By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
New Day began the show by heading to the ring with a Stanley Cup. Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton welcomed everyone to the show, and then narrated footage of New Day’s title win from last week.
Woods said that before he goes to DragonCon this weekend, they had a few words to say. They gloated over their title win. Kofi said the Bludgeons were ferocious, but they had them out like a light. Big E started making a reference to being 5 time champions, but they were interrupted by King Booker. New Day reacted like they couldn’t believe it, and Booker got a loud reaction from the Toronto crowd.
King Booker introduced himself as the King of the Smackdown World. New Day knelt before him, and Woods spoke like King Booker and asked if his eyes were deceiving him. Booker said the WWE Universe would bear witness while he granted titles on New Day. He called them Xavier the Wise, Kofi the Brave, and……Big E. E got up and felt skipped over and complained about his title, and Booker told him his title was already in his name. Big E accused booker of going full Saxton on him.
The rest of the team apologized, and Booker told him that he didn’t just say that. Booker overlooked the comment and inducted them into the 5 Time Champions Club. Booker and New Day all did their own version of the Spinaroonie. Big E just laid on his back while the other New Day Members turned him around. The crowd ate up the moment, and New Day had their own commentary table being set up at ringside. AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Brie, and Charlotte vs. Carmella were all hyped for later.
The Bar made their entrance…[c]
My Take: It was nice to see Booker get received so well, and a fun moment to open the show. I actually liked a light hearted segment to open the show, as it breaks up the formula a bit from the usual long promos broken up by an authority figure.
The Good Brothers and The Colons were in the ring. New Day joined at their orange announce table with a pancake and cereal spread.
1. The Bar vs. The Good Brothers vs. The Colons: Karl and Sheamus started the match. Sheamus took control in the early going with some strikes and tagged in Cesaro. Anderson turned things around with a dropkick and then tagged in Gallows. The Good Brothers worked over Cesaro in their corner a bit, but Cesaro escaped from Anderson towards the Colons corner, and Primo tagged in. Anderson attempted a Sunset Flip, but Primo was able to reach out and make a tag to Epico to break it up.
Anderson got on a roll and dropped Epico with a big lariat. He then climbed the turnbuckle, but Primo offered a distraction and Anderson was sent to the floor by Epico. Primo tagged back in to apply a chin lock, and then tagged Primo back in to hit a delayed vertical suplex for a near fall. Anderson rolled away into The Bar’s corner, and Cesaro tagged himself into the match.
The Colons were cleared from the ring and Anderson tagged back in. Sheamus and Cesaro cut off Karl Anderson. Sheamus applied an Canadian Backbreaker, which Anderson broke out of and attempted to make a tag. Both Gallows and Cesaro tagged in, and Gallows went on a tear of offense, taking out Cesaro and Primo with big boots. He then hit a running splash on Cesaro for a near fall. Epico clotheslined Cesaro in the corner and tagged himself in as things started to break down.
Anderson hit a spinebuster on Sheamus. The Good Brothers went for a magic killer, but Primo broke it up with a backstabber. They then hit Gallows with a double backstabber. In the confusion, Cesaro tagged in and covered Gallows for the win after The Bar sent Primo and Epico out of the ring.
The Bar defeated The Good Brothers and The Colons at 10:32.
The New Day and The Bar had an argument at ringside. Backstage, Rusev Day met with Paige, and were entered into the Tag Team Championship qualifying match next week. Rusev acted surprised and wanted to thank Lana for making the suggestion to Paige, and she said it wasn’t her. Aiden English copped to it, and Rusev said it was a great surprise. They celebrated together, and will face The Usos and Sanity next week.
The announce team then introduced a video package that recapped Becky Lynch’s promo from last week, cut with video of her assaulting Charlotte at Summerslam. Charlotte vs. Carmella was plugged for later. Jeff Hardy is next…[c]
My Take: That was a fun tag match, but the outcome seemed obvious from the beginning. They haven’t done anything to heat up The Good Brothers, and The Colons were completely cold. I’m assuming the Usos win next week, largely for the same reasons, unless they are giving Sanity a renewed push with the Bludgeons out.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance, and spoke about how Randy Orton’s obsession with him has changed the chemistry of his brain. He said Orton made him believe he could fly, and that’s why he did this…and then a video package played of last week’s assault on Orton. Hardy smiled and said that Orton might see him as some perverted object of him affection, or some obstacle in his career. He said he was reinvigorated and felt like the old Jeff Hardy again, and that he had been rebroken by fate. He demanded Orton come out and let him finish what he started.
Orton walked out and congratulated Jeff on finding himself again, but he said that he’s not done working on him yet. He said the version of Jeff that he wants to erase is the one in the ring right now, and he’s just figured out how he’s going to do it. He’s going to leave him a pile of broken bones in the middle of the ring. Randy started making his way down the stage and stopped. He told Hardy that he wouldn’t get into the ring on his terms. He said Hardy can call him the Viper or the Legend Killer, but he only need to refer to him as the three most destructive letters in Sports Entertainment RK…..and Hardy screamed Noooo! Hardy to Orton he was going to hell, and he was coming with him. He then challenged him to a match inside Hell in a Cell.
Backstage, Carmella was interviewed by Renee Young. Renee asked if she was concerned about all the attention being paid to Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Carmella responded that the attention follows the Championship, and that’s why she was the biggest thing in WWE for the past 4 months. She said she would prove later that Becky and Charlotte were chump change, and that Mella is Money. After the promo, R-Truth walked up and asked where Carmella went. Tye Dillinger pleaded with him to leave her alone.
In the arena, Naomi made her entrance…[c]
My Take: Hardy and Orton in Hell in a Cell makes some sense given how it’s developed, but I wonder what that means for a potential stipulation for AJ vs. Samoa Joe. Carmella did well in her promo, but her title rematch seemed destined for a DQ finish.
The Iconics came out and Billie Kay said she was clairvoyant. She said she saw the Toronto Raptors having a terrible season, which started a Raptors chant. She also saw Naomi crying after this match. The crowd got loud with the Raptors chant, and had to shout out that the future would be Iconic.
2. Billie Kay vs. Naomi: Billie got a near fall early after some mounted punches on the ground. They played ping pong in the ring trading offense until Peyton Royce kicked Naomi as she was sent through the middle rope, and Billie rolled her up for the win.
Billie Kay defeated Naomi at 1:32
It was announced that Samoa Joe would face AJ Styles at Hell in a Cell. AJ Styles was announced for later. Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella were set for next…[c]
My Take: The Iconics verbal banter just isn’t getting over with live crowds. I think they need to get a little meaner, as it currently comes across as an insult comic act, and the dialogue isn’t good enough to make that work.
Brie Bella made her entrance, followed by Daniel Bryan. They yes’d their way down to the ring. A Daniel Bryan chant broke out. Bryan opened and said that Miz and Maryse came out and mocked his retirement. He talked about the Miz “feeling it” last week, and said that just like always, Miz was acting. Bryan said he acts like he didn’t cheat at Summerslam, and he acts like he has the hardest punch in the WWE. Bryan said like everything, Miz is a terrible actor, and he couldn’t even act like a tough guy last week. He pulled his wife in front of him, and showed his nature as a coward. That’s when Brie showed up.
Brie said it felt good to punch Miz last week, even though she was going after Maryse. She said a wife can only sit back and take so much when someone disrespects her husband. She said Miz and Maryse are always cheating together, but at Hell in a Cell, they won’t have anywhere to run.
Bryan said his wife punching the Miz was hot. He said his wife was a diaper changing, Miz punching, Hot Mama, and at Hell in a Cell they would kick Miz and Maryse’s ass. They were then interrupted by Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega. Vega said it was an honor to be in front of two legends, Brie Bella and Andrade Cien Almas. She then said she would like nothing more than for Andrade to embarrass Daniel Bryan in the ring.
Almas grabbed the microphone and honestly said 3 or 4 lines that were completely unintelligible. Bryan then said that he would love to make the match official, but he doesn’t do that anymore. He then threw towards the stage, where he openly wondered if someone was around that could do that. After an uncomfortable amount of time, Bryan said that was embarrassing, because he always used to come out and do that as General Manager. Paige finally came out breathing heavy and said her office was on the other side of the building. She polled the crowd and asked if they wanted the match, and then beckoned a referee out to the ring…[c]
My Take: I must apologize, because my streaming was buffering and jumping during this promo and I’m sure I didn’t get all the lines. We got some fun work here with Brie and Daniel, even though Brie is ever so slightly awkward in the microphone all these years later. Vega and Almas were a nice surprise, and this match should be a banger.
3. Daniel Bryan vs. Andrade Cien Almas: They worked a grappling sequence early, and both men escaped unscathed. Almas grabbed a headlock, and hit a shoulder tackle when Bryan shoved him off. Bryan tossed him back into the ropes for a Tranquilo pose, but Bryan drop kicked him out to the floor.
Almas took over and got a two count after a kick to the chest. Almas then setup for a reverse Gory Special. Bryan escaped into a sunset flip, but Almas got away and hit a couple of nasty chops. Bryan recovered and hit some yes kicks and a running dropkick, but Almas followed him back to the other corner for a knee strike. Almas went for another, but Bryan moved and Almas took a nasty spill to the floor.
Bryan followed up with a flying knee from the apron, and tossed Almas back in the ring. Bryan charged in for more offense, but Almas hit a nasty back elbow for a near fall. Miz and Maryse were shown backstage watching on a monitor, and will be headed out to ringside to cheat shortly…[c]
Almas controlled the action, applying an arm twist and grounding Bryan with it temporarily. A moment later, they both collided with a double clothesline mid ring. Bryan got to his feet first, and hit some yes kicks. Almas avoided the last one and trapped Bryan’s arm using the ropes for an armbar. Bryan escapes, and hit a nasty looking double underhook suplex from the tope rope a moment later. Miz interfered at this point, and Bryan dove at him at ringside. Almas capitalized, hitting a splash on the floor. He then hit a tornado reverse DDT and covered for a near fall.
Almas then climbed the ropes for a moonsault, but Bryan got the feet up and converted into a Yes Lock on Almas. Zelina Vega jumped on the apron, but Brie put a stop to it. Maryse tossed her into the post at ringside from behind. Miz then attacked Bryan in the ring, causing a DQ.
Daniel Bryan defeated Andrade Almas via DQ at 12:44
After the match, Almas hit Bryan with a Hammerlock DDT, then Miz placed Bryan in the Yes Lock while Brie was made to watch. Vega hit Brie with Double Knees. Miz then hit Bryan with a Skull Crushing Finale.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Charlotte Flair and asked about Becky Lynch. She said Becky thinks she deserves the Championship, but you don’t deserve anything you don’t win. She doesn’t believe in participation trophies, and she won’t apologize for her success. She then said that after she’s done running through Carmella, she’ll give Becky the spotlight she wants. In the arena, AJ Styles made his entrance…[c]
My Take: That was great heat getting segment for The Miz and Maryse. Almas and Bryan had a very good match up until that point, but the interference and finish was the real story here. Bryan and Brie got destroyed, and the reaction and return promo from the Miz should be a hot segment. Charlotte’s promo suffered from the same issues she’s had since becoming a babyface. She says all the right words, and her tone conveys conviction, but while you’re watching you don’t get any real sense of sincerity or humanity. I honestly think it’s the fact that she doesn’t emote well with her face.
Footage was shown of Samoa Joe’s attack on AJ Styles from last week. AJ spoke about the rematch set for the PPV. He said Joe was good at mind games, and he’s got him right where he wants him, but all he’s really proven is that he’s not man enough to take the title away from him. He said Joe doesn’t have the courage to face him man to man, in fact, he’s not a man. AJ said he’s the champ and he makes the rules on Smackdown Live, and he demanded Joe make his way down to the ring. He said he would knock his teeth down his throat.
Joe appeared on the tron, and said he wasn’t going out there tonight. Joe said he’s just proving his point. While he’s out there playing superhero, who is at home playing a role model to his kids? Joe said he’s not done being Daddy yet, because it’s too much fun. He then brought out his phone and called Wendy, and asked about Annie. He said he would keep AJ’s promise and send him home. He then said he’s stop by for the back to school BBQ, and to save him a plate. He said he’d be by the house next Tuesday. Styles then ran backstage. Carmella then made her entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: While I enjoy a good blood feud storyline, this one isn’t hitting home with me. I want to like it, and I think Joe’s delivery has been good, but it hasn’t evolved quickly enough for my liking. I was hoping Joe would be hitting a different note by now than just repeating lines about AJ being an absentee father.
In the arena, Charlotte made her entrance. They got full ring introductions for the Women’s Championship Match.
4. Charlotte vs. Carmella: Charlotte went for a few waist locks in the early going, and a “We Want Becky” chant broke out. Carmella applied a head locks and tossed Charlotte into the turnbuckle. The crowd was chanting Becky while Carmella was on offense. Charlotte escaped a headlock and took down Carmella with a kick. She then went up top, but Carmella recovered and shoved Charlotte to ringside. She then hit a suicide dive, and tossed Charlotte back in the ring for a near fall…[c]
Charlotte escaped a chin lock and hit a back suplex. They traded forearms and Charlotte hit some chops. Carmella reversed a wheelbarrow into a snap mare, and hit a kick to the chest. She went for a top rope body block, but Charlotte rolled through and covered for a two count. Carmella avoided a spear and hit a flatliner for a near fall.
Charlotte went up top and Carmella pulled her down with a head scissors after a struggle. She covered for a near fall. She started freaking out and clawing at Charlotte. She hit two superkicks and covered, but couldn’t put her away. Carmella is despondent and frustrated. Charlotte hit a spear and then Natural Selection. She then applied a Figure Eight. Carmella struggled mightily, but eventually was forced to tap out.
Charlotte defeated Carmella at 13:22
After the match, Becky rushed Charlotte from behind and dropped her. She laid her out with kicks and punches. She grabbed a microphone and said when she gets her way, come Hell in a Cell, she’s taking her title back. She then said “You Bitch!”.
My Take: This was one of the better Carmella vs. Charlotte matches, but the crowd was waiting for Becky Lynch the whole time. They went crazy for her interference and promo. They continue to play this pretty straight babyface vs. heel on television, but they’ve been much more willing to be tweener characters online. It really does seem like people are fatigued of seeing Charlotte thrust into the spotlight, rightly or wrongly, and Becky earned the reputation of being underutilized and very talented. I think the crowd reactions reflect that, and it’s the same situation they are playing out on Raw with a popular character in Braun Strowman being turned heel in service of getting a miscast character like Roman Reigns over, no matter the cost to the rest of the ensemble cast.