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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 3, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-They opened Smackdown just as they did Raw, with a silent moment with Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and the wrestlers on the stage in acknowledgment of the Las Vegas mass shooting on Sunday night.
-They went to a video package on Shinsuke Nakamura and Jinder Mahal in recent weeks.
-Renee Young stood center ring to open the show. This is novel. She introduced her guest, Shinsuke. Graves said, “What a way to kick off Smackdown Live!” A “Nakamura” chant broke out. It almost turned into a weird “Nakamura! / Nakamura!” battle chant between two sides of the arena before they got synched up. Renee asked Nakamura about Jinder perhaps crossing the line with his comments. She asked how they affected him. Shinsuke paused and made some faces, then said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but the words can never hurt me.” He smiled and made more strange faces. Renee said Jinder has called him eccentric. Nakamura said, “The greatest fear of all is the fear of the unknown, but Jinder will know when I beat him and become WW Champion.” I assume he meant “WWE.” He was interrupted by the Singh Brothers. They said, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!”
They apologized for interrupting “this thrilling interview,” dripping with sarcasm. They introduced Jinder. They turned to the stage, but Jinder attacked Nakamura from behind. He beat him down. Saxton called it a well-laid-out plan. Graves called it a brilliant plot. Nakamura, though, came right back with some kicks. He took care of one of the Singh’s, tossing him head-first into the middle rope. Ouch. Then the other Singh. Then he nailed Jinder with a tornado kick. He played to the crowd and signaled for the Kinshasa, but the Singh brothers grabbed his legs. Jinder attacked him. Then a three-on-one resulted. Graves said you have to retain your championship at all cost and that’s what Jinder is all about. Jinder then hit the Khallas (cobra slam). He stood over Nakamura and held up his belt. Graves said he’s been ruthless and will do anything to retain his championship.
-They went to the announcers on camera who reacted. Saxton guaranteed Nakamura would “bring it” on Sunday.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good basic Booking 101. I wish at least one of the announcers seemed a little more outraged by Jinder and the Singhs’ “cowardly uncalled for unsportsmanlike actions!” I wish they would have Nakamura express his mission statement and make it clear how much the WWE Championship means to him. It should be a quest that fans are invited to go on with him.) [c]
-In backstage clip from earlier, Natalya told Carmella that she better not cash in her MITB briefcase tonight or Sunday at Hell in a Cell or she’ll be sorry, “and so will you little dog.” James Ellsworth barked ih response to the insult. Natalya said if Ellsworth is a male dog, she is a female dog, “and you know what that means.”
(1) NATALYA & CARMELLA (w/James Ellsworth) vs. CHARLOTTE & BECKY LYNCH
Charlotte and Becky cleared the ring of the heels early, and they cut to a break. [c]
They aired the action on split screen during the break. The heels took over and Natalya settled into a chinlock during the break. Charlotte got the hot tag and rallied. She went for a figure-four, but Natalya kicked out and then ducked into the ropes. The ref had to pull Charlotte off of the ropes. Meanwhile, Carmella hit Becky with the briefcase. That distraction opened up Natalya to hit Charlotte from behind. Natalya then methodically applied her sharpshooter mid-ring. Charlotte tapped out.
WINNERS: Natalya & Carmella in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That finish tends to indicate Charlotte will win on Sunday, as they make the champion look strong thanks to cheating or a distraction, with the idea being Charlotte won’t have to deal with such a distraction on Sunday. Unfortunately the announcers didn’t tell that story or really create any genuine emotional guidance after the finish. Graves merely said it should be a huge boost of confidence. No one followed up with any comments about the distraction working in her favor. Saxton just said Charlotte has five days to regroup.)
-The announcers hyped the HIAC line-up. [c]
-They aired a six minute long video package on the Kevin Owens-Shane McMahon feud.
-They showed Bobby Roode backstage heading out for the next match. [c]
(2) BOBBY ROODE vs. MIKE KANELLIS
No sign of the pregnant Maria Kanellis. The announcers noted she is pregnant and congratulated her. Hopefully she wasn’t watching this, though.
WINNER: Roode in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The Mike & Maria push, which had been in question for weeks, is pretty decisively over with his squash loss without any acknowledgment of Maria.)
-As Roode celebrated, Dolph Ziggler came out onto the stage and congratulated him on his win. He said he’s a huge fan of the whole production. He said he’s working on an entrance for HIAC on Sunday. A siren sounded. He said that was one idea, but he has another. In the dead space, a “C.M. Punk!” chant broke out. These fans are going to ruin Ziggler’s fun if they keep doing that! Ziggler came out banging on a bass drum from a marching band. He then shot off some children’s party confetti and spun noisemakers. Graves, hilariously, told Saxton to calm down “because I know this reminds you of your birthday.” Ziggler then sounded a basketball born. It was really obnoxious, to the point of inducing channel switching.
Ziggler asked if everyone had goosebumps and if everyone liked him now. He said Bobby thinks his entrance is everything, and congratulations after all of these years, he found a way to weasel his way into the back door and make t to WWE. Roode fake laughed. Ziggler said at HIAC he’s going to show the world an entrance like they’ve never seen before. He told Roode to bring all the smoke and mirrors he wants, “but at some point the bell has to ring, buddy, and I’m going to expose you for what you are.” He told Roode, “Bobby, you are nothing more than an entrance, and that is all you will ever be.” He dropped the mic and left to his music. Roode asked Ziggler where he is going because he has an answer to his question, asking for his opinion on his entrance. He said it was horrible and absolutely terrible. “You’re doing it all wrong,” he said. “It goes a little something like this.” Roode then did his Glorious body movements and his music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was a little more on track with some reference to the key being what you do in the ring after the bell rings, but everything is else is still a mess. Having Roode say Ziggler’s entrance was horrible didn’t really sting since it was clear Ziggler wasn’t really trying to have a good entrance, but rather was trying on purpose to mock ring entrances by doing a truly awful one on purpose. The finishing line for Roode shouldn’t have been that Ziggler did his ring entrance all wrong – which obviously he wasn’t even trying to do well – but instead something about how all he’s focused on is what happens after the bell rings, too, and he’ll show him what he better man is regardless of their ring entrances. So this was a mess that didn’t serve any purpose other than having the babyface go for the cheap pop at the end that more plays into what Ziggler has been saying all along.)
-The announcers hyped the HIAC line-up and what as still to come on the show. [c]
-The Usos came out and delivered a message for New Day. Jey said one of them will be at ringside eating Booty-Os while the other two are getting worked over inside the Cell. They went on to explain what will happen when New Day are “on lock” with them inside the Cell. They referred to their shirt as “not trying to sell merch, but a lifestyle.”
New Day came out and pitched their “New Day underwear” exclusively at WWE’s online store. Xavier said they’re not really feeling like pitching stuff because this Sunday is HIAC. They said instead of talking about rights, they’re going to talk about lefts, because since they left Raw and came to Smackdown, nobody knew the Smackdown tag division could be this good. They entered the ring and Kofi said they’ve left everyone in awe of what they do. Big E said whether they were in the Kick Off or main show, a regular match or a street fight, they’ve left no doubt they were in the best match of the night. Xavier said most of all, last time they left “with these,” looking down at the tag belts around their waists. Kofi said the Usos will be left in a “pile of their own Day One Ish.”
(Keller’s Analysis: This didn’t seem to get the crowd going. It was fine for what New Day and the Usos do in terms of going back and forth with proclamations. They stayed true to their characters. The material still felt a little too memorized and performed, but it’s hard not to given how many clever lines they each are working into the segment.)
-They went backstage to Jinder who commented on his attack on Shinsuke earlier in the night. He claimed it took nothing but a “simple distraction” to throw “the rock star” off his game. While he said that, the Singh brothers were holding both of Nakamura’s legs, much more than a mere distraction. He said he will stand tall as champion at the end of the night on Sunday. [c]
-The announcers hyped Hype Bros. vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable (remember them?) on the Kickoff Show. Saxton also broke the news that the Fashion Files, which was scheduled to return tonight, will instead return at HIAC.
(Keller’s Analysis: Bait and switch, I tell you.!)
(3) BARON CORBIN vs. A.J. STYLES
Graves said he expected a big fight from Tye, but Corbin might be unstoppable tonight. He said Corbin wants to “make money and win trophies.” Tye went after Corbin aggressively from the start. Corbin threw him hard into the corner, but Tye fought back right away. When Corbin tossed him to the floor, Tye quickly ran back into the ring. Then he rammed Corbin’s head into the top turnbuckle. They showed A.J. Styles watching backstage with the U.S. Title belt over his shoulder. Tye superkicked Corbin and knocked him to the floor. They cut to a break as Phillips asked if this could be his night. [c]
They stayed with the action during the break. Corbin took over during the break, blocking an attempt by Tye to suplex him off the ring apron and then knocked Tye into the ringside steps. Corbin got in a sustained beatdown. Phillips hyped that they’d hear from Styles after the match. Graves said Corbin told him he is staying in Denver for a few extra days to train at high altitude to prepare for Sunday. Tye then surprised Corbin with a small package as a counter to a methodical vertical suplex attempt, and Tye got the three count. Corbin was shocked and Tye fled the ring to celebrate as his music played. Corbin threw a fit. Saxton said Corbin seemed perhaps mentally preoccupied with his obsession with Styles.
WINNER: Dillinger in 8:00.
-Afterward, Styles appeared on the big screen and rubbed it in that he “squandered away another opportunity.” He said he has the ability of a thoroughbred, but the attitude of a jackass. He said if he thought it’d be handed to him, that’s not how things work. He said this is Smackdown, “the house that A.J. Styles built.” He said if Corbin pushed himself a little harder, maybe he wouldn’t have lost to Cena at Summerslam and maybe he’d have cashed in the MITB contract successfully or beat Tye tonight. He said Corbin doesn’t take responsibility, he throws temper tantrums. He said his tantrums are getting in his way, and at HIAC he will teach him shortcuts won’t work with him because his opportunities will get cut short.
(Keller’s Analysis: WWE writers reach for the “clever lines” too often. Sometimes just saying something straight up is more effective than forcing an unnatural play on words at the end. The whole “shortcut / cut short” thing was just groan-inducing, not clever.) [c]
-A video package aired on Susan G. Komen.
-Dana Warrior did what she did last night on Raw, standing alongside breast cancer survivors with the Smackdown Women’s Division standing behind her. She unveiled three title belts for the women (surprise!) and then they shook the ropes as Warrior’s music played.
-The announcers hyped Randy Orton vs. Aiden English was up next. [c]
-They showed Aiden English singing last week and then Orton attacking Rusev.
-Live in the ring, Rusev said, “Last week was supposed to be Happy Rusev Day,” but you ruined it!” He said there will be plenty of Happy Rusev Days yet to come, such as Sunday when breaks him at HIAC in front of the WWE Universe. He said the day after when his family is embarrassed to look him in the eyes, at which point Orton’s music interrupted.
(4) RANDY ORTON vs. AIDEN ENGLISH (w/Rusev)
Rusev leaped onto the ring apron as soon as the bell rang, which gave English a chance to attack Orton from behind. He kicked away at him in the corner. Orton fought out of the corner, but ate a boot. When he went for an RKO out of nowhere, Aiden avoided it and took control. When English ducked a clothesline, he rebounded off the ropes right into an RKO.
WINNER: Orton in 3:00.
-Clips aired of last week’s incident when Shane McMahon charged right into Sami Zayn with a chair wrapped around his neck when Owens shoved him.
-Backstage Sami approached Shane. Shane said after what happened last week with the powerbomb off the apron, he didn’t expect to see him. Sami said he can tell he expects to beat up Owens in HIAC on Sunday, but he has no idea what he’s in store for. Shane said, “I won’t be locked inside the Hell in a Cell with Kevin Owens, Kevin Owens will be locked in the Hell in a Cell with me.” Sami said this isn’t the snarky Owens, this is a more ruthless version of him. He told Shane he was the best man at Owens’ wedding, and look at what he did to him. Shane thanked him, but said with all due respect, Sami can take care of himself and he’ll take care of himself. Sami nodded as he grabbed at his injured ribs. Shane headed toward the ring. [c]
-With a full 15 minutes left in the show, Shane McMahon came out to his entrance music. Graves said Owens stepped way over the line when he attacked The Chairman, and now he’s looking for revenge. Shane asked, “What’s up, Denver?” (Shane gets to get that cheap pop every week, and no one else gets to. With Mick Foley, it was done with a wink and nod that he knew it was a cheap pop.) He called Owens out, but Owens didn’t respond. Shane said it’s just as he expected. He said Shane is what he thought he is – a coward. He said he disparaged his family including his children, beat down his father, and then hid behind Sami as a human shield to avoid him. He said on Sunday he can’t run anywhere because he’ll be locked inside the HIAC with him. He said when the Cell door closes, “I’m going to change your life.” He said he’s also going to change the HIAC match rules – it’ll be Falls Count Anywhere.
(Keller’s Analysis: No pop, really. That just undoes the whole idea of the Cell being a way to lock your opponent inside a Cell with no escape. Now Shane is essentially guaranteeing the match doesn’t stay inside the Cell.)
He said he won’t have any barrier in his way as he extracts his revenge. He said he’ll beat him beyond recognition. Owens showed up in the crowd and mouthed off. Shane said “Face to Face” means he needs to actually walk into the ring and face him. Owens said he aims to please, but then stopped and said he’s already spent too much time in Denver as it is, so he’ll see him in Denver. Ten more minutes to fill. Shane said, “Just as I thought. Coward.” Owens stopped in his tracks, but then began walking away again. Shane said if Owens won’t bring the fight to him, he’ll bring it to Owens. Shane went through the crowd and ran up the steps. It’d have been awesome if The Shield were just hanging out there. When Shane got to the concourse, Owens attacked him from behind. The fans had been pushed back behind a barrier, making the whole ordeal seem so fake and pre-orchestrated. Owens powerbombed Shane through a concession table. Owens walked back toward the arena bowl and down the steps toward the ring.
Owens entered the ring and said if Shane is having a hard time now, he has no idea what is coming his way at HIAC. He said he likes the Falls Count Anywhere rules, because he wants to beat him up inside the cell and outside the cell and anywhere he wants to. He said he grind his face against the fence until his flesh comes off, he will powerbomb him until he forgets the names of his kids, and then he will throw him off the Cell “and there is not getting back up this time.” There was a ruckus in the crowd and the camera panned over as Shane limped his way down the steps. Owens said he better stop if he wants to make it to Hell in a Cell. Shane struggled, but continued his way to the ring.
Owens met him in the crowd and beat him up in an area that had conveniently been pre-cleared by security. Shane fought back and threw owens into the ringside area, then leaped off the ringside barrier. I’m not sure what was supposed to happen, but Shane sort of missed and sort of didn’t. Owens threw Shane over the announce table. Owens returned to the ring and checked on his left eye. The crowd chanted “This is awesome.” Shane crawled into the ring, but Owens beat him down again. Shane fought back with some punches. Owens superkicked him. Owens began to leave, but returned. Shane punched him a couple times, but Owens head butted him down in response. They showed a girl in the crowd holding her hands to her mouth in shock. There were some boos. Shane crawled toward Owens, but Owens stared down at him and stepped back. He seemed a little surprised by Shane, but then delivered a Pop-up Powerbomb. He kneeled by Shane and stared at him, then got up. His music played now for some reason, but not any of the other times, so the script must’ve said this was the end, right? Owens walked to the back as the announcers talked about the match at HIAC. Phillips said it seems like an inevitably the Owens will powerbomb Shane until he forgets the names of his kids.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Weak show. Memorable finish, with some flaws.
Send questions for the taping tonight of the “Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast” with guest cohost Jonny Fairplay (of “Survivor” fame and also TNA) to firstname.lastname@example.org.