By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,159)
Live from Norfolk, Virginia at Scope Arena
Aired November 12, 2021 on Fox
The show opened with Pat McAfee and Michael Cole on commentary. King Woods and Roman Reigns was confirmed for later, and video was shown of the post match attack on Kofi Kingston last week. Kingston is not in the building, and Woods will have to face Roman alone. Sonya Deville was in the ring with Shotzi, Aliyah, Natalya, and Shayna Baszler. She then brought out Sasha Banks, who got a separate ring entrance as Team Captain. Shotzi stared down Sasha as she made her entrance.
As she got in the ring, Sasha went after Shotzi, and they were kept apart by the other team members. Naomi then ran down and got in the face of Sonya Deville, and then a brawl broke out between everyone in the ring. The brawl continued both in and out of the ring…[c]
My Take: Sonya apparently didn’t anticipate the animosity.
SURPRISE, we have a six woman tag match.
1. Naomi, Sasha Banks, and Aliyah vs. Shotzi, Natalya, and Shayna Baszler: Natalya and Sasha started the match. After some reversals, Sasha landed a bulldog for a two count. Shayna tagged in, and dumped Sasha with a waist lock takeover. She then punched Naomi off the apron. Aliyah tagged in and was lifted into a head scissors by Sasha Banks, and then landed a dropkick on Shotzi.
After a tag, Shotzi entered the match and took down Aliyah. She landed a running senton, and then the heels took turns stomping on Aliyah on the corner. Nattie got rolled up by Aliyah, but quickly regained control. Shayna entered the match, and Aliyah scrambled to tag in Naomi. She got a few shots in on Shayna, who made a blind tag to Natalya. Naomi hit the ropes and was blindsided, and then got suplexed from the apron out to the floor. Natalya followed up with a snap suplex on the floor, and then tossed Naomi back in the ring.
She followed up with a third suplex, and covered for a two count. Naomi hit the ropes, but got cut down with a discus lariat. Shayna tagged in and sent Naomi back out to the floor for more abuse…[c]
The abuse continued on Naomi. Shoti made a cover for a two count. She then dragged Naomi back to the heel corner and tagged in Shayna Baszler. She entered and applied a double wrist lock, and then stomped on the elbow of Naomi. She focused on left elbow and the crowd fired up. Shayna attempted a sleeper, but Naomi reversed into a jawbreaker. Naomi was backed into the heel corner, but kicked her way out and made her way for a hot tag.
Natalya prevented the tag initially, but eventually made a hot tag to Aliyah. She landed a couple of Thesz Presses, and then rolled up Natalya for a two count. Natalya fired back with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Aliyah landed a Northern Lights Suplex, but Shayna broke it up. Sasha took out Shayna and they spilled to the floor. Naomi took down Shotzi with the rear view. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter in the ring on Aliyah, but she was able to reverse into a pinfall with some help from Naomi and got the win.
Sasha, Aliyah, and Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler, Natalya, and Shotzi at 12:47
The babyfaces celebrated post-match. Aliyah looked to vomit on herself? Backstage, Sami Zayn practiced a speech in a mirror to fire up the men’s survivor series team. Jeff Hardy was revealed to have been there the whole time. Jeff told him his speech sucked real bad. Roman Reigns was shown backstage with Paul Heyman. He’s up next…[c]
My Take: Aliyah needs to work on that hot tag, but after she shook off the nerves she did ok. The match got a decent amount of time, which the women’s division needed to build some of these new stars, but the bulk of the match was deliberate heel work from Natalya and Shayna. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t packed with excitement either.
A replay was shown of the previous match finish. Aliyah was shown backstage. She was elated to win her first match and be on the Survivor Series team. Sonya Deville walked up and asked how long she’s known Natalya, and then advised her that she’s no longer on the Women’s Survivor Series Team. Advised by herself I guess.
We got a recap of the Bloodline vs. New Day story from last week’s show. Roman was approached by Kayla Braxton backstage. He said she’s either there to talk to the Tribal Chief or flirt with the wiseman. Roman brushed her aside and told Heyman to talk to her. Heyman said Roman has advised him to raise the stakes with King Woods. If Roman defeats him, he will bend the knee and acknowledge Roman Reigns, and if Woods defeats him, he will bend the knee to him. If Roman violates the agreement, he will be stripped of the Universal Title and banned from Smackdown. Since they are in Virginia, that is a binding oral agreement.
In the arena, Shinsuke Nakamura played in Roman Reigns. They will face Los Lotharios up next…[c]
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss had a conversation backstage, and footage was shown of their terrible segment with the Viking Raiders last week. Los Lotharios made their ring entrance.
2. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs vs. Los Lotharios (Humbero Carillo and Angel Garza): Boogs and Carillo started the match, and Boogs used his power to take an early advantage. He performed an elaborate gutwrench suplex. Angel made a blind tag, and they double teamed Boogs to capture control of the match. Angel tagged in and landed a series of knees and elbows and covered for a two count. They isolated Boogs, and made another cover after a hard right hand.
Angel tore off his breakaway pants and revealed trunks. He landed a seated dropkick. Boogs picked up Boogs and tossed him over his head into the top turnbuckle. He then made a hot tag to Nakamura, who entered and took out Carillo with a kick. He then landed a sliding german suplex, and a second rope dropkick. Angel broke up the pin. Nakamura set up for Kinshasa, but Angel pulled Carilllo to the floor. He also took out Boogs on the floor.
Angel tagged in and landed an assisted springboard kick and got the pin on Nakamura.
Los Lotharios defeated Nakamura and Boogs at 4:53
Von Wagner stood backstage with Adam Pearce. He questioned Sonya removing Aliyah from the team, and she said it made the team stronger. She told him to do the same. Sami Zayn appeared and demanded Pearce remove Jeff Hardy from the team. Pearce said he would face Jeff Hardy later, and the loser would be removed from the team. Sami begged off, but Pearce said the match was official. In the arena, Charlotte Flair made her entrance…[c]
My Take: Los Lotharios continues to get wins, but why have them pin the Intercontinental Champion clean with a springboard kick? Nakamura looked weak for very little benefit.
A video package was shown of the WrestleMania 38 on sale party that took place in Dallas this past week. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch was advertised for Survivor Series. Charlotte addressed Becky Lynch, and said she’s gone from the Irish Lass Kicker, to The Man, to Becky Two Belts, to Big Time Becks. She said there was nothing genuine about her. She’s had her moments, like WrestleMania 35 and Summerslam when she beat the fastest rising star in 26 seconds. But at Survivor Series, she would get a new nickname, and it would be Becky Uh-Oh.
Charlotte rattled off some jokes about Becky coming back too soon from a baby, and not being able to beat her again, and punctuated them all with Uh Oh. She then said her nickname should be the starmaker, because she made Shotzi relevant just by getting in the ring with her. Charlotte said she could beat anybody that go in the ring, and that brought out Toni Storm.
Toni said Charlotte likes to talk about raising up the younger generation, but she doesn’t do any of that. She said Becky Lynch defended her title on Raw just over a week ago, but Charlotte hasn’t defended her title since coming to Smackdown. She challenged her to a match tonight for the title, and Charlotte said absolutely not. Charlotte then walked away leaving her in the ring.
Backstage, King Woods was asked about facing Roman Reigns with Kofi being out. He said he would never bend the knee to Reigns. He took his crown off and said with Kofi being hurt and Big E taking an apron powerbomb, New Day had a rough week. But he would make a Royal Decree that he would face down Roman and plant his flag in the name of King Woods. If Roman wanted to be King, it was time to get serious. In the ring, Jeff Hardy made his entrance…[c]
My Take: That Charlotte promo was rough. I think the Uh-oh bit should have been replaced with something a bit more personal, particularly if she was going to call out Becky for being phony. Also, it seems a bit repetitive to do the same “Bend the Knee” bit two weeks in a row. Did no one tell WWE that Game of Thrones ended terribly?
Backstage, Aliyah was on the phone talking about her Survivor Series dreams. Mustafa Ali walked up and tried to talk to her, but Ricochet pulled her away and told her she did a great job earlier and shouldn’t get down on herself. Mustafa looked frustrated he couldn’t get a word in. Sami Zayn made his entrance in the arena.
3. Jeff Hardy vs. Sami Zayn: Both men traded offense arly on. Hardy landed the dreaded 10 punches early on in the corner, but Zayn fired back with a hard right hand and covered for a two count. Zayn tried to retreat to the floor, but Hardy landed a dropkick through the ropes. He then attempted a drive off the stairs into the barricade, but Zayn moved and Hardy crashed and burned…[c]
Zayn controlled the action as the show returned. He applied a rear chin lock on a grounded Jeff Hardy. Hardy punched his way to his feet, and then both men traded right hands. Jeff got the better of it, and landed an inverted atomic drop. He followed up with a seated dropkick for a near fall. Hardy went up top and landed Whisper in the Wind for a two count.
Hardy went for a Twist of Fate, but Zayn reversed into a backslide for a two count. Zayn attempted another cover out of the corner using the ropes for leverage, but the ref caught it. Hardy then landed a Twist of Fate and a Swanton for the win. The crowd went nuts for Hardy, and were hot for all of his offense.
Jeff Hardy defeated Sami Zayn to remain on the Survivor Series Team at 8:54
After the match, Zayn sold the defeat and a graphic on the screen showed him removed from the team graphic for Smackdown. Backstage, Hit Row gave an interview. There was too much to capture, but they talked trash and said they were next up for the culture. Elsewhere, Jinder Mahal and Shanky tried to return fire with a “rap” of their own, but it was intentionally comical and embarrassing. Jinder called them Cringe Row at the end. King Woods was then shown getting hyped up for the Main Event.
My Take: Hit Row just doesn’t have the same swagger without B-Fab. It’s not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t have the same energy. Jinder and Shanky were ridiculous, which I believe was the point. Norfolk absolutely loves Jeff Hardy. He got the loudest visible crowd reaction of the night so far.
A vignette aired for Xia Li. Ridge Holland was interviewed backstage. She asked about his effusive praise last week for Sheamus. He said he was speaking from the heart. Ridge said he never thought he’d escape the streets of his home town, and Sheamus showed him that it was possible to make a good living fighting the way he did.
Cesaro interrupted and said he and Sheamus were The Bar together, but with his attitude lately, be careful what you wish for. Ridge said he would take Cesaro’s place, and be far more effective as a partner for Sheamus than he was. If he didn’t believe him, Sheamus would be there next week.
A Raw Recap aired. It spent a lot of time on the Women’s Fatal Five Way match, and Kevin Owens taking out Big E. In the arena, Roman Reigns made his entrance for the Main Event…[c]
My Take: Cesaro feuding with Ridge Holland and Sheamus could produce some quality matches. Why not bring up Pete Dunne to round out the picture?
Shotzi vs. Sasha Banks was advertised for next week. King Woods made his ring entrance for the Main Event with his new King themed music.
4. King Woods vs. Roman Reigns: They tied up early, and Roman shoved off and landed some right hands. They took turns landing mounted punches on the turnbuckle. Roman missed a hard lariat, and Woods counted with a shotgun dropkick that sent Roman to the floor. They tried to bait each other, but Woods landed a dropkick through the second rope. He then sent Roman into the announce table, and landed a series of chops.
Woods used his quickness to stay one step ahead of Reigns, but eventually ran into an uppercut. Roman followed Woods back outside and slammed him onto the announce table…[c]
Woods fired back with a headbutt, but Roman cut him back down with a big boot. Roman covered for a two count. Woods landed a DDT through the ropes to get some breathing room. He followed up with a discus forearm and a heel kick for a near fall. He then landed a sliding facebuster for another near fall.
Woods went up top for a flying nothing, and got planted with a uranage for a two count. Roman fired up for a spear, but Woods avoided it and Roman hit the post. Woods went up top and landed a coast to coast elbow. He covered, but The Usos pulled him out of the ring and attacked him for the DQ.
King Woods defeated Roman Reigns via DQ at 10:35
The Usos tossed Woods into the stairs, and then beat down Woods with the stairs multiple times. The Usos then grabbed King Woods crown, and placed it on the head of Roman Reigns. Roman flashed a smile, and the Bloodline all raised a finger to close the show.
My Take: I’m guessing we get the New Day band back together on Smackdown next week to get his crown back. I don’t know how King Roman makes much sense otherwise, unless you want to get into the metanarrative of the ongoing dispute between Woods and WWE over UpUpDownDown. Either way, this was a better edition of Smackdown than last week. It was a little light on matches, and I’m still very underwhelmed by the Survivor Series build, but in a bubble this show was mostly entertaining.