. Naomi broke up the cover. Lana yanked Naomi out of the ring. Naomi kicked her in the head. Tamina then superkicked Naomi off the ring apron. Charlotte then surprised Tamina with a kick for the win. They showed Natalya reacting backstage.
WINNER: Charlotte in 10:00.