After the mediocre show that was last week, expectations were tampered about the build to Survivor Series which was a mixed bag so far. However, your writer here was positive that the show at least will improve from last week’s partially horrendous episode. Did it do that ? or will it flop again? let’s get to business-uh (as HHH would say).
King Corbin Promo (again??)
For the second week in a row, King Corbin kicks off Smackdown with a very bad promo. I know that last week i was quite on the defense for Corbin’s promo, but this time it just irked me. The gist of the story is that Corbin now is the leader of Team Smackdown (why?), and he has a posse of friends in Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode who want to be in the team. Ziggler and Roode’s parts in the promo were almost forgettable, but the one thing that put this over the top for me was what happened next.
Baron Corbin (seemingly) called out Roman Reigns to face him off, and his music hit. Well, it was him (sort of) as a remix of his theme song was played in the arena and someone wearing a big dog mascott walked down to the ring to kneel in front of the king. To be fair, I chuckled hard when i saw this but only because it is hilarious out of context. However, this was radically bad TV for me although i had quite the guilty blast watching “The Big Dog” kneeling to the king.
Mustafa Ali/CHAD GABLE vs Roode/Ziggler
This match was heatless almost, until Roman Reigns (the real one this time) walked down the ring midway to even the odds. The match itself has a pretty lifeless start, but after the aforementioned “Big dog” arrival it got crucially better. Certainly, the talent involved meant that they could turn the match around. Roman Reigns was also good in his manager role for ALI and GABLE who managed to score the win after a beautiful rolling German suplex/450 splash combo on Ziggler.
This wasn’t bad or anything like the promo before it, but when it is looked upon closely it falls flat immediately. This story should be playing into NXT running riot on the show or RAW invading, not for comedic remixes of Reigns’ theme song. Corbin and Reigns should be legitimately battling for leadership against the (kayfabe) threat of NXT and RAW in the “Battle for brand supremacy” as Michael Cole called it. This was genuinely annoying at points, but we take what we have, i guess.
A recap of Daniel Bryan’s attack by the fiend, followed by a Firefly Fun House where Bray Wyatt unveils the new (blue) Universal Championship, teasing a MIZ TV appearance for later.
Braun Strowman vs Drew Gulak/B-Team
It is not an official match, but i’ll treat it as such because Strowman would have squashed them anyway. This was perplexing, with Strowman stuck in limbo now as this special attraction guy who comes out to beat up jobbers and no-names then leave. Also, is he feuding with Drew Gulak?? if so this won’t end well for the former cruiserweight champion. If anyone want a clue, go check the Kevin Owens feud from just around one year ago. Anyway, this was bland and uninspiring, even useless to put on TV. The only thing advanced by this was Braun Strowman being part of the “Blue Brand” at Survivor Series.
Kofi Kingston and Big E are backstage hyping up their championship rematch against The Revival.
Daniel Bryan is confronted backstage with Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura who offer him their help only for D-Bry to refuse and suggest Stowman whom they confront too. This was funny and maybe we get Strowman vs Nakamura for the IC title which is good, though not as enticing as Bryan vs Nakamura would be.
The New Day vs The Revival: Smackdown tag team championship match
This match was certainly better and more dramatic than last week’s run of the mill. It started in the same fashion with Kofi being worked over, and The Revival dominating the champions. Once Big E got the tag though, everything broke loose with some amazing action that spilled to the outside, and a great near fall off the shatter machine on Big E that Kofi flew in the air to break.
And just as we were ready for the next gear in this match to kick, the Undisputed Era showed up and beat both teams for a no context. This was a smart ending that was slightly undermined by the fact that the likes of Heavy Machinery, Apollo Crews, and Lucha House Party are the ones making the save. Where was Roman Reigns? Braun Strowman? CHAD GABLE??. Nonetheless, this was cool to see really and it lifted my spirit halfway through what was a bland show.
Heavy Machinery vs Kevin Tibbs and Kip Stevens
This was quick and effective. Squash match as expected against two jobbers, whom one of them (Kevin Tibbs) was once a planted fan who got thrown on officials by Erick Rowan earlier in the whodunnit story with Roman Reigns (yes i remember that).
Recap of what happned last week after the Sasha Banks/Nikki Cross match.
Bayley is backstage with Sasha Banks hyping themselves and their matches at SS.
Bayley vs Nikki Cross
The match didn’t have enough time to breathe as Shayna Bazsler once again came to Smackdown, throwing the match off. She wasn’t alone this time, as Rhea Rhipley, Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, and Dakota Kai were there to brawl with the Smackdown women’s team (continuity anyone??). Logic (not the rapper) holes are quite obvious; why the babyface team that will go against Bazsler’s team at TakeOver: WAR GAMES helping her?? Why Sasha Banks is all of a sudden loyal to Smackdown while she should be loyal to herself or to Bayley at the very best?. Anyway, we got ourselves an 8-woman tag with Rhipley/Nox/Kai/Yim vs Sasha/Carmella/Dana Brooke/Nikki Cross. This should be decent at least.
Rhipley/Nox/Kai/Yim vs Banks/Brooke/Carmella/Nikki Cross
This match succeeded in one thing in my opinion, which is making me want to see a singles feud between Rhea Rhipley and Sasha Banks. It was decent to an extent and showcased (also to an extent) NXT’s lasses, despite an unexplicable loss where Dakota Kai took the fall. Now, this may play in NXT’s timeline continuity, which will be cool but for this show it was just unjustified. After the match, a brawl breaks out and NXT’s women retreat. Overall, this felt devoid of reason and logic as an entire women’s segment. Still, NXT’s hottest thing made themselves visible and had an impact so kudos for that.
Miz TV w/Daniel Bryan
This was really good. The Miz is always good in this role of stirring the pot, as was Daniel Bryan in being an unstable guy who is wrestling with his inner-self to identify who he is. The Miz provoked him by stating that he is unstable, and that he is confused about who he is. Bryan retorted by saying, while keeping the feud between he and The Miz alive (i loved that), that he is indeed unstable and that Bray understands that, henceforth the attack. Cue firefly fun house music, and Bray amazingly challenging Daniel Bryan to a title match at Survivor Series by persuading him into saying yes. Daniel Bryan didn’t say that though, instead he challenged Bray for a match as the latter accepted. Then, Bray proceeded to say Yes! manically over and over which would have been an amazing visual to close the show, but they cut to The Miz announcing the match is official. This was a great segment to close the show, pushing Bryan’s feud with “The Fiend” and with his inner-self at the same time. Wonderful character work from Daniel Bryan as usual.
This review is lacking in substance, as most of this episode was. It was cool to see NXT making an impact again, although the women’s part of that didn’t make much sense. The Fiend vs Daniel Bryan should be awesome as a top feud, and it must be the main-event at Survivor Series. On the other hand, Roman Reigns/Baron Corbin storyline is getting more ridiculous and there are loads of holes to fill in the show’s overall storyline arcs to make them compelling ahead of Survivor Series.
Final Rating: 7/10 (Thanks to the Miz TV segement, and the UE appearance mainly).
This is one man’s opinion after all, tell me yours in the comments or reach me out on twitter @OGouesmiHellRaiser. Till next week!!