SmackDown on Fox Episode #53 (Fox One Year Anniversary)
SmackDown Episode # 1,102
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Amway Center)
We open the show with a recap of the Universal Championship match at Clash of Champions between Roman Reigns and Jey Uso, we then we go inside the Thunderdome where the Universal Champion Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring alongside Paul Heyman.
Heyman takes the mic first and says that they are here tonight to officially declare Roman Reigns as the Tribal Chief which was something that he knew was destined to happen from the day that Reigns was born. Heyman says that Reigns is not just the tribal chief of the Anoa’i family or of the WWE but of the entire WWE Universe and that is why Reigns must be the Universal Champion.
Reigns takes the mic and says he doesn’t want to be known as the Tribal Chief because Jey Uso refused to acknowledge him as such and for that reason he wants Jey Uso to come to the ring,
Uso comes to the ring moments later with his head bandaged up from the beating he suffered at the hands of Reigns.
Uso says he doesn’t even know Reigns because at Clash of Champions Reigns showed his true colors, but even though Reigns beat his ass at Clash of Champions he didn’t break his spirit and had Jimmy not thrown in the towel we would be looking at a new Universal Champion. Reigns stares at Uso for a moment before asking Uso if he thinks he is proud of what he did at Clash of Champions, Reigns says that Clash of Champions was the worst night of both his career and his life. Reigns says that all he wanted to do was help Uso by putting him in the main event and giving him a big payday so that Uso can do something nice for his wife and kids. Reigns says that he loves Uso even more so than his brother does and all he wanted to do was raise him up and all Uso had to do was acknowledge him as the Tribal Chief, but Uso refused to do so. Reigns says it was his birthright to become Tribal Chief, but he didn’t sit back and let it be handed to him, no, he went and worked his ass off for it and Uso has seen him do it the entire time.
Reigns says all he wanted to do was represent their family to the fullest, but Uso disrespected him and embarrassed the entire family, and worst of all he broke Reigns’ heart. Reigns calls out Uso for not looking him in the eyes despite him spilling his guts out to him right now and sees that Uso’s eyes are set on the title so he asks Uso if that title means more than their family and if so then he can have another shot at it because Reigns doesn’t care. If Uso wants the shot at Hell in a Cell then he is fine with that, but that match will have higher stakes than any match in WWE has ever had. Reigns and Heyman exit the ring.
As Reigns and Heyman walk up the ramp Uso gets on the mic and tells Reigns that it is on at Hell in a Cell regardless of what the stakes are.
Roman Reigns stepped up to the plate and once again he hits a home run with this promo. I love the story of Reigns placing blame on Uso for the attack he gave him and placing zero blame on himself to the point where he sees himself as the hero in all of this, that is exactly what an asshole like that would do because he is not about to make himself look like the bad guy because in his mind he is the greatest thing on God’s green earth. I am really intrigued as to what the stakes are going to be for the match seeing as they are hyping it up as the highest stakes ever seen in WWE. I know they did something very similar a couple of months ago on Raw, but I think something they could do to build even more heat on Reigns is to have him beat the living shit out of Uso with either a kendo stick or a belt and the entire time have him screaming at Uso to call him the Tribal Chief to the point where someone from the back has to come out to pull Reigns off Uso (I would have that be Big E), that would put over even more how pissed off Reigns is at Uso for disrespecting him. I look forward to what the Tribal Chief does next week on SmackDown as it is one of the best stories going today in WWE.
Before Uso even has a chance to think about what just happened he is greeted by AJ Styles who comes out and says that he doesn’t really care who is sitting at the head of the table, but what does matter to him is Usos’s safety and that is why he thinks someone else who is more qualified should have that title shot against Reigns. Uso finally gets enough and attacks Styles but Styles is able to roll out the ring where he thinks he is safe, but Uso runs across the announce table and dives off onto Styles and this takes us to a commercial break.
We come back and go straight into our first match of the night.
Match #1: Jey Uso vs AJ Styles
Styles talks some trash as the bell rings and then sidesteps a charging Uso and takes advantage of that mistake by Uso, Styles stays in charge until Uso stops himself from being sent into the corner and then he hits Styles with a big right hand and then follows that up with a big slam and a jumping headbutt. Uso sends Styles into the corner and looks to hit him with a running hip attack but Styles is able to move out of the way. Styles snapmares Uso into the middle of the ring and delivers a kick to his spine followed by a jumping knee drop for a 2 count. Styles uses the bottom rope to choke Uso and then he catapults him throat first into the bottom rope.
Styles picks up Uso but is hit with a jawbreaker out of nowhere, but this only slows Styles down for a moment as he comes back with a flurry of strikes to take Uso back down. Styles sets up for the Styles Clash only for Uso to throw him off and then Uso clotheslines Styles out of the ring. Uso looks to dive out onto Styles but is stopped in his tracks when Styles nails him with a kick from the floor. Styles grabs Uso and suplexes him from the ring onto the announce table and this sends us to a commercial.
We come back from commercial to Uso trying to get back into the match as he catches Styles with a schoolboy but Styles is able to kick out. Styles catches Uso with a backbreaker but it only gets a 2 count. Styles puts the boots to Uso and then locks him in a chin lock which Uso quickly fights out of only to be sent into the corner where he sidesteps a leaping clothesline from Styles and then moments later he takes Styles down with a pop-up Samoan drop.and then he follows that up with a back suplex style neckbreaker which gets another 2 count. Uso goes for a superkick but Styles ducks and comes with a Pele kick and an ushigoroshi which gets him another very close 2 count.
Styles sets up for the Styles Clash once again but Uso keeps blocking it until he is able to backdrop Styles out to the apron. Styles catches a kick from Uso while on the apron but Uso turns that into an enziguri that knocks Styles down to the floor. Uso is able to hit the tope suicida that he was looking for earlier and then he throws Styles back into the ring, Uso goes up top looking for the Uso Splash, but Styles is able to get his knees up. Styles rolls out to the apron and looks to hit the Phenomenal Forearm only to be knocked off the top rope by a superkick from Uso, Uso hits him with a second superkick as Styles is draped across the top rope and then he hits him with a third one which keeps Styles down long enough for Uso to hit him with the Uso Splash to pick up the win.
Winner: Jey Uso via Pinfall Match Rating: ***
This was a really good match and it was nice to see Uso get a win over a multi-time world champion, if these two end up on the same brand after the draft I would love to see them face each more as I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for what these two are capable of doing against each other.
We get a recap of the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match from Clash of Champions and that leads into a backstage promo from the new Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn.
Zayn guesses that we probably expect him to be gloating about his win at Clash of Champions, but he is actually feeling a mix of emotions with anger and resentment being at the top of the list. Zayn says that there was no reason for him having to take such risks in order to win a championship that was rightfully his all along and this just pisses him off! Zayn then goes on to blame the fans for all of this happening to him because we let management get away with crowning two fraudulent champions. Zayn then takes the Intercontinental Championship that was held by Styles & Hardy and he throws it in the garbage and this sends us to another commercial break.
We come back and go straight to the entrances for our second match of the night which features John Morrison taking on Otis, during Otis’ entrance he gets an inset promo where he says he is ready to fight Miz & Morrison in court and he will be representing himself.
Match #2: John Morrison vs Otis
Morrison goes behind Otis right away but Otis backs him into the corner only for Morrison to shove Otis away using his feet and then Morrison lays back on the top turnbuckle, Otis charges in Morrison connects with a kick to the head. Morrison rolls to the outside and when Otis goes out to get him he is hit with another kick to the head, but Otis recovers quickly and hits Morrison with a clothesline while he is standing on the apron. Morrison rolls back into the ring and Otis steps on his chest. Otis sends Morrison into the ropes and looks to hit him with a backdrop, but Morrison lands on his feet and runs to the ropes himself but is met with a shoulder block and that is followed by a back elbow and a flapjack in the center of the ring. Morrison tries to land a kick, but Otis catches him and hits him with an exploder. Otis hits Morrison with an avalanche in the corner which sets up the Caterpillar elbow drop and then Otis finishes things off with a Vader Bomb.
Winner: Otis via Pinfall Match Rating: *¼
I’m not sure why we needed to have this match as I feel we could’ve just had that Otis promo backstage and that would be enough follow-up on that story for this week. I have a feeling that whatever segment we get next week with Otis representing himself will be full of Vince humor, but hopefully, poor Otis can make it work.
Before we go to break we see Sasha backstage still wearing her neck brace and we are told she will make an appearance later tonight.
We come back to our third match of the night and during Sheamus’ entrance, we get an inset promo from Big E where he says they can’t settle their feud in just any kind of match so he challenges Sheamus to a Falls Count Anywhere match next week. Big E wants to do it quickly seeing as he and Sheamus could be drafted to separate shows after next week.
Match #3: Sheamus vs Shorty G
Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick right out of the gate but Shorty ducks and tries to get a quick win with a schoolboy but Sheamus kicks out. Shorty sidesteps a charging Sheamus sending him shoulder-first into the ring post and then he hits Sheamus with a bridging German suplex which gets a 2 count. Shorty goes up for the moonsault but Sheamus is able to get out of the way and then he hits Shorty with two Brogue Kicks to pick up the win.
Winner: Sheamus via Pinfall Match Rating: *
It’s a good thing that SmackDown is doing a great job of telling stories on this episode because these last two matches sure didn’t bring any work rate to the show. I am looking forward to the Big E vs Sheamus match next week as it will be fun to watch a couple of hosses beat the crap out of each other all over the Thunderdome.
We cut to the back where we see Raw’s Kevin Owens looking over his note cards for tonight’s KO Show with his special guest Alexa Bliss and while he is looking them over we see a video of The Fiend pop up on the monitor behind him and this sends us to break.
We come back and it’s time for the KO Show.
KO is happy to be on SmackDown because after the draft next week this could be his new home and said that WWE management asked him to come on SmackDown for this special episode of the KO Show. KO then introduces Alexa Bliss who gets a lot of pyro for her entrance and as she comes to the ring we are shown a replay of her actions last week in her match against Lacey Evans.
KO says that he has been watching SmackDown and talks about how Alexa has changed her attitude and how it reminds him of Aleister Black. Alexa feigns ignorance of the change KO is talking about, KO continues and talks about the Alexa he met who was happy and upbeat all the time to which Alexa replies that people change and perhaps he should think about doing the same. KO says he has been trying to change for the better and treat people right, but tonight isn’t about him it’s about Alexa and how she has changed. KO says he needs to understand the darkness that has taken over her because if he can understand what is happening to her then perhaps he can understand what has happened to Aleister Black.
Alexa says that people fear what they don’t understand and then she asks KO if he has ever been around “Him”, she says it’s both terrifying and captivating at the same time and when you’re in his presence your spine turns cold and then when he touches you you’re entire body goes numb sort of like pins and needles and when he looks at you it feels like he is looking right through you, but you can’t look away from him. KO says he doesn’t think she is talking about Aleister Black and he sees now that he isn’t going to get any clear answers from her because she is brainwashed which Alexa agrees with and she says it has been washed and now she sees the truth.
KO asks if The Fiend is there and Alexa gets a big smile on her face as she says that he is everywhere and she can hear him now, Alexa demands that KO “Let Him In”. KO gets to his feet and the lights go out and when they come back on The Fiend is in the ring and has KO in the Mandible Claw which he keeps on until KO is out cold. The Fiend stands back up and locks eyes with Alexa and then he extends his hand which causes Alexa to get up from her chair and take his hand and then Alexa has a smirk on her face as the segment ends with the both of them officially joined together.
When I saw that Alexa Bliss was going to be on the KO show I knew we were in for something good and it turns out I was right because nothing but greatness can come when you have two of the greatest talkers in WWE involved in the same segment. I loved KO coming out wearing the Street Profits shirt because you never see anyone wearing shirts of anyone else but themselves so that was cool to see. I thought it was a nice touch that KO used his interview with Alexa to further his feud with Aleister, at least he gave some kind of reasonable explanation for why he would want to be on SmackDown.
Alexa is doing a great job in this role (as if there was any doubt) as her whole demeanor this week is completely different than what we are used to seeing as it is clear that she is fully under The Fiend’s spell as both the way she looks at people and the way she talks to them is completely different as she is now a lot more slowed down and deliberate with her words and the fear she had for The Fiend has completely vanished to the point where she smiles when she is talking about him.
This segment left me wanting more as I can’t get enough of what they are doing with Alexa and The Fiend and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for what is going to happen next, speaking of next, we were told that next week Kevin Owens will face The Fiend in what will be The Fiend’s first-ever match on weekly TV, but before that, we will see Bray Wyatt as Kevin Owen’s special guest on another edition of the KO Show which will be happening this coming Monday on Raw. I highly doubt that the match between KO and The Fiend actually happens nor should it because The Fiend is special and should be treated like it, there is no reason for him to be wrestling on weekly TV unless it’s the rare occasion where a big-time feud gets blown off on TV rather than a PPV.
We come back from commercial to see that King Corbin is making his way to the ring for the next match. We cut to the back where Matt Riddle and Lucha House Party are interviewed about their match against Corbin, Cesaro, & Nakamura which is coming up next. The interviewer asks why Kalisto is missing and Dorado tells her that the is not there because he can’t fit into his mask because his head has gotten so big.
Match #4: King Corbin, Cesaro, & Shinsuke Nakamura vs Matt Riddle & Lucha House Party
Dorado and Nakamura start things out with Nakamura landing some knees to the midsection as Dorado is up against the ropes, but Dorado comes back moments later and takes Nakamura down with a running hurricanrana followed by a dropkick. Kalisto then makes his way down to the ring and this sends us to a commercial break.
We come back to the heels in control as they are working over Metalik. Corbin knocks Riddle off the apron which prompts Riddle and Dorado to jump in the ring, but the referee holds them back and this allows the heels to work over Metalik in the corner with stomps. Cesaro tags in and hits Metalik with a delayed vertical suplex which gets him a 2 count. Nakamura gets tagged in and after a knee to the gut he locks Metalik in a front face lock but he breaks it prematurely just so he can knock Dorado off the apron. Metalik lands on his feet off an inverted exploder and then he ducks a kick before catching Nakamura with a spinning DDT and this gives Nakamura enough time to crawl over and make the hot tag to Riddle while Nakamura tags in Corbin on the other side of the ring.
Riddle comes in hot with a Pele kick to Corbin which he follows up by hitting Corbin with a couple of running forearms in the corner and then an exploder. Riddle goes for a PK but Corbin ducks so Riddle goes for the standing moonsault but Corbin rolls out of the way so Riddle hits him with a broton and then he is able to hit the PK which gets a 2 count when Nakamura breaks up the pin. The match breaks down as Dorado hits Nakamura with a handspring stunner and then Cesrao takes Riddle down with an uppercut for a 2 count. Dorado sends Corbin over the top rope with a low bridge and then Metalik takes Corbin out with a big dive to the outside. Cesaro counters an attempted handspring stunner into a back simplex, but Dorado lands on his feet, and then Cesaro shoves Dorado into Kalisto who accidentally hits him with a step up kick. Cesaro throws Dorado out of the ring and then turns around to be met with a knee strike from Riddle and that is followed up by the Bro Derrick to pick up the win for his team.
Winners: Lucha House Party & Matt Riddle via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
After the match, Kalisto tries to raise Riddle’s hand but it ends up with him and Dorado fighting once again.
This was a fun little match and that is about all there is to say about this match.
We get a recap of the Sasha Banks and Bayley feud and then Sasha makes her entrance which sends us to a commercial break.
We come back to another Carmella vignette and this time she finally shows her face. Carmella blames us for her career getting sidetracked because we wanted her to do things our way and by our rules but all of that got her nowhere. Carmella said she had to remember who she was and that is someone who is better than everyone, however, she no longer wants to be a princess and whether she is on Raw or SmackDown she is untouchable…unless she doesn’t want to be.
I’m not sure how I’m going to like this new Carmella because I loved the Princess of Staten Island gimmick so much and this just feels like her same old heel gimmick but done in a way that has been overdone and less entertaining, I could learn to love it but right now I am very hesitant as to whether this is going to be a good move for her.
Sasha is in the ring and she has the mic. Sasha asks Bayley if she really thought that a doctor refusing to clear her was going to stop Sasha from beating her ass at Clash of Champions, Sasha says that Bayley has no backbone and if it weren’t for her Bayley would’ve lost her title a long time ago. Sasha says that Bayley used her the entire time to achieve the accomplishments she has and to become the longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion. Sasha says that she knows Bayley isn’t there tonight, but next week they are going to have a match for Bayley’s coveted SmackDown Women’s Championship and when it’s down to just the two of them with nobody else around to save Bayley she will come for her. Sasha rips off her neckbrace to put over that her neck is good to go for next week.
This was another solid promo by Sasha that quickly got over her wanting revenge on Bayley by taking her SmackDown Women’s Championship. Just like the Fiend vs Kevin Owens match, I don’t expect this match to happen or if it does it will be very short as they are clearly paving the way for this heated feud to be settled in a Hell in a Cell match.
Sami Zayn makes his way to the ring and he is all bandaged up after being in the ladder match just 5 days earlier, this takes us to a commercial break.
We come back and the announcers hype up the draft which starts on next week’s SmackDown and also run down what looks to be a very solid show for next week as we will see Kevin Owens vs The Fiend, Bayley vs Sasha Banks, & Sheamus vs Big E in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.
It’s now time for the main event of the night.
Match #5: Sami Zayn © vs Jeff Hardy (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Zayn goes right at Hardy as he drives him into the corner where he gets in some punches and kicks before the referee backs him off, but Zayn goes right back to working over Hardy as he chokes him in the corner with his boot. Hardy finally gets back to his feet and fires away with some punches of his own before grabbing a headlock, but Zayn shoots him off into the ropes and Hardy comes back with a shoulder block taking down Zayn. It looks like we are going to get a drop-down and leapfrog spot but something happens which leads to Hardy kicking Zayn low. Hardy puts Zayn in the corner and drives his shoulder into the bandaged midsection. Zayn drops to the mat and rolls to the floor only for Hardy to go out and throw him right back in.
Hardy looks to go back on the attack but Zayn catches him with a knee and is able to gain control of the match as he hits Hardy with repeated punches and then looks to slam Hardy’s head into an exposed turnbuckle, but Hardy is able to block it and then he sends Zayn into the ropes where he hits him with a big backdrop that sends Zayn out of the ring to regroup while Hardy points out the exposed turnbuckle to the referee. Hardy hits Zayn with a baseball slide that sends him into the announce table, Hardy uses the steps as a springboard to hit Zayn with Poetry in Motion, but Zayn moves out of the way causing Hardy to land back first onto the barricade and this sends us to our final commercial break.
We come back to Hardy fighting out of a chin lock and hitting Zayn with a sitout jawbreaker, Hardy runs off the ropes but is taken down with a clothesline which gets a 2 count. We are shown a replay which shows that Zayn exposed the turnbuckle while Hardy was making his entrance to the ring. Zayn drops an elbow on Hardy and then goes back to the chin lock, Hardy fights out but is taken right back down with a mat slam. Zayn throws Hardy to the outside where he drives him into the barricade and then he throws him back into the ring and goes for a cover but only gets a 2 count. Zayn gets up on the second rope and waits for Hardy to get to his feet and when he does Zayn comes off with an elbow onto the back of Hardy’s neck which gets another 2 count.
Zayn slams Hardy to the mat and then goes up top but is cut off by Hardy who hits Zayn with a superplex moments later. Both men slowly get to their feet and then they start trading punches in the middle of the ring which Hardy eventually gets the best of and then Hardy comes off the rope with a forearm which takes Zayn down. We then get the Jeff Hardy combo of the inverted atomic drop, double leg drop, basement dropkick, and standing splash which gets a 2 count. Hardy looks to hit the Twist of Fate, but Zayn counters it into a backslide for a 2 count and then Hardy counters a back suplex attempt into a sunset flip pin for a 2 count. Zayn stops Hardy’s momentum when he catches him and hits him with an exploder into the corner.
Zayn is slow to get back to his feet but as he does he locks eyes with the exposed turnbuckle and looks to whip Hardy into it but Hardy holds onto the ropes to prevent that from happening and then he hits Zayn with a mule kick. Hardy charges toward Zayn in the corner but Zayn side steps and hits Hardy with a Blue Thunder Bomb but Hardy is still able to get his shoulder up. Zayn sets Hardy up on the top and joins him up there but Hardy knocks him down and goes for the Swanton, but Zayn gets his knees up. Zayn waits for Hardy to get back to his feet and then he goes for the Helluva Kick, but Hardy side steps and almost sends Zayn into the exposed turnbuckle, but Zayn is able to stop himself.
Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate once again, but this time he is pushed off in the direction of the exposed turnbuckle which Hardy is able to prevent himself from hitting. Hardy hits Zayn with a back elbow and climbs up top looking to hit the Whisper in the Wind, but Zayn grabs his foot and pulls it out from under him which causes Hardy to hit the exposed turnbuckle face-first, Zayn slowly crawls over to make the cover and that is enough to get the win and successfully retain his Intercontinental Championship.
Winner: Sami Zayn via Pinfall Match Rating: ***
The show comes to a close with Zayn celebrating his win.
This was another really good match to close out a very good episode as I liked the match being worked around the exposed turnbuckle and both men trying to avoid hitting it as that was something you don’t see happen often which makes it nice to see because it was something different. I look forward to seeing what happens with Zayn now that it seems like his feud with Hardy and Styles is over, I just hope he doesn’t end up on the same brand as KO because WWE wouldn’t be able to resist pairing them up once again and I feel like we have seen everything from them being together and we don’t need to see it again anytime soon.
SmackDown has put on yet another great show, especially in terms of storytelling the Reigns and Uso, Alexa and Fiend, and Sasha and Bayley stories are some of the best things they have done in quite a while and I highly look forward to seeing where each of these stories go next.
I’ll be back next week for a recap of what looks to be one of the most action-packed episodes of the year as we have 3 big matches advertised (Fiend vs Owens, Sasha vs Bayley, and Big E vs Sheamus) as well as night one of the WWE draft, so I look forward to seeing what happens on the blue brand next week.
Since this is my one-year anniversary of writing the SmackDown report I want to thank everyone who takes time out of their day to read my article each week and whether you loved or hated my opinions I hope it at least kept you entertained for the duration of your reading of it. I also want to thank everyone at Place To Be Nation for giving me this opportunity to write this weekly article as it has been a lot of fun and I plan to keep going for years and years to come.