KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 9, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They opened with an outdoor shot of Dolph Ziggler getting out of his SUV. Kayla Braxton approached him for a comment about him and his partner Kevin Owens having issues last week. Ziggler took exception to referring to Owens as his partner. “My partner? That worthless tub of excuses, Kevin Owens?” he said. KO drove up in a sports car and lowered his car window and then laid on the horn to interrupt Ziggler. (KO was alerting people to really bad overacting.) KO got out of his car and got into a loud argument with Ziggler. KO finally punched him the face. They fought. The Singh Brothers and B-Team broke them up. Shane McMahon arrived on the scene. KO said he wanted Ziggler later. Shane said it wouldn’t happen and he ordered security to get him out of there. KO was bleeding from his mouth. Shane told him to get into his car and get out of there.
-Backstage Shane was asked by the unnamed blond woman (Sarah Schreiber) why he canceled tonight’s main event between Ziggler and KO. Shane it was absolutely out of control and that stuff should be kept in the ring. He said KO instigated it, which is why he was sent home. She asked what the new main event would be. He said he had a few ideas.
-Phillips introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd and the graphic said they were in Manchester, N.H. Graves hyped Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the first-time ever on Smackdown. (Why was KO-Ziggler billed as the “main event” and not that?!?!) KO barged his way to ringside and went off on Shane. He yelled that he is tired of being a company guy, but he’s done with it. He said he heard the McMahons say they were going to listen to the fans and give them what they want, but since then Shane has gotten more TV time and nobody wants that. KO said it makes him sick every time he hears Shane say he is the Best in the World.
Shane walked onto the stage and said that’s enough. He called for KO’s mic to get cut. It was cut. KO grabbed another mic and began talking again, saying it’s a slap in the face every time he calls himself the Best in the World. He said when any wrestler hears that, they all think, “Shane McMahon can kiss my ass.” Shane had that second mic cut. KO grabbed an announcer headset and yelled into that. He said Shane has taken TV time away from Apollo Crews, Liv Morgan, Buddy Murphy, Ali, Asuka, Kairi Sane, and AOP. Shane sent security to the ring. KO ran through the crowd. Shane yelled, “Make sure he stays out.”
-They went to the announcers. Graves said a lot of guys are upset, but that’s not the way to express it. Phillips hyped the Tag Team Summit and then a triple threat afterward with one member of each team who are facing off at Extreme Rules. Graves said Aleister Black’s opponent would be revealed later.
-They showed Balor backstage. Phillips said he’d face Nakamura for the first time ever on the Smackdown Live brand. [c]
-Graves thanked Dirty Honey for “When I’m Gone,” the official theme of Extreme Rules.
(1) FINN BALOR vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
During Nakamura’s ring entrance, a soundbite aired with Nakamura who said no more tag team wrestling, and as a singles wrestler, he strikes fear. Graves said he has been away for a while, and it’s what he needed to reprogram and recalculate and remember just how dangerous he can be. Balor’s entrance then took place. Graves said their careers have been intertwined. A soundbite aired with Balor saying that he’s known Nakamura for 15 years. Balor said Nakamura is dangerous and mysterious, an artist capable of painting a picture of chaos. He said tonight, though, he’s facing a man desperate to get his career back on track, but if he thinks he’s going to do that at his expense, “he’s in for an extraordinary surprise.” The bell rang 15 minutes into the hour. The screen noted that “Kevin Owens” was trending on Twitter. After a minute of Balor on offense, they cut to an early break, but stayed with the action on split screen. [c]
Nakamura dominated methodically during the break, but then Balor made a comeback when they returned from commercial. After a near fall, Balor set up a slingblade, but Nakamura countered and kicked him on the side of his head. He hung him in the ropes and then delivered a sliding German suplex. Balor caught a charging Nakamura with a slingblade. When he went to the top rope, Nakamura knocked him off balance and then kneed him in the ribs. He leaped off the second rope and kneed Balor off the ring apron to the floor. Nakamura threw Balor into the ringpost and the ringside barricade and then the ringpost again, then returned to the ring to beat the ten count. Balor re-entered, but Nakamura threw him to the floor quickly again. Nakamura then hit Balor with a Kinshasa at ringside. Balor was nearly counted out again.
Nakamura threw Balor into the ringside barricade and then the ringpost. Phillips called this a vicious Nakamura. Balor beat the countout, but Nakamura landed another Kinshasa for the win. Graves said this was a statement win and shows Balor his U.S. Title reign is vulnerable.
WINNER: Nakamura in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good TV match. I hope this is the beginning of a serious Nakamura push and a motivated Nakamura having better matches.)
-Backstage Shane, Drew McIntyre, and Elias were chatting. Drew said Cedric is going to get exactly what he has coming to him for trying to put one over on them. He said they still won despite their attempts to cheat. He said they have the clear physical and mental advantage over them. Elias said he has been working on the perfect funeral song for Undertaker. Shane asked if it’s spooky. In walked Ziggler who told Shane what he did was “bogus.” (That’s so Ziggler to use the word “bogus.”) Shane said he should use his energy against a new main event opponent – Roman Reigns. Ziggler said he liked that. The crowd didn’t seem to care. A few cheers, some boos, and then it all faded. Shane said they’d all be there with him for the match. When Shane looked at Drew and said he’s good, Drew shrugged his shoulder and said, “He’s alright.”
-Graves plugged the Tag Team Title Summit.
-They showed Bayley backstage. [c]
-A video package aired of Samoa Joe beating up Kofi Kingston last week.
-A promo aired with Joe who said he offered Kofi clemency in a show of compassion, but he didn’t take the option of safety. He said he knew he wouldn’t take it because he is everything he said he was. He said he sees the hustle behind what he is doing and he sees what he truly is. He said at Extreme Rules he’ll tear away the last shred of the lie he clothes himself in and he’ll beat him down to the bare essence of what he really is. He said he will then put him to sleep. He said he will take back everything he has taken from those whose backs he walked on to get to the top. “Most importantly, I will take the WWE Championship.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Now that’s a heel promo. Joe at his best – intense and intimidating, but not yelling.)
-Kayla introduced Nikki Cross. As Cross came out, Philips said this Women’s Title contract signing was scheduled to start the show before the chaos with Kevin Owens. Bayley came out next. Highlights aired of Bayley slapping Nikki and dropping an elbow on her last night on Raw. Kayla set the table, noting that Nikki made it a two-on-one match. Bayley sat down and told Nikki not to worry, she’s just there to sign a contract. She said she’s sorry to see that Alexa Bliss decided not to show up again. Bayley told Nikki that they are a lot alike because she was star-struck and easily manipulated, but she soon realized they only cared about her when they needed something. She said she learned real quick and became a champion on her own.
Nikki asked if the real Bayley is the one who attacked her unprovoked. Bayley told Nikki to listen to herself because Bliss is in her head and has her doing her dirty work for her every single night. Nikki insisted Bliss knows she can defend herself. Bayley asked Nikki if she is really okay with helping somebody else win a championship. Bayley said on Sunday, she is facing impossible odds, and Nikki is formidable on her own. She said she is bringing everything she has. “What happens when Alexa loses and she blames you?” Bayley asked. Nikki said she wants to help her friend, which Bayley wouldn’t understand because all her friends abandoned her. Nikki said Alexa isn’t using her. She said Bliss said they would become the first-ever Smackdown Women’s Champion co-champions. She signed the contract. Nikki told Bayley to stick around for her match with Carmella and she’ll show her that when it’s time to play, Nikki has all the fun.
(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd wasn’t all that into this. I think fans kinda like Nikki and kinda don’t fully like Bayley, and they feel more bad for Nikki’s naivety than resent her for it and aren’t really rooting for Bayley to be proven right at Nikki’s expense. So it’s an interesting storyline, but not one that gets much crowd heat in the typical face/heel way. Fans are torn at best and ambivalent at worst.) [c]
(2) NIKKI CROSS vs. CARMELLA
Graves pushed back when Saxton sounded skeptical that Bliss would let Nikki be co-champions with her. Graves said Saxton is so naive, he probably thinks his girlfriend is really going to the gym at 11 every night. There was some awkward silence after that and the camera caught Graves laughing in the background behind Bayley, who was sitting at ringside. Nikki grabbed Carmella by her hair and yelled at Bayley, “This is on you!” Carmella made a comeback. Then she ducked Nikki’s crossbody. Both were slow to get up. Carmella hit Nikki with two clotheslines and an atomic drop. She moonwalked and hit a Bronco Buster, then small packaged Nikki for a two count. Nikki suddenly hit her spinning neckbreaker for the win. Nikki and Bayley exchanged some words at ringside.
WINNER: Nikki in 3:00.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Phillips threw to a clip two weeks ago in Tokyo, Japan where Asuka & Kairi Sane beat The IIconics to earn a title shot.
-Backstage The IIconics left their locker room where Paige, Asuka, and Sane were waiting. Paige said she wants their tag title match tonight. Peyton Royce said Billie Kaye was sick. Paige said they’re so annoying since they won the tag team titles at WrestleMania. She said they’re “overrated, underwhelming, shrill, cowardly annoying little clowns.” When Kaye got in Paige’s face, Paige slapped her. Paige said the match may not be tonight, but it’s coming to get ready.
-They showed Ziggler backstage contemplating his match against Reigns, who’s making a “rare appearance” on his home brand.
-They showed Daniel Bryan and Rowan backstage. [c]
-They showed Becky Lynch on the cover of ESPN Magazine. Phillips said she’s the first WWE Supestar to ever grace the cover of ESPN Magazine.
-The announcers talked about last night’s Raw main event where Cedric Alexander wrestled under a mask as Reigns’s secret partner. Phillips said just when it looked like Shane and Drew’s plan backfired, a Claymore Kick ended it. Then Cedric unmasked and Cedric and Reigns has a laugh together over… losing.
-The unnamed blond woman interviewed Reigns. Fans booed. She asked if facing Ziggler will affect his match at Extreme Rules. Reigns said this is a crazy night and he’s has a career of dealing with crazy nights. He said no matter what happens with Ziggler, he and the Dead Man will make sure “those boys are going to rest in peace. He closed with, “See ya’, sweetie.” (It’s 2019 right? Who calls a woman doing her job in a professional setting “sweetie” before leaving like that?)
-The New Day made their ring entrance. When Saxton told Graves to clap, he said he’d rather slam his pinkie finger in a door. Saxton said his hips just got “wiggle-itis.” Xavier said on Sunday they have a triple threat tag match for the titles. Big E said, “That isn’t what I had in mind when I was told I would be in a three-way this weekend.” Then he added, “This Sunday all three of us will be able to touch our championship tips together. Yeah!” They were interrupted by Daniel Bryan & Rowan. Phillips said, “That really took an odd turn quickly.” Bryan took jabs at New Day for making jokes about three-ways and tips. He said they’re not taking this championship match seriously, and people wonder why. He said even when New Day are champions, nobody takes them seriously.
Xavier said Bryan talks too much without actually saying anything. He then said he wants to hear what “Big Red” Rowan has to say. He said Rowan was first taking orders from Bray, then Harper, and now Bryan. He said they have trouble keeping track of who his daddy is. Fans chanted, “Who’s your daddy!” Bryan told Rowan that those are ignorant people following an ignorant lead. Bryan said New Day deflect true criticism with humor and jokes. He said New Day are some of the best athletes in WWE and they’ve had some of the best tag team matches in WWE history, yet somehow they never escape the middle of the card and are seen as nothing more than a comedy act. He said the only thing worse than New Day winning the titles would be “those buffoons,” Heavy Machinery. As he insulted them, their music interrupted.
Heavy Machinery walked out. Tucker said at Stomping Grounds, in their first WWE PPV and first Smackdown Tag Team match, they took them to the limit. Otis said they’re blue color solid. Tucker said that means they overcome any obstacle, including New Day. Otis did the swivel as he said they’re going to become the new WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Tucker said they’ll show the world there’s no party like a blue collar party. Otis said that’s Sunday, but first things first. Phillips plugged the three-way next. [c]
(3) DANIEL BRYAN (w/Rowan) vs. OTIS (w/Tucker) vs. XAVIER WOODS (w/Big E)
Otis vertical suplexed both Bryan and Woods at once. Graves said Heavy Machinery are bizarre, but also legit. Xavier caught a charging Otis with a boot. Rowan interfered against both Xavier and Otis. Then he gave Tucker a boot at ringside. He also fended off Big E. Rowan set up both for claw slams, but they shoved him over the ringside table. Big E and Tucker argued. The ref threw them out of ringside. Phillips said, “This triple threat match will have to be reset and it continues here.” (Why?!) [c]
Oddly, despite saying it’d have to be reset, they stayed with the match on split-screen. Everyone was slow to get up during the break. Bryan threw Xavier out of the ring, then went after Otis in the ring. When Otis made a comeback, Xavier dropkicked him out of the ring. Then he slingshot himself over the top rope, but Otis caught him and shoved him into the ring apron. Bryan leaped off the ring apron and hit Otis with a flying knee. Xavier hit a celebrating Bryan from behind. After the break, everyone got some shine with rapid-fire exchanges. Otis finished Xavier with lift-and-drop powerslam.
(Keller’s Analysis: The segment and the match were all entertaining.)
-The announcers were shown at ringside reacting to the match, and then they pivoted to a recap of last week’s Kevin Owens Show and the angle at the start of the show with KO and Ziggler and Shane.
-Backstage they were filming Ember Moon at catering for some reason. Then Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville approached her and said this isn’t Twitter, this is real life. Ember said what she said about them was true. Deville said that Rose losing to her last week brought them closer. Rose challenged Moon to find a tag partner and they’ll face her and her partner next week. Moon said if she can’t find a partner, she’ll wrestle them on her own. [c]
-Another vignette aired with Ali. He said he doesn’t run from evil because evil only wins when the good stand by and do nothing. He said evil takes on many shapes and he’s seen them all and fought them all. He said he saw it as a police officer working the midnight shift. He said he even saw evil amongst those sworn to protect and serve. He said there is no monster who can scare him and a giant he can’t stand tall against and no evil he will not battle. He said evil only wins when you don’t show up to fight.
-They went to the announcers. Saxton said Ali is a Superstar full of conviction and high moral value. Phillips shifted into hyping the Extreme Rules line-up.
-Phillips interviewed Black on a monitor. Phillips said his opponent for Sunday is choosing not to identify himself at this time. The split screen showed an empty chair. Black laughed and said that is something he would do, so he applauds his opponent. “It’s smart,” he said. “It’s really really smart.” He said at this point he doesn’t care anymore who he is. He said on Sunday he will walk out and… suddenly a guy in white pants circled the chair, but we couldn’t see who it was. Then he sat down and it was revealed to be Cesaro. Small applause. Cesaro took out of his mouth guard. Cesaro said, “Aleister Black, I’m the one who knocked at your door. I’m the one here to pick a fight with you.” Black shook with intensity and said, “Oh so good, Mr. Cesaro.” He said on Sunday he will fight him. He winked, stood, and walked away. Cesaro put his mouthguard back in.
-The unnamed blond woman asked Shelton Benjamin if Ziggler beats Reigns, will that will prove it should have been him all along. Shelton looked around the room like he was watching a fly buzz around, then smiled and walked away.
-They showed Reigns and Ziggler on a split screen heading toward the entrance stage. [c]
-Kayla was talking when Paul Heyman walked past her. She then introduced Kofi Kingston who danced into the picture. She asked him about his controversial hand gesture aimed at Joe last week and if his comments earlier intimidated him and affected his mindset. Kofi said he knows who Joe is and how he gets inside the minds of his opponents. He cheerfully said he got inside Joe’s head, and then he got hit upside his head with Trouble in Paradise. He said he welcomed the challenge of Joe with open arms because beating him is how he will become one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time. He left, then came back and sang, “Bay-bee!”
-Reigns made his ring entrance. (As Reigns shook hands with fans at ringside, a little kid held up a sign six feet away from him that said “I’m fighting leukemia too.” He didn’t see it and walked up the stairs. I hope someone notices and points it out to Reigns.) Then Ziggler made his ring entrance. As the match was about to begin, Shane, Drew, and Elias walked out to Shane’s music. Phillips said Shane is all about flexing his corporate power. Shane called on Greg Hamilton to give Shane his proper ring introduction. [c]
(4) ROMAN REIGNS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
The match began after the break. Shane joined the announcers on commentary. Reigns went after Ziggler at ringside, although he had a few words for Elias on his way to giving Ziggler a Drive-By. Drew came up behind Reigns as Elias stood and mouthed off to him. Reigns threw Ziggler into the ring. Drew and Reigns went face-to-face. Drew threw Reigns into the ringpost. Shane asked if Reigns slipped. Ziggler took over offense.
Reigns made a comeback a few minutes later and hit his barrage of corner clotheslines. He threw a boot at Ziggler’s face. He played to the crowd and signaled for the spear, but Elias stood on the ring apron. Ziggler then hit Reigns with a surprise Zig Zag for a dramatic near fall. Ziggler stomped the mat to signal for a superkick. Reigns stood, but caught Ziggler with a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns then played to the crowd for a spear. Drew yanked Ziggler out of the ring. Reigns leaped over the top rope and actually overshot Drew and Ziggler for the most part, but still took them down. Ziggler superkicked Reigns, who was staring at Shane who entered the ring. KO then gave Shane a Stunner before exiting though the crowd. Reigns entered the ring, but Ziggler went for a Zig Zag. Reigns held onto the top rope, then speared Ziggler for the win.