WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 17, 2019
ATLANTA, GA AT STATE FARM ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-WWE’s signature intro broke awkwardly into a frozen shot of the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Tom Phillips welcomed the audience to the show as the shot faded into a wide angle of the arena. Phillips teased an interview with Erick Rowan to be conducted by Michael Cole later in the night. Byron Saxton teased Daniel Bryan’s return to address Rowan. Phillips teased Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks, and Corey Graves talked up the “coronation of King Corbin.”
-Big E’s voice filled the P.A. system and New Day appeared on stage. Big E ran to the ring as Kofi tossed out pancakes from a large platter. Xavier Woods played the trombone along to their music.
The Revival headed to the ring as Greg Hamilton introduced the six man tag team match to open the show. Randy Orton followed. Phillips threw to still images of the Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton match from Clash of Champions.
(1) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. RANDY ORTON & THE REVIVAL (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Big E and Dash Wilder kicked off the match. Dash charged at Big E, who caught him with an overhead belly to belly suppler. Dash slid partially under the bottom rope and Big E attacked. He climbed to the apron and delivered an apron splash. Big E covered Dash for a two count.
Big E tagged in Xavier Woods. E scooped up Woods for a wheelbarrow slam. Woods covered Dash for a two count. Dash recovered and tagged in Scott Dawson. Dawson backed Woods into the corner and delivered a number of chops. Xavier retaliated with chops of his own. The two traded rope runs. Woods caught Dawson with a rolling back elbow for a two count.
Woods sent Dawson to his corner and tagged in Kofi Kingston. Kofi flew off the top rope with a double axe handle to Dawson’s extended arm. Dawson retreated to his corner and tagged in Randy Orton. Orton quickly shot Kofi toward the ropes, but Kofi leaped off the middle turnbuckle and hit a dropkick to take Orton down. Kofi quickly tagged in Xavier, who hit a flying elbow. Big E tagged himself in and hit a big splash. The Revival tried to enter, but Big E took them down with belly to belly suplexes. He tagged Kofi back into the match.
Kingston got the crowd clapping. He set up for Trouble in Paradise, but Orton rolled out of the ring. Phillips sent the show to commercial.
Scott Dawson tagged in Dash Wilder when the show returned from break. The Revival were in the midst of isolating Xavier Woods and working over his left leg. They traded tags, stomping away and applying various leg holds to weaken Woods. Dawson eventually tagged in Orton, who continued the assault.
Woods fired off punches and chops at Orton to try to regain control. Orton caught him in the eye and sent him to the corner. Orton stomped repeatedly at Xavier’s injured leg. He tagged in Scott Dawson. Dawson applied the cloverleaf leg lock. Xavier broke free and tried to reach his corner, but Dawson tagged in Wilder, who was about to cut Woods off. Woods caught Wilder with a roll up for a two count. Dash quickly tagged in Orton. Woods caught Wilder with a kick and tried to give him a spinning DDT, but Wilder threw Woods over the top rope.
Randy Orton scooped Woods up on the outside and gave him a backdrop onto the announcers desk. Tom Phillips threw to a picture-in-picture commercial.
On the small screen, Orton and The Revival gathered on the outside and stood their ground as Big E and Kofi went to check on Xavier Woods. Eventually, the two sides returned to their respective corners. Orton stood arrogantly in the ring, watching Woods get counted out. Randy eventually went outside and retrieved Xavier. He tagged in Dash Wilder.
Wilder continued working on Woods’ leg. He set up Xavier on the top rope. Woods battled back, knocking Dash to the mat. He delivered a missile dropkick from the top rope. Xavier made the desperation tag to Kofi Kingston just as the show returned to full screen.
Orton flew off the top rope with a clothesline to Orton. He knocked Wilder off the apron, then took down Orton again. Wilder returned and Kofi sent him over the top rope. He hit the SOS on Orton, but Scott Dawson broke up the pinball just in time. Kofi tossed Dawson to the outside. Big E ran through Dawson on the outside. Dash Wilder hit a spinning DDT on Big E. Xavier Woods went for a kick from the apron, but Wilder caught him by the leg and dropped him face first onto the apron.
Kofi Kingston, alone in the ring, charged from one end to the other but got intercepted by Randy Orton. Orton tossed Kofi into the ropes and planted him with his signature DDT. He taunted the crowd as they booed, then slapped the mat, preparing for the RKO. Instead, he tagged in Dash Wilder. Wilder then immediately tagged in Scott Dawson. They set up for the Super RKO.
Big E caught Orton’s legs and dragged him to the outside. E tossed Orton into the ring post. Meanwhile, Kofi countered The Revival’s hold into a double DDT while Xavier Woods climbed to the top rope. Woods whit the diving elbow from the top rope onto Dash Wilder. Both men rolled to the outside.
Dawson returned to his feet and got hit with Trouble in Paradise from Kofi Kingston. Kofi covered Dawson for a three count.
WINNERS: The New Day in 17:00
New Day celebrated in the ring. Xavier Woods sold his injured leg. Brock Lesnar’s music hit. The crowd reacted with apprehension. Surprisingly, Lesnar did, in fact, step onto the stage with Paul Heyman. Kofi, Big E, and Xavier looked on as Brock walked slowly down the ramp with Heyman at his side.
Kofi shared handshakes with Woods and Big E and the pair left the ring, leaving Kofi alone. Lesnar shrugged and climbed the steps, staying perched on the ring apron. Paul Heyman introduced himself. Lesnar stepped in the ring, Paul followed.
Heyman said he’s the advocate for the man who stands in front of him, who also happens to stand in front of the longevity of Kofi’s title reign. “It’s a bad day for the New Day, yes it is,” Heyman said. Paul informed Kofi that Brock Lesnar is challenging Kofi Kingston to a match for the WWE title on the premiere episode of Smackdown on Fox. Heyman handed over the microphone to Kofi.
The crowd broke into a “Kofi” chant. “When I won this WWE title at Wrestlemania, I made a promise that I would be a fighting champion,” Kofi said. “So as far as your challenge is concerned, I accept.” Kingston threw down the microphone. Lesnar smiled excitedly. He stepped to Kofi to offer a handshake, but scooped him up and dropped him with an F5.
Lesnar picked up the WWE title and stared at it for a moment, then tossed it at Kington’s limp body.
(LeClair’s Analysis: It’s not often we get a 30+ minute segment on Smackdown. Let’s start with the six-man tag. The opening few minutes of the match were fun, with frequent tags and some neat offense from New Day. After the initial commercial break, though, things crawled to a snail’s pace as Orton and The Revival isolated Xavier Woods for several minutes. I know this is tag team wrestling 101, but it’s a formula WWE relies far too heavily on during TV tag matches, and they do it to exorbitant lengths. There was virtually no action in between the two commercial breaks. The bout finally picked up in the closing minutes, and got New Day a nice clean win to give Xavier and Big E a little back after losing to The Revival on Sunday.
Now, regarding Brock Lesnar. Consider me surprised. It’s not often Lesnar shows up on Smackdown, let alone unannounced on Smackdown. This was a nice angle, with a big hook to tune into the premiere on Fox. Kofi looked a valiant, honorable champion asking the rest of New Day to leave him in the ring with Brock. This fits Kingston’s character perfectly. I think we all knew this match would be coming at some point. I’m looking forward to it.)
-Kayla Braxton stood backstage and welcomed Sasha Banks and Bayley when the show returned from break.Kayla asked if Sasha would accept Becky Lynch’s Hell in a Cell challenge. Sasha said she’s the star of the women’s division and she’ll take on any challenge. Sasha said she’s been in Hell in a Cell before. “Has Becky Lynch? Why don’t you go ask her that?” Sasha snapped.
Kayla brought up Sasha’s match with Charlotte Flair later tonight. Sasha rolled her eyes. Bayley said Sasha wouldn’t say word about it, because she’ll answer all the questions in the ring. Sasha and Bayley whipped away from Kayla and strutted off screen.
-At the announcers desk, Phillips, Graves and Saxton touched upon the happenings at Clash of Champions. Phillips threw to a recap of the match between Roman Reigns and Erick Rowan.
-In a room backstage, Michael Cole sat opposite of Erick Rowan. Cole introduced Rowan. Rowan repeated his own name, confirming that Michael Cole knew it. Cole confirmed, and said he also knew the name of the man who helped him beat Roman Reigns – Luke Harper.
Rowan said if Cole had a question for Harper, he could go find him and ask him. “Right now, it’s about me,” Rowan said. Cole asked Rowan why he’d do what he did too Roman. “Some would call it attempted manslaughter,” Cole claimed.
Rowan said the attacks were meant to scare Roman. “You tried to kill him!” Cole said. Rowan grew irritated. He told Cole he doesn’t allow anyone to speak to him like that anymore. Rowan said he wanted to show Reigns that his dominance was an illusion. He said he’s been overlooked and disrespected. Rowan said everyone thinks he’s a grunt and a goon meant to do someone else’s bidding.
Rowan called himself a leader, not a follower. Cole asked Rowan why he betrayed Daniel Bryan. Rowan said Bryan’s mistake was thinking the two of them were intellectual equals. He said he’s far superior. Rowan said everyone is going to learn to never disrespect or underestimate him again.
-A clip aired of Rowan giving Bryan the Iron Claw threw the announce table two weeks ago. Saxton said Bryan would address the situation later tonight.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Parts of this seemed a bit too heavily scripted, but for the most part, Rowan came off like a major player driving his point home. His delivery was mostly strong, and Cole steered him in the right direction. Kudos to the writing team for actually acknowledging that Rowan’s attacks were attempted manslaughter, though I’m pretty sure it could actually be construed as attempted murder.)
-The lights dimmed in the arena for Ali’s entrance. Ali headed to the ring while Phillips mentioned the on-sale for next year’s Royal Rumble. He said Ali would face Shinsuke Nakamura after the break.
-Sami Zayn’s music played as the show returned from the break. Sami walked onto the stage, still sporting a neck brace. “First of all, I’m in a lot of pain,” Zayn said. He demanded the crowd show him more respect. He said he was about to introduce the man who he liberated, and who beat The Miz fair and square. Sami introduced Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura headed to the ring as Zayn continued to talk over his music.
The music cut, and Zayn said he wanted to address Ali. He mentioned Ali’s victory of Nakamura before Shinsuke partnered with him. Sami said Ali isn’t running into the same man. Nakamura stepped in the ring and circled around Ali as Sami continued to talk. Sami said he likes Ali and thinks he’s super athletic and inspiring. Zayn told Ali he’ll never be a champion.
Nakamura tried to attack Ali, but Ali punched him away. Zayn immediately grabbed Ali’s leg. This allowed Nakamura to connect with a knee to the side of the head. Nakamura tossed Ali into the ring post. “Big mistake!” Zayn screamed. He called on Shinsuke. Ali wandered to his feet. Nakamura hit him with the Kinshasa. Nakamura stood over Ali as Zayn raised his arm.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Seems like this is headed down the road of a program between Nakamura and Ali, which could be entertaining. Ali needs a bit of rebuilding before being considered a credible challenger for the Intercontinental title, though, to be fair, they don’t seem to put much stock into the title or its feuds.)
-The camera cut to the crowd, where Kevin Owens was making his way down the aisle and onto the arena floor. He flashed a ticket at the audience, then sat down in front row of the lower level.
-Backstage, Shane McMahon was shown in his office watching Owens sit down in the arena. A referee walked in and told Shane someone was there to see him. Shane said he was going to the ring to take care of this. He stepped out of his office. A man in a suit approached him and handed him a manilla envelope. “Shane McMahon?” the man asked. “Yes,” Shane replied. “You’ve been served,” said the man in the suit.
Shane pulled the papers from the envelope, looking displeased. He stuffed them back in and shook his head, then turned to walk down the hallway. The show faded to commercial.
-The show returned from break with Kevin Owens, sitting with his feet up on the guardrail, clapping along with the audience. Shane McMahon’s music hit and Kevin hung his head in disgust. Shane came to the ring with a number of security guards. He was still carrying the manilla envelope.
Shane demanded Greg Hamilton deliver his signature introduction. He stared out at Kevin Owens as Hamilton belted it out. Shane said it’s no coincidence that he’s been served and Owens happens to be in the audience. He asked security to let Kevin get in the ring.
Owens gladly left his seat and walked to the barricade. Owens hopped up the steps quickly. Shane told him to slow down. KO was handed a microphone. Security stood in front of Shane. Shane told them to step aside.
Shane said the paper he was holding is the “largest wrongful termination lawsuit in history.” Owens shrugged. Shane said if Owens wins, he’d be awarded $25 million. Owens cut him off, “you want me to talk, maybe you should shut your stupid mouth and listen, you dumbass.” The crowd erupted.
Shane said Owens’ case is weak, just like him. Kevin said Shane is wrong. He said Shane as ruined Smackdown by making it his personal playground. He said Shane has targeted him and made his life a living hell. He brought up Shane’s fine against him for putting his hands on an official at Summerslam. Owens then raised the point that Shane attacked him last week on Smackdown while he was acting as a WWE official. “You laid your hands on an official, which is exactly what you fined me for,” Owens declared.
Kevin said Shane fired him on the grounds of being “insubordinate.” Owens said Shane held the $100,000 fine over him for weeks, and then Owens tried to do exactly what Shane wanted him to do, despite knowing it was wrong. Owens said he tried to help Shane, but Shane tapped out. He led the crowd in a “you tapped out” chant.
“You tried to take away my life’s work, my family’s future, and that doesn’t work for me,” Owens said. KO said he tried to reason with Shane, he tried to fight him, and he tried to fight him. “Now all I want to do is fight you.” Owens said the only way to beat Shane is to hit him where it hurts most, his wallet and his pride. Owens said he has a legitimate case, and Shane knows it.
Owens said Shane didn’t read the whole suit. Not only does he get the money, but he gets to come back to Smackdown and fire Shane McMahon. Owens dropped the mic and left through the crowd. Shane looked through the paperwork worriedly.
(LeClair’s Analysis: I’m not sure how this can turn out well for anybody. This entire angle has been a complete mess, and it’s hurt Owens possibly beyond repair. Now he just looks greedy asking for $25 million. At this point. they’d be far better off cutting their losses and moving Owens over to NXT like he’s been teasing on social media.)
-Daniel Bryan was shown sitting backstage. Phillips said we’d hear from Bryan later tonight.
-Charlotte Flair was shown in a dressing room backstage, preparing for her match against Sasha Banks. Ric Flair walked in. The two exchanged some words. Graves said Charlotte’s match would be next.
-The Authors of Pain vignette from Raw was re-aired.
-The announcers talked up the upcoming draft specials over graphics showing press releases from Fox and NBCUniversal.
-Greg Hamilton introduced Atlanta rapper, Offset, who stood in the ring wearing a Ric Flair robe. Offset introduced Charlotte as the “nine time champion Flair.” Charlotte’s music played and she headed to the ring. Charlotte and Offset hugged as they crossed paths at the bottom of the ramp.
Sasha Banks headed to the ring with Bayley at her side. The announcers threw to clips from last night’s Raw, when Charlotte came to the aide of Becky Lynch against Sasha and Bayley.
(2) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. SASHA BANKS (w/ Bayley)
Charlotte and Sasha stared each other down for a few months. Sasha charged and Charlotte caught her with a kick to the stomach. Flair sent Sasha into the corner and dropped her to the mat, delivering a number of stomps. Charlotte hit Sasha with an overhead suplex. Bayley tried to remove the bottom turnbuckle, but Charlotte caught her. Sasha retreated to the outside.
Charlotte stepped outside and attacked Banks. She turned around to fend off Bayley. Sasha shoved Charlotte into the ring post from behind. Phillips sent the show to picture-in-picture commercial.
On the small screen, Banks and Flair returned to the ring briefly. Sasha tossed Charlotte to the outside and distracted the referee while Bayley delivered a cheap shot. Charlotte crawled back into the ring and Sasha continued to attack. She dropped Charlotte to the mat and applied a headlock. Charlotte fought out and recovered in the corner while Sasha taunted the crowd.
Charlotte burst out of the corner with a big boot as the show returned to full screen. She dropped Sasha with a pair of chops and then shot her off the ropes. She scooped up Banks and hit her with a fallaway slam.
Charlotte went for a suplex, but Sasha flipped through it. Charlotte held on and dropped her with a neck breaker for a two count. Sasha returned to her feet and went for a hurricanrana, but Charlotte held on and converted it into a Boston crab. Sasha inched slowly toward the ropes. Charlotte pulled her away. Sasha rolled through it into a roll up but Charlotte kicked out at two.
Charlotte tossed Sasha over the top rope and onto the apron. She gave her a big boot, sending her to the mat below. Bayley tended to Sasha as Charlotte climbed to the top turnbuckle. She hit a diving moonsault onto both Sasha and Bayley on the outside.
Charlotte tossed Sasha back in the ring. Bayley grabbed Charlotte’s leg as she tried to climb in. Charlotte kicked her away. Sasha caught Charlotte with a roll up, but Charlotte powered through it and rolled through, setting up and executing the figure four. Just as she was about the bridge, Bayley attacked Charlotte, breaking the hold and ending the match.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair by disqualification in 8:00
Bayley and Sasha immediately began punching away at Charlotte. Suddenly, Carmella ran to the ring. The announcers made sure to note that Carmella is one of Bayley’s closest friends. She shoved Bayley off of Charlotte and then kicked Sasha. Carmella pushed Bayley to the mat. Sasha tried to grab Carmella, but ‘Mella hit her with a super kick. Charlotte recovered and gave Bayley a big boot.
Bayley and Sasha writhed out the outside while Charlotte and Carmella stood in the ring, looking down at them.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Decent match. Not anywhere near the pinnacle of matches between these two, but it wasn’t meant to be that. Charlotte is evidently a babyface now without ever really turning. Each week, it seems clearer that the Bayley turn was poorly timed. They did it right in the middle of a program with Charlotte and never really thought about the consequences. Carmella’s interference was awkward. You could tell the crowd was hoping for Becky, and the connection between Carmella and Bayley hasn’t really been well documented on WWE TV. This just didn’t work.)
-Backstage, the camera focused on the King of the Ring throne, complete with the rope, crown and scepter. Graves teased that Corbin’s coronation would be next.
-The King of the Ring props were in the ring when the show returned from break. Baron Corbin entered as Corey Graves talked glowingly about his win. Phillips threw to a recap of the King of the Ring finals last night on Raw.
Corbin removed his suit coat and allowed a stage hand to fasten the robe around his chest. Corbin placed the crown atop his own head and clapped for himself. He asked for a microphone as Graves continued to gush.
Corbin said his being king is a breath of fresh air. “I know most of you wanted anyone but me as your king,” Corbin said. He said people are starting to realize he’s the king they needed. He said he is dominant, strong, and also fair. Corbin said he won the tournament with honor and he should be treated with respect.
Corbin said he wanted to honor the man he shared the ring with in the finals. He introduced Chad Gable. Gable walked to the ring reluctantly. “I’m sure you’re a little upset about last night,” Corbin said (emphasis on the little.) He continued with shameless short jokes.
“You’re just like all these people,” Baron told Gable. He said no matter how hard they work, they come up short. Corbin laughed. Gable pounced on Corbin, breaking the throne to pieces and ripping his robe. He hit Corbin with the scepter. Corbin fled the ring. Gable continued ribbing the robe. He tossed pieces of the throne at Corbin. Gable held up the crown. He set it gently in the middle of the ring and then stomped it to bits. Corbin looked on, entirely distraught.
(LeClair’s Analysis: I really, really, really dislike the king gimmick that is automatically applied to anyone who wins the tournament. It’s lazy, it’s uninspired, and it’s old before it ever really gets going. Hopefully, with Gable destroying all the tacky garb right out of the gate, we can skip all of that nonsense and just have Corbin’s place on the card reflect the fact that he won the tournament, rather than being hit over the head with it every single time he’s on television.)
-The announcers talked up the USA premiere of NXT before sending the show to commercial.
-Heavy Machinery headed to the ring when the show returned from break. Their opponents, the B-Team, were already in the ring.
(3) B-TEAM (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) vs. HEAVY MACHINERY (Tucker Knight & Otis)
Tucker Knight began the match with Curtis Axel. Knight quickly took down Axel. Axel shot up and hooked in a waist lock. Tucker brought it up and dropped Axel again. He shot at Bo, who dropped from the apron. This allowed Curtis to attack, taking down Knight in the corner and tagging in Bo Dallas.
Bo continued to stomp while chanting “B-Team B-Team go go go!” He tagged Axel back in. Axel applied a headlock on Tucker Knight. Knight slowly worked back to his feet and fought out of it. Axel caught him with a knee. Knight rolled over Axel and caught him with a big clothesline. Axel tagged in Dallas. Knight tagged in Otis.
Otis quickly dropped Axel, then hit Dallas with a spinning bodyslam. He followed it up with a belly check to Axel. Bo tried to kick Otis, but it wound up just riling him up. Otis hit Bo with an overhead scoop slam and then set him up for the caterpillar. He and Knight riled up the crowd. He connected with the caterpillar followed by the big elbow.
Otis tagged in Tucker Knight. Curtis Axel returned to the ring, but Knight gave him a kick to the head. Heavy Machinery set Bo up and hit the Compactor for the three count.
WINNERS: Heavy Machinery in 4:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: These guys are a lot of fun, but I miss their more competitive matches against some of the established tag teams on the roster. I understand that they’re needing to rebuild them a bit about cooling them off significantly, but at this point, it feels like the crowd has had enough exposure to them and warmed up to their schtick enough to allow them to start varying up the act just a little bit. They’re working the exact same tag team match every week.)
-Daniel Bryan was shown walking down a hallway backstage. Phillips said he’d address the Erick Rowan situation next.
-Out of the break, recap of Brock Lesnar’s challenge to Kofi Kingston played. The announcers talked up the debut episode of Smackdown on Fox and showed off the new match-up graphic.
-Daniel Bryan headed to the ring. The announcers contemplated what he might have to say as he rolled into the ring, scowl on his face. Bryan paced back and forth. The crowd broke into a “Daniel Bryan” chant.
Bryan said a lot of the people chanting his name are the people who accused him of attacking Roman Reigns. He said he understands now. “Good or bad, I’ve never lied to you,” Bryan said. He said he stands before the crowd exonerated. Bryan said he’s not there to talk about that, rather, he’s there to talk about to Erick Rowan.
Bryan said Rowan is claiming people never saw him before. “I saw Erick Rowan,” Bryan said. Bryan said he saw talent and potential. “I didn’t just see him as my equal, I treated him as my equal,” Bryan said. He said Rowan was, and is, his friend. Rowan’s music cut him off.
Rowan told Bryan he’s sick of hearing him speak. Rowan said Bryan never let him talk. He said Bryan tried to make him into his puppet. “Did you ever stop and ask me how I felt about anything?” Rowan asked. He got in the ring and got in Bryan’s face. “I will not be disrespected.”
Bryan told Rowan to do something about it. He said there’s nothing Rowan can do physically that will hurt as much as Rowan betraying their friendship and lying to Bryan. He poked Rowan in the chest. Bryan dropped the mic and held his arms out. Rowan stood stoically.
Luke Harper attacked Bryan from behind. He tossed Bryan into the corner and then whipped Rowan at him. Rowan threw Bryan at Harper, and Luke gave Daniel a inside-out clothesline. Roman Reigns’ music hit. Reigns walked to the ring. Harper met him in the aisle.
Reigns ducked a clothesline attempt from Harper and darted to the ring, gunning for Rowan. He hit Rowan with a Superman punch, then took down Harper with an uppercut. Reigns hopped out of the ring and hit Rowan with the drive-by. He turned around and got taken out by a big boot from Harper.
Harper threw Reigns into the ring steps. He lifted Reigns onto Rowan’s shoulders and the duo slammed Reigns into the ring post. They ripped up the mats on the floor, exposing the concrete below. Security rushed to the ring to stop the carnage, but Harper and Rowan took them out too, powerslamming two of them onto the exposed concrete.
Rowan broke off a piece of the guardrail and hit Reigns with it. He and Harper cleared the announcers desk. Harper threw a chair at Tom Phillips and wiped him out. Rowan retrieved Daniel Bryan. The gave Bryan the double crucifix bomb through the announcers desk.
Rowan and Harper stood over Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns as Corey Graves and Byron Saxton removed their headsets to retreat from the carnage. The show faded too black.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Guess that means Bryan is officially a babyface again. I’m okay with that outcome, and with getting away from the attempted murder angle, because it was so completely asinine and poorly handled. I’m really intrigued by the push Rowan, and now Harper are receiving. I assume this sets up for a Reigns & Bryan vs. Rowan and Harper match at Hell in a Cell, which could be very entertaining.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was an angle heavy show, with just under thirty minutes of wrestling in total. The matches were what they were, but a couple of the angles really stood out. Brock’s return to set up the big WWE title match for the Fox premiere was a welcomed surprise, and the show closing angle with Rowan and Harper reaping havoc on Reigns and newly turned Daniel Bryan was effective and violent. The women’s division continues to flounder, and the Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon storyline continues to plunge into ridiculousness. Overall, and improvement over last week’s go-home show as we head into the final stretch of Smackdown on USA Network.