By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Washington, D.C. at Capital One Arena
We got a special intro to the show that recapped the various eras of the show and some of the show’s biggest moments. Billy and Chuck’s wedding, Edge and Vickie, Cena and Angle, The Rock, Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero, JBL, The McMahon Family, and modern day superstars were all featured. The show then cut to the ring for TruthTV with R-Truth and Carmella. The Crowd was excited and played along with the what’s up chants, and Truth welcomed everyone to Smackdown 1000.
Truth recalled the years they’ve been on the air and all their great moments, but none were more special than tonight. Carmella reminded him they only had one episode, and that they were cancelled. They then had a dance break. Carmella’s dress is so short she seemed a bit paranoid about dancing in it. He then said his next guest requires no introduction, so they had another dance break. Carmella said they should probably welcome their first guest, and Stephanie McMahon made her entrance.
Steph immediately took over the show and talked about being the first General Manager of Smackdown, and said she was excited to see it all come together on the 1000th episode. Truth started to ask a question, but Shane McMahon interrupted. Stephanie said that this was fitting, and encouraged the crowd to chant for Shane. Shane gave Truth and Carmella a hug, but didn’t give Stephanie one, and she acted offended.
He said the opening video package brought back a lot of great memories that the WWE Universe shared together. He thanked the fans, and said that none of these memories would be possible without fans like those in attendance. Stephanie balked at Shane going for the cheap pops, and chastised the crowd for buying it. She reminded the crowd that Raw has been around longer, and that Raw holds things to a higher standard. She said Raw would have started with something bigger and bolder than TruthTV.
Shane said what they are trying to do on Smackdown Live is putting on thing like TruthTV, that the people actually want to see. This prompted Vince McMahon to make his way to the ring, to a raucous reaction. People love that song. Vince said nobody wants to see his kids bicker, argue and fight. They want to be entertained. The E in WWE stands for entertainment. Vince then called for a dance break, and actually participated. It went on for way longer than I would have expected. Nakamura vs. Rey Mysterio was plugged for later, as well as the return of the Cutting Edge with Becky and Charlotte and Evolution returning.
AJ Styles then made his entrance, followed by Daniel Bryan…[c]
My Take: A fun opener, even if it didn’t really accomplish anything. I think the suggestion here is that when things get awkward, call for a dance break. That always makes things less awkward.
The Usos made their entrance as the show returned.
1. The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles: Bryan will start the match with Jey Uso. Bryan hit a drop toe hold into a La Magistral Cradle for a two count. He then hit a european uppercut, but missed Jimmy making a blind tag while Jey was running the ropes. Jimmy blindsided Bryan with a forearm shot and hit some kicks in the corner.
Bryan fired back with a dragon leg sweep and tagged in AJ Styles, who hit some leg kicks on Jimmy. They traded headlocks, and AJ continued to attack the left leg. Jimmy scrambled to his corner to tag out, and they hit Styles with a double kick and stomps in their corner. Styles was then tossed Sternum first into the corner. AJ was able to make a tag, and Bryan cleared the Usos from the ring…[c]
The Usos controlled the action with AJ in the ring during the break, but Bryan got a hot tag and turned the tables. He hit some yes kicks on Jimmy, but Jey entered the ring and broke up the final kick. Styles entered to even the odds, but Bryan inadvertently blasted him. Jimmy superkicked Styles, and then both Jey and Jimmy hit a double superkick on Bryan and got the pin.
The Usos defeated AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan at 8:33
After the match, some still photos of classic Smackdown moments were shown. Backstage, Paige was approached by Vickie Guerrero, Teddy Long, and John Laurinaitis. The New Day will defend the Tag Championships against The Bar later, and Evolution’s reunion is up next…[c]
My Take: That was a pretty simply match formula, but it was executed well. Bryan taking the loss makes sense given AJ is the Champion. Hopefully they have something better in mind than having Bryan taking a series of losses heading into his first championship opportunity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case if they are going the road of creating friction between them through a series of unfortunate accidents.
Evolution made their way to the ring. There was a loud Batista chant, made louder by the fact that the show is in Washington DC. Triple H spoke first and wore a leather jacket, which wasn’t really the Evolution aesthetic, but whatever. He spoke about the 1000 episodes accomplishment, and said it was fitting to bring together the group that epitomizes Evolution to celebrate it. Ric Flair said 1000 was big, and Evolution was great, but he was used to dealing with those 10,000 numbers. Orton said while Triple H was running the show, Flair was living vicariously through his daughter, and Batista was in a makeup chair, he was putting in the work of cementing his legacy.
Batista took the mic and told Orton he was going to ignore what he said. He said he’d rather do a lot of things than hold the microphone to his face, but he came out to say four things. First he said he was happy to be at Smackdown 1000, and was proud to be a part of building the blue brand. Second, he was happy to be in his hometown, and spent 13 years just down the street bouncing at bars and seeing more violence than anyone should have to. He then said that he was happy to be back in front of the fans, because he loved them. He didn’t care about being called Bootista or Bluetista, he loved the fans and always wanted to do nothing but entertain them.
Lastly, he talked about Evolution. He said Randy Orton has more talent in his pinky than half the people that ever worked in wrestling. He said everyone knew he was special when they first saw him in OVW. He then looked at Ric Flair and said there was nothing more he could say about him that we didn’t already know. Or is there? Batista smirked and told Ric to “keep that thing in your pants”. Everybody broke out laughing, and Batista said it’s a family show. Batista then turned to Hunter, and said he is the wrestling business, a 14 time World Champion that had done everything there is to do in the WWE…..except beat him.
They had a stare down briefly, but eventually hugged it out. There was some residual tension to close the segment…[c]
My Take: Batista was fantastic there. He would make for a great returning legend at WrestleMania. He said he would have preferred not to be on the microphone, but he was great and had the crowd in the palm of his hand. His run in Hollywood has done him a lot of good in terms of fan endearment.
2. The Miz vs. Rusev in a World Cup Qualifier: The match was joined in progress. No ring entrances were shown. Rusev was in control early on, but has his legspulled out from under him by Aiden English from the floor. The Miz then rolled him up after the distraction for the win.
The Miz defeated Rusev in 1:21
After the match, Rusev beat down English, and Lana kicked him in the groin. Backstage, Curt Hawkins was shown talking to Edge. The Cutting Edge is next…[c]
My Take: Meh. I guess we don’t need more than one international star in the World Cup?
Edge made his entrance for the Cutting Edge. His entrance isn’t the same without pyro. Edge said a great man he knew lived his life huge, and he tries to do the same thing, and Smackdown 1000 is huge. He said he had some of biggest moments of his career on Smackdown that people still talk to him about to this day. He had ladder matches with Eddie Guerrero, he cashed in Money in the Bank on the Undertaker, and he married and divorced Vickie Guerrero. He said Smackdown means something to him, and he’s noticed something over the past few weeks that he wants to try and fix.
Believe it or not, the Rated R superstar is going to try and be Smackdown’s moral compass. He then welcomed Becky Lynch out first. A big Becky chant broke out once she was in the ring. Edge thanked her for coming on the show, and said they’d get to Charlotte, but he couldn’t help but notice that they have a lot of similarities. She said that he was one of the people she modeled her career after, and thanked him for having the Champ on his show.
He said he wasn’t supposed to be in the main event, or be on the posters, and he had to bite and scratch and claw for everything he ever got in the company. He said he understands how she feels she made the right choice by throwing away her friendship with Charlotte, but he’s there to tell her she made the wrong decision. Edge recalled stepping on every friendship and burning every bridge on the way to the top, and how it changed him. He said it stains your soul and makes you into something you won’t recognize.
Edge said the end of the road for her will be staring at a wall of championships in her own home alone, and when she looks in the mirror she won’t even like herself. Becky said he’s right….she doesn’t like herself….she looooves herself. She told him to stop condescending her and to get out of her ring. And try not to hurt your neck again going through the ropes.
This prompted Charlotte, who walked out and talked a bunch of trash that didn’t make any sense. She told Becky her attitude is why she ran at Super Showdown, and why she speared her through the LED board last week. And if she liked that, she’ll love what she’s going to do to her….right now. Charlotte attacked, and they rolled around trading punches. Refs separated them, but Charlotte broke free and pounced again. WWE Officials eventually pulled them apart.
Backstage, Rey Mysterio was hugged by Jeff Hardy. His match is later…[c]
My Take: A very good segment until Charlotte had a subpar outing. She was all over the place in the microphone, and I’m not sure if it was nerves or what might have happened. She rushed to get the words out and came across like a bit of a spaz. She’s much better than this performance. Becky and Edge were fantastic.
New Day made their way out, followed by The Bar.
3. The Bar vs. New Day for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Jerry Lawler and Booker T joined from New Day’s orange pancake themed announce table. Woods and Sheamus started the match. Woods got an early advantage with clothesline and a dropkick, but it didn’t last as the action spilled into the heel corner. Sheamus and Cesaro used distractions and double team moves to isolate Woods…[c]
Sheamus and Cesaro remained in control during the break. Woods back body dropped Cesaro over the top, and then avoided a Sheamus shoulder tackle to make a tag out tot Big E. He entered and hit a belly to belly suplex on Cesaro, and clotheslined Sheamus out to the floor. Big E hit a Uranage that looked to drop Cesaro on the back of his head, and covered for a near fall. He went for the Big Ending, but Sheamus tagged Cesaro’s foot and entered the match. Sheamus missed a Brogue Kick, and Big E tagged Xavier Woods.
Big E speared Sheamus out to the floor, and then sent him back in the ring for a Shining Wizard from Woods and a near fall.
Cesaro blind tagged himself into the match. Big E hit a Big Ending on Sheamus not realizing he wasn’t the legal man. Cesaro then entered the match and hit him with a Neutralizer, and Xavier Woods broke up the fall to save the match…[c]
Big E went for a superplex on Cesaro, but Sheamus tagged in behind his back. They hit an uppercut into a powerbomb, and Kofi broke up the fall when Sheamus’s feet were on the ropes. Cesaro blindsided Kofi from behind, which brought…..Big Show? Show headed down to ringside and helped Kofi to his feet. He then chokeslammed Kofi through the pancake table. Sheamus then hit Big E with a Brogue Kick in the ring thanks to the Big Show distraction, and the Bar win the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
The Bar defeated New Day to win the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships at 13:44
Big Show celebrated with the Bar at the conclusion of the match. Afterward, more stills were shown of classic moments on Smackdown. John Cena was shown in a selfie promo talking about his career and how thankful he was for the start of his career on Smackdown. Rey Mysterio made his entrance in the arena for the main event…[c]
My Take: The commercial breaks really kept that tag match from being something special. I think Smackdown 1000 might line up to be Big Show’s 1000th character alignment change with his random heel turn. At least he didn’t cry. We’ll see where this goes, but I can’t imagine it will make any sense. That said, New Day were stale and the titles needed to move, so I guess this worked out for the best, ham fisted as it was.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rey Mysterio: Nakamura hit a leg kick and some knees to the ribs. He then hit a knee drop for a 1 count. Nakamura hit more knees to the ribs, and Rey started firing back with kicks. Nakamura went for a running knee and missed, and Rey tripped him into the ropes. He went for a 619, but missed. He sent Nakamura out to the floor and then hit a splash by flying underneath the bottom rope. Back in the ring, Nakamura turned things around with another knee assault in the corner…[c]
Rey hit a seated senton, but Shinsuke recovered and carried him into the top rope. Rey fought free and reversed into a head scissors from the top for a near fall. Rey attempted a springboard splash, but Nakamura countered into a gutbuster. Nakamura then placed Rey on the tope rope and drove his knee into Rey’s ribs. He covered for another near fall. Nakamura hit reverse exploder and set up for Kinshasa, but Rey avoided it with a body scissors into a near fall.
Nakamura went for another Kinshasa, but Rey tripped him into the middle rope and hit 619. He then hit a springboard splash and covered for the win.
Rey Mysterio defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at 9:55.
After the match concluded, the Undertaker made his ring entrance. Everyone had cleared out of the ring. The announce team plugged the Crown Jewel Match as Taker reached the ring. Undertaker sad at Crown Jewel, he had 3 words for DX…….Rest in Peace.
My Take: I enjoyed what we saw from Nakamura and Rey. I think they could have a strong feud if given the chance to put some longer matches together. Undertaker’s appearance was underwhelming, and the crowd dumped all over the mention of Crown Jewel. WWE has to understand at this point how toxic that show has become in the wake of the assassination in Turkey.