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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 25, 2022
PROVIDENCE, RI AT MUTUAL PAVILION
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
-Pyro exploded on the stage. Michael Cole welcomed the audience to Survivor Series weekend on the “eve of war”.
-Damage Ctrl, Nikki Cross, and Rhea Ripley were in the ring. Bayley told Bianca Belair to come out and get this over with because they’re going to war tomorrow night. Belair made her entrance with Mia Yim, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss at her side. They stopped at the bottom of the ramp. Belair took the mic. She said there’s five of “them” and four of “us”. Belair said they weren’t coming alone. Becky Lynch’s music played to a loud pop. Cole said that War Games went big time. Lynch and her team entered the ring and the two teams brawled. Bayley and Lynch were left. Lynch hit her with a kick then an exploder suplex. The crowd chanted “Becky, Becky”. Lynch stood tall then Ripley entered the ring. Lynch told her to come on. Ripley teased an attack then backed out of the ring. The heel team assembled at the bottom of the ramp as Ripley grinned at Lynch. Wade Barrett said Belair’s team waited until the perfect moment to play the Lynch card.
-Cole and Barrett were shown ringside. Cole said that Damage Ctrl’s team has the advantage tomorrow, but tonight, we will find out who will have the advantage in the men’s match. They showed a graphic for the match. Cole and Barrett then ran down the card for the night. They also hyped an appearance by Bray Wyatt.
-Lynch posed at the top of the ramp.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Predictable, but in this case, that was a good thing. Anyone other than Lynch would have been a pretty big disappointment after how the match was hyped. She does give the match the big name presence it may have otherwise been missing and adds an important element. WWE needs their biggest stars in new matches when they introduce them. With Lynch and Roman Reigns in their respective matches, they’ve accomplished that. I’m interested to see how the Women’s match plays out, especially the dynamic with Ripley and Lynch after the tease tonight. Interesting that they chose to tease that while Lynch easily disposed of Bayley.)
-Butch’s music played. Cole said that it’s “fight night”. Butch made his entrance with Sheamus and Ridge Holland at his side. [c]
-Back from break, Cole threw to a replay of the previous segment. Cole put over the return of Lynch. Barrett said it was Bayley’s worst nightmare. Cole then said we will hear from Lynch later on tonight.
-Butch was in the ring warming up. They then showed the brackets for the Smackdown World Cup. Cole said the finals would be next week.
-Legado del Fantasma made their entrance. Cole then threw to a pretaped interview with Santos Escobar. Escobar said he’s going to put Butch on his back. He said that if you stand between him and the Intercontinental championship, your feet are in danger.
(1) BUTCH (w/ Sheamus & Ridge Holland) vs. Santos Escobar (w/ Zelina Vega, Cruz Del Toro, & Joaquin Wilde) – Smackdown World Cup Semifinal Match
The two locked up, then broke. Butch took Vega to the corner. Zelina Vega joined on commentary. Escobar took Butch down with a headlock. Vega said they know the Bloodline has the top spot, but one day they will come for them. Butch fought out and took the advantage. He stomped on the elbow of Escobar. Escobar recovered and sent Butch off the ropes then hit a big kick. He covered Butch for a near fall. Escobar held Butch down with an armbar. Butch got up and shot Escobar off the ropes. They criss-crossed until Butch took Escobar down with a knee to the gut. Escobar rolled to the outside and leaned on the announce table. Butch followed Escobar out hit a chop then threw him back in the ring. Butch went to the top rope, but Escobar shoved him off. Butch fell hard to the stairs on the outside. [c]
-Butch and Escobar traded shots. Butch sent Escobar to the corner then hit him with a big knee. Butch stayed on the attack with a release German suplex. Butch then hit a kick and Escobar tolled to the outside. Butch came off the apron with a moonsault and took out Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde. Escobar came around the corner and took Butch down. Escobar took Butch back into the ring and to the top rope. Escobar hit a big knee. Butch responded with a chop that sent Escobar to the apron. Butch pulled Escobar back up. Both men stood on the top rope. Butch pulled at the fingers of Escobar then Escobar fell off the top and to the floor. Butch hit another moonsault off the top to take out Del Toro and Wilde. Butch then delivered a tornado DDT to Escobar. Suddenly, the big screen showed a brawl between the Bloodline and Kevin Owens. Sheamus and Holland headed to the back. They got there quick as all the men were brawling on the screen now. Butch had Escobar in a submission but Vega distracted the ref. Wilde and Del Toro attacked Butch. Escobar recovered and hit the Phantom Driver for the win.
WINNER: Santos Escobar in 10:00 to advance to the finals of the Smackdown World Cup
-They showed the updated Smackdown World Cup brackets. Escobar taunted Butch from the stage. He said he will be the next Intercontinental champion.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Good match, but a little too much there at the end. They could have done this without all the overbooking. Escobar has potential, and yes, he’s a heel, but I don’t think he should cheat like this in every match. I like that they protected Butch. That may have been necessary given his involvement in War Games tomorrow night. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s probably the right move. However, WWE does this too often and it’s become too much of a crutch. I really hope Escobar isn’t squashed quickly by Strowman next week.)
-Cole and Barrett were ringside. Cole talked about the brawl backstage and put over War Games for tomorrow night. He then threw to a video recap of the segment with Bray Wyatt and L.A. Knight from the last two weeks on Smackdown. The video ended with Knight laid out. Cole then said that Wyatt will speak after the break. [c]
-They showed a graphic for the War Games advantage match. Barrett hyped the match as the main event for the evening.
-Wyatt’s music played and he made his entrance.
(McDonald’s Analysis: If they ever go to a Reigns and Wyatt match, they’re going to have to block off an hour as it’ll take them forty-five minutes to get in the ring.)
-Wyatt took the mic and introduced himself. The crowd cheered loudly. Wyatt said he thinks he has a good grip on what people think he is. He said he knows people will stare at him and whisper about him behind his back. He said it never bothered him and he’s pretended to not notice. He said his entire life he’s been looked at as a rabid animal, but he’s not. He knows most people just want to see the monster, the fiend. The crowd cheered. Wyatt said that’s it, right? He asked the crowd if that’s what they wanted to see. Wyatt said they can come see the human tornado destroy everything around him. Wyatt said that isn’t who he wants to be anymore. He said it’s hard to explain what he’s been through. Wyatt said he’s shown that violence is the only language he can speak. He said he has to be truthful. Wyatt said he didn’t attack Knight.
-The screen interrupted him. It said everyone lies and the world is built on lies. Shots of Wyatt’s history were shown. The voice said that a snake in a cage is still just a snake. Uncle Howdy was shown. He said to wake up.
-Knight was in the back with Megan Morant. Knight asked about her Thanksgiving. He said he didn’t get to enjoy his. Knight said he got pulled out from under a pile of Bray. Morant asked what he said. He said a pile of trash. Knight said Wyatt won’t face any consequences. Knight said if it wasn’t for the crutch and the sling he would beat down Wyatt. He said it’s not an insult, it’s a fact of life. Knight hopped away. A Wyatt logo was shown.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Better than last week. I like where Wyatt is going with his want and need to change. The interruption and message this week actually made sense. This seems to be coming together a little better. Obviously, the story here is Wyatt denying the attack. The video then called him a liar. Is Wyatt lying? Or does he not know he attacked Knight? Was it his other personality? Or again, is he a just a liar and the voice is right? Knight had a solid promo after the fact. I hope this translates to a match. I’ll be honest, I want to see how it turns out.)
-Hit Row made their entrance. Cole said they’ve been targeted by the Viking Raiders. Cole then hyped a match between Hit Row and the Viking Raiders for after the break. [c]
-Hit Row danced in the ring. Cole said they were looking for revenge.
-The Viking Raiders made their entrance with Sarah Logan. Logan was introduced as Valhalla. Cole said Valhalla said the God’s gave her that name. Valhalla and the Raiders posed in the ring. Cole put over the new Viking Raiders.
(2) HIT ROW (Ashante the Adonis & Top Dolla w/ B-Fabb) vs. VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar w/ Valhalla)
Ivar started with Adonis. Adonis attacked and punched at Ivar. Ivar sent Adonis off the ropes and Adonis hit a big dropkick. Ivar took over the tossed Adonis into the corner. Erik tagged in and the Raiders pounded on Adonis. Erik threw Adonis off the ropes and took him down with a shoulder. Cole said the Raiders have a more dangerous aura about them. Erik took Adonis down with a big right hand. He then tagged in Ivar. Erik hit a big knee on Adonis. Erik tagged back in. Adonis escaped and tagged in Top Dolla. Top Dolla took Erik down with a kick to the head. He tagged Adonis back in. Ivar ran in the ring and threw Top Dolla over the top to the floor. Adonis came off the top but Ivar moved. Adonis landed on his feet but sold his knee. Erik tagged back in and the Raiders hit Ragnarok for the win.
WINNER: Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar w/ Valhalla) in 3:00
-The Raiders and Valhalla posed in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Haven’t we done the “new” Viking Raiders thing once before? At least this time they’re being presented with a new wrinkle so it makes a little more sense. Hit Row has really been defined down at this point. I don’t know if this is what they were brought back for, but I can’t say it’s that bad. WWE needs tiers to their divisions and someone has to be the bottom tier. If it’s Hit Row, so be it. I wonder where the Raiders go from here. Maybe Butch and Holland? I really hope it’s not another feud with the New Day.)
-Cole and Barrett were at ringside. Cole wished the audience a Happy Thanksgiving. Cole mentioned being thankful for your parents. He then threw to a video with Dominik and Ripley showing up to Rey Mysterio’s house for Thanksgiving. Mysterio tried to shoo them away but Dominik and Ripley broke in. Ripley broke a picture frame over Mysterios head. Dominik then hit Mysterio’s knee. Mysterio writhed in pain on the floor. Dominik and Ripley left arm and arm.
-Ricochet made his entrance. They showed a tale of the tape with Ricochet and Braun Strowman. Barrett broke down the differences between the two men. Cole said the match is after the break. [c]
-Back from break, Knight was under some equipment. Officials shouted for help. Knight yelled in pain from under the equipment. Cole mentioned that it was the second week in a row.
-Ricochet was in the ring. Braun Strowman made his entrance. Strowman has a new exploding CGI for his entrance. They showed the Smackdown World Cup brackets. Cole said the winner of this match will face Santos Escobar next week on Smackdown in the finals.
(3) RICOCHET vs. BRAUN STROWMAN – Smackdown World Cup Semifinal Match
Ricochet went for a lockup and Strowman shoved him off. Ricochet stood up to Strowman and Strowman patted Ricochet on the head. Ricochet slapped Strowman. Strowman took Ricochet to the corner and then charged, but Ricochet moved. Ricochet leapt at Strowman but Strowman caught him. Ricochet fought out and hit a series of dropkicks. Ricochet took Strowman over the top rope but Strowman landed on his feet on the floor. Ricochet came off the apron with a big dropkick that sent Strowman into the barricade. Ricochet celebrated. Strowman came out of nowhere and shoved Ricochet over the announce table with authority. Strowman sent Ricochet back in the ring and covered him for a near fall. Strowman stayed on the attack and whipped Ricochet into the corner. Strowman whipped Ricochet into the corner again then tossed him with a biel toss. Strowman teased an attack on Ricochet, but Gunther walked down the ramp. Strowman got distracted and stopped. Imperium appeared at ringside and distracted Strowman further. Ricochet used a crucifix and pinned Strowman for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet in 5:00 to advance to the finals of the Smackdown World Cup
-Imperium entered the ring and attacked Strowman. Ricochet looked on from the top of the ramp. Ricochet paused then sprinted to the ring to help Strowman. Imperium overwhelmed Ricochet and took him down. Gunther chopped Ricochet. Strowman fought to his feet and Imperium exited the ring. Strowman tried to beckon Imperium back to the ring. Ricochet sat in the corner and Strowman looked down at him. Strowman approached Ricochet. Strowman extended his hand and helped Ricochet up. Strowman raised Ricochet’s hand.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, I don’t care for either guy, but that was a pleasant surprise. I mentioned a few weeks ago that Ricochet was a possible winner as he and Gunther had an interaction a few weeks ago. They had another one tonight. I’m hoping Escobar gets the win, but I don’t think they’ll go with a heel vs. heel match, so I assume we’ll get a third Gunther and Ricochet match. It’ll be solid and Gunther should dispose of him pretty easily. I guess they’re going to save Gunther and Strowman for down the road. It’s a good card to have in the deck in case they need to play it. No need to rush. Good stuff.)
-Cole threw to a video recap of the closing segment of Smackdown last week. The video ended with Kevin Owens’ Stunner on Roman Reigns.
-Sami Zayn was in the back. Owens stopped him before he entered the Bloodline locker room. Zayn told Owens to go. Owens said he has a question for Zayn. He said what happens when he says something that pisses one of them off. Owens asked Zayn how many times he’s had to bail Zayn out. Owens asked what’s going to happen to Zayn. Jey Uso was listening behind the door. Owens said if it was him, he wouldn’t wait for the Bloodline to turn on him. Owens said he would strike first. Zayn opened the door and Jey appeared. Jey asked where Zayn has been. Zayn said he texted Jimmy and he just got to the arena. Jey asked if Zayn had spoken to anyone since he got to the arena. Zayn said no. Jey reiterated, “no one?”. Zayn said he’s talking to Jey now. Jey said it was cool. Zayn entered the locker room. He called out to “my dogs”. Jey stayed outside the locker room seething. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Now, that is interesting. Owens said what we’ve all been thinking. Zayn seemed to actually consider it. I loved Jey listening in the whole time around the door. On top of that, Zayn lied when Jey asked him a question Jey already knew the answer to. Why would Zayn lie? Is he protecting Owens? Himself? Or is he thinking about what Owens said? I really hope tomorrow isn’t the end of the Zayn story as there’s so much more here and so many ways they can go. Zayn was gold yet again here and I loved the way he played off Jey and Owens. Really good stuff here.)
-Cole threw to another recap of the opening segment with the return of Becky Lynch.
-Lynch was walking in the back. Kayla Braxton stopped her. Lynch said that Damage Ctrl put her out for four months. Lynch said that she spent four months thinking of how to hurt them. Lynch said that everyone’s tough and everyone wants to go to war until the man comes around. Lynch walked off.
-Cole threw to a video package on War Games. After the video, they showed a graphic with the rules. Cole explained the rules.
(McDonald’s Analysis: If you didn’t want to see War Games before, I would bet you do now. Really good video package.)
-Megan Morant was in the back with Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi. Suddenly, Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler appeared and attacked. They double teamed Rodriguez and slammed her arm in an equipment crate. Officials rushed in to check on Rodriguez as she cried in pain. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: They’re really being not so subtle about the fact that Shotzi isn’t a threat at all and Rodriguez is. I assume she’ll be the next challenger for Rousey at some point. I doubt she’ll win the Rumble, but if Levesque is all in on her, who knows. I wouldn’t bet on it, though. As a reminder, Shotzi is the challenger tomorrow. I know it’s easy to forget that based on the build the last couple of weeks.)
-Cole said Rodriguez is going to the hospital with a possible broken arm. Baszler and Rousey made their entrance. They showed a graphic for Rousey against Shotzi tomorrow. Cole hyped the match and said Shotzi no longer has backup. The crowd booed Rousey and Baszler. Rousey said there won’t be a match tonight. Baszler said that sometimes accidents happen. Rousey said accidentally on purpose. Baszler told Shotzi to stay at the kiddie table because she’s not ready.
-Shotzi’s music played and she marched down the ramp to the ring. Shotzi entered the ring and the bell rang.
(4) SHAYNA BASZLER & RONDA ROUSEY vs. SHOTZI
Cole said it’ll be a handicap match. Shotzi and Rousey started. Rousey took the upper hand and tagged in Baszler. Shotzi took down Rousey then Baszler. Shotzi hit Rousey against the ropes. Baszler took Shotzi down with a big kick then covered her for a near fall. Rousey tagged in and gave Shotzi an armbar in the ropes. Baszler tagged back in and attacked Shotzi’s arm as well. Baszler pulled at the arm of Shotzi then mounted her and rained down punches. Rodriguez’s music played and she made her way down the ramp.
(4) SHAYNA BASZLER & RONDA ROUSEY vs. SHOTZI & RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ
Shotzi squirted out and tagged in Rodriguez. Rodriguez threw Baszler down. Rodriguez knocked Rousey off the apron. Baszler went for Rodriguez’s arm but Rodriguez fought her off. Rousey blind tagged in. Rodriguez went for a chokeslam but Baszler recovered. Baszler took Rodriguez down and stomped at her arm. Rousey entered and teased an armbar. Shotzi tried to get involved but Baszler held her back. Baszler forced Shotzi to watch as Rousey put Rodriguez in an armbar. Rodriguez tapped.
WINNER: Shayna Baszler & Ronda Rousey in 5:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was a waste of time. They would have been better off with the original beat down in the back. Adam Pearce or someone should have cancelled the match. Shotzi still could have come out, but the match shouldn’t have happened. This was silly and served next to no purpose. If anything, they damaged the original angle by doing this. Bad call.)
-The Usos were talking in the back, but there was no audio. Cole speculated that Jey is telling Jimmy what he overheard earlier. [c]
-They showed a graphic for Escobar and Ricochet next week. Cole hyped the match.
-Kayla was outside the medical room. Shotzi came out. She said that Rodriguez’s arm was broken before she got into the ring and now her elbow is dislocated. Shotzi said that she always knew that Baszler and Rousey were bullies. Shotzi said that it’s not the first time that she’s been bullied, but it’s the first time someone has had her back. Shotzi said that Rodriguez stood up for her and she won’t forget that. She then said that Baszler will have a front row seat when Shotzi shocks the world and defeats Rousey for the Smackdown Women’s title tomorrow.
-Kevin Owens made his entrance. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus then made their entrance with Butch and Holland in tow.
-The Usos made their entrance with Solo Sikoa and Sami Zayn in tow. The crowd popped huge. Cole explained the rules of War Games as they made their entrance.
(5) DREW McINTYRE & SHEAMUS (w/ Kevin Owens, Butch, & Ridge Holland) vs. THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) (w/ Sami Zayn & Solo Sikoa) – War Games Advantage Match
Jimmy started with Sheamus. Sheamus took Jimmy down. Jimmy took Sheamus to the ropes and hit some shoulder blocks. Sheamus recovered and took Jimmy down then tagged in McIntyre. McIntyre took Jimmy down and covered him for a quick one count. McIntyre chopped Jimmy in the corner then tagged in Sheamus. They hit a double team hip toss. Jey entered and McIntyre and Sheamus sent him to the outside. Both teams stared each other down on the outside. [c]
Sheamus and Jimmy traded punches. Jey tagged in. Jey pulled down the top rope and Sheamus fell to the floor. Jey came off the apron and took Sheamus down. Zayn got in the face of Sheamus. Jey told Zayn to back off. Owens taunted Zayn and Sikoa at ringside. Jimmy kicked at Sheamus in the ring after the tag. Sheamus fought up but Jimmy hit a headbutt. Jimmy came off the ropes but Sheamus caught him with a tilt-a-whirl slam. McIntyre tagged in and took Jimmy down. Jey entered and McIntyre took him out with a neckbreaker. Jimmy avoided a neckbreaker and hit a kick. McIntyre recovered and hit a spinebuster then covered Jimmy for a near fall. McIntyre caught Jimmy with a neckbreaker then kipped up. McIntyre stared at Sikoa. Zayn cheered on Jimmy. McIntyre counted down but Jey grabbed McIntyre’s foot. Jimmy recovered and hit a superkick that sent McIntyre to the outside. The Usos took turns with dives onto McIntyre. The Usos then tossed McIntyre into the steps. The Usos posed. [c]
Back from break, McIntyre punched at Jimmy. He sent Jimmy to the corner and charged but Jimmy took McIntyre down with a big boot. Jimmy went to the opposite corner. He charged and hit a running butt bump to the face of McIntyre. Jimmy set up for another. He charged but McIntyre met him with a headbutt. Jey tagged in, as did Sheamus. Sheamus took down both Usos then hit an Irish Curse on Jey. Sheamus taunted and the crowd popped. Sheamus hit the Ten Beats on Jey. The crowd counted along. Jey collapsed after seventeen shots. Jimmy tried to save Jey but McIntyre ran over and grabbed him. They set up Ten Beats but the Usos escaped. McIntyre hit a Claymore on Jimmy. Jey entered and hit McIntyre with a superkick. Jey went to the outside and rolled Sheamus back into the ring. Sheamus caught Jey coming in with a knee and covered him for a near fall. Sheamus taunted Jey. Zayn jumped on the apron and Sheamus knocked him off. Jey hit a superkick and covered Sheamus for a near fall. Zayn sold his head on the outside. Jey rolled to the apron and slowly climbed to the top. Sheamus met him with a pair of chops. Sheamus climbed up. Sikoa distracted the ref. Zayn pulled Sheamus off the top. Jey came off with a splash and got a close near fall. Sikoa and Zayn brawled with Butch and Holland at ringside. McIntyre leapt over the top rope and took out all the men at ringside. Owens and Zayn were left standing. Zayn grabbed one of the titles. He ran towards the ring. Owens stopped him and took the title. He said he’s not letting Zayn do this. Owens told Zayn to grow some balls. Zayn shoved Owens and took the title back. He entered the ring. The ref ejected Zayn. Owens entered the ring and hit Jey with a Stunner. Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick and covered Jey for the win.
WINNER: Sheamus & Drew McIntyre in 18:00 to earn the War Games advantage
-Cole said the Bloodline’s domination is in trouble as the Brutes have the advantage.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Really good match. These four guys worked really well together and put on a good performance. Another cheap finish. The only good part about the finish was the Owens element where he clearly outsmarted Zayn. He knew it would work and it did. That’s the one drawback of the Zayn character. Well, it may be more of a relatable feature than a flaw. Well, maybe it’s a relatable flaw? I don’t know. Anyway, I didn’t expect the faces to have the advantage. I thought for sure Reigns would be the last one in the cage. Now, I’m not so sure how that will play out. If anything, it added some intrigue to the match for sure. I’m interested to see where this goes tomorrow. I actually think the Bloodline is more likely to win now for some reason.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Even though the show started late, we still got the full two hours. I didn’t think that would happen with the hard out for the local news at ten. I’m not complaining, though. This was a really solid episode. The Women’s segment left a lot to be desired but the rest of the show was solid despite the poor finishes that really ran amuck on this show. I wish we could have three to four weeks of all clean finishes just to cleanse the pallet a little bit. It gets to the point where it’s too much. With that said, I’m looking forward to War Games tomorrow. Will Reigns find a way to be the last one in the cage even though they lost the advantage? How is Reigns going to react? Did he watch the show and see Zayn’s interaction with Owens? I hope we find out some of the answers tomorrow.