By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Tulsa, Oklahoma at BOK Center
Footage was shown of Kofi Kingston’s victory of Sami Zayn last week, and the post match attack by Dolph Ziggler. In the arena, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves welcomed everyone to the show. Kevin Owens made his way to the ring and a video package aired of Kevin Owens and Kofi Kingston’s recent feud. After the video, Owens said he was originally going to kick of Smackdown Live with a Kevin Owens Show, but after being backstage all day in Oklahoma, he can’t think of anything worse that doing that show in front of this audience.
He then said he would face Kofi Kingston next, but he wanted to make clear that he did not attack Big E last week. Owens called himself a good person, and that he would never do anything like that. If New Day wants to blame him for anything, they can blame him for Woods being in pain for the last few weeks, and they can blame him for Dolph Ziggler defeating Kofi for the WWE Championship, because it would be because of the beating he gives Kofi Kingston.
Kevin said after Dolph wins, he can thank him by granting himself an opportunity for the WWE Championship, because he is the show, and it’s all about Kevin Owens. Kofi made his entrance and told Kevin to stop with all the lies. He told him everybody knows he attacked Big E, and that he lied about wanting to be a member of the New Day. He said he’s not a good person, he’s nothing but a liar. He claims that he’s going to soften him up, but that’s not going to happen, because he’s going to stop him and make him pay for reinjuring Big E’s knee and attacking Woods again and again.
Kofi said Kevin would leave understanding why he’s the WWE Champion.
1. Kevin Owens vs. Kofi Kingston: Kofi jumped out quickly with kicks. Both men traded blows until Kofi telegraphed a back body drop and got dumped on his head…[c]
My Take: I assume Ziggler has an impact on the finish of this match. Owens is really slipping into rerun territory with this character. I feel like it’s the same thing he was doing before he got hurt in 2018. The lack of growth in the character is disappointing, considering that he looked to be onto something promising before Kofi’s surge in popularity shifted plans.
Owens slammed Kofi into the barricade and hit a running senton on the floor. He then rolled him into the ring and covered for a near fall. Owens applied a chinlock and kept Kofi grounded at various points in the middle of the night. Owens tried to pull off Kingston’s shoes, but Kofi hit him with an upkick. Both men were then on their feet, and Kofi hit a kick and sent Owens to the floor. He then hit a fosbury flop to the outside. Kofi landed on his tailbone.
Back in the ring, Owens hit SOS for a near fall. Kofi climbed to the top rope, but Owens shoved him off and out to the floor. The ref started counting Kofi out, but he slid back in at 8. Owens then followed him back out the floor and tossed him into the barricade. The ref resumed the count, and Kofi answered at 9. Owens then repeated the same process, tossing Kofi into the barricade and demanding the ref count. He then tossed all of Kingston’s pancakes onto the ground.
Kofi answered the count again, and Owens tossed him into the corner and hit a cannonball for a near fall. He then stomped on Kofi’s chest and applied a chin lock. Kevin tossed Kofi to the floor and went for another count out, but yet again Kofi answered. Owens came off the top with a frog splash, and got another close near fall. Owens jawed at the crowd and climbed up top again, but Kofi hit him with boot to the face and sat him down on the second rope. Kofi climbed up top for a superplex, but Owens headbutted him down.
Owens then hit a Senton and covered for a near fall. Kofi got to his feet and caught Owens with a Trouble in Paradise after a leapfrog, and got a flash KO win.
Kofi Kingston defeated Kevin Owens at 16:28
After the match, Kofi celebrated and we got a replay of some highlights from the match. Backstage, Shane McMahon spoke inaudibly to Elias and Drew McIntyre. Truth and Carmella were then shown running backstage. Truth said he has people following him at the airport, the mall, and even the dentist. He asked Carmella if she knew how hard it is to get a filling while people are trying to pin you? Drake Maverick was tacking up wanted posters everywhere.
In the arena, Daniel Bryan and Rowan made their ring entrance…[c]
My Take: A fun match that saw Owens get 90% of the offense before taking a clean loss. I don’t know why you’d need to go back to this match at this point, because Kofi took basically all of Owens offense and beat him clean. There isn’t much left to settle. I was surprised at the clean finish, but maybe they have plans for Ziggler later in the show.
Daniel Bryan interviewed in the ring by Kayla Braxton. She asked what was on his mind, and he said the Smackdown Tag Team Division is a joke. Rowan told a knock knock joke that asserted that the division is basically non existent. Bryan then said that they weren’t jokes, and they had dedicated their lives to being the planet’s champions. Bryan then ranted about the fat, ignorant fans had spent the weekend eating the beautiful creatures of earth. He said those animals were intelligent, and had names. He also ripped into Oklahoma for it’s hydraulic fracturing, and asked them how they liked having a record number of earthquakes. He then said their mission was to save the Tag Team Division and save the planet.
Kayla said she did know of some tag teams that wanted to challenge them, and out came Heavy Machinery. Tucker acknowledged they are a great tag team, but said it was time for them to get down to some blue collar business. Otis gyrated, and said that their business was the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. Bryan mocked their challenge, and said they accepted, but not here in this fracking state of Oklahoma. They then walked away as Heavy Machinery tried in vain to pump up the crowd.
Backstage, Bayley was shown prepping for her match. She has a match with Lacey Evans later on. Mandy and Sonya were shown handing out copies of Muscle and Fitness that Mandy is on the cover of. They ran into Ember Moon, who was reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They dumped the magazines on her and walked away. Carmella vs. Mandy Rose is next…[c]
My Take: Who lotta meh from me on that promo segment. Bryan’s Captain Planet gimmick feels stale as week old donuts at this point, and they didn’t give him any significant new material here. To his credit, the fracking stuff did get the ire of the crowd, but it felt like a promo you’d hear him cut at a house show. Heavy Machinery have some personality, but if they are going to try and play blue collar heroes, they should do some video packages or backstage promos to really sell them as common men. Their gimmick is ill defined on the main roster, and it shows with the crowd reactions.
Mandy made her entrance. Carmella was already in the ring.
2. Carmella vs. Mandy Rose: Sonya was holding up the magazine at ringside. Mandy controlled the action in the early going until Carmella hit a jawbreaker. Mandy fired back with a high running knee and got a close near fall. Carmella hit a bronco buster for a near fall of her own a moment later. Sonya jumped up on the apron to cause a distraction, which allowed Mandy to roll up Carmella for the cheap win.
Mandy defeated Carmell at 2:48
Bayley vs. Lacey Evans was promoted for later. Backstage, R-Truth was doing some Metal Gear Solid backstage. He avoided an pinfall from Jinder Mahal and hid backstage in a random photo booth. The Main Event all stars gave chase. In the arena, Shane McMahon made his entrance with Elias and Drew McIntyre for Shane McMahon Appreciation Night…[c]
My Take: Other than Kofi and Owens having an enjoyable match, the booking on this show feels like autopilot. I know this isn’t typically the most exciting point in the year for WWE, but none of the programs they have running right now feel particularly hot, and the looming Saudi Arabia show feels like an albatross on the entire company at this point.
An Aleister Black pre-tape aired. He said if we look at the heretical way of man and all he has done, isn’t it obvious that….Black then paused. He said he gets it, he knows people are just waiting for him to throw out a name and pick a fight with anyone. Black said he was sitting there waiting patiently for somebody….anybody to pick a fight with him.
Shane and his crew were in the ring while his stupid Best in the World trophy was at ringside. Shane said he was initially hesitant when people brought up the idea of Shane McMahon appreciation night, because he doesn’t do what he does for adulation or celebration. He said he enjoyes his life, and he enjoys being in front of the crowd. He called himself a humble man, and that he came back home to help run a family business. He said whether you are in the arena, or at home, he promises that he has something that will put a smile on your face. Shane then threw to a video package of his career exploits.
Shane dedicated the video to Roman Reigns, and said he was sick and tired of him walking around acting like he owns the place and breaking all the rules. He said not only was he going to beat Roman at Super Showdown, he was going to beat some respect into him. Elias spoke up and said that was powerful, and in his honor, he wrote him a song. He started singing about Shane being the best, but R-Truth ran into the ring with Drake Maverick in tow.
Truth pinned Maverick and celebrated. Shane was not pleased, and asked him if he was kidding. All three mean beat down truth. Elias hit drift away. Galloway then hit his Claymore Kick. Elias then pinned him to claim the 24/7 Championship. Shane told Elias that was genius. He then said he’s got an idea. Elias and Drew McIntyre would take on R-Truth and Roman Reigns. The 24/7 rules were suspended until the end of tonight’s Main Event. Shane and his lackey’s headed to the back.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Lacey Evans, who was having Tea Time with Charlotte Flair. They agreed they would send Bayley back to the kiddie pool where she belongs. Bayley made her entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Aleister Black is waiting for someone to pick a fight with him, or in other words, he isn’t going to Saudi Arabia. Shane’s celebration wasn’t nearly over the top enough to get real heat, and Drew McIntyre is completely wasted while being relegated as Shane’s lackey. He’s a World Champion if they get him on track, preferably as a babyface, because his personal story is excellent.
Lars Sullivan was announced to face Lucha House Party at Super Showdown. Lacey Evans made her entrance. Charlotte Flair had joined on commentary.
3. Lacey Evans vs. Bayley: Both women tied up and traded holds. Bayley went for a cover after Lacey made a mistake a got a two count. Lacey fired back with strikes, but Bayley connected with a knee and got a near fall. Lacey recovered and hit a springboard elbow into the ring from the apron. Lacey then sent Bayley to ringside, and Charlotte threatened an attack, but pulled back. Lacey then tossed Bayley back into the ring and worked on her left arm.
Bayley eventually fought to her feet and hit a running cross body. Lacey fired back with a kick, and then splashed Bayley in the corner for a near fall. She then went for another springboard move, but Bayley blocked and hung up Lacey on the top rope and sent her to the floor. Bayley followed with a dropkick and clothesline on the floor. She then blasted Charlotte with a forearm.
Lacey tried to roll up Bayley when Charlotte had the ref occupied, but Bayley turned the tables and rolled up Lacey for the win when the ref came back to count.
Bayley defeated Lacey Evans at 8:51
After the match, Lacey took a few free shots at Charlotte, who replied with a kick to the face. Both women were separated by referees. Backstage, Carmella tried to give Truth a pep talk. The Tag Team main event was plugged, followed by Triple H and Orton at Super Showdown. A video package for them was planned for next…[c]
My Take: Lacey attacking Charlotte was unexpected. I guess we’ll see if they are able to patch it up for yet another tag match on Raw. Otherwise, Bayley showing some renewed fire in the ring has been a welcome change for her. Hopefully they can join up this good work in the ring with some improved character work.
Corey Graves said The Undertaker and Goldberg will be at Raw on Monday. We then got another Triple H and Orton video package. Andrade was interviewed backstage. He was shown Finn Balor’s comments from last week where he said he hadn’t been cleared to compete. Andrade took credit for powerbombing Balor into the ladder. He told Balor that he better find his inner Demon when he steps up to Andrade. In the arena, Roman Reigns made his entrance…[c]
My Take: We got some nice video package work there, but I’m not sure how excited people could possibly get for another Triple H vs. Orton match. They don’t have a great track record of delivering excitement in the ring together. It would have been nice to actually get further development for Balor, who seemed dejected last week. Are we to believe he’s now energized and ready to unleash the Demon?
We got a replay of the episode of Firefly Fun House from Raw. In the arena, R-Truth made his entrance and got jumped from behind by Shane and his crew. Truth was limping his way down to the ring before he got jumped. Roman took out Elias and Drew and got in the ring so the bell coud ring.
4. Elias and Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns and R-Truth: Shane distracted Roman early on and allowed the heels to take control. The heels made a few tags, and Roman broke free from Elias with a Samoan Drop. Drew and R-Truth ended up the legal men, and Drew sent Truth to the floor and slammed him into the barricade and LED board…[c]
Drew continued to work over R-Truth. He hit an overhead belly to belly and covered for a two count. More rapid fire tags from the heels, who continued to isolate that punish Truth in their corner. Truth eventually sent Elias into the corner post and dumped Drew to ringside. Truth made a hot tag to Reigns, who unloaded on Elias and knocked Drew off the apron. He did his ten clotheslines in the corner and hit a big boot. He then fired up for a Superman Punch, and then hit one on Drew as he got back on the apron. He then hit a drive by on Elias, and then punched Shane in the face.
Drew tried to sneak up from behind and hit a Claymore, but Reigns moved and Drew landed on the announce table. Reigns hit a spear in the ring and covered for the win.
Roman Reigns and R-Truth defeated Elias and Drew McIntyre at 11:48.
After the match, Reigns hit another spear and Truth made a cover to gain back his 24/7 Championship. Both men celebrated to close the show.
My Take: This program sucks, primarily because Reigns is being portrayed as being a flawless being with near omniscient perception of what’s happening around him. He was never in any real significant danger tonight, and made Shane and his lackeys appear like the Keystone Cops. I’m a little frightened at this point that we are going to see Shane get a cheap win on Sunday, just so they can continue this program through Stomping Grounds and Extreme Rules. The thought of it is nauseating but possible.