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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
DECEMBER 1, 2023
BROOKLYN, N.Y. AT BARCLAYS CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-Kevin Patrick introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd, which was filled to the last row of the upper deck. He hyped that Randy Orton had accepted Nick Aldis’s invite to visit Smackdown.
-A video package aired on the women’s WarGames match.
-Bianca Belair stood mid-ring. An “EST!” chant rang out. She said it’s cool to be in one of the coolest boroughs of New York City. She threw out compliments for her teammates. She said Charlotte was a “bigger person” by making that call to Becky Lynch. She said she’s still coming for Iyo Sky “because I want my title back.”
Iyo Sky’s music played and Damage CTRL, minus Bayley, walked out. Dakota Kai said it’s wonderful how she can get everyone to cheer for her. She snapped “shut up!” at the booing crowd. She said Brooklyn smells. Dakota said Iyo has already defeated her twice, so to get to Iyo, she has to go through all of Damage CTRL. Belair said she’s up for that. Charlotte’s music played. Charlotte and Shotzi walked out.
Charlotte said she’d love to go through all of Damage CTRL too. Shotzi said there’s enough Damage CTRL to go around. They ran into the ring and a brawl broke out. Belair, Charlotte, and Shotzi cleared the ring.
-Patrick hyped that they’d take a look back at C.M. Punk’s return. Corey Graves and Michael Cole hyped other upcoming segments and matches, including Logan Paul.
-Butch made his ring entrance. Graves said he’s the last standing member of the Brawling Brutes. They hyped the first match. Graves called it David vs. Goliath. [c]
-Patrick said Belair vs. Kairi Sane has been made official for later, noting it’s Kairi’s first singles match in over three years in WWE.
-Backstage, Damage CTRL confronted Bayley and asked where she was. Bayley said no one told her. Dakota said they need Bayley to help Kairi scout Belair. Bayley looked distressed.
(1) BUTCH vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/The Street Profits)
As Lashley made his ring entrance, they showed a segment from backstage last week when Kayla Braxton attempted to interview Butch on The Smackdown Lowdown. Lashley interrupted. Butch confronted him over interrupting him. Lashley told him to make a name for himself before he talks to him. Back live, fans began chanting “Lashley! Lashley!” Lashley raised the mic to the crowd and smiled. He said when he told Butch to make a name for himself, he said it was a mistake dealing with him. “I will break you into pieces,” he said. He asked if he was ready for that. Butch slapped him. Cole said, “I don’t know if that was smart.”
The bell rang 19 minutes into the hour and Butch charged before Lashley had his jacket off. Lashley powered Butch hard to the mat and then threw off his jacket. Fans loudly chanted, “Let’s go, Bobby!” Graves acknowledged the Brooklyn crowd being rabidly behind Lashley. Cole asked if he knew where Ridge was. Graves said he barely talked to Ridge when he was around, so he didn’t know. Butch leaped off the ring apron into Lashley. He then flipped off the middle rope with a moonsault press and landed on Lashley. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Lashley was in control after ramming Butch into the ringpost. The Profits celebrated. Butch avoided a spear into the corner by Lashley and went on the attack with a barrage of kicks. He bent Lashley’s wrist on the mat and stomped on his elbow. He stayed on the attack and scored a two count. Lashley suddenly lifted him onto his shoulder and then powerslammed him for a two count. Lashley absorbed an enzuigiri and the hit a spear for the win.
WINNER: Lashley in 8:00.
-A video package aired on the men’s WarGames matches.
-Backstage, Paul Heyman entered Nick Aldis’s office. (A camera was oddly filming Aldis quietly reading until Heyman entered.) Heyman asked Aldis if he really invited Orton to Smackdown. Aldis said he intends to sign him to an exclusive Smackdown contract tonight. Heyman asked if his Tribal Chief knows about that. Aldis said Heyman has insisted all communication to Reigns goes through Heyman. “Consider this communication to Roman Reigns,” he said. “I’m going to sign Randy Orton.” He said if he has to offer up the entire Bloodline to make it happen, so be it. He asked Heyman what he was going to do about it. Heyman said, “Anything it takes.” [c]
-Kayla interviewed Butch backstage. She asked why Ridge walked out on him last week. Butch said he doesn’t know but his focus is on fighting on Smackdown. Pretty Deadly walked up to him and said being abandoned can sometimes help someone find their own path. They laughed that Butch’s path leads to a dead end. Butch attacked them, but he was outnumbered and thrown into a rolling crate.
-A video package aired on the Santos Escobar storyline with Carlito, Dragon Lee, and Rey Mysterio.
-Cathy Kelley interviewed Escobar backstage. He said Rey turned his back on him when he chose Carlito over him. He said Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde are still enamored by their hero. He said he’s going to put Joaquin on the shelf next.
-Escobar made his entrance. Patrick said Wilde is going to defend the honor of Rey. [c]
(2) SANTOS ESCOBAR vs. JOAQUIN WILDE
The bell rang 45 minutes into the hour. Wilde flip-dove onto Escobar at ringside. Back in the ring, Escobar knocked him off balance on the top rope and then stomped away at him. Wilde landed a rolling DDT for a near fall at 4:00. Cole then praised Escobar’s performance, which often is a prelude to imminent defeat – and, sure enough, Escobar landed a Phantom Driver for the win 15 seconds later. Escobar said that’s what happens when you cross him.
WINNER: Escobar in 5:00.
-Dragon Lee charged out to the ring to his music. Escobar bailed out as Lee checked on Wilde, but then attacked Lee. Lee fought back with a head scissors and barrage of offense. Escobar fled.
-They showed Logan Paul shaking hands with Aldis. [c]
-Adam Pearce approached Aldis backstage. He asked if the rumor is true he’s trying to sign Orton. Aldis said he’s a free agent and he intends to sign him tonight. Aldis said he had his chance on Monday. Pearce said he’ll approach Orton with a contract offer of his own tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: So Orton is a priority over C.M. Punk, apparently? I like the idea of both G.M.’s courting Orton, though.)
-Cole said there’s a bidding war going on for Orton.
-Logan Paul made his entrance. They showed a wide angle of the arena. Logan addressed all the “haters” who prayed for his downfall. He said he had one question for them. “Where are you now!” he yelled. He said the more they want him to fail, the harder he works, and the harder he works, the more he wins. He said that gives him the platform to gloat. He said there are jealous Superstars backstage who resent him being the fastest-rising star in Smackdown history. He said the U.S. Title belt has been on his junk “just like you all have been since I got here.” Boos rang out.
He said a champion is only as good as his challengers. He said he wasn’t able to give Rey Mysterio his rematch because Rey got injured, so he talked to Aldis. He said they’ve created a tournament to determine his next challenger. He said it will feature eight Superstars: Escobar, Dragon Lee, Karrion Kross, Lashley, Grayson Waller, Austin Theory, Kevin Owens, and a mystery NXT wrestler. He said whoever wins that tournament will have a nightmare trying to take his title from him. Kevin Owen’s music then played and KO walked out. Cole said the tournament sounds fantastic. Graves said it’s a great chance for someone in NXT to step up.
Owens entered the ring. He said the first time he saw Logan was on Vine ten years ago. He said it only took him six seconds to find out he’s an unbearable jackass. He said the only junk around there is “that crap drink you peddle.” He said he’s in the tournament so that nightmare is about to end. He said his days as U.S. Champion are numbered. Logan said Owens calls himself a prize fighter, but he’s been in the ring with the greatest boxer in the world. He said if they fought, six seconds is five more than he’d need to KO him. He called him “buddy.”
KO said he’ll never take away from him that he’s very clever. He said the place he’s won fights is another world. He said the WWE ring is his world. As they went face to face mid-ring, Grayson Waller’s music played and he walked out with Austin Theory.
Waller said KO is just a troll, not a forward-thinking disruptor like them. They entered the ring. Theory told KO that he likes to punch people in the face, but he’s standing opposite of Logan who just knocks people out. He said maybe his days of knocking people out are over. KO punched him in the face from the side. Theory went down. Waller went to check on him. Owens dropped the mic and extended his arms. Logan and KO exchanged some words as KO’s music played.
-Patrick hyped Owens vs. Waller next. [c]
(3) KEVIN OWENS vs. GRAYSON WALLER (w/Austin Theory)
Logan joined in on commentary. He said it’ll be cute to watch this. The bell rang 8 minutes into the hour. Owens took it to Waller at ringside early. Logan said he always considered Owens to be the Humpty Dumpty of WWE and was impressed with his ability to move “that egg-shaped frame” around the ring. He said he hasn’t forgotten that KO gave him a stunner at his first WrestleMania. Owens landed a senton at 1:00. Logan said, “Exhibit A.” Cole asked about Logan’s brass knuckles. Logan said he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Graves noted that Logan will be interviewing Orton on his podcast this week. KO shot Logan a look. Waller bailed out to ringside to avoid a cannonball. Owens went after him, but Waller caught him with a forearm and then rammed him into the announce desk. KO came back with a clothesline and then a frog splash off the ring apron. KO celebrated and kicked the bottom rope over and over. KO went back after Waller, but Waller shoved him into the ringpost. Theory then stomped on KO’s hands on the ringside steps. Theory told Waller to go after KO’s hand. Waller rammed it into the ringpost. As Theory and Waller celebrated, they cut to a break. [c]
Waller yanked KO’s arm over the top rope. KO countered Waller rolling into the ring with a DDT. KO headbutted Waller, then slapped his chest and sidekicked his jaw. Owens landed a cannonball in the corner and followed with a top rope senton for a believable near fall at 10:00. Logan called KO “Otis on a diet.” Waller countered a stunner and stomped on KO’s injured hand. He followed with an armbar. KO rolled up Waller a minute later for a sudden win. Graves said Waller can’t believe it. Owens favored his hand as he walked to the stage.
WINNER: Owens in 11:00.
-They went to the announcers who threw to a video package on the return of Punk.
-Belair made her ring entrance. [c]
-Backstage, Bayley looked distant and removed from Damage CTRL. Dakota said she didn’t seem like herself and asked if she was okay. Kairi told her to stay in the back.
(4) KAIRI SANE (w/Asuka, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky) vs. BIANCA BELAIR
Graves said Bayley almost single-handedly kept Damage CTRL in the WarGames match. Cole said there are trust issues because of what Bayley did to Kairi years ago. (It’s odd that Graves is speaking on behalf of Bayley while Cole is defending Kairi not trusting Bayley. You’d think those roles would be reversed.) The bell rang 30 minutes into the hour. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Kairi was in control after the break. Belair made a comeback and got in sustained offense. Kairi took over at 8:00 with a backfist to the face. Kairi landed a flying forearm to Belair’s chest for a two count. Belair tried to lift Kairi, but Kairi tossed her through the ropes to the floor. Belair avoided a Kairi dive and then slammed her chest-first over the ringside barricade. She threw her back into the ring. Bayley yanked on Belair’s braid and drove her into the ring apron. Bayley told Kairi to climb to the top rope. Belair knocked Kairi off balance and then delivered her K.O.D. for the win.
WINNER: Belair in 10:00. [c]
-The announcers hyped next week’s Smackdown: Kross vs. Lashley and Dragon Lee vs. Escobar in tournament matches, plus Asuka vs. Charlotte and the return of C.M. Punk to Smackdown for the first time in over a decade. Cole noted it’s also the Tribute to the Troops special.
-Pearce and Aldis stood mid-ring, each with a contract folder in hand with their respective show’s logo on it. Aldis welcomed Orton back to Smackdown. Orton made his way to the ring, smiling and slapping hands. He played to the crowd for two minutes as his music played. Pearce and Aldis began bickering. Pearce said Orton is a Monday night legend and he belongs on Raw. He offered him the winner of Seth Rollins vs. Jey Uso for the WWE Title. Aldis said if he signs a Smackdown contract, he can deliver to him “the guys who took you out.”
Heyman walked out and insulted the audience. He introduced himself and said he represents Roman Reigns. He said, with a sinister tone, that there will be no decision made by Orton tonight because The Bloodline is going to make his decision for him. Solo Sikoa’s music played and he walked out with Jimmy Uso. Pearce and Aldis left the ring. Orton fought Sikoa and Jimmy alone, but was soon taken down and stomped on. L.A. Knight’s music played and he ran to the ring. He beat up Sikoa and Jimmy. He ducked a charging Sikoa and then fought up back to the entrance stage. Orton gave Jimmy a draping DDT and then an RKO. Heyman was seething at ringside. A “Randy! Randy!” chant rang out.
Orton asked for both contracts. Heyman yelled, “Go to Raw! Go to Raw! You’re still safe on Raw!” Orton stood over Jimmy, tossed out the Raw contract, and then signed the Smackdown contract. “Yes!” exclaimed Graves. Orton dropped the contract on Jimmy’s chest. Another “Randy!” chant broke out. Orton leaned on the top rope and smiled down at Heyman. “Hey Paul, you can call Roman Reigns and you can tell him Daddy’s back.” He dropped the mic as Orton’s music played. As Aldis raised Orton’s arm, Aldis gave him an RKO. Cole said, “Never turn your back on the Viper!”
(Keller’s Analysis: Well done. It made Orton out to be a big deal. I’m not a fan of random RKO’s against people who aren’t his enemy, though. I suppose that will set up Aldis as favoring Heyman over Orton going forward, although technically Aldis should suspend him for the attack. This also tends to rule out an immediate Reigns-Punk match.)