ELDER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018
LAFAYETTE, LA. AT CAJUNDROME
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-The show began in the darkened arena with an 11 bell salute in honor of those lost in the September 11th attacks. The crowd immediately began to chant “USA” as the salute ended.
-Tom Phillips welcomed viewers to Smackdown Live as Jeff Hardy entered the arena. Phillips hyped Hardy’s scheduled match against Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell. Hardy stood in the center of the ring and addressed the crowd. Hardy said that he had faced many demons in his life, and has faced them head on. Hardy said that while Orton may think that he will inflict pain on him, Orton hasn’t faced anyone who has been through hell like he has. Hardy said that while Randy Orton is a demon, he is a daredevil, and he has no fear. Hardy added that tonight he will cleanse a demon from his recent past, Shinsuke Nakamura. Hardy finished by saying “after that, I’m going straight to hell. Enjoy the show!”
-Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance as the announcing team discussed Hardy’s Hell in a Cell matchup against Randy Orton.
(1) JEFF HARDY vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Hardy took control of the match right from the bell and the action quickly spilled to the outside of the ring before they cut to their first commercial break. [c]
They returned from commercial break as Hardy was fighting to get out of a chokehold from Nakamura. Nakamura quickly regained control and continued to keep a slow pace as he applied another chokehold on Hardy. After catching Hardy with an enzuigiri, Nakamura attempted a running knee strike which Hardy blocked with a slingblade of his own. Hardy then hit Nakamura with a Whisper in the Wind and made his way to the top rope again. Nakamura knocked Hardy off the ropes and down to the outside of the ring as they cut to another commercial break with the action continuing in PIP. [c]
Nakamura continued to maintain control during much of the break but Hardy began a comeback just as they returned to full screen action. Nakamura immediately regained control, and with Hardy laying with his head thru the ropes, he delivered a stiff running knee on the apron. Back in the center of the ring, Hardy ducked two kicks from Nakamura and caught him with a Twist of Fate. Full of adrenaline, Hardy tore his shirt off and made his way to the top rope. Before he could finish Nakamura off, Randy Orton appeared out of nowhere and pushed Hardy off of the ropes.
Orton grabbed a chair from ringside and hit Hardy with it multiple times. Orton went for a RKO but Hardy avoided it and managed to execute a Twist of Fate on Orton. Hardy then grabbed the chair and got his revenge by hitting Orton multiple times. Hardy then landed a Swanton Bomb on Orton and stood in the center of the ring with an arm raised high which drew cheers from the crowd.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy by disqualification in 17:00.
(Elder’s analysis: Save for the finish, this was a rather dull opening matchup. Nakamura was just playing up his heelish persona with the repetitive chokeholds, which I understand, but the match itself really didn’t pick up any steam until the finish. However, the crowd seems to be rallying behind Hardy, and letting him get the upperhand on Orton felt like the right decision.)
-Following the match they announced that Brie Bella and Maryse would be squaring off in tonight’s main event.
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton welcomed Miz and Maryse but was quickly interrupted by Miz who insisted that his wife should come first. Braxton asked Maryse if she were ready for her match tonight against Brie Bella, which will be her first singles match in seven years. Maryse said that while it took three years for Daniel Bryan to come back, she was back just five months after giving birth. Maryse added that she is going to make her husband and daughter proud, and will show her daughter what its like to punch Brie Bella in the face. Braxton then questioned Miz about Daniel Bryan. Miz stated that Bryan stated that Bella & Bryan were just a marriage of convenience and added that Bryan can’t beat him. Miz ended by saying he will slap the taste out of his mouth and that it will be “awesome.”
-A graphic was shown announcing Charlotte Flair vs Sonya Deville scheduled for tonight, and Byron Saxton announced that A.J. Styles will be coming up next. [c]
-Back from commercial, the announcers threw to a recording of A.J. Styles that was recorded earlier in the day. Styles, sitting on the ring steps in an empty arena, spoke directly into the camera. Styles said that Joe knows his biggest weakness is his temper, and that he knows that talking about his family will trigger it. Styles added that after 20 years of friendship, that he knows a lot about Joe as well. He said he knows Joe has a family, but he would not mess with that because he has integrity, which is his strengh. Styles added that Joe’s strength is running his mouth, intimidation, and being a real piece of sh… a real piece of garbage. Styles added that when this bell rings, no one will have the upper hand on him, and at Hell in a Cell the talking stops and the intimidation ends. Styles finished by saying that at Hell in a Cell, he will show Joe how phenominal he really is because “this is the house that A.J. Styles built, and its not for rent, and damn sure isn’t for sale.”
(Elder’s Analysis: I enjoyed this rather unusual setting for this promo. It was well written and delivered rather genuinely. It didn’t sound too scripted. This was just enough for Style’s final speech before they meet at Hell in a Cell.)
-The announcers threw to footage of the discussion between Charlotte and Becky Lynch from Smackdown Live last week. Following the clip, Kayla Braxton was with Charlotte backstage. Kayla asked Charlotte why she requested a match against Sonya Deville, and Charlotte responded by saying that she thrives on competition. Charlotte added that she doesn’t just talk about it like Becky, she shows it in the ring. Charlotte finished by saying that Becky will learn that it is way easier to walk the walk than talk the talk, and she hopes her best friend will be watching tonight.
-Charlotte made her way down to the ring wearing a Connor’s Cure t-shirt which will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the foundation. [c]
-Back from commercial, the announcer’s threw to a video package of Braun Strowman’s recent challenge to Roman Reigns. The announcers then plugged Hell in a Cell and WWE Network.
-Sonya Deville made her way down to the ring accompanied by Mandy Rose.
(2) CHARLOTTE [c] vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/ Mandy Rose)
The competitors locked up quickly and went back and forth with some grappling holds as Corey Graves questioned if it were a good idea for Charlotte, as Deville is very skilled in that area.
Mandy rose attempted a distraction but it did not work. Deville missed with an elbow and Charlotte landed a big boot before they cut to a commercial break. [c]
Back from the break, Charlotte hit Deville with a belly to back suplex and followed with a series of chops. Carmella attempted a moonsault but was met with knees by Deville. Deville went for the pin but Charlotte kicked out at two. Deville then caught Charlotte in a triangle but Charlotte managed to power out of it. Charlotte then applied her figure-eight leg lock and Deville tapped almost immediately.
WINNER: Charlotte by submission in 9:00.
As Charlotte began to make her way up the entranceway, she was blindsided by someone in the front row of the crowd. After a whig and coat were tossed to the ground, the attacker was revealed to be Becky Lynch, who proceeded to hop the barrier and land a few more strikes on Charlotte. Becky then defiantly walked back up the ramp.
(Elder’s Analysis: Sonya Deville looks like a menace in the ring. They need to find a way to make her more of a compelling character, because her athletic ability is off the charts. I guess WWE is going to continue to try to force one of the most babyfaced characters in the company in Lynch into a heel role by repeatedly having her attack someone that is a natural heel who kinda deserves the attacks in the first place.Great! Well, at Hell in a Cell, it seems safe to say that the crowd will almost entirely be rooting for Becky Lynch, and WWE better not act surprised when it happens.)
-Samoa Joe was shown on the jumbotron sitting on stool and holding a book. Joe said that he had a bed time story for everyone, and began to read the book titled “Night Night A.J. by Samoa Joe.” With eerie music in the background, Joe continued to read the book as footage was shown of his recent attacks on Styles. Joe showed the last page of the book which simply said “The End” and pictured Samoa Joe with the WWE Heavyweight Championship belt next to A.J.’s wife and daughter.
(Elder’s analysis: Well, in context this made sense, and the rhyming passages of the book were really well written. However, if I take a step back and look at a mountain of a man reading a bed time story as a means to get into his competitor’s head, it really feels hokey. But, within the context of this feud, and the personal nature that it became, this actually really fit well, and didn’t seem too out of place. Again, I need to give credit to the writing here. So often we critize something for sounding tone-deaf, but this was solid writing here.)
-They showed Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella getting ready backstage as the announcers plugged Rusev Day vs. Sheamus & Cesaro for later tonight. [c]
-Returning from break, Kayla Braxton caught up to Becky Lynch backstage. Lynch said that she will break Charlotte’s arm after she takes the title from her at Hell in a Cell before she walked away.
-Back in the arena, Tom Phillips welcomed the New Day who were ringside at their own announcer’s table adorned with various pancake related props.
-Backstage Sheamus and Cesaro are seen in the background discussing a strategy for their upcoming match. Kofi Kingston then walked into the foreground wearing a blonde whig and announced himself as “Kramer Kingman.”
-Sheamus and Cesaro made their way to the ring. They shared some words with The New Day. Aiden English then came out to the stage and broke into a song as he introduced Rusev Day. [c]
(3) SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. RUSEV DAY (w/ Lana)
The show returned with the match already underway. Phillips announced that tonight is the 994th episode of Smackdown Live. Cesaro held Rusev in a chokehold as the New Day jokingly couldn’t come to a consensus on who they thought would win.
Big E was stirring pancake mix as he mentioned that Sheamus still had fight in him as he kicked out of a pin attempt by English. Sheamus & Cesaro isolated English in their corner and slowly wore him down as they cut to a commercial break. [c]
Returning from break, English reached Rusev for the hot tag. Rusev immediately went to work on Cesaro and applied the Accolayde which was broken up by Sheamus. The duo hit a double DDT on Rusev. Rusev caught Sheamus in a quick roll up but only reached a two count. Sheamus then caught Rusev with a big powerslam and reached a two count in a quick pin attempt.
Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick on Rusev, but English pushed his teammate aside and absorbed the kick himself. That left Rusev time to catch Sheamus with a Machka kick. Rusev covered Sheamus for the pinfall to earn Rusev Day a title shot against The New Day at Hell in a Cell. Lana then joined English and Rusev in the ring to celebrate before they exchanged some words with the New Day from ringside.
WINNER: Rusev Day via pinfall in 14:00.
(Elder’s analysis: What a redemption story for Aiden English. I was ready to write them off as a team on the brink of destruction, but English has worked his way back into the good graces of Rusev and Lana with some selfless teamwork. Rusev Day vs. New Day is a refreshingly different matchup for the Smackdown tag team titles.)
-With a video package shown, Phillips hyped the match between Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss set for Hell in a Cell.
-Carmella appeared on stage, soon followed by R Truth. Truth rapped the words to his entrance music as Carmella added the “what’s up” chorus as they cut to a commercial break. [c]
(4) R TRUTH (w/Carmella) vs. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS (w/Zelina Vega)
The match began quickly as the announcing team discussed how Truth managed to talk his way into the main event of Smackdown last week, and how he has continued to get better with time. Some back and forth action continued until Truth missed Almas with a scissor kick. Almas jumped into the ropes for his tranquillo pose, and was soon joined by Vega who struck the pose immediately under Almas. Carmella ran over and pulled Vega down which distracted Almas. Truth went to capitalize but Almas reversed and rolled Truth up for the three count.
WINNER: Almas via pinfall in 4:00.
(Elder’s analysis: It’s nice to see Truth getting some TV time after being out so long with injury. It is an interesting pairing between Truth and Carmella, who has been a full fledged heel for quite some time. Still, while this is likely a short term pairing, it seems to be working. But are we supposed to just forget that Carmella was an obnoxious heel as recently as a few weeks?)
-Kayla Braxton was backstage with Asuka. She asked Asuka why she helped Naomi last week. Before she could answer, Naomi appeared beside her and she took the time to thank Asuka for her help. Asuka added that because of The IIConic’s accents, she doesn’t understand them. She added that the Iiconic’s are fun to punch. Asuka and Naomi then went back and forth misunderstanding each other until they each reached the conclusion that they were both hungry and they walked off together.
-Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella came out to a solid positive reaction from the crowd. The crowd maintained a “yes” chant as they cut to commercial break. [c]
(5) BRIE BELLA (w/Daniel Bryan) vs. MARYSE (w/The Miz)
The match began with Maryse quickly retreating from the ring. Miz met her there with a kiss before Maryse went back into the ring. As Brie attempted to get close, Maryse retreated out of the ring once again. Brie grabbed the microphone and called Maryse a coward.
Miz, outside the ring on his own microphone, asked the crowd if they thought Maryse was a coward which garnered a strong “yes” chant. Miz continued to talk and proceeded to call off the match. Miz & Maryse began to make their way up the entrance way, but Bella caught up to her and dragged her back. Back in the ring, Brie caught Maryse in a Yes Lock. Before Maryse could tap, Miz grabbed Brie’s leg and pulled her clean out of the ring.
WINNER: Brie Bella via disqualification in 2:00.
Bryan immediately attacked Miz and threw him into the ring. Miz quickly got the upperhand and tossed Bryan out of the ring where he collided with Brie. Brie appeared injured, and Bryan rushed to her aide. Bryan called for help from backstage before he was blindsided by Miz. Miz then threw Bryan into the stairs and Maryse began pummeling Brie on the ground. Maryse then tossed Brie into the ring where Brie briefly got the upperhand when she pounced on Maryse before landing a few punches. Miz ran in to distract her, but Bryan quickly attacked him. Bryan landed some yes kicks in the corner before throwing Miz down in the center of the ring. Bryan could be heard yelling “Don’t touch my wife” at Miz as he demanded him to get up. When Miz did, he backed away from Bryan only to be punched by Brie. Bryan then clotheslined Miz out of the ring before he and Brie led the crowd in a thunderous “yes” chant. Miz & Maryse retreated as Bryan & Brie continued to lead the chant from the center of the ring as the show went off the air after one last promo for their mixed tag match at Hell in a Cell. [c]
(Elder’s Analysis: Well, I like what they did with this. It seemed like a lot to ask for Maryse to carry a main event one on one match just five months after giving birth, especially given that she wasn’t wrestling regularly before that either. So this segment played to everyone’s strengths. Daniel Bryan really sold his anger well when yelling at Miz. They brought this rivalry to the boiling point perfectly in time for their match at Hell in a Cell. This is exactly what I wanted leading into the ppv.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Solid episode. The final segment was a perfect send off leading up to Hell in a Cell. A.J. and Joe’s promos were well delivered. Jeff Hardy managing to get the better of Randy Orton multiple times now is an interesting way to play it before their match this Sunday. Hardy has proven to be much more resilient than Orton seemed to expect back when he was putting his finger thru Hardy’s ear. And finally, I am thrilled to see Rusev Day get a title shot. I really hope they pull the trigger on it. This team deserves a run as champs.