KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 11/14: Charlotte challenges Natalya, Sin Cara challenges Corbin, Survivor Series final hype

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c) WWE.com

KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
NOVEMBER 14, 2017
CHARLOTTE, N.C.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Bryon Saxton, Corey Graves

[HOUR ONE]

-They showed the wrestlers gathered together each acting completely unnaturally over-the-top conversationally. The panned right to show Shane McMahon addressing the wrestlers, giving them a pep talk about turning Smackdown from being perceived as the B-show to “Thee Show.” Shane asked Becky Lynch how she feels about Asuka saying she’s going to break the entire Smackdown team. Becky said she’s going to break Asuka’s arm this Sunday. Everyone hooted and hollered other than Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who were noticeably stoic in the background. Shane asked Corbin if he’ll shut up Miz. Corbin said it’ll be his End of Days. More hooting and hollering. Shane said Triple H has been added to Team Raw’s men’s team. He said they added John Cena, so no worries. Shane said this Sunday they will be the survivors and they will dominate. He said no one can stop them now. He said Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon, and The Shield cannot stop them. New Day said they accepted The Shield’s challenge. Big E said they accepted because “Smackdown Rocks! Smackdown Rock!” Everyone clapped and chanted together.

(Keller’s Analysis: In part, I applaud WWE for going all-in on the idea that Raw and Smackdown are teams of wrestlers who have collective pride. This was a show of solidarity, other than Owens and Sami, who were great here. That said, there was a lot of uncool dorkiness there. In fact, Owens and Sami were the only two spared. I just don’t think it does, for instance, Baron Corbin any good to be seen as someone who gives a rat’s ass about pride in the brand and his “colleagues” having their confidence that collectively they’re the A-brand established.)


Got comments or questions about Smackdown? Be sure to send them to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com during the show and we might read them on tonight’s taping of the Post-Smackdown edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One with ProWrestling.net’s Jake Barnett.


-Phillips introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd.

-Daniel Bryan came out to his music. They replayed the Kane attack. Back live, Bryan said he should have known better than to think Raw was interested in making peace. He said Smackdown doesn’t stay down. “You knock us down, we come right back up and hit you twice as hard.” He said that’s why Raw is afraid and why they added Triple H to their Survivor Series team. Boos from the crowd. He said they’re not only afraid, they’re embarrassed because Smackdown ransacked Raw. He said he didn’t agree with that tactic. He said he knows how vindictive Stephanie McMahon is, and he suspects they will counter-attack. He said they aren’t afraid and they will be ready. He said he bleeds Team Blue because he is proud of this show and proud of their performers and every single person’s heart. He said on Sunday, they’ll prove Smackdown Live is a far better show and they have far better performers than Monday Night Raw. Bryan said a lot can change in a week, such as Smackdown adding John Cena. And also a new WWE Champion. He introduced A.J. Styles.

Styles came out to his music. The announcers talked about Styles facing Brock Lesnar on Sunday. He absorbed a sustained “A.J. Styles!” chant. Styles smiled. Bryan said on Smackdown they like to treat their champions just as good if not better than the champions on Raw, so over on Raw, their “Champion of the Universe” has his own personal advocate for Survivor Series. He asked Styles if he wants his own personal advocate. Styles looked at Bryan and asked, off mic, “Are you saying you?” The crowd chanted “Yes!” Styles said yes. Bryan then imitated Paul Heyman: “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Daniel Bryan, and I am the advocate for the reigning, undisputed WWE Champion of the World, the Phenomenal A.J. Styles!”

Bryan said he agreed with Heyman’s first four points, but not point F5 where he said Lesnar would dominate Styles. He said he understands why he’d think that, though, because Lesnar is big and strong. He said, however, Lesnar has a tendency to quit. “Just like he quit WWE years ago,” he said. “Just like he quit to a half-assed knee-bar on a UFC show.” The crowd “oohed.” He said anytime Lesnar is in trouble and gets uncomfortable or pushed into deep water, Lesnar quits. He said Styles will push Lesnar into deep waters. He said he can go about ten minutes, but then you start to drain and, when Lesnar gets tired, he will mentally quit. He made the case that Lesnar is big and strong, but Lesnar cannot go on and on and all night long and keep up with Styles. He said the real fifth reason to tune in on Sunday is to see a 6-3, 285 pound beast mentally beaten, mentally victimized, and mentally conquered by the best in-ring performer of this generation, A.J. Styles.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good crescendo, and I loved the triple construction at the end like Heyman does. Bryan doesn’t get to cut promos like that much anymore, so I suspect that felt good – or maybe hurt a little since he was doing it for someone else. In any case, good comeback from Heyman’s promo, and I really liked that he made a sports-like case for why Styles can beat Lesnar.)

Styles said he can talk because he’s not a puppet like Lesnar. Bryan smiled and nodded. The fans “oohed.” He said fatigue does make quitters of us all, and it may have Lesnar quitting this Sunday. He said he also agrees with Heyman that he is the underdog and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He said this isn’t a Rocky movie, it’s an A.J. Styles Production. He said he will find a way at Survivor Series to beat Lesnar and he will prove that Smackdown Live is the A-show and is the House that A.J. Styles Built.

(Keller’s Analysis: Shorter, but really good mic work there from Styles. WWE should just get behind him more and ride him for his remaining years as a top level performer in the ring.)

-The announcers hyped Natalya vs. Charlotte and Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara. [c]

(Keller’s Analysis: They went 18 minutes before the first break. That’s longer than usual.)


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-Backstage the camera was following Styles when he happened upon Jinder Mahal. He snarled and said after Lesnar rips him apart limb by limb, he will take back what is his. Styles laughed him off and brushed his shoulder as he passed.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was a good way to have Jinder address the loss, but also not take focus off of Styles-Lesnar for now. From a production standpoint, I’d still rather have the camera following Jinder to find Styles, rather than happening to be shooting Styles when Jinder showed up.)

(1) BARON CORBIN vs. SIN CARA – U.S. Title match

They did formal ring introductions for the title match. Sin Cara threw a flurry of rapid-fire offense at Corbin. Corbin bailed out seconds into the match. They cut to a break, but stuck with the action on split screen. [c]

Corbin took over during the break at ringside and threw Sin Cara into the security barricade a few times. Back in the ring he continued to dominate. The announcers talked about who they’d rather represent Smackdown against The Miz. Saxton said Corbin, as much as he doesn’t like him, has had sustained dominance. Sin Cara made a comeback and flew through the ropes and knocked Corbin into the barricade. Back in the ring Sin Cara landed a cross body for a two count. Corbin whipped Sin Cara into the corner, but Sin Cara ducked. Corbin slid under the ropes and then came back and hit a Deep Six for a convincing near fall. A minute later Corbin stopped a Sin Cara rally and hit End of Days for the win.

WINNER: Corbin 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Basic but decent match, and a good strong win for Corbin going into Survivor Series. It would have been disappointing if Miz faced Sin Cara as there’s just no time to build interest or any personal issue. Crowd reaction for the Miz vs. Corbin match will be something to watch.)

-The announcers hyped Sami & Owens vs. New Day. [c]

-They showed members of the Charlotte Hornets in the front row including Dwight Howard who showed a lot of enthusiasm.

-A video recap aired of the Raw-Smackdown saga in recent weeks.

-They went backstage to Bryan on his phone (stop it, WWE!). Shane walked in and said it’s great to have him back. Shane said on behalf of the Smackdown roster, he thanks him for his support. Shane said he is stressing cohesion with everyone. Bryan said after Sunday, speaking of cohesion, they need to have a talk after Survivor Series. Shane asked what for. Bryan said he didn’t consult with him before “the raid.” He said because of him, when he tried to make peace, he got chokeslammed for his troubles. Bryan said he’d see him on Sunday, but didn’t want to hear more from Shane now, and walked off.

-Charlotte made her ring entrance. [c]

(2) NATALYA vs. CHARLOTTE – Women’s Championship match

Charlotte went for a quick schoolgirl for a near fall. They locked up and Charlotte pushed Natalya into the corner. Charlotte pounded on Natalya with forearms and then at ringside threw her aggressively into the ringside barrier. Graves said it’s good to be aggressive, but Charlotte needs to be careful because a DQ does her no good. She went for the cover in the ring quickly and aggressively and Natalya kicked out (well, Charlotte more or less rolled off of Natalya as if Natalya kicked out). Charlotte gave Natalya a boot, and Natalya rolled out of the ring to avoid another cover. Charlotte slide kicked her. They cut to a break. [c]

(Keller’s Analysis: That was really spirited and intense opening couple minutes. Good stuff. It made the match and title seem really important to Charlotte and I doubt many people turned the channel as a result.)

Back live, Natalya had Charlotte in a surf board. Then she gave Charlotte a discus clothesline for a two count. Charlotte came back with a spear. Graves attributed Charlotte’s energy to a hometown advantage having her more amped up than usual. When she went for the figure-four, Natalya kicked her into the turnbuckle. Natalya set up a sharpshooter, but Charlotte slapped Natalya to break free and then rolled up Natalya for a two count. Charlotte overhead-suplexed Natalya into the corner. When Natalya bailed out to ringside, Charlotte kicked her. She set up a moonsault off the ringside barrier, but Natalya grabbed her and powered her back-first into the ringpost. Graves said Charlotte took an unnecessary risk. He said Natalya just needed to get Charlotte into the ring and cover her. She instead slapped Charlotte at ringside first. Natalya then put Charlotte in the sharpshooter mid-ring. Charlotte cried out in agony. She crawled toward the bottom rope, but Natalya dragged her back. On a second try, Charlotte reached the rope. Natalya stayed aggressive, but the ref pushed her back. Charlotte then caught her with a big boot and applied the Figure-Eight for the tapout win.

WINNER: Charlotte in 12:00 to capture the WWE Smackdown Women’s Title.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was among the better woman matches on a regular WWE TV show in recent times. Glad to see Charlotte get a win in her hometown, perhaps further indication WWE has stopped the petty policy of having wrestlers lose in their hometowns. This was the right move for business, and Natalya I suspect is proud of the quality of match more than she’s disappointed to lose the belt.)

[HOUR TWO]

-Renee Young interviewed Charlotte who gave a tearful interview about how this belt is everything to her. She said every day she works for this belt and it took her longer to get it back than she anticipated. She said it’s great to do it in her hometown. She said this Sunday she’ll walk into Survivor Series and make Alexa Bliss bow down to the Queen. She said there was a Queen of Raw before the Goddess, and she will win for Team Blue. She said most importantly, all of them know that her dad for the last couple months “had a really hard time.” She choked up as she said she knows fans have seen the ups and downs. She said her dad couldn’t be there tonight, but she knows he’s watching at home like he does every Tuesday. She said she knows she’ll get to the back and see a text message congratulating her. She said this was for him.

As Charlotte made her way to the back, Ric Flair’s music played. He walked out onto the stage. The crowd popped. Charlotte ran into his arms. They hugged and cried.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was a cool moment that not long ago I thought was unlikely given the grave condition Flair was in. I do think, in retrospect, Michael Cole shouldn’t have said on Raw last night that he saw Ric backstage and he looked great. It kind of hinted that Flair would surprise Charlotte tonight, because it’s not believable he’d be at Raw in Atlanta but not make it to Charlotte for Smackdown.)

-They showed the Usos and then Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable. [c]

-Another Bludgeon Brothers vignette aired. They said their purpose is obliterate everyone.

(Keller’s Analysis: This still feels too overproduced with all of the camera angles and obvious post-production to make it all work. Normally it’s not a big deal for these, but the Bludgeon Brothers gimmick seems to contradict the idea they’d cooperate for a multi-camera shoot. Why not have Phillips say WWE sent cameras into the woods on a mysterious invite from two WWE wrestlers who have been off TV for a while, but had a story to tell. Then shoot it with a single camera documentary-style and create a sense of realism that they’re living out there in the woods and have legitimately remade themselves.)

-The Usos walked to the ring and cut a promo about facing Cesaro & Sheamus at Survivor Series.

(3) CHAD GABLE (w/Shelton Benjamin) vs. JIMMY USO (w/Jey Uso)

Uso popped Gable in the chin, knocking Gable to the floor in the opening seconds. He went after him, headbutted him, and threw him back into the ring. When Shelton distracted Jimmy, Gable went after Uso’s knee. He stomped away at him in the corner and then scored a two count. They went to a commercial but stayed with the action on a split screen. [c]

Gable worked over Uso’s knee the whole time. The announcers, back live, said this could cost the Usos on Sunday. They said they might have made a mistake demanding this match tonight. Gable climbed to the top rope and went for a moonsault, but Uso moved out of Gable’s path. Gable landed on his feet, but Uso rallied and landed a Samoan Drop. Gable came back and threw Jimmy throat-first into the middle rope. Gable went after him at ringside and threw him right back in. Phillips said Gable has been ruthless. When Jey had a few words for him, Gable shoved him and ran into the ring. When Shelton went after Jey, Jimmy surprised a distracted Gable with a kick and scored the pin.

WINNER: Uso in 7:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good action. Either they’re doing a really bad job promoting Gable & Benjamin as babyfaces, or they’re moving toward then turning heel. Even the commentators seem to be neutral at most if not leaning a bit toward pointing out the Usos’ fighting spirit and siding against Gable & Benjamin’s approach.)

-They went backstage to Sami when Owens walked up to him. Owens asked what’s wrong. Sami said they’re not on Survivor Series. Owens said it’s because Shane has a vendetta against him. Sami said New Day is a circus act, playing a trombone and feeding people cereal. Owens said no one is better than them. He said the only show that matters is the Sami and Kevin Show. Sami said, “You mean the Kevin & Sami Show.” Sami put on his hat.

-The New Day made their ring entrance. Graves talked about their match against The Shield on Sunday. New Day then cut a promo about The Shield. They said that The Shield, between the three of them, have 13 title reigns. But between the three of them, they have at least 27. “Most of them are Kofi,” Xavier said. Kofi agreed. Kofi wondered why anyone would want to be referred to as a dog, who eat their own poop. Big E said it’s disgusting. Kofi said unicorns, by contrast, are mythical, mysterious, and bring magic onto this Earth. He said they know they can trust each other 100 percent, unlike The Shield. He said they already turned their backs on each other in the past. Xavier said everybody knows the only reason The Shield are together is it’s cuffing season. Big E said for those not on Black Twitter, Xavier would explain it. He said when it gets cold, you get together with your ex and cuddle up until it gets warm again. Big E said they would never betray each other because New Day Rocks. [c]

(4) SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS vs. THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Big E w/Kofi Kingston)

Phillips talked about this as a big first-time ever main event tag match. They cut to a pretty early break. [c]

(Keller’s Analysis: This does not feel like a main event level match for Smackdown. It’s quite apparently a match to fill some time before The Shield show up to get some revenge on New Day for last week. There was some talk early in the show about Raw making a statement tonight, but it seems the announcers forgot entirely about that, apparently, as there was no talk about it. I get why they didn’t, because it take away the surprise aspect for viewers watching, but it does make them seem a little easily distracted or forgettable or just complicit in lowering everyone’s guard.)

Owens had his obligatory long mid-match chinlock on Xavier. Eventually Xavier hot-tagged Big E in and tossed Sami around, including a belly-to-belly. Big E landed his running splash, then led the crowd in claps. When Owens interfered, Big E threw him to the floor. Xavier then flip dove onto him at ringside. As Big E celebrated, The Shield’s music began. Cheers from the crowd. They all knew where to look, and out walked The Shield in half red-Raw t-shirts and half-Shield t-shirts. Graves said it looks like there’s a counter-insurgency going on. They marched toward the ring with ten minutes left in the show.

WINNERS: No decision.

Owens and Sami stood next to New Day, but then rolled out of the ring. The Shield attacked New Day. Out came the Usos. There was a brief staredown between the Usos and Reigns. Next, Sheamus and Cesaro ran into the ring from the crowd.

They cut backstage to the Raw women’s team and they attacked the Smackdown women in the locker room. The camera followed them in, which could have been awkward if this was all real and unplanned. The Raw fivesome surrounded Charlotte. Alexa Bliss then showed up and slapped Charlotte.

Back to the ring, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Titus O’Neal, and Apollo Crews joined in the brawl in red t-shirts. Shane McMahon charged to the ring with Corbin, Roode, Dolph Ziggler, and Shinsuke Nakamura. The Hype Bros joined in the fight. Kurt Angle stepped onto the stage and out walked Braun Strowman. Graves said the rest don’t stand a chance. He entered the ring and tossed out Nakamura. Shane went after Braun with his punches. Braun brushed them off and knocked him down. Braun threw Ziggler into the ringside barricade. In the ring The Shield held Shane against the ropes and Joe yelled at him from ringside. Shane tried to fight back, but The Shield overwhelmed him. Graves said Shane has only himself to blame having started all of this. Joe bashed Big E with remnants of Xavier’s trombone.

Angle approached the ring and entered as The Shield held Shane. Angle took satisfaction and grabbed Shane’s face and asked how it felt. He told him if he thinks this feels bad, wait until Sunday. Angle did a thumbs up, and then a thumbs down. The Shield then gave Shane their triple powerbomb. Angle then gave Shane an Angle Slam. After more time passed, The Shield delivered another triple powerbomb. Did they just have more time to fill? Graves said if this is the scene on Sunday, Smackdown could become the C-show. The Raw wrestlers stood together on the stage as the Raw theme song played and the show ended.


Got comments or questions about Smackdown? Be sure to send them to wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com during the show and we might read them on tonight’s taping of the Post-Smackdown edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast on Podcast One with ProWrestling.net’s Jake Barnett.

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