WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
NOVEMBER 20, 2018
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. AT THE STAPLES CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00 P.M. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Arena / Recap of Last Week & Survivor Series / Items Advertised by WWE
WWE concludes its four-night stay in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. tonight as Smackdown tonight will put a wrap on Survivor Series weekend.
So much has happened within the past week starting with Raw last Monday night. To recap, during an invasion by the Smackdown women on the Raw women, Nia Jax punched Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch “hard way.” This forced Becky to be pulled from her scheduled match with Raw Women’ Champion Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series. Last week on Smackdown, Becky named Charlotte Flair as her “replacement” opponent. Charlotte went on to defeat Ronda via DQ when she attacked Ronda with a kendo stick on the outside of the ring.
Last week, Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship in an impromptu match with former champion A.J. Styles. At the start of Smackdown A.J. came out to discuss his match, scheduled at the time, with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman interrupted and essentially told A.J. he was second best to Bryan. Bryan came out telling A.J. never to mention his name again. When A.J. did so anyway, they brawled. A heated argument continued in the back, and the match was made by commissioner Shane McMahon. Bryan won the match and the championship, but low-kicked A.J. with downed referee enroute to the victory. He continued to attack A.J. after match, essentially turning heel for the first time in over six years.
In other matches last week Jeff Hardy defeated Andrade “Cien” Almas and replaced Daniel Bryan on the men’s team at Survivor Series. The Big Show & Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Bar defeated New Day in a six-man tag match. Rey Mysterio defeated the Miz to retain his spot on the men’s team.
I talked about the Survivor Series results in yesterday’s Raw primer. Smackdown’s only victory came during the pre-show which saw the Usos as the sole survivors in the 10-on-10 tag team elimination match. Shane McMahon was the last man eliminated in the men’s 5-on-5 match when he was power slammed by Braun Strowman.
WWE.com is emphasizing these items for tonight:
- Daniel Bryan to explain his controversial actions
- How will Team Blue respond to being swept
- What’s gotten into Charlotte Flair
- The New Day to clash with The Bar & Big Show in first ever Thanksgiving Feast Fight
- Can Shinsuke Nakamura bounce back from his loss to Seth Rollins?
After yesterday’s Raw primer came out, WWE announced that Starrcade air on the WWE Network this coming Sunday at 8:00 p.m. The event will take place at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. Here’s the tweet from WWE in regard to the announcement:
— WWE (@WWE) November 19, 2018
Starrcade was a staple of Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s which continued when the company was sold to Ted Turner and renamed World Championship Wrestling (WCW). It was considered their WrestleMania. The first event took place in 1983 and the last under the WCW banner was in 2000, the year before WCW was purchased by the WWF, which of course is now WWE. WWE revived Starrcade last year around this time but did not air the event. The arena’s website is showing the following matches and wrestlers appearing:
- SETH ROLLINS vs Dean Ambrose for the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP in A STREET FIGHT
- BRAUN STROWMAN vs BARON CORBIN
- A.J. STYLES vs SAMOA JOE in a STEEL CAGE MATCH
- SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs REY MYSTERIOf or the UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
- THE BAR vs THE NEW DAY for the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
- FINN BALOR vs DREW McINTYRE
- THE MIZ vs RUSEV w/LANA
- SPECIAL CONCERT – ELIAS w/WWE HALL of FAMER NATURE BOY RIC FLAIR
- PLUS, CHARLOTTE FLAIR, ALEXA BLISS, DOLPH ZIGGLER & MANY MORE LIVE!!!!
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan To Explain His Actions
As I talked about earlier, Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship by defeating A.J. Styles in the main event of Smackdown. This is his third World Championship overall in WWE. He was previously World Heavyweight Champion from late 2011 until WrestleMania in 2012 when he famously lost an 18 second match to Sheamus. He then won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as it was called then when he defeated Randy Orton and Batista in the main event of WrestleMania in 2014 following the famous “Yes movement.”
Bryan low kicked A.J. enroute to the victory as I explained earlier. He also attacked A.J. after the match. Take a look at highlights from the match as well as an attempt to get him to explain his actions:
Bryan went on to lose a champion vs. champion match to Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. We learned in a WWE.com exclusive that referee Mike Chioda considered stopping the match. Here’s the video:
Frank’s Analysis: Initially I rejected turning Bryan heel in advance of his match with heel Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. I still might have held off on the turn until after last night or even during the match for that matter. Nonetheless, this is where we are, and I must say after watching Survivor Series I’m less against it than what I was initially. Bryan would have had to do something heelish to turn the match around and that’s exactly what happened when he low-kicked Lesnar. Bryan has played heel before in his career and I have no doubt he can do so now. I must point out that this is not what I envisioned when he came out of retirement. I certainly expected a journey with a feel-good ending seeing him raise the championship. WWE didn’t tell that story, but I’m willing to see how this plays out with Bryan’s new role.
There are various stories as to why A.J. Styles lost the title, with the main reason being he is negotiating a new contract while looking for a reduced schedule. We will follow this closely in the near future. I would expect him to get a rematch perhaps at TLC. They have had three matches on Smackdown this year, so it would be nice to get one on a bigger stage, albeit TLC. This Sunday’s Starrcade is on the table.
How Will Team Blue Respond to Being Swept
On the MAIN show of Survivor Series, team Raw indeed swept Smackdown. The Usos were the sole survivors in the 10-on-10 tag team elimination match during the pre-show, but apparently that doesn’t count. Even G.M. Paige touted the victory on her Twitter account:
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) November 18, 2018
“Best in the World” and also commissioner Shane McMahon, who was the final competitor eliminated in the men’s 5-on-5 match, had this to say on Twitter:
This wasn’t the night I had in mind for Team Blue.
Tomorrow is a new day, but something is going to have to change come Tuesday. #SurvivorSeries
— Shane McMahon (@shanemcmahon) November 19, 2018
Shane can’t be accused of a lack of effort though. I included this clip from Survivor Series in the Raw primer yesterday. In case you missed it, here’s Shane doing a table spot on Braun Strowman during the match:
Frank’s Analysis: I say again Raw won 6-1. Either the tag team elimination match was Raw vs. Smackdown or it wasn’t. While the tag match wasn’t overwhelming, it was still presented to us and brand vs. brand. Good for Paige putting that on her Twitter account. In any event thank goodness the “brand supremacy” conversation is over at least for a year. There may be some lingering discussion tonight and perhaps next week, but nonetheless we can get back to business. It’s uncertain the “change” Shane is alluding to on his Twitter account, but I certainly hope it’s not undermining Paige. She has been great in this role especially after being forced to retire from in-ring competition. It looked like Shane was going heel after winning the World Cup, but WWE pulled back on that idea. It’s not fully off the table, and thus we’ll start to see the course begin tonight.
What’s Gotten into Charlotte Flair?
As we all recall, Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch was to face Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series. During an invasion by the Smackdown women on Raw last week, Becky Lynch got punch “hard way” by Nia Jax. Last week on Smackdown, she named Charlotte Flair her “replacement” opponent for the match. In case you missed it, here’s the segment from last week:
I expounded on the Charlotte vs. Ronda match in yesterday’s Raw primer. To recap quickly, Charlotte got DQ’d when she pulled out a kendo stick and attacked Ronda with it on the outside of the ring. She continued to give her a Natural Selection onto a chair and stomped on her head with her neck in the chair. Here’s a recap video from WWE Now:
Here are some tweets from Charlotte Flair suggesting the direction of her character:
Boo the woo?
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) November 19, 2018
Y’all gonna keep messing around with me gonna turn me back to the old me 👸 pic.twitter.com/lXIstsCkxC
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) November 19, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: Between Daniel Bryan’s heel turn and this story they both have me hooked like I haven’t been in a while with WWE storylines. There are so many questions regarding this. Did Becky getting knocked out make her a bigger star than they ever could have imagined? Since the crowd loves Becky more than ever, did they decide to go with Charlotte as the heel which let’s be honest is more of a natural fit for her? Now as I alluded to yesterday, I attended Survivor Series. The crowd was incredibly positive for Charlotte even though she was the heel in what she did. How does Becky’s medical condition play into how they frame Charlotte going forward? Does WWE keep her as a babyface with an “edge” based on the crowd reaction if Becky has to be out for an extended period? The handshake and hug last week, which was a bit unexpected given their intense feud as of late, could be a sign that Becky and WWE know something but can’t say. If Becky doesn’t have to be out, do they resume their feud only now in reversed roles? I don’t like to use clichés but stayed tuned for this one!
Thanksgiving Feast Fight: New Day vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Bar & Big Show
Last night on Raw during a commercial for Smackdown it was announced there would be a Thanksgiving Feast Fight as New Day will take on the Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) and the Big Show.
This is the first ever match of this nature. The Bar is coming off a loss to AOP in the tag team champion vs. champion match at Survivor Series this past Sunday.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t have much to discuss here. Thanksgiving is this Thursday and in recent years WWE likes to do these themed matches based on the upcoming holiday. New Day usually ends up doing these types of match, as they took part in the recent Trick or Street fight in advance of Halloween. I still don’t understand why the Big Show has recently aligned with the Bar. I’m not upset about the alliance but when one turns heel, an explanation would be nice even if Show has turned numerous times in his career.
Can Shinsuke Nakamura Bounce Back from His Loss to Seth Rollins?
In a battle of the “mid-card” champions at Survivor Series, U.S. Champion lost to Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins. On Twitter, Nakamura was somewhat humble after the match:
— Shinsuke Nakamura (@ShinsukeN) November 19, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: According to the U.S. Bank Arena’s website, Nakamura is set to defend the championship against Rey Mysterio at this Sunday’s Starrcade which I talked about earlier. The U.S. Championship is a perfect fit for Mysterio, and his winning since returning to WWE suggests a big push is in store. Mysterio oddly has never held the U.S. Championship, despite him being from WCW when the title was under their banner. He never held it then nor during his initial WWE run. As far as Nakamura goes with Daniel Bryan now a heel and A.J. Styles’ future uncertain, and with Nakamura being somewhat humble it’s fair to speculate if a babyface turn is on the horizon. I’m not suggesting this happen right away as a feud with Mysterio could work for a month or two, but in the subsequent time he could go in that direction.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena website shows a start time of 4:30 p.m. local. They advertise a fatal 4-way for the WWE Championship. WWE Champ Daniel Bryan defends against A.J. Styles, the Miz, and Samoa joe.
They also show New Day, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and Charlotte Flair “Live.”
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani. My e-mail is email@example.com. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!
LISTEN TO TODAY’S WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING PODCAST COVERING LAST NIGHT’S RAW
PWTorch editor Wade Keller is joined by cohost Mike Chiari from Ring Rust Radio to discuss WWE Monday Night Raw from Los Angeles, Calif. including Survivor Series fallout, plus Dean Ambrose talks about Roman Reigns’s cancer, Ronda Rousey rebounds from beatdown to prove she’s a fighting champion with no nights off, Baron Corbin shatters Braun Strowman’s elbow, Stephanie McMahon brings up “dismemberment” as a “corporate liability,” and much more including an on-site correspondent and mailbag.