KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
NOVEMBER 22, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON FOX BROADCAST NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-They opened with a shot of cartoonishly overexcited Smackdown wrestlers standing outside a garage for Allstate Arena. King Corbin, along with Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler, stepped onto a platform to address wrestlers. Roman Reigns stepped up and said Raw and NXT wrestlers are surely headed to Smackdown, but they’re not going to act like coward like Corbin would. He had Shorty G and Mustafa Ali with him. Reigns opened the garage door, indicating they’re not going to be caught by surprise or even resist. He said they’re going to let them in and whoop everybody’s ass. Corbin said it’s a stupid idea. Reigns said, “You’re the one wearing a crown.” Sasha Banks told everyone to shut up. She said The Boss waits for no one and the Smackdown Women’s Division is ready to take care of business right now. Cheers from the wrestlers.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sigh.)
-The Smackdown opening theme aired. Pyro blasted. Cole introduced the show and said this is the first of four straight nights WWE is running live events in Chicago. Graves hyped Daniel Bryan summoning Bray Wyatt later.
-Sasha walked to the ring with Nikki Cross, Carmella, Lacey Evans, and Dana Brooke. She said this is their ring and their show. (This is so dumb. The crowd didn’t react because Sasha’s a heel, and the next several nights in this city WWE’s other brands are running there, and there’s no reason at all to believe these fans are any more aligned with Smackdown than the other brands. Please stop doing this, WWE. It’s beyond stupid.) Sasha called the Raw and NXT women to the ring. “Don’t be bashful, we’re ready,” she said. Charlotte Flair’s music played and she walked out along with Asuka, Kairi Sane, Sarah Logan, and Natalya. Charlotte sarcastically thanked Sasha for opening the door for them, but they would have kicked it down anyway. (Again, fans have no reason to cheer for anyone here and it’s just dead in there.) Charlotte offered to fight Sasha tonight “for old time’s sake.”
NXT wrestlers came out next. (Nothing says invasion like the NXT logo showing up suddenly on the ring apron, big screen, and video boards.) Rhea Ripley walked out with NXT women (Mia Yim, Toni Storm, Candice LeRae, and Tegan Nox) and suggested they have a captain vs. captain vs. captain match. Cole said he feels hell is going to break lose in a minute. They all started fighting. Referees tried to break them up and they cut to a break. [c]
(1) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. RHEA RIPLEY vs. SASHA BANKS
Charlotte and Ripley faced off after the break. After watching Charlotte and Ripley battle for a couple minutes, Sasha snuck in and attacked Ripley with a Back Stabber for a two count. They fought to the floor where Banks kicked Ripley to the mat. She gloated as Smackdown wrestlers cheered. Charlotte shoved Sasha into Nikki who crashed into the ringside steps. Nikki argued with Sasha and the other Smackdown wrestlers stepped between. Ripley then got up and attacked Sasha. Charlotte then landed a moonsault onto both of them as they were fighting.
(Keller’s Analysis: It was really nice to see a dive at ringside where the targets didn’t stand there with their arms out waiting to catch the attacker rather than, you know, stepping out of the way to avoid being hurt.) [c]
Back from the break, Ripley kicked Charlotte from behind and scored a two count, sort of broken up by Sasha. Cole called Ripley a “can’t miss star” according to WWE experts. Banks landed a meteora on Ripley, but Charlotte broke up the pin. Then Charlotte went for the pin on Sasha, but Ripley broke it up. Charlotte had a bloody lip. When Charlotte went for a figure-four, Ripley grabbed the bottom rope. Sasha rolled up Charlotte for a two count. Charlotte applied a quick figure-four. She began to bridge, but Ripley entered the ring and crawled under Charlotte and leveraged her shoulders down for the three counter. “What a unique pinning combination!” Cole said. The other NXT women celebrated with Ripley on the floor and up the ramp. They showed Raw wrestler Sarah Logan looking very upset.
WINNER: Ripley in 10:00.
-After the match, Charlotte and Sasha shoved each other. The rest of the wrestlers ran in and brawled.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid match, broken up by a commercial. Good utilization of the loopholes in a Triple Threat match, with a particularly clever pinfall finish.)
-Corbin talked with Ziggler and Roode talked about formulating a plan for later. Then in walked Sami Zayn, who was singing and holding a black bag. Corbin said, “People say I’m annoying, but this guy has to be the most annoying person I’ve ever met.” Sami asked Corbin to call him annoying in the ring. Sami’s music played and he headed to the ring.
-Shinsuke Nakamura’s ring entrance took place. Sami accompanied him. The announcers wondered what was in the black bag. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Chicago as Cole said this is the first of four nights in the Windy City.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Bayley backstage. She asked her about facing Shayna Baszler and Becky Lynch on Sunday. She asked if she was worried they would show up tonight. Bayley said she’s the only woman in the match who has held the Raw, Smackdown, NXT, and Women’s Tag Team Titles. Bayley said her head is on a swivel and she’s ready.
-Nakamura stood in the ring with his Intercontinental Title as his music faded. Sami said everyone is scared of Nakamura. Sami said “annoying” isn’t the word to describe him, rather, “stud” is the right word. He then revealed a new Intercontinental Title belt. “Out with the old, and in with the new.”
(Keller’s Analysis: The new belt is gorgeous, but yet another example of tradition being erased. The history of that traditional IC belt dating back to the 1990s was so cool to have around again.)
Sami said Nakamura is guaranteed to be champion after Survivor Series. Sami asked if he knows who is in the match from NXT. Nakamura said, “I’m drawing a blank.” Out came all four Undisputed Era members. Fans began chanting “Undisputed!” Sami and Nakamura left the ring.
Adam Cole took the mic and introduced himself and his faction. He said they are all going to wipe the floor with Raw and Smackdown. “And that, boys and girls, is undisputed.” Then he was interrupted by Big E introducing New Day. Big E and Kofi Kingston came out and challenged Undisputed Era to a match. Sami and Nakamura were standing about 20 feet behind them on the ramp. Roderick Strong said four-on-two is a great idea. “Sure, come on!” Big E said they’d team with Heavy Machinery. Undisputed Era looked a bit worried. [c]
(2) HEAVY MACHINERY & NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. UNDISPUTED ERA (Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish & Adam Cole)
Graves said all four members of UE are world travelled before arriving in WWE. Cole plugged the Triple Threat match at Takeover to determine whom Cole faces at Survivor Series in his NXT Title defense. Eventually UE isolated Kofi and tagged in and out against him. Kofi shoved Strong off the top rope, but Strong shoved him off the top rope seconds later. Kofi landed on Tucker. Otis yanked Kofi off of Tucker. Big E got in Otis’s face. They shoved each other. Tucker stepped between them to play peacemaker. They cut to a break. [c]
Kofi was still taking a beating. Cole noted Heavy Machinery hadn’t even entered the match legally yet. Kofi then shortly thereafter hot-tagged Otis. Nice pop as Otis charged at UE who took Horsemen-like bumps for Otis in the Dusty Rhodes role. O’Reilly kicked Otis, but Otis absorbed it and danced a little. The crowd ate that up. O’Reilly kicked him some more, but Otis caught his leg and then headbutted him. He smashed both O’Reilly and Cole in the corner. Otis worked the crowd for a long time until Fish yanked Cole out of the ring. Otis tagged in Tucker, who slammed O’Reilly and scored a near fall. Strong tagged in, but Tucker immediately went to work on him with a string of power moves. He stood around and looked at the crowd. Graves criticized him for taking his time deciding what to do next. Tucker landed a moonsault on Strong, but Cole broke up the cover. Cole entered and went after Big E. Chaos broke out. Big E backdropped Fish and O’Reilly over the top rope to the floor.
Fish and O’Reilly yanked Big E to the floor and gave him a high/low. Cole tripped Kofi on the other side of the ring. Back in the ring Otis set up the Caterpillar and landed it on O’Reilly. After some chaos, Strong surprised Tucker with a running high knee for the win.
WINNERS: Undisputed Era in 16:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, and glad UE won. Tucker was the most likely of the four to take the loss there, and it’s the right choice. The crowd was into Otis. Undisputed Era were their usual weasely selves while also looking credible with good offense.)
-Strong and Nakamura faced off on the stage. A.J. Styles leaped onto both of them “out of nowhere.” They brawled on the stage until Sami hit Styles with a chair twice, sending Styles off the ramp. Sami then hit Strong with a chair over and over. The rest of UE ran up to run off Sami and Nakamura, then check on Strong’s condition.
-They went to Cole and Graves who ran down the Survivor Series line-up.
-They showed Daniel Bryan walking backstage. [c]
-Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson stood on the stage. Styles asked if Chicago enjoyed that. They cheered. He said Chicago is depressing. He said they wouldn’t know entertainment if it slapped them in the face. He said he’s not going anywhere and he’ll remind everyone who they are. Some fans chanted “C.M. Punk.” Styles said, “I would mop the floor with him.” Anderson said if you mess with one of them, you mess with all of them. Styles said they are the only club that matters.
-Bryan made his ring entrance. Fans chanted “Daniel Bryan!” Bryan threw to a video package on his feud with Bray so far. Back live, he said he didn’t come out there to chant “Yes!” or lecture them about climate change or play with puppets. “I came out here to summon Bray Wyatt,” he said. He said he won’t even pretend to know what goes on inside Bray’s mind, but Bray doesn’t know what goes on in his mind either. He invited Bray to come to the ring and talk “man to man.” He said they can get a lot off their chest and reminisce, maybe talk out any issues he has with him. If that doesn’t sound like fun, they can fight too. He said he won’t be another name to cross off his hitlist or another toy. The lights then went off. When the lights came back on, nothing. Bryan alone in the ring. Fans were disappointed and booed. “Mind games, huh?” said Bryan. He called him out again. Instead, Miz’s music played. He walked out to his music.
Miz entered the ring and told Bryan that based on his behavior last week, unlike him, he is a professional. He said last week he had to bite his tongue and hold back as Bryant disrespected him on his own show. (Miz called him washed up.) Bryan interrupted and said he doesn’t like him or care about him. Miz yelled that the feelings are mutual and he is weak and vulnerable. He said he hoped Fiend tears him apart at Survivor Series. He said he thought he thought he could help Bryan by pointing out his flaws. He slapped him instead to try to “slap some sense into him.” They cut to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: What an obnoxious place to put a commercial break. Under what supposition would a director decide to cut away at that moment, if the director is supposed to be “serving the audience”?) [c]
(3) THE MIZ vs. DANIEL BRYAN
This match was joined in progress after the break. Cole wondered if Bryan is vulnerable because of all he’s been through. Graves said Bryan is cagey and wise, and once infiltrated the Wyatt Family. Bryan took control a few minutes in and threw a barrage of Yes Kicks including one to Miz’s head. The crowd wasn’t sure how to react to this. He played to the crowd and didn’t get much of a response. It seemed he was expecting a loud “Yes!” chant at that point since Cole asked if he would “acquiesce to the WWE Universe,” but they weren’t doing anything. The lights flashed and then The Fiend ended up sitting in the corner of the ring as his eerie background music played under red lights. He applied the Mandible Claw when Bryan approached him. He knocked Bryan out. Miz was nowhere to be seen.
WINNER: No contest in 8:00. [c]
-The announcers hyped Bryan vs. Fiend at Survivor Series. Again, the announcers never addressed that the match fans spent eight minutes invested in had no finish and didn’t seem to care. Graves said if anyone can pull off a win against Fiend, it’s Bryan, but it’s still highly unlikely.
(Keller’s Analysis: This didn’t do anything to follow up on last week’s hints dropped by Bryan that there might be some layers to this match and it’s not just a throwaway match for Fiend to decisively win. Fans are really apathetic toward Bryan, and that just shouldn’t happen and is a real indictment of the booking of him lately – and really, over the last year or so.)
-Shayna Baszler walked to the ring to her music. She said Bayley isn’t getting the message. “So here I am, not lurking in the shadows, in your ring, and I am calling you out.” She stood and stared at the stage. Bayley attacked her from behind. Baszler fought back and tackled Bayley and mounted her. Bayley slipped to the floor and tried to escape, but Baszler caught up to her and applied the Kirafuda Clutch. Bayley broke free, so Baszler applied a sleeper. Bayley ducked down and rammed Baszler into the ringside barricade and then shoved her into the ringpost. Baszler looked up angrily. Bayley, from the stage, looked intimidated and retreated backstage.
(Keller’s Analysis: Baszler should have been the badass who quickly recovered from Bayley’s sneak attack, and Bayley should have been the weasel heel who showed fear. So this was okay, although I still don’t think Baszler being positioned as any kind of a babyface – because of the contrast to Bayley as a heel – is a good thing for her overall and unfortunate side effect of Brand Warfare.)
-They replayed what happened last week on Smackdown, with Ali & Shorty G beating Roode & Ziggler.
-Ali, Shorty G, and Reigns made their ring entrances. [c]
(4) KING CORBIN & ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. ROMAN REIGNS & SHORTY G & MUSTAFA ALI
Shorty G scored a near fall on Ziggler with a Northern Lights Suplex. Corbin and Roode yanked Shorty G off the ring apron and slammed him onto the announce table. Reigns and Ali checked on him. Cole said things were looking bleak. They cut to a break. [c]
After the break, Ali eventually came back against Corbin and gave him a tornado DDT. He climbed to the top rope. Roode yanked him off balance. Shorty G tried to suplex Roode at ringside, but Roode elbowed free and then gave him a spinebuster. Reigns then hit Roode with a Superman Punch. Ziggler then superkicked Reigns. Back in the ring, Ziggler shoved Ali off the top rope. Corbin then gave Ali a Deep Six for the win.
WINNERS: Corbin & Roode & Ziggler in 9:00.
-After the match, Corbin wound up to hit Ali with his scepter. Reigns entered and speared Corbin. Seth Rollins’ music then played. He led a group of Raw wrestlers to ringside. Seth entered and circled Reigns. Some fans chanted “C.M. Punk.” Seth threw the first punch. As Reigns and Seth brawled, the Raw wrestlers swarmed Ali and Shorty G at ringside. Smackdown wrestlers ran out led by Braun Strowman. Then came an “NXT” chant and NXT wrestlers ran out. Total chaos and Cole sold it as something unlike anything he’s seen. Graves said they might stay in the ring and fight until Sunday. The show closed with Keith Lee and Strowman eyeing each other.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Some solid wrestling throughout the show, no egregious undercutting of anyone when it came to match finishes, and another big brawl if that’s still exciting to you after these last few weeks. It’ll be nice to get past brand-intermixing and get back to heels vs. faces and more coherent storylines and feuds, though.