COMMENTATORS: Michael Cole & Corey Graves
SmackDown this week features “Messiah vs. Disciple” as Seth Rollins takes on Murphy in the main event. Also on the show Otis goes to court with The Miz, Daniel Bryan returns to the ring, Bianca Belair debuts, and Roman Reigns offers up some tribal consequences for Jey Uso heading into Hell in a Cell.
- WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION: Roman Reigns
- SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Bayley
- WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Sami Zayn
- SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)
- Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, & The Street Profits vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Cesaro, & Shinsuke Nakamura (***)
- Bianca Belair vs. Zelina Vega (**)
- Shorty G vs. Lars Sullivan (NR)
- Murphy vs. Seth Rollins (**3/4)
THE KO SHOW
Kevin Owens is happy to host his first episode of the KO Show as a member of the SmackDown roster and welcomes his guest Daniel Bryan. Bryan has big hopes for SmackDown, from showcasing the best talent in the business today to having the Intercontinental Championship defended every week on the show. Owens segues from the IC Title to the Tag Title, saying he’s never been a Tag Team Champion before. Bryan retorts by mentioning Owens’ track record of turning on people, Owens brushes off and asks Bryan to team with him, pitching the name “Team Hell KO”, which Bryan rightly points out that means Owens would be teaming with Kane, not him.
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode interrupt, Ziggler feeling slighted at not namedropped by last week in Bryan’s return speech, Roode says he and Ziggler are the greatest tag team in the world today.
They’re then interrupted by The Street Profits, who haven’t forgotten what Ziggler & Roode pulled last week. I kinda did. But they’re excited to be on SmackDown and they want the smoke.
Out last is Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura, who feel slighted as they were the cornerstone of the SmackDown tag team division before the Draft and weren’t given the proper credit. Soon enough all eight man start brawling and a host of officials come out to settle things as the show goes to commercial.
- Okay way to open the show; WWE Formula through and through but I like the folks involved for the most part so I went with it.
Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, & The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Cesaro, & Shinsuke Nakamura
During the commercial Adam Pearce got control of things and made it into an eight-man tag team match, which is joined in progress. Bryan is initially not there but shows back up a few seconds in, now in his wrestling gear. What a pro. Heels work Ford over for a little bit, Bryan gets the tag and is a house of fire until landing weird on his knee after backflipping out of the corner, giving the other team a body part to zone in on as the show goes back to commercial.
Show returns as Bryan escapes a half-crab from Cesaro, but Roode quickly tags to prevent a tag and to continue weakening the knee. Cesaro tags in, CESARO SWING LEGLOCK to show off his brute strength. Ziggler talks some trash and gets shoved into the corner, Roode again quickly tags in to prevent the tag. They fight on the buckles, Bryan headbutts him off and uses what’s left of his strength to hit a missile dropkick. Dawkins gets the hot tag, clotheslines and a back elbow to the now-legal Nakamura, leading to a bulldog and a two-count. Nakamura fights back with a heel kick and a backstabber for a two-count of his own. Cesaro tags in, he and Nakamura hit a flying knee/gutwrench combo for the 1…2…Owens breaks it up. Everybody fights everybody, Bryan and Owens launching off the apron at their foes, Cesaro tries a roll-up but the ref catches him using the ropes. Dawkins catches Cesaro with a spinebuster, Ford tags in and hits a MASSIVE frog splash for the 1…2…3.
Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, & The Street Profits defeated Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Cesaro, & Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall (10:49 shown)
- Weak segment to get here, but a fun match overall. Glad to see D-Bry in action again, and I can never say enough good about Montez Ford as a character and a wrestler. Just a joy to watch him do anything. SmackDown’s tag team division is looking pretty nice. (***)
Ford and Bryan shake the ropes together in celebration in a fun little moment.
LAW & OTIS: PART 1
We get a Law & Order-style intro (SYNERGY) and then it’s to the “courtroom”, The Miz & John Morrison represented by a female lawyer and Otis representing himself, wearing a suit with the sleeves cut off. COMEDY. Ron Simmons is the bailiff, John “Bradshaw” Leyfield revealed to the judge. Miz delivers an opening statement talking about all the physical and mental anguish Otis has put he and Morrison through, and wants to lawfully remove Otis’ contract so it can go to someone that will bring dignity to the Money in the Bank stature. Someone like him. Otis’ opening statement is more simple: he won the match, he should keep the Money in the Bank contract. Miz’s lawyer says that was a good statement, Miz fires her.
–The Street Profits celebrate with Daniel Bryan & Kevin Owens. Bryan asks the Profits to fist (bump) him, which they do after an awkward silence. Profits & Owens walk off, leaving Bryan to be accosted by Sami Zayn. Zayn says he does not share Bryan’s vision of weekly Intercontinental Championship defenses; as he’s champion he gets to dictate the terms of his defenses and asks Bryan to keep his visions to himself.
- Yes let’s do this and not a Bryan/Owens team, please.
Bianca Belair vs. Zelina Vega
This is Belair’s debut on SmackDown and she came dressed for the occasion, her gear covered in SmackDown logos and her lipstick blue. This is also Vega’s first match as a member of the SmackDown roster; these two had some run-ins earlier in the year when The Street Profits were feuding with Andrade & Angel Garza.
Vega slaps Belair in an act of defiance, Belair defies gravity and tosses her to the mat with no effort on her part. Belair flips through a headscissors attempt and connects with a standing moonsault followed by a kip up. Vega tries to leave, Belair pulls her back in, but Vega manages to mount some offense including a rana from the middle buckle. Belair shakes it off and connects with a pop-up right hand followed by picking Vega up in a clean jerk into a military press, walking around the ring, and dropping her head-first on the top turnbuckle. LOVE IT. Belair finishes with the KOD and that’s the first W for the EST on SD.
Bianca Belair defeated Zelina Vega via pinfall (2:40)
- Helluva debut for Belair, great showcase of her athleticism and strength. Vega made a great foil for her. I am all in on Bianca Belair winning the Women’s Championship and also the Universal Championship. 2 Belts Bianca got a nice ring to it. (**)
–Kayla Braxton interviews Shorty G in the ring, asking why he decided to accept a match against Lars Sullivan. G is fed up that he didn’t get drafted and it’s up to him to right the ship and prove he belongs here. Oh honey.
Shorty G vs. “The Freak” Lars Sullivan
As expected Sullivan wipes the floor with him, absorbing G’s brief attempts at offense and finishing things off with the Freak Accident.
Lars Sullivan defeated Shorty G via pinfall (1:56)
- I think Lars Sullivan might be some kind of freak. (SQUASH)
Braxton asks Shorty G about the match, Shorty G says he quits and walks off.
–Alyse Ashton interviews Seth Rollins. Rollins says he asked for this match so he could define Murphy’s role as a disciple and a “walk-behinder” (could have just said follower but whatever, fits his character to take the long way around).
–Adam Pearce checks on Shorty G backstage to see if he really quit. Shorty G says he quits…being Shorty G, done with being the smiley-faced punching bag for everyone. Only one man can achieve anything he wants and that man is GABLE. CHAD GABLE.
- YESSSSS F*CK, FINALLY. GIVE ME THAT CHAD GABLE SUPERPUSH, GIMME A 40 MINUTE MATCH WITH DANIEL BRYAN.
Bayley sits in the center of the ring, complaining that no matter what she does she can’t get away from the aura of Sasha Banks. Bayley says she didn’t sign the contract for Hell in a Cell because Banks doesn’t deserve it, and won’t reward her for being a brat. Naturally Sasha Banks interrupts, contract in hand. They argue about signing it, Bayley tries to attack Banks with the chair but Banks dodges and grabs the Women’s Championship, holding it ransom. Bayley grabs it, Banks drops her with a knee and wraps the chair around Bayley’s neck and arm. She steps on it, trying to get Bayley to sign, Bayley kicks her away, Banks then puts on the BANKS STATEMENT, chair-assisted, until Bayley finally signs on the dotted line and makes their match official.
- Feels like what Banks did is pretty illegal and wouldn’t hold up in the court of law, but who in pro wrestling actually follows the law anyway. I liked the segment well-enough, their match on Sunday should be a banger.
LAW & OTIS: PART 2
John Morrison fake cries on the witness stand about the abuse he and The Miz have endured courtesy of Otis. Rey Mysterio then takes the stand and says that Otis won the Money in the Bank fair and square and should keep the contract. Asuka takes the stand after and yells in Japanese FOR COMEDY, the only person who understood being stenographer Teddy Long. Finally Otis’ (now former) partner Tucker takes the stand and says that Miz crossed the line by getting Otis’ girlfriend Mandy Rose traded to RAW. Miz treats the witness as hostile, Tucker threatens to kick his ass, and JBL calls for a recess so he can make his decision.
Back from commercial and JBL has come to a verdict but before he can make it official Miz introduces some last minute evidence: a leather briefcase full of money. JBL “accepts” the evidence and announces Miz as the victor, ordering Otis to face Miz at Hell in a Cell with the Money in the Bank contract on the line. Oh and Ron Simmons says “DAMN” because of course he does.
- The Miz just spent a bunch of his money to bribe JBL into giving him a match at Hell in a Cell? Dude you’re supposed to bribe them into giving you the contract itself, not just a match to potentially win it. Way to do bribes wrong, you big dork. I smirked a couple times during these segments but goddamn they felt like filler. I guess you can consider them harmless fun but I would’ve preferred my harmless fun to be a little more…fun, I guess.
Murphy vs. Seth Rollins
Aaliyah Mysterio is shown watching the match backstage. Rollins reminds Murphy that he’s the disciple, not the messiah. Me Chunk You Sloth-type stuff. Murphy gets so mad he…brings Rollins to the mat with a wristlock. Rollins counters, Murphy kips up out of a headscissors but runs into a right hand. Rollins controls things for a bit with a side headlock takeover, action moves to the floor and Murphy backdrops Rollins on the announce table as the show breaks for commercial.
Back to the match, Rollins trips Murphy up on the top turnbuckles, sending him crashing to the floor. Backstage Rey & Dominik Mysterio tell Aaliyah to stop watching but SHE CAN DO WHAT SHE WANTS SHE IS AN ADULT AND IT’S NOT A PHASE IT’S WHO SHE IS, GAWD. Murphy catches Rollins with a kick followed by a middle buckle dropkick, then hits a splash to the floor that almost misses him (he got some shoulder, so it counts). However things go bad for Murphy after a successful meteora as he lands awkwardly on his arm. Murphy goes to the floor to try and pop his shoulder back into place, Rollins belts him with a suicide dive then rolls him in and hits a springboard knee strike for the 1…2…Murphy kicks out. Rollins sends Murphy arm-first into the apron, Aaliyah continues to show concern while Rey & Dominik would rather be anywhere else. Second commercial.
Rollins blocks a sunset bomb attempt, Murphy tucks Rollins’ head in the buckle and delivers a superkick. Murphy’s arm gives out mid-move, Rollins sends him into the corner with a buckle bomb, Murphy responds with a Busaiku Knee for the 1…2…Rollins kicks out. Rollins slaps Murphy repeatedly, saying again that he’s the messiah and Murphy is the disciple. They trade rights, Rollins hits a step-up enzuigiri, Murphy catches him with a surprise inside cradle for the 1…2…no. Rollins hits a Falcon Arrow for the 1…2…Murphy kicks out. Murphy dodges the Curb Stomp, Rollins to the buckles, Murphy peels him off but Rollins escapes his clutches and yanks him to the mat by the injured arm. This time Rollins successfully hits the Curb Stomp and it’s lights out.
Seth Rollins defeated Murphy via pinfall (12:37 shown)
- I really wanted to like this more, but for some reason it didn’t click with me. I appreciated the story and the action was pretty good, but I don’t know I just kinda shrugged at the end. I like Murphy getting these storylines though, good on ‘em. (**3/4)
Rollins grabs a kendo stick, Aaliyah Mysterio comes out to try and help Murphy. Rollins cracks Murphy with the stick, Aaliyah rolls in to shield him. Out comes Dominik Mysterio to intervene on behalf of his sister, Rollins attacks him from behind. Finally Rey Mysterio WITH THEME MUSIC chases Rollins off with a chair. Rey & Dominik talk about how this is none of their business (despite it being their business for awhile, according to what I’ve read about the RAW feud) as Aaliyah helps Murphy up, either grinning or grimacing depending on how you read faces.
- Gonna be wild when Murphy turns on the Mysterios and reveals himself to be the leader of the Aces & Eights.
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman make their way to the ring. Before he can speak, “Jey Uso” appears on the Titan Tron sitting at Reigns’ tribal desk, talking about his tribal food and tribal digs. He says Reigns has changed and lost connection with the family, then takes off his bandana to reveal that’s it’s actually JIMMY USO. The real Jey Uso attacks Reigns from behind, ending his attack with a Superfly Splash (now called an Uso Splash I guess). Jey celebrates on the stage alongside Jimmy. A pained Reigns says that if Jey somehow makes him quit at Hell in a Cell he can accept not being the head of the family, the provider, the tribal chief. He asks if Jey can accept the same thing and WHEN he makes Jey quit, if he does not “fall in line” and accept Roman as the Tribal Chief then he and Jimmy and their families will be ostracized completely. Reigns and the rest of the family will turn their backs on them. The red Hell in a Cell drops down out of nowhere and Jey climbs it to stare Reigns down as the show concludes.
- Excellent end to the show that got me even more hyped for Sunday. This is the match to watch without a doubt. The cell being shoehorned in at the end was a little hokey but it is what it is.
FINAL THOUGHTS: SmackDown was on FS1 this week so they didn’t exactly bring the fire, but it was a good enough show that didn’t feel longer than its runtime. Opening match was great as was the closing segment with Roman/Jey. Your mileage may vary on the Law & Otis stuff; I personally didn’t find it all that entertaining but maybe you will. Also I am convinced more than ever that Bianca Belair should be ALL OF THE CHAMPIONS.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Bryan/Owens/Street Profits vs. Ziggler/Roode/Cesaro/Nakamura
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Daniel Bryan shakes the ropes with Montez Ford to celebrate their win. Such a goofy quick thing and I loved it.