By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on the USA Network
Aired live on September 24, 2019 from San Francisco, California at Chase Center
We got montage footage of Erick Rowan and Luke Harper’s attacks on Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan, cut in with Rowan’s interview from last week. After the video, Rowan made his ring entrance with some new ominous music. He got some boos, and said what we just saw was a work of art. Some people paint, and some people sing, but what he does is annihilate. Rowan said not to call him an artist, call him a creator, and his creative violence demands respect.
He got some you suck chants, and said the crowds have refused to respect him, and view him as subhuman. Rowan then said that he’s a believer in the phrase that might makes right, and if you can destroy your enemies, that makes him right. Roman Reigns knows he’s right, his old friend Dan knows he’s right, and the Smackdown locker room knows he’s right.
Daniel Bryan interrupted and said if Rowan feels disrespected and thinks he’s right, he can earn some respect and fight him right now. A ref appeared, and we have a match.
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan: Bryan charged at Rowan, but got tossed aside and hit with a lariat. Rowan hit a splash and tossed Bryan to the floor, before wiping him out with a cross body on the outside. Rowan tossed Bryan into the ring post, and then rolled into the ring to break the count. The crowd came alive for Bryan, but Rowan continued a one sided assault in the ring. Rowan hit a spinning kick and covered for a near fall…[c]
My Take: A hot start to the show. Rowan continues to deliver solid promos and crowds are starting to respond.
Rowan hit a powerbomb into the post on the outside. The ref counted him out, but he reached the ring at 9. Bryan waved at Rowan to bring it on. Rowan continued the abuse, but Bryan cut him off with a low dropkick to his left knee. Bryan followed up with a couple of chop blocks and wrapped Rowan’s knee around the post several times. Bryan started to get angry, but was still shaking off the cobwebs.
Bryan continued the attack with a european uppercut and dropkicks in the corner. Rowan caught Bryan coming in on the last one, and turned it into a suplex for a near fall. Rowan then applied a bear hug. He then followed up with a powerbomb for another near fall…[c]
Rowan controlled the action during the commercial break, menacing over Bryan and taunting him. Bryan sent Rowan to the floor and attempted a suicide dive, but Rowan caught him. Bryan managed to shove him into the ring post and both men scrambled to recover. Bryan climbed the top rope and hit a missile dropkick to the back of Rowan. He fired up and hit some Yes Kicks, and landed one to the head, but only got a one count.
Bryan applied a guillotine with a body lock, and then transitioned into a Lebell Lock. Rowan crawled and reached the ropes, and then Luke Harper appeared. Bryan sent him over the announce desk with a suicide dive, but both Rowan and Harper were on their feet quickly. Rowan pulled Bryan into the ring with an Iron Claw slam off the distraction, and Bryan’s foot got caught in the ropes. After he was freed by the ref, Rowan hit another one for the win.
Erick Rowan defeated Daniel Bryan at 17:32
After the match, Harper attacked Bryan, and Rowan setup the announce table. Roman Reigns intervened and broke up the attack. Bryan ended up hitting a flying knee to Harper, and Reigns hit a spear on Rowan. Reigns tried to help Bryan up, but he slapped his hand away. He then grabbed a microphone and said he only wanted a one word answer. He asked the crowd if they wanted to see him and Rowan kick their disrespected asses. The crowd started some yes chants.
My Take: A long opening segment and match that established a Harper and Rowan vs. Bryan and Reigns match for Hell in a Cell. The match was interrupted by a couple of commercial breaks, but the crowd was hot when it needed to be, and the only moment was stuck out in a bad way was Bryan getting caught up in the ropes.
We got a Brock Lesnar video package, followed by Kofi Kingston getting interviewed by Michael Cole backstage. Kofi mostly repeated himself from last week, and said he accepted the challenge because he promised to be a fighting challenge. Cole asked him if he felt the pressure, and he said yes, but he feels like he’s at the top of his game, and he’s not ready to give up the WWE Championship just yet.
In the arena, Chad Gable made his entrance.
My Take: I have been a huge booster for Kofi’s WWE title reign, but that was just not a very engaging promo to sell me on the idea that he’s facing the biggest challenge of his career. Maybe we are getting some kind of pride before the fall kind of story, but Kofi seemed like he was heading in for any other day at the office.
We got some video of Raw where Corbin got himself disqualified and attacked Gable after the bell in their King of the RIng return match. Gable had a microphone. He said Corbin told him that no matter how hard he tried, he’d always come up short. He then said that he had Corbin beat last night, and he knew it. Mike Kanellis walked out and said he was sorry to cut Gable short…but he was out to prove to his wife that size does matter. Groan.
2. Chad Gable vs. Mike Kanellis: Gabe hit an overhead suplex, followed by a Chaos Theory suplex. He then tapped Kanellis with the ankle lock almost immediately.
Chad Gable defeated Mike Kanellis at 0:40
After the match, Elias appeared on the screen and told more bad short jokes, but they came across as slightly more clever in song form. After the song, we saw some footage of Carmella winning the Universal Title on Raw. Phillips mentioned that Truth was a 19-Time 24/7 Champion, which made me cry.
Backstage Charlotte ran into Truth and asked about Carmella. At first he tried to deny her existence, but she eventually came out and they spoke about their tag match tonight against Bayley and Charlotte. Carmella said this wasn’t the Bayley she knew, and Charlotte said it was exactly the Bayley she always knew. Truth Woo’d in Charlotte’s face, and it was terrible, and she just walked away. Truth wanted to know if he did it right. The Tag Match is next…[c]
My Take: Gable continues to look impressive in the ring, but the short jokes bit sucks and I desperately want to go away.
The announce team thanked the USA Network and plugged their debut on Fox next week, as well as Raw’s season premiere next Monday. Charlotte made her entrance, followed by Carmella, Sasha, and Bayley.
3. Charlotte & Carmella vs. Sasha & Bayley: R-Truth was at ringside. Sasha and Carmella started going back and forth. Sasha tossed Carmella to ringside, where Bayley continued the attack. She slammed Carmella into the announce table and a ring apron. Sasha and Bayley successfully isolated Carmella for a bit, but eventually she hit a kick to Bayley and tagged out to Charlotte.
Charlotte entered and made quick work of Bayley and nearly applied the Figure Eight, but she was saved by a Meteora from Banks. Sasha tagged in, and Charlotte hit a backpack stunner after Sasha jumped on her back. Charlotte then went for the Figure Eight on Banks, but Bayley broke it up with a stomp. Carmella tagged herself in and hit a top rope splash on Banks, followed by a kick. She then went for a pinning combination, but Banks reversed it into a Bank Statement and she was forced to tap out.
Sasha and Bayley defeated Carmella and Charlotte at 5:56
After the match, R-Truth carried off Carmella after all the 24/7 contenders gave chase. Bayley and Sasha started a beatdown of Charlotte, but Becky made the save. She had Banks in the Disarmher, but Bayley pulled her from the ring to make their escape. Shane and Kevin Owens saga continues later…[c]
My Take: Carmella was clearly put in this match to take the loss, but the match was enjoyable for what it was. Becky wasn’t able to do much to soak up the fan reaction, as she was clearly in a hurry to get her part of this over with, and they cut away quickly after the action. Not sure if they were just in a hurry for time for what happened there.
Ali made his entrance. Sami Zayn then made his entrance to bring out Shinsuke Nakamura. He damn near gave himself a hernia shouting him out.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali: The match started out quickly, and Nakamura was sent to the floor. Ali went for a suicide dive, and Ali landed directly on his head after taking a steep angle on the splash. A moment later, Nakamura sent Ali hard off the ringpost to the floor from the apron. Zayn talked trash as he was motionless on the outside…[c]
Nakamura slowed things down during the break. When the show returned, Ali hit a facebuster and placed Nakamura on the top rope. Ali tried to follow, but Nakamura shoved him off. Nakamura jumped at him, but Ali hit a dropkick to intercept. Nakamura fired back with a wheel kick, and a sliding German Suplex. Nakamura fired up for Kinshasa, but got cut down by a Superkick for a near fall.
Nakamura went for a reverse exploder suplex, but Ali spun out and hit a kick. He then hit a tornado ddt, and climbed up to the top rope. He went for a 450, but Zayn pulled Shinsuke out of the ring. Ali went for another dive and took out Nakamura. He gave chase to Zayn, who led him into a Kinshasa. Nakamura covered for the win.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Ali at 8:32
Nakamura celebrated and Zayn talked trash after the bell. The announce team shifted to Kevin Owens, and introduced an Owens and McMahon video package…[c]
My Take: Nakamura and Ali had a very good match, aside from the ugly looking splash at the outset. Ali didn’t land flush on the second splash either, and had to land on his feet and roll through. Not certain if Nakamura just failed to catch him both times, or if he just had a couple of misjudged leaps to the floor. The Owens vs. McMahon feud sucks even in video package form, so you know they’ve really pooched this one.
Bryan and Reigns vs. Harper and Rowan was officially announced for Hell in a Cell. New Day then made their entrance, sans Kofi Kingston. They were followed by the B-Team.
5. New Day vs. B-Team: Axel and Dallas controlled Woods early on, making frequent tags and grinding him down with holds. Dallas knocked Big E off the apron and then sent Woods to the floor. They did the B-Train, but Big E joined in and took out Axel. In the ring, Big E made a tag, and the New Day hit Midnight Hour on Dallas for the win.
New Day defeated The B-Team at 2:23
After the match, New Day ran to ringside and gave George Kittle a hug, who was in attendance. Backstage, Mandy Rose handed out copies of Maxim to everybody backstage. They ran into Otis, who grabbed a copy and took a selfie with Mandy. The Kabuki Warriors made their entrance in the arena. They face Fire and Desire next…[c]
My Take: Not much exciting going on in that segment. It is nice to see Kairi Sane and Asuka get a match. They are both criminally underutilized.
Fire and Desire made their entrance. They made a mention of Mandy’s Maxim Australia cover again so Corey could lose his mind.
6. Fire and Desire vs. Kabuki Warriors: Asuka landed some kicks on Sonya Deville before tagging in Kairi. They hit a double team hit attack, and Kairi covered for a near fall. Sonya hit a hard right hand and dumped Kairi to ringside. Mandy took a copy of her magazine and shoved it in Kairi’s face and told her she would never look like her. Kairi kicked it out of her hand. She hit a head scissors back in the ring, and a sliding strike in the corner. Mandy hit a hard right hand after a distraction from Sonya, and covered for a near fall.
Kairi fought her way out of the corner and made a tag to Asuka. She entered and hit another set of hip attacks for a near fall. The match broke down and Mandy rolled up Asuka for a near fall. Asuka tagged in Kairi and hit a jawbreaker. Kairi hit the insane elbow and covered for the way.
Kabuki Warriors defeated Fire and Desire at 3:58
After the match, Sonya looked discouraged as Kairi and Asuka celebrated. Backstage, Shane McMahon spoke to his lawyers. He’s up next…[c]
My Take: Nothing really stood out about this match positively or negatively. It was just kind of there. Crowd was pretty lifeless, and it’s hard to blame them based on the positioning of these teams and the short match without much excitement.
Charlotte and Becky vs. Bayley and Sasha was announced alongside Kofi vs. Brock for Smackdown next week. Shane McMahon was in the ring and got his obnoxious ring announcement. Kevin Owens showed up, and Shane introduced him to his legal team. Shane called the lawsuit frivolous. He gave Owens the option of being locked up in court for years, or option 2. Owens asked what it was, and Shane said he would have to drop the lawsuit, but he would get reinstated and his $100k fine money back.
Shane offered him a handshake, and Owens called him an idiot. Owens said the idea of a courtroom makes him sick, but what makes him sicker is Shane being a part of the locker room in the back. He said he doesn’t deserve to be there, and what he wants is for Shane to be gone. What everyone wants is for him to get fired. Shane told him to cut to the chase. He challenged Shane to the one thing he knows, and that’s one more match.
Owens challenged Shane to a ladder match. If he wins, Shane is gone. If Shane wins, he drops the lawsuit and leaves WWE for good. Shane accepted, and they quickly cut backstage to Becky Lynch. She was asked about Sasha Banks. She said Sasha is nothing unless she gets a head start on her, or without her lapdog Bayley. Banks appeared from behind and cheap shotted Becky. She then tossed her into some crates nearby, and then grinded her face up against some fencing. Banks called herself the best in the division before ramming the fencing into Becky’s hip to close the show.
My Take: They actually cut the audio of Shane accepting Owens challenge to rush backstage for the final segment. They must have ran long somewhere in the show, because that’s the second time it appeared they were rushed. Shane accepting the match instead of going to court, where he knew he could bleed Owens to death financially, is just another strange moment where one of these two is forced to act against their own self interest because of shitty TV writing. The Becky and Sasha angle was fine, but being shoehorned into the end of the show diminished its impact a bit. Sasha needed to get something going for herself, though, as she hasn’t gotten the better of a physical confrontation with Becky in a while.