COMMENTATORS: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, & David Otunga
The 2019 King of the Ring continues this week on SmackDown Live as Kevin Owens takes on hated rival Elias and Apollo Crews faces Andrade. The mystery behind the attacks on Roman Reigns will also be revealed maybe according to Daniel Bryan, who’s also in action against Buddy Murphy a week after he had Rowan assault him the locker room to force a fake confession out of him. Can’t wait!
- WWE CHAMPION: Kofi Kingston
- WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Shinsuke Nakamura
- SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Bayley
- SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods)
- WWE 24/7 CHAMPION: Elias
- 2019 KOTR – First Round: Apollo Crews vs. Andrade (***1/4)
- Buddy Murphy vs. Daniel Bryan (***3/4)
- Heavy Machinery vs. The Revival (**1/4)
- 2019 KOTR – FIRST ROUND: Kevin Owens vs. Elias (**)
Out comes Randy Orton to open the show. Cut to footage from RAW where Orton & The Revival beat up The New Day, including Orton holding Kofi Kingston down while Scott Dawson stomped the sh*t out of Xavier Woods’ knee. Back live Orton says Kingston ran from a fight at SummerSlam in front of his wife and kids because he’s stupid. He gave Kingston a chance to prove himself last week, and got RKOed because he’s stupid. Orton says he keeps proving that positivity can be crushed by the three most destructive letters in the English language: R-K-O.
New Day’s music hits, distracting Orton so Kofi Kingston can hit a Trouble in Paradise FROM OUTTA NOWHERE. Kingston grabs a chair and wraps it around Orton’s ankle but before any Pillmanizing can occur out come The Revival. Orton slides out of the ring, Kingston beats on Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder with the chair. Kingston is FIRED UP, looking to avenge Xavier Woods. That was cool.
- GREAT opening segment, from Orton actually showing some emotion and Kingston beating the hell out of everybody for revenge. That rocked. Maybe I’ll let myself get invested in this feud finally.
-VIDEO RECAP: The Mystery of Roman Reigns’ Attacker. The identity will be revealed TONIGHT.
-NXT debuts as a weekly two hour show on the USA Network starting September 18th.
–Shane McMahon is joined in his office(?) by Kevin Owens. Owens says he’s had a rough week and is not here to make things worse, and asks why he was called to McMahon’s office. McMahon asks what’s on his mind, Owens brings up the 100,000 dollar fine and how bad it’ll impact his family as they don’t come from the same background. A 100k is not a lot to a McMahon, but it’s a lot to someone like him. Owens asks McMahon to reconsider, man-to-man and father-to-father. McMahon takes a moment to think and says he’ll take it under consideration. I TOTALLY BELIEVE HE’S SINCERE.
2019 KING OF THE RING: FIRST ROUND
Apollo Crews vs. Andrade [w/ Zelina Vega]
Crews with a lariat right out of the gate, but Andrade kicks out at one. Aw, I was hoping for a Lex Luger flash pin. Andrade sends Crews into the middle buckle followed by the double knees for the 1…2…Crews kicks out. Crews counters the Hammerlock DDT with an inside cradle for a two-count. Andrade gets dumped to the apron and applies a triangle choke over the top rope until the ref forces a break. Andrade to the top, Crews catches him on the way down with a dropkick. Action moves to the floor, Andrade sending him face-first to the apron. Andrade tries a slingshot rana, Crews catches him but at the last second Andrade manages to connect with the rana that sends Crews into the stairs as we go to picture-in-picture commercial. Back in the ring Andrade focuses his attack on Crews’ left arm, sending him shoulder-first into the buckles. ARRRRRRRRMBAAAAR which turns into the Three Amigos for the 1…2…Crews gets his shoulders up. Andrade takes his time climbing the buckles, allowing Crews to regroup and knock him silly with a forearm. Crews with a series of Kobashi chops, Andrade fights out of a superplex attempt.
Andrade goes for a crossbody, Crews catches him but Andrade fights out until he meets double knees to the gut off a pop-up. Crews launches into a comeback, connecting with an Olympic Slam for the 1…2…Andrade kicks out. Andrade flips out of a suplex attempt and catches a charging Crews with a kick, Crews with a step-up enzuigiri in response. Crews tries a military press but his left arm gives out and once again Andrade sends him into the corner with a drop toehold. Crews dodges the double knees, Andrade counters an Olympic Slam with an armdrag. Crews with a pump kick followed by an enzuigiri and standing shooting star for the 1…2…Andrade kicks out! Vega distracts Crews, Andrade hits him with a back elbow followed by the Hammerlock DDT for the 1…2…3!
Andrade defeated Apollo Crews via pinfall with the Hammerlock DDT (9:45)
- Helluva match between these two, Andrade getting the win and a Quarterfinals berth in the KOTR. Crews was no slouch though and his freakish athleticism is so much fun to watch. Killer. (***1/4)
–Daniel Bryan arrives with Rowan and Roman Reigns’ supposed attacker, his face covered by a black cloth. Bryan sits him down in a secluded room and tells him not to move or he’ll be very sorry.
–Elias walks around backstage playing his guitar. He stops and finds a referee, Elias asks where “he” is and the ref points to a container. Elias pulls Drake Maverick out and makes him read a note: the 24/7 rules have been suspended so Elias can focus on the King of the Ring. Elias slams Maverick back into the container, grabs his guitar, and walks off. I get that suspending 24/7 rules is “cheap heat” or whatever but also…maybe put the belt on someone else so the fun championship can keep doing fun things?
A MOMENT OF BLISS
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross for the next segment on the entrance stage. Bliss says her guest tonight requested to be on her show and welcomes Charlotte Flair. Bliss says Flair’s win over Trish at SummerSlam can be seen as a passing of the torch, Flair says she TOOK the torch because she’s the Queen of All Eras and the face of the SmackDown women’s division. Bliss says SOME PEOPLE would say that Bayley is the actual face of the women’s division since she’s champion. Flair says Bayley might be the champion but she is the BRAND which is why she is sent to red carpet events and ESPN interviews. Charlotte says Bayley is an afterthought which is why the division and the title are afterthoughts. Naturally this brings Bayley to retort. Bayley is tired of hearing the same old stuff, calling them all excuses. At the end of the day Bayley is champion which means she’s better than Flair and that eats her up inside. Charlotte says Bayley has devalued the title and it’s up to her clean up the mess when she beats her at Clash of Champions. Bayley accepts this challenge, and can’t wait to shut Flair’s mouth. Bayley then shoves Flair out of her chair and to the floor. Real mature, Bayley. Jeez.
–Buddy Murphy is getting ready in the locker room, when in comes Roman Reigns. Reigns asks which person Murphy is lying to, Murphy says he’s “pretty sure” it was Rowan. Reigns says if he finds out Murphy is lying again, he’s going to come back and whoop his ass. LET THE MAN HANG OUT IN THE LOCKER ROOM IN PEACE, Y’ALL.
Buddy Murphy vs. “The New” Daniel Bryan [w/ Rowan]
Before the match begins Bryan grabs a live mic and calls Murphy the worst kind of a liar: a COWARDLY liar. Tonight Bryan and Rowan will reveal the REAL attacker of Roman Reigns and will also reveal Murphy had something to do with it too.
Bell rings and Murphy belts Bryan with a pump knee for a two-count. Murphy stomps a mudhole in Bryan, Bryan bails from the ring and Murphy immediately throws him back in. Murphy to the top, Bryan leaves the ring again. Bryan makes Murphy chase him back in and goes on the attack with European uppercuts and regular North American kicks. Bryan yells at Murphy for being a liar, slapping him in the face. Murphy absorbs a pair of chops and lights Bryan up. Murphy shoves Bryan to the floor followed by a tope con hilo. Both men are hurt as we go to commercial.
Back live just in time for Murphy to belt Bryan with a missile dropkick. Murphy with a kick from the apron followed by a meteora for the 1…2…Bryan kicks out. Bryan with the LeBell Lock out of nowhere, Murphy gets near the ropes so Bryan turns it into a Rings of Saturn as well as a leglock. Murphy frees himself for a second, Bryan goes back to the LeBell Lock and gets his foot on the bottom rope to finally force a break. “LET’S GO BUDDY” chant as Bryan stares daggers at his hurt opponent. Bryan peppers Murphy with kicks and tells him to stay down, but Murphy refuses to do so. Murphy ducks the head kick and connects with a spin kick of his own. Bryan puts Murphy in a tree of woe and connects with a sliding dropkick right to the mush. Bryan follows up with a SUPER belly-to-back suplex for the 1…2…Murphy kicks out! Bryan with LIAR Kicks and a running corner dropkick. Bryan seats Murphy on the top turnbuckle, Murphy slides through and connects with a superkick followed by a running Liger Bomb for the 1…2…BRYAN KICKS OUT. Bryan and Murphy go blow to blow, Murphy with a series of kicks. Bryan dodges a knee strike and connects with a series of European uppercuts. Murphy catches Bryan with a backslide for the 1…2…nope! Murphy with a Brainbuster for the 1…2…Bryan gets his foot on the rope and Rowan climbs the apron to make sure the ref saw it. Murphy gets distracted by the big man, Bryan with an O’Connor Roll for the 1…2…Murphy kicks out and almost sends Bryan into Rowan. Bryan dodges, Murphy hits Rowan with a superkick then hits Murphy’s Law on Bryan for the 1…2…3! OH MY GOD HE DID IT!
Buddy Murphy defeated Daniel Bryan via pinfall with Murphy’s Law (9:33 shown)
- A tremendous match featuring two of WWE’s best, and an absolutely yuuuuuuuuuuuge win for Buddy Murphy! Hell yeah. What a thing! I didn’t expect Murphy to win so I’m ecstatic. BUDDY FOR KING OF THE RING. (***3/4)
-After the break Kayla Braxton is standing by with Buddy Mur-oop here comes Daniel Bryan and Rowan for the attack. Rowan beats Murphy up, slamming him onto a production truck while Bryan calls him a coward and a liar who doesn’t deserve anything. Oh dang! Out come a host officials and Jaime Noble to break things up.
-Out come The Revival, still selling the effects of Kofi’s chairshots from earlier in the show (which we see a replay of). Scott Dawson says The New Day aren’t championship material, they’re cowards. Dash Wilder says Big E hasn’t even showed his face tonight because he’s still in Minnesota trying to help Xavier Woods walk. They officially challenge New Day for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at Clash of Champions. Their spiel is interrupted by their opponents Heavy Machinery.
Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Tucker bowls Wilder over with a shoulderblock and locks in a pop-up bearhug, weakening the taped up ribs. Otis tags in, Tucker throws him into Otis’ arms for a continued bearhug. Wilder fights out but gets a knee right to the ribs. Stereo vertical suplexes and clotheslines clear The Revival out of the ring as we go to picture-in-picture commercial. Revival take control somehow (I was busy paying attention to the Olive Garden commercial because I’m FAT) and go to work on Tucker, while also continuing to sell the ribs. Back to full screen mode as Wilder locks in a chinlock on Tucker. Tucker escapes, Wilder with a faceslam for the 1…2…not yet. Dawson gets the tag but misses the flying nothing, hurting his ribs even more. Wilder gets the tag and tries to prevent the tag but gets launched and in comes Otis for some BIG BOY STUFF. Otis splashes Wilder and connects with the Catapillar. Tucker tags in, Dawson breaks up the Compactor, Tucker attacks Dawson, and Wilder rolls Tucker up for the 1…2…3!
The Revival defeated Heavy Machinery when Dash Wilder pinned Tucker (6:06)
- Not bad. Heavy Machinery is perfect where they are on the card, a fun comedy team that can also go hard. (**1/4)
–Chad Gable gets interviewed about being considered an underdog, Shelton Benjamin secretly puts up a “you must be this tall to participate in the King of the Ring tournament” sign on the Men’s Locker Room door. Gable is unamused. These two battle in the 1st round of the King of the Ring next week.
The Miz welcomes his guest Sami Zayn, who requested to be on Miz TV for unknown reasons. Zayn says he doesn’t care about Miz or the show, he just wanted TV time to get some stuff off his chest. Miz says Zayn must have had a lot of time to think while on his back staring at the lights. Zayn acknowledges his losing streak but had an epiphany last night: he got caught up in the WWE trap of greed and ambition. Zayn says any of the success he’s had in his life is because he fought for something bigger than himself, and the path to his redemption is through altruism. He introduces someone he has struck a deal with: WWE Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Eyyyy I was wondering where he went. Zayn says Nakamura is an ARTIST and a POET, but can’t articulate in his soul because he’s Japanese and doesn’t speak the language well. Zayn says he and Nakamura have a bond no one understands; they are two sides of the same coin. From here on out if anyone wants to talk to Nakamura he talks to him. Miz tries to talk to Nakamura, Nakamura points to Zayn. Zayn says they can express themselves in a language Miz can understand: a kick to the back of the neck. Nakamura beats on Miz until Zayn calms him down. Zayn picks a dazed Miz up so Nakamura can put the final exclamation with a Kinshasa.
- Well this all felt really random, but it a Zayn/Nakamura partnership could be cool, I guess. At least it gives them something to do.
-Daniel Bryan and Rowan return to the locked room with the mystery culprit. Bryan says he’s called for Roman Reigns, and he’s going to find out exactly what this man did.
-Shane McMahon’s phone call is interrupted by Kevin Owens. McMahon remembers why he called Owens into his office earlier: he wants him to apologize for putting his hands on a WWE official. Owens says that’s fair and apologizes. McMahon says he’s considering lifting the fine but if he ever intentionally puts his hands on a WWE official again he will be immediately fired. Owens offers a handshake, McMahon says he’s not quite there yet and Owens walks off for the main event.
2019 KING OF THE RING: FIRST ROUND
Kevin Owens vs. Elias
No concert from Elias tonight as he makes his entrance like a normal wrestler. That’s…weird, I don’t think I’ve seen that before. I also skip a lot of Elias matches though. Owens and Elias have been at odds since SummerSlam, when the latter was the WWE official the former put his hands on. Elias then cost Owens his match against Samoa Joe last week. Lots of bad blood here.
Owens belts Elias with a back elbow followed by a clothesline that sends him to the floor. Owens wants to take flight but Elias takes a powder to prevent it. Owens follows him out and belts him with a right hand to the jaw followed by a pair of chops. Elias reverses an Irish whip and sends Owens into the barricade. Back in the ring Owens catches Elias off-guard with a release German followed by a corner cannonball for the 1…2…Elias kicks out. Suddenly out comes Shane McMahon to get a closer look at the match as we go to commercial. THE GAME IS AFOOT.
Back live and Elias has Owens in a chinlock. Owens hit a Frog Splash on the floor during the break, which is a WAY COOLER move than the one we came back to. Owens escapes, Elias belts him with a knee to the face for the 1…2…not yet. Elias beats Owens down in the corner and connects with a scoop slam, Owens kicks out of the pinfall attempt at 1. Back to the chinlock we go. Owens with a DDT and both men are down. Owens begins the comeback with a middle-buckle missile dropkick followed by a senton. Elias crawls to the ropes, Owens measures him for a pop-up power bomb but it’s countered with a kick. Owens to the middle buckle, Elias picks him up on his shoulders for a spin-out sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…Owens kicks out. They fight on the buckles, Owens drops him with a series of right hands, Elias counters a Swanton with a pair of knees. Elias charges, Owens sends him to the floor and hits a cannonball from the apron. McMahon shows up to get in between he and Elias, who rolls back into the ring. McMahon reveals a “referee shirt” and takes over the match. Owens goes for a Stunner, Elias shoves him off and Owens almost hits McMahon but stops, Elias rolls up and McMahon quick counts the 1…2…3!
Elias defeated Kevin Owens via pinfall with a roll-up (9:32 shown)
- McMahon interference was all but guaranteed as this storyline unfortunately rages on, but they could have least had a more interesting match leading up to it. On a night with back to back bangers this was not it, pal. (**)
-Roman Reigns meets up with Daniel Bryan and Rowan. Bryan says he had to go to extreme lengths to find who was guilty to exonerate Rowan. Bryan reveals the man…who looks EXACTLY LIKE ROWAN. Reigns stares confused at what the f*ck is going on as we end the show. HAHAHAHAHA WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT, I’M DEEEEEAD
FINAL THOUGHTS: A good episode of SmackDown with two standout matches and a surprise win for Buddy Murphy over Daniel Bryan. Bryan is just making everybody look good this year, he’s having a helluva 2019. The Owens/McMahon stuff is pretty meh, as was the Moment of Bliss and Miz TV segments, but I appreciate the storyline development happening. I just wish I was more invested. Also THAT BIG REVEAL AT THE END. People will understandably hate it but I thought it was super funny and goddammit I’m not above a dumb ending if it makes me laugh.