By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Detroit, Michigan at Little Cesar’s Arena
[Hour One] Renee Young stood in the ring and introduce Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella. The broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in on commentary as Bryan and Brie headed to the ring. Young started to set up a video package when she was interrupted by a Daniel Bryan chant. Footage aired from last week’s Bryan vs. Andrade Almas match that included interference by The Miz and Maryse.
Young set up new footage of Bryan and Maryse standing in the empty arena earlier in the day and calling out Bryan and Brie. Miz said they were trying to save them the embarrassment of being beaten down in front of millions of people again. “Just like we thought, afraid of us,” Maryse said. Miz and Maryse dropped their mics.
Bryan said the video perfectly encapsulated Miz and Maryse as people. He explained that Miz and Maryse attack them from behind and now show up early to call them out when they know he and Brie were not at the building. Bryan labeled them both cowards. Brie said that after watching that footage and after her tag match with Nikki on Raw, they don’t need to wait for Hell in a Cell.
Bryan pumped out the crowd for a fight, then Brie called out Miz and Maryse. Young informed them that Miz and Maryse left the building. The fans booed. Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega made their entrance instead. Zeina said Bryan and Brie were once again complaining about how bad their lives area.
Almas took the mic and said it was fun to walk all over Bryan. Almas said he’s ready to do it again. Zelina said Almas wanted to finish what he started right now. “What did Almas say?” one of the broadcast team members asked in reference to his broken English. Almas and Vega headed to the ring as the show cut to a commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m surprised Brie referenced her Raw match favorably. Anyway, the Miz and Maryse antics drew good heat and Motown is hot for Bryan. Am I wrong to assume that Miz and Maryse will “return to the building” before the end of this match? By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight. Jake will have you covered with the WWE Smackdown Hit List tomorrow, and he’ll be back on live coverage next week.
1. Daniel Bryan (w/Brie Bella) vs. Andrade Almas (w/Zelina Vega). Almas targeted the arm of Bryan and also caught him with a nice spinning elbow. Bryan came back and leapt off the apron right into an Almas dropkick. Bryan came back with a suicide dive heading into a break. It looked like his foot hit the ropes, but he didn’t pull a Brie. Anyway, they went to a split screen commercial. [C]
Bryan came back during the break and delivered some kicks in the corner and then performed a top rope huracanrana that Almas rolled into a pin for a two count. Once the commercials ended, Almas performed a moonsault and landed on his feet when Bryan moved. Almas then performed a standing moonsault in a cool spot. Bryan came back with a running knee and scored the clean pin.
Daniel Bryan defeated Andrade Almas in 12:10.
After the match, Brie threw a cheap shot kick at Vega and then performed a running knee on her. Bryan and Brie did the Yes! bit with the fans while Bryan kept one arm by his side to sell the Almas attack.
The Miz and Maryse popped up on the big screen. They were at a restaurant and named the Italian restaurant they were eating at. They said it was the finest in Detroit, but they bought it out so they wouldn’t have to eat with any people from Detroit. Miz said Bryan and Brie would have to wait for HIAC to be embarrassed again…
Phillips and Saxton hyped the Triple Threat tag tea match and a segment with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch addressing one another in an interview coming up after a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I thought they were going with a mixed tag match instead of the singles match. No complaints. This was really fun. I wonder if they are saving the mixed tag match for next week’s go-home show to serve as the warmup for Bryan and Brie. Either way, I like that Almas has been made to look competitive in back to back matches with Almas. I hope the company has plans for the guy. By the way, I swung and missed on my prediction of Miz and Maryse showing up. I’ll take another crack at it and guess that Bryan and Brie pay a visit to the restaurant and we get a good old fashioned WWE style food fight.
Backstage, Bryan and Brie informed a backstage interviewer that they were leaving to get some dinner…Italian dinner…
Powell’s POV: These characters seem dumb for revealing their plan to the point that I actually hope they are walking into a trap.
The broadcast team recapped Lynch attacking Charlotte last week. Phillips explained that the feud is so heated that Paige arranged for Charlotte and Lynch to be interviewed from separate locations. A loud “Becky” chant started and there were boos for Charlotte.
Charlotte said she regained the Smackdown Women’s Championship and lost her best friend the same night. She said she would have expected Lynch to do the same thing she did. Charlotte also cut off Lynch from talking about being in the spotlight. Charlotte said that she understands better than anyone what it’s like to grow up in a spotlight.
Lynch took exception to Charlotte saying she could have just asked for a title match and then referred to her as her majesty. Lynch said it was a full-time job being Charlotte’s friend and managing her insecurities. Lynch said she doesn’t care what she has to do or how many times she has to drop her where she stands because the title is coming home with her.
Charlotte clapped and said that’s the fire that Lynch has been talking about. She said she wouldn’t see her best friend when they get in the ring together. Charlotte said Lynch is second best and can’t handle it. Lynch told Charlotte to shine the belt up. Charlotte asked what Lynch’s excuse will be when she beats her this time…
Powell’s POV: This was a very good segment with both women looking confident and firing good shots at one another. Neither woman was overtly heel or babyface. It simply sounded like two people with a personal grudge exchanging insults. That said, yet another live crowd made it very clear who they see as the babyface in the feud.
The broadcast team hyped Charlotte vs. Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship and Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match for the HIAC event. They said they would take a look back at the Hardy and Orton feud on Smackdown…
Naomi made her entrance while Phillips pondered what she was thinking about the Charlotte and Lynch friendship falling apart. Phillips said Naomi would face Peyton Royce after the break… [C]
2. Naomi vs. Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay). Before the match, Heckle and Jeckle did their prematch mic work and were booed. They deemed themselves the future. Naomi leapt over the top rope and into a sunset flip for the quick win.
Naomi beat Peyton Royce in 1:25.
After the match, Kay hit the ring and joined Royce in attacking Naomi. Asuka made her entrance and headed to the ring where she worked over both heels and then helped Naomi to her feet…
Powell’s POV: I was hoping Asuka’s return to television would be for something bigger. But with Charlotte vs. Lynch expected to be a long term feud there wasn’t really anything big on the horizon for Asuka.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the Orton and Hardy feud. Hardy spoke about how Orton despises his self expression and his reckless abandon in the ring. Jeff said he’s taken more chances than anyone. Jeff said he defies all limits and he does so to fight for his honor, a title, and his family. He said he’s never had a reason to do it inside the most dangerous structure of them all until now. Jeff said the cage won’t contain him, it will set him free. He said he will soar higher than the heavens and his depravity will sink to the deepest depths of hell. Hardy said Orton’s obsession will be his own destruction…
Backstage, Paige spoke with Miz and Maryse, who said they cut dinner short because the food was so bad and they wanted to confront Bryan and Brie. Paige informed them that Brie and Bryan left. Miz acted surprised. Paige booked Miz in a match against “any man who wants to face you.” Miz asked her to be a good general manager and not let that happen. She teased letting them leave, then said that if they do they should never come back… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another swing and a miss on the food fight. I’m off my prognosticating game tonight. Meanwhile, the Hardy video was well done. Say a prayer or two for Jeff, as they seemed to foreshadow a big leap from the HIAC structure.
Backstage, R-Truth said Carmella can’t keep ducking him. He turned a blonde around, but it was Maryse, who said he mistook her for the Long Island trash. Miz showed up. R-Truth asked if Miz was married to Carmella. Miz asked Truth when the last time they teamed together was. Truth said it was seven years ago. Miz said that was the last time Truth was relevant and he is now a joke. Truth said he doesn’t know what Carmella sees in Miz and then walked away…
Samoa Joe made his entrance for an in-ring promo with a cut on his forehead. “Oh, Wendy,” Joe started. Joe said he walked the building up and down and the lack of the WWE Champion shows that the Styles family are taking his threats seriously. Joe assumed Wendy was cradling young Annie in her arms and telling her about all the horrible things that Uncle Joe does. He said AJ Styles is probably holding a bat waiting for him to bust through the door.
[Hour Two] Joe said that wouldn’t happen because he’s not a monster. He said that his actions have forced AJ to actually care about Wendy and to look after his family. Joe said he wants the Styles clan to enjoy the evening. He said there will be more nights with AJ tucking in Annie because at HIAC a very bad man is going to take her daddy’s championship and make him good night night.
AJ Styles appeared on the big screen. He said he gets threatening another man, but when you threaten another man’s family that’s when the talking stops. AJ’s music played. Joe looked surprised. Joe struck a fighting pose. When Styles didn’t come out at first, Joe looked behind his back in the ring. Styles walked onto the stage and eventually charged the ring.
Joe and Styles exchanged punches. Styles got the better of it and knocked Joe to the mat. Joe rolled to ringside and pulled Styles to the floor and then ran him into the barricade. Joe grabbed a chair. Styles recovered and hit him with a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles picked up the chair and swung it, but Joe ducked and the chair hit the ring post instead.
Several referees ran out to keep the wrestlers apart. They failed. Styles returned to the ring and then performed a springboard leap onto Joe at ringside. Paige ran out and pleaded with Styles to return to the back. Styles tried to run around her and the referees, but they stopped him and backed him up to the stage. AJ’s music played to end the segment while Joe sold at ringside…
Powell’s POV: A good segment with Styles not falling for Joe’s mind games and getting the better of him this time around. They took a weird path to get here, but the intensity of the feud is strong.
Backstage, R-Truth was talking with Tye Dillinger while searching for Carmella. He found her and asked if she’d seen Carmella. Truth invited her to call a truce for a night and join him at ringside for his match against Miz. Truth informed Carmella that Maryse referred to her as Long Island trash. Carmella threw a fit and stormed off. Truth said he was trying to teach Dillinger something. He asked what Truth could possibly teach him. “How to get in the main event of Smackdown Live, dawg,” Truth said…
Phillips hyped the Triple Threat tag match for after the break… [C] The broadcast team confirmed R-Truth vs. Miz as the main event and pondered whether Carmella would accompany Truth to the ring…
Another video package aired on the Orton vs. Hardy match and featured comments from Orton. He said he promised to make everyone squirm and his actions would not be for the faint of heart. He said Hardy refuses to go quiet and that’s good because he wants to feel his last gasp when he stomps it out. Orton spoke about the HIAC structure and said it destroys one’s sense of morality. He said what he does to Hardy will make fans gasp and keep them up at night while it makes him smile. Orton said he will erase Hardy for good…
Powell’s POV: I really like the approach they took with these video packages. Both men could have said the same words in front of a live crowd and I doubt it would have been as effective as the video package approach was.
Ring entrances for the Triple Threat tag match took place. The Usos and Sanity were out first. Aiden English sang a Rusev Day song for their entrance on the stage… [C]
3. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. “Sanity” Eric Young and Killian Dain (w/Alexander Wolfe) vs. Rusev and Aiden English to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Lana sat at the broadcast table for the match. The match started during the commercial break. They took another break a few minutes later. [C]
The Usos had Young pinned, but English broke up the pin. Jey ran the ropes and was tagged by Rusev. Jey performed a running dive that took out a couple of Sanity members. Rusev was going to perform a suicide dive, but he was punched by one of the Usos. Young tried to steal a pin using the ropes for leverage, but English knocked him off the ropes. Rusev caught Young with a Machka Kick and pinned him…
Rusev and Aiden English defeated The Usos and Sanity to earn a spot in the No. 1 contenders match.
After the match, Sheamus and Cesaro walked onto the stage while the broadcast team hyped their match against Rusev and English for next week with the winning team advancing to challenge New Day at HIAC…
The Miz and Maryse were shown kissing backstage while Graves announced that Carmella had agreed to join R-Truth at ringside for the main event. Phillips set up a brief Connor’s Cure video package on “Super Messiah”, a young boy who is battling cancer… [C]
The broadcast team spoke about Mixed Match Challenge season two and ran through the ten teams who will be in the round robin tournament. The “fun” begins on September 18 on Facebook Watch (see the main page for a rundown of the teams)…
The Miz and Maryse made their entrance. Miz had the production truck play footage of when they left Bryan and Brie lying last week. Miz said they are sick of chasing Bryan and Brie all over the city. He called out Bryan and Brie. Maryse cut him off and said they won’t come out because they are afraid. Miz said Bryan dragged his wife into it and it will be his fault when something happens at HIAC.
Carmella made her entrance. R-Truth came out after her and sang his entrance song. Carmella even filled in the “What’s Up” part… [C]
4. The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. R-Truth (w/Carmella). The match was joined in progress. Phillips said he couldn’t believe that R-Truth was in the main event of Smackdown. Late in the match, Miz did the Yes bit and then ran into a spinning kick from Truth, who got a two count.
Miz clipped the knee of Truth and went for a figure four, but Truth countered into a pin for a near fall. Miz got up and booted Truth in the face. Miz signaled for his finisher, but Daniel Bryan’s music played and he and Brie walked onto the stage. Truth rolled up Miz and pinned him.
R-Truth pinned The Miz in roughly 7:30.
After the match, Bryan hit the ring and attacked Miz and put him in the Yes Lock. Brie threw Maryse inside the ring and kicked her and then set up for a running knee, but Zelina Vega showed up and stopped her. Andrade Almas pulled Bryan to ringside and ran him into the ring steps. Almas and Vega went to pick up Bryan and Brie, but they were both put into Yes Locks while Miz and Maryse watched from the stage. Miz ran toward the ring and then stopped in is tracks when Bryan and Brie released the holds…
Powell’s POV: Miz losing to Truth was harmless given the way it was done. The post match angle was solid even though I could have done without Almas and Zelina being in the Yes Locks for so long. It’s going to be hard to take them seriously next week if we get the expected mixed tag match. I will be by later tonight with my members’ exclusive audio review. Jake Barnett’s Smackdown Hit List will be available on Wednesday.