WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
SEPTEMBER 18, 2018
TULSA, OK. AT THE BOK CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00PM EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Arena / Hell in a Cell Recap
WWE Smackdown returns to the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. for the first time since July of 2015, which was also WWE’s last appearance in this arena as a whole. As we did last night with Raw we continue to put Hell in a Cell behind us and begin to turn our attention towards the Super Showdown coming Saturday Oct. 6, and Evolution coming Oct. 28.
At Hell in a Cell we had a big title change as Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, a title she last held in 2016 after being the first women to capture said title following the recent version of WWE’s roster split. The New Day retained the Smackdown Tag Team Championship over Rusev Day during the kickoff show. A.J. Styles retained the WWE Championship over Samoa Joe, but not without controversy
WWE and G.M. Paige have announced two matches in advance for tonight, of which one is a championship match. Smackdown continues to let you know what is happening in advance in terms of matches. It is a pleasure from the standpoint of writing about it but also getting you to build up some level of anticipation for the show. I wish this practice was done on Raw.
U.S. Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (champ) vs. Rusev (challenger)
After an unsuccessful attempt to gain the Smackdown tag team championship with Aiden English, Rusev gets an opportunity at the U.S. Championship as he challenges Shinsuke Nakamura for the title he held from late 2014-’15 as well as some time in 2016. G.M. Paige announced this match on Twitter:
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) September 17, 2018
Here’s a tweet from Shinsuke as a response:
Frank’s Analysis: I can’t help but question what did Rusev do to earn a U.S. championship match? I can get into a Rusev-Nakamura feud but it’s not the point. G.M. Paige, of whom I’m a big supporter and still am, has made a point to say championship opportunities are earned. With that said I didn’t have a problem not having a U.S. title match at Hell in a Cell. As has been discussed previously, there is a shortage of babyfaces on Smackdown. You have A.J. Styles, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy (unless he’s taking time off), R-Truth, and Tye Dillinger. After Styles, Bryan, and Hardy that’s hardly a murderer’s row. I didn’t mention Rusev because we never got an official face turn, but I’ll go with it. Look for Aiden English to play a factor especially after he was blamed for he and Rusev losing their tag title opportunity at HIAC.
Non-Title Match: WWE Champion A.J. Styles vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
WWE Champion A.J. Styles faces Andrade “Cien” Almas in a non-title match as Styles competes on Smackdown for the first time. Styles previously defeated Almas on Smackdown and they go at it again following Hell in a Cell, where Styles retained his championship in controversial fashion over Samoa Joe. Styles in set to defend the title again against Joe at the Super Showdown. Here’s Paige and Joe this past Sunday:
— WWE (@WWE) September 17, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: WWE has to think something of Almas to give him another match with Styles. I remain skeptical of his trajectory, but I’ll remain optimistic as I love the combination with he and Zelina Vega. As far as the match tonight you could almost guarantee Joe’s involvement, and I wouldn’t rule out Daniel Bryan. Bryan and his wife Brie Bella have worked with Almas and Vega just recently. Bryan is in a #1 contender’s match at Super Showdown against the Miz. Seeds could be planted for a Joe-Bryan feud especially if Joe is getting the title and Bryan defeats the Miz.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch’s Coronation
You know Roman Reigns has had four coronations already defeating Triple H, the Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar. Do we have to see another……
I’m just kidding as I couldn’t help myself when I hear the word coronation. As I talked about earlier, Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship for the first time since losing the title to Alexa Bliss back in December of 2016. Following the match, Becky refused Charlotte’s offer to raise her hand and congratulate her as a sign of sportswomanship. Tonight, Becky gets “coronated” as champion.
Several wrestlers and personalities have gone out of their way to congratulate Becky on Twitter:
I made her humble. https://t.co/Q3ET6AgnuS
— Rebecca Quin (@BeckyLynchWWE) September 17, 2018
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) September 17, 2018
No truer words spoken https://t.co/LIUKFMT9lX
— Rebecca Quin (@BeckyLynchWWE) September 17, 2018
This tweet has aged well.
— Sami Zayn (@SamiZayn) September 17, 2018
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) September 17, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: The tweet from Steve Austin jumped out to me, as Becky’s turn has reminded me of Austin in 1997 following his match at WrestleMania with Bret Hart. There is certainly overwhelming support for Becky, so I’m curious where her character goes. I’m not certain they’re 100% turning her heel, as she did win the match on Sunday clean. If they wanted to go all in on a turn, I would have thought they’d have her do something underhanded. The refusal of Charlotte raising Becky’s hand worked, so WWE is positioned to go in either direction. Kevin Eck, former WWE creative team member, was the guest this past interview Friday on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast. He sold me on a Becky heel turn as it is fresh and we’ve already seen her as a face with Charlotte as a heel. This is something different. He was clear to say if they crowd doesn’t boo Becky even by doing to most ruthless thing (i.e. spitting in Ric Flair’s face), then abort the heel turn. You don’t want to fight the crowd on this (although don’t they do this with a certain “big dog” on Raw?).
Next Up for Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy
Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy on their Hell in a Cell match this past Sunday. This match featured another unthinkable act by Orton. Here it is if you missed it:
The match ended when Jeff attempted to jump from the top of the cell onto a table with a laid-out Orton, holding on as a child would monkey bars at school. Orton moved out of the way and then Hardy fell onto the table. Orton would win the match after insisting the ref count three and Hardy was carted off on a stretcher.
Frank’s Analysis: Jeff has to be taking time off following this bump. His brother Matt recently announced his retirement from active competition. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff is not far behind. He needs to think about his family and children. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jeff Hardy spots as much as the next guy but that’s not going to let sit at his children’s’ high school graduations years from now or see them become young adults. As far as Orton is concerned I could see him inserted into either the U.S. title or WWE championship pictures at this point.
Surprise Guest on Miz TV
WWE.com has announced their will be a surprise guest on Miz TV. Miz and his wife Maryse defeated Daniel Bryan and his wife Brie Bella this past Sunday at Hell in a Cell. Miz and Daniel Bryan have a #1 contender’s match upcoming at the Super Showdown on Oct. 6.
Frank’s Analysis: I can’t get a read on who the guest could be, but someone from Daniel Bryan’s past could make sense. This could be a spot for Randy Orton, as he and Bryan feuded over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from late 2013-14. I don’t rule out transitioning from a Miz-Bryan feud to an Orton-Bryan feud and somehow the seeds are planted here. I don’t have a strong feeling on that nor anyone else, but I’m certain this will go a way to stretch this out to Super Showdown.
Last night on Raw, WWE announced another show set for Saudi Arabia. It will be Crown Jewel, airing on the WWE network on Friday November 2nd. We now have Super Showdown, Evolution, and Crown Jewel all taking place between now and November 2nd. Try and keep up folks!
Last week, Asuka and Naomi had quite an odd promo backstage. Here it is and go ahead and analyze it yourself, because I certainly can’t:
Start Time and 205 Live
The arena website shows a start time of 6:30 p.m. local time with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. They advertise these matches, which once again is certainly not in alignment with what WWE has announced:
-A.J. Styles & Daniel Bryan & Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton & The Miz & Samoa Joe
-Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs Carmella in a triple threat. This is certainly not updated considering Becky is now champion.
It was announced by WWE that 205 Live will air on Wednesdays on the WWE network at 7:00 p.m., right before NXT. They did not announce any changes to the show’s taping, so I anticipate the show will still go on after Smackdown.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani and ask any questions you may have. Thank you for reading!
NOW CATCH UP ON LAST WEEK’S SMACKDOWN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 9/11: Bryan and Brie Come Out on Top, Final Promos from AJ and Joe, Becky Sneak Attack