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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 2, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Travis Bryant from the PWTorch East Coast Cast to break down the show with live callers, an on-site correspondent, and the mailbag.
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-They went to a crowd shot at the start with Phillips welcoming fans to Smackdown Live. He didn’t mention Portland by name (only one pro wrestling team!), but the graphic on the screen did say they were in Portland.
-Paige stood in the ring. She said when she took the job as Smackdown Live G.M., she was told it would be exhilarating, emotional, and exhausting, but she never thought she’d be in this situation now. She said what Joe did last week was “completely out of line” and said he “committed the most dastardly crime in WWE history.” (Huh?) She replayed the footage “so you can see the gravity of this situation.”
Back live after the extended replay, fans were booing. She said the Styles family is okay. She said as soon as the show ended last week, they sent the authorities there right away. She said Joe didn’t enter the house. (Okay, what Joe did doesn’t come close to several things Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and Kane have done over the years on WWE TV.) She said charges were pressed against Joe for trespassing. She said she talked to WWE management and they came to a unanimous decision that Joe should be fired. Fans booed more than cheered.
Paige said before making that decision, she called A.J. Styles. She wanted to personally tell him and check on how his family was doing. She said she felt his pain and emotions when she talked to him. She said no man should go through that. She said Styles then begged her not to fire Samoa Joe and termination was too good for him and he’d just disappear. Paige said she agreed. Styles asked to hand out the punishment to Joe himself, so the match this Saturday at Super Show-down is on.
A clip aired of Styles sitting at home. He said he wanted to apologize for not being at Smackdown tonight. Boos. He said with everything going on, he just doesn’t think he could perform tonight. (TMI!) He said this is bigger than WWE, so he doesn’t want to do something stupid that he’d regret. He said he’s not leaving until he gets confirmation that Joe is on a flight to Australia. He said his kids need him right now. He said his daughter has been waking up in the middle night looking in her closet for “Uncle Joe” like he’s “some kind of boogie man.” Styles said this needs to end, so Joe won’t be coming back from the land down under “because that’s exactly where I’m going to put you.” He said he’s not talking about putting his limp body in a casket and shoveling dirt on it. “I’m talking about burying you alive!” he concluded.
-The announcers hyped more answers to “One Night in Milwaukee.” They also said Becky Lynch has promised a Super Show-Down surprise.
(Keller’s Analysis: What a downer of an opening ten minutes for the live crowd. A long somber speech by Paige and then an announcement by Styles he wouldn’t even be at the event. As for forwarding the storyline, having Styles beg the authority figure to not fire a heel so he could get his hands on him himself is a long tradition in pro wrestling and makes sense.)
-R-Truth danced onto the stage to his music with Carmella. Phillips plugged Mixed Match Challenge as they came to the ring. [c]
(1) R-TRUTH & CARMELLA vs. ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS & ZELINA VEGA
Graves said R-Truth was a disaster last week. Byron was a big fan, especially of the dance break portion. When Almas and Vega struck the tranquil pose, R-Truth leaped over Carmella and did the splits. Graves said Byron has never done anything that cool in his life. The heel duo bailed out to regroup. Carmella and Truth danced. Carmella did the Floss. Fans chanted “Truth TV!” Byron said the Universe wants it. Phillips said it might get renewed for a full reason at this rate. Almas charged at Truth in the corner, but Truth ducked and Almas tumbled over to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split-screen during the break. Almas took over offense and settled into an armbar. Truth came back with a leaping wheel kick. Both were slow to get up. Carmella cheered on Truth to make the tag. He leaped and made the tag. Vega also tagged in then. Carmella went to work with a flurry of offense including a Bronco Buster in the corner and then a flatliner for a near fall. Almas yanked Carmella off of Vega. She tried to kick Almas, but he grabbed her leg. Truth ran and knocked Almas to the floor and then slingshot himself onto Almas at ringside. Carmella and Zelina exchanged some reversals and counter-moves, with Carmella winning via tapout with the Code of Silence leg lock.
WINNERS: Carmella & Truth in 10:00.
-Backstage, for some reason the camera was filming Paige walking down a hallway. Tye Dillinger then walked up to her and asked for Randy Orton. Tye said the attack was unprovoked and he can’t let it slide. Paige asked if he was sure he wanted Orton. She said they haven’t heard from Jeff Hardy in a while. Tye said, “This is something I have to do.” Paige said she will never understand men, but granted him the match. Tye smiled and walked away. Paige sighed, “Men.”
-The New Day came out wearing chef hats. They had Mr. Bootyworth with them. Byron said he can’t wait. [c]
-The New Day stood together in the ring in front of a table. Big E introduced the pilot episode of “New Day Cooks.” Kofi said they had a word from their sponsors first. Big E talked about IcoPro. Xavier Woods interrupted and said this Saturday they will defend their tag team titles against The Bar “streaming live only on WWE Network.” Kofi said their chef, Mr. Bootyworth, is going to share their recipe tonight. New Day started a “Boo-t-worth” chant. Bootyworth was about to speak when Sheamus & Cesaro interrupted.
Sheamus complained about New Day acting like a bunch of children, playing with food instead of preparing for their title defense at Show-down. Xavier screeched that they are ruining their pilot. Cesaro said you can’t ruin something that is already awful. They entered the ring. Cesaro said all of his friends back home call him Chef. Sheamus said that’s a true fact. Sheamus said he knows how to make the baking process more efficient. He tipped over their table. A brawl broke out with everyone. Sheamus threw flour in the face of Kofi and got the better of the trio. They turned and noticed Mr. Bootyworth standing in the corner nervously with a giant stainless steel mixing bowl full of pancake batter. Cesaro dipped his finger it in, tasted it, and then poured it into Bootyworthy’s hat. Then Sheamus put the hat on Bootyworth. Boos. Then Cesaro poured the rest of the batter on him. They ordered him to get out of their ring. Byron: “He was only here to make pancakes.” Graves: “This is WWE! We don’t make pancakes here, Saxton. Go to IHOP, you moron!”
(Keller’s Analysis: Nothing like three babyfaces getting destroyed by two heels.)
-Phillips threw to a commercial for WWE’s new video game. [c]
-Soundbites aired with Bayley & Finn Balor and Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox.
-Phillips explained how to find Mixed Match Challenge on their phone’s Facebook app. “It’s very simple,” he assured everyone.
-Tye Dillinger stood in the ring for his match against Orton. No ring entrance on TV for him. Phillips said on Smackdown 1000 in two weeks, Evolution reunites. Orton attacked Tye before the bell with forearms and a headbutt. Tye fought back with some chops and then clotheslined Orton over the top rope to the floor. Byron said Tye has too much pride to backdown. Tye went after Orton, but Orton kicked him and threw him into the announce desk. Tye fought back and mounted Orton on the table. Phillips said they’ve never seen this kind of aggression out of Tye. Orton reversed Tye into the crowd, but Tye landed on his feet. Orton then dragged Tye over the ringside barricade and DDT’d him at ringside. Orton lifted the ringside steps, but then set them down and instead began taking off the turnbuckle pad. He then put Tye’s finger in the middle of it and began twisting Tye’s finger backwards and then snapped it back. Tye went from nearly passed out to crying in pain. (I hope they have a “safe word.”) Orton milked the moment and then let go. Tye grabbed his finger and dropped to the floor. Graves said it was one of the most disgusting and malicious assaults he’s ever seen.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was good at furthering the idea that Orton is just a going a step too far in his attacks, finding visually disturbing ways to torture his victims and fans alike, along the lines of the lines of the finger in Hardy’s earlobe hole.)
-Saxton said Shelton Benjamin took to Twitter and asked for opportunities from Paige, then Paige gave him a match against Daniel Bryan this week.
-Backstage Miz told Shelton he is a world class athlete and former U.S. Champion and two-time tag champion and three-time IC Champion and “the real deal.” He said he gave him “a golden opportunity against Goat Boy.” He asked if he’ll beat Bryan. Shelton, who was doing arm curls, turned to Miz and said, “In a word, yes.” Miz said he has to do more than beat him, he needs to “make a statement, hurt Bryan, maim Bryan, and rip his beard off and feed it to him.” Shelton said he’s been sitting on the bench every week waiting to remind the world who he is. He said Bryan is unlucky casualty number one. Miz smiled and said he’ll be on commentary to watch it happen. They shook hands. Shelton looked intense. Miz put on his sunglasses and walked away.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like this set-up, giving meaning to a TV match that can help build up a “PPV” match coming up this weekend. Shelton and Miz were both really good here.)
-Aiden English asked a producer backstage if the production truck is prepared. He said what he’ll show the WWE Universe tonight will be revelatory. He said it has to be in hi-def. Graves verbally orgasmed with excitement.
(Keller’s Analysis: Who had Aiden English in an anchor segment on Smackdown in October 2018?) [c]
-After a replay of last week’s angle, Rusev and Lana were standing mid-ring. Rusev said English claiming to have footage of his wife in Milwaukee in a compromising situation “makes me want to tear his pale body apart!” Lana smiled. He called English to the ring to show the world his “bogus evidence.” English said he has the evidence they are all waiting for. He described Milwaukee as the biggest city in Wisconsin that borders two of the Great Lakes. Lana interrupted and said he was stalling. She told Aiden to admit he has nothing. Aiden said he’s just providing context. He named some TV series that were based in Milwaukee. “But tonight, more than all of those, you get to see the most anticipated premiere of the last decade – One Night in Milwaukee.” He pointed at the big screen.
The video showed English shirtless in jeans filming a selfie video. He was singing about Milwaukee when there was a knock on his door. In walked Lana who didn’t know she was being filmed. She said she didn’t have a lot of time, so she’d make it quick. She said she has been thinking about something for a long time and it’s important she say it out loud. “I want you…” she said. Then the video paused. Rusev looked over at Lana suspiciously. “Holy sh–!” chanted the crowd. English said he wants to show the rest, but he can’t due to “legal obligations.” He said he is entertaining an attractive offer from TMZ and he wouldn’t want to “cheat on them.” Rusev snarled. Lana said it’s not the whole video. Rusev said, “There’s more?!?” Rusev then ran up the ramp too chase after English, who ran. Lana stood in the ring, tearing up as fans booed.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is it supposed to be believable that Lana was cut off mid-sentence and she actually said something like, “I want you… to use breath mints because you often have bad breath.” I get that Rusev has to be so overheated as not to be rational enough to realize it or listen to Lana, but what about the announcers?)
-They went to the announcers. Graves said he wanted to see more. Byron went into his “looking left with disgust” mode. Then they shifted to promoting Super Show-down. They aired highlights or the big angle that ended Raw last night with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kane, and Undertaker. Then Byron explained everyone can watch Super Show-down live or on demand on delay when they wake up. Graves said Byron can watch it in his race car bed a little longer Saturday morning.
-Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance. [c]
-They showed a family whose seats were upgraded as part of a sponsorship with a pizza chain.
-Rusev began looking for “that bastard” Aiden English. Lana told Rusev she wanted to explain what else was in the video. Rusev cut her off and said, “We are not doing this here.”
(2) SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. DANIEL BRYAN
Miz joined in on commentary. He immediately began profusely praising Shelton and reiterated that Shelton has to hurt Bryan. Byron called out Miz for wanting Shelton to make Bryan easier to beat this weekend. Miz insisted he just wanted Shelton to get a big decisive win. Bryan hit some Yes Kicks to Shelton’s chest in the corner, then went for an early Yes Lock, but Shelton grabbed the bottom rope. At ringside Shelton threw Bryan into the ring apron and then ringside barricade aggressively back and forth twice, then dropped him over the barricade. They cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen. Shelton dominated until Bryan side-stepped Shelton and then gave him a running knee off the apron to his chest. He climbed to the top rope and went for a diving headbutt. Shelton rolled to the side, but Bryan still looked like he made contact. Both grabbed their heads in pain. Not sure if that was botched or intended, but it was awkward. Both were slow to get up. Miz ranted about how Bryan’s risk-taking backfires and that’s why he’ll beat him in Australia. Shelton got up first. Shelton slammed Bryan hard with a German suplex and scored a near fall. Bryan sent a charging Shelton into the bottom turnbuckle with a Russian leg sweep. Shelton came back with a running knee to the chest and then German suplexed him into a bridge for a two count.
Bryan took Shelton off the top rope with a huracanrana. He then did the Yes Kicks to Shelton’s chest. Shelton ducked one and went for a spinning wheel kick, but Bryan ducked. Bryan then hit an enzuigiri. As Bryan did the Yes! chant, Miz had enough and leaped onto the ring apron. Bryan knocked Miz off the ring apron. Shelton surprised Bryan with Pay Dirt for the win.
WINNER: Shelton in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Yet another match that ends after a babyface is distracted by a heel and then blindsided afterward leading to the loss. Good to see Shelton get a win. They ought to actually build on that because the roster depth can’t afford to have him eating up a spot without being utilized well.)
-Miz attacked Bryan afterward, raking his eyes and throwing him into the announce table a few times. Miz gave Bryan a Skull Crushing Finale mid-ring.
-They went back to the announcers who threw to a video package on The Shield feud with Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler. [c]
-Naomi stood mid-ring and threw to a video on Susan G. Komen. She introduced some women involved in the organization and Dana Warrior. Then she let people know how they can donate.
-Asuka’s ring entrance took place. Phillips wondered what the fallout would be for the Women’s Division after this weekend’s Becky Lynch-Charlotte match. Then as the IIconics made their ring entrance, an inset promo aired with the IIconics who did their new victory dance, the Aussie Floss. [c]
(3) ASUKA (w/Naomi) vs. PEYTON ROYCE (w/Billie Kaye)
Phillips said this is episode 998 of Smackdown. When Kaye tried to help Royce, Naomi ran over and intervened. Asuka then finished Royce with the Asuka Lock.
WINNER: Asuka in 3:00. [c]
-As Becky made her ring entrance, Graves wondered if her surprise was the rest of Lana’s Night in Milwaukee. Fans chanted “Becky! Becky!” after she entered the ring. She smiled and nodded, then said six weeks ago at Summerslam she stopped waiting and started taking. She said since that night, she has been the best thing about Smackdown. She said since she ran through the entire locker room and toppled The Queen, she has run through the competition and made her title the most relevant in WWE. She said she learned that being kind and patient only gets you stabbed in the back and treated like a fool. She said now she is relentless and she strikes first, before they can strike her, and does so often. She narrated a video of what she has done to Charlotte in recent weeks.
Back live in the ring, she said she could watch that all day. More “Becky!” chants. She said she has proven time after time, she owns Charlotte. She said she wants magazine covers and a new action figure holding the title. She said she has to endure the indignity of watching Charlotte pose for photos that will be included on future covers and press releases. She said if no one will give it to her, she’ll do it herself. She designed a new poster for Super Show-down. It featured her holding up the women’s title belt while standing over Charlotte’s fallen body. She said Super Show-down isn’t about Undertaker and Triple H, but rather it’s about her.
Charlotte charged to the ring. Becky pounded on her. Charlotte countered with a spear to Becky. The crowd booed. Charlotte pointed at the poster and asked Becky if she thinks it’s funny. She tossed Becky into the poster, then applied figure-four while hanging upside down off the side of the ring. More chants for Becky. Charlotte gave her a big boot. Boos. The announcers were pretty neutral throughout. Phillips plugged the Smackdown Women’s Title match. Graves plugged Mixed Match Challenge as the show ended with a cl0se-up of Charlotte looking at the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd is siding with Becky six weeks after the attempt to turn her. They are increasingly booing Charlotte through no real fault of Charlotte and it’s damaging Charlotte. Charlotte almost has to turn heel from this. If she wins the title as a babyface, fans will boo her until Becky regains the title. Becky was admirable here, showing a fierce determination that fits with the times we are living in. She’s not meek, she’s not apologietic, she’s not timid about declaring her goals and going after them with a furvor that fans flat out admire. It’s a babyface for the age we’re in, and it would behoove WWE to make sure they’re on a path to taking advantage of that.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’d like to hear more from champions and challengers talking about the titles being on the line and what it would mean to still be champ or become champ at Show-down… Overall, too much soap opera and not enough sports-themed driven content…