KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 3, 2019
NORFOLK, VA. AT THE SCOPE
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They opened with a recap of the Bayley heel turn on Raw the night before.
-They went live to the arena where Phillips introduced the show without naming the city. The graphic did indicate they were in Norfolk, Va. Bayley made her ring entrance with the usual blow-up kiddie balloon figures and haircut. Saxton said he assumes she has a perfectly good explanation for why she did what she did. Graves said she’ll likely explain herself now. Phillips plugged the Bayley vs. Charlotte match at Clash of Champions for the Smackdown Women’s Title.
The fans gave her an intense mixed reaction, but mostly boos and “Becky!” chants. She said people say they didn’t see it coming and can’t believe she did what she did. She said Sasha’s her best friend and has been through so much her and has always had her back. Boos. She said nothing has changed and she’s still trying to show them the kind of champion she’s trying to be for the division. “I’m trying to give people opportunities and I’m trying to lift people up with my whole heart,” she said. “Trust me, I’ve given my whole heart. Think about the kids.” More boos. She said ever since she first stepped into the ring, she’s been trying to make fans feel like she did when she was a kid. She said the value she is teaching kids is loyalty, which is why she stuck with Sasha.
She said she will beat the most selfish person on the whole roster at the Clash, Charlotte Flair. She said Charlotte has no idea what it’s like to be a role model. Charlotte came out. Graves said Bobby Davis often said, “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.” Saxton said, “Who?” Charlotte came out in jeans, a sweater, and jacket. Charlotte said she is the queen of selfishness. Charlotte said people say a lot about her, but what you see is what you get. She said there’s no confusion or blind-siding and there’s definitely no hugging. She told Bayley to hug her title really tight. Sasha interrupted and then strutted out.
Charlotte elbowed Bayley in the head before Sasha got to the ring. Graves said Charlotte was trying to defend herself. As Charlotte pummeled Sasha on the mat, Bayley hit Charlotte in the back with a chair three times. (Bayley’s got some weak chairshots. It’s like she studied Hulk Hogan’s chairshots.) Fans chanted, “One more time!” Sasha picked up the chair and gave Charlotte three more chairshots. (Those had more force.) She handed the chair to Bayley who hit Charlotte again. Fans chanted “Becky!” Bayley’s music played instead to indicate the end of the segment. Sasha and Bayley smiled and left up the ramp together.
(Keller’s Analysis: It makes sense Charlotte wouldn’t have friends running to her rescue.)
-They went to the announcers on camera. Graves said they could be looking in couple weeks at the most powerful duo in WWE’s women’s wrestling. They hyped the “Face-to-Face” between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan tonight because Bryan is demanding an apology from Reigns for the spear last week. Phillips plugged the Chad Gable vs. Andrade quarterfinal KOTR match later. But first, Ali’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-The showed Bayley and Sasha smiling and chatting backstage. Phillips said they are extraordinarily proud of themselves.
(1) ALI vs. ELIAS – King of the Ring Quarterfinals match
Ali got in some offense early, but Elias took over at ringside and threw Ali around and into the time keeper’s area. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action during the break. [c]
Elias stayed on offense during the break and then settled into a side headlock. Ali made a comeback and face planted Elias for a soft two count. Elias rolled to the floor. Ali dove through the ropes and knocked Elias hard into the ringside barricade. Phillips said winning the KOTR can launch a career to all new heights. Ali landed a 450 knee strike onto Elias’s extended elbow, then applied a crossface. Elias reached the bottom rope. Elias came back with a powerbomb and then applied a stretch muffler mid-ring. Ali reached the bottom rope. They battled on the top rope. Elias shoved Ali down. Ali flipped and landed on his feet. Elias leaped at him. Ali hit him with a superkick to the mid-section out of mid-air. Ali then climbed to the top rope and went for a 450, but Elias moved. Elias grabbed Ali’s leg, but Ali up-kicked. Elias ducked an enzuigiri. Elias dropped a knee on Ali’s leg and then hit Drift Away for the clean win. Elias celebrated on the KOTR throne by playing guitar.
WINNER: Elias in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: One of Elias’s better matches. Ali seems to be settling into a mid-card slot not all that different from, say, Cesaro – a good worker who helps others higher on the roster depth chart look good. Maybe his vignettes were too altruistic and offended WWE in the midst of cashing their checks from Saudi Arabia. His push seemed to take a sharp downward turn after he said he was donating his Saudi payoff to charity.)
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Samoa Joe backstage who said he was there to scout the competition. He said he will put his opponent in the finals to sleep and the WWE Universe will bend at the knee and call him king.
-They showed Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross walking together backstage. [c]
-Aleister Black said if the mountain won’t come to him, then he will come to the mountain. He said he’s heading to the ring to see if anyone is man enough to pick a fight with him. Graves called it a display of “ominous indignation.”
(2) NIKKI CROSS & ALEXA BLISS vs. MANDY ROSE & SONYA DEVILLE
Sonya had a rainbow handkerchief hanging out of her back pocket. A minute in Nikki leaped onto Mandy and Sonya at ringside, then pounded her chest as they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break Mandy was in control of Nikki, yelling, “You will never look like me!” Phillips asked if there’s a reason for her to run down Nikki like that. Nikki hot-tagged in Bliss just as Sonya tagged in. Bliss took it to Sonya with a series of rapid-fire offense leading to a two count, broken up by Mandy. Bliss landed a DDT a minute later and climbed to the top rope. Mandy rammed Nikki into the ring apron at ringside. Sonya lifted her knees and caught Bliss on the dive. Rose tagged back in and they double-team high-lowed Bliss for the win. Graves wondered if that would shake the confidence of Bliss & Cross, losing clean like that.
WINNERS: Rose & Bliss in 7:00.
-They showed Randy Orton walking backstage. Phillips said they’d find out next when the Viper will strike next. [c]
-An ad aired hyping the return of Undertaker next week.
-Chad Gable was warming up with stretch bands when Joe “accidentally” bumped into him and then said “My bad.” Gable said he was preparing for his King of the Ring match. Joe thought that was funny. He said he’d need a high chair. Joe said he knows the height jokes are tired and he’s heard them his entire life, but he can tell it still hurts because he’s mentally weak, and there’s no room for weakness in the Kingdom.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wouldn’t be surprised if Chad rarely if ever heard height jokes until he got near Vince McMahon’s scripting, where height is one of the first things Vince notices and he thinks everyone else is as preoccupied with it as he is.)
-Orton made his ring entrance. He said in two weeks, he’ll be the new WWE Champion. He said he also gets to prove in two weeks that Kofi Kingston is a fraud who has never been on his level. He said he laid bait and set a trap and Kofi fell for it last week. Fans chanted “Kofi!” and Orton stopped and sneered. They replayed Orton attacking Kofi last week. Orton smiled.
Orton said he’s thinking no more games and traps or even waiting until the Clash. “Get your ass out here right now and face me like a man!” he said. Graves wondered if they’d fight tonight instead waiting until the Clash. (Fans know better, but commentators don’t) New Day’s music played. The Revival then attacked Kofi on the stage. Kofi tried to fight back, so Orton jumped to the floor and leveled Kofi with a clothesline. He threw Kofi into the ring and began stomping him, yelling “Stupid!” a few times in between stomps. He then said he would give him an R-K-O, but Kofi kicked him. The Revival attacked Kofi again. Several minutes in, nobody came out to help Kofi. Revival and Orton gave Kofi a Super-RKO. Orton leaned in and called Kofi “stupid” again, then his music played to end the segment.
(Keller’s Analysis: Pretty paint-by-number heel tactics to build up a title match. It was just fine building a reason for fans to want to see Kofi get revenge.)
-They went to the announcers who threw to a video package on the Roman Reigns-Daniel Bryan saga. Phillips said, “Last week here on Smackdown Live, Roman Reigns got to the bottom of it.”
(3) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. CHAD GABLE – King of the Ring Quarterfinals match
Before the match Zelina told Gable he’d be the next King of the Ring if Andrade wasn’t in the tournament, but unfortunately for him, Andrade is in the tournament. She said there’s no shame in losing to the future King Andrade. “So you keep going, little guy,” she said. They fought back and forth in the early minutes until Andrade dumped Gable over the top rope. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action during the break. [c]
Back live, Gable made a comeback. They cut to Elias watching on a monitor backstage. They had the monitor set up in a locker room instead of a mysterious antiseptic viewing area like usual. Andrade struck with a flying double-stomp. Andrade followed up with Three Amigos. Fans chanted “Eddie!” Gable came back after two Amigos with unreleased German suplexes. Andrade elbowed to block the third German, then went for a moonsault. Gable lifted his knees. (Every match tonight has had a “lifted knees” spot. Gable landed a moonsault for a believable near fall that popped the crowd. Graves said that was Gable’s best shot. Fans chanted “Let’s go Gable!” Gable avoided a charging Andrade. Zelina distracted the ref as Gable bridged Andrade’s shoulders down. After five seconds, Gable let go. Andrade then landed a back elbow. When he went for back elbow DDT, Gable surprised Andrade with a leverage pin for a surprise upset win. Graves said he was amazed and didn’t see that coming.
WINNER: Gable in 8:00.
-The announcers looked at the brackets. This win sets up Elias vs. Gable and Joe vs. Ricochet vs. Corbin in the semi-finals.
(Keller’s Analysis: I thought Andrade had the most to gain from winning the tournament. Does this make Gable vs. Corbin the most likely finals now? Or will there be a King Elias crowned when he beats Ricochet? Or does Ricochet beat Elias? This deep in, with five possible winners, the end result isn’t obvious.)
-Aleister Black made his ring entrance. [c]
(4) ALEISTER BLACK vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN
Graves said Black was looking for a fight and he sure found one during the break. Shelton caught Aleister with a high knee to the head, knocking him off the ring apron to the floor. Graves said Aleister is one of the most complex individuals he’s ever met. Black caught Shelton with a series of strikes and then landed Black Mass for the win.
WINNER: Black in roughly 5:00.
-Backstage Sami Zayn was giving Shinsuke Nakamura a pep talk. [c]
-Drake Maverick suggested to his wife they try to get out of the arena. “We’re in a boiler room, you idiot!” she told him. Suddenly various wrestlers went after his 24/7 Title including the Singh Brothers. Bo Dallas won the title with a roll-up and ran away celebrating with Curtis Axel. Drake sat up and looked dejected.
(5) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Sami) vs. JOBBER
Sami did some mic work before the match and he told Shinsuke’s opponent that his name is “Miz” tonight. He then did obnoxious commentary as Nakamura beat him up.
WINNER: Nakamura in 2:00.
-As Nakamura and Sami left, the 24/7 wrestlers ran into the ring. During the chaos, Drake rolled up Bo Dallas to retain his title. Graves was oddly amazed with Drake losing and regaining the title in the same night. Truth then snuck out of the throne on the stage and rolled up Drake to regain his title. Drake ran away.
-They showed Bryan backstage who looked disturbed and deranged. [c]
-Bryan made his ring entrance. Phillips said Bryan vehemently denied any involvement in the attacks on Reigns, and Reigns speared him anyway. Saxton said he couldn’t blame Reigns. Graves said Bryan was both wrongfully accused and wrongfully attacked. Phillips plugged Smackdown coming to MSG next Tuesday. Fans chanted “Daniel Bryan!” He said it finally looks like they’ve found a group of people who believe him. He said he knows how it looks to everyone else. He said the video footage showed Rowan attacking Reigns. He said people think he’s guilty by association. “I have said this entire time I have had nothing to do with it,” he said sternly. He said a lot of people might not like him or his views or that he talks about the environment, but he’s not a liar. He said he has never lied to the fans. He said he hates liars. He demanded an apology from Reigns not just for accusing him falsely or spearing him last week, but also because he is calling him a liar. Reigns’s music played.
Reigns walked out onto the stage. Rowan attacked Reigns from behind. Phillips said the videotape revealed he was the man behind the forklift accident. Rowan threw Reigns into steel steps, then the ringpost. Back in the ring, Rowan stood over Reigns as fans chanted “Roman!” (Or was it “Rowan!” We’ll never know!) Rowan claw-slammed Reigns. Then he picked up the mic and said the joke is on Reigns. He waved to Bryan. He told Bryan he is worse than everyone, but he can’t control him. He said Bryan slapped him over and over, so he challenged him to slap him in the face again. Rowan kneeled and said he is proud of what he did to him and crashing that car into him. “But I’m most proud of the pain you’re going to feel at Clash of Champions,” he said. Then he threw Reigns out of the ring and hit Reigns with steel steps. He cleared the announce table. Bryan ran up and asked what he’s doing. “I’m your friend!” he yelled. Rowan told him not to tell him what to do. Bryan slapped him. Rowan then claw-slammed Bryan on the announce table. Rowan yelled, “Nobody tells me what to do! Nobody tells me what to do! Never again! Never again!”
FINAL THOUGHTS: This angle is just a mess. That was the payoff? I’ll talk more about it on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show going live right after Smackdown.