OPENING SEGMENT- mixed
Roman, Heyman, and Jey Uso come out, and immediately Jey is complaining about the finish of their match not being fair. It was fair, as everything was within the rules, but it doesn’t really establish who the better man is. I understand screwing the babyface for heat, but it’s not a good idea to do it in a double gimmick match, both of which ware supposed to be be-all end-all feud-enders.
Jey said that Roman “used the only person in the world that I would say ‘I quit’ for.” I bet his wife and kids were pleased to hear that one. Then again, they’re probably already pissed at him that they’re all Roman’s slaves or whatever.
The other problem here is, if Jey feels the finish was unfair, why would he obey Roman at all? What is requiring him to do so? If he feels that Roman didn’t really beat him, then it’s not his conscience/sense of honor/whatever, so why is he going along with this?
Roman tells Jey that he will fall in line by the end of the night. Roman played his role extremely well, and Jey was fine. I’m just having trouble with the logic of the whole situation.
WINNER QUALIFIES FOR THE SMACKDOWN MEN’S SURVIVOR SERIES TEAM: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Bobby Roode)- 6.75/10
Corey Graves claimed that “to be able to join and represent Smackdown at Survivor Series can propel your career to great things.” Really, Corey? Find me ONE EXAMPLE of this happening for anyone on any brand. And Keith Lee doesn’t count because he wasn’t called up for months. Find me one example where someone had a great showing representing their brand at Survivor Series and it led to them getting a bigger and ultimately sustained push than they were getting before within three months.
I don’t mind gym shorts, but I thought Owens looked like a total goof wrestling in jeans. The story early on was Ziggler benefiting from Roode’s presence distracting Owens. Roode got caught throwing Owens back into the ring, which should have been a DQ but was only an ejection instead.
Owens’ knee got worked over a bit, but he came back and won a very good opener. Countering the pop-up powerbomb into a Fame-Asser was a great spot.
NATTIE, BILLIE KAY, AND BIANCA BELAIR BICKER OVER WHO SHOULD BE THE MEANINGLESS CAPTAIN OF SMACKDOWN’S TEAM IN THE MEANINGLESS SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH- bad
In other words, it’s the same thing we always do with the women. Pearce tells them “if you want” he will book a three-way to determine which of them gets to join the team. Well how were you planning on doing this otherwise, dumbass? Also, I love how the match is booked for next, and they’re all conveniently already in their gear.
COREY GRAVES’ SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW WITH LARS SULLIVAN- fine character stuff
He’s a bully because he was made fun of as a kid and thus started attacking other kids.
MURPHY & ALIYAH BACKSTAGE- fine
Angie Mysterio is fine with their relationship (whatever it is at this point), but Rey and Dominik aren’t. Murphy plans to publicly apologize tonight.
WINNER QUALIFIES FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S SURVIVOR SERIES TEAM: Natalya vs. Bianca Belair vs. Billie Kay- 3.75/10
They did three-way stuff, but some of it looked slow. Bianca won clean.
CARMELLA PROMO- She’s wrestling next week. Also, she’s a heel.
MURPHY WANTS TO APOLOGIZE TO THE MYSTERIOS- EXCELLENT!
Murphy wants them to come out so he can apologize face to face. Instead, he gets Seth. The only part of this I didn’t like was how overdramatic Seth was, but I guess that fits his character. He told them that he would accept both of them, and their relationship, despite everything that has happened. He said Rey has been controlling Aalyah and that Dominik was a “coward” because he was jealous of Aalyah getting all of the attention.
That brought out Dominik, who attacked Seth from behind. Murphy pulled Dominik off of Seth and went to beat Seth up on his own, so of course Dominik attacked Murphy and they brawled. This brought out Rey and they shoved and yelled at each other as Seth escaped. Eventually, Rey and Murphy started fighting and the Mysterios got Murphy set up for a 619 but Aalyah ran in the way. Rey demanded that she move but she wouldn’t. Rey and Dominik headed to the back and Rey ordered Aalyah to come with them but she wouldn’t. Instead, she declared her love for Murphy and they kissed. Major props are due to whoever laid this segment out, as every run-in made sense based on the characters and also contributed to making Murphy feel sympathetic. The only thing I would have changed would be instead of having Murphy pull Dominik off of Seth to try to break thinks up, I would have had him pull Seth off of Dominik and start brawling with Seth and then have Dominik attack Murphy.
KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS DANIEL BRYAN- good
He says that the opening segment won’t affect his preparation for the match. I’m not sure why it would. Bryan put Uso over strong, including noting that Roman hadn’t actually beaten Jey… which on the one hand is true, but on the other hand devalues the gimmick matches.
STREET PROFITS PROMO- GREAT!
I now almost care about the pointless Survivor Series match where they will wrestle New Day.
THE STREET PROFITS vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO- 6.75/10
The babyfaces won clean and the match was very good, but I question what was gained by having this match.
SAMI ZAYN PROMO- It’s the same sort of annoying heel promo he always cuts. It’s fine, but there isn’t really any substance there.
SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY SEGMENT- frustrating
Sasha comes out and cuts her big “I won the title” promo and she still sounds like a heel. Bayley came out and said a lot of stuff. The main points were:
1. Sasha broke into her locker room and stole her chair (a totally fair point)
2. Sasha made her sign the HIAC contract under duress (a fine heel point to bring up to get a rematch)
3. Sasha always loses the belt in her first defense, so Bayley wants a rematch next week.
4. Sasha can’t beat Asuka without Bayley in her corner.
There is definitely something that can be done with these points. You do a double-pin or something like that next week, then have Bayley talk up the “brand loyalty” crap to get herself in Sasha’s corner at the PPV and the story is there is that Sasha doesn’t trust Bayley so you protect Sasha when she loses due to Bayley hitting her with a chair, and you use that to set up a Chairs match at TLC.
The problem is that THEY JUST HAD A HELL IN A CELL MATCH! The feud should be f*cking OVER. Are they really going to go from a Hell in a Cell match on Sunday to a plain old wrestling match next week? The existence of the HIAC PPV has done a lot to devalue HIAC over the years, but this year it feels so much more devalued that any in the past, as all of the feuds have just kept going.
WINNER QUALIFIES FOR THE SMACKDOWN MEN’S SURVIVOR SERIES TEAM: Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso- 7.25/10
Jey Uso beat Daniel Bryan clean, and I don’t understand why. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman came out right before a commercial break, and I guess the idea was supposed to be that this gave Uso the moral support he needed or something, but the announcers kept portraying it as Jey overcoming the distraction of Roman, and when we came back from the commercial, Bryan was firmly in control.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Roman gets in the ring, and Jey Uso has all of a sudden had a change of heart, tells Roman “I’m with you now,” and attacks Bryan for no reason. Jey then told Roman “I understand now.” He kept beating Bryan up, and I guess Bryan has no friends to come help him. Jey gave him a splash through the announcers’ table and then kept beating him up some more while Roman smiled.
Quite simply, this is NOT how you turn someone heel. What on Earth could have possibly made him have such a change of heart in less than two hours? This was the booker just slipping the switch in Jey’s head from “good” to “evil.” You have to show us WHY Jey Uso now “understands” Roman’s point of view thus is now “with” him. A clean victory should be the opposite of that. It’s Jey doing what Roman couldn’t and actually beating his opponent (we have been told throughout the night that Roman has never actually “beaten” Jey).
The way you do this turn is to have Jey keep losing as Roman starts adding stipulations to his matches where he will get punished if he loses. You make the stipulations worse and worse until Jey finally gets desperate and he cheats, and thus he finally sees the light.
Here is how I would have done the turn. Before tonight’s match, Roman tells Jey that if he doesn’t win, he’ll have to do some outrageous number of squats. Jey loses clean. Roman jumps Bryan after the match and beats him down. He orders Jey to help in the beat-down but Jey refuses, so Roman double the number of squats. Roman keeps beating Bryan up until Kevin Owens comes out to make the save. Bryan is injured, and Owens yells at Jey.
For next week’s show, Owens vs. Uso is booked. Owens will cut a promo saying he wanted to face Roman and Roman is a coward for putting Uso in front of him instead. He also cuts a promo on Uso for not standing up to Roman and saving Bryan.
We also get Roman convincing Adam Pearce to put Jey on the Survivor Series team in place of the injured Bryan, citing Jey’s clean win over AJ recently and threatening to no-show his Survivor Series match against Orton when Pearce points out that Roman lost last week’s qualifier. Rin a separate segment, Roman tells Uso that if he loses, he’ll have to submit to twenty cane-shots. Uso loses, and gets caned.
The third week, Roman tells Uso that if he loses, he can no longer speak to his wife and children (I know it’s a little silly, but if you’re going to have stipulation where the whole family becomes Roman’s servants, you might as well use it). You can even have Roman say he’s appointing Afa and Sika to watch Jey at all times, as well as to explain things to Jey’s wife and kids. Uso loses again.
On the go-home show, we get a segment with Roman and Uso sparring in a gym (and Afa, Sika, and Heyman can be there to coach). Roman gives Jey this big speech about not letting the family down and about how he wants them to all be the face of Smackdown and thus how it is imperative that Jey not let the family down by being eliminated. Jey finally snaps at Roman and demands to know what sort of terrible punishment Roman is going to inflict upon him if he loses, at which point Roman says “none. But if you win, I’ll let you talk to your wife and kids again.”
At Survivor Series, we wind up with two guys left from Raw, while Smackdown is left with just Owens and Uso, who we’ve been building up some tension between over the past few weeks. The finish sees a ref bump. Owens is getting beaten down. Jey eventually grabs a chair and runs wild on the heels, but he sees the referee stirring, so he Eddie Guerreros the chair over to the groggy Owens, who the referee sees with the chair and disqualifies. Jey then rushes in and pins first one and then the other member of Team Raw for the win. And NOW Jey Uso can credibly tell Roman “I understand.” (And, in doing all of this, you’ve set up Bryan vs. Roman, Uso vs. Owens, and also, of course, a tag match).
This was an okay episode of Smackdown. The in-ring stuff was mostly good, but a lot of the booking wasn’t. The Murphy/Mysterios/Rollins segment was the only thing worth going out of your way to see.
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