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LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
OCTOBER 29, 2021
WILKES-BARRE, PA AT MOHEGAN SUN ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON FS1
Announcers; Michael Cole & Pat McAfee
-The full Smackdown intro video package aired.
-Michael Cole welcomed the audience to a “special outing” of Smackdown on FS1 emanating from Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre. He and Pat McAfee said it was a “spooky” edition of Smackdown, featuring a Trick or Street Fight tag team match.
-Charlotte Flair’s music hit and the (now) Smackdown Women’s Champion headed to the ring. Cole said she’s already one of the all time greats. Cole said that Flair and Becky Lynch engaged in a “feisty” title switch on last week’s Smackdown. McAfee said feisty is “certainly one way to describe it.” He added that Flair’s presence makes other people better, because being next to her puts you in the spotlight.
Charlotte opened her promo by trying to count her reigns as Smackdown Women’s Champion. She said she’s not just the face of the women’s division, she’s the face of the whole company. Flair said that when other women in the locker room win titles, the rest of the women stand up and cheer and congratulate the winner. “When Charlotte Flair wins a title, it’s just another Friday…” Flair winked at the camera. The crowd murmured uncomfortably.
Flair said the locker room needs a woman to lead them. Sasha Banks’ music cut her of. Banks headed to the ring to a modest reaction. McAfee said the energy changed when Banks interrupted the title exchange drama last week. Banks gave her phony laugh. “Did you say leader?” she said. Banks claimed no one believes that Flair is a leader, and everyone knows she’s only around to hold others down.
Charlotte quickly cut her off, claiming it’s a new era for Smackdown. She said it’s selfish of Sasha to demand a title opportunity when she’s had chance after chance after chance. “I always beat you,” Flair declared. She said she spoke with Sonya Deville and requested a new challenger. Banks accused her of being scared, not gracious.
Shotzi Blackheart (now just Shotzi) interrupted both women. She addressed Charlotte, saying if she wants to find someone she’s never faced before, she’s her girl. The crowd broke into a “Shotzi” chant. Flair conceded that since he came to the ring in a tank, she must be ready for battle. Flair called the tank “cute” and accepted her challenge. Cole said we should make the championship contender’s match official. The show headed to break.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Man, for a company that seemed embarrassed by how last week’s show closing segment went, they certainly didn’t shy away from it tonight. Everything surrounding Charlotte has an air of unease right now. Her promos are quickly becoming tongue-in-cheek nods to what appears to be her real life attitude. Banks’ took a clear shot at Flair’s perceived reputation. They’re leaning into this. Most striking, though, was Flair’s line about winning a title being “just another Friday for Charlotte Flair.” I’m not sure that’s something to brag about. I know WWE doesn’t care about this stuff, but surely the audience recognizes that the more times you’ve won the title, the more you’ve lost it.)
(1) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. SHOTZI
The bell rang as soon as the show returned from break. Charlotte Flair and Shotzi circled the ring and then locked up. Sasha Banks remained at ringside. Flair took down Shotzi and tossed her into the corner. Shotzi kicked Flair away and rolled her up for a surprise two count. Flair went for a big boot, but Shotzi ducked it. She howled at the moon.
Shotzi tried to take Flair down, but Flair flipped back out of it and chopped Shotzi to the mat. She sent Shotzi back to the corner, then went for a backdrop. Shotzi rolled through it, leaped off the second rope and took control with a hurricanrana. She followed up with a basement dropkick and a cover for a one count.
“Stay on her!” Banks yelled from ringside. Shotzi cornered Flair and struck her several times in the chest. Shotzi climbed to the middle rope, but Charlotte ripped her down, bouncing her head off the turnbuckle violently. Flair covered for a two count. Shotzi clawed her way to her feet, but Flair struck her down. She draped Shotzi over the middle rope and drove her knee into the back of the neck. Flair broke the hold to argue with the referee. Shotzi rolled Flair up for a two count.
Charlotte regained control quickly, dropping Shotzi to a knee and grabbing an arm hold. Shotzi fought to her feet and sent Flair to the apron. Flair fought her way back inside with a boot, but Shotzi dropped Flair with a step-up enziguri for a two count. Shotzi climbed to the top rope, but Flair rolled to outside. Shotzi thought better of coming off the top. She leapt down and ran the ropes, but Flair caught her with a hard elbow.
Sasha Banks got in Charlotte’s face on the outside. Shotzi recovered and dove through the middle rope onto Flair. Cole sent the show to commercial around the 5:15 mark of the match.
Shotzi was down on the outside when the show returned from break. Flair was climbing to the top turnbuckle. Shotzi rushed back into the ring and cut Flair off. She leapt to the top rope and hit Flair with a super hurricanrana for a near fall. Both women slowly returned to their feet. Flair went for a big boot, but Shotzi ducked it. Flair set Shotzi to the apron and caught her with a boot to the outside. Flair jumped to the outside, but Shozti caught her with a super kick.
Banks shouted at Shotzi to get Flair in the ring. She did, covering the champion for another two count. Flair rolled Shotzi into a cover of her own for two. She transitioned into a Figure Four attempt, but Shotzi rolled her into a small package. Flair shot up and went for a big boot, Shotzi ducked it and Flair got caught up in the ropes. Shotzi attempted another roll up for two.
Flair hit Shotzi with a backbreaker of her knee, then swept her backward into the turnbuckle. She climbed to the top rope for a moonsault, but Shotzi rolled out of the way. Flair landed on her feet and hit a standing moonsault in one fluid motion. Shotzi kicked out just before three.
Charlotte set up for the Figure Four, but Shotzi kicked her toward the ropes. Sasha leapt up to stand face to face with Flair. Shotzi came charging, nearly hitting Banks. The brief hesitation allowed Flair to catch Shotzi with an elbow to the head, then Natural Selection for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair in 11:28
Banks helped Shotzi to her feet following the match. Shotzi shoved Banks to the mat. She said it’s Sasha’s fault that she lost. Shotzi slammed Banks into the corner, then stomped away at her. Banks struggled to her feet, then got caught with a step up enziguri. “How dare you?” Shotzi screamed. She tossed Banks unceremoniously to the outside.
Shotzi followed her outside, slamming her into the hood of her tank, then the ringside barricade. Shotzi tossed Sasha shoulder first into the tank, then sent her back in the ring. Shotzi climbed to the top rope and hit the diving senton onto Banks. The crowd booed loudly.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Solid match, and a good showing for Shotzi. Both brands are in desperate need of viable challengers in the women’s divisions, and Shotzi had an impressive outing here. The turn by Shotzi was unexpected, but it could go a long way in establishing Banks as the clear cut babyface going forward. She’s been stuck in a bit of a tweener role for a while now, but this beatdown seemed to make it clear that Banks is to be cheered. She can now move into a short-term program with Shotzi before going after Flair and the title. I thought this match, and the aftermath, were overall quite effective.)
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton called Shotzi a force to be reckoned with. She welcomed Jeff Hardy to the interview set. Kayla asked Jeff what he’s most looking forward to on Smackdown. Hardy said he wants to make some new friends, face some new opponents and maybe challenge for a title he’s never held before.
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss emerged into the shot. They said things have changed on Smackdown. “I’m happy!” Corbin exclaimed. He said that Hardy can watch he and Moss beat Nakamura and Boogs in a Trick or Street Fight. They wandered off. Hardy said it’s good to be back.
-The show returned to a sweeping shot of the Mohegan Sun Arena. Cole said that Adam Pearce is home recovering following Brock Lesnar’s attack on last week’s Smackdown. He said there’s been additional punishments levied against Brock, and tossed to a Progressive Match Flo, covering the aforementioned attack.
After the video, Adam Pearce was shown via video from an undisclosed office location. Pearce said he gives every bit of himself to the company and what happened cannot and will not occur again. Pearce said he called Brock Lesnar earlier today and informed him that, in addition to his suspension, he’s been fined one million dollars.
Backstage, Paul Heyman watched Pearce’s announcement with a smile. Kayla Braxton approached him. She asked how he thinks Lesnar will respond to the news. Paul said Kayla’s timing is always impeccable. Heyman said he knows how Roman Reigns would respond – and that’s by showing up anyway and smashing everybody.
Kayla asked again and promised it was not a trick question. Heyman said Lesnar would rip everyone’s throats out, starting with Adam Pearce. He shuddered at the audacity of Pearce, talking about the merit of Lesnar. He stopped himself. “At least that’s how I think Brock would react…I haven’t spoken to Brock Lesnar.” Kayla smiled. “Leave me alone, please.” Heyman walked off.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Loved the nuance between Kayla and Paul here. They have fantastic chemistry and constantly bring out the best in each other. Kayla lulled Paul into believing she wasn’t asking him a trick question, all the while knowing he’d almost certainly get riled up about Brock’s suspension – just as a journalist in this position should. She succeeded, and Heyman had to catch himself before he got too completely carried away. Though the result of Crown Jewel was disappointing – a complete punt on the storyline, Heyman is proving that the story can still have legs beyond its initial appeal.)
-Drew McIntyre headed to the ring. Michael Cole said he’d host an open challenge after the break.
McIntyre stood in the ring as Cole and McAfee continued to talk about the Trick or Treat Street Fight later in the night. Cole said he can’t wait to see who accepts McIntyre’s challenge. Drew said it should come as a surprise to no one that he’s in an ass-kicking mood. “I’m sure you don’t want open mic night,” Drew said, “but how would everyone feel about an open challenge night right now?”
Drew asked who has the testicular fortitude to step up and fight him right now. He threw the microphone and looked toward the entrance way. Mustafa Ali’s music hit. He emerged from the back with a microphone. “We get it,” Ali said, “you’re big, you’re bad, but I’m better.” Ali said he’s got more athletic talent in his pinky than Drew has in his entire body. He claimed to be quicker, more agile, and said McIntyre doesn’t even compare when it comes to in-ring talent. The crowd started a “you suck” chant. Mustafa said he’d be the one to beat Drew.
(2) DREW McINTYRE vs. MUSTAFA ALI
Drew McIntyre and Mustafa Ali locked up. Drew tossed Ali to the corner and charged, but Mustafa used his quickness to avoid contact. He gave McIntyre a quick chop. Drew shrugged it off and delivered on of his own, sending Ali flying backward to the corner.
McIntyre grabbed Ali by the throat and tossed him toward the corner. He chopped Ali a couple times, then launched him clear across the ring. He gave Mustafa an neckbreaker, then kipped up. Drew set up for the Future Shock DDT, but Ali blocked it and tossed Drew to the ring post. Ali climbed to the top rope for a 450, but Drew rolled out of the way. McIntyre went for the Claymore, but Ali ducked.
Ali initiated a tilt-a-whirl, but McIntyre caught him and dragged him down into a Kimura Lock. Ali tapped almost immediately.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre in 2:03
Ali grabbed a microphone as Drew made his way to the back. He said people choose to root against him because his name is Mustafa Ali. He looked around the crowd with contempt as the crowd booed.
(LeClair’s Analysis: A fine showcase for Drew McIntyre, I suppose, but there needs to be something more with his character sooner rather than later. He’s been floundering on Raw for a while, and he needs to find a sense of direction and purpose on Smackdown quickly or I think we’ll start to see unrest among the crowd again. McIntyre is too talented, and too important to his company right now to be locked into this position for as long as he has been.
As for Ali, I’m not insinuating the crowd is racist and that’s why they dislike him is the way to get actual, meaningful heat in 2021. This could backfire terribly.)
-After a video showing Xavier Woods’ King of the Ring celebration, he and Kofi were shown walking backstage. They stumbled upon Hit Row. Woods said he was excited to see them last week. Hit Row responded in kind, saying they’re happy to rub shoulders with the king. They bowed to him, starting to chant “we’re not worthy.” Kofi asked them to drop some hot bars for their king. Hit Row began singing their theme song, with “King Woods” in place of “Hit Row.”
(LeClair’s Analysis: Yikes. One week in, and Hit Row is already doing backstage comedy segments with New Day and the already insufferable king gimmick. Not good.)
Back at ringside, production buried to roll out a carpet in the ring for Kofi Kingston’s knighting at the hand of King Woods. New Day’s music hit and they headed to the ring. Cole talked about the Royal Coronation last week and said he can only imagine what the New Day have in mind next. The show went to commercial.
-A “coming soon” vignette aired for Xia Li.
-King Xavier Woods held out his arms and spun around for the crowd to cheer. Kofi Kingston opened things with a “hear ye, hear ye.” He offered the creed of King Woods. Xavier led the crowd in a “hail King Woods” chant. He asked for a moment from his people. He introduced his “cape of defense” and “scepter of seduction.” He said Kofi placed his crown atop his head, officially making him king.
Woods said that a king is only as strong as the company he keeps. The crowd started a “you deserve it” chant. Woods thanked the crowd, “I do, yes I do, I did a lot of work to get here, a lot of behind the scenes stuff.” Woods said he wants to bestow the highest honor upon Kofi Kingston. He asked him to bend the knee.
Kofi knelt before Woods. He called himself “bringer of new days”, and declared Kofi “Sir Kofi Kingston, hand of the king.” The crowd began chanting “sir Kofi” in the cadence of “New Day Rocks.” Woods placed a pin on Kofi’s vest. Woods told the crowd to rejoice.
The Usos interrupted New Day’s celebration, with a comical number of “woahs.” They stepped in the ring and got in New Day’s faces. Jey said it’s the Bloodline’s show. They said Halloween is on Sunday and accused New Day of playing “dress up.” Woods said they must be jealous of their new outfits, since they’ve been wearing the same outfits since 2018.
Woods said he can’t have the Bloodline on his brand new carpet that he just had cleaned. The four men began to argue. Woods screamed “silence” and everyone listened. Woods said that the King has declared there will be a trial by combat. “That’s a match!” Kingston explained. Jey asked if the scepter was real gold. He asked to touch it. Kofi slapped his hand away. The Usos punched Kofi and left the ring. Cole said that Woods can’t actually make matches.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Man, the king gimmick sucks. This is better than the alternative – a relatively serious character like Finn Balor being forced to take on this ridiculous persona. Still, though, Woods and Kingston are already too over the top to be taken seriously, and they dragged The Usos down with them in this segment. King of the Ring used to be fun, and now it’s just a tournament where you’re forced to root against your favorites for fear they end up saddled with this burden of a gimmick until the next tournament takes place sometime down the road. I know Woods wanted this, and it looks like he’s having fun, but this is simply not for me and I suspect many others will have a rather short leash with it, too.)
-Back at the announcers desk, Cole and McAfee tossed to the “Raw Rebound.”
-Rick Boogs’ guitar lick rang out from the darkened arena as he introduced himself and the Intercontinental Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura. Pat McAfee climbed on top of the announcers desk to dance, as usual. “It’s such a good lick!” he yelled. Cole said the Trick or Street Fight would be up next.
-Out of the break, Cole confirmed that The Usos will face New Day later in the night.
-The camera swept across the ring, which was lined with pumpkins for the upcoming match. Nakamura and Boogs continued to play to the crowd. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss entered, with a massive pyro display. McAfee laughed at the fact that they have “Lesnar level” pyro. The announcers recapped Corbin’s win over Nakamura last week.
(3) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RICK BOOGS vs. HAPPY CORBIN & MADCAP MOSS – Trick or Street Fight
Madcap Moss tossed Rick Boogs to the outside as the match began. Shinsuke Nakamura dropped Happy Corbin with a flying knee. McAfee asked if every pumpkin is in play. Cole said they are. Rick Boogs tossed Madcap Moss into a pumpkin, then went to retrieve his guitar mid-match He played a lick, then got hit in the back with a kendo stick by Corbin.
Happy Corbin tossed Boogs into the ropes and applied an arm hold. Suddenly, Reggie, Drew Gulak, and the Viking Raiders appeared. They chased each other around the ring, then back up the ramp. Meanwhile, Madcap Moss tried to dunk Boogs in a pale of apples. Moss blocked it initially, but Nakamura hit him in the back with a kendo stick. Moss dunked Moss into the water and apples. Boogs and Nakamura each took a bite from an apple as the show mercifully went to break.
Corbin and Moss took turns cracking kendo sticks over the back of Boogs as the show returned from break around the 6:00 mark of the match. Moss tossed Boogs to the outside and both he and Corbin followed. Corbin stuffed candy into Boogs’ mouth. The crowd chanted for candy. Nakamura kicked Corbin in the head, then tried to kick Moss. Moss ducked, causing Shinsuke to kick the ring post.
Moss tossed Nakamura back in the ring. Corbin held up a pumpkin to cheers from the crowd. He tossed it over his head, eliciting boos. Nakamura rolled th the outside. Moss and Corbin set Nakamura up to go through a table. Rick Boogs appeared, hitting both Corbin and Moss with pumpkins. He grabbed a plastic skeleton from ringside and broke it over both Corbin and Moss.
Corbin and Moss rolled in the ring to escape Boogs. Nakamura returned and hit both men with kendo sticks. Pat McAfee launched into “What’s a Goon to a Goblin” lyrics. Cole had no idea what he was doing and said as much. Boogs tossed Corbin int the ring post. Nakamura clothesline Corbin over the barricade and into the timekeeper’s area.
Boogs climbed to the top rope, but two men dressed in full costumes and pumpkin masks hit him in the back with kendo sticks. Moss rolled up Boogs for a three count.
WINNERS: Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss in 10:20
(LeClair’s Analysis: Just dreadful from start to finish. Beneath everyone, announcers included. Cole and McAfee couldn’t even hide their disinterest and general contempt for this thing. The 24/7 shenanigans near the beginning of the match felt oddly placed and awkward. It’s great to see that new Smackdown tag team, The Viking Raiders, have already been reduced to 24/7 title chasers again. Corbin is infinitely less interesting as Happy Corbin as he was as broke Baron Corbin. Madcap Moss brings nothing to the character. Garza and Carrillo, and interesting pairing that could’ve been an interesting addition to the tag division, are also dragged down to this level. Just all around bad.)
After the match, the costumed ghouls revealed themselves to be Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo
-Backstage, Megan Morant welcomed Sonya Deville. She asked Sonya about Naomi’s match against Shayna Baszler, wondering if Deville is purposely stacking the deck against Naomi. Deville said she’s a WWE official, and, more importantly, Morant’s boss. Sami Zayn wandered on screen to plead his case to Deville about being left off the show. The camera cut away.
-Naomi headed to the ring. Cole and McAfee talked about her ongoing issues with Sonya Deville. Cole said Naomi would face Shayna Baszler after the break.
Out of the break, Naomi continued to dance in the ring. McAfee said he could feel the glow from the announcers desk. Shayna Baszler headed to the ring. There was no referee in the ring. Sonya Deville walked onto the stage. She said there’s an issue, because the referee scheduled to call the match was injured in the wake of Brock Lesnar’s destruction last week. She said she can’t think of someone more fair-minded than her.
Devile asked for a referee shirt. She traded her blazer top for the shirt and put it on. Naomi shook her head in disgust. McAfee said the legitimacy of this could be called into question. Cole said the referee shirt just happened to be Sonya’s size.
(4) NAOMI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
Naomi and Shayna Baszler engaged in some quick takedowns. Deville stayed close, asking Naomi if she wanted to quit. Naomi hit Baszler with a hurricanrana, then tossed her into the corner. Naomi leapt to the apron as Baszler wandered out of the corner. Naomi jumped onto the top rope, but slipped and face planted in the ring.
Naomi returned to her feet quickly and hit Baszler with an enziguri. She covered Baszler for a visual three count, but Deville just stood idly by. Baszler eventually rolled Naomi into a cover of her own and Deville counted an super fast three.
WINNER: Shayna Baszler in 1:13
After the match, Naomi got in Deville’s face. Shayna grabbed Naomi from behind and put her in the Kirifuda Clutch. Deville left, allowing Baszler to choke Naomi out.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Deville’s explanation was obviously suspect, and I’m glad that both Cole and McAfee gave it no credence. These kind of bone-headed excused on the part of the heels can work, so long as the announcers point out their clear underhanded intent. Cole and McAfee nailed it here, so I have no issue with the general layout of the segment. What was fairly egregious, however, was Naomi’s complete domination of the very short match. WWE made sure to give Naomi a very clear visual win after a botched move and basic enziguri, making Baszler look week and defining her down almost immediately upon arrival. Baszler is going to be needed if this division is to have any credible depth over the next year, and this is a decidedly bad start to that venture. Naomi didn’t need to look like a winner there – she only needed to suffer a defeat at the hands of a quick count from Deville to further their angle.)
-Backstage, the New Day stood in gorilla. Kayla Braxton approached. She asked about the target on their backs. Woods said people will come after the crown, but with Sir Kofi Kingston at his side, nothing can go wrong. Kingston showed off his pendant and said now it’s officially for the kingdom. Woods said it’s time for them to dole out their first royal ass-whooping.
The New Day headed to the ring for the main event. McAfee said two of the greatest teams of all time square off on FS1, next.
-Naomi was shown walking backstage after the commercial break. Megan Morant approached. Naomi said that if Sonya ever decides to put her suit aside and get back in the ring, she’ll be waiting. “As for Shayna,” Naomi pivoted, “if she wants to step to me again, all she’ll be seeing is my rear view.” She walked off in frustration.
-The camera cut to New Day in the ring. The Usos music hit and the Smackdown Tag Team champions headed to the ring. Cole talked up their rivalry and history of street fights, Hell in a Cell matches, and more. He said it’s a “massive main event.” New Day danced to the Usos music. Cole said it is, however, the first time the Usos have faced “the king and his hand”.”
(5) THE NEW DAY (“Sir” Kofi Kingston & “King” Xavier Woods) vs. THE USOS (Jimmy & Jey)
Jey Uso began the match with Xavier Woods. They traded quick counters before Xavier caught Jey with a clothesline. He tagged in Kofi Kingston, who hit a springboard clothesline off the ropes. Kofi covered for a two count. Jey Uso tagged in Jimmy. The duo dropped Kingston together.
Jimmy worked Kofi into the corner and delivered a big chop. He whipped Kofi to the opposing corner, but Kofi leapt onto the middle rope and dove at Jimmy, hitting a dropkick. Jimmy stumbled toward his own corner and tagged out. Kofi leapt to the turnbuckle and tried to trust fall onto the Usos, but they caught him and tossed him into the timekeeper’s area. Cole sent the show to break at the 2:15 mark.
The Usos continued to work over Kofi Kingston when the match returned from break. Jey gave Kofi a draping backbreaker. Jimmy leapt onto Kofi. Jey covered for a two count. Jey tossed Kingston to the corner and downed him. He called out to the crowd and charged, hip checking Kingston against the turnbuckle. “Ain’t no Sir Kofi!” Jey yelled. He pounded Kingston in the corner, then went for another hip check. Kingston exploded out of the corner with a leaping double stomp.
Both Kofi and Jey crawled to their respective corners. Both reached their partner. Woods completed a tilt-a-whirl into a Russian Leg Sweep on Jimmy. He followed up with a dropkick for a two count. Woods chopped Jimmy’s chest repeatedly. Jimmy caught Woods with an open hand slap to the chest. Woods lifted Jimmy into a suplex, then dropped him onto his knees, covering for two.
Jimmy battled to his feet and hit an enziguri, then tagged in his brother. Jey lifted Woods for a backdrop, then transitioned into a neckbreaker for a two count. He talked trash to Woods. Xavier fired off a punch, then a forearm. Woods and Jey tagged out. Kofi hit Jey with a top rope clothesline, then went for Trouble in Paradise on Jimmy. Jimmy ducked and hit a Samoan Drop. He tagged Jey back in.
The Usos hit Kofi with double super kicks. Jey covered, but Kofi kicked out. Jimmy tagged back in. The Usos climbed opposing turnbuckles, looking for the tandem splash. Xavier Woods pulled Jey to the floor. Jimmy rolled Kofi up for a two count. Kofi stumbled back into Woods, who tagged in. Jimmy gave Kofi a super kick and covered, not realizing he was no longer the legal man. Woods rolled up Jimmy for a three count.
WINNERS: The New Day in 11:30
The New Day celebrated in the ring as The Usos regrouped on the outside. Cole said they’d be back on Fox next week. McAfee said “baseball’s stupid, we’ll be back” as the show went off the air.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Fine match, but we’ve seen these two teams go at it dozens of times, as more or less relayed by Cole at the start of the bout. There wasn’t really anything new or exciting here. New Day beats the champions, so now, naturally, they’re the number one contenders. It’s the only way WWE knows how to do these things. Not a good night for The Usos, who, without Roman Reigns, got pulled into the comedy fodder of New Day earlier in the night, and then lost cleanly to them in the main event. The show ended with quite the whimper, aside from McAfee’s hilarious and certainly unscripted line about baseball being stupid.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought the show opened with a strong women’s segment, then quickly went downhill from there. WWE seemed content to throw in the towel on FS1 -they had nothing to promote and no real stars to showcase outside of Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. The show takes an immediate hit when Roman Reigns isn’t there, and tonight was certainly no exception. Without it’s top star, the thin roster immediately becomes apparent. There’s already a distinct staleness to the show, despite being freshened up only a week ago. It’s a byproduct of regularly recycled rosters and incredibly thin divisions. It’s going to be hard to correct, especially in the short term.
They seemed to be in a bit of a conundrum here, having moved on from Crown Jewel, but not quite ready to start promoting Survivor Series. It would seem a little ridiculous to have opposing rosters invading other shows, given that they were only just finalized and put into action one week ago. It’s part of the ridiculousness of doing the Draft shortly before your yearly shoehorned brand warfare.
Overall, a weak showing on a secondary network. Cole and McAfee’s comments at the end of the night seemed to indicate they were well aware they hadn’t put their best foot forward, and they were excited to turn the page and move on to next week. I can’t blame them.
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