Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, & Byron Saxton
The King of the Ring Quarterfinals conclude this week on SmackDown Live as Chad Gable takes on Andrade and Ali goes one-on-one with Elias. Also on the show we’ll find out if Roman Reigns will apologize to Daniel Bryan for the Spear that ended last week’s show and Women’s Champ Bayley may or may not have something to say following her shocking chair attack on Becky Lynch at the end of last night’s RAW. Join me for LIVE coverage, why don’t you?
- 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 WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
- KING OF THE RING QUARTERFINALS: Ali vs. Elias (***1/2)
- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire (**)
- KING OF THE RING QUARTERFINALS: Chad Gable vs. Andrade (***1/2)
- Aleister Black vs. Shelton Benjamin (NR)
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jobber (NR)
-LAST NIGHT ON RAW: Bayley turns heel by beating Becky Lynch to hell with a chair and joining forces with best friend Sasha Banks.
-Phillips welcomes the home crowd before Bayley makes her way out to open the show. Bayley still has her usual entrance, including the tube men, which is interesting. I was hoping she was going to pop them or something. Crowd gives her a mixed response, but it’s mostly positive. Bayley is surprised that no one saw last night coming given her BFF status with Sasha Banks. Bayley says she’s trying to give people opportunities and lift people up, trying to make people feel the way that she did when she was a fan. Bayley is doing everything she can put the SmackDown Women’s Championship on the mat because the fans deserve a champion on the same recognition level as Becky Lynch, and vows to be that champion for a long, long time. Bayley says this starts at Clash of the Champions when she beats Charlotte Flair, the most selfish person on the planet. SHOCK AND AWE here comes Charlotte Flair to retort. Flair owns Bayley’s insult, calling herself “The Queen of Selfishness” and says what the people see is what they get. Flair tells Bayley to hug her title real tight, out comes Sasha Banks to stand menacingly in the aisle. Flair attacks Bayley, Banks runs in and brawls with Flair. Flair gets the best of her, Bayley hits her in the back with a steel chair and keeps swinging. Bayley hands Banks the chair for a few shots, then hits Flair one last time. Loud “BAYLEY” chants as the best friends stand over their victim.
- I think that was supposed to be a heel thing? Judging from the crowd reaction though it did not go that way, kind of like Becky Lynch last year at SummerSlam. I appreciate Bayley having a big ego about “doing it FOR THE KIDS” or whatever, that was a nice touch.
-TONIGHT: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan meet face to face, the KOTR Quarterfinals conclude.
–Ali makes his way out for the opening contest…which is NEXT.
-Or maybe not because we go backstage, where Bayley and Sasha Banks inaudibly celebrate their attack. We needed that?
–Elias places his guitar on the KOTR throne en route to the ring. God his theme music sucks, he doesn’t play an electric guitar.
KING OF THE RING: QUARTERFINALS
Ali vs. Elias
Elias with a wristlock to start, Ali flips through to counter. Ali escapes a slam and chops Elias so hard he hurts his own hand. Elias charges, Ali dodges and shows off with a cartwheel and a backflip. Ali with a pair of roll-ups and a spinning heel kick that send Elias to the floor. Ali goes flying, Elias catches him and suplexes throws him onto the aisle grate (“diamond plate” according to Phillips”). Elias teases accepting a countout win but instead throws him face-first into the barricade, across the floor, and into the timekeeper’s area as we go to an insert commercial break. Ali barely beats the count, Elias makes him pay by stomping a mudhole in him. Elias keeps the pressure on, connecting with a backdrop for a two-count. Ali fights back with forearms, but gets turned inside out with a clothesline for another two-count. CHINLOCK TIME, Ali tries to whip him off but Elias rolls through and keeps the hold applied.
Back to full screen as Ali breaks the hold and creates some separation with a dropkick. Elias charges, Ali belts him with a series of strikes. Elias is nice enough to hang out long enough for Ali to hit his rolling X-Factor for the 1…2…not yet. Elias to the floor, Ali hits him from behind with a tope suicida and goes right into the barricade. Ali favors his left knee, Elias clutches his left arm. Both men climb the buckles, Ali counters a superplex attempt with a series of forearms and a 450 Splash to Elias’ left arm. OUCH. Ali with a tilt-a-whirl into a Crossface but Elias gets to the bottom rope. Elias with an electric chair into a sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…Ali kicks out and Elias locks in a STRETCH MUFFLER on Ali’s hurt knee. The Stretch Muffler rules, more people should use it. Ali gets to the bottom rope to break it, Elias keeps his focus on the knee by ramming it into the LED post. Both men climb the buckles, Elias throws Ali to the floor and he lands hard on his knee. Elias tries to take advantage with a flying double ax, Ali counters with a superkick but puts all of his weight on his hurt knee, so was it worth it? I mean, kinda. Ali hops the buckles on one good leg, Elias dodges the 450 Splash. Elias goes after the knee, dodging an enzuigiri and kneedropping the back of the knee. Elias follows up with Drift Away for the 1…2…3.
Elias defeated Ali via pinfall with Drift Away (11:28)
- Damn good match, a lot better than I was expecting. A LOT. Ali took some crazy bumps and made Elias look great, and Elias came to play as well, looking better than he has been in other matches I’ve seen him in recently. Great spot in the middle with both guys trying to win with submissions on their respective injured limbs. (***1/2)
Elias plays guitar on the KOTR throne. Man none of y’all should be sitting on that thing unless you actually win it.
–Kayla Braxton is standing by backstage with Samoa Joe. Braxton brings up Joe being in a triple threat next Monday on RAW in the KOTR semi-finals. Joe says he’s here tonight to scout his competition, vows to put whoever faces him in the finals to sleep, and tells the WWE Universe that they will bend the knee and call him king.
–Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are walking around backstage. They are in action tonight.
–Aleister Black is in his sad boy room of darkness. Black starts removing his clothes, saying if the mountain won’t come to him he’ll come to the mountain. He’s going to the ring to see if there’s anyone who’s man enough to pick a fight with him and walks off-screen.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville)
Rose is amused at Cross’ existence, whipping her hair in her face. Cross makes her pay with a series of forearms and a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, followed by a bulldog for a two-count. Rose swats Cross and the heels take control, working Cross over in the corner. Cross drops Deville off the apron and connects with a dropkick on Rose. Fire & Desire bail to the floor, Cross connects with a flying crossbody from the top as we head into commercial.
Fire & Desire back in control as we return from the break. Rose says Cross will never look like her, Bliss no one wants to look like Rose like the good friend she is. Bliss gets the hot tag and wrecks the now-legal Deville with double knees and strikes for the 1…2…Rose breaks it up. Cross runs in, Rose tries to plant her with some sort of move, Cross escapes and knocks herself and Rose to the floor with a crossbody. Deville with those MMA KIX, Bliss with a DDT. Bliss climbs the buckles, Rose slams Cross into the LED apron distracting Bliss and allowing Deville to get her knees up during a splash. Rose tags in and Fire & Desire hit a flying knee/knee clip combo for the 1…2…3!
Fire & Desire defeated Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross when Rose pinned Bliss (4:05 shown)
- Fire & Desire get a non-title win to get an actual title shot at Clash of the Champions. Simple enough. Match was okay, I like Rose & Deville more than most I think. Bliss being distracted by Cross causing her to lose is a nice little seed to plant. (**)
–Chad Gable is working out backstage. Samoa Joe “accidentally” bumps into him, apologizing to his “little buddy”. Joe thinks the idea of Gable being king is ridiculous, and calls him mentally weak. There is no room for weakness in the kingdom. Gable is GOTTEN TO.
-Back to the arena for Randy Orton to start the second hour, more or less. Orton says Clash of Champions is two weeks away which means in two weeks the universe will have a new champion and in two weeks he will prove Kofi Kingston is a fraud not on his level. Orton starts bragging about the trap he set last week, immediately interrupted by “KOFI” chants. Orton says the best part of last week was the sound of Kingston’s skull bouncing off the floor. Hey man whatever gets you going, I don’t kink shame. Orton takes it to the TitanTron to footage of Orton hitting every New Day member with an RKO three weeks ago, then holding Kingston back while The Revival destroyed Xavier Woods’ knee two weeks ago on RAW, then one week ago on SmackDown of the Kofi/Orton brawl that ended with Orton DDTing Kingston on the floor. Back live Orton says he doesn’t want to wait and demands Kofi face him man-to-man RIGHT NOW. The music of The New Day hits, and out comes Kofi Kingston…getting beaten up by The Revival! Kingston starts battling back, Orton levels him with a clothesline and rolls him into the ring. Orton goes Garvin Stomping, pausing between kicks to call Kofi “STUPID”. Dawson and Wilder pick Kingston up, Orton tells him he’s going to beat Kingston at Clash of Champions in front of everyone with the three most devestating letters in the world: R-K-Kingston kicks him and fights back once more, but the DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and all that. SUPER RKO from the heel trio (okay fine it’s a 3D). Orton and The Revival pose as Kingston struggles to recover.
- The Revival are PERFECT lackeys for a big heel star. Can’t believe it took them this long to get this role. Orton kept it short and we got to the sneak attacking before I wanted to change the channel, so I consider this a success. I’m glad Randy seems motivated.
-LAST WEEK ON SMACKDOWN: Rowan is outed as being behind the attacks apparently, Daniel Bryan freaks out on him and rushes the ring talking about how much he hates LIARS, only to be speared by Roman Reigns. Reigns will be taking on Rowan at Clash of Champions in two weeks.
KING OF THE RING: QUARTERFINALS
Chad Gable vs. Andrade [w/ Zelina Vega]
Before the match Vega gets on the mic and says as a fellow vertically-challenged superstar she has nothing but respect for how Gable continues overcoming the odds. Vega says he could even be the next King of the Ring…if Andrade wasn’t in this tournament. Andrade will beat Gable tonight but there’s no shame in losing to the future king, and tells “little guy” Gable to keep going. Rude.
Gable with a waistlock takedown to start, Andrade escapes with a back elbow and grabs a wristlock. Gable goes to work, countering a power bomb with an armdrag followed by a monkey flip. Gable goes for another, Andrade dumps him out of the ring and now it’s INSERT COMMERCIAL TIME. My attention span, USA. You’re messing with me. Andrade continues the assault, including a running kick to the back of the head for the 1…2…Gable kicks out, Andrade wrenches in a reverse chinlock. Gable flips out of a suplex attempt and tries to send Andrade into the buckles with an overhead belly to belly but he slips and they tumble to the mat, Andrade almost landing on his damn head.
Back to full screen as Gable and Andrade exchange blows. Gable with a mule kick followed by a senton kick and a rolling neckbreaker. NIIIIICE. Chad Gable is so good. Gable with a bridging Chicken Wing back suplex for the 1…2…Andrade kicks out. Andrade blocks an O’Connor roll and catches Gable with a big boot. Andrade to the buckles, Gable with a palm strike. Elias watches backstage as Andrade fights Gable off and connects with a flying double stomp to a hanging Gable for the 1…2…Gable gets his shoulder up. Did I say Gable too many times in that last sentence? Probably. Two Amigos from Andrade, Gable counters the third with two German suplexes. Andrade with an elbow and third Amigo. Gable counters a moonsault with a pair of knees, crowd rallies behind Gable as he hits a BEAUTIFUL moonsault of his own for the 1…2…Andrade kicks out! Andrade sends Gable into the buckles with a hip toss, Gable dodges the double knees and hits the roll-through German suplex but Vega distracts the ref so he can’t make the count. Gable gets distracted, Andrade with a back elbow. Gable counters the Hammerlock DDT and rolls Andrade up for the 1…2…3! YEAH!
Chad Gable defeated Andrade via pinfall (7:53)
- A good piece of business right there. The height jokes are lame but it’s led to Chad Gable making a Cinderella run in the King of the Ring, which as a former American Alpha stan makes me real happy. Fun match, Gable and Andrade are both UNREAL. (***1/2)
–Aleister Black does his Nosferatu entrance thing, ready to come to the mountain since the mountain won’t come to him. Congrats Aleister, you just lost all the power. Who’s his opponent? We’ll find out NEXT!
Aleister Black vs. Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin apparently accepted the challenge during the break. Black goes right at Benjamin, wrecking him with those LETHAL STRIKES OF HIS until Benjamin drops him from the apron with a high knee of his own. Benjamin goes for a right, Black catches the arm and lights him up. Black ducks a spin kick and hits Black Mass for the 1…2…3.
Aleister Black defeated Shelton Benjamin via pinfall with Black Mass (1:52)
- Benjamin didn’t even get an introduction. Hell they didn’t even stop playing Black’s music after he accepted the challenge. Poor guy. Too short to give a meaningless rating but it was fun for what it was. I’d watch a longer match between the two. (NR)
-24/7 Champion Drake Maverick is with his wife Renee Michelle backstage. The Singh Brothers and Curtis Axel blindside him, but it’s Bo Dallas who wins the title. Dallas runs off, leaving Maverick feeling like a real loser in front of his wife, with whom he still has no consummated his marriage.
–Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn make their way out. Zayn stops the music so the fans can’t sing along, as the night is about Nakamura not the fans. Zayn says Nakamura’s opponent, Andrew “Howard” (guy shakes his head no), might as well be The Miz. We’re all in store for a taste of what is going to happen at Clash of Champions.
Shinsuke Nakamura [w/ Sami Zayn] vs. Andrew SomeGuy
Zayn STAYS ON THE LIVE MIC and talks trash as Nakamura wrecks the jobber in short order.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Andrew via pinfall with the Kinshasa (1:13)
- Is Sami Zayn doing commentary during Nakamura’s squash annoying like it should be because he’s a heel? Sure. Is it also annoying because it sucks? YUP. (NR)
Bo Dallas is chased in the ring by The Singh Brothers and Gran Metalik. Curtis Axel beats up Metalik to defend his B Team partner, but in comes Drake Maverick for the roll-up and the 24/7 Championship! Graves makes a joke about a chain restaurant, referencing Chris Jericho losing his AEW World Title while out to eat. YES THAT’S REAL. R-Truth shows up from out of nowhere on the stage and rolls Maverick up for the 1…2…3! Truth is now a 14-time 24/7 Champion. Great. Cool.
–“The New” Daniel Bryan makes his way out to close the show. Bryan is mad because people think he’s guilty by association because of Rowan’s attack on Roman Reigns. Bryan says he’s had nothing to do with the attacks on Reigns and while people may not like him no one can say that he’s a liar. In fact he HATES LIARS. Bryan demands an apology, not just for accusing him or spearing him, but because he’s being called a liar. Roman Reigns makes his way out…and is promptly attacked from behind by Rowan. Rowan wrecks Reigns, Bryan tries to get in between and Rowan shoves him off (?!?). Rowan connects with a power bomb into the post then rolls him into the ring. Rowan drops him with an Iron Claw Slam, and grabs a live mic. Rowan sarcastically waves at Bryan, calling him worse than everybody else for thinking he can control him. Rowan is no one’s puppet and tells Bryan to come slap him again like he did last week. Rowan says he’s proud of what he’s done to Reigns, but is more proud of the pain he’s going to feel at Clash of Champions. Rowan tosses Reigns out to the floor and rams him with the steel steps, then clears off the announce table. Bryan gets in between them and asks Rowan what he’s doing, they’re friends. Bryan slaps Rowan, Rowan puts DANIEL BRYAN through the table with an Iron Claw Slam. NO ONE TELLS ROWAN WHAT TO DO. Rowan keeps yelling stuff as the show concludes.
- …so it really was Rowan? That’s pretty funny and also a lot of legwork to get to a mid-card match on PPV. I’m sure there’s more to the story but…I don’t know man, Harper is more my jam when it comes to ex-Wyatt Family members. Props to WWE for trying to build this guy again for singles though. I’m down for Daniel Bryan being the mastermind anyway, having taken a slam through a table FOR THE SWERVE.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The King of the Ring action was great, the rest of SmackDown Live was…fine. Luckily the two matches were good enough to keep the show afloat. The rest wasn’t bad or anything, definitely a far breezier watch than in recent weeks, but besides Ali/Elias and Gable/Andrade there’s not a lot of must-watch stuff. Guess it’ll vary depending on your investment in these stories. I don’t have much.