SmackDown returns to Madison Square Garden!
And not only will the King of the Ring Semifinals wrap up, but the Undertaker is set to return! What happens when the Deadman returns to his yard in the Garden?
- The Miz VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega; The Miz wins.
- Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville VS Nikki Cross w/ Alexa Bliss; Cross wins.
- Heavy Machinery VS Johnny Silver & Alex Keaton; Heavy Machinery wins.
- Ember Moon VS Bayley; Bayley wins.
- King of the Ring Semifinals: Chad Gable VS Shane McMahon, w/ Special Guest Referee Kevin Owens; turned into…
- King of the Ring Semifinals Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Chad Gable VS Shane McMahon, w/ Special Guest Referee Kevin Owens; Gable wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Undertaker is HERE!
The Phenom is not going to wait, he will make his Madison Square Garden return now! He makes his way to the ring as the Garden explodes with chants. Taker hears the fans all around as the thunderous ovation continues. Taker then picks up the mic to speak. “I wanted to come out here and take a minute and absorb all this.” For the past 30 years, Taker has considered “these hallowed grounds” his home. Taker isn’t sure how many times he’s going to get to come home anymore. But there is one thing that he wants the WWE Universe to remember about this place. The titans born of the ring, the legends that made their names, and the heroes that were created in Madison Square Garden. And it is rewarding for Taker to know each of those souls, he’s taken a piece from each of them. But they will not be forgotten, because the echoes of those memories will sound through all eternity. “And now, we usher in a new era of superstar.”
Sami Zayn interrupts?! The Critic wants everyone to wait a minute as they half boo and half sing his song. HE wants everyone to give it up for the Undertaker! The Phenom! The Deadman! Sami knows one thing about New York: They respect legends. And Taker is a legend! Truthfully, what’s most impressive about Taker’s career is his history in the Garden. Taker sold the Garden out for THIRTY years! 30 years, the Garden was Taker’s Yard! First and foremost, Sami has the utmost respect. However, even Taker must admit he shouldn’t be opening the show. Fans boo in strong disagreement. Sami says it should’ve been Sami opening the show. But in respect, 30 years is a long time. When is it enough? Taker loves the WWE, and everything he does is about paving the way. But Sami is just trying to say that the future is already here. And the future is Sami Zayn. Fans still boo.
Sami can tell the unruly fans of NYC want Sami to take out Taker. No, they’re saying “You Suck!” Sami says this is out of respect! Sami asks Taker to simply turn around and leave the ring. To do the right thing and pass the torch. Sami promises that the future of the WWE is in good hands, with him. “I give you my word.” Taker’s response? He hands the mic to Sami, and starts to walk away. Sami is surprised that all worked, but then Taker stops going through the ropes and walks up behind Sami. Sami is afraid now, because Taker shakes his head, “No.” CHOKE SLAM! The Deadman still has it! Taker now takes his leave. When and where will see the Phenom again?
Shane McMahon watches things backstage.
He is visited by Chad Gable. Sup, Shorty? Sorry, just joking. First, congratulations on making it this far int he King of the Ring tournament! Just keep rolling. But Elias broke his ankle and cannot compete tonight. Yeah, a bye into the finals, that’s great. Whoa whoa. Shane knows about tournaments, and he knows Gable doesn’t want to settle for a bye. Gable will earn his way, but Shane will figure out an opponent for Gable. It could be someone previously eliminated, but Shane wishes Gable luck. Just who will Shane choose to replace the Drifter tonight?
The Miz VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
Speaking of eliminated King of the Ring participants, we can now rule out the A-Lister and El Idolo for Gable’s opponent. However, a golden opportunity is still on the horizon for The Miz, as he prepares for Shinsuke Nakamura and the Intercontinental Championship. Will Miz use Almas as a tune-up for the King of Strong Style? Or will Almas score himself a way into the Intercontinental title picture?
SmackDown returns as Almas and Vega make their entrance, but Nakamura is on commentary speaking Japanese. The bell rings and Almas ties up with Miz. Almas puts Miz in the corner but backs off. Miz dodges the chop to wrench the wristlock. Almas handsprings through to reverse the wristlock. Miz uses ropes to flip through and spin around to arm-drag Almas! And then another arm-drag! Miz has Almas in the armlock but Almas powers Miz to ropes. The ref counts but Almas CHOPS Miz! Almas whips but Miz reverses. Almas goes Spider-Man on the ropes, and Vega joins him in going Tranquilo! But Miz runs in! Almas gets clear but Miz slides under to roll up, TWO! Miz flapjacks Almas down, then mocks Tranquilo! Almas and Vega are furious, but then Miz monkey flips Almas out!
Miz grins at Nakamura then hears the fans chant, “Miz is Awesome!” Miz runs but Vega blocks his path. Almas runs in but almost runs into Vega! Miz rolls Almas, ONE! Miz elbows from the corner, but Vega rakes his eyes! Almas dropkicks Miz down! Almas stomps a mudhole into Miz, then runs corner to corner, CIEN SHADOWS! Cover, TWO! Almas grins because he still has Miz on the defense as SmackDown goes picture in picture.
Miz gets to ropes but Almas is on him. Almas chokes Miz on the ropes, then Vega gets her own shots in! Vega gets away with it and Almas BOOTS Miz back down! Almas tells the fans to hush while he circles Miz. Almas brings Miz up and brings him in, uno amigo. Almas gets up for dos amigos. And then up again, but Miz blocks tres amigos. Miz takes the suplex for his own! Vega grows worried as Miz and Almas slowly stir. Miz throws haymakers then whips, but Almas reverses. Almas elbows Miz down then covers, TWO! Almas keeps his cool as he drags Miz up and throws him out! Almas goes out after Miz to drop ax handles from the steel steps! Miz staggers away and Nakamura seems to enjoy what he sees. Almas punches Miz around the way but Miz CHOPS back! Almas CHOPS, Miz CHOPS, and CHOPS! Miz whips but Almas reverses to send Miz into barriers!
Almas soaks up the heat and high-fives with Vega. Miz gets up but Almas is on him. Almas puts Miz in the ring and covers, TWO! Almas puts Miz back down to slingshot atomico! Cover, TWO! Almas puts Miz in a chinlock to grind him down. Miz endures and fights his way up. Miz fights out of the hold, but Almas spins around to back suplex. Miz lands on his feet to kick low and DDT! Both men are down and we return to single picture. Miz and Almas stir as fans rally up. Miz is up first and throws haymakers. Almas gives them back but gets counter punches and CHOPS! Miz whips and hits the kitchen sink knee! And then a knee lift, to the A-List Combination! Cover, TWO! Vega shouts at Almas but fans rally for Miz. Miz gives Almas It Kicks! Miz powers up but Almas dodges to roll Miz up, TWO! Miz boots Almas away, then has him in the other corner. Miz kicks but Almas CHOPS! So Miz CHOPS away! And then kicks!
Miz runs corner to corner, big knee! Then again, another knee! Almas follows the third time but misses his knee! Almas crashes and burns on the outside and Vega is panicking! Miz takes aim, builds speed, and wrecks Almas with a dropkick! Miz brings Almas around to bounce off the desk! Nakamura stands up and Miz glares back at him. Miz kicks Almas then throws him AT NAKAMURA! Vega is freaking out as Miz taunts Nakamura, “C’MON!” Miz puts Almas in but Vega trips him up. Almas boots to ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Vega is furious but Almas keeps his focus. Almas climbs up top and moonsaults! Miz moves, and catches the second moonsault! Waistlock to full nelson, FINALE! Cover, Miz wins!!
Winner: The Miz, by pinfall
But Nakamura attacks! Nakamura wants to get back at Miz already, KINSHASA!! Nakamuar grins as he leaves Miz down and out, but will things be the other way around after Clash of Champions?
Shane comes looking for Chad Gable.
Matt Hardy and Apollo Crews haven’t seen him, but Gable comes by. Oh there he is. So has Shane found the opponent to replace Elias? Yes. Elias thoroughly approves of the replacement. But who is it?! Oh it’s the BEST in the WOOOOORLD! Shane McMahon! See you out there, kid.
Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville VS Nikki Cross w/ Alexa Bliss!
Fire & Desire are set to take on the Goddess and her best friend for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions this Sunday, but Mandy and Nikki go one-on-one to build momentum. Who wins big before the big match at Clash of Champions?
SmackDown returns as Mandy takes up the mic. “Last week, I told my opponent tonight that she’ll never look like me.” Mandy would be embarrassed if she was Nikki. And why’s that? Because Mandy’s beautiful and Nikki’s… ugly. Oh did the fans not know that? Well let’s take a look. They put Nikki’s snarling face on screen. Yikes. Mandy’s looks open doors, Nikki’s looks slam them shut. “Nikki looks like an over-sized rat crawling out of the Lincoln Tunnel.” But here come Alexa and Nikki! Nikki goes right at Mandy with furious fists! The referee pulls Nikki off, rings the bell, and Nikki TACKLES Mandy! Nikki rains down rights then drags Mandy from the ropes! Mandy shoves Nikki away but Nikki hops on for a thrashing sleeper hold!
Mandy backs Nikki into a corner and gets free, then whips. Nikki dodges and crossbodies, but into Mandy’s arms. Mandy throws Nikki overhead with a Fall Away Slam! Mandy keeps Nikki from rolling out to cover, TWO! Mandy puts Nikki into the corner to stomp away. Fans rally for Nikki and the ref backs Mandy off. Mandy drags Nikki up to club her down, then snapmares her into a half straitjacket, then a full straitjacket. Fans still rally as Nikki endures being thrashed about. Mandy continues to mock Nikki that she’ll never look like her! Alexa coaches Nikki up as Nikki fights against the straitjacket. Nikki hits a jawbreaker! Mandy staggers and Nikki elbows her from the corner. Nikki kicks low but Mandy goes to bump her on buckles. Nikki stops that, and fires up to bump Mandy! And again and again and again! Nikki throws Mandy away to then throw big forearms!
Nikki runs in to corner splash! To a bulldog! Fans fire up with the crazy Cross as she climbs up top! Sonya distracts but Alexa yanks her off! Cross leaps but the crossbody FLOPS! But she still dodges the knee to roll up, Nikki wins!!
Winner: Nikki Cross, by pinfall
Fire & Desire are shocked, but that’s the power of a best friend backing you up. Will #BlissCross continue this roll through Clash of Champions to stay champions?
Heavy Machinery hits the buffet!
Don’t forget the protein, Tucky! Yes, mix up that for an ice shake! Otis takes a drink, and “OH YEAH! We’re comiiiin’!” Will Tucker and Otis bulldoze another team in tag team action tonight?
WWE, the V Foundation and Connor’s Cure again team up to fight cancer!
#BelieveintheFight, donate and do what you can to help the superstars of tomorrow today.
Ember Moon confronts Bayley.
They talked about elevating the Women’s Division, but then Bayley goes and beats up Becky Lynch? This is the boss’ influence. Nothing’s changed, this is still Bayley. Bayley did that for SmackDown! It’s not just about Sasha or Becky, but about this title. So then beating someone up elevates the division? Bayley’s better than that. Ember sees this is about Bayley struggling as a champion, especially after Sasha returned. What does Ember know about being champion? Ember knows the champ got pinned by Charlotte on Raw. But let’s save it for the ring. See you there. Will Ember be able to Eclipse Bayley this close to Clash of Champions?
Heavy Machinery VS Johnny Silver & Alex Keaton!
They’re COMIIIIN’! Will their opponents stand a chance after that protein shake powered Tucker and Otis up?
Keaton starts with Tucker but Tucker gets him down in a waistlock, and then another waistlock slam! Tucker runs but shows off his agility as he hops over Keaton. Then Tucker TOSSES Keaton to his corner! Silver tags in, speeds things up, but gets tossed, too! Tucker SUPERKICKS Keaton, then whips Silver into him. Silver flounders into the LARIAT! Otis wants in and starts hip thrusting. Tucker tags Otis and MSG fires up! Otis sandwiches Silver and Keaton, and Otis powers up! Otis brings the straps down, truffle shuffles, then does the CATERPILLAR! Elbow hits! Tag to Tucker, they bring Silver up, pop up to Otis’ catch! COMPACTOR! Cover, Heavy Machinery wins!
Winners: Heavy Machinery, Tucker pinning
A whole lot of fun for Tucky and Dozer in the Garden! But will they be heading for SmackDown Tag titles after Clash of Champions?
Kevin Owens finds Shane McMahon.
How’s Kevin doing? Shane asked Kevin to talk about things. Shane is still reconsidering the fine he put on Kevin. Shane is considering undoing the fine. What’s the catch? No catch! Just a job he has to do tonight. Kevin will be the special guest referee for the very important King of the Ring match. Imagine: the BEST in the WORLD King of the Ring! Just remember, this is for Kevin’s family. Then that $100,000 fine will be gone! DO things to the best of your ability, okay? And what if Kevin… Nevermind. Alright, just think about it. Will Kevin do what Shane wants him to do?
Erick Rowan is nobody’s puppet!
Just as it looked like the Big Dog had sniffed out the red herring, and just as Daniel Bryan was demanding an apology, the Redwood Behemoth went on a rampage! Rowan admitted to what he did, but will be even prouder of what he does to Roman at Clash of Champions. “Nobody tells me what to do!” What will Rowan do to Roman this Sunday?
Rowan is in the Garden!
Rowan storms his way to the ring, and picks up the mic to speak. Fans boo as he says, “All my life, people just don’t seem to get me. They don’t know me.” The WWE Universe thinks Rowan is always being controlled by someone else. That is, until last week. Rowan needs everyone to look him in the eyes and see what it is that makes him tick. They need to look deep into his eyes and see what he’s capable. He is a mastermind in his own right! But all people seem to see is “a big brute who terrorizes and brutalizes,” just like he did to Roman Reigns. But speaking of, now Roman is here! And the Big Dog again collides with the Big Red, SUPERMAN PUNCH! Rowan is reeling but on his feet. Roman lets out the battle cry as he runs around the way, only to get a BOOT! Rowan thrwos Roman into barriers, then runs in, to an uppercut! Roman throws Rowan over the barriers, then goes after him. They brawl in front of the WWE Universe!
Roman punches but Rowan headbutts as they go around through the crowd. Rowan throws Roman over the barriers and back to ringside. But then Roman comes back with another SUPERMAN PUNCH! Rowan staggers but rises. Security rushes out to stop them, but no good! A third SUPERMAN PUNCH! Roman is fired up but Rowan rises again. Rowan grabs a FAN!? To POWERBOMB at Roman and the security guards! Rowan climbs back to ringside to shout “I have something to say!” But Rowan backs away for now, only to come around the way, to TACKLE Roman and security guards! Rowan stomps away on Roman, then drags him up the ramp! But Roman fights back with big uppercuts! Rowan clubs Roman back, and then bounces him off the stage’s LED floor!
Security gets Rowan off Roman, but now Roman rises up. Roman hits a fourth SUPERMAN PUNCH! He beats Rowan down right by the King of the Ring throne! Security pulls Roman off Rowan, but Rowan uses the camera rig as a weapon! He swings it into Roman and guards!! “You want more, Big Dog?!” But security tells Rowan to stop. Rowan promises more is to come on Sunday! Roman gets up and the fans are behind him, but that was one hell of a brawl. Will Rowan be the end of Roman? Or is Roman going to get revenge for everything Rowan has done and more?
Rowan is still riled up backstage.
He mumbles Roman’s name over and over as he paces. His match with Roman Reigns is now NO DISQUALIFICATION! Is this just the beginning of the Big Red going berserk?
Ember Moon VS Bayley!
The War Goddess wants to show bad bad Bayley that she doesn’t need to be bad to be better. Charlotte Flair is on commentary to confirm, this is the true Bayley we’re seeing now. Will the Queen of ALL Eras be able to show not even bad Bayley is bad enough to deny the historic tenth title reign? Will Ember Moon prove herself worthy of that title in her own right? Or will Bayley beat Ember to then go on and beat Charlotte?
The bell rings and Ember dropkicks Bayley right away! Ember whips but Bayley reverses, but Ember handsprings through the hip toss to arm-drag Bayley. Bayley bails out and walks it off, but Ember goes out to fetch her. Bayley knees back then throws Ember at barriers. Ember hops up to rock Bayley back! But Bayley then trips up and knees Ember down! Charlotte mockingly applauds as SmackDown goes picture in picture.
Bayley drags Ember up and into the ring and covers, TWO! Bayley keeps on Ember by knocking her back down. Bayley brings Ember up to bump her off buckles, then stomps away in the corner. The ref backs Bayley off but Bayley covers, ropebreak saves Ember. Bayley wraps on a chinlock but Ember endures. Ember fights up but Bayley throws her down! Bayley comes back to go after Ember in a corner. She elbows and clubs Ember, then hip tosses her hard! Bayley waits for Ember to stand, to ram her shoulder into the corner! Bayley wacky waving finger guns at Charlotte, only to get a Code Breaker! Both women are down as we return to single picture!
Bayley and Ember slowly stand, and Ember counter punches Bayley! Ember mule kicks, front kicks and enziguris Bayley to a corner! Fans fire up with Ember as she runs in for a big forearm smash! Then springboard crossbodies! Cover, TWO! Charlotte knows Bayley needed this new edge, but isn’t impressed by it. Ember kicks Bayley to the apron but Bayley slides under to sunset flip. Ember rolls through to high stack, TWO, to a deadlift! But Bayley counters the bomb with headscissors! Ember goes to a corner and Bayley runs in, but Ember dodges. Bayley still knees Ember off the apron! Bayley builds speed to run into Ember’s enziguri! Ember climbs up and leaps, but Bayley dodges the Eclipse. BAYLEY2BELLY! Cover, Bayley wins!
Winner: Bayley, by pinfall
Bayley didn’t need to resort to bad behavior to beat Ember. Charlotte leaves commentary to applaud Bayley as she enters the ring. Charlotte still says she’ll have the title for a tenth time, though. Bayley nods, ready for a fight from the Queen. Will #CharlotteTenTime happen this Sunday? Or will Bayley prove she’s the one elevating the Women’s Division?
Kofi Kingston heads to the ring!
And he returns to where #Kofimania all began! Kofi says it feels good to be back at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden BABYYYY~! This building will always hold a special place in his heart, because it was here that Kofi’s career changed forever. This was where Kofi stepped up to one of the best in the WWE today to prove that he belongs! That’s what Kofi did when he whooped Randy Orton all over! Their Falls Count Anywhere went all over the arena, and the icing on the cake was Kofi putting Orton through a table! New York was chanting Kofi’s name, just as they are now, and Kofi knew then that one day he’d be back in MSG, in the ring, standing before the world as the WWE Champion! And that day has come!
NOw, a lot of kids, the youngins might not remember any of that. Some fans might have forgotten, too, but that’s okay. Here’s some classic footage! November 16th, 2009, Kofi JUMPS for a SUPER Boom Drop to put Orton through a table! And that is just a small taste of what happens at Clash of Champions when Kofi remains your “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Orton can be heard, but he cannot be found. He’s coming out from the back by the fans. Orton can’t stand KOfi bragging about something so insignificant. Orton won the title, won Royal Rumbles and won Money in the Bank. But none of that matters, because Orton will win that title back again. Orton will do it because Kofi has pretended to be something he’s not. From fakin’ being Jamaican to that Power of Positive CRAP. Fans are ready to see Kofi and Orton throw down here and now as KOfi takes off the belt to head for the Viper. But Orton has a CHAIR!
Orton SMACKS Kofi down, and again says he’s “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Another SMACK across the back, and then Orton drags Kofi up to throw into the barriers! Orton moves things around to put Kofi on the table, but Kofi stops the DDT! Kofi gets Orton down for furious fists! And then Kofi gets the chair, to SMACK Orton back! And again! Orton flails but gets another chair shot to the back! And another! Kofi also does some rearranging and brings a table into position. Kofi relived this memory in the footage, he wants to do it in real-life! Fans chant for “Table! Table!” as Kofi brings Orton up. But Orton fights back to CHOP Kofi onto the table. Orton has the chair again, but Kofi kicks the legs out! The table collapses and Kofi clubs away on Orton’s back. But Kofi won’t be denied, and he finds a spare table! Fans cheer as Kofi keeps the flashback alive!
Kofi puts Orton on the new table, and then grabs the chair. Kofi SMACKS Orton so that he stays on the table. Ten years comes full circle as Kofi climbs up! Kofi is on the railing, and he LEAPS, SUPER BOOM DROP through the table!! Fans old and new are losing their minds! Will Kofi change one thing about history and finally put Orton away to solidify his legacy as champion?
King of the Ring Semifinals: Chad Gable VS Shane McMahon, w/ Special Guest Referee Kevin Owens!
The biggest underdog of the King of the Ring is so close to the throne, and yet so far. The Drifter went down with an ankle injury over the weekend, but that doesn’t give Gable an easy way into the finals. Shane McMahon’s ego is the reason he’s jumping into this tournament, and he’s putting Kevin between a rock and a hard place. Will Kevin do the job for Shane to avoid crippling debt? Or will Gable get a fair shake in this match?
SmackDown returns as Kevin makes his entrance as the guest referee. Gable follows, already wearing gold gear in preparation for the crown. But Shane barely waits for Gable’s introduction to finish before making his way out, with his Best in the World World Cup trophy. He already places the crown on his trophy, and then gets his “proper” introduction from Greg Hamilton. Is Shane going to repeat history the same way he did back then?
Kevin rings the bell and Shane mocks Gable by kneeling while having his dukes up. But Shane gets serious and gets up to his feet. Shane headlocks and throws hands but Gable pushes him away. Gable dodges Shane’s attack to hit CHAOS THEORY!! Cover, Kevin counts, Gable wins!!
Winner: Chad Gable, by pinfall; advances to the King of the Ring finals
Kevin screws Shane just like Shane screwed Kevin! But Shane refuses to let that happen! This is now 2 out of 3 falls! Kevin can’t believe it, and neither can Gable, but Shane sadly has that authority.
King of the Ring Semifinals Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Chad Gable VS Shane McMahon, w/ Special Guest Referee Kevin Owens!
The irony is that history is being made for the KOTR tournament. Gable already has one fall, can he get Shane again? Fans call Shane names as Kevin has no choice but to keep this match going. And Shane blindsides Gable from behind! Shane is in no mood to be made a mockery off, and he bounces Gable off the table again and again and again, and then throws him into the timekeeper’s area! Kevin restores order as best he can while SmackDown goes to one last break.
SmackDown returns as the second fall is already underway. Gable is on the outside and Kevin is counting. The count passes 5 and Gable flounders up, but gets in at 9! Shane is upset with Kevin’s count but still brags like he’s already won. Shane goes after Gable with stomps and mule kicks while fans boo. Shane kicks Gable around then drags him up for a scoop. Shane holds Gable up there to then slam him down hard! Shane double gun flexes on Gable but fans boo and jeer. Shane throws fast hands but Gable hits back! Gable gets a waistlock but Shane elbows free and mule kicks again. But Gable crucifix rolls Shane, but Kevin has to take his time checking. Kevin then counts, ONE, even though that was more like seven. Shane kicks Gable around again as Kevin feels ashamed. Shane Oklahoma rolls Gable, and Kevin fast counts, but still only gets TWO!
Shane keeps on Gable with stomps and jabs. He wants to make Gable pay for that early fall. But Gable hits back with elbows and uppercuts! And big knees and shoulders! Shane swings but misses and Gable mule kicks, to a rolling kick! Gable hits a rolling neckbreaker! But Gable goes up top, and MOONSAULTS! Cover, but Kevin goes slow, and Shane gets out at “TWO”! MSG is furious and Gable is beside himself. Shane hotshots Gable back, then runs in to clobber him from behind! Shane lifts Gable into the torture rack, for a neckbreaker! Cover, Kevin’s fast again, “TWO”! Gable still survives, but Shane decides to grab a chair! This won’t be something Kevin can ignore. Kevin tells Shane this is not going to work. Shane nods knowingly, and lets Kevin put the chair away. To go for a low blow! But Gable gets that leg for an ANKLE LOCK!
Shane endures, flails, but then Gable grapevines!! Shane TAPS, Gable wins!!
Winner: Chad Gable, by submission; NOW advances to the King of the Ring Finals
There was nothing Kevin could fake about that, either. Gable and Corbin will meet this Monday to settle things! Who will be THE King of the Ring?
Fans taunt Shane with “You Tapped Out!” as Kevin explains that to Shane. That was a fair loss, but Shane still attacks Kevin! Shane rains down rights then stomps Kevin. Shane grabs the mic to tell Kevin, “YOU’RE FIRED!” Like father like son. Shane rubs it in by hammering away with the microphone! Will this termination stand?
A really great go-home from SmackDown here. The Undertaker opening was a great move, mostly because it gives Taker time to have his entrance. And the promo itself was great, as it really felt like Mark Calloway was talking through his character to speak some truth: 30 years of a career and Taker might not have many more moments like this left. But perhaps to most fans’ disappointment, we did not get The Fiend attacking Taker like the supposed hidden message in Firefly Fun House might have implied. I was still thinking The Fiend would attack Taker as he made his exit, but no. And Sami was the perfect choice to mouth off against Taker and then get a choke slam. This also helps keep Sami out of the match of Miz VS Almas with Nakamura ringside. Miz and Almas put on a hell of an opener, and Miz was doing some stuff I hadn’t seen him do. If this is the warm-up, I can’t wait to see what Miz does against Nakamura in their match.
Nikki VS Mandy was pretty good, but also pretty quick. Bayley had a good match with Ember Moon but it also felt really quick. All the champions stand tall, but I feel like they could defy the math and win on Sunday for a potential story of Sasha Banks & Bayley going back for those tag titles. Two Woman Power Trip would be really great for Sasha & Bayley as we head through Hell in a Cell into Survivor Series and beyond. Heavy Machinery made their squash match really fun, but there’s still a lot that they’ll need to do to be contenders again. Though hardly advertised or touched upon this week, Revival VS New Day for the SmackDown tag titles must still be on the card. They could probably play up a possibility of forfeit only for Woods to return heroically. Now whether the New Day retains is another story. Kofi and Orton had a great segment, and it was great to see a recreation of THE Kofi VS Orton spot from ten years ago. However, this might be a case where the math stands tall and all three New Day members lose their belts to #ForeverTheRKO. What would be crazy is if this led to a Six Man Tag #WinnersTakeAll in Hell in a Cell!
Rowan and Roman had a pretty great segment tonight, too. Rowan got to speak for himself, and it does feed into what some fans had wanted for him (and similarly, Luke Harper) ever since that already forgotten Bludgeon Brothers repackage. Rowan is proving as a character that he can be like Bray and Braun and be a monster all unto his own. His brawl with Roman was great, and that camera jib spot was really creative. Them going No Disqualifications is going to be great for both of them, and it can also bring Daniel Bryan back around to interfere on someone’s behalf. And then Shane gets brought back around thanks to the opening of Elias’ unfortunate injury. WWE does great with having to come up with a back-up plan, and while it was annoying Shane was in the King of the Ring tournament, the result was as it should be: Gable wins! And Kevin VS Shane will surely come back around now that Shane has “fired” Kevin. Kevin’s gripe will be that this is obviously unfair, and Shane just has to admit he’s not as good as he thinks he is. My money’s still on one last insane Cell spot.
My Score: 8.7/10