SmackDown on Fox Episode #2
SmackDown Episode # 1,051
Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
Before I get into the review for the show I just want to say how happy I was to finally see something that I wrote actually published on a website that is highly visited. I have always wanted to share my takes on pro wrestling with the public and whether they agree or disagree with my opinions is irrelevant because them just taking the time to read what I wrote is enough for me. I want to thank Andy Atherton, JT Rozzerro, Scott Criscuolo, and the rest of the Place to Be Nation staff for allowing me this platform to share my thoughts once a week on this awesome website.
As the show opens we immediately go to our first match of the night which will set the tone for the rest of the show which will be centered around night 1 of the WWE Draft.
Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins – Winner’s brand gets the first draft pick
There is a fist bump between the Shield buddies before they lock up. Rollins gets control with a headlock until Reigns pushes him off and takes Rollins down with a shoulder block. They lock up again and now the aggression is starting to build up as they struggle into the corner before the referee breaks them apart. Reigns charges at Rollins which ends up unsuccessful as Rollins sidesteps him and throws him out of the ring and then hits a wrecking ball dropkick through the ropes to stun Reigns. Rollins goes for a suicide dive, but Reigns sees it coming and delivers a forearm shot as Rollins sticks his head through the ropes. Reigns goes for the Drive-By but Rollins moves causing Reigns to land on the apron, Rollins goes for a slingshot foot stomp but Reigns moves in time. Rollins goes for a flying knee off the apron but once again Reigns is able to move out of the way. Rollins is pissed now as he slides back in the ring and goes nose to nose with his best friend, Reigns shoves Rollins and then we get an exchange of strikes which Rollins looks to be winning until Reigns takes him down with a jumping clothesline and then tosses Rollins over the top rope to the outside as we go to commercial.
We come back from commercial to Reigns working his way out of a headlock. Both men attempt to lift the other for a vertical suplex and just as Reigns gets Rollins up he gets kneed in the head and then Rollins attempts a Curb Stomp, but Reigns evades it and tries for a roll-up that gets 2 and then transitions into a sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count. Reigns goes for the Superman Punch but Rollins catches him and sends him face-first into the turnbuckle. Rollins clotheslines Reigns over the top and this time is able to hit two suicide dives to the outside before rolling Reigns back in and connecting with a springboard knee which he immediately follows up with a big frog splash that only gets a 2 count much to Rollins surprise. Rollins once again tries for the Curb Stomp but Reigns is able to avoid it and deliver an uppercut, Rollins delivers an enziguri which stuns Reigns momentarily before he delivers another uppercut which Rollins answers with a kick and then he hits Reigns with a Buckle Bomb after struggling a bit to get him up for it. Reigns no-sells the Buckle Bomb as he explodes out of the corner with a Superman Punch for a 2 count. Both men are slow to get up but Reigns is on his feet first and he goes to hit the Spear, but Rollins catches him in mid-air and slams him to the mat (I believe was supposed to be a Pedigree, but Rollins didn’t have Reigns arms hooked) and surprisingly Reigns is still able to get a shoulder up at 2. Rollins goes over to the corner and it seems that he wants to put Reigns away with a Curb Stomp, but before he gets a chance the lights go out as The Fiend has made his arrival.
The Fiend pops up through a hole in the ring and lock the Mandible Claw on Rollins before pulling him down into the ring momentarily before Rollins is able to escape from the hole and then The Fiend plays peek a boo as he sticks his head out of the hole and then right back down before the lights go out again and then we see that The Fiend has made his way to the top of the ramp and is looking back at the ring. It would be announced after the commercial break that Rollins won that match via disqualification which means Raw gets the first pick in tonight’s draft.
Winner: Roman Reigns via DQ Match Rating: ***1/4
This was a great way to open the show as these two put on one hell of a match it’s just a shame we didn’t get a clear winner, but that’s what happens when you book a match between two guys that have to be kept strong so the best solution would’ve been not to have these face each other. I have no clue how Michael Cole can say that the match was a disqualification win for Reigns when the referee never actually rang the bell thus the decision should’ve been a no-contest over a DQ. I wish WWE could find a new trick for their scary characters other than popping out from under the ring as that spot is so old and doesn’t have the same shock factor that it did back in the 90s.
We come back from break and take a look inside the Fox war room where the Fox “executives” are strategizing about who to pick in the draft since Raw will get the first pick. We will go back and forth to the Fox and USA war rooms throughout the night and to be honest this was a waste of the 15-20 seconds they used to show these as it brought nothing to the show and it was painfully obvious these people were the furthest thing from actual executives as I believe one had face paint on and in the Fox war room they had the giant Fox sports robot. These war room shots made what was a cool concept of having the networks battling each other into a complete joke.
We then go over the rules of the draft with the new twists this year of there only being certain superstars eligible on each night and any undrafted superstars are free agents and have the right to choose which brand they show up on. Stephanie McMahon makes her way to the top of the ramp as she will be making the draft announcements on behalf of Fox and USA.
The draft picks for this first round are:
Becky Lynch (Raw Women’s Champion) to Raw
Roman Reigns to SmackDown
The OC (AJ Styles (US Champion), Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) to Raw
Bray Wyatt to SmackDown
Drew McIntyre to Raw
In the first round, I was surprised to see Becky stay on Raw as she has been all over the advertisements for the move to Fox and you would think they would want their top female superstar on the show that they want to be the A brand. I was also really shocked to see Bray go to SmackDown as I thought he was a sure-fire lock for Raw so he and Heyman could work together on the character to make it really great, perhaps this was a personal request from Fox as I’m sure they had some say as to who was on their network’s show.
We cut to a shot of Renee Young, Booker T, Beth Phoenix, & Samoa Joe who we will go to a few times during the show for their takes on some of the draft picks. Nothing much of substance for this first round other than Samoa Joe making a joke that was a bit of a dig at Jon Moxley as he said that he is happy Renee Young is keeping the lights on at her family’s house.
King Corbin makes his way to the ring for the next match and on his way, he cuts a promo that was a generic “I’m king and you all are below me” promo that generates some easy but mild heat from the Vegas crowd.
We come back from commercial and cut to a video of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck who talk about nothing that has to do with what is happening tonight and instead discusses when Aikman got drafted to the Cowboys in the number one spot and then talk about piledrivers. There would be several of these Fox sports announcers spots talking about something draft related, but none of them were really relevant to what was happening on this night so I will skip over these just to save time.
They show footage from previous bouts between Corbin and Gable including when Gable beat Corbin at Hell in a Cell but was attacked backstage later that night.
Match #2: King Corbin vs Chad Gable
Gable runs at Corbin but Corbin grabs him and throws him into the corner and then delivers a corner clothesline followed by a biel that sends Gable out of the ring. Corbin sends Gable into the barricade and then looks to send him face-first into the ring post, but Gable slides out the back and pushes Corbin face-first into the ring post. Corbin rolls back in the ring and Gable takes him down with a chop block and then goes to work on the leg of the King. Corbin rakes the eyes to momentarily get back in control until Gable hits a nice looking arm drag but then Corbin flattens Gable with a big boot which gets him a 2 count. Corbin plays to the crowd and turns his attention away from Gable, he tries to clothesline Gable in the corner again but this time Gable moves so Corbin slides under the bottom rope and tries to come back in but is hit with a baseball slide Gable tries to get some momentum on the outside but Corbin cuts him off and sends him over the top of the announce table. Gable tries for an ax handle off the announce table but Corbin catches him and chokeslams him onto the announce table as we go to break.
Back from commercial and Corbin has Gable up on the top rope looking for a back suplex but Gable rolls off the back of Corbin and goes to the ropes but is caught in the Deep Six, however Gable is able to bulldog out of it. Gable hits a couple of rolling capo kick and then goes for a third but Corbin rolls to the outside, so Gable hits him with a running dropkick that sends Corbin into the timekeeper’s area. Gable rolls Corbin back in the ring and hits a diving moonsault that only gets a 2 count. Gable goes for the Chaos Theory but Corbin hangs onto the top rope and then he lifts Gable into the air and hits some kind of move that I’ve never seen before that causes Gable to spin to the mat and that gets Corbin a 2 count. Corbin goes for the End of Days but Gable flips out of it and then slides under the legs of Corbin which allows him to hit the Chaos Theory, but that only gets a 2 count. Gable hits a deadlift German suplex and goes for a second but his back gives out, Corbin tries for his chokeslam backbreaker but Gable turns it into a roll-up for 2. Gable immediately transitions into an Ankle Lock which Corbin looks to kick out of but Gable turns that into a roll-up for 2 and then Gable gets to his feet and turns right into the End of Days that gets the job done for Corbin.
Winner: King Corbin via Pinfall Match Rating: **1/4
First off I refuse to call Chad Gable by the name Shorty as it completely dumb and juvenile to pick on someone because of their height, the fact that a joke about Corbin changing Gable’s name to Shorty is something that has now become apart of Gable’s gimmick is dumb and I hope this feud ends after this draft. With that being said I do enjoy the matches between Gable and Corbin as they always find a way to get the crowd into by the end. It may not be a stretch to say that Gable has been the one to bring the best out of Corbin in the ring.
Stephanie is back out to the stage to announce the draft picks for the second round and here they are:
Randy Orton to Raw
Sasha Banks to SmackDown
Ricochet to Raw
Braun Strowman to SmackDown
Bobby Lashley to Raw
Not much of a shocker here as these picks make sense and are pretty much the same moves I would make.
We go back to our draft discussion panel and again nothing to really note other than I feel Joe is the star of these panels as he gives the best insight into the most recent draft picks.
We cut to a video package highlighting the Braun Strowman vs Tyson Fury feud before going to commercial.
We are back from commercial and see the video package for the Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez feud. Lesnar and Heyman make their way to the ring. Heyman talks about how Lesnar fears to have to relive the defeat that he took at the hands of Cain Velazquez and that Brock has never made an excuse about losing to Velasquez because that is how good Velasquez is. Heyman says that Lesnar will embrace and conquer his fear of Cain Velasquez at Crown Jewel. Rey Mysterio and Cain Velasquez come out and show still pics of the fight between Lesnar and Velasquez at UFC 121, Velasquez says he will beat Lesnar once again and this time he will leave a scar on the other side of his face.
As expected really great work by Heyman to sell the match, however the Mysterio and Velasquez part of this wasn’t as great as it feels like Velasquez keeps forgetting his lines which is expected when you give someone a script to remember who isn’t used to having to remember words to cut a promo. This was ok but nothing too special, but what is special was what I saw of Cain Velasquez in the few clips I watched from his matches down in AAA as he was busting out moves you would never expect from someone from his size or experience level. Just seeing those few clips gives me hope that he is going to succeed in the WWE, he just needs to get better at cutting promos.
We see The New Day getting ready to come out for their match.
Before the match, we get a segment where The New Day present women’s titles to a breast cancer survivor and her twin sister whom they claim is a co-survivor even though she didn’t even have cancer, so that was a bit strange. I honestly couldn’t concentrate on this segment because I was pretty pissed that Kofi is over there just smiling and as happy as can be after losing the title in 5 seconds last week, I get them having to be uplifting and positive for this cancer segment but they really should’ve had someone else do this segment or at least maybe wait and do it next week, it just didn’t need to be the week right after Kofi lost his title.
Match #3: The New Day vs The OC
Gallows and Woods start the match and right off the bat Gallows takes Woods down with a big boot and then knocks Kofi off the apron, while Gallows is doing that Styles and Anderson attack Woods on the outside as we go to break.
Back from the break and both Anderson and Woods are down on the mat before they both make hot tags. Kofi comes in with a springboard clothesline to Styles as he is a house of fire. Kofi hits the Boom Drop on Styles and sets up for the Trouble in Paradise but Gallows provides a brief distraction, but it barely bothers Kofi as he goes up top and hits a crossbody on Styles for a 2 count before Anderson breaks the over. Big E hits a belly to belly on Anderson only to turn around into a big kick from Gallows. Woods hits a rope-assisted tornado DDT on Gallows before hitting a tope con Hilo onto Styles and Anderson. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Kofi moves out of the way and tries to hit the SOS on Styles, but Styles counters and tries for a Styles Clash but Kofi gets out of it and hits Styles with a dropkick sending Styles into the ropes. Styles tries for the Calf Crusher but Kofi blocks it, Styles looks for the Ushigoroshi but Kofi lands on his feet and is able to hit a Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere to get the win.
Winner: The New Day via Pinfall Match Rating: **1/2
This was a fun match but it was way too short and Big E barely got any time to shine, if they gave these 6 men some time to put on a match they could tear the house down. This match was made to get Kofi a win after his title loss last week and was fine for what it was, but I still wish Kofi wasn’t so damn happy about losing his title.
Stephanie is back at the podium and it’s time for round 3:
Alexa Bliss to Raw
Lacey Evans to SmackDown
Kevin Owens to Raw
The Revival (SmackDown Tag Team Champions) to SmackDown
Natalya to Raw
It’s about time that Alexa was drafted not sure why it took until the 11th pick for her to get drafted lol. I was actually surprised she went to Raw as I feel they would want her on the A show since she is probably the fifth most popular female after the Horsewomen and I feel she has a look and personality that appeals a lot more to the mainstream fanbase that is going to be watching on Fox. The rest of the picks in this round were pretty predictable other than KO who I could’ve easily seen going to either brand.
We cut to the back and see Charlotte stretching for her upcoming main event match against Bayley as we go to commercial.
It’s announced that Becky Lynch will face Sasha Banks on Raw for the right to pick the first draft pick of that night.
We go back up to Stephanie for our 4th and final round of the evening and those picks went as follows:
Viking Raiders to Raw
Lucha House Party to SmackDown
Nikki Cross to Raw
Heavy Machinery to SmackDown
Street Profits to Raw
If Raw was gonna end up drafting both Alexa and Nikki Cross anyway why didn’t they just pick them as a team and then they would’ve been able to pick someone else in the spot where they drafted Nikki. Hopefully, now that the Street Profits are drafted to Raw officially they can start having matches on Raw and not just narrating the show as that has gotten old really quick.
We get some quick final thoughts from the panel on tonight’s draft picks with Booker putting over Ricochet.
Charlotte makes her way to the ring as we go to commercial. Back from the break and Bayley makes her entrance, but she is wearing a hoodie for some reason. Bayley stops at the top of the ramp and reveals she has a new haircut and no longer has the side ponytail. Bayley starts to back up as it looks like she doesn’t want this match, however, she goes over and grabs a long pointy stick thing and then she proceeds to murder the Bayley Buddies as she rips them apart with the pointy stick. Bayley has officially gone full heel and children around the world are in tears.
Match #4: Charlotte (c) vs Bayley (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Bayley goes right after Charlotte as soon as she enters the ring, they trade slaps and punches in the corner until Charlotte is able to hit a neckbreaker out of the corner as Bayley rolls to the outside. Charlotte sends Bayley into the barricade and then throws her over the barricade on the other side. Bayley makes a comeback slamming Charlotte to the floor by her hair and then slams her head against the steel steps. We go to our final commercial of the night.
We come back from the break with Bayley in control as she has Charlotte in a side headlock. Bayley chokes Charlotte across the middle rope and then kicks the rope before covering her for a 2 count. Bayley goes back to the side headlock for a while until Charlotte pushes her off into the corner, but Bayley is able to recover quickly and get out to the apron where she tries to hit her signature stunner across the middle rope spot, but Charlotte pushes her off the apron to the floor.
Charlotte dives out onto Bayley with a Pescado to the floor. Charlotte rolls Bayley back into the ring and lights up Bayley’s chest with a series of chops. Charlotte his her snap fall away slam and charges at Bayley in the corner with a forearm despite Bayley trying to block it. Charlotte starts to work on the leg of Bayley before Bayley rolls out to the apron where Charlotte delivers a big boot sending Bayley to the floor. At this point, we can see that Charlotte got busted open somehow. Charlotte climbs on top of the barricade and jumps off with a moonsault to Bayley, but this only gets Charlotte a 2 count.
Bayley makes a comeback and tries to go for the leg of Charlotte but it gets blocked and then Charlotte tries for a backslide on Bayley, but Bayley kicks off the turnbuckle and flips over Charlotte and then delivers a Bayley to Belly that surprisingly only gets a 2 count. Bayley does a lot of arguing with the referee to play off her having a temper tantrum last week. Bayley charges at Charlotte but is caught with a backbreaker and then Charlotte sends Bayley face-first into the turnbuckle. Charlotte goes for another moonsault off the top but Bayley gets her knees up which Charlotte is able to see coming and she grabs Bayley and locks her in a Boston crab. Charlotte is trying to reposition Bayley so she can’t get to the ropes and in doing so allows Bayley to kick off and send Charlotte into the corner. Bayley attempts another pin this time she uses the ropes for leverage but this only gets a 2 count.
Bayley hits a back suplex on Charlotte and then hits her with a running knee strike in the corner, Bayley goes up and hits the top rope elbow for yet another near fall. At this point, Bayley is nearly having a temper tantrum on the level of Christian back in 2002. The temper tantrum takes her focus of Charlotte and Charlotte uses this to hit Bayley with the Natural Selection which gets a 2 count for Charlotte. Charlotte goes to lock in Figure Eight, but Bayley catches her in a small package and this is enough to get the win and we have a new SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Winner: Bayley via Pinfall Match Rating: ***1/2
I thought this was a really good match as you would expect any time any of the Horsewomen are in the ring together. I thought it did a good job of putting over the new heelish side of Bayley as she was more aggressive in this match and did whatever it took to come out as the champion.
Bayley goes over and grabs her title and does a victory lap around the ring, while this is happening it sounds like Bayley has new music that seems like a very generic theme. Bayley gets the mic and says something about bitches but the audio didn’t catch the entire thing, but then she says screw you to the fans as SmackDown ends with Bayley walking up the ramp.
I thought this was a really good episode of SmackDown that had some really good in-ring action that was bookended by two great matches. I think the draft was fine although there were some questionable choices of why certain people went where they did, I’m gonna see where things go before I praise or criticize too harshly these picks. I thought the only miss on this show was the whole war room concept that was clearly not authentic as well as the videos with the Fox sports broadcasters as none of those added anything to the show and took off seconds that could’ve been given to the matches. I’m interested to see who goes where and where the free agents that were in the SmackDown draft pool end up.