From the Thunderdome in the Amway Centre in Orlando, FL, Friday Night SmackDown looks to tie up a few loose ends with just over a week to go until Survivor Series.
SlamWrestling.net’s regular SmackDown reporter, Gavin Hillhouse, is unavailable tonight. So, like Ken Griffey pinch-hitting for Junior, I’ll post my first Friday night report in … I’m not sure how long it’s been.
Roman Reigns, as has become customary lately, opens the show, heading to the ring with Paul Heyman to promise victory for his Survivor Series team, led by Jey Uso, as well as for himself in a champion versus champion match.
One loose end, as it relates to that champion versus champion match, actually has to be resolved on the upcoming Monday Night Raw. As the Universal Champion, Reigns is awaiting to see whether Randy Orton will hold on to his WWE Championship in a title match against Drew McIntyre on the red show.
Reigns talks a little trash about Orton, which seems to get under the skin of a visiting Scottish psychopath. McIntyre strolls to the ring to question why Reigns isn’t thinking about him, as he promises a win against Orton and then a win against Reigns.
Trying to fulfill his new lackey role, Jey Uso sprints to the ring and gets in McIntyre’s face, challenging him to a match tonight to pay for the disrespect shown to Reigns. McIntyre shoves him aside, but it seems the match is going to be made.
Coming back from break, however, Reigns is furious at Uso for speaking in “we, us, our” pronouns, when it’s Reigns that runs the show. Uso promises he’ll fix this. How? By stopping his match with McIntyre? I suppose we’ll see.
Sami Zayn (Champion) vs. Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship
The first match of the night also has Survivor Series implications, as the winner tonight will face Bobby Lashley in another champion versus champion tilt two Sundays from now. Zayn, as you might expect, is upset and rails against the unfairness of having to compete against Crews.
Crews doesn’t care, naturally, and explodes out of the gate with a press slam followed by a Snake Eyes tribute, launching Zayn head-first into the top turnbuckle. A strong suplex, a standing moonsault, an enziguri, and Zayn scrambles to the floor for a reprieve.
The champ rips the apron off of the ring frame, seemingly by accident. He proves otherwise, though, as Crews chases him only to be run into the exposed metal frame (which would hurt so much more now that the thin fabric isn’t cushioning the blow). Zayn then ties Crews up using the apron string, slips back into the ring, and celebrates a very short and nefarious count-out victory.
Winner via count-out and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Sami Zayn
Match Rating: 2.5/5
Backstage, Adam Pearce is chatting with McIntyre and promises him that his match with Uso will happen. McIntyre is so pumped he says “Boo-yah” … coming to a Drew McIntyre t-shirt near you.
Elsewhere, Kayla Braxton welcomes Rey, Angie, Dominik, and Aalyah to discuss what is billed as the final match in the feud between Mysterio and Rollins. It will be a No Holds Barred match, and Rey vows to rid his family of the devil Rollins for good. Everyone behind him nods in support.
Out in the ring, Sasha Banks is headed down the ramp in her talking clothes, and Michael Cole figures what better time to talk about The Undertaker? Yes, it’s his final farewell at Survivor Series, but the women’s champion is making her entrance. Actually, it turns out to be connected, as they show a picture of Banks rolling back her eyes and sticking out her tongue. She doesn’t look terrifying doing it, but it was a pretty decent job.
Back from break, Banks starts with words for Carmella following her sneak attack (see: Gorilla Monsoon, re: “Pearl Harbor Job”) on The Boss. Bayley’s music stops the champ’s promo, though, as the former champ walks out pointing and jabbering at Banks. It’s all a set-up, though, as Carmella lands another blindside on Banks with a superkick.
And that’s it. Bayley is nowhere to be seen as the infinitely less entertaining re-vamp of Carmella strides up the ramp claiming dominance.
We shoot backstage to see Otis stress-eating from three different plates. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler stroll by loudly mocking Otis’ struggles lately, which enrages Otis to the point that he tips over his table and his food.
That goes straight into commercial, and upon return we’re told that Fox will broadcast Tribute to the Troops from The Thunderdome on Sunday, December 6th at 4:30 EST.
We also get this:
Otis versus Dolph Ziggler (w/ Robert Roode)
Did this match happen because of the teasing and the food spilling? The production team is lucky they had some time to squeeze this one in.
Otis starts strong, tossing Ziggler across the ring and clubbing him into the corner before setting up the Caterpillar. Roode distracts Otis long enough for Ziggler to land a Zig-Zag, which only nets a two-count. Ziggler looks to follow with a superkick, only to be caught and slammed to the ground.
Next comes the devastating Caterpillar, followed by a backwards splash from the second rope (an Otis Bomb?), and after a a successful pin by Otis, Ziggler rolls out of the ring wondering how far one can actually get from a World Title picture.
Winner via pinfall: Otis
Match Rating: 2/5
After commercials, Otis is pumping himself up backstage, and along comes Chad Gable to tell him that he was great, but that he could be greater. He promotes his Alpha Academy, which Otis is all over, though Gable watches him leave with a rather treacherous look on his face.
Seth Rollins (w/ Buddy Murphy?) vs. Rey Mysterio (with Angie, Dominik, and Aalyah) – No Holds Barred
The question mark for Murphy is, of course, because it’s hardly clear that the former disciple is really back in the Saviour’s fold. Mysterio goes low immediately, attacking Rollins’ knees. Rollins, surely, will try to bring all of his attacks from Mysterio’s right side (because, you see, he has no eye there).
Rollins brings a chair into the ring, but Mysterio drops him before he can use it, almost getting in a 619. As they fight on the apron, Rollins looks to deliver a devastating Falcon Arrow to the floor, but luckily (for him) Mysterio turns it into a tornado DDT onto the apron itself.
The fight heads over to the commentators’ area, where Rollins hoists Mysterio onto his shoulders for what might be a powerbomb, but Rey spins it into a sunset flip which sends Rollins back-first into the barricade. Somewhere, Finn Balor hopes without irony that Rollins is okay.
Rollins catches a sliding Mysterio as he tries an attack under the bottom rope while Rollins is still outside, and Seth turns it into a suplex onto the commentator’s table. That turns the tide decidedly in Rollins’ favour, who takes his time to deliver punishment to his current nemesis.
Rollins wedges a chair in the corner, but can’t run Mysterio into it as planned. Instead, Mysterio mounts a comeback with a senton and a bulldog, but Rollins sends him sliding to the floor and follows by driving the steel steps into Mysterio’s head.
Rollins places Mysterio’s head on the steps and goes for a stomp, but Mysterio dodges and runs Rollins’ noggin into the steel instead. He places Rollins on the steps then returns to the ring and finally gets his headfirst baseball slide, landing on Seth on top of the stairs.
Time for a break, though, and upon our return Mysterio no longer has the advantage. Rollins has placed a table inside the ring and rubs some salt in Mysterio’s wounds by delivering Three Amigos to Mysterio on the anniversary of Eddie Guerrero’s death. Mysterio wiggles out, however, at least stopping Rollins at Two Amigos.
Mysterio tries for a hurricanrana off the top rope, which would send Rollins through the table, but Seth stops his momentum, stumbles a bit, then climbs up to the second rope again to deliver a powerbomb through the table for a two-count.
Rollins grabs a chair and goes for Mysterio’s good eye with the end of the leg, but Dominik reaches in to grab his foot and stop him – and gets a superkick from Rollins for his efforts. Murphy slides into the ring with Rollins and presents him with the chair, then seemingly goes to hold Mysterio for the Saviour to attack. As Rollins turns to attack, though, Murphy charges and hits a running knee strike to the great delight of Mysterio’s family.
In a truly unfortunate bit of bad luck timing, Rollins is leaning into the ropes and lambasting Murphy on the outside, and he’s shaking the ropes enough that Mystero misses his 619 and instead tumbles right to the floor.
Doing his best to make some lemonade, Mysterio scrambles back into the ring and sets Rollins up on the ropes again, this time delivering a 619 and a frog splash for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Match Rating: 2/5
After the match, Rey is in such a good mood that he shakes Murphy’s hand and gives his blessing to his daughter to be with him. He will possibly, as in the famous Ron Burgundy bear-pit incident, immediately regret his decision.
Adam Pearce is backstage in another conversation with a fired up Natalya, who is upset that she’s getting a third opportunity to join the women’s Survivor Series team in a Triple Threat Match tonight. Even though she’s lost twice previously, she feels she should just be named to the team. She even offers her cute moniker of The B.O.A.T. (The Best of all Time) as part of her pitch, but Pearce isn’t buying.
He does seem intrigued, however, by Chelsea Green appearing over his shoulder sporting a mischievous smile.
After the break, the in-demand Pearce now hears from Rollins demanding an opportunity to destroy Murphy.
Liv Morgan vs. Tamina vs. Natalya – Triple Threat, Survivor Series Qualification Match
As we’re about to get rolling, we hear an announcement that the match is now a Fatal Four-Way, and Chelsea Green enters the match.
This gets messy quickly, as Tamina piggybacks Morgan while dropping a charging Green and Natalya with a big boot for each in succession. Morgan lands a missile dropkick on Tamina, allowing Natalya and Green to pull her out and throw her into the barricade to remove her from the equation for the time being.
Natalya and Morgan end up together in the ring, with Liv ducking a discus clothesline and landing a DDT for a near-fall. Morgan hands Natalya her own clothesline for a two-count, then employs her facebuster for yet another two-count.
As I’m starting to wonder where Tamina and Green are, in comes Snuka to receive another Facebuster and that secures the win.
Winner via pinfall: Liv Morgan
Match Rating: 2.5/5
Natalya has a temper tantrum by the ramp and Chelsea Green was here because…?
Backstage, the Drew McIntyre press tour continues as he meets with Kayla Braxton to talk about his respect for Jey, though he promises an embarrassing beatdown.
Elsewhere, Big E is hanging out, looking lonesome, when the Street Profits arrive with a food cart. The food they reveal is all suspiciously shaped in an “L”, which they promise to also serve up to Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods at Survivor Series.
Langston thinks it’s cute, but calls The Street Profits nothing but “New Day Lite”, “Diet New Day”, and so on. Somewhere, in a very ironic way, Private Party understands.
Drew McIntyre versus Jey Uso – Unsanctioned Match
The Scotsman starts strong, stripping Uso of his shirt, suplexing him, and smiling widely. McIntyre has reversals for most of Jey’s attacks, until he’s halfway into the ring from the apron and Uso kicks the ropes which deliver a transitive low blow. Jey superkicks McIntyre to the floor and the show to commercial.
Back from break, Uso lands a Samoan Drop which leads to an easy kick-out for McIntyre. Drew powers back into the match with clotheslines and overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, and a kip-up just for fun. A big spinebuster nets McIntyre a two-count, and soon afterwards he has Uso set up for a Claymore Kick only to see Jey slip out of the ring to safety.
McIntyre follows Uso to the floor and, in a “what took you so long moment”, down walks Reigns and Heyman. Uso attacks the distracted McIntyre, driving him into the steps, then rolls him into the ring for what would presumably be an Uso Splash.
Reigns stops Uso, though, and tells him this isn’t about beating McIntyre, but about making him “understand”. Uso gets in the ring, mounts the Scot, and pummels him with lefts and rights. Jey stands up and readies his next attack, but meets a Claymore Kick instead. McIntyre stares Reigns down as he gets the pinfall on his minion.
Winner via pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Match Rating: 3/5
Reigns and McIntyre have a stare-down after the match to close out the show. Tune in next week to see the final Survivor Series line-up!
SmackDown, November 13th
The show put all of its eggs into the No Holds Barred basket and, unfortunately it cracked under the pressure. The rest of the matches and segments were unfortunately short-changed as a result.