SmackDown on Fox Episode #63
SmackDown Episode # 1,112
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Tropicana Field)
Welcome to the first episode of SmackDown emanating from Tropicana Field which is the new home of the Thunderdome, although had I not been told it was Tropicana Field I would have no clue as WWE’s insistence on having a product that is so homogenized and sterile makes it to where no matter what building they are in everything looks the same every week which is a shame as they could’ve really given the weekly TV a fresh look if they had used more of the space in the gigantic baseball stadium that they will be in for the new few months, at this point I doubt they even make the stadium look any different for the Royal Rumble.
I will now get off my soapbox and start my proper review of SmackDown.
The show opens with the SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks coming to the ring for a contract signing for her match against Carmella at TLC. I have to mention that Sasha came to the ring looking fantastic as she was giving Stacy Keibler and Alicia Fox a run for their money when it comes to best legs in WWE.
Sasha opens the folder which should be holding the contract but it is missing and this does not sit well with Sasha as she starts asking Adam Pearce (who is in the ring to oversee the contract signing) where it’s at as she thinks he is up to something funny, but moments later Carmella shows up on the tron with the contract and says she has signed it and she will have it hand-delivered by her sommelier (who is standing right next to her) but she wasn’t about to come out there and sign it after Sasha attacked her a couple of weeks ago like a wild animal, she tells Sasha that this isn’t Tiger King it’s the Queen’s Gambit and she is the hot chick playing the game of chess with her life and she is always four moves ahead.
Sasha says if Carmella wants to play games then she has some games for her such as how far back can she bend Carmella to make her touch her spine or how fast can she make Carmella cry. Carmella says that Sasha is jealous and afraid because she knows as soon as she signs that contract (which had been brought to the ring by the sommelier) her days as SmackDown Women’s Champion are close to being over. Sasha puts her official stamp on the contract to make things official but then says if Carmella wants the title so bad why doesn’t she come out and take it from her tonight. Carmella says fine she will take it from her tonight and immediately Adam Pearce makes the match for tonight’s main event. Sasha then acts as if she is going to give the contract back to the sommelier but instead she slaps him and then hits him with a backstabber before finally turning the table over on him.
I liked this segment a lot more than what we got between these two last week as Sasha came off like a babyface unlike last week and I thought this was the best promo Carmella had cut since she has been back. I like the idea of Carmella having an assistant that takes all the beatings from Carmella’s opponents, although given the character that is being portrayed by Carmella I guess he could be seen as more of a boy toy than an assistant. While I am always up for the women main eventing the show the outcome of this match was way too predictable given that they are scheduled to face each other in a week.
We cut to the back where the Street Profits are interviewed and they are offended that Ziggler and Roode think they are just a joke but tonight Ford will show Ziggler just how much of a joke he is.
The Street Profits make their way to the ring as we go to commercial.
We come back and go to our first match of the night.
Match #1: Montez Ford w/ Angelo Dawkins vs Dolph Ziggler w/ Robert Roode
Ziggler and Ford circle the ring and then Ziggler tries for a single leg takedown but Ford is able to get to the ropes in order to prevent that from happening and then Ziggler kicks Ford in the gut and rakes his boot across Ford’s face. Ziggler takes Ford down with a dropkick and then grounds him with a rest hold, Ford fights to his feet and breaks the hold but gets kicked in the gut by Ziggler and is then hit with a neckbreaker for a 2 count.
Ziggler starts to get cocky as he trash talks Ford and toys around with him but this gives Ford time to recover as he catches Ziggler off a dropkick attempt and catapults him into the corner and then takes him down with a dropkick. Ford catches Ziggler with a running blockbuster which sends Ziggler rolling out of the ring and this is enough for Roode to slide into the ring, but Angelo Dawkins is ready for him as he cuts him off and Roode slides right back out of the ring. The Street Profits start dancing in the ring and then we get a ton of blue solo cups pouring down from the ceiling and this sends us to a commercial break.
We come back and Ziggler is in control as he has Ford grounded with a rear-naked choke and a body scissors, Ford eventually gets out of the move but Ziggler throws him back down to the mat and hits him with the heartstopper elbow drops, and then he goes right back into the body scissors. Ford gets to his feet again and tries to fight back but Ziggler hits him with a neckbreaker and goes right back to the sleeper. Ford gets to his feet for the third time and again Ziggler goes for the neckbreaker but this time Ford counters it and sends Ziggler into the ropes where he connects with a series of clotheslines and then he leapfrogs Ziggler and catches him with a big leaping clothesline.
Ford is fired up as he catches Ziggler with a couple of kicks before missing with an enziguri but he recovers when he lands on his feet off a back suplex attempt from Ziggler and hits Ziggler with a back suplex of his own and then he hits Ziggler with a standing moonsault. Ford catches the leg of Ziggler and then counters a FameAsser attempt into a powerbomb, but Ziggler counters that into a sunset flip for a 2 count. Ford blocks an attempted ZigZag and hits Ziggler with the enziguri that he missed earlier, Ford goes up top looking for the Frog Splash but gets distracted by Roode and Dawkins fighting at ringside and this allows Ziggler to crotch him on the top turnbuckle before he hits Ford with the Superkick for the win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
This was a fine match but I have to admit that I couldn’t care less about this feud because at this point anything involving Ziggler and/or Roode immediately loses my attention as I feel like they are two of the stalest characters in the entire WWE and at this point, not even Ziggler’s work in the ring isn’t enough to make me care about him. I enjoy the Street Profits (especially Montez Ford) and wish they were feuding with a heel team that I actually care about and want to watch such as Cesaro & Nakamura.
We cut to the back where Sami Zayn is complaining about not having any merch despite being the Intercontinental Champion when Big E walks up and Zayn complains about Big E having a new shirt so Big E hands him one of his shirts and tells him that he doesn’t need to be worrying about the shirt but rather the meat that is inside of it. Big E then reveals he has Zayn covered when it comes to merch and then Apollo Crews and Kalisto pull out a shirt with a stick figure of Zayn on it which pisses Zayn off even more than he already way and he tries to rip it but is unable due to his hand being hurt so he storms off instead and that sends us to a commercial.
We come back and Zayn is in the ring still complaining about how he doesn’t get any respect and eventually gets cut off by the entrance of Big E.
Match #2: Big E vs Sami Zayn
Zayn gets out of the ring immediately in order to take off his jacket and to make sure the announcers know that this is a non-title match. Zayn gets in the ring and we get a lockup where Big E easily takes control as she uses his power to shove Zayn down to the mat and that is enough for Zayn to roll right back out of the ring. Big E patiently waits on Zayn while he argues with the referee and then slowly gets back into the ring. We get another lockup and Big E grabs a side headlock until Zayn fights out and applies one of his own but Big E shoots him into the ropes and we get a drop-down and leapfrog spot that ends with Big E locking Zayn in an abdominal stretch, Zayn escapes the stretch and then hits Big E with a punch but it ends up hurting his already damaged hand. Zayn runs off the ropes and Big E drops him with a back elbow. Zayn rolls out to the apron and Big E hits him with clubbing blows and then he hits Zayn with the splash on the apron and that sends us to a commercial.
We come back to Zayn in control as he is choking Big E on the middle rope and then he gets Big E in the corner where he hits him with mounted punches and then Zayn tries to snapmare Big E but he blocks it, so Zayn knees him in the head. Zayn locks in a chin lock which he transitions into a front face lock but Big E easily throws him off, Zayn charges at Big E in the corner but gets backdropped out to the apron where he drops Big E throat-first across the top rope. Zayn goes up to the middle rope and comes off with a flying elbow which takes Big E off his feet. Zayn mocks the Big E hip swivel and then goes for the big splash, but Big E jumps up and hits Zayn with the belly to belly trifecta and then he hits the big splash. Big E calls for the Big Ending but Zayn once again rolls out of the ring.
Big E looks to go out after Zayn but stops in his tracks when Zayn slides back into the ring and then he takes Zayn down with a clothesline. Big E charges toward Zayn in the corner but Zayn moves out of the way and tries to pick up a win with a schoolboy but Big E kicks out at 2. Zayn hits Big E with a crossbody, but Big E rolls through and powers Zayn into position for the Big Ending only for Zayn to rake his eyes and slide out the back. Zayn charges at Big E in the corner but gets caught with the uranage and lands right on his injured hand. Zayn starts complaining about his hand to the referee and the referee makes Big E back up despite Big E repeatedly trying to get at Zayn.
Zayn lures Big E in and slaps him in the face and then rolls out of the ring where Big E gives chase. Zayn and Big E run all around ringside and behind the announcer’s table before Zayn slides under the ring. Big E goes under the ring after Zayn as the referee continues his 10 count, Zayn finally pops his head out from under the ring and Big E has a hold of his ankle but Zayn stomps on his head repeatedly and then slides in the ring right as the referee counts to 10 and thus counts out Big E.
Winner: Sami Zayn via Count-Out Match Rating: **½
This was a fine match but I could’ve done without the count-out finish as I feel like Big E needs to be picking up wins if they have big plans for him in the next couple of months and I don’t think it would hurt Zayn to take the pin as he can always come up with some crazy excuse as to why he was beat such as him being injured going into the match. I really hope that this feud with Zayn is just a holdover feud for Big E before he goes on to bigger things starting in 2021 as I really don’t want to see him stuck in this mid-card title spot on the card as he deserves to be one of the top guys on whatever brand he is on.
We go to the back where Bayley says that she is rooting for Carmella in tonight’s women’s title match and that Sasha Banks is the most overpaid and an overrated superstar in SmackDown history, well at least she was until Bianca Belair came into the picture, Bayley starts running down Bianca who walks up behind her and just listens and reacts to everything Bayley is saying about her. Bianca finally speaks up and wants to know why Bayley always has her name in her mouth when she needs to be worrying about herself as she is looking a bit dusty. Bianca then pulls out actual receipts to show why she is the EST of WWE which includes her beating Natalya and being the last member of Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, eventually, Bayley has heard enough and walks off but Bianca tells her she will text her the rest of the receipts.
I absolutely loved this as Bianca pulling out literal receipts in order to give Bayley the facts of why she is the best was great and Bayley’s reactions to all of it were great as well.
We then go to Paul Heyman who hands Roman Reigns his Universal Championship as they start walking toward the ring.
We come back to an interview with Carmella where she says she has been waiting for this match with Sasha and that she makes Sasha relevant by coming for her title, Carmella says she will beat the disrespect out of Sasha and look sexy as hell doing it. Carmella then snaps her fingers and tells Tommy the sommelier to go get her champagne ringside for her match tonight because she wants to toast to victory in style with the perfect view of Sasha’s tears falling to the ground.
We then get a recap of everything that happened last week between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens.
We go to the back where Roman Reigns was watching the video on one of the monitors backstage when Jey Uso walks up and asks if everything is good between them after last week and Reigns says it’s good and asks how Uso and his family are. We then hear the music of Kevin Owens who comes out to the ring and starts pulling out the TLC weapons and setting them up in the ring, as this is happening Uso is begging Reigns to let him go take care of KO and after a minute Reigns gives him the word and Uso takes off toward the ring.
KO gets on the mic and calls out Reigns saying that despite what Reigns did to him last week and despite the fact that Reigns is better now than he has ever been he is not scared of Reigns. KO says that Reigns may say he fights for his family, however, the reality is that Reigns’s family is doing the fighting for him. KO says that his family is supporting him by watching at home and are not apart of the business like Reigns’ family is, so when he needs help he has to call a few friends. KO starts talking about how each of the TLC weapons is his friends and how he will use them against Reigns at TLC.
Jey Uso then attacks KO from behind and beats him down with a chair and then puts him on a table looking for an Uso splash, but KO is able to cut him off and then he beats Uso down with the chair before putting him through the table with a pop-up powerbomb. Roman Reigns comes out but Paul Heyman stops him before he gets in the ring and tells Reigns that he has to do this on his time and KO is just trying to call the shots and this is enough to change Reigns’ mind as he turns around and walks to the back. KO grabs a chair and leaves the ring as he is going after Reigns and that sends us to a commercial break.
We come back and KO is walking around looking for Reigns when he is stopped in his tracks for an interview but before he can say anything Reigns attacks him from behind and then he talks into the camera telling KO’s wife and kids to talk some sense into KO before he takes the food off their table.
I enjoyed everything about all of this starting with Uso and Reigns calmly asking how each other are just one week after Reigns beat the shit out of Uso with a chair. I loved the promo by KO talking about how his family supports him just like Reigns’ family supports him but while KO fights for his family, Reigns family fights for him. I get that they need to hype up the TLC match but KO going into detail about each TLC weapon and how he relates it to a friend was the weakest part of this segment for me. I like how Heyman stopped Reigns in his tracks and made him realize that it wasn’t the right time to confront KO and how Reigns shouldn’t go to the ring because that is what KO wants him to do. The backstage beatdown by Reigns on KO and then him talking directly to KO’s family and telling them that if KO gets in the ring with him they will end up without food on their table because he plans to take out the man that is at the head of their family’s table. All of this did a fantastic job of building up hype for the Reigns vs KO match at TLC.
We then get a video package of Talking Smack last week where Billie Kay has an interaction with the Riott Squad and everything that led up to the next match which is a tag match where the Riott Squad will face Billie Kay and a mystery partner.
Match #3: Riott Squad vs Billie Kay & Natalya
Ruby and Billie lockup and Billie grabs a side headlock but Ruby shoots her into the ropes and drops down so Billie tumbles over her, Liv makes a blind tag and then Ruby hits Billie in the back of the leg which allows Liv to come in and hit Billie with a dropkick. Liv sends Billie into the corner and hits her with a running back elbow and then Ruby tags herself in. The Riott Squad performs a double team move where Liv uses a wheelbarrow like move to launch Ruby into the corner where she drives her shoulder into the gut of Billie which gets a 2 count. Ruby tags Liv back in and she looks to whip Billie into the ropes but Billie reverses and Natalya tries to take a cheap shot at Liv but she is able to stop herself in time but when she turns around Billie nails her with a big boot.
Billie tags in Natalya who hits Liv with mounted punches and then she drags Liv over to the corner and tags Billie back in and they put the boots to Liv in the corner and then we get another tag by the heels. Natalya snapmares Bille into the center of the ring and locks in a chin lock until Liv fights out of it and tries to make a tag to Ruby but Natalya catches her and drives her back into the heel corner. Natalya works Liv over in the corner and then pulls her out just so she can whip her back into it, but Liv blocks it only to be caught with a slingshot back suplex and during this Billie makes a blind tag.
Billie and Natalya have some miscommunication and this allows Liv to get her wits about her and kick Billie away and make the tag to Ruby and we then get Liv hitting Billie with the lung blower and Ruby immediately hits the Riott Kick and that is enough to finish the match.
Winners: Riott Squad via Pinfall Match Rating: **
There was absolutely nothing worth talking about in this match (other than that cool double team move by the Riott Squad), but with that said I am happy anytime Riott Squad are on my TV and I really hope they find their way into the women’s tag title picture by the time WrestleMania comes around because they deserve a run with the titles.
We go to a video package of Chad Gable training Otis which consists of Gable blindfolding Otis and hitting him with different objects. We then go to an interview with Otis and Gable as they are having their first match as a team coming up next. Gable talks about life has dealt Otis a bad hand but he continues to get back up because he has grit and tenacity and with his help, he will turn Otis from a lump of clay to a statue like Michaelangelo’s David. Otis says that if Gable’s training can get him to the Olympics then imagine what he can do with someone like him. Cesaro and Nakamura walk up and have some words for Otis and Gable before walking off as we go to commercial.
Match #4: Otis & Chad Gable vs Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Cesaro and Gable start the match with a lockup which results in Cesaro shoving Gable to the mat and this leads to Gable tagging in Otis. Otis and Cesaro lockup and this time Otis shoves Cesaro to the mat which shocks Cesaro. Otis tags Gable back in and he takes Cesaro down and we get some really nice chain wrestling which ends with Gable rolling Cesaro up in an Oklahoma roll but Cesaro kicks out immediately. We get a couple of tags back and forth between the babyfaces until Cesaro nails Gable with an uppercut and then Cesaro tags in Nakamura.
Nakamura lands some kicks on Gable and then he gets him in the corner where he performs good vibrations and then he goes for the inverted exploder but Gable lands on his feet and then dodges a couple of kicks from Cesaro before hitting him with a Coppo kick. We get a tag on both sides as Otis comes in on fire as he hits Cesaro with a flapjack and a discus clothesline. Otis hits Cesaro with the avalanche and looks to go for the Caterpillar but Gable starts demanding that he be tagged in and Otis does as his coach says and makes the tag, Gable goes up top and is looking for a dropkick but Cesaro catches him and hits him with the big swing. Cesaro tags in Nakamura who hits Gable with the Kinshasa for the 1-2-3.
Winners: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura via Pinfall Match Rating: **¼
This was a fun match for as short as it was especially the opening mintues when we got the chain wrestling between Gable and Cesaro. I’m not sure what to think of this story with Gable and Otis, other than it’s way better than the Shorty G gimmick.
We cut backstage to Sasha getting ready for her big match against Carmella later tonight and this sends us to another commercial.
We come back and Gable is telling Otis that their loss tonight was a good learning lesson as Otis shouldn’t have tagged him in when Otis was on such a role and he has failed this test but that is ok because he is teaching Otis what to do by telling him what not to do. Otis looks at him confused and Gable tells him he will explain more later.
We get a replay of everything last week involving King Corbin and the Mysterio family along with Murphy. We go to the back where Corbin is praising Cutler and Blake for what they did last week. An interviewer walks up and gets scanned with a metal detector by Cutler and Blake. Corbin calls Cutler and Blake his Knights of the Lone Wolf and together they are bringing back some old-school attitude. Corbin says the Knights of the Lone Wolf have pledged their loyalty to him. Corbin says that if Rey Mysterio wants to step up to him then he is welcome to do so, but this time the consequences will be much worse than losing an eye.
We get the entrances of Carmella and Sasha Banks before we go to commercial.
When we come back we get some hype for next week’s show which will be airing on FS1. On the lineup for next week we have a tag team championship match where Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode will look to dethrone the reigning tag champions the Street Profits, and also next week we will see Bayley go one on one against the EST of WWE Bianca Belair.
We then go to the ring where we get our in-ring introductions for the main event.
Match #5: Sasha Banks © vs Carmella (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
We get a lockup and Sasha pushes Carmella into the corner where she talks some trash before the referee forces her to back up. Carmella shoves Sasha and Sasha goes for a punch but Carmella ducks and slams Sasha to the mat by her hair. Carmella sends Sasha into her boot and then talks some more trash and then chokes Sasha across the top rope. Carmella is feeling really confident as she takes Sasha down with a flying headscissors and then follows up with a running dropkick to a dazed Sasha.
Sasha charges toward Carmella but gets taken down with a drop toe hold and then Carmella looks to lock in the Code of Silence, but Sasha is able to move out of the way in time. Sasha evades a kick and looks to hit a backstabber but Carmella blocks it and backs Sasha into the corner where she repeatedly hits Sasha with back elbows. Carmella sends Sasha hard into the corner and charges toward her but Sasha is able to backdrop Carmella out to the apron and then nails her with a knee to the head. Sasha slingshots from in the ring out to the apron where she hits Carmella with a Meteora as she is leaned up against the ring post. Sasha looks to follow up on that move but Carmella crawls under her legs and then she hits Sasha with an X-Factor on the apron and that sends us to a commercial break.
We come back to Sasha in control as she is trying to hit Carmella with a superplex to the outside but Carmella blocks it and then sends Sasha face-first into the top of the ring post and then she grabs Sasha’s arm and pulls her shoulder first into the ring post. Carmella sends Sasha into the barricade and then throws her back in the ring where she goes for a cover but only gets a 2 count. Carmella talks some trash to Sasha and then hits her with some mounted punches and then she sends Sasha into the corner where she puts the boots to her before hitting her with a snapmare and locking in a reverse chinlock. Sasha eventually gets to her feet and backs Carmella into the corner which breaks the hold and then Sasha hits Carmella with her own set of back elbows which drops Carmella in the corner. Sasha hits Carmella with the running double knee attack and she follows that up by hitting her with the slingshot from the outside to the inside double knee attack which ends up getting a 2 count.
Sasha goes for another backstabber but once again Carmella blocks it. Carmella goes over to the corner for a breather but Sasha charges in only to be met with a boot to the face and then Carmella locks in a figure four headscissors over the top rope which she holds as long as she can before the referee counts to five. Carmella goes up top and hits a crossbody for a 2 count. Carmella hits Sasha with a kick to the gut and then goes for the X-Factor, but Sasha counters it with a double leg takedown and a jackknife pin for a 2 count.
Carmella kicks out of the pin and then she seamlessly transitions into the Code of Silence but is unable to fully lock it in as she can’t grab her own foot to apply full pressure and that allows Sasha to escape and lock in the Bank Statement, it looks like Carmella may tap but before she can the sommelier throws one of the champagne bottles into the ring to distract the referee so that he can pull Sasha out of the ring.
Sasha chases the sommelier around the ring and back into the ring where Carmella grabs her and looks to send her into the corner but Sasha reverses and sends Carmella into the corner instead and now that she is pissed off Sasha beats Carmella down in the corner and refuses to stop which gives the referee no other choice but to disqualify Sasha.
Winner: Carmella via DQ Match Rating: **¾
After the match, Sasha attacks the sommelier once again and starts to choke him out until Carmella breaks it up and throws Sasha out of the ring where she continues her attack, and then she grabs one of the champagne bottles and smashes it over the back of Sasha. Carmella pours herself a glass of champagne and drinks it and then she shakes up the bottle and sprays champagne everywhere. The show ends with Carmella continuing her verbal assault on Sasha as the ring announcer declares her the winner of the match but not the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
I enjoyed this match even though the outcome was pretty predictable as there was no way we were going to get a clear winner seeing as they are scheduled to face each other again next Sunday. I liked the post-match beatdown by Carmella even though you could tell she didn’t know what to do in order to fill time after she sprayed the champagne everywhere because she kept looking up at the referee in the ring for a sign of how much time was left. This entire episode did a really good job of building up the Sasha vs Carmella match which I didn’t care about at all before tonight, but after watching this episode of SmackDown and seeing what these two were capable of during their match I am excited for their match at TLC.
This wasn’t the best episode of SmackDown but it wasn’t the worst either, the highlights were everything involving Carmella and Sasha Banks as well as the segment involving Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, & Jey Uso everything else on the show is skippable.
That’s it for me next week I’ll be back for the TLC go-home show which will be airing on FS1.