KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 10, 2017
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Note: Check out the free PWTORCH LIVECAST Hell in a Cell post-show HERE (or ad-free version for VIP members HERE).
-They began with a three minute package of freeze-frames of Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon at Hell in a Cell.
-The announcers introduced the show and hyped that an explanation from Sami Zayn was coming up, plus A.J. Styles invoked his rematch clause against Baron Corbin for the U.S. Title.
-The Usos were introduced as the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions. They were selling the effects of the HIAC brutality. The announcers noted that. The Usos said “we told you” and bragged they have the whole tag team division locked down. They said people say you never came out of HIAC the same, and then they called out New Day because they had something to tell them face-to-face.
New Day’s music played and Kofi Kingston danced onto the stage while Xavier Woods and Big E sold the effects of the HIAC battle. Saxton said they were surprised New Day went to the dark place necessary to battle in a HIAC. Phillips said despite their usual antics, they brought it on Sunday. (If you don’t count the rainbow striped kendo stick, the cow bell, and the trombone silliness.)
The Usos told New Day they brought it and made history, and compared to them, the rest of the tag teams in the back suck. The Usos said it got nasty once the door was locked shut. They talked about handcuffs and chairs and the cow bell. They talked about a shared bond they have after the wars they’ve been in, but then said they run the place now. New Day asked if they were proposing an Us-Truce. The Usos said more like mutual respect. The Hype Bros. interrupted.
Mojo Rawley said this is not okay; it’s the same two teams leaving the rest of the tag team division in the cold. The Usos said they’re the starters and playmakers whereas he’s riding the bench like he did the rest of his NFL career. Out walked Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable. Gable said the Hype Bros. need to get to the back of the line because they beat them at HIAC. The Usos said Gable is the smart one because he went out and got Shelton Benjamin, a former IC Champion and former U.S. Champion and former WWE Tag Team Champion. He said the Hype Bros., on the other hand, need to get to the back of the line. Then out came Breezango. Before they could talk, the Ascension interrupted. Tyler Breeze asked them to stop following them around. The Usos said all of them are locked up, although admitted they like Fashion Files. The Usos invited them to enter the ring and make themselves into no. 1 contenders.
Then G.M. Daniel Bryan’s music played, of course. The “Yes!” chants began. He said tonight is not a good night for this. He thanked the Usos and New Day “for that incredible match at Hell in a Cell, but please get out of the ring.” He seemed to be in a mood. He then said the other four teams would battle in a Fatal Four-way match to earn a title shot. [c]
(1) BREEZANGO vs. THE ASCENSION vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN & CHAD GABLE vs. THE HYPE. BROS. – Fatal Four-way to earn a Smackdown Tag Team Title shot
They cut to an early break, but stayed with the action on a split screen. [c]
Viktor shoved Ryder into Mojo, which led to a brief argument between the Hype Bros. Konnor then clotheslined Mojo over the top rope. Ryder battled Tyler Breeze next. Eventually Gable and Shelton took over. When they set up their finisher on Breeze, Fandango shoved Gable off the top rope. He missed with a top rope move, and Gable landed a moonsault on him next. Gable then clotheslined Breeze off of Shelton’s shoulders and scored the three count.
WINNERS: Gable & Benjamin in 11:00.
-Phillips threw to Dasha Fuentes who was standing outside of a locker room labelled “Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.” She said they are making her wait.
-Back to the ringside announcers, they discussed Sami’s actions. Then they hyped Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton vs. Rusev & Aiden English. [c]
-WWE touted “Unleash Your Warrior: Be Strong. Act Bold. Always Believe” campaign with Susan G. Komen’s breast cancer awareness campaign.
(Keller’s Analysis: As I noted in my Raw report yesterday, but it’s worth repeating here, when WWE tries to tie Ultimate Warrior to such inspirational messages, be sure to remember he said this about Bobby Heenan after he was diagnosed with cancer: “As for you, Booby Heenan, it’s just too difficult to keep a straight face talking about the pure two-faced bag of sh– you are (and have always been), what, with you also actually wearing one as a piece of body jewelry. You are dying, dis-eased on the inside, and no more time is left to get back any of the integrity that matters the most on death’s bed. Imagine what it will be like, lying there taking in your last breaths, knowing you whored yourself out your whole life, and had to, in your final years, be faced with emptying your own personal sh–– bag affirming to you the true value of what you achieved in your life. Not even Vince could come up with a better finish than this [dying of cancer]. Karma is just a beautiful thing to behold.” You can read the “strong, bold” comments Warrior had about Katrina victims (“unorganized, unclean, and dysfunctional”), Martin Luther King (“Martin marched a few times from Selma, Ala. to Montgomery, Ala. It’s only about 40 miles and he walked along paved roads with security escorts and modern comforts and conveniences. He wrote a few jailhouse letters, plagiarized a great many speeches, and played up his last name ‘King’ as if he was ONE.”) and Heath Ledger after he died (“His kid is without a father, yes, but the negative influence is now removed and his own child has the chance for a full recovery.” I will never understand why WWE has chosen, of all former main event babyface stars, Warrior to champion and celebrate as they do, but tying him to inspirational anti-cancer messages just weeks after Heenan’s death is as bad as it’s gotten yet. You can read even more of his abhorrent comments that he never retracted or apologized for HERE.)
-Phillips touted their support for Susan G. Komen for the sixth straight year and pushed BeMoreThanPink.org and to “Unleash your Warrior.” Then the announcers talked about the Natalya vs. Charlotte title match at HIAC as freeze-frames were shown.
-Natalya clutched her title belt and said it just feels good. Lana said the belt looks good, but it’ll look ravishing around Tamina’s waist. Natalya said she used to fantasize about being champion, but for her it’s a reality and not changing. Carmella said her dreams are more realistic because she holds the MITB briefcase. In walked Charlotte. The crowd “wooo’d.” Natalya asked her about her “boo boo” face and asked if she broke her pathetic father’s heart again. Charlotte elbowed Natalya hard in the face and beat her down. Becky Lynch and Naomi ran in and all of the women brawled. Several referees broke them up.
-Renee Young interviewed Baron Corbin. Boos from the crowd when she introduced him. She said he overcame the Triple Threat odds. Corbin said it feels good to shove the belt in the face of all the “keyboard warriors.” He said Styles likes to say he takes shortcuts. He said he beat two men at HIAC and he won’t need help tonight to beat one. He said the “House that A.J. built will become the House that A.J. squandered.”
(Keller’s Analysis: NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT. STOP IT, WWE WRITERS. Write like people actually talk. It makes for better TV. These constant plays on words to end brief interviews just reeks of inauthenticity and WWE, more than anything, needs a greater sense of authenticity.) [c]
(2) CARMELLA vs. BECKY LYNCH
Graves said he tried to talk Carmella about her strategy and he said she rolled her eyes and told him to stop hitting on her. Saxton said: “And then James bit your leg, right?” Graves said: “Byron, you should be euthanized. Your jokes are terrible tonight.” Geesh. Lynch took a beating for a while, but came back with hard elbows and then applied a Disarm Her and got the tapout win. Saxton said Lynch needed that win to reassert herself in the Women’s Division. Graves said Carmella is still the MITB holder, though.
WINNER: Lynch in 3:00. [c]
-They showed the exterior of the Van Andel Arena.
-The ring announcer asked fans to “welcome the victorious Kevin Owens.” Owens walked out with limp and his left arm and hand heavily taped up. He wore a “Fight Anyone” t-shirt. Saxton said Shane McMahon didn’t break any bones, but there was concern he suffered a ruptured spleen. Phillips said he is at home recuperating after being released from a local medical facility. Owens entered the ring and said he did exactly what he said he was going to do. “I sent Shane McMahon to hell!” he shouted. He said Shane is gone and he is never going back.
Owens said he was blinded by the white light you hear so much about and he felt his soul start to separate from his body and then he began to ascend and it was such a bizarre feeling, like he was floating above his body observing himself, and then he was in a long, long line at the pearly gates. He said he doesn’t like to stand in lines, and he was aggravated and trying to figure out how to move ahead in line when St. Peter waved him to the front. St. Peter then told him, “As much as we’d like to have you up here, they need you down there. They need Kevin Owens.” He said he provided him with his very own guardian angel, Sami Zayn. He said as he returned down and reentered his body, he realized his new purpose is to turn Smackdown Live into his very own personal paradise. “Here we all are gathered here in Kevin’s Heaven, or as I like to call it, The Kevin Owens Show.” Owens then introduced Sami as his best friend and guardian angel. Sami came out to his music.
(Keller’s Analysis: Usual stellar work from Owens. Sami’s music shouldn’t be allowed to be used for him as a heel, though. It’s just too damn uplifting and positive sounding. Just slow it down or something so it sounds dark and ominous instead. A heel would deny us such upbeat positive music.)
Sami entered the ring, smiling at Owens. Owens stopped Sami as he began to talk. Owens said he needs to start by telling everyone that he had no intentions of helping him at HIAC and that he had no idea why he chose to pull him away from certain destruction. He said before he does so, he needs to tell him from the bottom of his heart, “Sami, thank you.” Boos and a few cheers. Sami said he should be thanking Owens. He said Owens powerbombing him on the ring apron a few weeks ago is what opened his eyes to everything. He said he’s spent his whole life trying to please people and his whole career was about pleasing the fans. He said he tried to do things the right way and put it all on his shoulders and it brought him all the way to, well, mediocrity.
He said, meanwhile, Owens became the Intercontinental Champion, the Universal Champion, the United States Champion. He said that’s okay because he got to sleep at night with a clear conscience. He said maybe in four or five years, if he kept doing things the right way, his time would come. He felt his time had come when Shane McMahon gave him the opportunity in the Land of Opportunity. He said Shane told him everything he wanted to hear about how Raw was mistreating him but SD Live would give him the respect deserves. He said that’s the last time he met with Shane. He said Shane got busy, he understands that, and there was that whole helicopter thing. But he said when he tried to warn Shane about facing Owens in HIAC, Shane brushed him off and said, “You worry about you and I’ll worry about me.” Sami said then he realized Shane never cared about him.
Sami talked about the way the HIAC match played out. He said Owens has been his best friend and biter rival and everything in between, but he has always been his brother. He said when he saw Shane at the top of the Cell, he only cared about himself and he wanted to end Owens’ career “or worse.” He said he saved his brother because it was the right thing to do. He said Shane had become an absolute psychopath. He said for the longest time he despised Owens, but now he realizes he always just despised that he was right. And now the one thing left to say is “Thank you.” They hugged. Mix of cheers and boos. Sami’s music played. Saxton said, “This is the definition of surreal.” Owens raised Sami’s arm. Sami then raised Owens’ arm. Graves said every syllable that just left Sami’s mouth made sense. Saxton said this is bizarro world.
(Keller’s Analysis: I loved that Owens was wearing Kaestias tape on his neck, as if he was holding his spine in place with the tape usually used around the point of separated shoulders. More to the point, I liked Sami’s promo there. He explained his journey to the place he landed tonight in a way that makes viewers believe he thinks he’s right, even if fans don’t like it. Well done. I’m going to enjoy these new best friends.) [c]
(3) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RANDY ORTON vs. RUSEV & AIDEN ENGLISH
Saxton said he had trouble falling asleep because he kept replaying how close he came last night. Orton threw Rusev out of the ring early and went for a DDT off the second rope, but English pulled on Rusev’s legs. Orton and Rusev brawled at ringside, and Orton dropped Rusev over the announce desk. “Welcome to Viperville, Rusev!” exclaimed Phillips. English grabbing Orton’s leg led to Orton getting kicked by Rusev. English gave Orton a running neckbreaker on the floor as they cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split screen. [c]
The heels worked over Orton for a while until he tagged Nakamura. Nakamura rallied against English. Graves called him a Combat Artist. He threw roundhouse kicks to English’s chest, but English caught one of them. Nakamura used his other leg to knock English down. Nakamura set English on the top rope and then gave him a running knee. Nakamura then signaled for his finisher, but Rusev entered the ring and grabbed him by his hair. Nakamura spin wheel kicked Rusev. Orton then hit an RKO out of nowhere on Rusev. Nakamura then gave English a Kinshasa for the win.
WINNERS: Orton & Nakamura in 6:00.
-Renee interviewed Styles, who pointed out that Corbin didn’t pin him at HIAC. He said he understands that’s the rules, but he was the only phenomenal one in the ring. He said Corbin is prone to mistakes, just like when he failed to cash in the MITB briefcase successfully. He said Smackdown Live is the house that A.J. Styles built, and he’ll be damned if some Lone Wolf is going to keep his U.S. Title belt and walk out with his head held high. He said if you think he sounds overconfident, it is the End of Days for Baron Corbin’s title reign.
(Keller’s Analysis: There it is, another play on words to end a promo. NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT.) [c]
-A vignette aired with Erick Rowan and Luke Harper in their new outfits. They said there is no conscience and moral compass and the virtuous will fall and the wicked will rise and broken bones and severed spines will follow. They are the “Bludgeon Brothers.”
(Keller’s Analysis: They look like two people you wouldn’t want to run into in the zombie apocalypse. At least we don’t have to worry about their whereabouts anymore.)
-Bobby Roode made his grand entrance. He said his victory at HIAC was glorious until Ziggler attacked him from behind. Roode said, “If you want to fight, let’s fight.” They milked the moment (probably on purpose, because that’s what WWE does to test people) after Roode finished that phrase and left him paused uncomfortably for a few extra seconds, then Dolph Ziggler’s music interrupted him. The music then halted and out came Ziggler on a darkened stage. Ziggler congratulated Roode for having his first PPV match in WWE. He said he looked great on his ring entrance, but then the bell rang and he – the greatest in-ring performer in WWE history – exposed him for his what he is, “a fraud.”
Ziggler said he dominated him and was the “better wrestler and better man.” He said Roode panicked and realized this elaborate lie was unravelling right before him and the sheep who blindly follow him in the audience could abandon him and his whole world would come crumbling down and he panicked and did the only thing he could do to beat him. He pointed at the big screen and showed Roode yanking on his trunks to win. Ziggler said his iCloud didn’t get hacked, that is Roode. He said he’s not only a flashy entrance, he’s also a cheater.
Roode said he proved he is smarter than Ziggler. Ziggler fired back that he is the greatest in-ring performer in WWE history and he has proven it time after time. He demanded a rematch. Roode said it’s blatantly obvious to him that he doesn’t accept losing very well. He said if he wants his rematch, he’s got it. Ziggler told him to name the time and place. Roode said the match will go the way the first match went. Ziggler said then he won’t have a chance in hell of beating him. Roode said he is speaking for everyone when he says he is sick and tired of him talking, so if he’s done whining and complaining, how about he makes his way to the ring so they can have their rematch right now. Ziggler YELLED that if he wants him to get in the ring RIGHT NOW, he can’t always get what he wants. He said he’ll have his rematch when and where he wants, and it sure as hell won’t be here tonight. He strode to the back. Graves said, like the Atlanta Falcons, you can’t claim victory just because you led most of the game.
(Keller’s Analysis: A lot of yelling and not a lot of anything relevant. Roode had no answer for the yank of the tights when he could have easily justified it as righting fire with fire. There were awkward moments during the exchange, too, and nothing Ziggler said seemed to resonate in any way. For instance, his comments about the fan support leaving anytime isn’t really based on anything; it’s just sort of a random comment.) [c]
-The announcers said Roode vs. Ziggler would take place next week.
(4) BARON CORBIN vs. A.J. STYLES – U.S. Title match
They did formal ring introductions for the title match. Fans chanted for Styles right after the bell. Styles knocked Corbin out of the ring early. Corbin mouthed off to Styles from ringside, then re-entered the ring. Styles ducked a charging Corbin, who flew through the ropes to the floor. Corbin threw a tantrum at ringside. Saxton wondered if Styles invoking his rematch so quickly was an emotional decision or a calculated strategy. [c]
Styles slidekicked Corbin hard and sent him into the announce table. Big bump by Corbin, spilling into the laps of the announcers who went scurrying. A loud “A.J. Styles” chant broke out. He slingshot himself toward Corbin and hit a Phenomenal Forearm, then a ushigoroshi backbreaker for a near fall. Both were slow to get up as Styles favored a knee. Styles went for a Calf Crusher. Corbin resisted. Styles sent him into the ringpost and rolled him up for a near fall. Then he applied a Calf Crusher. Corbin yelled in pain, but reached back and rammed Styles’s head into the mat hard. That broke the hold. Styles landed a Pelé kick next. Corbin dropped to the floor. Styles charged at Corbin, but Corbin tossed him off the ring apron onto the floor. Graves exclaimed “Good god!” although it was pretty hard, relatively speaking, to gasp at it considering that Shane and Owens endured. Corbin then hit End of Days for a clean win.
WINNER: Corbin in 12:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, what do you say to that? That’s a Statement Win for Corbin and an undeniable step back for Styles in the hierarchy, hardly a way to build Styles up for moving to the World Title picture against Mahal, if that was even in the plans.)
-Afterward, Renee approached Corbin as he dangled the U.S. Title belt over Styles. She asked him to address the WWE Universe. He told the fans to “look at this championship and eat it because this is mine and it’s not going anywhere and you can cry, cry, cry, and I’ll buy a boat and float down the river of your tears because I enjoy every second of it.”