KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 31, 2017
NORFOLK, VA. AT THE SCOPE
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-Shane McMahon came out to his music, slapping hands with fans. They showed the announcers at ringside. Phillips mentioned Kurt Angle’s huge announcement that he had added Braun Strowman to the Raw Survivor Series team. Shane welcomed fans and said hello to Norfolk (the only WWE performer who gets to name the city and get a cheap pop in every promo). He said he would explain why Smackdown attacked Raw. He said Raw goes way back nearly 25 years. He said Raw has always looked at Smackdown as the inferior brand. The crowd booed. He said unfortunately that stays around from the very top with his sister Stephanie. “Yes, unfortunately the witch is back.” He said that goes all the way down to “the lowest part of the Raw common denominator.” He said there was one thing they could do to change the perception. He said despite Raw having “twice the picks that Smackdown did” (not true) they gathered a team and put Daniel Bryan as General Manager and went live and “created the land of opportunity.” He said that wasn’t quite enough. He said they had a team meeting and came up with an idea to “put Raw under siege and kick them right in the mouth.” Some fans chanted “Under Siege.” He thanked the fans in attendance. “We got heart!” he said. Fans chanted “Shane! Shane!” He then said Bryan went to Raw to explain his point of view, and “how was Daniel Bryan treated?” He said Bryan was disrespected, locked in an office, and beat up by Kane. He said Stephanie and Angle didn’t care. Shane said there will be hell to pay for that.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m sorry, but there is no moral high ground here for Shane.)
He said Angle can show up with Braun Strowman and three other Superstars, and they’ll show up with Randy Orton, three other Superstars, and “yours truly” will be Team Captain. Modest pop. They’re about eight minutes into the show now. “Now enough talk,” he said. “Let’s get to some action and get this show started.”
(Keller’s Analysis: The inflection and cadence at the end when Shane announced himself as Team Captain wasn’t great for getting a big pop, and he seemed thrown by the tepid response when he said “yours truly” will be Team Captain. Maybe partially because almost nobody says “yours truly” anymore? I did like Shane pulling from history and acknowledging the perception of Smackdown over the years as the B-show, although his math was off as Raw got 60 percent of the picks, not twice as many.)
(1) BOBBY ROODE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Graves hard-sold the announcement by Shane, saying it made Survivor Series a much bigger event. Roode came out to his full glorious ring entrance. Then Ziggler came out, with his music coming to a screeching halt as he walked onto the stage. [c]
The match was joined in progress. Roode dominated for a few minutes and scoring some near falls. Graves said some whomever wins this match has to team with Shane and Orton, and he wasn’t sure they could coexist “and it could be volatile.” He said you have no choice but to work with your teammates because “it’s a privilege to represent your brand.” Roode tossed Ziggler to the floor. When he threw him back into the ring, Ziggler popped and surprised him with a superkick to the chin for the sudden pin.
FIRST FALL: Ziggler in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is why I don’t like two-out-of-three falls matches in this era because the first fall almost always happens ridiculously prematurely, unnaturally early. The first fall should realistically last as long as a regular match would, unless it’s someone tapping out of a submission so they can protect their limb and fight on.) [c]
They stayed with the action on a split screen during the break. Back and forth action, and during the break Roode catapulted Ziggler into the ringpost – we’ll call that move The Cesaro since he paid such a dear price to make it famous – and scored a pin with a sunset flip.
SECOND FALL: Roode in 5:00.
Ziggler planted Roode with a DDT a couple minutes later for a believable near fall. Roode came back with a spinebuster, but Ziggler countered him with Zig Zag followed by a believable near fall. Ziggler set up a superkick, stomping the mat HBK style. When Roode stood, he side-stepped a charging Ziggler and shoved him into the turnbuckle. He rolled him up, but Ziggler rolled through and held onto the tights. Roode rolled out of it and hit the Glorious DDT for the win.
WINNER: Roode in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good work from them, as you’d expect. But the length of the match was barely long enough for a regular one fall match.)
-Renee Young interviewed Roode afterward. He said now there’s three members of Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. He said he hopes the new two teammates “share the same compassion, passion, and competitiveness that we do.” He probably didn’t mean to say compassion. He said at Survivor Series, Smackdown up, Raw down, #UnderSiege.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is a good spot for Roode as he’ll be mixing with top stars in this match, and if he’s booked to look respectable in there, it could help him move past this mid-card feud with Ziggler.)
-The announcers hyped Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens and Samir Singh vs. A.J. Styles. [c]
-Phillips plugged the Fright Night Fatal Four-way on 205 Live tonight.
-Backstage, New Day were dressed up. Xavier Woods was a hilarious Jimmy Hart, Kofi Kingston was a funny Brother Love, and Big E was Akeem. Xavier did a high-pitched impersonation of Hart. Kofi said, “I looovvveee Candy.” Cesaro and Rusev showed up. Big E offered them a plastic pumpkin of nutritious candy. Rusev asked them what is wrong with them because Raw could be on their front steps any second and strangers arriving asking for candy could be Raw spies. Xavier told him to chill because they are dressed up but also ready to fight. Rusev said Halloween is a dumb holiday because only Rusev Day counts. Rusev poured out the candy and stomped on it as Cesaro sang “Rusev Day!” Big E was especially hot. “You done it now, sucka! You and me tonight in that ring, sucka!” Rusev said he’d be elated to meet him in the ring, “sucker!”
-Becky Lynch chatted with other women backstage. Becky said they are tired of being perceived as the B-brand. She said they wrecked the entire roster last week, and that’s a preview of what they’ll do with those dopes at Survivor Series. She said united they can conquer, divided they will fall. She said after what happened to Bryan, they need to be together. She said if anyone has any issues working together, they need to speak up now. James Ellsworth growled and barked. Becky sprayed water at his face. Carmella told James to sit. Natalya walked in, coughing to get everyone’s attention. She told Becky to settle her teakettle. She said she’ll be too busy defending her honor against Alexa Bliss, “who you all know I ran off to Raw in the first place.” Natalya said Becky has to determine who the weak link of the team is. She told Charlotte not to crack under pressure again.
(2) BARON CORBIN vs. SIN CARA – Non-title match
They aired clips of Corbin attacking Sin Cara last week after losing to him. The announcers then talked about the Miz vs. Corbin match at Survivor Series, noting that they’ve been going at it on social media. Corbin went after Sin Cara’s mask at the start. Corbin then kicked Sin Cara in the head which knocked him down hard. He threw him to the floor and drove him hard back-first into the ringside barricade. Sin Cara fought back and shoved Corbin into the barricade. Sin Cara kicked Corbin as he tried to re-enter the ring, but when he dove toward him, Corbin hit him out of mid-air with a forearm. He went after Sin Cara’s mask again in the ring. Graves said there is no need for this and he’s just trying to humiliate him. Byron said his ego is bruised. At ringside Sin Cara tackled Corbin into the ringside steps. Byron said he is ticked off. He pounded away at Corbin on the floor, then clipped his legs. The ref tried to separate them. Sin Cara tackled Corbin onto the announce table. Graves said it has gotten completely out of control. The announcers said they’ve never seen Sin Cara so aggressive. The ref called for the bell. Sin Cara threw a chair at him. Corbin fled through the crowd. The fans woke up and cheered.
WINNER: No contest in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re actually doing a decent job trying to make Sin Cara relevant with a spirited performance like that.)
-Renee Young said they saw a different side of Sin Cara, then she welcomed the Usos. She asked them how they are preparing for the match against Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose at Survivor Series. They said they’ll prove they’re “the A-team of this so-called B-brand.” They said they hope Seth & Dean show up tonight. Then in walked Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable. Shelton said next week, they get their opportunity to become the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions, and if they win, they’ll represent Smackdown at Survivor Series. Gable and Shelton did an Uso-style rap that they had all worked out.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hey, personality shown by Benjamin and Gable! Nice to see them get that opportunity and for Shelton, especially, to embrace it.) [c]
-The Singh Brothers introduced Jinder Mahal. Mahal said last week he was unfairly rejected from ringside due to the fear of what he was going to do to A.J. Styles. He said someone else should feel that same fear – Brock Lesnar. He said Brock can jump around the ring with a smile all he wants, but fear is setting in. He said at Survivor Series, the Beast will be beaten and victimized and conquered. He said he will forever be known as The Beastmaster. Styles’s music interrupted Jinder right after he talked about how disrespectful Styles is and broke into his Punjabi language.
(3) SAMIR SINGH (w/Jinder Mahal, Sunil Singh) vs. A.J. STYLES
Samir slapped Styles at the bell. Styles tackled him and pounded away at him. He then gave him a Styles Clash for the early win.
WINNER: Styles in 30 seconds.
-Jinder attacked Styles right after the pinfall and stomped away at him. Graves said a champion wants to stay on top of the mountain any way possible, and justified it because Styles disrespected him by interrupting him. Jinder gave him his finisher twice.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why was Graves critical of Corbin’s actions against Sin Cara, but defending Jinder’s post-match attack on Styles?)
-They cut to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn backstage. Sami asked if he could believe Shane McMahon making himself team captain. Owens said that’s par for the course. “I don’t see how in the Land of Opportunity, the best opportunities go to Shane himself,” said Sami. Owens said, “Or the people that Shane likes.” Sami said he loves Orton. Sami said Orton beat him last week with a low blow. He said that screwed him out of representing Smackdown at Survivor Series. Owens said he’ll beat Nakamura and lead Team Smackdown to victory and then Shane will owe them and then they’ll get everything they ever wanted. “This will be our show!” he said. Sami said it will become the Kevin & Sami Show. Owens said “The Sami & Kevin Show.” Sami laughed.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sami is successful at being obnoxious.) [c]
-A Bludgeon Brothers vignette aired.
(4) BIG E. (w/Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods) vs. RUSEV (w/Aiden English)
New Day were still dressed up. Before the match, English sang about Rusev Day. Rusev threw Big E shoulder-first into the post through the turnbuckles, and Big E tumbled to ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
They showed the action on a split screen during the break. Rusev dropped Big E into an armbar for a while. Back live, Rusev dropped Big E with a round kick to the side of his head. Big E fired back with a urinage. Both were slow to get up, so English took the opportunity to sing about Rusev Day. Xavier interrupted with trombone playing. English jumped off the announce table and hit him from behind. Kofi the chased English into the ring. Big E gave him the Big Ending. Rusev then kicked him from behind and scored the three count.
WINNER: Rusev in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a pretty weak move to end a match – a kick to the back?)
-Renee interviewed Sin Cara backstage. He said the mask is a part of him and his family, plus it makes him a superhero to his children. He said he went through hell to get his mask and he’ll go through hell to keep it.
-They went backstage to film Shane McMahon texting on his phone (stop it, WWE!). There was a knock on the door and in walked English. He laughed as he said he was sorry to hear about Bryan. He asked how Shane is celebrating this holiday. Shane said he loves Halloween. English said he’s not talking about Halloween. In walked Rusev who yelled “Rusev Day!” He asked Shane to put him on Team Smackdown after his impressive win earlier over Big E. Shane said he will have to wrestle next week against Styles and the winner will join Team Smackdown. Shane sang “Good luck!” English gave him an “ehh” grade for his singing.
-The announcers introduced the “Strangerer Things” sketch with Breezango. They played the opening for the Netflix series Stranger Things with a twist including proper credit. Fandango was dressed as a police officer. He bent down to offer a waffle to someone under a table. He said she’s a hungry girl. In walked Tyler Breeze in a woman’s wig and pink dress. Breeze had Uggo waffles. Out from under the table came Tye Dillinger, dressed in a similar outfit as Breeze. He took Breeze’s Uggos and left. The Ascension entered. They dressed up as Kane and Barb (from the actual show). Then suddenly Christmas lights flashed on the bulletin board and it showed the Bludgeon Brothers picture. They wondered what that meant. The lights went dark and there was some ruckus. Then the lights flickered back on and there was an image on an iPad of a scary clown who said, “Let the games begin!”
-Phillips plugged the 25th Anniversary of Raw coming up Jan. 22. He hyped that Raw and Smackdown wrestlers will be present, plus Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, and “rumors” suggest Undertaker also. He pushed the ticket sales. [c]
-Phillips plugged that A.J. Styles will face Rusev in a Survivor Series qualifying match next week, plus the tag title match.
(5) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. KEVIN OWENS – Survivor Series tag team match qualifier
Owens bailed out early to get a breather. Owens beat up Shinsuke at ringside a minute later. Nakamura reverse whipped Owens into the ringside barrier. They cut to an early break. [c]
Owens was in control after the break, hitting a superkick for a two count. Graves gave props to Shane for giving Owens this opportunity. “The two men tried to literally destroy each other, and Shane is still open-minded enough to give Kevin Owens an opportunity to represent Smackdown Live.” Byron said he would be worried about Owens being on his team since Owens doesn’t play well with others. Graves said Owens doesn’t want The Kevin Owens Show to come in second place to Raw. Owens scored a two count after a DDT. Graves said this is all about Smackdown not wanting to be seen as the B show anymore “and an enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes into play. Nakamura made a comeback and showed some nice fire. He went on the attack with round kicks to Owens’ chest. Owens caught his leg and stood. Nakamura kicked him with his other leg. Nakamura gave Owens a knee to the gut and scored a two count.
Late in the match, Sami walked out. Nakamura turned his attention to Sami. Owens rolled up Nakamura from behind for a near fall. Nakamura came back with a kick and scored a near fall. Nakamura set up a superplex, but Owens countered with a top rope cradle suplex for a believable near fall. Nakamura reversed a Pop-Up Powerbomb into a hurancanrana and then gave him a knee to the jaw for a two count. Nakamura set up his Kinshasa kick, but Owens rolled to the floor. Sami checked on Owens. Nakamura pursued Owens at ringside, but then turned to Sami. Owens shoved Nakamura into the ringside steps. He then landed a frog splash for a believable near fall (other than Graves giving away the kickout by saying Owens was on his way to Survivor Series as the ref began his count). Owens told Sami to set up the announce table. Randy Orton’s music played. Orton suddenly showed up behind Sami and slammed him back onto the table. Nakamura then gave Owens a spinning tornado kick and the Kinshasa for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Didn’t feel epic, but for what it was designed to do and with the Orton involvement, it played into the Survivor Series well. I liked how the announcers explained why Owens might want to win this match and represent Team Smackdown and coexist with Shane. It made it seem more believable that Owens could win.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Was there such backlash against last night’s Rhyno & Heath Slater vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows match that they cut out a bunch of Halloween zaniness? Only New Day and the Strangerer Things sketch.
NOTE: I got a late start due to trick or treating supervising duties, but I’ll catch up tonight. In the mean time, check out Jason Powell’s up-to-date report with his commentary on the show at www.ProWrestling.net HERE.