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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
SEPTEMBER 11, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY ARENA (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON FOX NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-A video package aired with snippets of the Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman in-ring promo last week. Then a recap aired of last week’s Fatal Four-way match that determined Jey Uso would face Roman Reigns at Clash of the Champions.
-Cole introduced the show as the camera showed the Thunderdome.
-Reigns and Heyman walked out. Reigns’s t-shirt said, “Show Up and Win.” They piped in boos as his pyro blasted. Heyman said at Payback, Reigns wrecked everyone and left as the Universal Champion. He said last Friday on Smackdown, he said the Tribal Chief told him to telleveryone everything. He said as Special Counsel, he put all of their cards on the table. He said on that same night, his bloodline, his family, his cousin Jey Uso stepped up as the only benefactor of a Fatal Four-way and he dethroned a king, braved a bro, and solved a riddle all in one night to emerge as the no. 1 contender for his title. He said therefore, Reigns bestowed upon him the honor of introducing that challenger.
Uso made his entrance. Cole said Jey refers to this as the Big Dog vs. the Underdog. They showed childhood pictures of them. Cole said Jey is always the third guy out of the three, younger by a few minutes than Jimmy and also younger than Reigns. Jey said he wanted to tell Heyman to his face “thank you” for getting him put in the Fatal Four-way last week to replace Big E. Heyman said he doesn’t owe him any thanks, and the appreciation should go to Reigns. He said when Big E was taken out, it was Roman’s idea. He said he just implemented and executed a command from his boss, Reigns. He said that with a sense of nervousness, as if he’s intimidated by working for Reigns. Reigns took the mic and looked at Jey and said he doesn’t have to thank him because “we’re blood.” He said for years they’ve thought of this. He said the whole family is proud of him. He said he earned it; nobody gave it to him. He said this is his moment. He said at the Clash, it won’t be your moment. He told Jey, who was looking at the Universal Title belt, “Don’t look at this, look at me.” He asked if he understands that he’s going to whoop his ass, and then it’s all love. Jey smiled and said, “We’re not little kids anymore. We’re grown men, now. It’s different.” Suddenly King Corbin’s music played.
Corbin said it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this was a set-up all along. He accused Reigns of hand-picking an opponent for his first title defense. He said it’s a classic case of nepotism and it makes him sick. He said he can’t stand watching someone abuse their power. Sheamus walked out to his music and said he agrees with Corbin. He said the whole situation stinks. He said Big E took an unfortunate spill last week, but it should have been a Triple Threat match after that. He said strings were pulled, and then Jey was suddenly in the match. He said he had no time to prepare. Jey asked if he wanted time to prepare. Sheamus told him “the grown up hasn’t finished talking.” Jey said, “I’m not your mama.” Jey offered to team with Reigns against Sheamus and Corbin. Sheamus charged. Jey dumped him over the top rope. Jey punched Corbin and threw him into the ringpost. Reigns just watched, as if he was watching a cat play with a new toy or something. Bemused. Jey smiled at Reigns. Reigns’s music played again and the boos were piped in.
(Keller’s Analysis: I thought Reigns was miscast as a babyface and was lousy as being likable on TV. He’s tremendous as a heel, and is showing nuances and subtlety in his facial expressions and body language that tell me he’s a natural heel and he’s having a good time for the first time in a long time on-air. Heyman as the nervous hired hand for Reigns is a fun twist on his prior bravado with Brock Lesnar as the cocky heel who knew Lesnar had his back. Heyman’s nervousness around Reigns indicates Reigns is a jerk behind the scenes and is difficult to work for, which adds another layer to the Reigns heel character.)
-Cole said last Friday, Bayley attacked Sasha in a disgusting attack. He said she’d speak later. Graves plugged Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Tamina, and Laecy Evans would have a Fatal Four-way to determine the no. 1 contender to Bayley at the Clash. Cole plugged the Intercontinental Title match was up next.
-Sami Zayn was freaking out in the production truck. He had his imposter IC Title belt and claimed there couldn’t be a an IC Title match without him defending it. [c]
-They replayed Jeff Hardy pinning A.J.Styles three weeks ago.
(1) JEFF HARDY vs. A.J. STYLES – Intercontinental Title
During introductions, Sami interrupted. He said it can’t be an IC Title match because he is the IC Champion. He said he won the title on Mar. 8 and successfully defended it against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. He said for personal reasons, he took a couple months off. He said this replacement title is a sham, and he wants it on the record that this is merely an exhibition. Adam Pearce walked out and told him it’s time to go. Two security guys escorted him out. Sami agreed to leave, insisting nobody touch him. He said they should all be ashamed of themselves. Styles then jumped Hardy before the bell. Cole called Sami a “delusional nut.” Hardy came back with a quick Twist of Fate and then a top rope Swanton Bomb. Styles moved, then they cut to an early break. [c]
Cole said Styles dominated during the break after Hardy had missed the Swanton Bomb. Hardy eventually made a comeback. Styles set up a Phenomenal Forearm, but Sami suddenly showed up and yanked Styles by his legs to the floor, then threw him into the steps. He entered the ring and gave Hardy a Helluva Kick. Sami held up his IC Title belt and yelled that he’s the real IC Champion.
WINNER: No contest in 8:00 so Hardy remains the IC Title.
-The Firefly Funhouse jingle aired. The screen said: “Bray Wyatt introduces his newest creation.”
-Backstage Reigns sat on a couch looking annoyed as Jey sat on the back of the couch rattling off his ideas for strategy.
-They cut back to ringside where Hardy stumbled on the ramp and fell down. Cole said they need help for him. [c]
-Alyse Ashton stood backstage and updated Hardy’s condition. She said he never lost consciousness and trainers think he just suffered from dehydration. Styles walked up, still upset over Sami ruining his chance to win. Styles said he might sound frustrated, but he’s just determined. He said he can beat Hardy and Sami anywhere in any match. He said he will prove once and for all that he is the true one-and-only Intercontinental Champion.
-They went to Cole and Graves on camera who discussed the brand-to-brand invitational where a wrestler from one show can go to the other show once per quarter, and this past Monday, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions took advantage of that and confronted The Street Profits.
-Backstage The Street Profits walked in on Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. The Profits introduced themselves and said they wanted to check out their championship lounge. Cesaro and Nakamura said they have a match next and can’t deal with their nonsense. Angelo Dawkins said they can do their thing and they’ll keep their area back there all tidy and safe. Cesaro said, “Don’t break anything!” Nakamura told Montez Ford not to eat his popcorn. As soon as he left, Dawkins gorged on the popcorn. Cole said, “The Street Profits are having all kinds of fun.” (That Cole comment stripped away any cool factor the Profits had there.)
-Lucha House Party made their ring entrance. They showed Kalisto giving Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado a pep talk. They didn’t seem super-receptive.
-Backstage Sami barged in on the trainer checking on Hardy. Sami asked if he’s sure Hardy just need more fluids. Hardy jumped him and they brawled. [c]
(2) CESARO & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Gran Metalik & Kalisto w/Lince Dorado)
Graves said he’s not sure if Kalisto just took control of LHP or he was voted in, but he’s apparently the leader. A few minutes into the match, the Street Profits showed up on the screen hosting a big party in Cesaro & Nakamura’s “Smackdown Championship Lounge.” Nakamura and Cesaro stared at the big screen. Ford said they decided to “thrown down” backstage. Kalisto rolled up a preoccupied Cesaro from behind for the three count.
WINNERS: Lucha House Party in 4:00.
-They showed Bayley moping backstage. Cole said nobody has talked to her in a week and nobody knows why she did what she did. Cole said the question on social media all week has been “Why, Bayley, why?” He said he might find out next.
-A commercial aired for Raw next week with an “In Your Face!” theme repeated. They announced Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee, Cesaro & Nakamura vs. Street Profits, and Asuka vs. Mickie James. [c]
-They showed LHP partying with the Profits and others backstage.
-Bayley walked out with a chair in hand. Cole said there is something much different about her tonight. She raised the chair and broke into a smile. Cole said the chair is banged up and it was likely a chair Bayley used to bash Sasha last week. Bayley entered the ring and sat on the chair. They replayed what happened last week between them, with Sasha in pain from a leg injury and Bayley feigning concern before attacking her.
Bayley sat mid-ring as boos were piped in. She said after all of that, everybody is asking how Sasha is doing. She said nobody is asking how she is doing and how she feels. She asked if people think she enjoyed doing that to her tag partner. She said she actually did love every single second of it. They panned the LED screens booing her. She said if people want answers, well, instead she’s full of questions right now. She said she knows Sasha is watching. She said she’s not an idiot and she knew what she was thinking all along. She said nobody knows her better than she does. She said she followed her to Friday Night Smackdown, and when she saw her at the top of her game, she needed to become Two Belts Banks. “You pretended to be my best friend, but all along you were using me.” She said she knows that because she was actually using her. “I didn’t care about you and I never cared about our friendship,” she said. Next she bragged about being the longest-reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion. She said after last week, she has become completely useless to her.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was fine, I suppose. Just baseline heel ranting and claiming she never liked Sasha. I’d have liked something that indicated what the trigger point was for her and why she waited until that moment.)
-Nikki Cross made her way past Bayley on the ramp as her entrance music played. Bayley attacked Nikki from behind with a chair. [c]
-Alexa Bliss and two referees were checking on Nikki. She said she was okay and could wrestle, but she was still wincing.
(3) LACEY EVANS vs. NIKKI CROSS vs. ALEXA BLISS vs. TAMINA – Fatal Four-way
Nikki battled Tamina in the ring a few minutes in. When Tamina rolled to the ring apron, Nikki knocked her to the floor. Bliss slidekicked Lacey and Tamina at ringside. Cole said it doesn’t look like The Fiend is having any affect on Bliss tonight. Nikki dove onto Tamina and Lacey. Bliss lifted Nikki, kissed her forehead, and gave her a Sister Abigail on the floor. They cut abruptly to a break. [c]
Tamina had Lacey in a headlock in center-ring after the break. They went to split-screen to show what happened during the break; Bliss entered a trance-like state and wandered to the back. Lacey landed a springboard moonsault on Tamina; Nikki broke up the cover. Nikki rallied in the ring, and delivered a bulldog on Tamina while clotheslining Lacey as she charged at her from the opposite direction. She scored a two count on Lacey. Nikki charged at Tamina, but Tamina moved. Nikki came back with a tornado DDT. She dropped Lacey for a two count. Tamina broke up the cover. Lacey went at Tamina, but Tamina superkicked her. Lacey landed the Women’s Right. Nikki ducked a Woman’s Right and then delivered a neckbreaker off the top rope. Tamina broke up the cover and then set up a Samoan Drop. Nikki rolled up Tamina for the win.
WINNER: Nikki to earn a title match at the Clash.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nikki’s win was telegraphed a bit by Bayley attacking her before the match, creating a personal issue that didn’t exist with the other potential challengers. The Bliss turn using Sister Abigail confirmed where she’s headed. It seems like it was cheated out of having the most impact by happening mid-match right before a break.)
-Graves said this would be the first time in seven months Reigns wrestled on Smackdown. They showed Corbin and Sheamus warming up.
-Otis made his ring entrance with Tucker. [c]
-A vignette aired with a woman from behind getting dressed and fixing up her hair. Someone put a fur coat on her. They’re still just teasing who it is without revealing it.
(4) OTIS (w/Tucker) vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)
Miz joined the announcers on commentary. Morrison tossed Miz the lunchbox Otis brought to the ring that apparently had the Money in the Bank contract in it. Otis was upset and landed the Caterpillar and then a corner splash for the three count.
WINNER: Otis in 2:00.
-They replayed the attack on Big E last week. Cole said Xavier Woods would update Big E’s condition on Talking Smack tomorrow morning. Heyman, Nikki, and Styles would also be on the show. [c]
-Backstage, Otis and Tucker were backstage chasing down his lunchbox. Otis said Miz might have a lunchbox, but he doesn’t have the contract. He opened the briefcase, which inside of it had the actual lunchbox with the contract. He hilariously had trouble with opening the briefcase.
-They cut to Miz who bragged that his lawyer said there are loopholes in every contract, and he just had to get him the contract. He opened the lunchbox and inside was an apple core. A frustrated Miz said he’s calling in a favor.
-They cut to the Firefly Funhouse. Bray Wyatt waved and smiled. He said before the fun begins, he has something to get off his chest. He pulled a fake plastic bug off his chest. He said something special is missing from the Funhouse because of Reigns, but it’s okay because everyone experiences loss. He said loss defines who you are. The screen said, “The less you know.” The NBC jingle played. He went to Huskus the Pig and said a new puppet was inside a box. He said “he” has overcome so much in his life to make it this far. He introduced Pasquali the Parrot. He took the lid off, but the parrot didn’t come out. Bray looked inside and got despondent. The pig looked guilty. They cut away due to a technical difficulty. Bray said he probably should have cut holes in the box. “Oh well,” he said, tossing aside the box. The other puppets laughed. In walked the Vince McMahon doll. He said he can’t handle the Funhouse on his own responsibly. Then Vince introduced a new special advisor to the Firefly Funhouse. A Heyman doll was introduced caelld Wobbly Walrus. Vince said, “This is such good (bleep).” The screen said “To Be Continued…”
(Keller’s Analysis: It seemed destined to be related Bliss, but instead they introduced a hideous new Paul Heyman-based doll. Not sure if he’ll be recurring or it’s a one-off. I suppose there’s potential there.)
-Corbin made his entrance first. Then Sheamus. [c]
(5) JEY USO & ROMAN REIGNS vs. SHEAMUS & KING CORBIN
When Jey came out, Corbin and Sheamus attacked him. The ref called for the bell with no sign of Reigns yet. Odd decision by the referee. Graves said he is curious how Corbin and Sheamus will work together as a few weeks ago they were at odds. Cole noted Reigns is supposed to be Jey’s partner. Corbin landed an early Deep Six for a two count. Corbin taunted Jey. “Where’s your boy?” he asked. Sheamus pounded Jey’s chest. Just as Sheamus set up his Brogue Kick. Reigns’s music played. He walked out and distracted Sheamus. Jey landed an enzuigiri on Sheamus, then he knocked Sheamus with a dive into the announce desk. Sheamus caught a diving Jey, but Jey slipped free and superkicked Sheamus. Reigns tagged himself in as Jey leaped. Reigns leaned in the corner and signaled for Jey to leave. Jey rolled to the floor. Reigns then speared Sheamus for the win. Jey and Reigns celebrated side-by-side on the stage. Jey looked suspiciously at Reigns.
WINNER: Reigns & Jey in 6:00.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Bullet-point-wise, a lot happened on this show. Alexa turned on Nikki, Nikki earned a PPV title match, Reigns “wrestled” in his first Smackdown match in over a half year, the Raw tag champs visited, the IC Title situation continued to be chaotic, a Firefly Funhouse character was introduced (and a parrot apparently died), and they furthered the Otis-Miz comedy stuff with the MITB contract. Yet the important stuff less than it should have – either rushed or half-executed. Nothing really felt satisfying. It was like a diet soda wrestling show – no calories and little sense of fulfillment. And WWE can’t disregard having better, longer wrestling matches on their shows with actual conclusive finishes more often.