KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/6: Sami vs. KO for a right to face Styles, Shane takes issue with Bryan’s decision-making

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c)


FEBRUARY 6, 2018

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton


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-Phillips hyped that Sami Zayn would face Kevin Owens with the winner going on to face A.J. Styles for the WWE Championship at Fastlane. Phillips called it “the WWE Title.”

-They cut live to the ring where Shane McMahon stood. He welcomed Kansas City, Mo. to Smackdown. He said normally he’d be ecstatic about tonight’s main event, but the stakes are epic. He said he doesn’t think either KO or Sami are deserving of a WWE Title shot. He said Daniel Bryan does think they deserve another shot. Out came Bryan to his music. The crowd chanted “Yes! Yes!” Shane said Smackdown Live is the “land of opportunity” (which is a euphemism for bad decisions masked as some slogan by authority figures). Shane told Bryan their job is to give wresters opportunities they deserve. Shane said he doesn’t think he’s listening. A loud “Rusev Day!” chant rang out. Shane paused and said, “Duly noted.” He smiled and winked. (Well-handled.)

Shane said Bryan keeps giving the same two wrestlers opportunity after opportunity – Sami and KO. Bryan said in their last title opportunity, the referee made a mistake. He said he’s tried to turn a negative into a positive and make a “huge main event tonight where two of your least favorite Superstars would rip each other apart for an opportunity.” He said he thought Shane should give him a well-deserved pay raise. Shane said, “Let’s not get carried away.” The crowd chanted yes. Bryan improvised, “I hope that was duly noted as well.” (Funny! It’s amazing when genuine unscripted moments happen on WWE; it’s too rare.)

Shane said Bryan rewarded them with another opportunity. (He seemed a little slow here, since Bryan already explained their last opportunity was undone by a bad referee call.) Shane said this is very emotional for him, but Bryan has “changed the WWE landscape forever with the Yes Movement.” More “Yes!” chants. He said he had a similar career path as Sami and Kevin, but they’re not him. He said the “Yep Movement” is a cheap imitation of what Bryan created. He told Bryan that he doesn’t want those two to manipulate him anymore. He said he knows he feels for them, but he also knows that more than anything, he’d love to compete in the ring. “More than anything!” Shane emphasized. “But Daniel, what you’re doing…” Bryan interrupted him and asked him what he’s doing exactly. Shane paused and said, “I think it’s pretty plain to see, and I think everyone is seeing it. You are living vicariously through Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.” Crowd boos. A.J. Styles’s music played.

As Styles walked out, Phillips said it was an honest moment between Bryan and Shane. Graves said Shane’s words “stung badly.” Byron said Styles has to be frustrated with Bryan’s decisions. Styles talked about all the miles he’s travelled as WWE Champion. “I was put on this planet to be phenomenal,” he said. He can take the bumps and bruises and cancelled and delayed flights. “That was part of the grind, and I was built for the grind,” he said. “But what I can’t take is Smackdown Live management obsessing over Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.” He said he’s not just talking to Bryan, he’s also talking to Shane. He said the decisions they make affects him. He said he’s a fighting champion and he doesn’t care who wins tonight. He said this is “the House that A.J. Styles Built.” The crowd said it along with him. He asked Bryan and Shane to stay out of his way tonight because he can make his own luck. He said he’ll walk out of Fastlane and right into WrestleMania as Smackdown Champion. He left and his music played.

-New Day played with pancakes backstage as Big E looked at what the “Twitter Machine” was saying. (Bully Ray ran that “Twitter Machine” joke into the ground years ago, and it felt flat back then.) Big E said one person on Twitter asked whether Corey Graves has a better jab or left hook. (A reference to Booker T threatening Graves.) Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods said they’d see. (If this isn’t an angle, why is WWE allowing jokes about threats of physical street violence by one employee against another?)

-The announcers hyped Rusev challenging Bobby Roode for the U.S. Title.

-Soundbites aired with Mandy Rose and Goldust talking about the Mixed Match Challenge. Then Jimmy Uso and Naomi also cut a promo. [c]

-Styles was shown walking backstage when he came upon Shinsuke Nakamura. Shinsuke approached him and said he is going to beat him at WrestleMania. He smiled and walked away. Styles sighed.

(1) LIV MORGAN (w/Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott) vs. CHARLOTTE

They announcers commented on the Riott Squad triple-teaming Charlotte last week. Graves said Charlotte was being too prideful in asking for this match being so outnumbered. Saxton said the queen always has a plan. Charlotte aggressively went after Morgan at the start. The ref ordered Riott and Logan to move back. Morgan fell to ringside seconds into the match. Charlotte went right after her. [c]

They stayed with the action on split screen during the commercial during which Charlotte dominated. Morgan took advantage of a Ruby distraction and snapped Charlotte’s neck over the top rope. Charlotte eventually made a comeback and went for a moonsault, but Morgan yanked her off the ropes. Charlotte speared Morgan to take control. Logan stood on the ring apron and yelled at Charlotte. Charlotte knocked her down. Riott yanked Morgan to the other side of the ring to safety. The referee had enough and ordered them both to the back. Charlotte went after Morgan at ringside and threw her back into the ring. Morgan had recovered enough to go for a kick, but Charlotte ducked and then gave Morgan a big boot. Charlotte then applied the Figure-8 for the win. After the match Charlotte approached the announcers and said, “One down, two to go.”

WINNER: Charlotte in 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: This match would have benefited from the type of promos that Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt got on Raw last night before their match. Just some emotion to set the table.)

-Saxton threw to the Black History Month segment that aired with Roman Reigns and Mark Henry. [c]

-Renee Young knocked on Kevin Owens’ locker room door. Owen walked out with his armed crossed. She asked if his match against Sami will affect their friendship. Owens said that’s up to whether Sami can handle losing to him. The camera lingered on Renee as she contemplated what Owens said.

(2) THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. TWO JOBBERS

Luke tossed one guy around and then the other opponent dropped to the floor. Graves said he’s smart and maybe he can get a job at the Donut King. Rowan attacked the poor guy from the other side of ringside with a running body press. He then threw him into the ring. They stacked the jobbers against each other in the corner and then Harper launched Rowan into them with a splash in the corner. Harper then powerbombed one guy. They finished the other with their double crucifix bomb.

WINNERS: The Bludgeon Brothers in 2:30.

-After the match, the Usos walked out to their music with serious demeanors. They had a serious staredown. The Usos walked past the Bludgeon Brothers who picked up their sledgehammers and walked to the back. Byron said the Usos were scheduled to come out, but maybe they should have waited 30 more seconds.

-A commercial aired for WWE Shop with fans chanting “You Deserve It!” and they put those words on the screen over and over to indicate fans deserve to spend money on WWE merchandise. [c]

-The Usos stood mid-ring after the break. They said last week they explained what Day One Ish means, and this week they’re explaining what Locked Down means. They said they aren’t talking about getting booked and finger printed or orange jump suits and cold showers or “assume the position” and being part of a chain gang of sleeping on a slab of concrete. “Trust me, I know,” Uso said. They said “Locked Down” is a state of mind where they turn their mind into a prison and they run that prison. “Think about that!” Uso said. They said a lot of people around them are hungry for success, but they can’t eat until they say they can eat. They said if they’re thirsty, they can take a sip of the holy grail – holding up the WWE Smackdown Tag Team belts. They said 2017 was the year they went from rainbow colors to white and black. They said they went from “eh, they might be alright” to “match of the night.” They said no one can sleep until they say they can sleep. “It’s not paranoia, it’s the Usos.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Good stuff to build their character. They have more edge and a dark street toughness that isn’t found much in the WWE product.)

-Bryan presented the first-ever top ten list. He said it was compiled by the wrestlers only. Working backwards from 10: Tye Dillinger (eye-roll), Randy Orton, Becky Lynch, The Usos, The New Day, Bobby Roode, Naomi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Charlotte Flair, A.J. Styles.

(Keller’s Analysis: They ought to call that “names drawn out of a hat in random order ending and then the two champions.” This is already rather suspect in terms of having any sense of being based on anything.)

-Graves said he was surprised that Orton was back at nine, and how did New Day rank higher than the Usos, the current champs. “And where was Rusev?” he asked. Saxton said part of this list is a popularity contest. Phillips wondered what the reaction will be among the wrestlers.

-Backstage Big E rubbed pancakes over Xavier’s cheeks. Big E reacted to the ranking: “Six? That’s the percent change I’d give Corey Graves in a street fight.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Another reference to Booker’s threats.)

-A selfie video aired with Aiden English. He said wrestling takes place on a canvas because that’s where art takes place. He said Rusev is a very different animal. He showed Rusev workig out on weights. He said “Bob Roode” should prepare to lose his championship. [c]

-A commercial aired hyping a new “Ride Along” series along with “Photo Shoot,” NXT on Wednesdays, 205 Live on Tuesdays, and Elimination Chamber.

-Aiden called Kansas City stupid, then sang his introduction for Rusev from mid-ring. Then Rusev walked out. The fans chanted “Rusev Day!” and Rusev encouraged them.

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends.


-Roode made his full ring entrance.

(3) BOBBY ROODE (w/Aiden English) vs. RUSEV – U.S. Title match

Fans chanted “Rusev Day!” during ring introductions. Roode was cheered, too, but it was pretty muted. He hasn’t really built anything passionate in terms of crowd investment in him. They cut to an early break. [c]

Roode hit a blockbuster off the second rope for the first near fall of the match. Roode ducked a Rusev clothesline, but Rusev caught him seconds later and gave him a fallaway slam. Roode made a comeback a couple minutes later and hit a flying clothesline off the second rope. Roode played to the crowd as Rusev struggled to stand. AIden stood on the ring apron and distracted Roode. Rusev kicked Roode on the side of the head and scored a two count. Roode kicked out. They cut to another break, but stayed with the action on a split screen. [c]

Rusev landed a superplex during the break. He went for a backdrop after the break, but Roode countered with a Glorious DDT attempt. Rusev blocked it and kneed Roode. Roode fired right back with a spinebuster for a near fall. A “This is awesome” chant started, but ended quickly. Roode again knocked Aiden off the ring apron. Rusev surprised Roode with a small package for a two count. Roode kicked a charging Rusev. Rusev fired back with his signature kick. Both were slow to get up. They went into a series of reversals. Rusev went for the Accolade. Roode blocked it and hit the Glorious DDT for the clean win. Graves called it an incredible match-up and said you have to respect Rusev’s effort.

WINNER: Roode in 15:00.

-Orton charged into the ring and hit Roode with an RKO Out of Nowhere. Saxton said he didn’t understand that. He then gave Aiden an RKO. Then he yelled, “Come on! Come on!” Then Rusev took an RKO. “Anybody else?” asked Orton. Phillips asked why Orton chose to do this.

(Keller’s Analysis: …because he was upset at his low ranking among his peers and wanted to get their attention. Next week he’ll either be ranked higher or he’ll be off the list, depending on the story WWE wants to tell about how his colleagues react to his initiative he took to get attention and make a statement.)

-They went backstage where Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin pointed at pictures of other Smackdown tag teams. They pointed at Breezango and called them buffoons and then pointed at Ascension and said they’re clowns solving pretend mysteries. They said they’re trying to bring prestige back to the Smackdown Tag Team Division. Gable said if they have jokes, they have the punchlines They put words on the screen to accentuate what they were saying such as “Tag Destruction.”

(Keller’s Analysis: They weren’t going to drop the Batman “pow bang bam” stuff after just one week, despite massive pushback by fans over how STUPID it is. This was still stupid, but if this is them tapering off and saving face a little, so be it. I just hope it’s totally gone in three weeks.) [c]


When Gable took control, he said they’re jokes. Then Konnor recovered and surprised him with a flapjack. He tagged out to Viktor. Soon, though, Gable and Benjamin took over and scored the clean win. After the match, Graves said this was about as motivated as he’s seen Konnor and Viktor in quite some time.

WINNERS: Gable & Benjamin in 7:00.

-They cut backstage to New Day reading a question about who wins the main event. Kofi said he doesn’t care. Xavier said he hopes they fight forever. Someone on Twitter asked who would rank the highest if they were ranked individually. Xavier said the smartest would be on top and Big E said the strongest would be. Then Big E and Xavier said there’s only one option – Kofi – because of his decorated history as a champion in WWE. Kofi said if he had just one vote, he’d break it in half and give it to each of them.

-The announcers talked about a graphic showing wrestler responding to their rankings. Tye was grateful. Charlotte said she’s coming for Styles’s top spot. Shinsuke said no. 3 is good, but no. 1 is better. Becky said she’ll always be “under-eighted.”

-Renee interviewed Sami backstage. He said he feels tonight is his opportunity to step out from KO’s shadow. He said KO has won all the championships. He said that’s fine because they’re best friends, but they have fought each other more than anybody, and he knows what he’s capable. He said Kevin will stop at nothing to beat him, win the title, and headline WrestleMania. “But then again, neither will I,” he said.

-Sami made his ring entrance. [c]

-They announced Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin next week.

(Keller’s Analysis: Talk about an anti-climactic return for Ziggler. In the Rumble, it’s largely ignored. Then he returned next week against Corbin and it’s a passing comment.)

-Styles joined the announcers on commentary.

JOIN US LIVE RIGHT AFTER SMACKDOWN: Call (347) 215-8558 as soon as Smackdown ends to participate. You can stream the show LIVE after Smackdown HERE even if you’re not planning to call.

OR… If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends.

(5) KEVIN OWENS vs. SAMI ZAYN – Winner Earns Title Shot against Styles

Styles said he’s not worried, he’s looking forward to fighting one of these guys. Owens and Sami mouthed off to each other and the fight intensified over the first few minutes. Owens bailed out. Sami knocked him off the ring apron with a forearm as he tried to get back into the ring. They cut to a break. [c]

Sami lifted his knees on a senton splash attempt off the top rope by Owens. Owens rolled to the floor. Sami went after him with his running dive through the ropes into a turning DDT. He nailed it. Back in the ring Owens surprised a charging Sami with a superkick. He quickly climbed to the top rope and landed a frog slash for a near fall. When Owens yelled he’s the one who wins titles, Sami countered a Pop-Up Powerbomb and landed a sudden Blue Thunder Bomb. Sami got in Styles’s face. Styles implored him to finish the match. Sami pushed Styles. Styles popped up and attacked Sami. Styles punched KO, also, who happened to be right behind Sami ready to pounce. Styles stomped away at Sami.


-When KO came up behind him, Styles turned and punched him. Styles hit a slingshot dive onto both KO and Sami. Bryan then came out and said he had an announcement. He said due to the superlative performance of KO and Sami, and because of Styles’s actions, both KO and Sami will compete against Styles at Fastlane in a Triple Threat match. Styles shook his head and threw his arms up. KO and Sami weren’t sure how they felt. The announcers discussed it. Graves called it the fairest decision he’s heard in quite some time.

JOIN US LIVE RIGHT AFTER SMACKDOWN: Call (347) 215-8558 as soon as Smackdown ends to participate. You can stream the show LIVE after Smackdown HERE even if you’re not planning to call.

OR… If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends.

1 Comment on KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/6: Sami vs. KO for a right to face Styles, Shane takes issue with Bryan’s decision-making

  1. Very lackluster tonight. A little better than Raw, but just slightly. Not enough wrestling, too much yapping. The digs at Corey Graves by the 3 stooges was just silly. The New Day has turned into a complete joke. What is likeable about them? They are just obnoxious.

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