KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 18, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jason from Australia to break down the show with live callers and the mailbag.
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-They opened with a 90 second video package on Becky Lynch’s Smackdown Women’s Title win at Hell in a Cell.
-Phillips said Becky’s official coronation will take place tonight and welcomed fans to Smackdown. Tulsa was shown on a graphic on the screen, but no mention by the announcers of the city by name.
-Miz TV: Miz’s music faded and then he absorbed some boos. “I’ll ignore your booing,” he said. He welcomed the fans to Miz TV. He said he has breaking news for everyone. The Super Show-down logo appeared on the screen, then images of Daniel Bryan and the Miz. It said the winner faces the WWE Champion. The announcers said, “Wow!” (Wasn’t this news weeks ago? Should announcers seem that completely out of the loop?) He said he is superior to Bryan. He said after beating Bryan, he’ll move on to something more deserving of his talent – facing either A.J. Styles or Samoa Joe. (Are they being intentionally ambiguous over whether the winner gets the title match that night? The language on the graphic and by Miz leaves that as a possible interpretation but also doesn’t lock it down by any specific language confirming it.)
Miz introduced his big guest – Maryse. Graves said it is the biggest get in the history of Miz TV. Saxton sarcastically said Miz must have had to undergo such hardship to get this guest. They showed freeze-frames of the HIAC mixed tag match. Graves called Miz and Maryse “the hardest hitting couple in WWE.” Miz asked Maryse how difficult it was to defeat Bryan’s wife compared to giving birth to the greatest baby in all of history. Maryse said it wasn’t difficult because she’s a far superior athlete and, besides, Brie’s heart doesn’t seem into it anymore. Miz said he doesn’t think Brie’s heart is into the relationship with Bryan anymore, either. Maryse said Brie only married Bryan so she could stay in the company. Miz told the crowd not to boo because they are speaking the truth. “It is a marriage of convenience, but it backfired on both of them because they came up against a real couple with real love and real talent,” Miz said.
Miz asked Maryse what’s next. She announced that this is her last night on Smackdown. Fans chanted “Yes!” briefly. Miz said she is leaving to go back and become “Mother of the Century.” He said she is a role model for every woman out there. When the booing continued, Miz got worked up and called for Bryan to come to the ring. He ripped off his jacket and threw it on the mat.
Bryan came out. He said Miz can talk about him all he wants, but when he talks about his wife, this is what he gets. He attacked Miz and dropkicked him into Maryse. Maryse went down in a heap. Bryan looked concerned. Miz went over to check on Maryse. Referee Charles Robinson called for help from the back. The crowd went silent for a bit. Medics came out and prepared a gurney. They were hamming it up in an over-the-top way. Maryse struggled to sit up on her own. Bryan bent over to check on her. Maryse began to snicker and then she stood up. Miz snuck up behind Miz and set up a Skull Crushing Finale, but Bryan fought it off with elbows. Miz charged at Bryan as Maryse held Bryan’s hair, but Bryan broke free and Miz bumped into Maryse. Bryan then clotheslined Miz over the top rope to the floor. He led “Yes!” chants. Saxton said it amazes him how low those two are willing to stoop.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was fine. Miz and Maryse were getting really personal in a way that led to strong heel vibes from the crowd. The angle afterward was fine, if not for the EMTs overdoing it with the panicked expressions and body language. It’s another example of a woman pretending something and it turns out it’s a ruse. Some of these writers have some issues they should work through in therapy, I think. As a way to heat up the Miz-Bryan match at Super Show-down, I suppose this worked well.)
-They showed New Day backstage. They looked to be on an Australian Safari, wearing outfits and carrying binoculars. Big E pet the hair of some man backstage, too. The announcers hyped Kofi Kingston would face Cesaro next. [c]
-Backstage Kayla Braxton interviewed Bryan who said Miz and Maryse staged an injury to get the slightest upper-hand on him, but at Super Shown-down, it’ll be one on one and he’ll punch Miz in the face and punch his ticket to a championship match.
(Keller’s Analysis: The writers continue to try to be too clever with the writing instead of letting wrestlers just cut promos. The punch him in the face/punch my ticket to a title match is just too cute by half and distracting. It sounds written, in other words. And that’s not what a wrestler whose worked up over being tricked and attacked would be naturally be saying. Maybe one or two wrestlers on the roster who are known for that kind of quick-wit or language construction could be written that way, but not everyone.)
(1) CESARO vs. KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods, Big E)
The New Day came out and threw pancakes to the crowd. Kofi said they proved on Sunday night “there’s room for only one Day here at Smackdown Live.” Big E did an Australian accent, and Kofi said it was bad and insulting. Big E said the IIconics said it was okay. Big E said Cesaro is the dominant member of the team because of his giant areoles. The Bar said New Day are a joke and then said they don’t just set the bar, they are The Bar. [c]
They cut to a break and the match began with the action on split-screen. Cesaro dominated. Back to full screen, Kofi came back with a victory roll. Cesaro hit an uppercut seconds later for a two count. Kofi flipped over the top rope onto Cesaro a minute later. Xavier yelled, “I don’t even know what that was, but is was so good!” Kofi hit the SOS back in the ring for a two count. Cesaro came back with an uppercut and a Neutralizer for the win.
WINNER: Cesaro in 9:00.
-Backstage Rusev and Lana were talking when Aiden English walked in. He said he has a great feeling about Rusev’s chances tonight even if things didn’t go well Sunday. Rusev said he is optimistic because English won’t be in the match. English went into community theater mode as he despondently said with a quiver in his voice, “You think Sunday was my fault? Come on man, I was doing my best.” Rusev said everyone has to pull their weight, and if that is his best, it isn’t good enough. Rusev walked away. English yelled at guy in headsets that everyone knows Rusev and Lana would be nothing without him. He said the success of Rusev Day was because of him and they’d be nothing without him. The guy on headsets pointed out that Lana was still standing behind him. Lana looked hurt. English went into apology mode. He said he’d do anything for her and Rusev and he didn’t mean any of that. Lana told him to stop because she was going to tell Rusev. English chased after her and told her not to.
(Keller’s Analysis: Rusev was kind of mean to English so it seemed he was the heel, but then English’s rant made him a heel, but then English felt so genuinely remorseful afterward and Lana so unforgiving that maybe he is supposed to be sympathetic after all. In reality I think it was a slightly clumsy heel turn for English, but one that leaves him seeming pathetic and not threatening at all. I hope they settle in on distinct role because it’s been ambiguous or bouncing back and forth way too long.) [c]
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Phillips said he understands there is a commotion in the production truck. They cut to the truck where everything was totally calm. Randy Orton walked up to a director operating the board and began to give him a shoulder massage. Orton told him to zoom in on Orton twisting Jeff Hardy’s ear with a screwdriver. He told the man he knows what happens if he doesn’t do what he says. The man said Orton was hurting him as he squeezed his shoulder. Orton asked if that makes him feel uneasy and sick to his stomach. Orton said what’s even more disturbing is that everything he’s done to Hardy will pale in comparison to what he does to his next victim. The man hyperventilated a bit as Orton admired the various monitors showing his attacks on Hardy.
Back to the announcers, Saxton said it is sick that Orton wants to watch that footage again. Graves said Orton is depraved. Phillips said Orton was “sick and malicious” at Hell in a Cell. Phillips pivoted to talking about the A.J. Styles-Samoa Joe match at HIAC. They commented on freeze-frames of the match. Graves said Joe has a legitimate claim as WWE Champion.
-Braxton interviewed Styles backstage. She asked if it has sunk in that he was a split second away from losing his title. Styles said the worst thing that could have happened is losing the title to Joe after all he did to his family. “Sometimes Lady Luck shines on you and the referee’s decision stands,” he said. “I know Joe feels Gypped and maybe he was or maybe it was karma.” He said Joe will get a rematch at Super Show-down where anything goes in Australia. He said he has to focus tonight on Andrade Cien Almas, though. Styles left and WWE stayed on Braxton who absorbed the weight of Styles’s comments.
(Keller’s Analysis: I do like the idea that Styles attributes his good fortune at the referee not seeing his tapout as “karma.” It gives fans a reason to take pleasure in Joe being upset with being robbed of a deserved victory and not feel sorry for him. It’s up to Joe to be such a bad sport about it or overreact in a heelish way to take away the rest of potential sympathy for him.)
-Shinsuke Nakamura’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-Phillips hyped the announcement about Crown Jewel and said it’s making headlines and creating a buzz. They showed a Sports Illustrated headline. Graves plugged the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman main event.
-Lana ran up to Rusev and tried to talk. Rusev said what she had to say must wait because he has to focus. He told English to lead the way. She tried again, but he insisted, “Later.”
(2) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. RUSEV (w/Lana, Aiden English)
Nakamura’s music faded as Graves said it’s a good thing Lana didn’t tell Rusev about English yet so his focus can be on Nakamura. English stepped onto the stage and introduced Rusev. Fans chanted “Rusev Day!” Phillips said: “This match is brought to you by Novartis.” Novartis is a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, so certainly Cesaro’s match should have been sponsored by them. Rusev dominated early. The whole match felt like it was filling time until something happened with English. There was no other purpose given for the match. Nakamura took over and scored a two count. [c]
Nakamura had Rusev in a chancery. English led the crowd in a “Rusev Day!” chant on the mic. Rusev made a comeback and showed some fire. He leaped and stomped the mat to set up the Machka Kick. Nakamura ducked and went for a spinning hook kick, but Rusev fired back with a high round kick to the side of Nakamura’s head for a two count. Lana eyed English leerily throughout. Rusev charged Nakamura in the corner, but Nakamura moved and then kicked Rusev in the back of his head. Nakamura put Rusev on the top rope and went for his running knee to the gut, but Rusev moved. Rusev tried to suplex Nakamura off the ring apron, but Nakamura blocked it. Nakamura hit a leaping knee to Rusev’s face, knocking him to the floor. He threw Rusev into the barricade and then back into the ring. Nakamura set up his signature Kinshasa, but Rusev blocked it with a Machka Kick. Both were down and slow to get up. Rusev stood first. English jumped on the ring apron and yelled for Rusev. Rusev asked him what he was doing. He told him to get down. Nakamura rolled up Rusev from behind for the three count.
WINNER: Nakamura in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Are fans supposed to blame English for that loss? Rusev showed a complete lack of discipline when he turned his back just to yell at English for cheering for him.)
-English attacked Rusev with the mic afterward as Lana looked on. English then sang, somewhat solemnly, “Happy Rusev Day!” He threw the mic down. Lana yelled at him to get out of the ring.
-They went to the announcers. Phillips said Lana was eventually going to tell Rusev about what English said. Graves said he was at a loss for words. That’s a little much. They went on to plug Becky’s celebration and Styles-Almas. Then Phillips plugged that Styles is on the cover of WWE 2K19. [c]
-Freeze-frames aired of the controversial finish of the Styles-Joe match at HIAC, with announcers noting that referee decisions are final.
(3) ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS (w/Zelina Vega) vs. A.J. STYLES
As Styles entered the ring, Phillips was plugging a charity auction for Conor’s Cure. Almas attacked Styles before the bell. Styles struggled to get to his feet and take off his ring jacket. The ref asked if he could go. Styles yelled yes. The bell rang. Andrade aggressively attacked him as the bell rang. Saxton said Styles’s pride might have gotten the best of him there. They cut to an early break with Almas in control. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen. Styles made a comeback as fans chanted for him. He hit a clothesline in the corner and then flying forearm. He kipped up and finally yanked off his t-shirt which he hadn’t had a chance to do yet. Styles set up a Styles Clash. Almas backdropped out of it and went for a quick moonsault. Styles lifted his knees and Almas sold injured ribs. Almas leaped off the top rope and stomped on Styles’s chest as Styles was nice enough to hold himself in position for the move as Almas took forever to set it up. Styles tried to make it seem natural, but that move is the dumbest in all of pro wrestling history. Maybe twice as dumb as the next-dumbest. As Styles crawled back up onto the ring apron, Almas delivered a running boot to knock him back to the floor. [c]
Styles made a comeback after the break with a running sliding knee on the ring apron and then a springboard forearm onto the back of Almas’s neck. He set up a Styles Clash next, but Almas grabbed the bottom rope. He then snapped Styles’s throat over the top rope and springboarded in with a dropkick. Then he hit running knees in the corner. Almas went for a hammerlock DDT, but Styles countered into a jackknife cover and then lifted Almas and applied a sudden Styles Clash for the win.
WINNER: Styles in 15:00.
-As Styles began to celebrate, Joe attacked him from behind. Joe yelled: “You know the truth. You will never be safe! You will never be safe!” Styles came back and threw Joe into the ringside steps. Joe raked his eyes. Joe went into the crowd. The director cut to the shot from the crowd before Joe even made a move for there which looked really really pre-orchestrated and phony. Joe retreated. Styles returned to the ring as Joe looked on from a distance. Styles held up his belt. Graves said Joe believes he is the rightful WWE Champion, not Styles.
-The announcers plugged the Joe-Styles rematch at Super Show-down.
-They showed Naomi and Asuka getting ready to come out for their match. [c]
-The IIconics stood in the ring and said Tulsa is the worst. Then they took some digs at Naomi and Asuka. Peyton Royce did a bad version of The Floss to mock Naomi’s dancing. Then Naomi’s music played.
(4) ASUKA vs. BILLY KAYE
Asuka dominated and scored a fast tapout win. Graves said the IIconics will be ready at Super Show-down even if Kaye wasn’t ready for Asuka tonight.
WINNER: Asuka in 2:00. [c]
-Becky Lynch entered the ring and Paige congratulated her and presented her with the WWE Smackdown Women’s Title. Fans chanted “You deserve it!” Becky said, “This is nice, isn’t it? This is nice.” She said it took two years, but she is back where she belongs. She said from now on this is her show and her title. She said there will be no more being left off the magazine covers or the PPV posters or the morning talk shows. She said she is getting what she deserves from now on. She thanked Paige for going all out, sarcastically. She said she didn’t need any balloons anyway. She asked where Charlotte was. “Oh, you don’t want the spotlight now? Come on, where are you?” Charlotte’s music played and she walked out. Phillips said Becky is putting the title she won in the face of the former champion. Saxton asked if Becky can’t just celebrate her victory. Phillips said Charlotte is taking the high road. Graves said there’s no point in being at the top of the mountain unless you can look down at everybody else.
Paige said they’re not going to get physical now. Charlotte said she’s not there to fight. Paige left the ring, satisfied with Charlotte’s assurances. Charlotte said she wasn’t there to steal a spotlight, but rather show her the respect she didn’t show her at Summerslam. She said she knows how much the WWE Championship means to her. She said she wanted to look at her woman-to-woman and acknowledge she was the better woman that night. Becky smiled smugly. Charlotte said Becky paid a steep price to win the title, more than a friendship. Charlotte said she should enjoy this moment while she can because at Super Show-down she’s getting her rematch in front of 60,000 people. She said it took her two years to regain the title, but she can lose it in one night. Becky said she stopped listening after she said she was the better woman. She told Charlotte to shut her face because it’s her time to talk.
Becky said Charlotte said she couldn’t win when it counted, but this title on her shoulder says otherwise. She said on Sunday, she didn’t let her raise her hand because she knew Charlotte wanted to take the spotlight from her at the biggest moment of her career. She told Charlotte she can “touch the champ and raise my hand.” Charlotte said no. Becky said she didn’t really want her to raise her hand. “I want you to put the title around my waist,” she said. Charlotte stepped toward Becky and said she has always shown her respect, and she came out tonight hoping there was a little bit left of the best friend she once knew. Becky said what she really wants is for Charlotte to call her “queen.” Charlotte smiled and turned around. Then Becky said, “Bitch.” Charlotte turned and punched Becky. They fought at ringside. Becky threw Charlotte into the ring apron and then the announce desk. Becky gave Charlotte a Becksploder in the ring and walked away. Charlotte looked up angrily. Becky held up her belt. More cheers than boos. Becky’s music played as the show ended.