Welcome to WrestlePurists live coverage of the September 1st edition of SmackDown. Tonight is the night before Payback and we’ll be graced with the presence of a very overly airbrushed Cena. We’ll also be joined by a returning Jimmy Uso – his first appaerance since his brother walked out of WWE. Also, US Champ Rey Mysterio will team up with LWO hermano Santos Escobar against the gruesome twosome of Austin Theory and Grayson Waller.
JOHN CENA IN-RING PROMO
The show opens with that signature horn line as Cena makes his entrance, praising Stu behind the camera. It looks like John has finally taken the hint and shaved his head, he looks a million bucks tonight. The crowd is absolutely electric as he looks around the arena and welcomes Hershey, Pennsylvania to Friday Night Smackdown. He says every single time he gets in the ring it feels better than the last… I’d hope so after that WrestleMania performance. He announces that not only will he be wrestling in India, he will be hosting Payback tomorrow. As John finishes his promo he is interrupted by Jimmy Uso and his new theme. He seems to have a new ring name, as his name plate says “Jimmmy Uso.”
As the two face off, the crowd chants “We Want Jey!” Jimmy starts his promo saying that everyone came to see him – he is leaning extremely heel in this promo. I’m really disappointed that the face Usos run didn’t last longer, I think this story really derailed after Summerslam. Jimmy compares Cena to Roman, and says the only thing different between them is that Cena does everything Roman does but with a smile. Cena says he’s been wanting to tell Jimmy this for three years: the wrong Uso quit. I don’t know why he would’ve wanted to say that for 3 years considering both Usos have been around for a while. Jimmy goes to superkick Cena, but he catches the kick and lands an attitude adjustment onto Jimmy. Cena rips his shirt and hat off, revealing he’s still chiseled but also still balding. Hopefully he wrestles with a cap on for his next match.
Backstage with Waller and Theory
After Cena leaves up the ramp we go backstage to Kayla Braxton with Grayson Waller and Austin Theory. She asks Theory and Waller how they feel about Cena hosting Payback – the two laugh. They talk about their beef with Cena before the LWO make their entrance.
AUSTIN THEORY & GRAYSON WALLER DEFEAT REY MYSTERIO & SANTOS ESCOBAR W/ Zelina Vega
The LWO make their entrance and wait on the ramp for Rey Mysterio. Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde both leave but Zelina accompanies the two to the ring? We go to the commercial break as the three pose in the ring. After the commercial, we quickly go backstage to Jimmy getting cranky. Cocky heel Jimmy isn’t doing it for me so far to be honest.
Waller and Theory make their entrances separately, I think they could actually gel quite well as a team despite Waller doing everything Theory does but better. The match opens with Escobar and Waller in the ring. The two brawl before Mysterio tags in for a big dive to the outside. We go to commercial after one minute of wrestling…
We come back from the break to some more fairly uninspired wrestling, and Waller accidentally bumps Theory off of the apron. He scrambles outside to help Theory back up, and Waller sprints across the ring to knock Escobar off. Mysterio turns momentum around with an excellent DDT and tags in to Santos. Escobar hits the big 2k comeback, bouncing off of the ropes and hitting several crossbodies. He props Waller on the top rope and hits a picture perfect hurricanrana. Theory breaks up the count but Mysterio runs in to get Theory out. Waller and Theory spill outside and Escobar and Rey look for tandem dives. They’re quickly interrupted by Theory who scrambles in to the ring. He picks Mysterio up in the fireman’s carry and the two crash to the ground. The camera pans to the ramp and Waller hits his excellent rolling stunner on to Escobar for three. After the match, Santos clutches his knee.
This match was fine, I liked the team of Waller and Theory but still feel as though Austin is out of place as a heel.
BOBBY LASHLEY IN-RING PROMO
After the previous match we’re quickly taken backstage to Mia Yim and Pearce talking. Michin says “she’s ready” but is interrupted by Jimmy Uso. Pearce questions Jimmy’s behaviour and tells him to stop being so rude to everybody. After this, we go to the ramp and Bobby Lashley makes his entrance in a dapper purple suit. If I tried to rock what he’s wearing right now I would look like a poorly cosplayed Joker.
After the break, Lashley says that everybody’s been asking him “What’s up with you and the Street Profits.” Lashley says he’ll give a simple answer: real recognises real. He welcomes Ford and Dawkins to come down the ramp and join him in the ring. It’s good to see that they’re not changing anything about the tag team except for Dawkins’ threads. The Street Profits say that they’re grateful for Bobby helping them out, and it’s been a long time since they’ve had this much success. Ford drops a nice line, “It’s nothing personal, just profits.” These two just ooze charisma and complement Bobby so well. Lashley says that they’re coming for all of the gold, and that they’ve put the locker room on notice.
As they leave up the ramp they’re interrupted by Kevin Owens’ theme song, he steps out from behind the “curtain” and is promptly joined by Sami Zayn. It’s good to see these two back in action again, as it’s felt (through no fault of their own) like there hasn’t been much development in the tag team scene the last couple of months. The two step past the “Suit Profits” and make their way to the ring.
SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS DEFEAT CRUZ DEL TORO & JOAQUIN WILDE
The match opens with Zayn and Wilde trading back and forth blows. Momentum is swung in the champs favour as Sami hits a massive clothesline and tags out to KO. Kevin launches off the top rope with his signature swanton and makes a pin attempt on Wilde, who kicks out at 2. Wilde tags out to Del Toro who does a flashy run around the ropes. These two are too good to be kept in tag team purgatory. Zayn tags back in against Del Toro and hits a massive Helluva kick, before tagging out to KO who lands a stunner for three.
A quick win for the tag champs before going to Payback tomorrow – I hope they retain as I felt they haven’t really gotten the opportunity to do justice to this tag title run. After the match, Zayn grabs a mic and promises the Judgement Day that tomorrow night will be the worst pain they’ve felt in their life.
BACKSTAGE WITH AJ STYLES AND JIMMY USO
We go backstage to see Jimmy leaving before he’s interrupted by AJ Styles. AJ gets in his face and knocks him to the ground, but is quickly toppled by Solo! Sikoa says that Jimmy is out of the bloodline when they say he is, but Jimmy refutes saying that Solo, Roman or Paul can’t tell him what to do anymore.
After the commercial break they replay the exact same segment. Cathy Kelly is backstage with AJ who is clutching his neck. He disparages the bloodline and then says that he wants to fight Solo tonight.
MIZ & LA KNIGHT FACe-TO-FACE
The Miz enters and says that tomorrow LA Knight will be wrestling the biggest match of his career. He says that it was so easy to impersonate him last Monday, but is quickly interrupted by the arrival of the megastar. Knight says that the Miz did another one of his cosplay bits… he’s done Cena… the Rock… and now LA Knight. LA says that the same thing that those three have in common is that the Miz wants to be everything they are – but he isn’t. LA says that the Miz is right, he’s not on the Miz’s level – he’s above it. And it’s the Miz who’s not on the level of LA Knight. Miz fires back saying he’s a star and has done more than LA has in much fewer time. LA says the Miz isn’t even the star of his own show – it’s Maryse. Knight says Miz is nothing more than a baggage handler for the bags that Maryse carries his balls in.
LA apologises to Maryse because when he sends Miz home as a lifeless mess, she’s going to feel empty inside. Knight says that one call to him will fix that real quick. YEAH. The two continue to go back and forth. To Miz’s credit, it really feels like LA Knight is rattled a bit, he’s been stumbling on his words a little bit and repeating himself in this segment. He finishes his promo with “everybody saying” and Miz goes for the cheap shot. Knight ducks him but Miz quickly delivers the skull crushing finale, and lays out LA Knight. Miz stands over LA before leaving up the ramp. As he leaves up the ramp, Knight sprints up behind him and bowls Miz over.
This promo was alright but got a bit repetitive towards the end, LA Knight is undeniable at this point as the best character on WWE.
SHOTZI DEFEATS BAYLEY w/ IYO SKY & Dakota Kai
Shotzi makes her entrance in the tank – I love the pyro that it gets too. She’s rocking this new presentation. Unfortunately it sounds like more half of the arena has suddenly become mute. Corey Graves continues to add nothing to this match except for belittling Shotzi’s new look. I would rather have my ears grated by a mandoline slicer than listen to Graves’ commentary. The two spill to the outside and we go to a commercial break.
We come back to the break and Bayley launches off the rope with an elbow drop, but Shotzi brings her knees up. She kicks Bayley on the apron, knocking her to the floor. She bounces off the rope and launches for a suicide dive under the middle rope and it looks great! Bayley gets back in to the ring and puts Shotzi in the tree of woe, jumping off the bottom rope and kicking Shotzi in the mid section. The two trade some offence back and forth and Bayley asks IYO for her title to hit Shotzi. IYO refuses and all of a sudden the queen Charlotte Flair interrupts the match. She smashes IYO into the barricade and Shotzi takes advantage of the situation to roll up Bayley for a three count.
This was a good win for Shotzi but I don’t think it needed the Charlotte Flair interruption.
SOLO SIKOA V AJ STYLES
AJ and Solo open the match with some stiff back and forth offence. Styles is quickly knocked to the ground – Sikoa goes for a diving headbutt but AJ gets his knees up. The two trade some more back and forth before Paul Heyman enters the arena. He comes down the ramp, distracting Styles. Solo capitalises, but AJ tosses him out of the ring and dives outside. Heyman backs up a little as Styles stares him down.
Styles and Sikoa throw some more forearms, before Solo bounces AJ off the ropes and lands a wicked back body drop. He sets up for the Samoan Spike, but AJ fires back with a Pele kick. Styles dropkicks Solo’s knee, flooring him. Sikoa springs back up and AJ goes for a bulldog but is reversed by Solo. He tries to pin styles but only AJ kicks out right at the end. Styles launches off the ropes with a vicious clothesline and then springboard moonsault. AJ gets up on to the ropes but Jimmy Uso comes out of nowhere and knocks him off. Solo hits the Samoan Spike and pins AJ for three.
This match was fine but felt like a fairly inconsequential main event. After the match, Jimmy hugs Solo, but Solo sets him up for the Samoan Spike. He looks to Heyman who shakes his head, and reluctantly lets Jimmy go. Solo and Heyman leave up the ramp as Jimmy beats down AJ in the ring.
POST SHOW NOTES
Overall SmackDown tonight was a decent go home show – although we didn’t really focus too much on the matches being built for tomorrow night. No Judgement Day on the show is odd as they are prominently featured tomorrow. I think the Miz and LA Knight segment was really good to build hype for their encounter tomorrow night.
Stay tuned to wrestlepurists.com for more news, results and features. Until next time!