KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 22, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Check out the LIVE post-show after Smackdown ends with Wade Keller & Mike Chiari of Ring Rust Radio. Be a live caller (347-215-8558) or stream the show HERE. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-The announcers introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. They hyped the first-ever singles match between Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy, plus Shinsuke Nakamura reveals the stipulation for the title match he gets against A.J. Styles at Money in the Bank.
-Miz TV: Miz asked, “How about those Cleveland Cavaliers?!” Then he plugged his new reality TV show, “Miz and Missus,” and got the crowd to chant it. Then he mocked them for chanting it. Then he introduced New Day. Saxton was happy that New Day were Miz’s guests.
Miz asked them “who” would be the entrant in the MITB match. They started saying “Who? Who? Who?” Miz said he walked right into that one. He asked “which” would enter. They all said, “Which? Which? Which?” Then at the count of three they said it’d be them. Miz said they’re held back by being in a group. Xavier Woods began listing Miz’s resume highlights and called him a “living legend.” Miz stood and appreciated the comments. Xavier then said throughout Miz entire life, he always makes sure Miz comes first, and that’s something people don’t like about him. Miz said Kofi has been in six MITB matches and hasn’t won a single one, so maybe it’s time to give someone else a chance.
Miz addressed Big E and said he has size and an undeniable “it factor” and everything it takes to be champion. “You’ll never be taken seriously because you don’t take yourself seriously,” he said. He said Xavier takes himself seriously because he has a YouTube empire with 1.5 million subscribers with “Up Up Down Down” which he built from the ground up.
Xavier said he thinks it should be “E” in the match. Big E said, “Or Kofi.” And Kofi said, “Or Xavier.” Miz interrupted as they began talking amongst themselves of the pros and cons. He went into a rage and said he’s sick of their games. He said he can beat any of them any day of the week. New Day stood and huddled up. Miz tried to listen in. Kofi said he pretty much made the decision for them. He said it’ll be Big E. Miz said he had an exclusive. Xavier stood up and said Miz is mistaken. He said they’ve shifted to talking about tonight, not MITB. Miz asked if they want to see Big E vs. Miz right now. The crowd chanted “Yes!” Miz said no and said he’d see them at MITB because if he doesn’t get what he wants (a straight answer), they don’t get what they want (a match at Smackdown). New Day began chanting “Shame!” at Miz. The crowd joined in. Xavier threw a pancake at him. Kofi and Big E followed with a barrage of pancakes. Miz fled. Graves said that is no way to treat an A-lister.
-Backstage Miz bumped into Paige who told him that she gets it – not everyone likes pancakes. She said he claimed he could beat ay member of New Day any day of the week, “So go do it, right now.” [c]
(1) THE MIZ vs. BIG E (w/Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods)
Xavier and Kofi joined in commentary. Phillips asked Xavier why he won’t say which of them will be in the MITB match. Xavier said it would make no sense to give away that strategy. Big E overpowered Miz early and big splashed him on the edge of the ring apron. Xavier and Kofi stood up and squirted syrup in Big E’s mouth and then he spit it out into a bucket. Then they added some Vaseline to under his eyes. Miz slapped Big E at ringside and yanked him off the ring apron to take control. He threw him into the ringside barrier next as they cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen and Miz remained on offense including a chinlock and a sleeper. Graves tried to get Kofi to reveal which of them will be in the MITB match. Kofi called him a “wedge driver” and not to be one. Big E made a comeback and hit another running splash as Xavier played the trombone. Miz rolled out of the ring. A minute later Big E hit a one-armed slam for near fall. The crowd popped for the kickout. Miz and Big E eventually collided mid-ring with simultaneous clotheslines. Sheamus and Cesaro ran out and attacked Xavier from behind. Kofi launched off the ringside steps and then onto and off of Cesaro’s shoulder to dive onto Sheamus. A minute later The Bar, though, took him down with a Brogue Kick. Miz then hit a distracted Big E with the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER: Miz in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cool spot with Kofi off of Cesaro’s shoulder. The match solid for a TV match, but nothing memorable. New Day not revealing which of them will be in the MITB match makes sense as both a hook and also as a way for New Day storyline-wise to not give their opponents advanced notice.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Graves complained about Paige making the decision to book Bryan vs. Hardy since both already had their chance. They commented on a clip of Bryan attacking Big Cass last week including targeting his leg with a heel hook. Phillips said Cass isn’t medically cleared as he continued to wrestle on the European tour but ended up reinjuring his left knee. They showed Cass on crutches backstage. Phillips then read Paige’s tweet with the Bryan vs. Hardy match and winner facing Samoa Joe next week to win a slot in the MITB ladder match.
-They cut to Bryan warming up backstage. Dasha Fuentes came up to Bryan and asked what the second chance means to him. Bryan said it means everything to him, and no one knows what seconds chances mean more than he does. He said last week he showed Big Cass that if you kick a hornet’s nest, no matter how tall you are, you’re going to get stung. He said Jeff Hardy is a legend and a revolutionary in the ring and a very very very very very difficult mountain to climb, but he loves a good challenge. “Tonight, I will tap a legend out.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Good Bryan promo putting over Hardy and also talking with enthusiasm about what this opportunity means.)
-They showed Lana admiring herself in a mirror as Graves plugged her match against Billie Kaye next in a MITB qualifying match. [c]
-Aiden English walked onto the stage and sang, “Lana is the best, Lana’s number one!” The crowd sang it on request. Then out came Lana, dancing to the ring to her music. She has quite the singlet. They showed Rusev wishing his wife luck on Twitter, where he said, “Smackdown will be Rusev Day today when my beautiful wife Lana defeats the Australian lady with weird accent. Then she wins MITB and it’s historic Rusev Day.” Byron said Rusev is in Bulgaria tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting to see Lana and English framed here as babyfaces opposite of the clearly-heel IIconics.)
(2) LANA (w/Aiden English) vs. BILLIE KAY (w/Peyton Royce)
On their way to the ring, The IIconics said this occasion calls for a duet. Fans chanted “Rusev Day!” to delay the duet. Then they sang badly out of tune. The crowd booed. As the bell rang, English revealed a big “Lana Day” sign. The IIconics were upset. Kay slapped English in the face. Lana attacked Kaye and threw her into the barricade. Kaye attacked Lana and threw her into the ring. Lana met her with a jump roundkick to the side of the head, then a sitout face-plant for the win. The crowd chanted “Lana Day!” as she celebrated.
WINNER: Lana in well under 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: It sure looks like WWE is finally embracing Rusev Day as a babyface act. They went from Lana calling English the reason Rusev wasn’t succeeding to having English embrace her and be presented as her head cheerleader as Lana plays to the fans. Good decision.)
-A backstage promo aired with Zelina Vega and Andrade Cien Almas. She complained that he didn’t get the welcome he deserved last week, so they’ll just take what he deserves.
(3) ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS (w/Zelina Vega) vs. UNNAMED JOBBER
The announcers talked about Almas having expense tastes, and how winning will continue to afford him the luxury of living that lifestyle. Almas stomped away at the Unnamed Jobber from the start. Almas cut off a brief comeback attempt by “his opponent,” as Phillips repeatedly called him, with a spinning elbow. Almas finished him with his hammerlock DDT.
WINNER: Almas in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s a little silly when they don’t name the opponent and have to talk circles around it the whole match. Squash matches remain a valuable part of introducing new acts.)
-They went to a close-up of the Asuka mask backstage. Carmella was revealed to be behind hit. Fuentes asked how she deals with someone as dominant as Asuka. Carmella called Dasha a hater, waiting for her to slip and fall. She said everyone else is afraid of Asuka, but she’s not. She said Charlotte Flair ended the myth of Asuka, and she beat Charlotte twice, so it’s simple math. She said she’s twice as good as Asuka. She said she sees through all of it and Asuka should be afraid of her. She said she’ll moon walk all over Asuka and prove that ‘Mella is Money. Graves said you can’t argue with that math. [c]
-A.J. Styles made his ring entrance as Graves gave him his due. Byron said Styles is anxious to find out what Nakamura’s stip is so he can begin to prepare for it. Fans chanted “A.J. Styles!” Then Renee Young introduced Nakamura. Styles interrupted Renee’s question and told Nakamura to get to it and reveal the stip. He took out his mouthpiece and pointed at the big screen to remind everyone why he gets to pick the stip.
Styles said he remembers what happened last week and told him to enjoy it because it will never happen again. Nakamura told him to be quiet and listen to him carefully. He said he won’t just beat him, he will destroy him and he will never recover. He said his title will be his. “Your house is now my house,” he said. Styles again told Nakamura to reveal it. Nakamura stalled some more, then said it will be a Pillow Fight. He broke out laughing. Styles asked, “Did you just say pillow fight?” Nakamura cracked up at his own joke like Stefon on Saturday Night Live. He said he looks into Styles’s eyes and all he wants to do is deliver a knee to his face. He said it over and over.
Styles said he cannot beat him on an even playing field and he’s not the Shinsuke Nakamura that they all wanted on Smackdown. Nakamura tried to punch Styles, but Styles blocked it and then attacked Nakamura. He brawled with him into the crowd and back to ringside. Graves said they still haven’t found out what the stip is. When Styles launched off the ringside barrier, Nakamura knocked him out of mid-air with a swing of a chair. Nakamura dropped Styles onto the announce table twice and then struck with the Kinsasha. Graves said Nakamura might have Styles’s number now. Nakamura counted to ten and Styles didn’t get up. He then stood on the announce desk and revealed the stip will be a Last Man Standing match. Not sure most of the crowd understood what he said or they just aren’t happy about the stip as there wasn’t much of a reaction.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’ve done a good job shifting Nakamura away from laugh lines and to being a more irritating, vicious heel.) [c]
-WWE Fact: Dolph Ziggler won three conference championships at Kent State University and has a record 121 victories, plus he has a degree in political science.
-Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows stood in the ring with the Usos before their match and said they respect them, but they blew their chance against the Bludgeon Brothers already. They said they’ll be taking their rightful spot atop the Smackdown Tag Team Division. Jey yanked the mic away from Anderson mid-sentence and said it’s not Japan or Monday Night Raw, it’s Smackdown Live where the Usos reside. “Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary.” Anderson said he doesn’t “see no wardens.”
(4) LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON vs. THE USOS
The Usos went on early offense and they cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split screen. [c]
When the break ended, Anderson was in control against Jey. Graves said winning the match and getting to face the Bludgeon Brothers is hardly a reward and is more of a ticket to armageddon. He said he’s intrigued by seeing Gallows against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Gallows got tagged in and charged in the corner, but Jey moved. The Usos then delivered stereo boots and a big splash for a near fall. A minute later, though, Gallows & Anderson scored a clean win with the Magic Killer.
WINNERS: Anderson & Gallows in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Big win for Anderson & Gallows. They’ve been so marginalized so often, though, I wonder if this just does more to harm the Usos than it does give a boost Anderson & Gallows.)
-The announcer recapped the Styles-Nakamura angle.
-Naomi made her ring entrance. [c]
(5) NAOMI vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Mandy Rose)
Byron said Sonya must’ve lobbied Paige to get a second chance at a MITB slot. Graves said he’s against second chances and is highly critical of Paige’s decision-making. They showed Becky Lynch and then Charlotte Flair watching the match on a monitor backstage. Sonya controlled the middle of the match with some attempts at submissions on the mat. Naomi made a comeback They each went for leaping round kicks at the same time; Naomi’s landed. Then she won with a roll-up.
WINNER: Naomi in 5:00.
-Backstage Renee asked Hardy about facing Bryan. He said he is excited and gets chills thinking about this. He said it got his synapses fired up. He said he’s “taking flight!”
-Samoa Joe made his ring entrance. [c]
-The announcers said next week New Day would face The Bar & Miz.
(6) JEFF HARDY vs. DANIEL BRYAN
Joe joined the announcers on commentary. Joe said he’s beaten Bryan plenty of places around the world and he’d be more than happy to beat him next week again if Bryan wins here. They cut to a break after Hardy basement dropkicked Bryan and Bryan rolled to ringside to catch his breath. [c]
Back from the break, Bryan leaped off the ring apron, but Hardy ducked. Hardy then ran and leaped off the ring apron and landed a clothesline. Bryan landed some “Yes!” kicks with Hardy hanging upside down in the corner of the ring. Bryan went for a top rope suplex, but Hardy elbowed out of it. Hardy then landed a Whisper in the Wind. When he went for a Twist of Fate, Bryan escaped and dropkicked Hardy’s knee. The pace really picked up and went back and forth with near falls. Bryan went for a backslide, but Hardy blocked it and went for a Twist of Fate again. Bryan escaped and countered with a Dragon Screw and then a heel lock. Joe said that is deep. Hardy reached for the bottom rope and then tapped out when he was out of reach.
WINNER: Bryan in 12:00.
-After the match, Joe stood up and said, “Daniel! Daniel!” He entered the ring and said he fails to see what he’s celebrating because next week he has to face him. He dropped the mic and left to his music. Graves called it a colossal match on Smackdown next week.
-Then backstage Renee interviewed Joe. He said next week Bryan goes to sleep and said, “Yes, yes, yes.” Then they went back to Bryan celebrating in the ring leading a Yes! chant.
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