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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 2, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY ARENA (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON FOX NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-They aired a video recap of Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso at the Clash.
-They went to Thunderdome, skipping the Smackdown opening theme, as Cole introduced the show and touted Thunderdome as being built for the fans for an unmatched immersive experience.
-Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman walked out to Reigns’s music. His t-shirt said, “Show up and win.” Cole said he got a different vibe from Reigns on Sunday, more of a mean streak. Graves said it is unmistakable what Reigns stands for. “We are living in the era of Roman Reigns,” he said. Cole said if Reigns will do that to his family, to what lengths will he go in the ring against everyone else. Graves said no one is safe.
Reigns raised the belt in the air as Heyman stared at the belt. Heyman said we all knew this was destined to happen. He said they are there to crown Reigns the Tribal Chief of the entire WWE Universe. He said that’s why it’s important he is their Universal Heavyweight Champion. He said he wanted to set the stage with proper respect. He mentioned famous family members from WWE’s past. He then handed the mic to Reigns. “I don’t want you to call me that,” Reigns said to Heyman, peripherally, still not making eye contact with Heyman. He said he needs his cousin Jey to call him that first. He asked Jey to come out, then turned to the stage and waited.
Jey entered the ring and said he beat his ass, but he didn’t break his spirit. He said he was ready to go to war, and if Jimmy hadn’t thrown in the towel, that championship would be his right now. Reigns asked, “Do you think I’m proud of what I did?” He said the Clash was the worst night of career and life, professionally and personally. He said he was trying to do Jey a favor and trying to help him. He said he just wanted to put his name in the bright lights on the marquee, give him a big payday for his wife and kids. “I love you more than your brother loves you,” he claimed. He said Jey has been there his whole life for him. “All I wanted to do was raise you up,” he said. “And all you had to do was acknowledge me as the Tribal Chief.” He said from the day he was born, it was his birthright. Then he added: “It’s not because it was given to me; I had to work my ass off. You’ve seen it the whole way.” (Boy, doesn’t that summarize the rise of Reigns in WWE in general – the juxtaposition of him being perceived as feeling he should be a main eventer and perceiving he worked hard to achieve what was his destiny, yet the fans – symbolized by Jey – not wanting to concede that without a fight.)
Reigns told Jey he gets another shot at Hell in a Cell, if that’s what he wants. He said the match will have the highest stakes that any match has ever had in WWE history. Reigns moved in and hugged Jey. He whispered something in Jey’s ear. Jey looked a bit choked up, soaking up some heavy words from him. Reigns slowly walked out of the ring and made his trek to the back.
Jey yelled for Reigns and said, “Whatever the stakes are, you’re on.” Reigns paused, smiled with his back to Jey, and then continued to the back. Graves asked what Jey just signed up for. Cole asked what could be worse than getting inside Hell in a Cell.
Suddenly, A.J. Styles music played. He walked out and asked, “Is it over? I missed it, didn’t I?” he said. He asked if it really matters who sits at the end of the table and who has the most chicken bones. He said he doesn’t want to see him take another beating like he did on Sunday. He told Jey that someone more qualified should get the Universal Title match. He told him that his older brother is the better athlete, and everyone knows it, so just go on being the runt he’s always been. Jey tackled Styles, then leaped off the announce table and knocked Styles into the barricade.
(Keller’s Analysis: Roman continues to do great work. The fact that won’t look at Heyman directly is really interesting to me.) [c]
(1) A.J. STYLES vs. JEY USO
Cole questioned this being the night Styles chose to push Jey’s buttons. Jey went for a dive about two minutes in, but Styles kicked him out of mid-air, then suplexed him onto the announce table. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Jey avoided a Styles corner dive and then sidekicked him followed by a lift-and-drop Samoan drop and a neckbreaker for a two count. Nice sequence. Styles came back with a Pelé kick and a Death Valley Driver onto his knee for a two count. Jey landed an enzuigiri to Styles on the ring apron, then this time connected with his running dive through the ropes. Cole said you can see Jey’s confidence creeping back into his eyes. He went for a splash in the ring, but Styles lifted his knees. Styles went for his Phenomenal Forearm, but Jey kicked him off balance on the springboard and then superkicked him in the jaw. He followed with a top rope frog splash for the win.
WINNER: Uso in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Styles has the equity to pass along some credibility by giving Uso a clean win, and Uso really can benefit from the credibility of showing he can beat a legacy star like Styles one-on-one heading into a match against Reigns. Good match, too.)
-Cole hyped The KO Show with Alexa Bliss. “The Fiendishly Bewitched, Alexa Bliss,” Cole said. Graves plugged Sami Zayn defending against Jeff Hardy later. They threw to a video package on the IC Title match at the Clash.
-Sami stood backstage with two IC Title belts, one over each shoulder. He said everyone is expecting to gloat. He went to gloat. He said he feels resentment and anger, though, because he had to put himself through so much risk to get back what was his all along. He said he at first blamed WWE management, but he realized the real blame lies with the fans who went along with the ride and accepted his being stripped of the title. He pointed at one of the belts and said it was a fraud title. He said it’s up to him to do the right thing. He dropped the “scab sham of a championship” belt in a trash can. He said that’s the same place Jeff Hardy’s championship dreams are going to go. [c]
-A video recap aired of the legal threats by Miz against Otis.
-As Otis came to the ring, he said he is in for the fight of his life against those white collar criminals, and he’s ready to represent himself next week in court.
(2) OTIS vs. JOHN MORRISON
Otis got early advantage and stood on Morrison’s chest. Graves lamented the idea of Otis being champion and representing WWE with mustard stains on his shirt. He tossed Morrison around the ring, then charged with a corner splash. He then finished Morrison with The Caterpillar elbow drop and a corner swing splash for the win.
WINNER: Otis in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m surprised they didn’t keep Otis in there longer, not only because I think viewers would be along for the ride if he sold for a while, but also because it would give Morrison a little extra credibility. That undercut any existing cred Morrison had to lose that quickly and decisively.)
-They showed Sasha Banks backstage in a neck brace. [c]
-As Sheamus made his way to the ring, an inset interview aired with Big E. He said his mom was right, Sheamus is special. He said he’d like to beat his behind in the Amway Center stands and maybe end up in the Magic Kingdom. He offered a Falls Count Anywhere match against Sheamus next week.
(3) CHAD GABLE vs. SHEAMUS
Shorty G ate a Brogue Kick early in the match as Sheamus avoided his flip dive off the top rope. Sheamus waited for him to stand, then delivered another Brogue for the win. Graves said Sheamus appears ready for anything that steps in his path. Cole wondered if he’d accept the Big E Street Fight Challenge.
WINNER: Sheamus in about 1:00.
-They showed Kevin Owens going over his note cards for the KO Show interview with Alexa Bliss. [c]
-The Kevin Owens Show: Owens stood mid-ring as his music faded. He welcomed viewers to The Kevin Owens Show. He said after the draft, this could end up being his show. He said he was happy to visit Smackdown when management asked. He said he has a lot of questions for Alexa Bliss, because he’s been paying close attention to Smackdown despite being a Raw roster member. He introduced Bliss. As she walked out, Cole narrated a clip of her last week.
She sat next to KO. He said he had so many questions because he’s noticed a change in her and a shift in attitude toward anger. He said it reminds him of what he sees in Aleister Black, his nemesis on Raw. She said, “What do you mean?” When he said she used to try to cheer people up and make them laugh, that’s not her anymore, she said, “People change, Kevin. You should try it sometime. Don’t you want to change and be better?” KO said yes, because he’s done a lot of terrible things in his career, and he has been trying to do things the right way now. He said tonight is about her, not him. He said needs to understand this darkness that seems to have overtaken her. He said if he can understand her, maybe he can better understand Black also.
Bliss said being around “him” is terrifying and captivating all at the same time. She said: “Your spine gets so cold when you’re in his presence. When he touches you, your whole body goes numb. It feels like pins and needles. And when he looks into your eyes, it’s like he’s looking right through you and you can’t look away.” She asked KO if she has any idea what that’s like. Owens said she seems to be brainwashed, so she won’t get any answers from her. “Yes, my brain has been washed. All the lies have been washed away and now I see the truth. I’ve been changed by him, Kevin. I’ve been cleansed by him.” KO said, “He’s here, isn’t he?” She said yes, and she said he should let him in. The lights went out, then came on all red. The Friend put KO in the Mandible Claw and knocked him out as his screeching music played. Bliss just sat and watched stoically, nodding. KO gasped for breath and coughed. The Fiend then walked over to Bliss and she tilted her head and stared at him. He held out his arm and she stood and held his hand. She looked away and smiled as Fiend got an aroused look in his eyes behind his mask.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good next phase of Bliss’s transformation. She showed up in a trance rather than switching into it, so it seems like the Fiend hold on her has fully manifested. Her performances in WWE are top shelf and Fiend was good here, too. KO is always solid, although the idea that Smackdown management invited him there and he said yes because (a) it could be his future home and (b) he feels he can learn more about Aleister Black through Bliss felt like a bit of a stretch.) [c]
-When they returned, Graves called Thunderdome “amazing.” Cole touted the “visually pleasing state-of-the-art arena built just for you.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Would all of you haven’t yet please send Vince McMahon a thank you note and a box of chocolates so they can stop doing this?)
-Backstage, Lince Dorado, Metalik, and Matt Riddle were hanging out backstage. Kayla Braxton walked up to Riddle and asked about his loss last week to King Corbin. He said Lince and Metalik cheered him by saying a WWE career is a marathon, not a sprint. That blew his mind. Kayla asked where Kalisto is. Lince said he’s still in the locker room trying to get his mask on because of how big his head has been getting.
(4) LINCE DORADO & GRAN METALIK & MATT RIDDLE vs. BARON CORBIN & CESARO & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Seconds into the match, Kalisto walked out. They cut to a break within the first minute of the match. [c]
Wild action after the break led to Dorado escaping Cesaro. Cesaro threw Dorado toward the ropes where Kalisto mistakenly kicked him. Riddle then gave Cesaro a quick Bro Derek for the win.
WINNERS: Riddle & LHP in 6:00.
-A video package aired on the Sasha Banks-Bayley saga. [c]
-A video aired with the mystery blonde revealing herself as Carmella. She said she listened to the fans and it got her nowhere. She then remembered she’s Carmella and she’s better than everyone. “I’m not your princess anymore,” she said. She said whether she’s drafted to Raw or Smackdown, she’s untouchable unless she doesn’t want to be.
-Sasha Banks stood mid-ring and asked Bayley if she thought her not being medically cleared would stop her from beating her down at the Clash. She said Bayley can learn from her how to have a backbone. She called Bayley a coward who needed her time and time again to help her with her title matches. “You were using me to become the longest-reining Smackdown Champion in history,” she said. She said she knows Bayley isn’t there because she’s scared of her, but next week they’ll wrestle for her Smackdown Title. She said when it comes down to them, with no one there to save Bayley, “you don’t stand a chance, bitch.” She ripped off her neck brace and Cole said she’s ready for next week.
-They replayed the end of Sami’s promo from earlier dropping the extra IC belt in the trash. Sami then made his ring entrance.
-A commercial hyped the WWE Draft next Friday night on Smackdown and the following Monday on Raw.
-Graves announced Owens would face The Fiend next week. Cole said it’s Fiend’s first match on Smackdown. Cole hyped Big E vs. Sheamus in a street fight and Sasha vs. Bayley.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re looking to really pop a big rating next week. That’s a strong line-up.)
(5) SAMI ZAYN vs. JEFF HARDY – Intercontinental Title match
They did formal ring introductions. Sami insisted the ring announcer smile as he introduced Sami as the IC Champion. Sami took control early. The top turnbuckle pad was missing when Hardy blocked Sami from shoving him into it. The ref looked around for the pad. Hardy, meanwhile, slidekicked Sami into the announce table. When he leaped off the steps toward Sami, Sami moved and Hardy crashed into the barricade. [c]
They showed a clip they uncovered during the break of Sami being the culprit who removed the turnbuckle. Graves said he would expect such nefarious actions from someone like Hardy. He asked Cole who writes history books. Cole earnestly suggested historians. Graves said, “No, winners.” A couple minutes later, Hardy knocked Sami off balance on the top rope. Then he superplexed him to the mat. Hardy kicked out of a Blue Thunder Bomb. Sami lifted his knees on a Swanton. Sami then went for a Helluva kick. Hardy moved and went for a Twist of Fate. Sami blocked it and then yanked Hardy off the top rope. Hardy landed face-first over the exposed top turnbuckle and then scored the three count. Graves said that was a resourceful win and a sign of a true deserving champion.
WINNER: Sami Zayn to retain the IC Title in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good TV main event.)