It’s the last WWE Smackdown episode before Survivor Series on Sunday with a few matches announced including Sasha Banks facing Shotzi in singles action.
In addition to that match, there will be a Fatal 4-Way between Ricochet, Cesaro, Sheamus and Jinder Mahal with the winner joining Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. They are also pushing a follow up from last week’s Smackdown when Roman Reigns and The Usos beat up King Xavier Woods leading to Roman stealing Xavier’s crown.
From the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut this is Smackdown for episode #1161. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The opening video package showed what happens when King Xavier Woods nearly pinned Roman Reigns in a singles match, but then The Usos saved Reigns for the disqualification finish. After the match, Roman and The Usos beat up Woods leading to Reigns wearing the crown of King Woods.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Usos
The Usos, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, were in the ring for a promo. The king’s crown, robe and scepter were in the ring with them. Jimmy said that they had a surprise for the Tribal Chief. Jimmy laughed about sending a message to Big E on Raw. Jey said that they will do the same thing to RK-Bro at Survivor Series. Jey said they hear voices in their head too: “We the ones.” Jey said tonight we’ll see who runs WWE, the Head of the Table, the Tribal Chief and now the Tribal King…Roman Reigns. Big introduction from The Usos right there.
Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Universal Champion with the “Wise Man” Special Counsel Paul Heyman. Reigns held up his title as the pyro went off. The graphic let us know Reigns will face WWE Champion Big E at Survivor Series this Sunday night. The commentary team was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee as usual.
Reigns took his time getting into the ring with the fans booing him and offering up a loud reaction as Reigns posed on the apron along with Reigns posing with the title. McAfee was doing his usual bit about how great Reigns is.
Heyman told Reigns that this has been in the works all week for the Tribal Chief. Heyman said that there is no one in the history of WWE as much as the Head of the Table, the Tribal Chief, the Tribal King Roman Reigns. Heyman said he knows in his heart that everyone there tonight will agree the distinction of king doesn’t belong to Woods – and it sure as hell will never belong to Brock Lesnar. Heyman said it will never belong to somebody like Big E, who will be smashed this Sunday by the Tribal King, Roman Reigns. That’s when Roman stuck out his hand so he could speak.
Reigns looked over the king attire in the ring and asked: “Whose idea was this?” Heyman pointed to The Usos. Reigns thought this was a joke. Reigns said he didn’t care about this or need this and he told Hartford to acknowledge him. That led to boos and cheers. Reigns said that the only reason he took that crown last week is because he can.
King Xavier Woods made his entrance without his king attire since it was in the ring. Woods said all of those things in the ring belong to Woods, they are his property, but those things do not make a king. Woods said that what makes a king is doing good for the WWE Universe. Woods said that if Reigns was a king then he’d look at Woods in the eyes so they can settle this. Woods challenged Reigns to come out there without the goons, the Wet Bandits (Home Alone reference) and Woods wanted to show him what a real king is made of.
Reigns responded saying that Woods didn’t care about this stuff and they don’t mean anything? Jey wiped the cape with the robe and then Roman rubbed his feet on it. Woods said clothes don’t make the man. Jey broke the scepter over his knee. The Usos slammed the throne in the ring and stomped on it. Woods didn’t look happy and Reigns asked if he was sure he didn’t like this stuff. Woods pointed to his heart. Jey handed Reigns the crown and Reigns asked Woods if the crown meant anything to him. Reigns nearly stomped on the crown, so Woods went into the ring and The Usos double-teamed Woods with punches and kicks. The Usos held Woods with Reigns saying he was the only king around there. Reigns said he didn’t need props. Reigns: “I’m the one.” Reigns stomped on the crown and slammed Woods’ head on it.
Analysis: It was a long promo segment with the heel Bloodline looking dominant against Woods just like the end of last week’s show. It was a way to get heat on Roman and The Usos, so it worked in that way while the fans will want to see Woods get revenge at some point. While Reigns and The Usos destroyed the king equipment, you could tell how it was just plastic material in some cases and it made it look really cheap. While I don’t think the fans care about the king’s equipment that much, it was effective in terms of getting heat on The Bloodline, so that’s fine. I thought maybe Big E would appear (since it’s the last SD before Survivor Series) to save Woods to set up a tag team match later, but no sign of help for Woods.
The first match is a Fatal 4-Way match where the winner gets to be on Team Smackdown in the Men’s Survivor Series elimination match. Sheamus was up first in that match coming up after a break.
King Woods was shown backstage grabbing his ribs with Kayla Braxton asking him what’s next. Woods said that he will go the ring later and Roman Reigns will accept his challenge. Woods said that the Roman Empire wasn’t built in a day, but it will fall tonight.
Cesaro vs. Ricochet vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Shanky) vs. Sheamus
The first fall wins here with no countouts and no disqualifications. The winner joins Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.
Cesaro and Sheamus beat up Ricochet and Mahal. Sheamus hit a clothesline to Cesaro. Sheamus did “The Bar” hand symbol with a thumbs down. Ricochet with a sunset flip for two on Sheamus. Mahal kicked Ricochet to knock him down. Sheamus dumped Cesaro out of the ring. Mahal set up Ricochet against the ropes, Sheamus with forearms and Mahal got a rollup for two. Mahal with a kick to the chest, Sheamus sent him to the apron and Sheamus hit a knee lift to the head. Sheamus with ten forearms to the chest to send Mahal to the floor. Sheamus kicked Cesaro away and Ricochet hit a springboard dropkick. Ricochet with a headscissors to send Cesaro out of the ring. Ricochet hit an impressive springboard somersault dive over the top to the floor. That was so great.
The match continued with the wrestlers battling by the turnbuckles. Ricochet blocked Cesaro suplexes. Sheamus got a hold of Mahal and Sheamus connected with a superplex on Mahal while Ricochet did a hurricanrana off the top on Cesaro. All four guys were down selling for a few moments. Sheamus with a boot, Ricochet with a DDT and a standing SSP for two with Mahal breaking it up. Mahal with double knees to the ribs. Cesaro with the Cesaro Swing to Mahal for about 20 spins. Cesaro with the Sharpshooter submission and Shanky pushed the rope to Mahal, but Mahal grabbing the rope didn’t break it since it’s No DQ. Ricochet kicked Cesaro to knock him out of the ring. Ricochet with the Recoil knee to the face. Ricochet went up top and hit a 630 splash on Mahal, but then Sheamus was back in with a Brogue Kick on Ricochet with Sheamus pinning Mahal for two because Cesaro broke it up. Cesaro with a forearm, Sheamus with a knee and Sheamus went up top. Sheamus jumped off, Cesaro with a forearm and Cesaro got a rollup. Ridge Holland went down to ringside with the club in his hand, he tried to hit Cesaro, who ducked it and when Cesaro turned around, Sheamus hit Cesaro with a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a really good match with a lot of action towards the end. Ricochet was able to shine a bit showing off his athleticism and I hope some day he can get some big wins, but it didn’t happen here. I didn’t really think Jinder had a chance to win, which is fine. While Holland didn’t directly help Sheamus, his presence did lead to Sheamus getting the win. Cesaro and Sheamus always work well together.
Post match, Holland went into the ring to hug Sheamus. They were happy about the win.
Jeff Hardy was interviewed with Kayla Braxton mentioned Jeff taking part in his sixth Survivor Series elimination match. Jeff talked about his Survivor Series history while putting over Drew McIntyre, he said Xavier Woods is giving the Tribal Chief some tribal grief, and Jeff criticized Happy Corbin. That led to Happy Corbin showing up with Madcap Moss, so then Moss made a bad joke. Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, showed up saying he wanted the Smackdown team to work together and he put Madcap Moss in match against Jeff Hardy. That led to Jeff laughing at Moss. That was it.
A look at Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch was up next.
Sheamus and Ridge Holland were backstage with Megan Morant there to interview him. Sheamus said that Ridge was inspired by Sheamus and when Sheamus heard that, it almost brings a tear to his eye – Sheamus laughed about it. Holland said if it wasn’t for Sheamus, he’d still be in England fighting in the streets. Sheamus said they should go to the bar to have some drinks.
Analysis: I like the pairing. It should be good for Holland. Maybe in a few months, we find out that Holland was just using Sheamus and then Holland turns on him to make Sheamus a face. I’m not sure if that’s the direction, but it’s certainly a possibility.
A video aired about Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair with the two of them talking about how they are they are eachother’s greatest rival. It featured comments from each woman about how great they are. They showed the awkward title exchange from last month. Charlotte went over all of Becky’s nicknames and Becky said that she used to be Charlotte’s best friend. Becky said she was the person that said to hell with your friendship, she slapped Charlotte in the face and then she went into the next stratosphere. Charlotte said it will be “Becky Uh Oh” because Charlotte is far superior. Becky said that this Sunday she’ll be the person that beats the ever-loving piss out of her…uh oh.
Analysis: I am really looking forward to that match. They are two heels although Lynch should be cheered. I’m a fan of both women and I think based on their past history together, they always put on great matches. It’s too bad they never got to do a promo exchange in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series, but I think there’s a lot of interest in the match anyway.
Aliyah and Naomi entered for tag team action against Natalya and Shayna Baszler after a break.
The Progressive Match Flo replay was shown of Aliyah getting a tag team match win on Smackdown last week and then WWE Official removed Sonya Deville from Team Smackdown at Survivor Series.
Natalya & Shayna Baszler vs. Aliyah & Naomi
Aliyah with a forearm on Natalya followed by a headscissors. Naomi tagged in with the babyface women doing Thesz Press attacks followed by punches. Naomi and Baszler were legal. Baszler pulled down Naomi by the hair, Natalya covered Naomi and the woman referee (Aja Smith normally from NXT) did a fast three count. That was the end of the match after one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Natalya & Shayna Baszler
After the match, referee Aja Smith raised the hands of Natalya/Baszler on the floor and then Aja quickly walked to the back on her own.
Analysis: 1/4* It’s tough to rate since it was so quick. It was a heel referee angle with Aja Smith from NXT doing the fast count since they have Sonya Deville as the heel WWE Official making things tough on Naomi all the time.
A short video aired about Bruno Sammartino as a wrestling legend, so there will be special merchandise honoring Bruno at Survivor Series in Brooklyn.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance with some face paint and the fans popped for him as usual.
Sami Zayn was shown backstage talking about Sonya Deville with Sami complaining about how his documentary hasn’t come out yet. Sonya told Sami that it was Adam Pearce that decided to put Sami in the match with Jeff Hardy last week. Sonya told Sami that it is Rock’s 25 year anniversary, so Sami can be in the 25-man Battle Royal at Survivor Series. The referee Aja Smith went up to Sonya asking if she did a good job, Sonya scolded her wondering if she was an NXT referee trying to impress, Aja said Sonya said…and Sonya cut her off. Sonya said she told her nothing and told her to leave.
Analysis: The conspiracy of evil Sonya continues. Also, we found out there’s a 25-man battle royal at Survivor Series, so it’s a way to get more people on the show.
Madcap Moss had Happy Corbin with him. Jeff Hardy said if Moss will have Corbin in his corner then Jeff will have somebody in his corner – Drew McIntyre. Big pop for Drew with Angela the sword. McAfee was holding the sword.
Madcap Moss (w/Baron Corbin) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Drew McIntyre)
Hardy with a jawbreaker on Moss, atomic drop, double leg drop and a basement dropkick. Hardy with a Twist of Fate on Moss like a jawbreaker. Corbin on the apron, McIntyre grabbed him off the apron and McIntyre sent Corbin over the announce table. Hardy went up top, Moss grabbed him from there. Moss went for a move, but Jeff got an inside cradle for the pinfall win in under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jeff Hardy
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match with the right guy getting the win. At least they didn’t have Jeff lose before Survivor Series, so Jeff goes into Survivor Series with some momentum since he beat Sami Zayn last week too.
Post match, McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Corbin. McIntyre with a Glasgow Kiss on Moss. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Moss. Hardy and McIntyre celebrated as two babyfaces on Team Smackdown.
They replayed the Roman Reigns-King Woods situation from last week.
Paul Heyman was talking on his phone saying the Tribal Chief does not like surprises and Kayla Braxton walked up mentioning that Xavier Woods made a challenge. Heyman said he’s tired of the false narrative that Roman Reigns needs The Usos. Heyman said that Roman loves The Usos and Heyman just like Kayla loves Heyman. Paul said that Woods wants to challenge Reigns? Heyman said that as far as Roman Reigns goes, Xavier Woods’ challenge is hereby accepted. Paul left.
Analysis: That is something to look forward to later in the show. Reigns and Woods in the main event again.
Rick Boogs was on the electric guitar getting the crowd fired up and he was with the Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. That led to Pat McAfee doing his dancing although we didn’t get to see it. Nakamura in a singles match coming up.
Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Rick Boogs) vs. Angel (w/Humberto)
Angel with a couple of dropkicks to start the match. Nakamura with a spin kick. Nakamura jumped off the middle rope with a move, but Angel hit him with a kick. Angel went for a move, Nakamura moved and Angel to the floor. Nakamura with a knee off the apron on Nakamura. Humberto tried to get involved, so Boogs got a hold of Humberto and slammed him down. Back in the ring, Nakamura hit a Kinshasa knee strike to the head for the pinfall win in under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: 3/4* Another short match on this show. I like Nakamura winning a match that’s non-title, but it does hurt Angel and Humberto’s momentum a bit. It was the second straight match where a babyface won because their friend on the floor prevented cheating by heels. Similar finishes there.
Post match, Humberto hit Boogs in the back and ran away. That should lead to a tag team match next week.
A replay was shown of Shotzi attacking Sasha Banks three weeks ago on Smackdown.
Sasha Banks was shown backstage, Shotzi walked up to her and Sonya Deville said that they had to be teammates at Survivor Series. Shotzi called Sasha vindictive. Sasha bragged about how rich she is and said she’s the captain of the Women’s Survivor Series team. Banks said that payback is a bitch and so is she. Sonya told them to take it out on eachother in the match, but when that match is over, Sonya wants them to shake hands. Good luck with that.
Sasha Banks entered for singles action.
Shotzi vs. Sasha Banks
It’s green-hair Shotzi against blue-hair Banks because having colored hair is unique. Banks with an armdrag off the ropes, then they did some hair pulling and Shotzi hit a kick to the head. Banks came back with the Three Amigos suplexes leading to “Eddie” chants since it was an Eddie Guerrero tribute. Banks up top, Shotzi back up, Banks jumped over her and Banks with a knee to the face. Shotzi wit ha knee to the ribs. They each missed moves by the apron and then Shotzi sent Banks face first into the steel steps. Shotzi put Sasha’s hand into one of the holes on the steel steps and Shotzi kicked the hand repeatedly. Shotzi broke the referee’s count, then Shotzi brought Banks back in the ring and Shotzi got a two count. Banks wit ha rollup, Shotzi sent her out of the ring. Banks with a kick on the floor followed by the Meteora double knee attack on the floor.
The match continued with Shotzi wrenching on Sasha’s arm and then Shotzi hit a spinning neckbreaker into the knee for a two count. Banks shoved Shotzi into the turnbuckle, then Banks using her legs into the turnbuckle and Banks with a double knee attack on Shotzi. Banks went up top and hit a Meteora double knee attack for a two count. Shotzi with a rising kick followed by a Sliced Bread neckbreaker off the ropes for a two count. Shotzi told Sasha she was trash and worthless. Shotzi pulled on the left arm against the ropes. Shotzi whipped Banks into the ring post with Banks hitting the turnbuckle with the left shoulder. Shotzi went up top and hit the Ball Pit senton splash, but Banks rolled out of the ring to avoid the pin attempt. Shotzi brought Banks back in the ring, Banks avoided a move into the knee, and then Banks used her leg as part of the Crossface (since Sasha’s arm was hurt), so Shotzi tapped out to give Banks the win. It went about 11 minutes.
Winner by submission: Sasha Banks
Analysis: *** This was a good match just like any time Banks is in a match that gets over ten minutes. She’s always going to have good matches. I reviewed a lot of Shotzi matches in NXT in the last few years and she improved a lot especially last year going into this year, so I know she can hang with Banks. I liked the story with Shotzi working on the left arm for most of the match, yet Banks found a way to win with a submission. Shotzi got enough offense to the point that I think she impressed a lot of people and then Banks found a way to put her away.
After the match, Sonya Deville appeared in the aisle to make sure they shook hands. Banks lifted up Shotzi, who looked back at Deville and shook the hand. Banks with the Backstabber double knee attack on Shotzi’s back. Banks went up the aisle, then Banks said she shook her hand and she’ll see her on Sunday. Deville didn’t look happy about it.
Analysis: I think it’s certainly possible that Shotzi will cost Banks in the Survivor Series Elimination Match just based on their history together. Shotzi can attack Banks from behind and Team Raw can capitalize to pin Banks in the match.
Roman Reigns was in his dressing room with “Wise Man” Paul Heyman, who let the Tribal Chief know that it is time. Roman told The Usos that he’s going to handle this himself.
It was billed as a Roman Reigns-King Woods confrontation up next.
A video aired about Xia Li narrating an animated video about her family history. Xia’s father was taken away from them, then their landlord was about to kick them out and then Xia kicked the landlord’s ass. Li said she is her father’s daughter, she is Xia Li and “I am the protector.”
Analysis: You don’t see many videos like that with animation. I think Xia Li should do well if they give her a chance.
Tony Storm was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Toni said she was on Team NXT two years ago and now she’s on Team Smackdown this Sunday. They showed a clip of Toni Storm challenging Charlotte Flair last week, which led to Charlotte backing away from the challenge. Storm said that Charlotte is consumed by her match against Becky Lynch, but when you are so obsessed like Charlotte, you’re vulnerable. Charlotte said when Becky beats Charlotte, she knows Charlotte will come for her. Toni said all she wants is her championship match. That’s when Charlotte Flair walked into the scene looking very tall. Charlotte said after she beats Becky and proves her superiority, Toni can be next on the list. Charlotte said that Toni can have a match, but not a title match. Charlotte said she’ll do to Toni what she will do to Becky this Sunday. Charlotte left. Toni said “just what I thought” and she was happy.
Analysis: That was longer than a usual backstage interview. I like that they allowed Toni time to explain her logic in challenging Charlotte last week and then Charlotte appearing to give Toni the match was a fine way to end it. Toni is another woman on Smackdown that I want to see doing well because she’s so talented and it’s just a matter of giving her chances to prove how good she is.
King Xavier Woods entered for a confrontation.
King Woods and Roman Reigns Confrontation
King Woods was in the ring doing a promo saying he was here in Hartford, Connecticut (cheap pop) and he was there to find out if Roman is a man. Woods said that last week he hit that elbow drop, then the Wet Bandits showed up and it was a no contest (actually a DQ). Woods said that meant that Roman Reigns on his own cannot beat Xavier Woods. That led to Woods calling out Reigns to the ring right now to prove Woods wrong.
Roman Reigns made his entrance with Paul Heyman carrying Roman’s Universal Championship for him. When Reigns got down to the ring, they looked back to the entrance and saw both Usos on the ground up there because somebody attacked them. It was Big E.
Big E, the WWE Champion, made his entrance as the opponent of Reigns at Survivor Series on Sunday. Big E confronted Reigns in the aisle and they got into a brawl as they exchanged punches. Big E whipped Reigns into the steel steps and into the barricade. Big E sent Reigns into the ring with Woods, who stomped on Reigns. The Usos went into the ring, Big E hit a Big Ending on both Usos while Woods hit a superkick. Woods hit a somersault dive over the top onto The Usos on the floor. Big E turned around and Reigns came back with a Superman Punch. Reigns charged, Big E picked him up on the shoulders, Reigns escaped and Reigns went up the aisle with Heyman.
Big E and Woods celebrated in the ring while Reigns was shown in the aisle. They plugged Survivor Series again with Big E facing Reigns. They replayed Reigns avoiding the Big Ending attempt. Reigns and Big E did a long-distance staredown to end the show. That was it.
Analysis: The New Day outsmarted The Bloodline this week. I like how that was put together. I figured we would get a Big E appearance at some point since Woods got a 3 on 1 attack last week, so it made sense to have Big E arrive on Smackdown to help his New Day buddy out. That attack by Big E gave him the advantage on Reigns for most of it until Roman hit a Superman Punch, but then Roman escaped the Big Ending attempt. I’ll probably pick Roman at Survivor Series and I think it should be a great match.
Three Stars of the Show
- Roman Reigns/Xavier Woods
- Sasha Banks/Shotzi
7 out of 10
Last week: 7
2021 Average: 6.99
It was a good Smackdown this week as usual. They had two longer matches with the Fatal 4-Way and the Banks/Shotzi match while the other matches were short. The opening promo segment went a bit long, but I liked the payoff at the end of the night with New Day standing tall over the Bloodline guys. Roman Reigns and Xavier Woods were both excellent during the show. That video package for the Charlotte/Becky match was also a highlight of the show.
I think they are slowly doing a better job of incorporating the entire Smackdown roster instead of just a handful of people. We are starting to see more of Toni Storm, Aliyah, Ridge Holland, Xia Li in a video package and some other new faces. That’s a good sign for the future…just as long as they stop firing people!
The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series on Sunday, November 21 from Brooklyn. Here’s the lineup:
Raw WWE Champion Big E vs. Smackdown WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
Men’s 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw – Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Austin Theory & Bobby Lashley vs. Team Smackdown – Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, King Xavier Woods, Happy Corbin & Sheamus
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
Women’s 5-on-5 Elimination Match: Team Raw – Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella & Queen Zelina Vega vs. Team Smackdown – Sasha Banks, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi, Natalya & Toni Storm
Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Raw United States Champion Damian Priest vs. Smackdown Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
25-Man Battle Royal – Ricochet, T-BAR, Mansoor, Cesaro, Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, Erik, Ivar, R-Truth, Drew Gulak, AJ Styles, Omos, Sami Zayn, Humberto, Angel, Apollo Crews, Commander Azeez, Otis, Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Jinder Mahal, Shanky
Find out what happens at Survivor Series on Sunday, Nov. 21, streaming live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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