Smackdown Review – World Heavyweight Championship Tourney Continues

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10/12/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

The Usos def. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (w/ Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman) by disqualification; Undertaker accepts Wyatt’s challenge for Survivor Series

Wyatt said that even though The Undertaker and Kane had slipped trough his grasp, they will never be the same. Wyatt claimed to have stolen pieces of each man’s powers and made them his own, making him an unstoppable force. He challenged Taker to a two-on-two tag match at Survivor Series, saying that he and Kane could face any two Wyatt Family members of Bray’s own choosing.

In a callback to their great series of matches from 2014, The Usos squared off against Harper and Rowan in the show’s main event, with Wyatt still waiting for Taker’s response. Harper and Rowan softened up The Usos before the match could begin. Once the bell rang, Jey hit a dropkick on Rowan, but Rowan answered with a fallaway slam from the second rope.

Rowan followed up with an elbow drop, but Harper whiffed on a big boot, tangling himself in the ropes. Jey managed to reach Jimmy for the hot tag, and Jimmy landed an enziguiri on Harper. Jimmy followed up with a flying crossbody for two, as Rowan drove Jey into the ring steps outside.

Jimmy hit Harper with a Samoan drop and a stinkface, then tried for a plancha. Rowan caught Jimmy and tossed him into a Harper superkick. Harper got Jimmy back into the ring and hit a sitout powerbomb, but Jey made the save.

Jimmy hit two superkicks on Harper, and both Usos nailed a double superkick on Rowan. The Usos hit tandem suicide dives and slid back into the ring. Wyatt and Strowman stepped forward, and all four Wyatts attacked The Usos, causing the disqualification.

Wyatt taunted Undertaker with a throat slash as the Wyatts demolished Jimmy and Jey. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Jimmy, then set him up for a second one. Undertaker’s gong sounded and the lights went out. When the lights came back up, Taker told Wyatt that his family will rest in peace at Survivor Series.

Scott’s Thoughts: A good main-event match, but the way Taker accepted Wyatt’s challenge was pretty lame. Building up an entire episode-long story arc that ends in a pre-taped voiceover is not best for business. I assume this will develop into a Survivor Series match instead of Bray’s proposed two-on-two, mostly because no other current feud in WWE would make any sense for the match type.

Neville def. King Barrett by pinfall in the first round of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament

Neville cut a brief pre-match promo, promising to finish what Wayne Rooney started on Raw, by defeating Barrett and moving on to the quarterfinals. Neville earned several early two-counts in an enjoyable mat-based exchange. Neville followed up with a crossbody off the second rope, but Barrett answered by grabbed him by his hair and yanking him off the top rope.

Neville landed on the back of his head and fell out of the ring, and ate a big boot from Barrett when he tried to get back in. Barrett drove Neville into the announce table, ring apron, and barricade. Back in the ring, Barrett hit a pumphandle slam, then drove Neville out of the ring with another big boot from the apron.

Barrett got Neville back in the ring, but Neville reversed Winds of Change into a crucifix for two. Barrett threw Neville outside yet again, and he landed with a thud on the floor. When Barrett took a moment to gloat to the commentary team, Neville climbed atop the barricade and hit a running plancha.

Back in the ring, Neville hit a standing shooting star press for a near-fall. Neville followed up with a German suplex, but Barrett hit Winds of Change and set up for the Bullhammer elbow. Neville ducked out of the Bullhammer, then countered Wastelands with a DDT.

Neville climbed up top and hit the Red Arrow to earn the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: An excellent match that served as a reminder of what Barrett can do when he’s booked into a lengthy match with actual stakes against a quality opponent. He doesn’t often receive that treatment. Neville’s win was predictable, but the match more than made up for the clear result. Neville vs. Kevin Owens should be a barnburner of a quarterfinal match.

Kalisto def. Ryback by pinfall in the first round of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament

Kalisto hit Salina del Sol just over a minute into the match, with Ryback kicking out at two. Ryback fought back with a spinebuster and consecutive powerbombs, followed by a vertical suplex. Ryback hit a gorilla press slam and another spinebuster, but Kalisto kicked out.

Ryback followed up with a big boot, but came up empty on a running splash. Kalisto took advantage, dropkicking Ryback from the ring and tried a springboard moonsault, but Ryback caught him on the floor and transitioned into a powerslam. Back in the ring, Kalisto leaped between the ropes and hit a bulldog.

Kalisto tried for a spike headscissor, but Ryback picked him up and set up for Shell Shocked. Kalisto rolled through into a sunset flip for two, then hit a dropkick. Ryback answered quickly with a Meathook clothesline, but Kalisto managed to touch the bottom rope with his foot to break the pinfall.

Ryback took Kalisto up top, but Kalisto hit him with a back elbow and nailed Salina del Sol from the top rope. Ryback kicked out, but it was a moment too late, as the referee had already counted three. After the match, the two shook hands, as they did before the match. Ryback raised Kalisto’s hand and exited the ring, as Kalisto celebrated his upset victory.

Scott’s Thoughts: I’m loving this push for Kalisto. This was a perfect cruiserweight vs. brawler match, with Ryback’s power squaring off against Kalisto’s speed and resiliency. Kalisto bumped around like crazy for Ryback, making him look very strong even in a losing effort. Ryback’s best match in a long time, and likely Kalisto’s best singles match on the main roster.

Alberto Del Rio (w/ Zeb Colter) def. Stardust by pinfall in the first round of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament

Alberto opened up with a suplex, followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Alberto hit an enziguiri and locked in a cross-armbreaker in the ropes, releasing just before the referee’s five-count. Stardust fought back with an STO and hit Diamond Dust, but Alberto quickly answered with a backstabber.

Stardust hit a Disaster Kick, but Alberto grabbed the bottom rope to avoid the pin. Stardust climbed up top, but Alberto caught him and hit his rope-hung double footstomp finisher to polish Stardust off.

Scott’s Thoughts: Not nearly as good as the other two tournament matches on this show, but that’s not surprising because they didn’t get as much time. Solid for what it was, and the correct booking decision as well.

Braun Strowman (w/ Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) def. Fandango by submission

Fandango hit a dropkick that failed to knock Strowman down. Strowman tossed Fandango around the ring like a rag doll, then locked in a bear hug to force the submission.

Scott’s Thoughts: Anyone who wasn’t convinced by Strowman yet has surely been converted by his decisive victory over Fandango, right?