By Jake Barnett, Prowrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
Tom Phillips welcomed everyone to the Barclay’s Center, he was joined by Corey Graves as the Miz made his way to the ring with Maryse. Footage was shown of Maryse slipping The Miz brass knuckles to get a win over Daniel Bryan on Sunday.
The crowd went nuts for Daniel Bryan as The Miz and Maryse soaked it in, eventually Miz chuckled. Miz said he was able to close his eyes and really feel that in a way that he never had before. Miz played the sympathy bit, and said that at Summerslam something happened, and now he has a family to think about. He fake cried and mocked Daniel Bryan by copying his retirement speech “with a heavy heart and utmost sadness” line from several years ago, and Maryse played along. The crowd went crazy and cheered as if it was legit, but then Miz said he was retiring from ever facing Daniel Bryan again.
Miz then said the 8 year end fo the Miz and Daniel Bryan saga came to a satisfying conclusion, because he did exactly what he said he was going to do. He said he beat Daniel Bryan in front of a sold out Barclay’s Center. Miz said Bryan gave everything he and punched him 100 times, but it’s not equal to one Miz punch. He claimed to have the hardest punch in WWE, and in the entire arena. He then said he punched Daniel Bryan in the face, and when he did it, it pinned him 1-2-3, and did it in front of his wife and daughter.
He then plugged Miz and Mrs, and tried to start a chant for the show when Bryan interrupted. He shouted coward at the Miz repeatedly, as Miz tried to talk him down. Miz hid behind Maryse, and told Bryan that it will never say coward in the record books. The record books will say that The Miz defeated Daniel Bryan and is superior to him in every way, and he will never have a chance to go after him ever again.
Bryan told Miz to shut up. He said Miz can mock his retirement and pretend he didn’t cheat to win, but it’s just part of the Miz facade. It’s as fake as the makeup he’s wearing in the ring right now. He said he would expose Miz for the Hollywood Wannabe cosplaying as a wrestler that he is. Maryse grabbed the mic and told Bryan to retire and go home, because he was a loser and should probably change his name to Daniel Bella. Miz had a smirk on his face as Bryan didn’t respond for a moment. Brie Bella’s music hit and she headed to the ring. Maryse fled to ringside, so Brie threw some haymaker at the Miz and backed him into the corner. Bryan clotheslined him to the floor and grabbed the mic again.
Bryan said that before he was rudely interrupted, he had spoken to GM Paige earlier. He said that Bryan and Miz would meet again at Hell in a Cell, but it wouldn’t be just the two of them. He said it would be a mixed tag match between Miz & Maryse and Bryan & Brie. The crowd lit up for it and Bryan and Brie did some yes chants in the ring.
Jeff Hardy was shown backstage. He’ll get Randy Orton next…[c]
My Take: That wasn’t the match I was expecting for Hell in a Cell, but honestly I’ll take it. It extends the feud and gives them another chance to heat it up without Bryan having to take the clean pinfall himself. It’s also adds a break in the mix of what will be intense feuds heading into that show.
Backstage, Miz & Maryse were looking for Paige and complaining about how she’s treating the biggest stars on the USA Network. Miz called her a worse general manager than Daniel Bryan. She mocked him for getting punched by Brie, and told him the match stays. Paige then threw up Maryse’s signature hand gesture up in her face before walking off. Miz and Maryse looked irritated. In the arena, Jeff Hardy made his entrance while Randy Orton’s various attacked were played in video form. Orton then made his entrance.
1. Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy: Orton gained control early by sending Hardy to the floor from the top rope. He then followed Hardy outside and smashed him into the steps before tossing him back in the ring. He then further abused in and outside the ring. He stomped on his limbs and suplexed him onto the announce table on the outside.
After a long chinlock, Hardy fought to his feet and hit Whisper in the Wind to buy himself some recovery time. Hardy hit his signature leg drop and a twist of fate before heading to the top rope. Orton got up and crotched him, and then talked trash to him before hooking his earlobe again. He dragged him along the ropes on the apron, but Hardy avoided the DDT and stomped on Orton’s groin to cause a DQ.
Jeff Hardy was DQ’ed at 9:33.
Hardy dropkicked Orton to the floor and then tossed him over the announce table. Orton fought back, but Hardy tossed him into the ringpost and into the crowd. They had a bit of a walking brawl back to the tech area by the hard camera, and Hardy abused Orton with guard rails and a chair. Orton ended up laying on a table in the tech area, and Hardy looked up and got an idea.Hardy climbed on top of some equipment and put Orton through the table with a Swanton Bomb. Hardy laughed a bit before getting to his feet and walked away. The Bludgeon Brothers will defend their titles against New Day later, and Becky Lynch will address her actions. Peyton Royce vs. Naomi is next…[c]
My Take: Huh. They kind of took the piss out of Orton there. Maybe this will lead to him going further than before with his level of violence? I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be out for revenge from a story perspective. I’m just surprised any measure of revenge came so soon. This is a somewhat strange development in my book.
Backstage, Renee Young asked The Bar about who they thought would win the Tag Titles tonight? The said they didn’t care, they just offered a challenge to the winners. The Good Brother’s then walked up and worked a comedy bit where they auditioned for a kick off panel. They offered some useless analysis of the tag match later, and then added that they would be first in line to challenge the winners. The Bar said they could sort it out in the ring, and did their catchphrase. In the arena, Naomi made her entrance, followed by Peyton Royce. Billie asked Peyton to name something overrated, obnoxious, and has flashing lights anywhere. First Peyton answered Brooklyn, but Billie said that was a dumpster fire. Billie asked if anything else came to mind, and she said her opponent Naomi. They further mocked her by saying that like Brooklyn, she’s not Iconic…[c]
My Take: The Iconics just aren’t connecting with crowds at this point. They haven’t felt like a big deal since they took out Charlotte during their debut. They need some credibility gaining victories, or to show some physical dominance with some attacks.
2. Peyton Royce vs. Naomi: The match was joined in progress as Naomi kipped up and kicked Peyton in the face. She then hit a splits leg drop for a near fall. Peyton rolled to the floor and Billie offered a distraction. Naomi took a kick to the back of the head from Peyton and strugged to answer the 10 count to get back in the ring. Peyton then continued the assault in the ring, and tossed Naomi in to the corner for a leg choke.
Naomi fired up for her comeback and hit a few leg kicks, followed by a flying enziguri for a near fall. She then hit a big kick from the apron, and took out Billie by sending her into the post on the outside. Peyton recovered and tossed Naomi into the post, and then pulled her into the ring for a Bridging Fisherman’s Buster for the win.
Peyton Royce defeated Naomi at 7:55 (approx)
Backstage, Big E was being tended to by trainers, and was asked by Xavier and Kofi how his ribs were. He was eating some Ribs, and said he usually prefers them smoked and BBQd, but these will do. Kofi asked about his actual ribs, and he said those were terrible. Kofi and Xavier said they would take care of business tonight, and they would become the 5x WWE Tag Team Champions. Big E seemed distracted the whole time.
Video was then shown of the Women’s Triple Threat match, and Becky’s subsequent attack on Charlotte. Becky will explain herself next…[c]
My Take: This was a good win for Peyton, and they’ll need more of them in the near future. I think it would benefit the Iconics to experimente a bit with their promo style, as the pre-match insult comic routine isn’t clicking at this point.
Becky Lynch’s music hit and she made her way to the ring stone faced. She said she deserved to stand there as the woman’s champion, and because Charlotte stole it from her, she deserved the beating she got. She said Summerslam wasn’t about Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, and certainly not Charlotte Flair. Becky then said she deserved to hold up that Championship, because she built up the Smackdown Women’s Division.
She then criticized the fans for not being there for her the whole time. She said no one started a hashtag for her when she was wasn’t getting any opportunities. No one boycotted Summerslam when Charlotte got added to the match, and they even cheered for her when she was crowned the new champion. And when people talk about the best superstars in WWE, her name isn’t falling out of their mouths. So she doesn’t need their sympathy tweets. She called them a generation of all talk and opinion and no action.
So that’s why she decided to take action. Becky said that the three count hitting the mat on Sunday was like being woken from a trance, and that’s when she decided to raise Charlotte’s hand and then tear her head off. She said that she realized that her so called best friend had been holding her back, and she wasn’t going to allow herself to be referred to as someone’s friend anymore. She called herself the best wrestler in the Women’s division, and she wasn’t going to hear any different from anyone in the back, in the arena, or watching at home.
Charlotte then interrupted and ran to the ring for a wild brawl. They fought in and out of the ring, and eventually had to be separated by the entire Smackdown Women’s Division, who were brought to the ring by Paige. The show cut to commercial as they were still all at ringside…[c]
My Take: While I agree that Charlotte is miscast as a babyface, you can’t really argue with Becky Lynch’s work right there. That was one hell of a heel promo, and some of the best mic work we’ve seen from the Women’s division on Smackdown since the shows split up. Becky was motivated and had the ring to herself for a long form promo for the first time in a while, and she delivered. Big time star power displayed here, despite my misgivings about the alignments for her and Charlotte.
Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega made their entrances, followed by Rusev and Lana.
3. Rusev & Lana vs. Almas & Vega: Rusev and Almas started it off. Almas controlled the early going, but Rusev blasted him with a kick, and that allowed him to tag out. Lana tagged in and leapt off of Almas’s back into Vega. Rusev and Lana then screamed at them as they recovered on the floor…[c]
Lana was dominated by Zelina Vega during the commercial break. Vega hit a front kick and then tied up Lana in the ropes for a choke. She then hit a facebuster and covered Lana for a near fall. Vega then went for a crucifix pin, but Lana stayed on her feet and converted into a pin attempt for a two count. Lana took a cheap shot at Almas and broke free of Vega to make a tag. Rusev entered and hit a wheel kick on Almas. He then fired up for a Machka kick, but Almas hit him with a back elbow and double knees for a near fall.
Almas went for a hammerlock DDT, but Rusev avoided it and sent Almas to the floor with a clothesline. Almas tried to bring a chair back into the ring, but Aiden English stopped him. Rusev then hit a Machka Kick and applied the Accolade for the win.
Rusev & Lana defeated Almas & Vega at 8:33
Rusev and Lana celebrated. English told them from ringside that he’d always be there. Backstage, Nakamura said that he’s put Hardy behind him, and now he can welcome us all to the United States of Nakamerica. New Day vs. The Bludgeon brothers is later, and we’ll hear from AJ Styles…[c]
My Take: I really couldn’t care less about this Rusev and Lana intrigue with English. Hopefully they can get Almas and Vega away from it, because it’s dragging them down. I’m curious what Nakamura has is mind for Nakamerica. Hopefully it isn’t a comedy act.
After a lengthy feud recap video package, AJ Styles was introduced for a stage interview by Renee Young. Seems like a good place for an ambush.
She asked him what happened at Summerslam, and he couldn’t find the words. The crowd chanted Who’s Your Daddy. Renee started to pull the mic away, but Styles said wait. He said he didn’t regret what he did to Samoa Joe, but he lost the match because of his actions and he was upset about it. He made a promise that the next time Samoa Joe talks about his family, he would tear his heart out….and then AJ was tripped from behind. Joe pulled him off stage and put him to sleep. After Styles went out Joe grabbed a mic and said “Hey Wendyyyyy”. Joe said Styles promised to put the kids to bed tonight, but he already went night night.
Video was then shown of Daniel Bryan and The Miz from earlier, and announced the Mix Tag Match for Hell in a Cell in San Antonio. Bludgeon Brothers and The New Day are next…[c]
My Take: It was pretty clear this was a setup from the beginning, but it was effective. Styles is conflicted and Joe is in a position to take advantage of him. I’m guessing we’ll see Joe become WWE Champion at Hell in a Cell.
Carmella approached Paige backstage and demanded her rematch. R-Truth walked up and told her that she had been ducking him for too long. He wanted his title shot and all he had to do was pin her. Paige waived him off and told him that wasn’t how it worked, and he told Carmella she got lucky this time. Paige granted Carmella her rematch next week. She moonwalked away, and Paige yelled off screen for Truth to put her down.
In the arena, The New Day made their entrance, followed by the Bludgeon Brothers.
4. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers in a No DQ match: No tags are required in this match. All four guys went outside immediately. They brawled near the announce table. Woods kicked Harper over the announce table, and then Rowan sent Woods into the timekeeper’s area. Harper got up and tossed an announce desk padded chair at Kofi…[c]
On the outside Woods blasted Harper with a Rolling Elbow. Kofi took out Harper with a kick to the face in the corner. Woods and Kofi grabbed a ladder, but were grabbed off the apron by Rowan. Harper then flew to the outside with a suicide dive and took them both out. The Bludgeon Brothers tossed weapons into the ring and then tossed Woods into the steps. Kofi then then draped on the apron and hit with kicks and forearms. They hit Kofi with a big boot on the outside, and then rolled him in for a cover and a near fall.
Harper grabbed a chair, but Kofi avoided it and then gave Harper a DDT on it. He covered, but Rowan pulled Kofi out of the ring. He then laid Kofi out with a lariat, and then Woods with a running body block. They dropped Woods face first on the apron, and then set up a ladder on two chairs in the ring. They then picked up Woods for a powerbomb on the ladder, but Kofi jumped off the ropes and stopped them. They then hit a crucifix bomb on the ladder with Kofi, and covered, but only got two.
Rowan then went and retrieved a table. Woods and Kofi were both at ringside. Rowan hit headbutts on Kofi against the post. Harper went and got his mallet, and fired Rowan up with slaps. Rowan charged at Kofi, but Woods pulled him out of the way and Rowan crashed through the barricade. Harper tried to powerbomb Woods through the table in the ring, but Kofi stopped him with the mallet and put Harper on the table. Woods then put Harper through the table with a big elbow and covered for the win.
New Day defeated The Bludgeon Brothers at 16:39 to capture the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
After the match, New Day Celebrated with their Championships as the crowd ate it up.
My Take: Another very good Smackdown show. I think the big story coming out of this will be Becky Lynch and the crowd reaction she got. I’m anticipating that people are going to be pretty upset that they didn’t reverse course and make Charlotte the heel here, but I think Becky gave it a great effort despite having to fight through the crowd that desperately wanted to love her. WWE is fighting hard against the tide on this one, and time will tell how it pans out. The Main event was great, and they went a lot crazier with the hardcore spots than I expected. New Day capturing the Championships leaves some room open for teams like the Good Brothers, The Bar, and The Usos to re-emerge.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...