Survivor Series is less than two weeks away and last night on Raw we seen Cesaro and Sheamus get crowned Raw Tag Team Champions meaning they’re taking the place of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to challenge the Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions The Usos. Now it’s the Usos turn to defend their titles against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Will the Usos survive and represent Smackdown Live as tag team champions or will Gable and Benjamin rise up and face The Bar instead? Also Shane McMahon announced that due to the attack to AJ Styles at the hands of Jinder Mahal, Mahal would be putting the WWE Championship on the line against Styles. Does Mahal keep his title and match against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series or did AJ Styles win the top prize of Smackdown Live? To find out this and more keep reading.
Smackdown Live comes from Manchester, England meaning this episode should be just called Smackdown since it’s taped. Anyways, Shane McMahon as always starts this episode of Smackdown talking about Survivor Series and still holds Kurt Angle responsible for the attack on Daniel Bryan last week. McMahon vows that he will be getting payback on Angle at Survivor Series. McMahon then introduced New Day. A replay of Raw is shown where New Day interrupted the main event and cost Rollins and Ambrose the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Kofi Kingston said it was not their intention for Seth and Dean to lose, but those are the consequences of putting Raw under siege. New Day kept going on about that Raw isn’t going to do anything about it and when they looked them dead in the eye a few weeks ago, they got beat down. McMahon praised New Day for what they did and celebrated in the ring until Kevin Owens music hit and he walked onto the stage with Sami Zayn.
Owens said referring to Shane and New Day dancing in the ring was the stupidest, most painful thing he ever seen in his life. Zayn chimed in and said that he hates to be the one to break it to Shane McMahon, but he isn’t cool and probably should never dance again. This prompted New Day to start taking verbal jabs at Sami Zayn. Zayn then mentions how him and Kevin could’ve showed up and beat up the entire Raw roster, but they’re men of honor, men of integrity, and they do things the right way and it doesn’t jive with the Shane propaganda machine and how Shane set them up to fail.
KO and Zayn continue taking shots at Shane McMahon and New Day continues taking shots at KO and Zayn. Eventually Shane has heard enough and puts Sami Zayn in a match against Kofi Kingston to start off the show.
Sami Zayn (w/ Kevin Owens) vs Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods & Big E)
The match starts slow, but eventually the two superstars exchange wrist locks. Sami then is able to take Kofi down with an arm drag and grounds Kofi. The two men are back up and go at it for a bit before Kofi manages to hit a big dropkick knocking Sami down. Sami rolls to the outside and talks strategy with Owens. Sami stands on the apron for a moment, but he jumps down and consults again with Owens. Kofi had enough and slides out of the ring and chases Zayn. Zayn though baits Kofi back into the ring and Zayn starts punching him as he comes back inside. Zayn then delivers a clothesline. Sami manages to beat Kofi down in a corner before going up the turnbuckle. As Zayn comes down though, Kingston delivers a midair dropkick before commercial.
The match returns and Kofi dumps Sami to the outside, Kofi then flips over the ropes and takes Sami down. Kofi throws Sami back into the ring and delivers the SOS and a pinfall, but Zayn kicked out. Kofi measures Sami up for Trouble in Paradise, but Sami dodges and grabs Kofi for a Blue Thunder Bomb. Kofi gets pinned, but kicks out. Kofi finds himself in the corner and Sami measures up the Helluva Kick, but Kofi evades and kicks Zayn. The two superstars get into an exchange of counters for a moment. Eventually Kofi gets to the top turnbuckle and takes Zayn down with a flying crossbody and that was good enough for a three count. After the match Owens rushes the ring and attacks Kofi Kingston, but escapes when Big E and Xavier Woods rush in to back up their partner.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston (via pinfall)
Chairman’s Take: Decent first match! Don’t see Kofi Kingston in many singles matches these days and this match with Sami Zayn showed us again what he’s capable of in a one on one setting. The finish was unexpected, but it gives Kofi and New Day more momentum before Survivor Series. Meanwhile Zayn takes another loss as he retreats with Owens with no plans for Survivor Series. One can only imagine New Day will be facing the Shield at Survivor Series, though it hasn’t been made official. I thought tonight Ambrose and Rollins were going to invade Smackdown, but it didn’t happen. Guessing the Shield will speak on the events of Raw this coming Monday and challenge New Day.
Backstage Renee Young is with Jinder Mahal and asks him about his match against AJ Styles. Mahal talks about dining and compares Styles to an appetizer before the entree Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. Mahal goes on about how Styles has disrespected him week after week and that he will make a meal out of Styles and go on to feast on the Beast.
Bludgeon Brothers promo (are these guys ever going to debut? redebut?)
Rusev (w/ Aiden English) vs Randy Orton (if Rusev wins, he joins the Smackdown Live Survivor Series Team)
Aiden English does his singing bit before the match for Rusev. Originally Rusev was to face AJ Styles for the final spot of the Smackdown Live Survivor Series team. However now that Styles got a WWE Championship match, instead Rusev just has to beat his nemesis Randy Orton. The match starts and Rusev starts dominating quick and early. Rusev has Orton in a headlock, but Orton slowly is able to get up and escape. Rusev however delivers a kick and goes for a cover, but kickout. Shane McMahon, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bobby Roode are shown backstage watching the match. Rusev attacks Orton’s midsection before going for another pin, but kickout. Rusev drops charging elbow drops and more pin attempts, but Orton keeps kicking out. Rusev tries pinning Orton several times to no avail. Finally Rusev confronts the referee. Rusev then makes his way towards Orton only to receive an RKO for his troubles. Orton scores the pin and victory.
WINNER: Randy Orton via pinfall
CHAIRMAN’S TAKE: Would’ve rather seen Rusev face another superstar trying to qualify opposed to Orton again. This means we’ll have to wait until next week’s Smackdown Live to see who gets the final spot. Could very well be the loser of the WWE Championship match? Could be a battle royal? Anything is possible in the land of opportunity.
Backstage James Ellsworth is waiting outside the women’s locker room and he tells Tamina to get Carmella. Instead Becky Lynch comes out and she tells James not to worry about Carmella and he should worry about her. Ellsworth goes on about how he’s a man and she has no chance defeating him because she’s a woman and how they’re in Manchester and not Womanchester? Becky told James that was a ballsy statement, too bad he doesn’t have any.
Becky Lynch vs James Ellsworth
The Smackdown Live women are outside the ring in support of Becky Lynch. Match starts with Ellsworth doing push ups and stalling. Becky goes for the Disarmer quick, but Ellsworth grabs the ropes. Match is back and forth in the early going. Becky at one point grabs Ellsworth with her legs and spins him around the ring. Becky then lifts Ellsworth up and spins him around in an airplane spin before tossing him outside. Ellsworth returns and shoves Becky to the mat and out of the ring. Becky then sneaks back in and delivers a missile dropkick and goes for a pin, but James kicks out. Ellsworth gets control back by throwing Becky hard into the corner which prompts him to go for No Chin Music. Becky instead drops Ellsworth with a atomic drop followed by a Bexploder. Ellsworth goes outside and tries to bail, but the other Smackdown Live women have him cornered and roll him back in the ring. Ellsworth starts apologizing and tries hugging Becky, but she quickly throws on the Disarmer and Ellsworth taps out. After the match Carmella comes in the ring and confronts Becky before superkicking James Ellsworth.
WINNER: Becky Lynch via submission
CHAIRMAN’S TAKE: Becky looked great in this rare man vs woman match. Shame she hasn’t received more opportunities as a Women’s Champion. Just out of my own curiosity, I did some research and she hasn’t received a televised Smackdown Women’s title match since April and that was a six pack challenge. Her last singles televised Smackdown Women’s title match was when she dropped the title to Alexa Bliss back in February. I really hope she gets a title shot in the future if she is able to lead the Smackdown Women to victory at Survivor Series. She’s definitely being overlooked.
Backstage Natalya interrupts Shane McMahon and Charlotte and said that not only she will defeat Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series, but she would also take Charlotte’s place on team Smackdown at Survivor Series. This prompts McMahon to tell Natalya that him and Daniel Bryan didn’t like what she did at Hell in a Cell and that next week on Smackdown Live she will defend her Smackdown Live Women’s Championship against Charlotte with the winner facing Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series.
The Usos © vs Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin (WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match)
The Usos cut a promo before the match and strike Benjamin and Gable in the ring before the bell sounds and of course they cut right to commercial. After the break, the match didn’t really get a chance to go anywhere. It ended abruptly as Jey Uso was on the outside with Chad Gable coming in with a chop block prompting a countout victory for Gable and Benjamin. I’m not sure if this was the planned finish as there’s rumors going around Jey Uso suffered a legit injury. We’ll learn more in time.
WINNERS: Gable & Benjamin via countout (Usos remain champions)
CHAIRMAN’S TAKE: As I stated before, I hope Jey Uso is okay and this injury isn’t a long term thing. Usos are on fire right now and hate to see a great tag team get derailed by an injury. I was excited about this match so I’m hoping this happens again and we get a solid wrestling match.
Renee Young is backstage with AJ Styles. Styles told Jinder Mahal he needs to learn portion control for taking him lightly. Styles tells Jinder he needs to focus on the task at hand and he’s going to show why he’s the face that runs the place.
It’s announced next week on Smackdown Live Baron Corbin will defend his United States Championship against Sin Cara. Natalya will defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte. Lastly, New Day will face off against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in tag team action.
Jinder Mahal © (w/ The Singh Brothers) vs AJ Styles (WWE Championship Match)
Mahal and Styles lock up, but Mahal uses his power advantage and throws Styles down. Mahal taunts by flexing his muscles before Styles gets an attack in. However Mahal uses his power again to throw Styles to the outside before a break.
Smackdown returns and the two superstars are on the outside. Mahal eventually grabs Styles and throws him onto the commentary table. Mahal brings Styles back to the ring and starts stomping away and dropping knees onto Styles. Mahal drags his attack out with rest holds and knee strikes, however Styles gets his boot up to block Mahal. Styles attacks with one of his patented strike combos followed by a Ushigoroshi. Styles goes for a cover, but kickout. Styles looks for the Styles Clash, but Mahal blocks the attempt. Styles tries to kick Mahal, but blocked and then Mahal moves in with a big boot, but Styles instead rolls up for a pin, but kickout. Mahal then grabs Styles and launches him into the air. Mahal goes in for a cover, but kickout. Mahal then grabs Styles and puts him on the top turnbuckle. Styles slides out and takes out Mahal’s leg. Styles locks on the Calf Crusher, but Mahal grabs Styles head and smacks it off the mat. Styles locks the Calf Crusher on again though, but Mahal grabs the ropes. Styles goes for a strike combo, but Mahal delivers a clothesline taking Styles down. Jinder with the pin, but kickout. Mahal is looking to put Styles on the top turnbuckle again, but Styles escapes. Mahal soon finds himself on the outside of the ring and Styles flies into him with a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles gets Mahal back in the ring and bounces off the ropes for the 450 Splash. This moment the Singh Brothers pull Mahal out of the ring. Styles goes to the outside and takes out both Singh Brothers. Styles turns his focus back to Mahal, but Mahal is able to hit Styles with the Khallas. Mahal with a pin, but Styles was able to get his foot on the rope. Mahal looking for a big move puts Styles on the top turnbuckle again, but Styles manages to grab Mahal and drop his throat across the top rope stunning him. Styles then measures up Mahal for the Phenomenal Forearm and delivers scoring AJ Styles the WWE Championship with a pinfall victory.
WINNER: AJ Styles via pinfall becomes new WWE Champion
CHAIRMAN’S TAKE: Great move by WWE realizing AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar is a big money match opposed to the direction they were going. I’m guessing someone finally realized Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion was not best for business. Of course some think he could win the title back on the upcoming India tour? I personally hope Styles runs with the title for awhile, he’s clearly deserving. Also this is the first time the WWE Championship has ever changed hands outside of the United States.
OVERALL: 7 out of 10 stars. The show was decent even though spoilers ruined the main event for me personally. Mahal vs Styles was a decent match though as was the opener between Sami Zayn and Kofi Kingston. Orton and Rusev did nothing for me as it was more of a storyline enhancement match in my book. Becky Lynch and James Ellsworth was unique and served its purpose. Usos and Gable Benjamin I’m waiting to see if there was in a fact a legit injury shortening the match or if this was the actual finish. Any time you get a major title change on a weekly show speaks volumes. Still lots of questions regarding Survivor Series and Smackdown Live though. What will the roles of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn be? Who is the final member of Team Smackdown Live? Will any titles change hands next week? Does Raw ever put Smackdown Live under siege? There is definitely some good stuff to look forward to next week so with that I’m calling it. Tweet me your thoughts on Twitter @chairmanpodcast and thanks for reading.