KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
NOVEMBER 6, 2018
TAPED 11/6 IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND
AIRED ON TAPE DELAY ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-Paige came to the ring at the start. She introduced Shane McMahon. He smiled and shook hands with fans on his way to the ring and smiled as the crowd booed him. The boos weren’t prominent on TV compared to our on-site correspondent report. Graves talked about Shane bleeding blue and “that’s why he’s the best in the world right now.”
(Keller’s Analysis: So the argument there is Shane injected himself into the tournament because he’s Smackdown loyal? Were they that out of touch as to think Shane’s putting himself in that match the way he did last Friday could be seen by fans as a reasonable choice on his part?)
The announcers threw to a video package on the World Cup finals. They showed a freeze-frame of Miz twisting his ankle as he landed after leaping off the ring apron. They showed Shane putting himself in the match in place of Ziggler and winning. They had Graves saying he did what he had to do, whereas Cole said he can’t imagine how he’ll be proud since he didn’t actually win the whole tournament.
Back to the ring, as Shane danced some more to his music, Phillips said it was “simply baffling” what happened last Friday. (No mention of Crown Jewel or Saudi Arabia by name tonight, either. No surprise. It’s just “this past Friday.”) Paige said she wanted a picture of Shane with the trophy “since you’re the best in the world.” Loud boos. A “C.M. Punk!” chant could be heard. He admired the trophy and heard more boos. He asked, “What’s up, Manchester.” Boos.
Shane said with all of the amazing talent in WWE, he is definitely not the best in the world. He said the trophy doesn’t belong to him, it belongs to everybody on Smackdown. The fans warmed up to him a little bit. He said he acted on instinct and interjected himself in the match because he couldn’t fathom Smackdown couldn’t be the superior brand, “but I’m very happy to say that we are.” (Where’s the logic here?) As he began to talk about Survivor Series, the theme song played as he hyped Brock Lesnar vs. A.J. Styles. Paige announced Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch. Shane announced Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Paige announced AOP vs. The Bar. (That could be fun.) Shane said there will be two five-on-five matches, one for women and one for men.
Shane introduced Daniel Bryan as the captain of Team Blue. Bryan came out, throwing his arms into the air as the crowd chanted “Yes!” with enthusiasm. The music stopped and fans chanted “Daniel Bryan!” Bryan thanked Shane for humbly admitting he isn’t best in the world. He said he deserves a round of applause for that. (Ohhhkay.) He was then interrupted by The Miz.
Miz limped onto the ramp as Graves sang his praises for arriving in Manchester on one leg after making it to the finals of the World Cup. Miz asked Shane “Really?” regarding Shane announced Bryan as team captain. He said he made it to the finals and succumbed only to a freak injury. He said technically two-thirds of the trophy is his. Cheers and “Yes!” chants. “Together, we are best in the world. Co-besties!” he said. Miz asked if he gets the trophy for 20 days and Shane gets it for 10. He said he has a spare bedroom for Shane if he just wants to visit it. Shane said had he not intervened the way he did, Miz would have been fired. He said he’s very happy it worked out the way it did. He said had it not, “again, you would no longer be here, you would be fired.” Boos.
Miz said there was no official forfeit, and he noted that never in his career was a he so injured he couldn’t compete. He looked at Bryan, “Unlike you.” Boos. He said if anyone deserves to be Team Captain of Smackdown, it’s him. Shane said based on his performance at the World Cup, he’s right. He told him he is the captain. Miz gloated with “Yes!” chants. Shane and Paige conferenced in the background. Shane then said that Bryan is also the captain. He said they’d be co-captains. Miz didn’t like that. Byron wondered how that would possibly work. [c]
-Backstage Miz and Bryan were arguing loudly. Shane walked up to them. Miz asked what on Earth made him think that would work. Shane said he doesn’t want people to feel comfortable, he wants them to feel uncomfortable. He said he wants a team who can bring it home and feel a sense of urgency. He said besides making each other uncomfortable, they bring out the best in one another “and that’s truly what I am counting on.” He told them they have to pick the three other members. Miz said his first pick is Shane McMahon. Boos. Shane told him he doesn’t have time for Miz to suck up to him. Bryan said he can’t believe he’s actually saying it, but he agrees with Miz. He said it makes sense because nobody has more on the line than Shane does. Shane blinked a few times and accepted and walked away. Miz said to show he’s a team player, he’d give Bryan the next pick. They looked at each other and Bryan said, “Weird.” They were actually getting along and couldn’t believe it.
(1) THE USOS vs. THE NEW DAY (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods) – Winner Becomes Team Captain for Smackdown at Survivor Series
They cut to an early break after Xavier distracted an Use with his trombone and Big E go the advantage at ringside. [c]
The Usos took control on Kofi for several minutes until he hot-tagged Big E. Jimmy broke up the pin attempt by Big E. After some fighting at ringside, Kofi landed an SOS for a two count. They cut to another break at 10:00. [c]
More back and forth action with the pace picking up, and eventually Kofi landed a splash off the top rope for the pin.
WINNERS: The Usos in 16:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They had time to tell a good story and filled the time they had nicely, although the commercial breaks broke up the momentum.)
-Byron said it could have gone either way and it was another hard-fought match between them. The Usos invited The New Day to be on their team. New Day shook hands with them.
-Backstage Miz was on his mobile phone and he asked about which talk shows he’d be on to talk about the release of his latest “Marine” movie. He got bad news and said, “Why not?” Then he gasped, “They want Becky?!?” Bryan walked in and asked Miz if he was having problems. Miz said, “Celebrity problems, you wouldn’t understand.” Miz asked Bryan who his pick was. Bryan said Rey Mysterio. Miz said he’s a future Hall of Famer, but since returning to Smackdown, he hasn’t done anything. Bryan said he’s beat Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, and The Miz. Miz didn’t like that at all. Miz said if Rey impresses him later against Andrade Cien Almas, then Rey can be on Team Smackdown. Bryan agreed. Bryan then suggested the last member of Team Smackdown be the winner of a match between two wrestlers they pick. Miz liked the idea. Miz and Bryan agreed it was weird they seemed to be on the same page again. Miz left to go think about his pick.
-They showed Becky backstage. She tore off a “Baddest on the Planet” t-shirt and underneath it was a “I Am The Man” t-shirt.
-A video package aired on the Brock Lesnar vs. A.J. Styles match at Survivor Series. [c]
-They replayed Rousey calling out Becky on Raw last night for being in “clown college” and a “stewardess serving snacks” when she was a world class athlete and top MMA fighter.
-Lynch made her full ring entrance. Fans chanted for Becky. She said Ronda told her that she’s the last woman on earth she should provoke. “Who the hell are you to tell the champ anything?” she said. She said while Ronda might hold the championship, she’s not a champion. “Not yet,” she said. “Because a champion wills herself through adversity, through defeat, through injury, through doubt, but you haven’t even been tested – yet.” She said she is “The Man” and that’s why she is champion and Ronda is not. She said winning comes so easily to her that when she finally meets “The Man,” her titanium body will be let down by her weak mind. She said she has been ground down and gotten back up again more times than she can count. She said she has made history, been tested weekly and monthly, and she is the most relentless person Ronda will have ever met.
She said Ronda mocked her last night on Raw for the road she has traveled the jobs she has taken to pave the road to where she is today. She said she wasn’t “hand picked like you, but here I am.” Cheers. Then “Becky! Becky!” chants. She said she wasn’t meant to be a main eventer, “but here I am.” She said she wasn’t meant to be the talk of the industry, “but here I am.” She rejected Ronda saying she should be happy because she has her respect. “Come Survivor Series, you will find out it’s not your respect I am after, it’s your arm. I don’t care if you’re the baddest bitch on the planet, because I’m going to make you mine.” A louder “Becky!” Chant. She said she’s gotten herself all fired up and she wants to fight. She asked if anyone is brave enough to step up and face The Champ and have her arm mangled “here in Manchester.” Graves said it’d take a brave soul to find someone to face Becky in her current state of mind.
Sanity walked out – Killian Dane, Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe. Young pointed to the entrance and out walked Nikki Cross. She acted her usual crazed twisted self. She ran to the ring and shook the ropes and bounced around the ring in a crazed display of unhinged energy. Graves said she is out of her mind. Becky looked at her and asked who she thinks she is to step up to The Man. Nikki grabbed the mic and said, “I’ll play with you, Becky.” She repeated “Let’s play” over and over and shoved the mic back to Becky. Becky said, “The Champ doesn’t play, The Champ fights.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Becky is just taking off right now. I do no believe she had to go through the process of a failed heel turn that undercut the integrity of her character in order to get to this point, but I do believe he’s pretty teflon and is landing in a good spot. She plays this role so believably and with such confidence, it’s great to watch. This seemed like the first time the machinery – announcers, mainly – didn’t try to frame her as a heel that fans should be booing.) [c]
(2) BECKY LYNCH vs. NIKKI CROSS
Graves said stability isn’t Cross’s strong suit. She acted her usual self and yelled and just acted wild and unhinged early. Phillips said Becky didn’t know what she was getting into when she issued the open challenge. Nikki caught Becky in the ring apron and beat on her and then yelled. She even kicked her through the ring apron without even knowing what she was kicking. Becky fought back, sweeping her off the ring apron. Becky took over in the ring for a couple minutes. Nikki fought back and took control. Graves said Becky is really thrown off by Nikki right now. Cross splashed Becky in the corner and then delivered a running bulldog. She sat on the ring apron and smiled in her crazed way. She then leaped off the top rope and landed a crossbody for a near fall at 4:00. Nikki stomped away at Becky in the corner, but Becky slammed Nikki into the bottom rope and then immediately applied the Dis-arm-her mid-ring on the rebound for the tapout win.
WINNER: Lynch in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They gave Nikki a good dose of offense and established her character. That said, losing in the first TV match in under six minutes does define her a bit rather than build anticipation by having her work her way up the ranks with fans not knowing what her ceiling is.)
-Bryan told Miz in the parking garage that his pick is Jeff Hardy. Miz agreed he’d be a great asset to their team, but is he as good as his choice, he asked. In walked Samoa Joe who said, “May the best man win.” [c]
-A selfie promo aired with Shinsuke Nakamura who talked about facing Seth Rollins at Survivor Series. He said Seth’s best friend turned out to be a real lunatic, but at Survivor Series he’ll make him forget all of his other problems and he will get a very special gift only found in the United States of Nakamerica.
(3) REY MYSTERIO vs. ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS
Rey got in an early flurry of offense, but Almas landed a back elbow and dropped Rey who sold like he got a concussion or was knocked out with stiff arms. He slowly made his way back to his feet, but Almas kneed him hard in the corner. Almas dove at Rey, but overshot him and landed on the floor. Rey leaped at him with a seated sexton, but Almas caught him and swung him into the ringside barricade. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]
Rey made a comeback and landed a kick to the head after rolling out of a sunset flip attempt by Almas which led to a two count for Rey. Saxton said Rey wanted to test himself against a new set of wrestlers on Smackdown and Almas is one of them. Fans chanted “6-1-9.” Almas knocked Rey off balance on the top rope. Almas charged and smashed Rey in the corner and scored a near fall. Graves said: “The acceleration of Almas is next level.” Fans chanted “This is awesome!” as Phillips said this is the first match between these two ever.
Almas went for a mooonsault off the ropes, but Rey lifted his knees. Rey then dropkicked Almas into the ropes and went for a 619. Almas moved and elbowed Rey, then they tumbled to the floor. Almas had Rey on his shoulders, but Rey powered Almas into the ring apron. Then he slid under the ropes and landed a spinning DDT. It wasn’t totally smooth, but still cool. Rey threw Almas into the ring and then connected with a 619 and his Drop the Dime splash for the win.
WINNER: Mysterio in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a really fun TV match. They came up with some creative spots that largely worked and Rey looked good but didn’t hurt Almas too badly in the process.)
-As Rey celebrated, Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere.
-Bryan was shown shaking his head while watching it on a monitor. Bryan accused Miz of sabotaging his pick by sending Orton to the ring. Miz denied it. “What? Randy RKO’d me last week. The last thing I want to do is talk to Randy Orton. I mean, it’s all just menacing glances and awkward silences anyway. What happened?” Bryan was upset Miz didn’t watch, but Miz said he was just kidding. He said of course he watched and now Rey is on the team. Then they argued about whether Samoa Joe or Jeff Hardy would win next. Miz made a joke about Bryan being the “bigger man” if Joe wins, laughing at the reference to Bryan’s height.
-The announcers hyped that Paige would reveal Smackdown women’s team. Phillips threw to a video package on WWE’s alliance with GirlUp for gender empowerment in sports. [c]
-The announcers talked about WrestleMania tickets going on sale next week. Then they hyped the Survivor Series battle of champions – Styles vs. Lesnar.
-Styles backstage said life as a WWE Superstar is unpredictable. He said he defended his title on multiple continents against multiple opponents in the last week, and that that reign started “right here in Manchester, England.” He said his reward is going toe-to-toe against Brock Lesnar for the second year in a row. He said he gave it all he had last year, but it wasn’t enough. He said it won’t play out the same way this year. “I am telling you right here, right now, at Survivor Series, I will beat Brock Lesnar. That’s not a prediction, that a spoiler. Because I am the Phenomenal A.J. Styles.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Styles better win. The only argument against it is if they want to “keep Lesnar as strong as possible” before losing the Universal Title to Seth Rollins. But I think Tyler winning sets up a great match down the line between Seth and Styles if they can both brag about wins over Lesnar.)
-In mid-ring, Paige introduced Carmella as her first pick for Team Smackdown. R-Truth joined and they sang his song together. Next Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka, and finally Charlotte Flair were introduced. Charlotte didn’t come out, though. Instead, Mandy Rose came out. Graves gushed and called her “God’s Greatest Creation.” She said she isn’t the blond they ordered, but surprise, she’s an obvious upgrade.
Paige said she won’t take Charlotte’s spot on the team. Rose said she knows, but she’s curious why she chose Sonya over her. The crowd ooooh’d. She said she is really happy for Sonya, but she was the one who eliminated her in the battle royal at Evolution, so she’s concerned about Paige’s choices. She called Asuka “yesterday’s news.” She said Carmella’s dance breaks are like her title reign, “short and meaningless.” She asked Naomi if anyone is still feeling the glow “like your husband, Jimmy.” Naomi pushed her hair back and attacked Rose. Phillips said that was low by Rose. A brief brawl broke out. Sonya asked Mandy what her comments were all about. Mandy left the ring sheepishly.
(Keller’s Analysis: So where was Charlotte, anyway? There’s so much going on with the women’s division now that it’s hard to imagine Smackdown without them at this point. It’s to the point that they’re even writing stories for Sonya and Rose.)
CHECK OUT THE WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING POST-SHOW ON THIS EPISODE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller along with Greg Parks and Rich Fann provide analysis of Smackdown with Survivor Series developments, Miz and Daniel Bryan sort of get along, Becky Lynch responds to Ronda Rousey, and much more. There is also an extended report from our on-site correspondent in Manchester with one of the great moments in WKPWP history happens mid-conversation, and then the Mailbag and closing comments.
(4) JEFF HARDY vs. SAMOA JOE – Winner Earns Spot on Team Smackdown
Miz and Bryan came to ringside to do commentary. They sat on opposite ends of the announce table. Bryan said it is amazing they seem to be getting along. Bryan said Joe has never been a trustworthy teammate. The bell rang to start this 49 minutes into the second hour. Joe attacked Hardy aggressively at the start. He yelled at Bryan that he was beating up his choice. Bryan said Hardy can take a beating and keep on ticking. Hardy landed a Whisper in the Wind seconds later for a soft two count. Miz said he’s hoarse because Hardy wheel kicked him in the throat in the World Cup, and he was taken out of the match, he never forfeited. Bryan said it’s “so Miz” to be talking about himself at this time. Hardy wrecking ball-kicked Joe and then forearmed him at ringside. Joe came back at 2:00 with a running elbow to knock Hardy down hard. [c]
Graves threw to Miz to plug his “Marine” movie. Miz happily did it and noted that Becky is in the movie, too. Joe grounded Hardy with a head twist. Joe threw Hardy into the barricade at ringside a minute later. Bryan said Miz has never led. Miz said he’s led Miztourage, Mizdow, and Alex Riley. Bryan said they were all underlings. Hardy made a comeback and eventually scored a two count. Joe applied a Coquina Clutch, but Hardy dropped down to escape and then hit a Twist of Fate. Hardy pulled off his shirt and leaped off the top rope, but Joe lifted a knee. He then applied the Coquina Clutch for the tapout win. Miz stood and applauded.
WINNER Joe in 10:00.
-Joe went to ringside and got in Bryan’s face. Bryan stood and attacked Joe. Joe threw Bryan into the ring, but Bryan surprised Joe with a Yes Lock. Miz pried Bryan off of Joe. Bryan was upset with Miz and punched him a few times. Shane ran into the ring, but Bryan arm dragged him, not knowing who he was. Bryan walked to the back. Graves said Bryan is too hot-headed to lead a team. They show ended with Shane, Joe, and Miz absorbing what happened in the ring as Bryan stared back at them.
(Keller’s Analysis: So Bryan and Miz got along for close to two hours before Bryan was the one who snapped when Miz tried to create some calm. Joe and Hardy had the match you’d expect from them – Joe dominating and Hardy showing flashes of fighting spirit before succumbing to Joe. Miz and Bryan were really entertaining on commentary, advocating for their respective wrestler and also just getting sidetracked with their typical bickering without overdoing it.)
FINAL THOUGHTS:An eventful show. With the short turnaround time between Evolution and Crown Jewel last week and Survivor Series in less than two weeks, WWE had to pack a lot of developments into this episode. They didn’t cut back on the newsworthy developments which has seemed to be the default in past years for Raw and Smackdown episodes taped in the U.K. Shane’s character is a complete mess right now; I’m curious how Stephanie handles it. Does she turn the screws to try to humiliate Shane while writing it off as “just being her bad guy character”? Or does she act like the hero who, unlike Shane, can not only portray herself effectively but clean up Shane’s mess and get him back on track as a babyface?
NOW CHECK OUT GREG PARKS’S REPORT ON THIS EPISODE: 11/6 WWE Smackdown Results: Parks’s coverage of Shane McMahon explaining World Cup situation, Survivor Series teams taking shape, Becky responds to Rousey