By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on the USA Network
Aired live on September 10, 2019 from New York, New York at Madison Square Garden
The show opened with gongs as the Undertaker made his way to the ring. Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, and Corey Graves are on commentary. The crowd was excited to see The Undertaker and numerous people were shown filming his entrance from the ramp. It was 7:05 central and Undertaker is in the ring and grabbed a microphone. Taker said he wanted to come out there for a minute and absorb all this. He said for the last 30 years, he had considered these hallowed grounds his home. Taker said he wasn’t certain how many more times he would get to come home, but there is something he wanted everyone to remember about this place.
He mentioned the titans that were born here, the legends that made their name, and the heroes that were created in Madison Square Garden. The Undertaker said that it’s rewarding for him to know that he took a little bit of all of their souls with him. He then said they will not be forgotten, because their echoes will go through these hallways for all of eternity. Taker began speaking about ushering in a new era of Superstar, when Sami Zayn interrupted.
Sami asked for the music to stop. He said he doesn’t know much, but he does know that NYC respects legends, and he is very much a legend. Sami made reference to The Undertaker selling up MSG for 30 years, and called it his yard. Sami said he has nothing but the utmost respect for him, however, it probably shouldn’t be him opening up Smackdown Live in MSG in 2019. Sami said it should have been him, but 30 years is a long time, and when is enough enough?
Sami talked about legends needing to pave the way for the future, and the future is now, and it’s Sami Zayn. He insulted the fans and said they probably want nothing more than for him to take out the Undertaker, but that’s not why he’s there. A you suck chant broke out for Sami. He reiterated that he is there out of respect, and he’s there to ask him to turn around and leave. He assured Taker that WWE’s future is in good hands with Sami Zayn, and he gave him his word.
The Undertaker smirked and thumped his microphone against Sami’s chest. He began to walk away, and Sami nearly collapsed from bragging. Taker decided to turn around and give Sami an emphatic chokeslam. Backstage, Chad Gable walked up to Shane McMahon and spoke about King of the Ring. Gable thought he would have a bye, but Shane insisted he would compete against someone from Raw or Smackdown, and it could be someone who already competed in the tournament. The Miz made his entrance in the arena….[c]
My Take: Taker is a legend, but he’s nowhere near the charismatic performer Steve Austin is while playing the very limiting deadman character. It’s always nice for the live audience to get a chance to see his entrance and feel the presence of the character, but this was not a very exciting TV segment. Sami Zayn got to play the pest and eat a chokeslam for his trouble, but there wasn’t much electricity to this. Shane announcing a basically random competitor to fill in for Elias has made this tournament a complete sham.
Andrade made his entrance in the arena. Shinsuke Nakamura sat in on commentary. He spoke in Japanese.
1. Andrade vs. The Miz: The action was back and forth early on, until a Zelina Vega distraction allowed Andrade to take over. He hit some double knees in the corner for a near fall…[c]
Andrade controlled the action during the break and sent The Miz to ringside. He hit a double axe handle on the floor, before tossing Miz into the barricade near the entrance. Miz launched his comeback in the ring and hit some running clotheslines in the corner. Andrade tried to make a charge at Miz, but Miz ducked and he ended up on the floor. Miz hit a dropkick through the ropes onto the floor, and slammed Andrade into the announce booth. He then tossed Andrade over the table into Nakamura.
Another Zelina Vega distraction led to Andrade hitting a back elbow as Miz tried to get back in the ring. Andrade covered for two. Andrade then climbed to the top rope and went for his double moonsault, but Miz avoided it and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
The Miz defeated Andrade at 9:47
After the match, Nakamura hit a running knee to the back of Miz’s head, and then followed up with a Kinshasa. He held up the Intercontinental Championship to close the segment. Backstage, Shane put himself in the qualifying match with Chad gable. Gabe looked dejected. You could see that one coming from Orbit. In the arena, Fire and Desire made their entrance, with Mandy Rose competing. She’ll have a match with Nikki Cross next…[c]
My Take: Shane putting himself in the match was pretty obvious in the first segment, and everybody put that puzzle together with Shane’s return from Jury Duty and Elias’s “injury” earlier today. It’s also exactly how he won the earlier “Best in the World” tournament. The Miz and Andrade match was serviceable, but nothing spectacular.
Mandy Rose cut a promo about how she’s pretty and Nikki Cross is ugly. She said men open doors for her, and Nikki looks like a rat that crawled out of the Lincoln Tunnel. Alexa Bliss interrupted her, before Nikki Cross ran straight to the ring and gave Mandy a beating.
2. Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose: Nikki was all over Mandy in the early going. She jumped in Mandy’s back, but Mandy broke it up in the corner. She then hit a fallaway slam, and covered Cross for a two count. Rose then applied a hold, but Nikki broke free with a back elbow. She then hit some turnbuckle smashes, followed by a bulldog. Nikki climbed up top, and Sonya went for a distraction, but she was shut down by Alexa Bliss. Nikki missed the splash anyways, but she was able to avoid Rose’s running knee strike, and rolled her up for the win.
Nikki Cross defeated Mandy Rose at 4:32
After the match, the announce team said we’d hear from Kofi Kingston, and more from Rowan later on. Heavy Machinery is in action next…[c]
My Take: Another passable match, with the goal of paying some maintenance to this feud for Sunday’s title match. At least they gave you a reason to hate one of the teams with Mandy’s promo, but I can’t say it did much for me.
Backstage, Ember Moon confronted Bayley over all the chair shots last week, and said it must have been Sasha’s influence. Bayley maintained she did it for the division, and for Smackdown. Ember said she should be better than that, and she should save all of her anger over struggling to be relevant as a champion for their match later tonight. Heavy Machinery made their entrance. They are wrestling locals Johnny Silver and Alex Keaton.
3. Heavy Machinery vs. Alex Keaton and Johnny Silver: Tucker destroyed both guys out of the gate, showing off some power and agility in the process. He hit silver with a big lariat, and tagged in Otis, who hit a big splash in the corner. He then did the caterpillar for the compactor and the victory.
Heavy Machinery defeated Alex Keaton and Johnny Silver in 2:21
Backstage, Kevin Owens approached Shane McMahon. Shane said he’s been thinking a lot about his $100,000 fine, and in his benevolence he would happily reconsider. Owens asked what the catch was, and he handed Owens a ref shirt. Shane said being the Best in the World and King is very important to him, and if he does his job correctly, his fine would go away in an instant. Owens looked disturbed and walked away. A look at Erick Rowan’s path of rage is next…[c]
My Take: Heavy Machinery was well received by the crowd. Shane reigniting his feud with Owens makes me wonder if we’ll see them at Hell in a Cell.
We got an Erick Rowan video package that focused on his reveal as Roman Reigns attacker, and the beat down he gave both Bryan and Rowan last week. After the video, Rowan made his ring entrance and grabbed a microphone.
Rowan soaked in some boos. He said all his life, people don’t seem to get him, or understand him. He said people thought someone controlled him until last week, and now demanded the audience look deep in his eyes and see what makes him tick. Rowan called himself a mastermind and a schemer, but all anyone ever saw in him was a big oaf that brutalizes people. Reigns interrupted him at that point and Rowan got set up for a fight.
Reigns hit a Superman punch, but Rowan rolled out to the floor, where they had a walking brawl that spilled through the crowd. Reigns hit a second and third Superman punch to keep Reigns out of the ringside area. Rowan eventually grabbed a “fan” and threw him at Reigns, and then ran around the ring and plowed into Reigns and all the security that was attempting to intervene. The brawl then went up the ramp towards the stage, where agents and security separated them again. Reigns hit another Superman Punch, and Rowan replied by grabbing a camera on a crane and swinging it at Reigns to knock him down. He told Roman that if he wanted more he would see him on Sunday. Reigns eventually got to his feet and mean mugged the camera before heading to the back.
My Take: This was an entertaining brawl. I may have saved some of these stunts for the PPV, but overall Rowan looked like a monster, and Reigns refused to back down. I might have given Rowan a bit more time to explain himself, as his character emerging from being an henchmen and getting into the spotlight deserved more than a couple of lines of dialogue.
Backstage, Rowan was pacing and mumbling Roman to himself.
The announce team went over the Clash of Champions card. Charlotte was at the announce table for the next match. Bayley then made her entrance, followed by Ember Moon.
4. Bayley vs. Ember Moon: Ember opened with a single leg dropkick and an arm drag that sent Bayley retreating out to the floor. Moon ended up straddling the barricade near the timekeepers table after a sequence, and Bayley hit a big knee to knock her to the floor. She then tossed her into the ring and covered for a two count. Bayley then hit stomps in the corner and covered again for two.
Bayley controlled the action with some holds, but Ember fired back with a forearm and some kicks. Moon picked up Bayley for a powerbomb, but she reversed and hit a headscissors. Bayley then went for a dropkick through the ropes to the outside, but Moon avoided it and hit a kick to the shoulder. She then climbed up top for The Eclipse, but Bayley avoided it and hit a Bayley to Belly for the win.
Bayley defeated Ember Moon at 6:33
After the match, Charlotte entered the ring and flashed up both hands to reflect her becoming a 10 time champion. Backstage, Kevin Owens sat in his ref shirt looking dejected. The announce team then threw to some video of Orton and The Revival giving Kofi a beat down last week. Kofi was shown backstage looking at a photo of the moment 10 years ago in MSG where he has a breakout moment on Raw. Tom Phillips said he would relive that moment next…[c]
My Take: I enjoyed the Bayley and Ember Moon match, but this new character that Bayley is feels like they went half assed on a full ass problem. It could have been better and a lot different. Maybe they are saving that for Night of Champions, or at least I hope they are.
Kofi said it was good to be back in the World’s Greatest Arena. He said the building would always have a special place in his heart, because it’s where he decided to step up to one of the biggest stars in WWE to prove that he belonged. He said he whipped him in the ring, out of the ring, and the cherry on top was when he put him through a table. Kofi said the entire Garden was chanting his name, and then he knew one day he would be back as the WWE Champion.
He mentioned the kids in the audience, and how some might be too young to remember, so he aired the footage of the boom drop on Orton from 10 years ago. He said that was a very small taste of what he was going to do to Randy Orton at Clash of Champion when he remains the WWE…..and Orton interrupted and called him stupid.
Orton told Kofi he’s won the title 7 times, and the Royal Rumble twice, but none of that matters. He was going to take the WWE Championship on Sunday because Kofi has spent the last 10 years pretending to be something he’s not, whether it was the fake Jamaican accent or the phony power of positivity shit (bleep). Kingston decided to go into the crowd, where Orton took him out with a chair. Kofi battled back out of a draping DDT, and returned the favor of the chair shots.
Kofi setup Orton to put him through a table. They traded blows and the original table collapsed, so Kofi set him up on a different one with a chairshot. Kofi then climbed up a flight of stairs and put Orton through the table for old time’s sake. He then stood on the railing again and fired up the crowd.
The King of the Ring semi-final is next…[c]
My Take: A very good segment between Kofi and Orton. Kofi was convincing in his reverence for his moment 10 years ago, and Orton went hard at dismissing it’s relevance. Kofi reliving the moment by putting Orton through another table was a symbolic victory, which makes me wonder if he’s going to drop the Championship on Sunday.
Kevin Owens was already in the ring. Chad Gable then made his entrance, followed by Shane McMahon.
5. Shane McMahon vs. Chad Gable: Shane got down on his knees to mock Chad Gable. Shane charged at him early on, and Gable grabbed a waistlock and hit a rolling german for a quick victory.
Chad Gable defeated Shane McMahon at 0:35
Shane grabbed the microphone and said the match was now 2 out of 3 falls. Gable made his way back to the ring and talked to Owens, and then Shane blindsided him from behind. He then smashed Gable into the announce table and threw him into the timekeepers area…[c]
Shane hit a body slam and mocked Gable with some taunts. He landed his soft looking strikes. Gable landed a crucifix pin, but Owens took an eternity to start the count. Shane tried to roll up Gable a few seconds later, and Kevin tried a fast count that Gable escaped anyways. Gable hit several strikes and a somersault axe kick. He then hit a neckbreaker and a moonsault, but Owens made a slow count that Shane kicked out of. Owens looked ashamed of himself.
Shane hit another slam, and Owens tried another fast count, but Gable kicked out anyways. Shane grabbed a chair, and Owens argued with him about it. Shane gave Owens the chair and said he’s got it. Gable grabbed a kick from Shane and turned it into an Ankle Lock. Eventually Shane was forced to tap and Owens had no choice but to call the match.
Chad Gable defeated Shane McMahon (again) at 8:54.
After the match, Owens told Shane he did literally everything he could. Shane then assaulted Owens when he turned his back, and then fired him. The show went to black.
My Take: This is definitely going to Hell in a Cell, probably with Owens job on the line permanently. Will it require more McMahons to get involved? We can only hope not. It was nice to see Gable get some important win(s) in a Garden Main Event. He deserves it. Overall, this was a mediocre episode of Smackdown. It had entertaining moments, but I can’t say it increased my interest in Night of Champions outside of Orton and Kofi. None of these feuds are particularly hot.