KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JUNE 18, 2019
ONTARIO, CA. AT THE TOYOTA ARENA
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Smackdown Viewership Last Week: 1.40 (.11 Decrease from previous week)
Arena, Items Advertised by WWE, and Show Start Time
WWE remains on the west coast as they present Smackdown in the Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA. WWE.com has the location listed as the Citizens Business Bank Arena, which is the previous name. It was renamed just last week on June 11 as the facility “entered a new naming rights agreement with the Southern California Toyota Dealership Association” (according to Wikipedia). It was opened in 2008 as the Ontario Community Events Center and hosted Smackdown in June of last year.
Tonight will be the final build for Stomping Grounds this coming Sunday as we get ready for the next WWE PPV event. Here’s what on the menu for tonight’s Smackdown according to WWE.com as of this morning:
Matches & Segments:
• Xavier Woods and Dolph Ziggler to battle it out
• Bayley and Alexa Bliss to come face-to-face on “A Moment of Bliss” before they collide at WWE Stomping Grounds
• What will be the fallout of Roman Reigns’ attack on McMahon & McIntyre?
• Will Daniel Bryan & Rowan finally accept Heavy Machinery’s challenge?
• Can R-Truth hang on to the 24/7 Championship
The arena’s website shows a start time of 4:45 p.m. local time with doors opening one hour earlier. They show two matches, which are already scheduled for Stomping Grounds:
• WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (champ) vs. Dolph Ziggler
• Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Xavier Woods vs. Dolph Ziggler
There has been quite a bit of activity in recent times in regard to Dolph Ziggler and New Day. At Super Showdown, Kofi Kingston retained the WWE Championship over Ziggler with a bit of help from his New Day partner Xavier Woods. Last week on Smackdown, New Day at full strength (including a returning Big E) defeated Ziggler & Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (appearing via the wild card).
Before their match New Day came out to the discuss the match but were interrupted by Ziggler. He re-iterated how Xavier kicked him during the match at Super Showdown. Kofi reminded him how he kicked Xavier earlier in the match, and thus Xavier’s actions were retaliation.
On Saturday, WWE announced that Xavier will go one-on-one with Ziggler tonight. Ziggler has another date with Kofi Kingston this coming Sunday at Stomping Ground as they step into a steel cage for the WWE Championship.
Frank’s Analysis: Like last week, this is pretty straight-forward and a way to keep the issues going between Ziggler and New Day. I would bet on Ziggler winning and looking strong, proving to be a threat to Kofi’s championship Sunday. I’m betting on Kofi retaining, but it’s not crazy to imagine Ziggler winning the championship. He’s talked a good game since he’s been back, and it could be paid off well with a title run. The question is do you want to end Kofi’s reign so soon.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley on “A Moment of Bliss”
Alexa Bliss has a date with Bayley as, via the wild card, she attempts to gain her third Smackdown Women’s Championship. Alexa previously took the Raw title from her two years ago in her hometown of San Jose, CA.
Several weeks ago, Bayley was a guest on a Moment of Bliss. It was during this segment we learned that Charlotte Flair, Alexa, and Carmella were to have a triple threat the same night to determine the #1 contender for the Smackdown title. Here’s a clip of that from WWE’s YouTube page:
Last week on Smackdown, Alexa was talking to Nikki Cross in regard to her costing Bayley to get pinned the previous night on Raw by Lacey Evans. She talked about Bayley liking a negative tweets about Nikki, and how she blocked Bayley a long time ago. Later in the evening, Bayley defeated Nikki with Alexa in her corner in a non-title match.
Last night on Raw, Alexa and Nikki came up short in their attempt to become WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions against the Iiconics with Bayley watching on. Here’s what we didn’t see on TV in regard to Bayley:
Bayley joins Alexa on a Moment of Bliss once again tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s hard to talk about these Moment of Bliss segments as they usually turn into a cluster, so it’s better just to sit back and watch. Hopefully the coffee is brewed and ready to go. The Alexa/Nikki dynamic is weird and hard to buy considering Nikki’s off-the-wall character in NXT and the inconsistency in Alexa’s character. I’m not surprised Vince didn’t want to embrace that. As far as Alexa goes you think she’s turning babyface, but then she goes back to heel, and thus it’s really frustrating to follow what they’re doing with her. As far as the title match, as crazy as this sounds, I could see Alexa winning the title and WWE having to deal with a Raw wrestler holding a Smackdown title just to throw us off. My money is on Bayley retaining though.
Fallout of Reigns’s Attack on Shane McMahon
Last night on Raw, Shane McMahon was having a celebration in a VIP lounge with the new Raw Tag Team Champions the Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) and Drew McIntyre. They were interrupted a few times, once by Heath Slater asking for a raise. Drew offered to help his former 3MB stable-mate only to attack him instead. Later on, Roman Reigns came out and called Shane out.
Shane responded via the Titan Tron and said there was no shame in losing to the “Best in the World,” referring to their match ten days prior at Super Showdown. Drew stepped in and talked about physically harming him and disfiguring him in their upcoming match at Stomping Grounds. He then crossed the line when he said he wanted to send him home to his kids and have them scream at the sight of their disfigured father.
Reigns pursued Drew, but the Revival stepped in. Reigns got past them and into the VIP lounge, and threw Drew onto a table. He then pursued a retreating Shane, with whom Reigns eventually caught up. After beating him up in the ring, he gave him his signature spear, and left him lying in the ring. Here’s a WWE.com exclusive of what we didn’t see following the attack:
Drew and Reigns head to Stomping Grounds to face off this Sunday.
Frank’s Analysis: My only issue with this whole thing is that the Shane-Reigns feud feels primary to the Drew-Reigns feud. It should be the opposite. What brings me around is Shane being involved with the Revival and Drew is seemingly making them bigger stars, so if that’s what it takes and that’s the result I’ll take it. I just HOPE that’s the result because these gentlemen should be big stars. All was well done last night from Reigns being short and sweet and getting the crowd to cheer what he said, to Shane to Drew getting under Reigns skin, and the action feeling real and authentic.
Heavy Machinery’s Challenge to Bryan & Rowan
For the past few weeks, Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) have challenged Smackdown (& the Planet’s) Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan. They did so in a WWE.com exclusive I included in yesterday’s primer and also on Smackdown last week, where they defeated the Yolo County Tag Team Champions.
Bryan & Rowan paid a visit to Raw last night as one of the 3,685 wild cards. They discussed how they would show all of Raw’s tag teams that they’re the greatest tag team in WWE history. Bryan later lost to Universal Champion Seth Rollins in two non-title matches, first via DQ and then took a pin after the match was restarted.
Not addressed was the challenge of Heavy Machinery which remains out there. Otis & Tucker did have a WWE.com exclusive interview last week where apparently, they’re being recognized as the Yolo County Tag Team Champions:
— WWE (@WWE) June 12, 2019
With Stomping Grounds less than a week away, we’ll find out if Bryan & Rowan accept Machinery’s challenge.
Frank’s Analysis: I plead again can these exclusive interviews be on TV? They are a million times better than the heavily scripted ones we get and feel like the interviews done back in the day where wrestlers just spoke their minds and talked about their missions. Heavy Machinery felt real here and genuinely wanted to be tag champs. My money is on this happening on the kickoff show Sunday. The question remains that if it does happen, are the Yolo County titles on the line too?
R-Truth and the 24/7 Chase Rolls On
Last night on Raw, 24/7 Champion R-Truth and Carmella were ringside as Truth was dressed as Charlie Chaplin. Once this was spotted on camera, the 24/7 Championship cavalcade was cued to come out and pursue Truth. He and Carmella ended up under the ring. Moments later, Titus O’Neil was yanked out, and Truth and Carmella got away through the crowd.
Here’s some WWE.com exclusives of what actually happened under the ring and Truth running from the cavalcade:
Frank’s Analysis: Little Jimmy should be the one to pin Truth for the title at some point. Remember Truth talking about him back in 2011 during his brief heel run? He has to be all grown up by now, right?
Not Advertised for Follow-Up:
• Miz, appearing via the wild card, defeated Elias and then lost to Drew McIntyre. He then succeeded to lost to Shane McMahon, renewing their feud.
• Mandy Rose and Ember Moon had a confrontation backstage when Mandy handed Ember a bunch of “Her’s” magazines featuring Mandy on the cover.
• Sonya Deville defeated Carmella.
• The announcers talked about WWE being in Saudi Arabia, and told us that WWE is the only form of entertainment that is totally cross-cultural in every country in the world.
• Aleister Black pleaded for someone to challenge him.
• Apollo Crews called out Andrade after their no-contest match the week prior. Andrade’s business partner, Zelina Vega, advised against it. Chad Gable, sporting a new ‘do, was taking notes for some odd reason.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!