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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 23, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY ARENA (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON FS1 NETWORK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Ring Announcers: Greg Hamilton
-They opened with a wide shot of the scoreboard in ThunderDome. Cole said, “Tonight we’re at WWE ThunderDome, an arena created just for you, the WWE Universe, offering a more captivating and immersive viewing experience than anything in the world.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Would everyone please send Vince McMahon a hand-written postcard thanking him for the ThunderDome, already! He clearly wants more of a sense of appreciation for what he’s done for YOU!)
-Cole and Graves hyped the show including Roman Reigns revealing the “Tribal Consequences” at stake in their match at Hell in a Cell, plus “Law & Otis” with Otiz and Miz going to court. They played the “People’s Court” theme song in the background.
-KO Show: Kevin Owens stood mid-ring. He said now that everyone has fulfilled their contractual obligations and everyone is in the right place, he’s happy to settle into his new home, Smackdown, with a KO Show. He introduced “one of the most technically skilled wrestlers to ever step into this ring, the leader of the Yes Movement, Daniel Bryan!” Cole said the Yes Movement has returned to Friday nights. Cole said he was gone for several months this summer, but he returned last week to stir things up. Graves said Bryan’s smile indicates he’s thrilled to be back on Smackdown in the ThunderDome.
KO said he’s glad he mentioned his name last week as an opponent he’d like to face. Bryan said they always made each other better. KO asked Bryan what his vision is for Smackdown. Bryan said the Smackdown roster is now unparalleled with the best fresh young talent in the world. He mentioned Big E and Jey Uso as veterans who have stepped up recently, too. He said on a personal note, he said he’d like to have a championship defended every week on Smackdown, and he thinks that should be the Intercontinental Title. KO said he’s flattered he suggested him for such a role. He said he asked Bryan to come on the KO Show because he wanted to talk to him about championships, the tag team championships in particular. He said he’s accomplished a lot in WWE, but he’s never been a tag team champion. Bryan looked at him and said, “Yeah, you’ve betrayed a lot of friends.” (LOL.) KO proposed they team together. (“Fury and Furry!”?) He suggested: “Team Hell KO.” Bryan said: “That would be you teaming with Kane!” KO said they can talk about it later, but as a team, they’d be unprecedented and better than him and Kane. Suddenly Dolph Ziggler’s music played and he came out with Robert Roode.
Ziggler said there’s no way they were talking about “hot, fresh, young talent” and not mean them. He said they like to party and jump and run with the devil. He asked why they weren’t invited to the party. Roode said he and Ziggler are the best tag team on the planet, and they’re wasting everyone’s time. The Street Profits came out next. It rained red Solo cups onto them on the stage. Angelo Dawkins said Ziggler and Roode look like they just stepped out of 1984. Ziggler said, “Best album ever!” He let out a big “woo hoo!” and said the joke’s on them. The Profits said they didn’t forget what they tried to pull last week. Montez Ford sang they are excited to be on Smackdown. He said they want the smoke.
Out next came Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro. Cesaro said they’ve been carrying the Smackdown Tag Team Division for months and then suddenly the Profits arrive and they get handed the gold. Bryan suggested he and KO test themselves as a team right now. Everyone started brawling in the ring as Adam Pearce ran out to restore order. [c]
(1) THE STREET PROFITS & DANIEL BRYAN & KEVIN OWENS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & BOBBY ROODE & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO
The announcers noted that Bryan ran to the back and changed into his wrestling trunks during the break. Graves gave credit to Pearce for restoring order and making this an official four-on-four match. (At least it’s a four-on-four and not another four-way tag this week on TV.) Bryan sold a knee injury when he backflipped off the middle rope over Cesaro and landed on his feet on the mat. Cesaro went after his knee, then knocked him to the floor. Cesaro continued to work over his knee at ringside.[c]
Ziggler was working over Bryan’s leg. Bryan fought back eventually with an uppercut, but he couldn’t get a tag. Cesaro tagged in and swung Bryan around by his leg. Dawkins got a hot-tag and rallied against Nakamura and fended off interfering heels. Nakamura came back with a spin wheel kick and a back stabber. KO broke up a near fall shortly thereafter and chaos broke out. Cesaro used the middle ropes to nearly pin Dawkins, but the ref spotted it. Dawkins avoided a charging Cesaro and gave him a spinebuster. KO flip dove onto Roode & Ziggler. Ford then landed a top rope frog splash for the win.
WINNERS: Street Profits & Bryan & KO in 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good opening few minutes, solid middle with Bryan selling, and really strong closing minutes with the expected chaotic series of moves leading to the new champs getting a win over the former champs.)
-They went to Cole and Graves at ringside who hyped Reigns-Uso and the Law & Otis segment. They did a spoof of “Law & Order” where the narrator said Otis has decided to represent himself. They played “People’s Court” music. Ron Simmons, the bailiff, introduced JBL as the judge in a make-shift court room. (They used to preside over “Wrestler’s Court.”) JBL said Miz is suing Otis for emotional distress, wanton destruction of property, an unsafe working environment, and Money in the Bank negligence. Miz’s lawyer stood to speak, but Miz cut her off and said he’s got this. He said case law is on his side. He listed various prior cases. He said more importantly, the truth is on his side. He said he has been victimized both physically and emotionally. He said the MITB should be in the hands of a more honorable Superstar.
Otis said he thinks he deserves the MITB contract because he won the MITB ladder match. That’s all he said. Miz’s attorney told Miz, “That’s a good argument.” Miz said, “You’re fired.” The screen said, “To be continued.”
-Graves said he hopes there’s a decision tonight because he can’t wait and he’s losing sleep.
-A vignette aired on Bianca Belair.
-As Belair made her ring entrance, Cole said he thinks Belair might be one of the best draft picks in Smackdown history.
-Backstage, Bryan, KO, and the Profits celebrated like they won a Super Bowl. Bryan went for a fist bump and exclaimed to the Profits, “Fist me, boys!” KO spit out his water. The Profits froze, then laughed and said he almost got them. KO and the Profits walked away as Bryan said, “Smackdown’s the best!” Sami Zayn walked out and said he heard him badmouthing him, saying the IC Title should be defended every week. Sami said he happens to disagree. He said the IC Title is special and he should dictate how often and against whom it is defended. He told Bryan to do him a favor and keep his visions he might have in the future to himself. He said he’s going to defend the title his way as long as he’s champion.
(2) BIANCA BELAIR vs. ZELINA VEGA
Vega made her ring entrance. Cole noted they had an issue earlier this year on Raw. Graves said Vega was accused of nefarious actions against Belair’s husband, Montez Ford. Graves complimented the “swag and confidence” Belair displays in her matches. Belair pressed Vega above her head, walked around the ring, and dropped her head-first over the top turnbuckle. The she gave her the KOD for the win.
WINNER: Belair in 3:00.
-Cole hyped The Freak was up next. They showed a brief vignette on him. They showed him backstage, panning up from his boots to his face. He stared a hole into the lens of the camera up close. [c]
-They went to the ring where Kayla Braxton interviewed Shorty G. She asked for his thoughts about facing The Freak. Shorty G said he can’t get drafted on Raw, he can’t get drafted on Smackdown. “What’re we doing here?” he said. “It’s blatant disrespect.” He said he called out the big man to prove he belongs here.
(Keller’s Analysis: Kayla is so short, she makes Shorty G seem tall. It’s the one time her height works against a gimmick.)
(3) “THE FREAK” LARS SULLIVAN vs. SHORTY G
Sullivan methodically beat up Shorty until Shorty gave him an eye gouge. Sullivan side-stepped Shorty and threw him hard into the corner. He yelled angrily and then tossed Shorty across the ring. Graves said, “Someone get the grounds crew to scrape Shorty G off the mat.” He finished him with his Freak Accident.
WINNER: Sullivan in 2:00.
-Kayla asked Shorty how he feels. He gasped and coughed as he leaned over the bottom rope and said, “I quit.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not against an NXT Tag Team of Chad Gable & Austin Theory, with the team name “The Quitters.”)
-Alyse Ashton interviewed Seth Rollins backstage. She asked him about facing his former disciple, Murphy. He said he asked for the match because Murphy is confused and his emotions are pulling him in different directions. He said the Greater Good is all of them. “We all have a role to play, and Murphy needs to play his,” he said. He said he’s a savior and Murphy is a “walk-behinder.” He said there’s no shame in that. He said tonight he’ll define Murphy’s role for him, and that sounds like a lot of fun to him.
-They cut backstage to Roman Reigns sitting in front of two plates of food – fresh fruit and artisan bread. Paul Heyman stood behind him. Reigns pushed the plates away. Heyman asked what was up. Reigns brushed him off with a hand gesture without looking up at him. He seemed stressed out and distracted rather than being a picky eater. [c]
-Backstage Chad Gable was getting his shoulder iced. Pearce came in to check on him. He asked him to clarify that he quit. “I quit being Shorty G,” he said. He said he’s done being a character who talks about accepting who he is who will just be fine. He said he doesn’t accept “this Shorty G crap.” He said he won’t be the smiling punching bag, a happy-go-lucky public service announcement. “What a joke!” he said. “Who are we kidding?” He said Shorty G can’t accept who he is and achieve anything he wants. He said one kind of person can achieve anything – a man with a list of achievements so big, it has to be seen to be believed. “Trust me, Pearce, it’s long,” he said. He held his hands around 20 inches apart. “It’s Gable, Chad Gable.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Best news all week. Maybe all year! 2020 is looking up. No more “Shorty G.”)
-Bayley was standing center ring. She said she did four media interviews earlier in the day, and instead of appreciating her, they all asked the same questions about Sasha Banks. She said no matter what she does, she can’t seem to get away from her. She said she’s not afraid and Sasha is an ungrateful brat, so she doesn’t want to give her what she wants. She said she got rid of her, but now she’s a bigger pain in her as than she was before. She said last week Sasha claimed her name is bigger than her title. She said her head is so big, she won’t be able to fit inside a Hell in a Cell. She said, “Ding dong, hello, you aren’t the boss of me, sister!” Sasha came out to her music. Cole said, “Guess what, it’s Boss Time!”
Sasha carried the contract with her and she strutted out with more confidence and swagger than we’ve seen in a while. She eyed Bayley as she entered the ring. When Sasha held out the contract, Bayley said she doesn’t have to sign it. Bayley tried to swing a chair at her, but Sasha ducked. Sasha picked up the belt Bayley left behind. Bayley wanted the belt back. Sasha told her to sign it. Bayley tried to grab the belt, but Sasha yanked Bayley into her knee. She put the chair around Bayley neck and stood on it and then held the contract in front of her. Bayley kicked her off of her. Sasha then opened the chair and bent Bayley backwards while her head was still in the chair. Bayley signed it. Sasha let go. Cole said it’s now official, and it’ll happen on Sunday. Sasha told Bayley she will take her title on Sunday and “finish what you started.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Good to see Sasha be as aggressive and assertive as she was there. That was better than last week’s segment.)
-Graves plugged the Reigns-Uso segment later again.
-Back to the court room, Morrison was in the witness chair. He testified that Otis assaulted The Miz. “They say he assaulted a lot of people,” he said. He said it’s hard to quantify the emotional scars. He fought back tears. Rey Mysterio testified that he was in that Money in the Bank ladder match. He said as far as he’s concerned, Otis should get to cash in the contract anytime he wants.
Asuka testified next, ranting in Japanese. JBL asked the transcriber if he got any of that. Teddy Long stood up and said, “Every single word, playa!” Tucker said Otis is his best friend, and while he might not be as educated as some, he is sensitive. He said Miz deserves everything that has come his way because he arranged to have his girlfriend traded away. Miz asked permission to treat the witness as hostile. JBL agreed and said it’s about time. Tucker said as soon as Miz screwed around with Otis’s life, all he can think about is beating the crap out of him. Tucker stood and said he wants to do the same thing. Everyone stood and yelled. JBL asked for order. Simmons asked everyone to shut up. JBL said he’d be back soon with his verdict. Long stood up and said he had to pee, so he’d be right back. To be continued again. [c]
-JBL returned to the courtroom and said in all the legal uproar, something is missing, and that is the truth. He said he’s supposed to believe that Otis is responsible for emotional distress, destruction of property, and an unsafe working environment. He said if those were crimes, he and Ron Simmons would be serving life sentences right now. He said that’s what WWE Superstars are supposed to do. He said it’s not negligence. He said it’s clearly established in the contract that the MITB winner has a full year to cash in. He said after minimal deliberations, he has no choice but to rule in favor of… at point Miz interrupted and said he forgot to enter a piece of key evidence. He then produced a brief case. Simmons brought him the briefcase. Inside was presumably cash because a cash register noise sounded. JBL smiled and said, “In light of the new evidence, he has no choice but to rule in favor of the plantiff, The Miz.” He ordered Miz to face Otis on Sunday, and the winner would get the MITB contract. Otis and Tucker were distressed as Miz and Morrison gloated and celebrated. Simmons said, “Damn!”
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, the MITB winner shouldn’t be forced to put his briefcase at risk considering how invested people get in the match each year and speculate on the cash-in. It appears they’re looking for an escape hatch for having Otis cash in and not win, but it diminishes the value of the concept. That all said, I got more of a kick out of the skit than I anticipated I would.)
-They went back to Cole and Graves at ringside. Cole said he wished JBL was that easy back in the day. Graves said it was the only fair solution. Cole said Seth vs. Murphy was up next.
-A video package aired on the Seth-Murphy saga. Then Seth’s ring entrance began. [c]
(4) SETH ROLLINS vs. MURPHY
They showed Aalyah backstage watching on a monitor. Cole called her and Murphy friends. Graves said they’re more than that. Cole wondered if Seth needs Murphy more than Murphy needs him because he’s created so many enemies in WWE. Cole said perhaps Murphy doesn’t want to be a follower anymore. A few minutes in, Murphy kicked Seth to the floor and they cut to a break. [c]
They showed Aalyah backstage again. Rey and Dominick walked up to ask why she was watching. She said she wanted to see Murphy. Rey and Dominick discouraged her and told her to leave with her. Back to the match, Murphy hit a missile dropkick off the second rope to stop a streak of Seth offense. Murphy ran and flipped over the top rope toward Seth. He overshot him completely. They replayed it in slo-mo anyway. Murphy gave Seth a meteora back in the ring. Murphy sold a shoulder dislocation. He dropped to ringside to try to pop it back into socket. Seth dove at him and then hit him with a knee to the chin back in the ring for a two count. They showed Aalyah, Rey, and Dominick watching backstage. Aalyah was concerned. [c]
Murphy began a comeback after the break. Graves said he’s working with only one functioning arm. He tried to powerbomb Seth off the top rope, but his arm gave out. Seth gave Murphy a bucklebomb. Murphy countered with a high knee. Both were down and slow to get up. Seth took it to Murphy with punches and verbal abuse. Murphy caught Seth with a small package for a believable near fall. Seth landed a quick Falcon Arrow for a near fall. When Seth went for a Stomp, Murphy avoided it. He kicked Seth in the head and then set up a move. Seth slipped out and hit the Stomp for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. Two really good workers who have good chemistry, and that clicked tonight.)
-Seth took out a kendo stick. Aalyah begged Rey and Dominick to go help him. They wouldn’t, so she said she would. Lots of boos were piped in as Seth stalked Murphy. Aalyah walked to ringside. Seth asked what she was going to do. He began whacking Murphy with the stick. She entered the ring to cover Murphy. Dominick ran in and said this is none of their business. Seth attacked Dominick from behind. Rey’s music played and he ran out with a chair. Seth bailed out and ran away. Rey expressed anger with Aalyah and helped Dominick up. As Rey and Dominick had a heated discussion, Aalyah checked on Murphy. They cut away.
-A man knocked on Reigns’s door. Heyman came out and acted annoyed by the aggressive knock. The guy said it’s time for Reigns. Heyman said Roman decides when it’s time. [c]
-Reigns and Heyman made their ring entrance. Heyman looked at Reigns. Reigns stared straight ahead. On the big screen, Uso sat in front of Reign’s food. He said it’s great to be Tribal Chief, but he’s changed. “You’ve got your head so far up your Tribal chief ass, you’ve lost connection with yourself and our family.” He pulled his bandana down off his face and revealed he was Jimmy. He said Jey is right behind him. Jey attacked Reigns. (Why didn’t Heyman warn him?) Jey swung a chair, but Reigns kicked him in the face first. Jey hit a superkick and took Reigns down. Jey leaped off top rope with an Uso Splash. Cheers were piped in. His music played and he left. Reigns angrily sat up as Heyman looked down at him with concern. Graves plugged Sunday’s match. They played it like this was the end of the show, but there was time left. Jimmy came out to celebrate with Jey.
Heyman tried to hand Reigns the belt. Reigns said no, and he might have actually briefly glanced at him for the first time. Instead, he told Jey that if he makes him quit, he’s not the Universal Champion or the Face of WWE or the head of the table or the Tribal Chief. He said if he makes him quit, he can live with that. “The question is, can you?” he said. “When I make you quit – and I will make you quit, you will fall in line – you will take orders, you will acknowledge me, you will respect me for who I am in the WWE and all that I do for our family.” He said if he can’t, then he and his brother are out. “Your lives, your children, your children’s children are all out. We will all turn our backs on you. Those are the your consequences.” Cole said the Tribal Chief promised consequences and they don’t get more serious than that.
The Cell lowered around Reigns as Cole reiterated the stips. Jey climbed the side of the Cell and looked down at Reigns. Cole said Sunday is about more than the title, it’s about the bloodline and family dominance; it’s about knocking down the Tribal Chief or bowing down to him. Graves said it’s about who eats at the table and who starves the rest of their lives.
(Keller’s Analysis: One of the better chapters in this story so far. I love that they’ve added some mystery even after the expected outcome – Reigns winning – since Jey will have to choose between acknowledging Reigns as the Tribal Chief or being kicked out of the family. It’s a smart move that adds drama to a match that seems to have a foregone outcome otherwise. Plus, Jimmy being added to the dynamic again adds another dimension. Reigns was great here.)