By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Tulsa, Oklahoma at BOK Center
The show opened with footage of Becky and Charlotte’s story and title change from Sunday. Becky Lynch’s Championship coronation is set for later tonight. In the arena, The Miz was setup for MizTV. He ate up the crowd booing him and said he would ignore them. He welcomed the crowd to MizTV, and said that he had some breaking news before he gets to his special guest. He aired a video on the tron that plugged his match over a shot at the WWE Championship at Super Showdown. Miz said he is superior to Daniel Bryan, because he beat him at Summerslam, he beat him at Hell in a Cell, and he will beat him at Super Showdown.
Miz then said that once he’s finished with Daniel Bryan, he would move on to challenge Samoa Joe or AJ Styles, for the Championship he deserves. He then acted like his guest was a major groundbreaking coup for him, before introducing his wife. Stills were shown of their big victory on Sunday. Maryse said she was honored to be on the show, and they fell all over themselves complimenting each other.
He asked her how difficult it was to defeat Daniel Bryan’s wife, and she said it was the easiest thing she’s ever done because she’s a far superior athlete to Brie. She said that motherhood can change you, and that her heart wasn’t in the match. Miz piled on and said that Brie’s heart is no longer in their marriage. Miz then went on to say that Brie thought she was hitching herself to a major star, but it just didn’t turn out. They said that it was a marriage of convenience, because Brie used Bryan to push her image, and Bryan used Brie to fight her battles for him. Maryse then made an announcement that tonight was her last night on Smackdown for a while.
Miz complimented his wife about coming back so quickly after giving birth, and then got on the crowd’s case for booing her. He said just for that he would destroy Daniel Bryan right here tonight. Bryan made his entrance and said that he can talk about him all he wants, but this is what he gets for talking about his wife. He took Miz down and threw some rapid fire punches, and then kicked Miz from behind, which knocked him into Maryse.
Maryse sold the blow to the head like she’d been shot, and EMT’s arrived with shocking speed to stretcher her out. Miz tended to her as Bryan apologized profusely. Miz went to get water for Maryse as Bryan continued to apologize. Maryse eventually got up and laughed as Miz grabbed Bryan from behind for a Skull Crushing Finale. Bryan fought out and Miz charged at him, only to hit Maryse again. Bryan then clotheslined him out of the ring.
New Day were shown backstage wearing explorer outfits for some reason. Kofi will face Cesaro next…[c]
My Take: I guess Brie and Maryse are taking a few weeks off. Maybe until after Super Showdown? Either way, this was a bit of a mediocre segment by MizTV standards. I think it was just a case of going back to the well too many times in terms of Miz using the same tactics to get one over on Bryan. Hopefully they can shake things up a bit over the next few weeks.
Backstage, Bryan was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Bryan was asked about Miz and being able to outwit his plan. He said when Miz calls him out, he’s up to something, but he had no idea he would stoop so low. He called Miz a coward and said that he’s going to punch him in the face at Super Showdown and earn an opportunity at the WWE Championship.
In the arena, The Bar made their entrance, followed by New Day. A graphic was displayed for their Tag Team Championship match at Super Showdown. Kofi said they proved there was only room for one Day on Smackdown Live, and it wasn’t Rusev Day, it was New Day. Woods said what’s new on the menu is that they’ll be defending their WWE Championships against The Bar when they go to Australia for the Super Showdown.
Big E did a terrible Australian accent, and got called out by his teammates, but said The Iconics said it was cool. They entered the ring and cracked a joke about Cesaro’s areolas. He replied that they were in their natural habitat of recycling old joke that aren’t funny. Sheamus said that’s because they are a joke. They did their stolen Ford F150 catchphrase for a little irony…[c]
My Take: Bryan came across like he was learning from Miz’s deceptions, which is a good thing for a guy that had fallen in the same well too many times. The Tag promo was good banter, but it doesn’t really feel personal yet.
1. Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston: They started the match during a picture in picture commercial, and it was primarily Cesaro targeting Kofi Kingston’s lower body to slow him down. He bodyslammed him into the ropes, and then hit a low dropkick to the knees. He applied a single leg crab in the middle of the ring as the show returned to full screen. Kofi turned himself out of the half crab, and maneuvered into a couple of roll ups for two count. Cesaro cut him off with a big european uppercut for a near fall.
Kofi climbed the ropes in the corner, and Cesaro jumped up and hit a dropkick to slow him down. Cesaro climbed up and attempted a gutwrench suplex off the top, but Kofi reversed and hit a Tornado DDT that he didn’t quite get all of. Kofi then sent Cesaro out to the floor, and then splashed on him using an innovative bounce off the top rope into a somersault plancha. Back in the ring, Kofi hit SOS for a near fall, but Cesaro clawed back with Neutralizer to put Kofi away just a moment later for the win.
Cesaro defeated Kofi Kingston at 8:43
Backstage, Rusev was approached by Aiden English, who told him that he liked his chances against Nakamura later. Rusev told him that he didn’t want him ringside, after his performance on Sunday. English said he did his best, but Rusev said if that was his best, it wasn’t good enough. Lana and Rusev walked out of frame, and English blew up at a nearby random person about how Rusev Day’s success was all his, and that everything was Lana’s fault if anything. She said she should have been more of a manager and less of a wife. English turned around to find Lana behind him, who said she was going to tell Rusev. He pleaded with her, but she stormed off…[c]
My Take: Oh boy, English is going to be the heel. I am not smelling money in that story, but we’ll see if they surprise me. The Cesaro and Kingston match was solid, but suffered due to starting during a break. Hopefully they really heat this up with some better trash talk over the next few weeks.
Tom Phillips threw to the production truck, where Randy Orton was bullying a production tech to queue up the proper footage. The tech said he was hurting him, and followed his directions to show the images of Hardy with the screwdriver in his ear. He asked him how they make him feel, and if he was disturbed by him. The tech said yes, and Orton said it would pale in comparison to what he does to his next victim. The announce team then gave an explanation and showed some images for the WWE Championship match from Sunday.
Backstage, AJ Styles gave an interview. He was asked about Hell in a Cell, and said that sometimes lady luck shines on you. He acknowledged that Joe might rightfully feel like he got jipped, but said that maybe it was karma. He said they would do it one more time, and anything goes, but he’s getting ahead of himself. Tonight he’s facing Cien Almas, and last time they faced he took him to his limit, so he’s going to go get his head right so he can get a W.
In the arena, Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance for his match against Rusev…[c]
My Take: Not thrilled with the AJ Promo. It could have been a really good time to evolve his character somewhat, and they just didn’t go for it. The fact that they are teasing Randy Orton’s next victim is interesting, but there don’t appear to be any obvious targets. Maybe Rusev? I’m grasping.
Backstage, Lana was about to tell Rusev about Aiden’s true feelings, but he cut her off and said he didn’t have time to lose focus. He asked Aiden to introduce him, without hearing Lana out. English then went out and gave Rusev a musical Introduction. Rusev then made his entrance. Lana glared at English as they walked down to the ring.
2. Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: They traded blows early on without a clear advantage. Nakamura begged Rusev on with a taunt, and Rusev hit a suplex for a rare one count. Nakamura exited the ring to regroup, and then returned to hit a single leg dropkick…[c]
Nakamura held onto a headlock as English pumped up the crowd with chants over the house mic. Rusev hit a bodyslam, and hit a big boot. He then popped up Nakamura for a big knee, followed by some clotheslines. He finished off the sequence with a wheel kick. Rusev fired up the crowd for the Machka Kick, but Nakamura ducked it. Rusev ended up hitting a head kick anyways and covered for a near fall.
Rusev missed a charge in the corner and Nakamura slipped out and hit a knee to the ribs. He then placed Rusev on the top rope, but Rusev avoided the knee and Nakamura hit the turnbuckle. Rusev went to suplex Nakamura from the ring to the floor, but he avoided it. Nakamura hit a thumb to the eyes, and then a knee from the second rope to send Rusev to the floor.
Back in the ring, Nakamura charged up for a Kinshasa, ate a Machka kick instead. Both men ended up on their backs, but couldn’t make a cover in time. Rusev got to his feet, and English jumped on the apron with the microphone and told him to crush. Rusev asked him what he was doing, and Nakamura took the opportunity to roll him up for the win.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev at 11:38
After the match, English clobbered Rusev with the microphone multiple times and left him laying. He said Happy Rused Day, and threw the mic. Lana screamed at him to get out. He got some boos on the way out, and the announce team tried their best to act devastated. Becky Lynch’s coronation is set for later. A WWE 2K19 ad was then shown.
My Take: I’m not sold on English posing any kind of legitimate threat to Rusev, but we’ll see where this goes. He’s a good performer, so he might surprise me. Rusev played the dupe well here, and I expect he’ll get an opportunity to stake his claim as a babyface with some upcoming promo work.
Andrade Almas made his entrance with Zelina Vega. They were followed by AJ Styles. Styles assaulted Styles as soon as he got in the ring, not waiting for the bell. He kicked and stomped on him, leaving him recovering in the corner. Styles appeared shook up, but told the ref he could continue.
3. AJ Styles vs. Cien Almas: AJ got jumped at the bell again, but fired back with punches and kicks in the corner. The ref pulled them apart, and Cien flew out of the corner with a big boot. He then hit a tilt a whirl backbreaker for a two count…[c]
During the break, Almas focused on the left shoulder and arm of Styles. He used arm twists and an arm bar over the top rope. AJ avoided a second tilt a whirl backbreaker by countering into a DDT. Almas managed to tag him with a huge back elbow a moment later for a near fall. The ref separated Almas from Styles on the ropes, but Zelina came up and slapped him for good measure. Styles woke up and then hit an Ushigoroshi, but he didn’t make a cover.
Styles hit a flying clothesline in the corner, followed by a running forearm smash to a seated Almas. He called for the Styles Clash, but Almas hit a back body drop. He then went for his double jump Moonsault, but Styles got the knees up. He then went out to the apron for a Styles Clash, but Almas hung him up in the ropes and hit him with a double stomp onto the apron and out to the floor. Both men were down on the outside.
Almas rolled back into the ring and the ref started counting out Styles. He made it in at 7, but Almas kicked him back out to the floor…[c]
Styles slid on the apron to give Almas a knee to the back of the neck. He then hit a forearm to the back of the neck coming back into the ring. Styles then went for the Styles Clash again, but Almas grabbed the ropes. Almas hit a kick to the face and then double knees in the corner, but Styles kicked out at a near fall. There was a battle of pinfalls, and Styles pulled Almas into a Styles Clash and got the win.
AJ Styles defeated Cien Almas at 14:51
After the match, Samoa Joe went for an attack. He pulled Styles to the floor and attempted to throw him into the steps, but AJ reversed and sent Joe crashing. Joe was forced to retreat into the crowd, but he screamed at Styles that he was never safe. Backstage, Asuka and Naomi were shown getting ready for a match next…[c]
My Take: That match was a lot of fun, but I could have done with the Joe interference coming before Almas lost clean. It would have been more interesting for AJ’s story if he were unable to get his mind right before Super Showdown, and feel more vulnerable for a change. I’m a big Styles fan, but he’s growing stale as a champion and he could use a creative change of pace.
The Iconics made fun of Tulsa for being the absolute worst. Billie said she was actually referring to the new BFF’s, because Asuka’s hair matches Naomi’s Glow. They also said they are fantastic dancers, and then mocked them using bad dance moves. Naomi made her entrance, followed by Asuka. The announcers went over the fact that these four are in a Tag Match at Super Showdown.
4. Billie Kay vs. Asuka: Billie retreated as Asuka threw strikes. Peyton offered a distraction immediately, and Billie threw Asuka backwards into the bottom rope. Billie applied a headlock, but Asuka escaped and hit a hip attack. Billie fired back with a big boot, and covered for a near fall. Billie setup for a suplex, but Asuka escaped and pulled Billie into the Asuka Lock for the win.
Asuka defeated Billie Kay at 3:19
After the match, the announce team made a plea for the American Red Cross Hurricane Florence relief fund. Becky Lynch’s coronation is next…[c]
My Take: A predictable conclusion to a somewhat boring feud. I will assume we go 50/50 booking with this one for the next few weeks, The Iconics get a win in Australia, and then we continue with more 50/50 on television afterwards.
Paige was in the ring with the Smackdown Women’s Championship under blue velvet. She welcomed the new Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, who made her entrance while stills of the match were rolled through on the screen. Paige gave her the championship with her side plates on it, and she said it looked nice, didn’t it?
She said it’s been two long years, but she’s back where she belongs. She said she’s not going to miss the magazine covers, the morning talk shows, or any of that anymore. She told Paige she didn’t need the blue velvet or all the women from the division she built, she just needed one woman, Charlotte Flair. She didn’t appear immediately, and Becky said that she must not want to steal her spotlight tonight.
Charlotte walked out and told Becky she wasn’t interested in fighting or stealing her spotlight. Charlotte said she was the better woman that night, and congratulated her. She then said that it took her two years to regain the championship, but she could lost it in one night. She said she looks forward to 60,000 people watching her win her Championship back at Super Showdown, because that’s when she gets her rematch.
Becky then responded and said that she didn’t let her raise her hand on Sunday, but she could do it tonight. Charlotte refused, and said that she really hoped that there was some piece of her best friend left in the person that Becky had become. Becky said she was kidding, and said she didn’t want her to raise her hand, she wanted her to place the title around her waist. She then told her to skip all that, and just call her Queen.
Charlotte told her that she’d never be the Queen, and Becky called her a bitch. Charlotte attacked and they spilled outside. Becky quickly turned things around and threw Charlotte over the announce table and into the barricade and the ring apron. She then applied the disarmher back in the ring, and finally a Bexploder Suplex before walking off with her Championship. She stared down a recovering and angry Charlotte in the ring to close the show.
My Take: Becky was great here, but to quote Scott Steiner, Charlotte is going out there to get the sympy of the people, but she isn’t getting any sympy at all. It was loud cheers as Becky dressed her down verbally and physically, even in a midwestern town like Tulsa that are usually known for being for compliant when it come to following WWE’s face/heel story dynamics. Part of the problem was Charlotte’s delivery, where she falls into the same vocal Mom voice she uses when she’s being an arrogant heel, even when she’s attempting to win over the crowd. This will be an interesting one to watch as the weeks go by. I fear WWE is putting themselves in a bad place with Charlotte, someone they value greatly as a character, and if they feel the need to right that ship it will likely come at Becky’s expense once again.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Colt Cabana on his role in ROH, the state of the independent wrestling scene, the future of his podcast, the ROH Global Wars tour, the new ROH television format, Starrcast III, and much more...