Commentators: Michael Cole & Corey Graves
The 2019 WWE Draft begins this week on SmackDown. Who will go where? What will go why? Where will what how where go-
Anyway read on for my rundown.
- WWE CHAMPION: Brock Lesnar
- WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Shinsuke Nakamura
- SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Charlotte Flair
- SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
- Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns (**1/4)
- Chad Gable vs. Baron Corbin (TOO MAD TO RATE)
- The New Day vs. The O.C. (NR)
- Charlotte Flair [c] vs. Bayley for the SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION (***)
Seth Rollins [RAW] defeated Roman Reigns [SmackDown] (11:23 shown)
Getting right into the action on this one, as the winner gives their brand the first pick in the draft. Being best bros things are convivial at the beginning as they trade holds but soon enough tempers flare and they start throwing bombs and dodging each other’s moves. Reigns tosses Rollins to the floor right in time for a commercial break. How convenient.
Back live Rollins has Reigns in a chinlock; Reigns fight back and connects with a deadlift sit-out power bomb for a two-count. Rollins dodges the Superman Punch and sends Reigns into the buckles via Flatliner followed by back to back tope suicidas. Back in the ring Rollins keeps the pressure going with a springboard knee strike and a frog splash but Reigns kicks out of the pinfall attempt. Reigns dodges the Curb Stomp and decks Rollins with an uppercut, Rollins connects with a buckle bomb and Reigns responds with a Superman Punch and gets a near-fall. Reigns OOO AHHHS but his Spear is countered into a sort-of Pedigree. Revved up Rollins sets up for the Stomp once more…
…but the lights flicker and go out, heralding the coming of THE FIEND who breaks through the mat and pulls Rollins under with a Mandible Claw, smoke spewing from the hole. Rollins quickly escapes though to sell the shock. Lights flicker, creepy laugh is heard, Fiend is now on the entrance stage for his final strobe light appearance and…commercial? I guess the match is over? This counts as a DQ and RAW has the first pick in the draft.
Match started off kinda slow but had a fun ending stretch that took it above house show quality. Fiend showing up to ruin things was certainly a way to end this one, because people were so thrilled with the last time he and Rollins battled this past Sunday. Whatever though I skipped Hell in a Cell so I still like seeing The Fiend do his thing. (**1/4)
-We get a shot of the USA and Fox “war rooms”, the latter complete with a robot in a football helmet. Does football have robots now? If so maybe I’ll actually watch it.
-Cole and Graves run down how the Draft will go tonight: there are 30 superstars (male and female) in the eligible draft pool, with 40 different superstars making up the draft pool on Monday. For every two picks SmackDown gets, RAW gets three because they have the longer show. Hey RAW no one asked you to be three hours, f*ck off with getting an extra pick. Tag teams count as one pick, unless it doesn’t.
–Stephanie McMahon saunters out to the podium on the entrance stage and Round 1 BEGINS. Becky Lynch is first pick and goes to RAW, as do The OC (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson) and Drew McIntyre. SmackDown picks Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt/The Fiend. The Fiend moving to the FOX sports-like show is an interesting move. Everyone else were already part of the brand they were announced for it’s not really that shocking. If this means I get to see The Fiend go after Brock Lesnar, then I am HERE FOR IT (assuming Brock stays on SmackDown, which has to be the plan).
-Cut to the draft panel consisting of Renee Young, Samoa Joe, Booker T, and Beth Phoenix. They add nothing.
–King Corbin comes out and cuts a heel promo talking about being a king or whatever, and vows to vanquish “Shorty” Gable tonight. WWE IS ACTUALLY MAKING SHORTY GABLE THE DUDE’S NAME. WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK.
–Troy Aikman and Joe Buck add nothing to the WWE Draft but are “real” sports people and FOX personalities so SYNERGY.
King Corbin defeated Shorty Gable (6:18 shown)
Gable defeated Corbin via roll-up at Hell in a Cell and was attacked backstage after, setting up this rematch. Shorty Gable is his actual name now. WWE IS CALLING HIM SHORTY GABLE. WHY THE F*CK. WHAT THE F*CK. This is the worst. He sounds like a Little Rascal character. Way to throw the albatross of failure on one of your most talented guys on the roster you idiots.
Anyway blah blah blah Gable does some cool stuff but he’s short and Corbin wins with End of Days to get his win back. 50/50, y’all. SHORTY F*CKING GABLE. Unbelievable. (TOO MAD TO RATE)
-The FOX on NFL folks, including Terry Bradshaw, reminisce about old pro wrestlers that were far more engaging and interesting than the folks WWE trot out now. Don’t remind your audience that the company you paid a billion dollars to air TV for used to have actual interesting characters, seems like a bad move.
-Steph is out for the SECOND ROUND of the Draft. RAW picks Randy Orton, Ricochet, and Bobby Lashley, while SmackDown chooses Sasha Banks and Braun Strowman. Glad Orton is moving to a show I never watch so I have to sit through as little of his bullsh*t as possible, but sucks that Ricochet is stuck there. Strowman is doing matches with “real” fighters now so it makes sense to see him on SmackDown.
-RECAP: The Braun Strowman/Tyson Fury feud. They will meet at Crown Jewel, the latest Saudi blood money show set for Halloween at 1pm in the States. At least it’s happening on a show that doesn’t matter.
-MATCH FLO: Brock Lesnar ends Kofi Kingston’s long reign as WWE Champion in five seconds, then gets beaten up by the debuting Cain Valasquez (end of last week’s show).
–Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come out for a promo. Heyman brings up Valasquez beating Brock in 2010 for the UFC Heavyweight Title and how Brock never made excuses but he will conquer Cain come Crown Jewel. That’s not a prediction, that’s a-Rey Mysterio and Cain Valasquez interrupt to show off the stills of Cain leaving Brock with a facial scar. Cain talks in Spanish, Mysterio translates saying that Cain will be giving him a matching scar on the other side of his face at Crown Jewel. Brock/Cain is for the WWE Championship. Saudis pay well.
–The New Day do their opening shtick backstage, Xavier Woods fanning himself with a pancake. Kofi Kingston uses the POWER OF POSITIVITY to pretend that his championship reign ending in five seconds wasn’t devastating. He’s much tougher than I.
-After a commercial break The New Day are on the entrance stage with two custom belts. We get a video package of a breast cancer survivor and her twin sister, who struck up a friendship with Xavier Woods. They are introduced to the crowd and are given the custom championships to a polite pop from the crowd. WWE celebrating breast cancer survivors is great; partnering up with a sh*tty organization to do so…not so much.
The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, & Big E) defeated The OC (“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson) (2:52 shown)
OC beat up Woods heading into the commercial break. Back live Kingston gets the hot tag and runs roughshod over everybody. He and Styles trade counters to their trademark moves until Kingston hits the Trouble in Paradise for the win. Kingston needed to get the pin for the team after that embarrassing showing last week in the main event so I’m glad it went that way. Match was a big pile of nothing. I really hope they don’t move The New Day to RAW. (NR)
-EARLIER ON THE SHOW: The Fiend attacked Seth Rollins.
-Steph is here for the THIRD ROUND of the Draft. Alexa Bliss, Natalya (her?), and Kevin Owens are picked by RAW, while SmackDown drafts Lacey Evans and The Revival (good pick since they’re the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPS AND ALL).
-Oh hey we’re getting back into it after commercial with the FOURTH AND FINAL ROUND: RAW draft The Viking Raiders, Nikki Cross, and The Street Profits while SmackDown draft The Lucha House Party and Heavy Machinery. Bliss and Cross are a team, aren’t they? Way to waste your extra pick, RAW. Bunch of doofuses. Also Heavy Machinery weren’t even listed as part of the draft pool for tonight, but whatever. Neither brand looks particularly interesting, to be honest, but I’m going to give SmackDown the nod because Randy Orton is no longer going to be stinking up the show with his lazy ass bullsh*t.
–Bayley makes her usual entrance…but then suddenly the music stops. Bayley removes her hoodie, revealing jet black short hair, then grabs a poker and POPS THE BAYLEY BUDDIES. Oh snaaaaaaap. SHE A HEEL NOW, YO. This is the best part of the show.
-FOX’s Jay Glazer hints at a possible trade to occur in the Draft as well as spotlighting Sonya Deville as one to watch.
-A quick look at Tyson Fury, lineal world champion and all around piece of sh*t.
Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair [c] to win the SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (8:31 shown)
Bayley charges the ring and throws hands with Flair right at the bell, action moves to the floor and Bayley gets sent into the guardrail and into the first row. Bayley bounces back though and is in control as the show moves into its final commercial break.
Back from the break we get a much longer than it should be side headlock spot, reaching bearhug-levels of dullness, before Charlotte sends her to the floor and flattens her with a slingshot crossbody. Charlotte takes Bayley to Chop City and throws her across the ring. Back on the floor the champ “hits” a moonsault from the barricade, barely grazing Bayley’s arm. ONE DAY Charlotte Flair will actually hit somebody with the moonsault. ONE GODDAMN DAY. Back in the ring Charlotte goes for another moonsault, Bayley gets her feet up but Charlotte lands on her feet and turns it into a Boston Crab. Bayley forces a rope break then sends Charlotte into the buckles and rolls her up, feet on the ropes for the 1…2…NOPE. Bayley freaks out then hits a flying elbowdrop for the 1…2…Charlotte kicks out again and Bayley goes into full tantrum mode. Charlotte tries to take advantage with Natural Selection but Bayley kicks out. Charlotte goes for the Figure Four, Bayley channels her inner Steamboat with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3! Bayley celebrates with her new HEEL METAL MUSIC theme.
Best match of the night with the best character development of the night. Bayley finally embracing her inner heel and getting rid of the ponytail and the Bayley Buddies. Still comes off like a teenager trying to be “bad” but that makes it more entertaining to me. The match was good for what it was, though Bayley NOT winning via heel tactics was an interesting choice. Went through the trouble to show off her new gimmick and she wins the match the same way she would’ve before? Strange. (***)
After the match Bayley says “BITCH” and says “SCREW YOU” to the fans. EVIL TUFF BAYLEY IS SUPER MEAN, Y’ALL. That ends the show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Bayley’s new personality and The Fiend’s attack were fun, and I appreciate WWE focusing the last twenty minutes of the show around a storyline instead of the draft, but this was a pretty dull SmackDown besides that. The draft picks were not very interesting and since the show focused on that the wrestling was weak. The forced synergy with FOX’s sports brands was also real obnoxious this time around, as ironically funny as it is. Not a great show, but I’m hoping that next Friday will be better since they’ll have a real episode and not one built around a gimmick. Hopefully.