SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 17, 2023
EVANSVILLE, IN AT FORD CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
-The show opened with a video recap of last week’s segment involving Damage Ctrl and Bianca Belair. They showed clips of Kairi Sane’s debut at Crown Jewel, then the set up for the six woman tag that would main event the show. The video then showed clips of the match before focusing on Asuka’s turn on Charlotte Flair and Belair before she joined Damage Ctrl. The video ended with Damage Ctrl beating down Charlotte, Shotzi, and Belair before standing over them.
-The camera panned the crowd. Kevin Patrick introduced the show and mentioned that Survivor Series is next weekend.
-Damage Ctrl made their entrance.
-The camera showed the announcers at ringside. Road Dogg was the third member of commentary this week. Michael Cole and Patrick thanked Road Dogg.
-Damage Ctrl stood mid-ring and the crowd booed. Bayley welcomed the crowd to Smackdown. She said they don’t want to share this moment with the dumb people in this town. Bayley said that her plan to bring Asuka into Damage Ctrl was one of the top moments in WWE history. She said her idea was brilliant. Bayley said the new and improved Damage Ctrl is the strongest faction in WWE right now. She said they’re playing chess while everyone else is playing Candy Land. Bayley said that Charlotte, Belair, and Shotzi weren’t ready for Asuka. Asuka, Sane, and Iyo Sky spoke Japanese with each other. Bayley asked what they were talking about. Dakota Kai piped in and said someone in the ring isn’t a part of Damage Ctrl. Bayley looked confused. Kai said that Bayley has to put Asuka in Damage Ctrl. Bayley presented Asuka with a shirt and asked if she would join. Asuka took the shirt and Bayley celebrated. Kai said that Asuka suggested that the four of them challenge Belair, Charlotte, Shotzi, and a fourth partner to War Games. Bayley celebrated again and said it was a great idea.
-Shotzi’s music played and an empty tank appeared on the stage. Shotzi attacked Damage Ctrl from behind. She came off the top rope and took them all down. Charlotte and Belair ran down to the ring and joined in. Damage Ctrl recovered and tossed all three women to the outside of the ring. Damage Ctrl stood tall as Belair, Charlotte, and Shotzi slunk up the ramp.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Paint by numbers segment to get us to where we need to go. The divide between the Japanese contingent of Damage Ctrl and Bayley is apparent and will probably lead to something. I only say probably because we’ve all been waiting for Damage Ctrl to break up for about six months now.)
-They showed a video recap of Jimmy Uso’s involvement in the match at Crown Jewel between L.A. Knight and Roman Reigns. Patrick then promoted the main event match between Knight and Jimmy. Afterwards, Cole hyped an appearance by Solo Sikoa. Patrick then announced a Triple Threat Tag Team match for a shot at the Undisputed Tag Team titles. He said the match is up next.
-The Street Profits made their entrance. Patrick hyped the Triple Threat match for after the break. [c]
-Belair, Charlotte, and Shotzi were in the back. Belair said they needed to be strategic. Shotzi said she can’t help herself and she wants to kick their butts. Belair said she thinks Charlotte has someone who can help them. Charlotte said she would think about it. Nick Aldis appeared and said he needs to know who their partner is, tonight. Belair said she was going to go recruit. Charlotte and Shotzi looked concerned.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Does Charlotte have a really obvious friend I’m not thinking of? Anyway, part of me hopes it’s Jade Cargill and another part of me wants the moment to be more about her than seven other women.)
-The Brawling Brutes were in the ring.
-Pretty Deadly made their entrance.
(1) STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. BRAWLING BRUTES (Butch & Ridge Holland) vs. PRETTY DEADLY (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) – Triple Threat Tag Team Match for an Undisputed Tag Team Title Match
All three teams were in the ring as the bell rang. Butch, Prince, and Ford started the match. Ford took Prince and Butch down and tagged in Dawkins. Dawkins went after Butch and tagged Ford back in for the double team. They showed Bobby Lashley watching on a monitor in the back. Ford took control and tagged Dawkins back in. Dawkins went on the attack and isolated Butch before he tagged Ford back in. Butch tried to fight back but Ford took him down with a big clothesline. Prince went after Ford but Ford went for a back suplex. Wilson helped Prince escape. Wilson tagged in and he and Prince took down Ford and Butch. Butch leapt over Ford and Wilson and tagged in Holland. Holland slammed Ford and Wilson. Holland took Wilson to the corner and splashed him before he hit him with a spin around followed by a DDT. Holland sent Wilson to the outside. Wilson climbed on the apron and Butch came over. The Brutes set up Ten Beats but the Profits broke it up. The Profits celebrated but the Brutes grabbed them from behind and hit the Ten Beats. Pretty Deadly took out the Brutes on the outside. Pretty Deadly stood tall as the show cut to break. [c]
Back from break, Ford and Wilson went for a double suplex on Holland. Holland blocked and tried to suplex them. Wilson and Ford blocked but Holland took them up and over. All three men made tags. Butch took out everyone before he moonsaulted off the apron onto Wilson. Butch hit Prince with a tornado DDT off the steps. Butch landed a big kick to Dawkins. All four men were gathered on the outside. Butch climbed to the top rope and took them all out with a moonsault. Butch rolled Dawkins back into the ring and slammed him. Butch made the cover for a two count. Butch went to an armbar but Dawkins powered his way up and slammed Butch. Prince rolled into the ring and all three men made tags again. Wilson took down Ford and Holland. Ford rolled to the outside. Wilson climbed to the top rope but Holland cut him off. Holland followed Wilson up and hit a superplex. Prince made a blind tag. Ford landed a big splash on Holland. Prince came off with a leg drop and made the cover. Dawkins and Butch broke the count. B-Fab joined Lashley in the back. In the ring, Butch chopped away at both teams. Butch charged Pretty Deadly and they sent him to the outside. Holland hit the ring and took down both teams with clotheslines. Butch came into the ring and went for a Brogue Kick on Prince. Prince ducked and Butch hit Holland. The Profits knocked Butch and Prince out of the ring. They hit the Revelation on Holland and made the cover for the win.
WINNER: Street Profits in 11:00
-The Profits celebrated on the stage. Bobby Lashley made his way out to join them. Lashley hugged both men then raised their hands. In the ring, Butch tried to console Holland but Holland pushed him away and exited the ring. Butch stood in the ring alone.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Really solid match. I didn’t know which of the heel teams they would go with, but I guess the Profits make sense if they’re going to face Judgment Day. It was going to be weird either way with a heel against heel match up, but the Profits are ambiguous enough that it should be alright. Pretty Deadly wasn’t highlighted as much as I thought they would be, but their time is coming. The act is too good for them not to get an opportunity down the road.)
-They showed a graphic for Jimmy against Knight. Patrick hyped the match for later tonight.
-They showed Belair talking to Michin in the back. Cole mentioned that Belair is looking for a partner for War Games. [c]
-Damage Ctrl beat on Michin in the back. Officials appeared and broke it up.
-Patrick threw to a video package on last week’s segment with the L.W.O. The video focused on the argument between Carlito and Santos Escobar before it transitioned to Carlito’s match with Bobby Lashley. They showed highlights of the match. The video then showed the beat down on Carlito after the match as Escobar looked on before Rey Mysterio came to Carlito’s aid. The video then showed Escobar’s attack on Mysterio. It ended with Escobar blaming Mysterio.
-They showed a photo of Mysterio in a bed with a wrap on his leg. Patrick said that Mysterio will be out for several months after having knee surgery.
-Dragon Lee made his entrance. Patrick threw to a video of Lee talking with Nick Aldis earlier today. Lee asked Aldis for an opportunity to avenge Mysterio. Aldis said he brought in someone from NXT and Lee can show everyone what he’s all about.
-Axiom made his entrance. Patrick threw to a video package on Axiom. After the video, Cole mentioned that Axiom was introduced to WWE with a VHS tape and a Mysterio action figure. He said Axiom thought it was a movie before he realized it was real and Mysterio became his hero.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wait a minute, how old is this guy? Was it the one WCW Mysterio action figure, without the mask? Or did he get a VHS tape in like 2005? This story doesn’t add up.)
(2) DRAGON LEE vs. AXIOM
They took each other down. Axiom got a backslide but Lee kicked out. Lee landed a kick then rolled up Axiom for a two count. Lee grabbed a headlock and Axiom shot him off the ropes. Lee landed a big dropkick that sent Axiom to the outside. Lee ran the ropes and came over the top rope with a dive. Lee sent Axiom back into the ring and into the corner. Lee leapt over the top rope into a dropkick. Lee backed to the opposite corner and charged with a low dropkick in the corner. Lee made the cover for a two count. [c]
Axiom took Lee down with an armdrag. Axiom knocked Lee to the outside. Axiom leapt to the top rope and came off with a big moonsault that took Lee down on the outside. Axiom sent Lee back into the ring and came off the top rope. Lee rolled out of the way and Axiom landed on his feet. Axiom charged and Lee landed a big kick. Lee went to the top rope but Axiom cut him off. Axiom followed Lee up. They traded blows before Lee propped Axiom up on the ropes and came off the top with a double stomp. Lee made the cover for a two count. Lee landed a big chop that sent Axiom to his knees. Lee landed another chop but Axiom answered with strikes of his own. Axiom landed a big dropkick. Axiom hit a release suplex followed by a big kick. Lee recovered and delivered a suplex. Lee went for a powerbomb but Axiom escaped into a piledriver. Axiom made the cover for a two count. Lee rolled to the apron. Axiom came over but Lee landed a kick. Lee climbed to the top rope. Axiom got to his feet and landed a kick. Axiom climbed to the top rope and hit Lee with a Spanish Fly. Axiom made the cover but Lee rolled a shoulder up at two. Axiom lifted Lee to his feet and landed a kick. Lee got a roll-up then lifted Axiom into a slam for a near fall. Lee hit Operation Dragon for the win.
WINNER: Dragon Lee in 10:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Really good stuff. I like the weekly Lee spot. It’s a welcome addition to the show and something completely different from everything else we see. Axiom looked great here despite the loss and he came off as someone who mattered as opposed to a guy who was brought up to lose to Lee. That seems like a small thing, but it will matter down the line. This is where Triple H’s influence shows through and it’s a really good sign for the future of the product. Diversity in wrestling is important and these guys bring a style that’s different and aids in that. I hope they can integrate Lee into the main product a little more, but for now, the showcase matches are a good idea to help get him over.)
-They showed a graphic of Santos Escobar. Patrick said he wants to address the fans and he will do so after the break. [c]
-They showed a graphic for Wrestlemania weekend tickets on sale. Cole promoted the tickets.
-They showed a graphic for Knight against Jimmy. Patrick hyped the match for later in the show.
-Santos Escobar made his entrance. Cole said he can’t wait to hear Escobar’s explanation.
-Escobar was in the ring with a mic. He said he needed to get something off his chest. The crowd booed and chanted “you suck”. Escobar said there’s an old expression that says to never meet your heroes. He said he comes from a rich tradition and everyone in his family was labeled a hero. He said his hero was Mysterio. Escobar said he patterned himself after Mysterio. He said it was his wish that the next generation saw him the same way he saw Mysterio. The crowd booed. He said Mysterio became a father figure to him and made him feel at home.
-Escobar said that after last week, he realized that Dominik was right. He said he deserved to be United States Champion, but Mysterio did. Escobar said he wanted to rebuild the L.W.O. but Mysterio took over and brought in new members like Carlito. Escobar spoke Spanish directed at Carlito. He said they were supposed to be like family, but Mysterio sided with an outsider over him. He said that he knows Mysterio is watching. Escobar said he hopes the pain Mysterio is feeling reminds him of the pain he felt when Mysterio betrayed him. Escobar turned to the fans. He said everyone thought he was going to apologize. Escobar said he wished he did more damage. He said that he hopes that Mysterio’s surgery didn’t go well and he gets an infection. Escobar said he hopes they have to amputate Mysterio’s leg and he can’t come back.
-Zelina Vega came down to the ring. She entered and confronted Escobar. Escobar yelled at her. Vega slapped Escobar. Escobar smirked as Vega exited the ring. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro consoled Vega on the ramp. Escobar said he made them and they only exist because he allows them to. Del Toro and Wilde went to the ring. Escobar asked them to join him. They said they can’t turn their back on the L.W.O. after how Escobar acted. Escobar told them to leave and called them dead weight. Del Toro and Wilde turned to leave and Escobar attacked them from behind.
-Carlito made his entrance and ran down to the ring. Escobar retreated as Carlito hit the ring. Cole yelled at Escobar as he left through the crowd. Carlito checked on Del Toro and Wilde.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was excellent. I had high hopes for Escobar when he came to Smackdown, but he was quickly stuck in neutral. This is a new start for him and exactly what I hoped to see when he came to the main roster. Escobar weathered the storm of the crowd and the “what” chants and got them to stop entertaining themselves and listen. Maybe the amputation line was a step too far, but I liked what Escobar did here. He came off as a self-centered prick. That’s a good thing. On another note, everything Escobar said about Del Toro and Wilde was true. Maybe they shouldn’t have gone that route, because it’s hard to disagree with the guy. He’s better off without the lackeys and I’m really excited to see what he does once this whole Carlito thing is over with.)
-Patrick threw to a video on Kevin Owens on commentary last week. The video focused on Owens’ interactions with Grayson Waller and Austin Theory. After the video, Road Dogg fawned over the Indianapolis Colts replica championship.
-Grayson Waller made his entrance. Patrick said that Waller will wrestle Cameron Grimes after the break. [c]
-They showed photos of France as Patrick announced that Backlash will be held in France.
-Cameron Grimes made his entrance. Cole welcomed Austin Theory on commentary.
(3) GRAYSON WALLER vs. CAMERON GRIMES
They locked up. Waller went to the arm. Grimes flipped and took Waller down. Grimes went for a roll-up but Waller held the ropes. Grimes landed a dropkick. Waller landed a kick then rolled into the ring into a faceplant on Grimes. Waller mounted Grimes and punched away. Waller drove elbows into the shoulder of Grimes. Waller grabbed a headlock. Grimes fought to his feet and elbowed Waller in the gut. Grimes rolled up Waller for a two count. Grimes landed a kick then an inverted atomic drop followed by another kick. Grimes slammed Waller and made the cover for a two count. Grimes charged Waller and Waller moved and dropped to the outside. Theory checked on Waller. Grimes went to the apron and kicked Theory. Waller took Grimes down then rolled him into the ring. Waller landed the Dingo Driver and made the cover for the win.
WINNER: Grayson Waller in 3:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Nothing match. I was hoping we traded Grimes for Dragon Lee. Now I’m wondering if we can trade him for Axiom. Anyway, Grimes is basically the new Madcap Moss at this point. Waste of space. Waller looked good here and I’m glad they found a finish that he doesn’t have to set up on the outside of the ring. I really wish they would do something more with Waller. There is so much mid-card heel potential on this show. It’s a shame they can’t roll with all of them at once.)
-Belair talked with Zelina Vega in the back. Patrick mentioned that Belair is still looking for a partner.
-They showed a graphic for Solo Sikoa. Cole said his time is now and he’ll be on next. [c]
-Patrick announced Carlito against Escobar for Survivor Series as a graphic was shown.
-Belair, Charlotte, and Shotzi were in the back. Belair said they were out of options so Charlotte needed to make the call. Charlotte said ok and walked off.
(4) JIMMY USO vs. L.A. KNIGHT
Cole said that Heyman got a phone call moments ago. Knight took Jimmy down. Cole said that Heyman and Sikoa are leaving after the call that Heyman got. Knight stomped on Jimmy in the corner. Jimmy rolled to the outside and Knight followed. Knight hit Jimmy then tossed him back into the ring. Knight hung up Jimmy on the top rope then took him down with a clothesline. Jimmy made the cover for a two count. Jimmy recovered and hit a Samoan Drop on Knight. Jimmy choked Knight with the bottom rope. Jimmy went for a punch but Knight blocked and landed punches of his own. Jimmy recovered and landed a big chop. Jimmy charged Knight and Knight sent Jimmy up and over to the floor. Knight followed Jimmy out and slammed him into the announce desk repeatedly. Knight tossed Jimmy over the announce table and celebrated. [c]
Knight hit a jawbreaker then caught a kick from Jimmy. Jimmy kicked him with the other leg and made the cover for a two count. They showed a clip of Jimmy taking control during the commercial break. Jimmy kicked at Knight in the corner. Jimmy backed off and charged. Knight moved and Jimmy hit the turnbuckles. Knight came off the ropes and Jimmy went for a Samoan Drop but Knight landed on his feet. Knight hit Jimmy with a DDT. Both men got to their feet and Knight landed right hands before he took Jimmy down. Knight hit Jimmy with a flapjack and followed up with a front slam. Knight made the cover for a two count. Jimmy went to the apron. Knight went after Jimmy but Jimmy landed a kick. Jimmy went to the top rope but Knight crotched him. Knight set up for a superplex but Jimmy shoved him off. Knight leapt up to the top rope but Jimmy shoved him back off. Jimmy leapt off but Knight moved. Jimmy rolled through. Knight landed a kick and followed up with the BFT for the win.
WINNER: L.A. Knight in 10:00
-Solo Sikoa appeared and distracted Knight. Jimmy attacked Knight from behind and knocked him to the outside. Sikoa hit Knight with the Samoan Spike. Sikoa took apart the announce table. Jimmy grabbed Knight and pulled him over to the announce table. Cody Rhodes’ music played and he ran down. Rhodes went after Sikoa and tossed him into the ring post. Rhodes threw Jimmy into the steps. Knight recovered and slammed Jimmy into the announce table. Rhodes tossed Jimmy into the barricade. Rhodes and Knight stood tall in the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I still wish the beat down on Cena had been bigger and better than what we got. He shouldn’t have been able to get up and walk out like that on his own to drive home the point. Anyway, the promo from Heyman was solid and did it’s job. The match here was fine, but it was about the same as the last offering we got from these two. Jimmy is so far down on the pecking order at this point. Jey is doing big things on Raw and is going to be in the main event of the next PLE. Sikoa is beating John Cena clean and comes off as the next big thing. Jimmy is the fodder of the Bloodline that loses on TV all the time. That’s not a good sign for Jimmy. Rhodes showing up was a cool surprise for the live crowd. If he’s there doing dark matches you may as well use him on TV.)
-Belair, Charlotte, and Shotzi were in the back. Charlotte said she made the call, but she doesn’t know if the person will show up in time. Belair said they had to go. The three women made their way toward the arena. [c]
-Nick Aldis was in the back with Rhodes. Aldis told Rhodes to leave. Rhodes apologized and walked off.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Why did Rhodes react like a third grader getting caught shooting spit balls? What was that?)
-They showed a graphic for Judgment Day against the Street Profits. Patrick hyped the match. Cole promoted Kevin Owens on the Grayson Waller Effect next week as a graphic was shown.
-Bianca Belair made her entrance.
-Shotzi made her entrance.
-Charlotte Flair made her entrance.
-All three women were in the ring. Charlotte got a mic. She said they could talk all night about what Damage Ctrl has done, but they’re running out of time. She accepted the challenge for War Games. Charlotte said she knows something about turning on a friend and there’s a thin line between love and hate. She said if they’re going to war, there’s only one person she wants on their side.
-Damage Ctrl made their entrance. Bayley said they took out every woman in the back. She said she knows that Charlotte doesn’t have any numbers in her phone. Bayley said they won’t make it to War Games and they won’t even make it out of the building tonight.
-Becky Lynch appeared in the ring beside Charlotte, Belair, and Shotzi. The two teams brawled. Charlotte and Sky both hit moonsaults on the crowd of women outside the ring. Charlotte and Sky stared each other down and then brawled up the ramp. The rest of the women got to their feet and brawled some more as the show went off the air.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, that was anticlimactic. I’m fine with it, because Becky is a big name that they can add to the match. I don’t like the two brands mixing sides to fill out the field, but considering the other options, this made the most sense. Becky has a history with Damage Ctrl so it works from that standpoint also. Shotzi sticks out like a sore thumb in this thing, but maybe they can hide her limitations with the War Games concept. The match should be fine, but I want to see something big happen during it. A normal War Games style match without any storyline development would be really disappointing.)