By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Then announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves hyped up New Day vs. Ziggler, Owens, and Zayn for later. The Miz then made his entrance for a Smackdown edition of MizTV. The crowd seemed excited to see him. He acknowledged them and said he felt the same way. He revealed a shirt with his Dad putting up his fists, and said that was his mood tonight, because he was told he must follow the script tonight. He read from a piece of paper and introduce Drew McIntyre, but did so in a robotic way. He then introduced Shane McMahon, but called him “Breast in the World” and then “Pest of the World”, and claimed there was a smudge on the page.
McIntyre and Shane then made their entrance, along with Elias. A video package then aired of Shane getting the cheap win over Roman at Super Showdown. Shane danced in the ring while Drew kind of chuckled at how ridiculous he was. Shane then said Miz couldn’t even read the dummy card correctly, so he made Greg Hamilton reintroduce him. Shane then introduced Elias, who played a blues riff. The crowd chanted you suck, which Shane said they were chanting at Miz.
Shane said he did exactly what he said he was going to do, and that was beat Roman 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring. He said Roman shouldn’t feel ashamed, because lost to the best in the world. Another riff from Elias broke up the crowd boos. Miz asked Shane if he realized all of his accomplishments are tainted. Shane said he only won best in the world because he did almost all the work for him, and Miz beat his ass all over the arena twice until he slipped through his fingers. Miz then said Roman Reigns dismantled him in Saudi Arabia, until the Scottish Sycophant got involved.
Miz then threw to a Roman video promo from Saudi Arabia, where he said he would destroy Drew McIntyre at Super Showdown. Drew then said it was his turn next. He said Roman’s emotions will get the best of him, and he is unlike any opponent in WWE. He said he has a weapon nobody else does in the Claymore Kick, and at Stomping Grounds he would kick his head off. Miz told Drew that Shane was using him,and he would discard him, just like he did to him. He said he gave Shane his dream of being a Tag Team Champion, and he threw him aside.
Shane said he owns Roman Reigns just like he owns Miz, 1-0 for Roman and 2-0 for him. MIz replied that Shane was a no talent hack that was born into the McMahon family, and he got the world handed to him. Shane replied that Miz was born into a genetic cesspool and shared DNA with a baked potato, referring to Mr. Miz. Miz got up, but Drew met him face to face. Shane said if Miz can defeat Elias and Drew, he could get a shot at Shane tonight. Those matches start next…[c]
My Take: This was a well delivered promo segment. Shane is hated as a heel, and Miz hit all the high points about why he’s just a spoiled rich kid. We’ll see if they can continue to build some heat on the heels heading into Stomping Grounds. Elias seems like the sacrificial lamb here.
1. Elias vs. Miz: The match was joined in progress with Elias in control. He went Old School on the ropes and hit double knees. Miz escaped with a jawbreaker and started to make a comeback. He hit some kicks and double knees in the corner, but Elias fired back with a high knee of his own. Miz avoided Drift Away, but Elias caught him with a sit out Powerbomb for a near fall.
Elias went up top for an Elbow Drop, but Miz avoided it and hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
Miz defeated Elias at roughly 5 minutes.
Drew McIntyre immediately entered the ring for the next match…[c]
2. Drew McIntyre vs. Miz: Drew immediately went on the offensive and sent Miz to the floor. He threw him into the barricade and the ringpost, and then tossed him back in the ring. He then hit a spinebuster and covered for a near fall. Miz took more abuse before making his comeback as the show returned from split screen commercial. He sent McIntyre into the post shoulder first, and then out to the floor. Miz hit a baseball slide on Drew and then tossed him back in the ring. He then went for a springboard move, but got caught up on the ropes. Miz recovered and hit a DDT. McIntyre fired up with a Glasgow Kiss and then hit the Claymore Kick for the win.
Drew McIntyre defeated The Miz at 5:50.
After the match, Shane applied his Triangle Finisher and then celebrated like a jackass. Backstage, Mandy and Sonya insulted Ember Moon for being a nerd while she played on her Nintendo Switch. Ember said she saw what they did to Carmella last week, and they said she deserved it because she shouldn’t have been in the match. They knocked the Nintendo Switch from her hands and walked away. Ember screamed and looked ready to get her revenge.
In the arena, Daniel Bryan and Rowan made their entrance…[c]
My Take: Not enough time for either of those matches for them to really get good, but they were strong efforts for quick TV matches. Shane continues to be obnoxious, which is entertaining at times, but this is a gimmick that will get tiresome the longer they try to stretch it out without anyone delivering his comeuppance.
The announce team congratulated John Cena on being cast in Fast and the Furious 9. Daniel Bryan told the crowd they should be excited, because they were putting their titles on the line against the YOLO County Tag Team Champions in a Unification Match. They were two schlubs with cardboard titles. Heavy machinery walked out and said they were ducking them, and Otis called them elitist cowards. Tucker labeled them Blue Collar Solid, and they wore denim vests with the same tagline. Otis made sure to say they like to have a good time, and gyrated disturbingly.
Bryan said they had to earn a title shot, and told them to take on the YOLO County Tag Team Champions. Otis accepted.
3. Heavy Machinery vs. Jobbers: Tucker obliterated one of the local talents, and then Otis hit The Caterpillar. They won with the Compactor.
Heavy Machinery defeated Jobbers at 0:49.
Rowan wanted to come back and take on Heavy Machinery, but Bryan held him back. The announce team plugged New Day vs. Ziggler, Owens, and Zayn later. Backstage, R-Truth walked with Carmella. He talked about defending his Championship on the plane to Saudi Arabia, and in an Elevator. Someone walked by and Carmella told him to get in an equipment box. It was locked and he couldn’t escape.
She had to go out and have her match, so she had to leave him there. Jinder Mahal walked up and used his terrible female voice impression to talk to Truth. He said he would go find a crowbar to get him out. In the arena, Sonya Deville made her entrance with Mandy Rose…[c]
My Take: The Tag division is still awful. The cardboard belts were worth a laugh, but it’s the Smackdown Tag Division isn’t much better at this point. Truth’s 24/7 segments are finding an audience based on the number of people I see that enjoy them, but they don’t do anything for me personally. It really should end with Carmella pinning him at some point.
4. Sonya Deville vs. Carmella: Sonya got an early advantage, and hit some knee strikes. She then used a knee to choke Carmella on the second rope. Carmella managed to apply the code of silence after reversing a pin, but Mandy Rose put Sonya’s foot on the ropes to break the hold. Sonya ended up on the outside after missing a charging attack. Carmella then hit a suicide dive on both women on the floor.
Carmella tossed Sonya back in the ring, but Mandy held up Carmella, who hit her with a superkick. Sonya used the delay to hit a running knee strike, and then covered Carmella for the win.
Sonya defeated Carmella at 4:11
After the match, Sonya and Mandy backed up the stage and celebrated. Backstage, Nikki Cross walked up to Alexa Bliss. They spoke about Nikki accidentally interfering in the tag match last night on Raw. Alexa manipulated Nikk into believing that Bayley had been bullying her on social media, which Nikki was unaware of. She didn’t show her the actual posts, because she had Bayley blocked on Twitter. She then said she had gotten Nikki a match with Bayley, and told her to imagine the social media bullies in the ring with her, and not to hold back.
In the arena, New Day made their entrance…[c]
My Take: Alexa continues to isolate and manipulate Nikki Cross. It could build to a memorable moment when Nikki figures it out, but where will they go with it? I’m intrigued, as Nikki Cross is very good and deserves to be a featured character. Carmella and Sonya had another very brief match, but it was entertaining for what it was. But where was Ember Moon? I guess she was still committed to her Nintendo Switch.
We got a video package with all the kids at the blood money show in Saudi Arabia. New Day were dancing in the ring. The announce team put over the Steel Cage Match between Ziggler and Kofi at Stomping Grounds. Woods started the promo, and he and Kofi celebrated the actual return of Big E. He celebrated being back….again. He said if he had a title run for every return, he’d be Charlotte Flair. Kofi said it was a booking joke, which Woods shushed.
Woods said they would end their match quickly, so he could get back to E3. They spoke about Sami, Kevin, and Dolph holding them down at one time for another. Kofi said he beat all of them, and at Stomping Grounds, he would do it again. He said at Stomping Grounds, he would do it one more time, and Dolph wouldn’t be able to run away from him. They started to celebrate, but Dolph interrupted him.
He said he put Kofi on a pedestal, because he told the world he had earned everything he had won, but he betrayed him. He accused Kofi of betraying himself, and said there is only one reason he was still WWE Champion, and then aired footage of the finish at Super Showdown. He said even Kofi has to admit now that it should have been him. But, at Stomping Grounds, there would be nowhere for him to hide, and no one to save him. Ziggler said they would be locked in the steel cage, and everyone would know that without his friends and taking the easy way out, he couldn’t defeated Dolph.
Kofi made mention of Dolph kicking Woods first, and that brought out Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Sami made the case that everyone would be demanding justice if the same fate had came to Kofi Kingston, but now that it happened to Dolph, nobody said anything. He claimed the audience had no moral code, and it was all about who they liked and didn’t like.
Sami said he and Kevin always enjoyed an opportunity to beat up New Day. They responded that they enjoyed Seth Rollins wearing his narrow behind out with a chair last night on Raw. Sami said that was another example of the crowd’s hypocrisy, because if that was any other referees there would have been suspensions. Dolph said the biggest hypocrite was the one in the ring wearing the WWE Championship.
Big E said it wasn’t about any of them, it was about a Champion being willing to walk through fire to prove he is the best as what he does. Kofi said he would forever remain their WWE Champion. Big E then said they would give all three of them a preview of Stomping Grounds later tonight.
Backstage, Bayley was asked about Alexa Bliss’s social media allegations. She said she has no problem with Nikki Cross, but if she wanted to get caught up in the Alexa Bliss drama, she would show her why she’s the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Bayley said just like Stomping Grounds, this would be a night that Alexa would remember forever. She then made he ring entrance…[c]
My Take: The Kofi and Dolph promo exchange was ok, but it exposed how bad it is having Dolph get another title shot. Sami, Kevin, and Dolph have all been beaten soundly by Kofi recently, and adding a cage to the mix doesn’t automatically make that match more interesting. They aren’t getting anyone any real heet by having the whiny heels lose constantly and have their own plans blow up in their face.
In a dark room, Aleister Black said that for the men and women of Smackdown, there is much conflict but rarely resolution. He said he offers both, he wants someone to challenge him, and he wants a fight. He said they don’t have to fight over the love of another person, or ideologies, they just need to pick a fight. He asked someone to open the door, and he screamed out the door that he was waiting for someone to pick a fight him him.
In the arena, Nikki Cross made her entrance with Alexa Bliss….to Alexa’s music.
5. Nikki Cross vs. Bayley: They battle back and forth until Bayley send Nikki to the floor. Bayley went for a dropkick through the turnbuckle, but Nikki pulled her into the ring apron and delivered forearm shots to the chest. She then hit a DDT in the ring for a near fall…[c]
Nikki controlled the action during the break. Bayley made her comeback as the show returned. She hit a back suplex and a somersault splash for a near fall. Alexa Bliss offered a distraction, which led to a roll up, but Bayley kicked out. She then hit an Elbow from the top rope and made the cover for the win while staring down Alexa Bliss.
Bayley defeated Nikki Cross at 6:55
After the match, the announce team plugged the main event. Backstage, Jinder Mahal found a crowbar, but couldn’t find the box that Truth was in. He looked for it backstage, but was told it got loaded into a truck. He found a guy driving a forklift, but couldn’t identify the box. He was told the boxes were headed for Raw in Los Angeles, so he walked away with a ref and said they were headed to LA. Carmella then walked up looking for Truth as well, who could be heard distantly pounding and screaming from inside a case…[c]
My Take: Well, Nikki Cross wasn’t given much there. Given that Bayley took the loss last night on Raw, I guess they didn’t want to have a repeat performance. It was an ok match, but very paint by numbers. Truth’s screams not being heard by the forklift driver didn’t bother me, as he was wearing industrial ear protection. How Carmella didn’t hear him is beyond me.
We got a repeat performance of Firefly FunHouse from Raw. Backstage, Apollo Crews was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. She showed footage of Andrade assaulting him before the bell last week. He said he was not going to forget what Andrade did…but Zelina walked up. She said he should not provoke him, given the mood he’s in after Super Showdown. Vega said that Andrade would make sure he never has a match again. Chad Gable was then shown next to Apollo taking notes and smiling.
In the arena, Kevin Owens made his entrance…[c]
My Take: Chad Gable apparently has a new character. Apollo only getting one sentence to speak after getting embarrassed in the ring last week is a pretty good summation of his main roster opportunities thus far.
New Day finished up their entrance as the show returned.
6. New Day vs. Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens: New Day jumped out to an early advantage, isolating Sami in their corner. They did the unicorn stomps, and then Big E hit a big splash in the corner. Kofi got sent over the ropes in the corner to the floor, and then Dolph took a cheap shot on the outside while Sami distracted the ref. Ziggler sent Kofi back out to the floor, and then distracted the ref, so that Kevin Owens could hit a running senton on the outside…[c]
The heels continued to pick apart Kofi. Owens hit a short arm lariat. Kofi fired back with a dropkick out of the corner, and made a tag to Woods. Woods unloaded on Sami Zayn with kicks and a dropkick, followed by a discus forearm. He then hit a kick through the ropes on Sami and Dolph out on the floor. The heels shut down his offensive run by crotching him on the ropes in the corner.
The heels continues to use ref distractions to take cheap shots at Woods from the apron. Dolph applied a body scissors and a chinlock. Woods escaped and rolled up Ziggler instead of making a tag, and got dragged back to the heel corner. Zayn tagged in and stomped on Woods head. Owens tagged in and hit a moonsault for a near fall. He telegraphed a back body drop, and got hit with a DDT.
Big E and Ziggler tagged in. Big E hit multiple suplexes and then a big splash. He fired up the crowd and went for a spear through the ropes, but Ziggler shut him down. Things broke down as Kofi tagged himself in. Ziggler hit a superkick on Big E, and Sami Zayn sent Woods out to the floor. Kofi fired back with Trouble in Paradise on both Ziggler and Sami and got the win.
New Day defeated Kofi, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens at 16:33
My Take: An entertaining Main Event, and a decent show overall. They have a lot of work to do to build up Stomping Grounds in a week, but this show did a decent job of furthering the feuds. Whether or not they can heat things up in a weeks time for another PPV remains to be seen. It’s just a very short turnaround, and a lot of matches that feel like leftovers from Super Showdown.