By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,158)
Live from Evansville, Indiana at Ford Center
Aired November 5, 2021 on Fox
[Hour One] Michael Cole and and Pat McAfee welcomed the TV audience to the show, and then Roman Reigns made his entrance to open the show. He was joined by Paul Heyman and The Usos. He took his usual long stroll to the ring, and a video highlight aired from The Usos confronting and eventually losing to The Usos later in the show.
The crowd chanted “You Suck” at Roman. He said that last week he wasn’t at Smackdown, because when you smash somebody like Brock Lesnar, you need to celebrate and take a vacation. Roman then called out the “tiny no name town” to acknowledge him. He said he had a great week on a private island running around naked, and his wife was loving it. Roman then said it was a bad week for a lot of the crowd, because he wasn’t there, and it was a bad week for Brock Lesnar because he was suspended indefinitely and fined a million dollars.
Roman took credit for the fine and suspension and said he had the stroke to make things happen. He then asked Paul Heyman what else happened last week, and Heyman started rambling about Kayla and Brock Lesnar. After asking Heyman repeatedly, he finally got him to say that the New Day beat the Usos last week. Roman declared that the New Day were great, but they weren’t better than The Bloodline. He was having a hard time wrapping his head around his cousins, the greatest tag team of a generation, lost to the New Day.
Roman wrapped his arm around Jimmy Uso’s shoulders, and blamed the New Day chants on him. He then asked Jimmy to explain how he would fix the problem. Jimmy grabbed the mic and told Roman that he would kick the crown off his big ass head, and make him acknowledge the tribal chief Roman Reigns.
Sir Kofi and King Woods made their way out, and Kofi have him an introduction. Woods said they forgot to bring out his table, and he mocked Roman for his obsession for being head of the table. He said Roman got merch made in case he forgot where to sit, and maybe that he forgot his table on his island of relevancy.
Kofi mocked the shirt as lame, and Woods said they would move on to the part of the program that people care about. He then called out Jimmy Uso, and said he would acknowledge Roman if he beats him later. But when he beats “James Uso”, he would bend the knee to King Woods. Jey grabbed the microphone and said The Bloodline bends the knee to no one. Roman asked for the microphone, and Heyman chastised Jey for not handing it to him immediately. Roman accepted the challenge. Kofi then said that James…er Jim…er Jiminy Uso would face King Woods later.
After the promo, a highlight was shown of Shayna Baszler defeating Naomi due to crooked referee Sonya Deville last week. Naomi then made her ring entrance. A rematch is up next…[c]
My Take: A few funny moments in there, but otherwise a very typical WWE show opening promo. Roman is still getting strong reactions, but Evansville seems like a pretty quiet crowd for everything else thus far.
Shayna Baszler made her ring entrance. Sonya Deville was shown backstage. Kayla Braxton asked her a question about her vendetta with Naomi. Sonya replied that she has no vendetta, she lit a fire under Naomi, and if she wins someday she might challenge her to a one on one match.
1. Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler: Naomi took down Shayna and landed some mounted punches. She then landed a kick and a slap to the face. After some back and forth, Naomi landed a top rope cross body and got a two count. Shayna rolled to the floor, and Naomi tried to follow, but got tripped up on the apron. Shayna grabbed her in a gutwrench and suplexed her onto the floor on the outside…[c]
Naomi used her knees to drop Baszler head first on the apron. Shayna went for a Kirifuda Clutch, but Naomi reversed and trapped Bazsler in a pinning situation and got the win.
Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler at 6:15
After the match, Sonya walked out and made up some nonsense about Naomi touching the ropes and restarted the match.
Baszler immediately applied the Kirifuda Clutch and got the submission.
Shayna Baszler submitted Naomi in 0:10
Roman Reigns was shown backstage with The Usos. He said he left for one week and everything fell apart and Smackdown sucked. He said it was almost as bad as Raw. Jimmy Uso cracked a laugh, and Roman got in his face and asked what was funny. Roman said they don’t lost, and asked Jimmy why. He replied “We the ones” and Jey pulled him out of the room away from Roman…[c]
My Take: Sonya made absolutely no sense restarting the match. Does the official not have the ability to correct her? Why would he count the submission? Everybody looked dumb here.
A vignette for Xia Li was shown. She is coming soon…
Kayla Braxton interviewed Ridge Holland backstage. He said he was looking forward to meeting his idol the Celtic Warrior Sheamus. He explained that he used to watch Sheamus matches with his buddies back home, and they celebrated his key victories with his friends. Ridge said he had learned a few tricks from watching Sheamus, and that was bad news for the rest of Smackdown…
Highlights were shown of the Shotzi and Charlotte match from last week, and the Shotzi heel turn afterward on Sasha Banks. Shotzi was interviewed afterward, she said he had enough. She spoke about losing title opportunities and her tag partner, and the support of the WWE Universe. She then said she lost last week due to Sasha Banks, and her attitude was her breaking point. Shotzi said she would run over Sasha Banks and everyone who got in her way, and she didn’t need a tank to do it…
In the arena, Los Lotharios (Humberto Carillo and Angel Garza) made their entrance. They will face Mansoor and Cesaro next…[c]
My Take: A decent promo from Shotzi, though the camera seemed more interested in keeping her chest in frame. Ridge Holland being a gigantic fan of Sheamus all of a sudden is a bit odd.
We got some highlights from the Halloween Street Fight from last week, with Carillo and Garza spoiling the match for Nakamura and Rick Bugez. Mansoor and Cesaro made their entrance…
2. “Los Lotharios” Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo vs. Cesaro and Mansoor: Mansoor and Garza started the match. We saw a picture in picture promo from the first 30 seconds where Los Lotharios talked about Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs being ugly losers. Carillo tagged in and worked over Mansoor as they isolated him in their corner. Garza tagged back in and they worked some double team offense, ending in a back body drop. Mansoor countered Garza with a DDT and made a hot tag to Cesaro.
Cesaro entered the ring and flew around the ring taking out Carillo with a series of uppercuts. He ended the combination with a 360 clothesline, and then took out Garza with an uppercut on the floor. He then teased a swing on Carillo, but Garza broke it up. He ended up swinging Garza instead. Carillo broke it up. Mansoor ran back in the ring to clear out Carillo. Garza shoved them into one another, and then he and Carillo landed their double team finish on Cesaro, an inverted neck crank into a dropkick called Cero de la Silla, for the win.
Los Lotharios defeated Mansoor and Cesaro at 5:13
Backstage, Kayla walked up on Jeff Hardy and Aliyah. Aliyah walked away from Kayla so she could talk to Jeff, but he cut her off immediately. Jeff then walked away to find Aliyah talking to Sami Zayn. He was telling her about maximizing her potential, and walked away after Jeff approached. Aliyah asked if he was always like that, and Jeff said yes, welcome to Smackdown.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: I wish Cesaro was used better, because the crowd comes alive when he’s on offense.
Drew McIntyre said he was in the ring for the Smackdown Warrior’s open challenge. He demanded to know who wanted to fight him. Ricochet made his entrance, and he had a microphone. He told Drew he’s known him for a long time, but he’s playing with fire.
[Hour Two] Ricochet said one of these days, somebody’s going to step into the ring who won’t care about all the pec flexes and smack him in the mouth. Ricochet slapped McIntyre across the face.
3. Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre: Ricochet took off his coat, and then got chucked across the ring by McIntyre. The action spilled to the apron. Ricochet attempted a head scissors off the apron, but Drew caught him and slammed him onto the apron. McIntyre backed Ricochet into the corner and tossed him across the ring again, and then followed up with a big chop.
Ali was shown backstage, and told an interviewer he and Ricochet have a lot in common. McIntyre went up top, but performed a flying nothing into a Ricochet dropkick. He followed up with a standing shooting star press, but McIntyre rolled back to his feet and picked up Ricochet into a suplex. McIntyre went for his inverted Alabama Slam, but Ricochet rolled him up for two.
Ricochet ran to the ropes and went for a step up Moonsault, but McIntyre cut him down mid air with a Claymore for the win.
Drew McIntyre defeated Ricochet at 3:42
McIntyre told Ricochet he had balls and told him he’d get exactly where he wanted to be…
Backstage, Kayla interviewed New Day. They mocked Reigns for his slow walk to the ring and giggled. Woods said the outcome of his match with Jiminy Uso is not in doubt, and he hopes he’s warming up, because they’d hate for him to pull a muscle when he bends the knee to King Woods…
Back in the arena, Happy Corbin made his entrance with Madcap Moss. They are hosting The Viking Raiders on Happy talk next…[c]
My Take: In regard to Happy Talk, just put me out of my misery already. McIntyre and Ricochet worked some really neat stuff into just under four minutes. A very fun short match.
Backstage, Ali told Ricochet they could be great partners because they have a lot in common. Ricochet said no because he’s a whiner, he treated his last partner like dirt, and above all he was a jerk.
In the ring, Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss told terrible jokes. They mocked Nakamura and Boogs, and then introduced The Viking Raiders. They made their entrance is full Viking gear. Moss and Corbin said they didn’t look very happy. The Raiders said they weren’t there to be guests, they were there to raid the show because it’s corny and it sucks. Corbin said they were miserable, but still wearing their Halloween Costumes. Moss told another terrible joke, and the Raiders destroyed the set…[c]
My Take: I’m not sure if it’s humanly possible to have more go away heat than Corbin and Moss at this point.
4. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar: Erik and Corbin started the match. They fought to a stalemate, and tagged in Ivar and Madcap. Ivar got the advantage quickly and made a tag back into Erik. Moss turned the tables with a clothesline and began isolating Erik in the heel corner. Corbin tagged back in and worked over Erik. Madcap shoved Ivar off the apron and to the floor.
Corbin landed a deep six on Erik and got a two count. The match started to break down, with Corbin getting dumped to the floor. Erik landed a powerbomb on Moss, but nearly dropped him and had to recover. Ivar was about to come off the top rope for a splash, but Corbin pulled Moss to the outside and they ran away. The ref counted them out…
The Viking Raiders defeated Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin at 4:15
Backstage, Sami Zayn approached Hit Row and told them their entrance is lacking, in fact it sucked. Top Dolla asked Zayn to show them the right way to do it instead of telling them. Zayn promised he could and then walked off. Hit Row followed…[c]
My Take: That wasn’t a great showing for anybody involved there. Moss and Corbin do not work as an act. The Viking Raiders really struggle with the WWE style. Sami Zayn interacting with Hit Row could be pretty comical, though.
A Raw Rewind video aired…
Sami Zayn then made his entrance, and danced like an idiot. He then told the crowd “that’s how you do it”. Zayn called that being fearless, and being present in the moment. He then said those are the qualities you need to be in his locker room, and brought out Hit Row. Sami said “Great Liberators in the house” and they mocked him for pressing his luck.
Swerve said he wants to run Hit Row, but they wouldn’t let him run their bath water. He also called him out for thinking he was Coach Carter. Hit Row let Zayn walk past them to the back, and he looked terrified the entire time. They shared a laugh after he walked by, and looked at the camera and said if you didn’t know, now you know…
Backstage, Jimmy asked Roman if he was coming with them to the ring. Roman asked how many of his problems he needed to fix around here. New Day made their entrance for the main event…[c]
My Take: There’s definitely a part of the presentation missing without B-Fab with Hit Row. She brought a lot of swagger and confidence to the table. Sami Zayn is very good at making an ass of himself.
Woods has new music for his singles matches. The Usos made their entrance for the main event…
5. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. King Woods (w/Kofi Kingston): Jimmy took a wild punch, but Woods slipped and rolled him up for a one count. They traded hip toss reversals, and Woods ended up landing a side Russian leg sweep and a basement dropkick. Jimmy got back into the match by dropping Woods on the top rope, and then threw him under the bottom rope out to the floor. It looked like Woods may have got caught up in the ropes a bit when he went through…[c]
Jimmy Uso pressed the attack and made frequent covers. The announce team talked about the kind of pressure he’s under. Woods fired back with a kick and a rolling forearm shot. He then dropped Jimmy across the top rope, and then landed a running knee. Jimmy fell to the outside, and Woods went through the ropes with a dropkick that sent Jimmy into the announce table. Back in the ring, Woods landed a leg drop from the top rope for a near fall.
Jey offered a distraction when both men were in the corner. Jimmy managed to pick Woods up and land a Samoan Drop from the second rope.He covered, but only got a near fall. Both men were down. Jimmy climbed the corner for an Uso splash, but Woods got his legs up. Kofi and Jey caused distractions, and Jimmy attempted a roll up on Woods. Jey got involved to assist with the pin, but the referee caught him. Woods then rolled up Jimmy and got the pin and the victory.
King Woods defeated Jimmy Uso at 11:05
After the match, Jimmy had to bend the knee to Woods, but Roman Reigns ran in and landed a Superman Punch before he could complete the pose. The Usos and Roman jumped Woods and Kofi. Woods got the better of Roman for a second, but walked into a Double Superkick from The Usos. Roman then gave Kofi a spear. The Usos then used Woods’ scepter on the back of Kofi’s knee. Jimmy Uso then splashed Kofi’s bad knee while Jey held him in a half crab. Roman told Woods that if he shows up next week, he’d find out what a real King looks like.
My Take: I would hazard a guess that New Day vs. Bloodline is going to be a major factor for Survivor Series. Hopefully we get more matches coming together and actually advertised next week. Overall, this week was an improvement over last week, but the lack of Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Nakamura and others meant a couple of segments really lacked star power. Smackdown has a lot of work ahead of itself to try and heat up some of these acts that just aren’t clicking.