Smackdown Review – Faction Warfare Highlights Jam-Packed Show

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9/3/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns def. Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods) by disqualification

Ambrose opened with an elbow drop on Kofi, and Reigns assisted him with a double suplex on Big E. Big E answered with a belly-to-belly on Reigns, as Woods played a sad trombone sound. Kofi and Big E cornered Reigns, kicking him in unison with Woods playing trombone.

Woods made fun of Reigns’ attire, saying “That vest ain’t helping nobody,” but Reigns fought back with a clothesline. Ambrose tagged in and hit a running crossbody and a bulldog. Reigns decked Kofi with a clothesline, and helped Ambrose dump Big E from the ring.

Ambrose climbed up top and hit a diving elbow to all three members of New Day on the floor. Kofi turned things around with a dropkick back in the ring. Woods screamed, “You’re chanting for Ambrose?! I have a trombone!” as Big E hit a splash to earn a near-fall on Ambrose.

Big E took Ambrose up top, but Ambrose blocked a belly-to-belly and hit a missile dropkick. Ambrose reached Reigns for the hot tag as Big E made his way to Kofi. Reigns hit a Samoan drop and a tilt-a-whirl slam on Kofi, followed by a schoolboy powerbomb, forcing Big E to make the save.

Ambrose tossed Big E from the ring and hit him with a dive between the ropes. Kofi hit Reigns with an enziguiri, but springboarded into a Superman punch. Woods attacked Reigns, causing the DQ. Ambrose hit Woods with Dirty Deeds, Reigns speared Big E, and Reigns/Ambrose double powerbombed Woods.

Ambrose grabbed a mic and said he wasn’t done yet, and that he wants another shot at Braun Strowman. Reigns called out the Wyatts, who appeared on the Titantron. Wyatt said that he accepted their challenge, but that Reigns and Ambrose will have to wait for Night of Champions.

Scott’s Thoughts: Reigns and Ambrose have gained some traction as a tag team lately, but the specter of who their third partner will be looms large, and could easily make or break this entire angle. As for the New Day, it’s pretty refreshing to see WWE booking a tag team that isn’t holding the belts in main-event matches. This was a fun finale to an exceptionally focused episode of Smackdown.


The Dudley Boyz def. Prime Time Players by pinfall

New Day set up a bubble-wrapped table in the corner of the ring, and Kofi said they wouldn’t be where they are today without hard-working American tables. They ran down a series of important historical events that took place at tables, then Big E asked the crowd to stand. New Day chanted “Save the tables” until the Dudleyz interrupted.

D-Von said that New Day had forgotten an important moment in tables history, when he and Bubba had put Woods through a table on Raw. The Prime Time Players entered, and Titus reminded the Dudleyz that they haven’t cashed in their rematch clause yet. Titus told the Dudleyz to get to the back of the line and earn their shot.

Bubba responded by saying that the Dudleyz show up, put people through tables, and win championships. Darren reminded Titus that he had a gift for the Dudleyz, which was a one-way trip to Dudleyville. PTP stepped into the ring, and a referee showed up to make the match official.

On commentary, Woods pointed out that Titus’ threat of sending the Dudleyz to Dudleyville is a terrible insult, because they already live there (“It’s not a seasonal residence…”). D-Von hit two arm drags on Darren, as Kofi expressed concern over not being able to see the Dudleyz in the ring because of their camoflauge. Bubba hit a side slam into a neckbreaker from D-Von, as Woods corrected Rich Brennan for incorrectly calling the move a German suplex.

Darren hit an enziguiri on Bubba, but Darren still reached Titus, who hit a big boot to knock Bubba down. Titus followed up with a gorilla press slam, but Bubba tagged in D-Von for a 3D, earning D-Von the pinfall victory. After the match, New Day was walking backstage, dancing as Woods played trombone. Renee Young informed them that they have a match with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose later in the night, and Woods played a sad trombone noise.

Scott’s Thoughts: The tag division has felt infinitely more important since the return of the Dudley Boyz, and this entire 15-minute segment worked on every level. New Day’s comedy never gets too annoying, and the in-ring action in this feud is rock-solid as well.


Sheamus def. Cesaro by pinfall

Cesaro told Jojo backstage that he was disappointed by his loss on Monday. Sheamus interrupted, saying that Cesaro is very good, but that he lets the crowd down time and time again by constantly losing. He pointed out that the crowd might stop backing him if he keeps failing.

The match began, but Sheamus got irritated by the crowd’s “You look stupid” chants. Cesaro took advantage of the distraction to hit a big boot and a clothesline. Cesaro hit a deadlift suplex, but Sheamus responded with an armbreaker.

Cesaro fought back with a sidewalk slam and exchanged uppercuts with Sheamus. Cesaro took Sheamus up top and hit a dropkick that sent Sheamus down to the floor. Cesaro hit another big uppercut outside the ring, then tossed Sheamus back inside.

Cesaro hit a flying crossbody for a very close two-count (pretty sure the referee counted three before Sheamus kicked out, but it was close enough to let it slide). Sheamus hit an Irish Curse backbreaker and locked in a Cloverleaf, but Cesaro reversed it into a pinning maneuver for two. Sheamus tried for another Irish Curse, but Cesaro beautifully reversed it into a crossface.

Cesaro followed up with a double footstomp and beat down on Sheamus in the corner. As the referee pulled Cesaro out of the corner, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick out of nowhere to pin Cesaro.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was an excellent match between two very good workers, and I loved how the pre-match promo spoke directly to Cesaro’s less-than-sterling win/loss record. As we discussed on this week’s WWE Edition of the Going Over Podcast, Cesaro does legitimately risk losing some of his fan support if he keeps getting pinned clean every week. I’m interested to see if WWE takes this story anywhere, or if it was a one-off promo that just happened to strike a chord.


Stardust reveals his new evil henchmen

Neville entered for his match with Stardust, and The Ascension jumped him from behind. Konnor hit Neville with a big boot and they tossed him into the ring. Stardust took a mic and said that just like Icarus, Neville is flying too close to the sun, and he has just turned up the heat by joining forces with The Ascension. Konnor and Viktor hit The Fall of Man on Neville, and Stardust welcomed Neville to the “cosmic wasteland.”

Scott’s Thoughts: That was really cool. The Ascension have been stuck in neutral (at best) ever since being called up to the main roster, and they were never all that over in NXT either. This is easily the best chance they’ve had yet at popularity. As for Stardust, this lends his super-villain character loads of credibility, because he has recruited henchmen to join his evil faction. Great stuff.


Summer Rae cranks up the tension between Dolph Ziggler and Lana on Miz TV

Miz invited Summer to join him on Miz TV, and Summer (with a huge bruise on the left side of her face) admitted to Miz that she had lied on Monday. She went on to say that there was actually more to the story, and that Dolph had seduced her. A tear started streaming down Summer’s face as Dolph and Lana hit the ring.

Miz reminded everyone that “this is a classy show,” and Dolph told Summer that only a restraining order would ever be between the two of them. Summer showed footage from a Summer 2014 Raw, in which Dolph made out with Summer to anger Fandango. Summer then suggested that she and Dolph had been romantically involved ever since.

Lana attacked Summer and then retreated back up the entrance ramp, as Summer screamed “You can’t handle the truth, you bitch!”

Scott’s Thoughts: You know it’s a really good episode of Smackdown when even these segments work. This was one of the best parts of this feud to date, as Summer finally gave Lana some concrete reasons to not trust Dolph, while still retaining her heat by exaggerating the extent of their relationship.


Kevin Owens sets his sights on the Intercontinental Championship

Renee Young asked Owens what’s next for him after defeating Cesaro on Raw. Owens reminded her that he silenced Cesaro at Summerslam as well, and told her that his next target is the people who dismiss him because of how he looks. He said that he’s spent the last 15 years proving that looks aren’t everything, and told the WWE Universe to “feed me more.”

Scott’s Thoughts: Oh yeah, here we go. That’s what I’m talking about. As we also discussed on this week’s podcast, an Intercontinental Championship run would do wonders for both Owens and the title itself. It seems like we’ll be getting our wish sooner rather than later.


Charlotte (w/ Paige and Becky Lynch) def. Tamina (w/ Sasha Banks and Naomi) by pinfall

PCB cut a backstage promo which was quickly interrupted by the Bellas. Charlotte told Nikki that she has petitioned The Authority to have her title match before Nikki surpasses AJ Lee’s record-length Divas Championship reign. I love this idea, as it puts some actual pressure on Nikki for the first time in ages.

Tamina hit a clothesline for a two-count, but Charlotte answered with a big boot. Charlotte hit a neckbreaker and a spear, followed by Natural Selection. Charlotte covered Tamina for the easy three-count.

Scott’s Thoughts: Pure filler match, but the pre-match promo was intriguing because Nikki’s record-breaking reign seems to be in jeopardy for the first time.


Bo Dallas def. R-Truth by pinfall

Bo hit a side suplex and repeated knee drops, followed by another side suplex for two. Truth fought back with clotheslines, but missed with a scissor kick. Truth did land a spinning heel kick for a near-fall, but Bo answered with a very cool top-rope hangman’s swinging neckbreaker to earn the pinfall. After the match, Bo hit his new finisher again and took a victory lap.

Scott’s Thoughts: Whoa, that is a pretty sweet new finisher. Way better than the Bo-Dog, and Bo had a much edgier presence than usual.