SmackDown on Fox Episode #3
SmackDown Episode # 1,052
Indianapolis, IN – Bakers Life Fieldhouse
The show opens with somewhat of an updated intro video as it now shows the superstars that were drafted to SmackDown.
After the pyro, we go straight into our first match of the night.
Match #1 Shinsuke Nakamura © w/ Sami Zayn vs Roman Reigns (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Nakamura is in control early as he grounds Reigns and delivers a series of driving knee strikes to the head followed by a knee drop. Reigns made a come back by hitting a charging Nakamura with a boot in the corner and then taking him down with a back elbow. Reigns and Nakamura hit each other with strikes until Reigns hits a Samoan Drop that gets him a 2 count. Sami Zayn (who was on commentary) went to the aid of Nakamura and would play a big part in Nakamura regaining control of the match as Zayn pulled Nakamura out of the way of a Drive-By by Reigns and Reigns hit hard on the apron back first and then Nakamura kicks Reigns in the head as we go to commercial.
We come back from commercial and Nakamura has Reigns in a rest hold as we are shown what happened during commercial which was Nakamura hitting a diving kick off the announce table. Reigns began to fight his way out of the rest hold so Nakamura tries for his back suplex, but Roman elbows out of it and looks to charge at Nakamura in the corner, but Nakamura gets his feet up to stop him and then attempts to dive off the middle rope onto Reigns but eats a right hand for his efforts. Reigns hit a few running clotheslines followed by his corner clotheslines and a running boot to the face. Reigns looked to hit the Superman Punch but Nakamura catches him with a rolling armbar, however, he isn’t able to keep Reigns down long as Reigns powers up (because he is “Big Dog strong” as Michael Cole would tell us) and hit a one-handed sitout powerbomb for another near fall.
Reigns was once again looking for the Superman Punch but Zayn leaves commentary for the second time to serve as a distraction, this distraction would allow Nakamura to get Reigns into position to hit the sliding German suplex. Nakamura thinks he has Reigns wore down enough to go fo the Kinshasa, but he was mistaken as Reigns hits him with the Superman Punch which leads to a very close near fall. Reigns is back on his feet and pumping up the crowd as he gets ready to finish of Nakamura with the Spear when out of nowhere King Corbin hits Reigns from behind with his scepter to cause the disqualification.
Winner: Roman Reigns via DQ Match Rating: **1/2
After the match Corbin hits the Deep Six on Reigns as Cole tells us the reason that he interfered was that he was still mad at what Reigns’s cousin The Rock did to him on the Fox debut episode of SmackDown. Before any more damage can be done to Reigns, Daniel Bryan runs down to make the save as he throws Corbin out of the ring and then hits a top rope dropkick on Nakamura. Bryan looks to hit Nakamura with the wrecking ball dropkick, but Zayn grabs hit foot and won’t let go and this allows Nakamura to run back in and hit the Kinshasa on Bryan. The three heels walk up the ramp as Reigns and Bryan are laid out in the middle of the ring as the segment ends.
This was a good match to open the show, however, it continues the three-week streak of the first match of the night being really good but not having a clean finish. I will give this match a pass for not having a clean finish since we will see these four superstars later on in the night as it would later be announced that Reigns and Bryan would face Corbin and Nakamura in the main event of the show.
They show a graphic of what the SmackDown roster looks like post-draft and while there are complaints to be made with how the draft was executed and how they completely went against their own rules for the draft and perhaps some people were drafted to the wrong show I will say that if you look at both rosters on paper they did a pretty good job of making both rosters pretty even. Unlike some years it doesn’t feel like one show got all the star power and the other got completely shafted as both rosters are loaded with talent.
We cut to the back as New Day is singing before Heavy Machinery shows up and slams a picnic table down in front of them, Tucker talks about wanting to build comradery between them as they have to team up tonight in an eight-man tag. Otis walks up with an apron on and is stirring up some pancake mix and says it needs some protein which leads to Tucker pouring a ton of protein powder into the mix before offering it to New Day, but Xavier says they can’t eat this close to a match as it will cause cramps just like if they went swimming. Otis doesn’t care as he turns the bowl up and drinks it with most of it running down his beard. I feel like we have seen a segment like this with Heavy Machinery at least three or four times. You have to know that this segment most likely had Vince McMahon pissing himself laughing in the back and I’m sure his only thought about this segment was “That’s Good Shit!”
Back from commercial and, Kayla Braxton tries to interview King Corbin but he just puts his crown on and walks off.
Before the next match starts we get a video package showing how Chad was cursed with the name of Shorty Gable.
Match #2: Chad Gable vs Curtis Axel w/ Bo Dallas
Axel takes early control by wrenching on the arm, but Gable quickly uses his wrestling skills to get out of it and takes Axel down with an arm drag into a standing armbar. Axel backs Gable into the corner where Bo Dallas provides a quick distraction that allows Axel to stomp away at Gable in the corner. Axel hits his father’s seated flipping neck snap move which gets him a 2 count. Axel continues working over Gable until he fights back and turns an Irish whip to the corner into a sunset flip pin that gets him a 2 count. Gable is sent out to the apron where he takes care of Bo Dallas who tried to interfere once again, Gable slides under the legs of Axel but gets caught momentarily in the setup for the Perfect Plex, Gable counters and takes Axel down with a drop toe hold before locking in the Ankle Lock and Axel taps out immediately.
Winner: Chad Gable via Submission Match Rating: *1/4
After the match, Kayla Braxton interviews Gable and he talks about how he has always thought his height was a hindrance but now he realizes his height is what makes him who he is and you should never be afraid to be who you really are. Gable thanks the people who make fun of him as they are the ones who made him look deep down inside and made him want to embrace who he is. He talks about overcoming insecurities and not running or hiding from them and just accepting who he is. He then says that he wants to make the name Shorty Gable even shorter and declares himself Shorty G.
I still find this whole Chad Gable is short gimmick very juvenile as no grown adult is going to tease someone about their height. This really comes down to the fact that Vince McMahon is a douche who has the mind of a child when it comes to what he determines as being funny and he, unfortunately, pushes those childish antics onto the talent by making them go out and be apart of angles like this. I just don’t get why for the love of God they can’t just have Chad Gable come out and kick ass and wrestle circles around everybody else and just become the new Kurt Angle. As far as the whole Shorty G name goes I fear Gable’s new gimmick could be that of a white rapper as that sounds like the name that was left on the cutting room floor when Jesse of Jesse and Festus became Slam Master J.
We get a Skype interview with Hulk Hogan who talks about the 10 man tag match at Crown Jewel, he names Ali and Gable as members of his team and says that by the end of the night we will know who his new team captain is since Seth Rollins was pulled from the match due to having a match that night with The Fiend. Hogan then talks about getting his hands on Flair as the interview ends.
Match #3: Heavy Machinery & The New Day w/ Kofi Kingston vs The Revival, Dolph Ziggler, & Robert Roode
Ziggler and Tucker start out with Ziggler going for a single leg, but Tucker blocks it and backs into the ropes before Ziggler delivers a cheap shot and then a dropkick, but Tucker comes back with a dropkick of his own. Tucker tags in Otis and they go for a double suplex on Ziggler, but Roode stops that from happening so instead they both get hit with suplexes. Otis tags in Big E and they proceed to do a duel hip swivel before breaking Ziggler in half with the wishbone. The Revival runs in but they both get hit with an overhead belly to belly suplex from Big E and Otis. Woods takes out The Revival with a tope con Hilo before running into a spinebuster and Zig Zag combo on the floor as we go to commercial.
As we come back from commercial we see that Wilder has Woods grounded but Woods quickly fights to his feet and hits a back suplex on Wilder. Wilder makes the tag to Dawson who is able to cut Woods off before he made the tag, Woods comes back with a flurry of strikes and an enziguri. Woods is just about to make the hot tag when Dawson and Roode pull Wood’s partners off the apron. Dawson tags in Wilder and the duo hit the Demolition Decapitator for a 2 count. Wilder makes a tag to Ziggler who sets Woods up for a superplex, but Woods blocks it and fights with Ziggler on the top rope before sending Ziggler down to the mat which allows Woods enough time to get in position to hit a missile dropkick. Both Woods and Ziggler make hot tags which brings Otis into the match where he starts cleaning house Otis does some hip-thrusting before leveling Roode with a head butt and stacks both Roode and Ziggler in the corner looking to squish them both but Ziggle gets a boot up (while this is happening Dawson has made a blind tag) so Otis just plants him with a flapjack instead followed by a t-bone suplex on Roode.
This has become the Otis highlight reel as he is in full control. Otis hits the Caterpillar elbow drop on Roode and then catches Dawson out of mid-air, Heavy Machinery looks to hit The Compactor but Ziggler grabs the leg of Tucker. Wilder hits a slingshot shoulder block that knocks down Otis which causes Dawson to fall on top of him as Otis was still holding Dawson in his arms and this gets a 2 count. Tucker takes out Wilder and Ziggler at ringside with a double clothesline. Dawson tries for a vertical suplex on Otis, but Otis easily turns it around to one of his own, Otis hold Dawson up in the air long enough for Big E to tag in and then Otis hands Dawson off to Big E who has him over his shoulder and moments later Dawson is hit with the Midnight Hour which is enough to give the babyfaces a win.
Winners: Heavy Machinery & The New Day via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
This was a fun match to highlight the new SmackDown tag team division and also to hype the tag turmoil match happening at Crown Jewel. It’s pretty clear that Vince McMahon is highly in favor of Otis and probably not for the reasons he should be as he sees him as nothing more than a dumb one dimensional comedy act that is the wrestling equivalent to Chris Farley, whereas I and a lot of others see him as this comedy character but also realize just how damn good he is in the ring and how well he and Tucker work together. If Heavy Machinery were taken a bit more seriously they could be the super over babyface team that WWE would need to replace New Day if they ever decide to break New Day apart which has to happen eventually, I feel the New Day split is coming sooner rather than later as there is absolutely nothing left for New Day to do as a team and it’s time that Big E gets that singles push that he deserves so that he can become a serious contender in the world title picture.
Kayla Braxton interviews Daniel Bryan who doesn’t care about any of the drama surrounding the main event as all he cares about is having his first match on SmackDown since the move to Fox and declares that he and Reigns will put Corbin and Nakamura in their place.
A commercial is aired letting us know that SmackDown will be airing on FS1 next week due to the World Series.
Coming out of commercial we get a video package highlighting Ali.
MizTV with Bayley and Sasha Banks
It’s now time for the must-see talk show in WWE history MizTV and Miz wasted no time bringing out his guest the new SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley who is being accompanied by her bestie Sasha Banks. The Miz’s first question is quite simple as he asks Bayley why she did what she did last week and she replies that she doesn’t owe anyone an explanation, this isn’t good enough for Miz so he pushes further saying that she does owe an explanation to all the kids who looked up to her, but this time Bayley stays silent so Miz compares her to Brock Lesnar and asks if Sasha is her Paul Heyman. The Miz starts aggressively questioning Bayley as to why she has made this change and runs down a list of possible reasons which include respect, insecurities, and being in Sasha’s shadow. This strikes a nerve with Sasha who speaks up and says that Bayley doesn’t owe anything to someone who was picked in the fifth round which Miz retorts that it doesn’t matter what round he was picked because when he talks people listen and he doesn’t have to change his appearance or slash some Bayley Buddies to be relevant.
Bayley has finally had enough and says that slashing the Bayley Buddies had nothing to do about being relevant it had everything to do with the fact that she always did whatever she had to do to give the fans what they wanted and all they did was take and they never gave her anything in return. Bayley said that she wanted to elevate the SmackDown women’s division when she won the title for the first time and that is exactly what she did, but when she lost the title at Hell in a Cell nobody was there for her. She always put herself second in favor of being a role model to the fans but they destroyed her. Bayley talks about nobody being there to congratulate her when she won the title last week, so she has come to the conclusion that the SmackDown women’s division is lazy and lacks passion and that she used to try and fit in and be what the fans wanted her to be but she has now overgrown them. Bayley then gives the fans some inspirational words to live by which are “Life sucks and then you die”
Nikki Cross comes out to interrupt Bayley and is tired of Bayley talking and is ready to fight and promises to give Bayley a big hug after she wins the next match and becomes the number one contender to Bayley’s title. Dana Brooke then comes out and talks about being underutilized and overlooked before saying that the flex appeal is here on Friday Night SmackDown. Lacey Evans then makes her way to the ring as we go to commercial.
I like the new heel Bayley but I’m not sure how I feel about this promo particularly as I can’t figure out how people not coming to comfort or congratulate her gets her to the conclusion that they are lazy and lack passion as someone not coming over to you in times of joy or sorrow has nothing to do with whether they are lazy or lack passion. The promo also felt like it was a bit all over the place as she kept jumping back and forth between on who to blame for her sudden change in attitude as part of the promo she blames the fans while the other she blames the other women in the division. One thing that does interest me about this promo is the fact that she used the “Life sucks and then you die” quote which came from a memorable Vince McMahon promo years ago while at the same time Sasha keeps thanking Vince and sucking up to him on Twitter, I wonder if this Vince thing leads anywhere or if it’s just them trying to get extra heat by attaching themselves to the biggest heel in the business both kayfabe and shoot wise. One thing I would love to see them do that could be a really interesting is to have Bayley’s “biggest fan” Izzy come to SmackDown and confront Bayley so that Bayley has no choice but to come face to face with one of the people who looked up to her and see the effect that her attitude change has had on her fans and maybe this time have Bayley rip the headband off Izzy as Sasha did back in NXT.
Match #4: Carmella vs Mandy Rose vs Nikki Cross vs Lacey Evans vs Sonya Deville vs Dana Brooke (SmackDown Women’s Championship #1 Contender 6 Pack Challenge)
Lacey Evans immediately rolls out of the ring as Sonya and Mandy take control in the ring with Mandy hitting a nice delayed vertical suplex on Carmella followed by a sliding knee by Sonya. Mandy and Sonya team up on Nikki until she turns the tables and starts fighting both women until she is taken down with a clothesline by Mandy. Mandy and Sonya are in the ring alone but refuse to fight each other and instead go out and start attacking Carmella before sending her into the barricade. Dana hits a handspring elbow on the outside taking out both Mandy and Sonya. Dana turns around and is mowed down by Lacey who finally decides to participate in the match. Lacey rolls Nikki back into the ring and decides this is the right time to dab off some of the sweat and then she throws her little towel thing at Bayley and Sasha who are sitting at ringside watching the match. Lacey turns around and is hit with a wrecking ball dropkick courtesy of the twisted sister Nikki Cross. Carmella dives off the barricade onto the three heels as we go to commercial.
Mandy and Sonya are in full control as we come back from commercial as they are working over Carmella. We get a replay of what happened during the commercial which saw the babyfaces hitting a triple suplex on the three heels. Carmella is able to fight back and gain control over Fire and Desire even hitting them with a double bronco buster, Carmella is quickly rolled up by Nikki for a near fall. Nikki Irish whips Carmella who dives through the ropes and takes out Mandy and Sonya with a tope suicida. Dana throws Carmella into the barricade. Nikki dives off the top and takes out Dana, Mandy, & Sonya only to get sent into the steps by Lacey. Lacey hits a slingshot foot stomp on Dana before having a hurricanrana out of the corner countered by Dana into a sitout powerbomb moments later which gets a 2 count. Dana then hits Lacey with a Swanton bomb and goes to pin her, but Carmella and Mandy break it up. Mandy and Carmella exchange slaps before getting into an all-out catfight Carmella locks in the Code of Silence on Mandy only for it to be broken up by a Sonya with a sliding knee. Dana gets a near fall on Sonya and then we get an exchange of finishers by all the women until Nikki finishes Mandy off with The Purge to become the new #1 contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Winner: Nikki Cross via Pinfall Match Rating: **3/4
This was a good match that allowed all six women to shine and unlike a lot of times when you would have multi-person matches there really wasn’t a weak link that dragged the match down, all six women’s moves looked good as there were no real botches and they also did a good job of being in the right place at the right time so that the match could move along smoothly. This may have been one of the better multi women matches WWE has had in recent years. Nikki winning was a good move as she is probably the most over female babyface they have and I’m sure here and Bayley can have some great matches, plus you will also have Sasha and Alexa in their respective friend’s corner and anytime Alexa and Sasha are together something good is going to happen as they always feed off their real-life dislike of each other. I know people were joking about Alexa and Nikki being apart of the “blockbuster trade” and while I won’t say it was a blockbuster trade it was definitely needed for SmackDown as without those two, SmackDown would be seriously lacking in female babyfaces, but now we have a baby face to match the star power of Bayley and Sasha in Alexa and then Nikki brings more work rate to SmackDown. I do wonder if Alexa wasn’t sick would they have had her win this match over Nikki?
We get a video package of Braun Strowman who is in action in the next match.
Back from commercial and we get a recap of what happened on Raw with Seth Rollins burning down Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse and we also find out that in addition to the match at Crown Jewel being a falls count anywhere there is also a stipulation that the match “cannot be stopped for any reason”.
We get a replay of what happened on Raw during the contract signing between Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury.
Match #5: Braun Strowman vs Drew Gulak
Before the match really gets going Gulak gets on the mic to introduce himself and then tells Braun that if he does his usual Monster schtick that Fury will knock him out, so he took it upon himself to make a 345 slide PowerPoint presentation as to why Braun Strowman can win his match against Fury. Strowman doesn’t care to listen anymore as he grabs Gulak and biels him across the ring and then takes him down with a big boot. Strowman does his run around the ring shoulder block and then hits Gulak with an avalanche in the corner followed by the Powerslam for the quick victory.
Winner: Braun Strowman via Pinfall Match Rating: ½ * PowerPoint Presentation Rating: *****
This was nothing more than a showcase for Strowman and as funny as Gulak was in this segment do we really need to have guys like him in these rolls when they can easily use a local indy guy for the same role. I really hope jobing to the stars isn’t the reason why they moved the cruiserweights to Raw and SmackDown, especially a guy like Gulak who could be having phenomenal matches with guys like Bryan or Gable.
We get a commercial break as Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring for the main event. It is announced as Reigns makes his way to the ring that he is the new team captain for Team Hogan at Crown Jewel and also next week both Flair and Hogan will be on the show as well as Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez.
Match #6: Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns vs King Corbin & Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Sami Zayn
Reigns started off the match out dominating Corbin with right hands and uppercuts before tagging in Bryan. Bryan hits his running corner dropkicks followed by a bulldog out of the corner. Bryan hits the Yes Kicks to the chest and then goes for the one to the head, but Corbin ducks and runs over to tag in Nakamura. Bryan and Nakamura trade strikes until Bryan takes Nakamura down with a kitchen sink. Bryan is looking to hit a move off the middle rope but Zayn gets on the apron as a distraction which allows Nakamura to kick Bryan off the rope and to the floor as we go to our final commercial.
Back from commercial and Corbin hits a Deep Six on Bryan (which the camera pretty much misses as it was on a wide shot) for a 2 count. Corbin argues with the ref before taunting Bryan and tagging in Nakamura. Corbin and Nakamura look for a double backdrop but Bryan flips out of it and then takes out both Corbin and Nakamura. Bryan hits a flying clothesline on Nakamura and just as he is about to make the hot tag Corbin yanks Reigns off the apron and sends him into the steps. Nakamura hits a spinning wheel kick and a running knee on Bryan which only gets a 2 count. Corbin sets the steps up outside looking to inflict damage on Reigns but thinks better of it when the referee warns him not to.
Bryan takes Corbin out with a wrecking ball dropkick before countering a rollup into the Yes Lock which gets broken up by Corbin at the last second. Bryan moves out of the way of a charging Corbin and this allows Corbin to slide under the ropes and when he does he is met with a flying Superman Punch from Reigns who used the steps that Corbin set up earlier to jump off of, Reigns then Spears Corbin through the barricade. Bryan connects with all of his Yes Kicks this time on Nakamura only to run into a flying knee by Nakamura. Nakamura goes for the Kinshasa but Bryan avoids it and then hits the flying knee to pick up the win.
Winners: Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns Match Rating: **¾
This was a good match to end the show but nothing that will blow you away, I was a bit surprised that the babyfaces dominated the majority of the match. It looks like we are getting a Nakamura vs Bryan feud which will hopefully be as great as we think it could be and not a disappointment like the AJ Styles and Nakamura feud from last year. I really hope this Corbin and Reigns feud ends at Crown Jewel as that is not a feud I’m looking forward to.
Overall this episode of SmackDown was pretty lackluster compared to the last two weeks. My highlights for this episode are the women’s match and how well all six women did in the match as well as the first tease of the Bryan vs Nakamura feud. Hopefully, SmackDown will pick back up next week with Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar being on the show, or it could be even worse as Flair and Hogan will be on the show as well.