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Smackdown - September 20, 2013

Date: September 20, 2013
Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're past Night of Chapions and the main story is that there's no WWE Champion. Bryan won the title on Sunday but has been stripped of it due to an alleged conspiracy between he and now fired referee Scott Armstrong. On Raw however, the roster finally came together to fight back against HHH and the Corporation, giving us an interesting battle for the first time since this began, which was somehow just over a month ago. Let's get to it.

We open with a look back at Night of Champions and Raw, set up through an interview with HHH. He compares the scandal with Armstrong to Pete Rose hypothetically conspiring with an umpire to fix the World Series.

Here's Vickie to open things up. She says she has a thrilling and exciting show planned for us tonight, but first she has to introduce the laughing stock of the WWE. Bob Backlund held the WWE Championship for over 2,000 days, but this man held it for less than a day: Daniel Bryan. Daniel says he'd rather be champion for one day than being a shrill corporate suck-up for his entire life. Vickie gives him an opportunity to come clean but Bryan says the truth is he kneed Orton in the face for three. It could have been a twenty count because Orton was out cold.

Bryan says he should still be champion but Vickie says he should be fired. Daniel says everyone is grateful that Vickie has no real power, but Vickie would rather talk about the people that got involved at the end of the night. Those people would be Ziggler, the Usos, R-Truth, Justin Gabriel, Zack Ryder, the Prime Time Players, Kofi Kingston and Rob Van Dam. Tonight it's going to be an 11-3 handicap gauntlet match. The idea is all eleven of them will come down to face the Shield 3-1 until Shield has defeated them all. Bryan is lucky enough to go last.

Naomi vs. AJ

Non-title. Natalya is on commentary and talks about how AJ is riding the coattails of the Total Divas who have revolutionized the division. AJ easily takes Naomi down and hooks a cravate as Natalya calls AJ an opportunist for how she kept the title on Sunday. A running back elbow gets two for the champion, though Natalya is FAR more entertaining, trying to make the Total Divas sound like good people. Naomi comes back with a dropkick and the Rear View for two. AJ's sleeper is quickly broken up but she grabs the Black Widow for the submission at 3:25.

Rating: D+. The match was nothing but this story is ranging anywhere from so bad it's hilarious to horrible depending on how you look at it. The problem is the whole angle hinges on no one ever watching Total Divas, because there's no way to cheer for any of its cast, but AJ is being presented as a stuck up villain who lords her title over everyone in sight.

Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella

Colter tells Santino to take the ravioli out of his ears and asks if he has the proper papers to own a reptile. During Santino's entrance, JBL and Cole hype up Billy Gunn as the guests on their show by saying Road Dogg's catchphrases. Swagger throws Santino down and shouts at him a lot before hooking a double armbar. Santino comes back with his usual sequence before hooking a backslide to pin Swagger at 2:02. When I'm feeling sorry for Jack Swagger, it's a bad sign.

Ryback vs. Nick Nardone

Nardone is OVW Champion Jamin Olivencia. Before the match, Heyman talks about Punk giving him all he could handle at Night of Champions, but only one of them could come out on top. Ryback says Heyman doesn't deserve to be picked on by a bully like Punk, so he's going to treat Nick like he'll treat Punk. It's a fifty second match with the Meat Hook and Shell Shock ending Nardone, as you would expect.

Here's Orton with something to say. He talks about Bryan and Armstrong taking the title from him at Night of Champions, but that was 100% his own fault. He never should have been in that position but he's spent two years repressing who he really is for the fans. Orton locked away the Viper because that's what everyone wanted. But then Monday night on Raw, HHH and Stephanie showed Orton what he really should be. We get a clip of the attack on Miz from Raw, which Orton calls a warning to anyone who gets in his path. At Battleground, he's going to end the war with Daniel Bryan and be his own WWE Champion.

Shield vs. Usos/Prime Time Players/Justin Gabriel/Zack Ryder/Kofi Kingston/Rob Van Dam/Dolph Ziggler/Daniel Bryan/R-Truth

It's 3-1, one man at a time, no tagging. Darren Young is first and it goes exactly as you would expect with Reigns getting the pin via the spear in 41 seconds. Titus O'Neil is in next and has a bit better luck by throwing the smaller guys around a bit. Reigns runs him down though and the big beatdown is on. Rollins grabs a guillotine with a body vice and the beating continues. The TripleBomb ends O'Neil at 1:57 (all times total).

Dolph Ziggler is in third but he charges in like a nitwit too. Ziggler speeds things up as fast as he can but Rollins and Dean finally get him to the ground. Reigns gets to take his shots including a headbutt. Ambrose takes too much time talking though and Dolph gets in some solid offense, low bridging Reigns to the floor and hitting the Fameasser on Seth. A Cactus Clothesline puts Ziggler and Ambrose on the floor for a second but Rollins knees Ziggler to the floor. Reigns spears Ziggler down and he can't beat the count at 5:39.

Here's Kofi Kingston to try his luck but Rollins comes to meet him in the aisle for some reason, allowing Kofi to snap the other twos' necks across the top rope. A quick Trouble in Paradise gets a near fall on Reigns but the numbers catch up to Kofi. The bulldog driver gets rid of Kingston at 7:13. Rob Van Dam is in next and Reigns is still down.

A banged up Rollins and Ambrose jump Van Dam but he kicks both guys down as things speed up. Ambrose is monkey flipped down and Reigns is kicked back down to the floor. Rolling Thunder hits both Rollins and Ambrose at the same time and Van Dam loads up the Five Star on HHH comes out to call the match off at about 9:00.

Rating: C. The non-finish hurt this a lot because I was starting to get into it at the end. The idea of Shield fighting off everyone at once but slowly getting beaten down made sense and felt like something out of a video game. It was really doing a good job at building drama to seeing how far anyone could get without getting beaten but the ending stopped it cold.

Post break HHH yells at Vickie, asking what in the world she was thinking. After what Vickie did tonight, ten more of them would revolt next time, then ten more until we had a full scale revolt. Vickie says it was good for business, but tonight needs to be about fair competition. HHH demands Vickie to make the Usos/Daniel Bryan vs. the Shield, therefore again making Bryan the focus of the show after saying for weeks that there was no way we could have Bryan as the focus of the show.

The Raw ReBound covers the Dusty Rhodes story.

Ryder and Gabriel come in to see HHH and he gives them a match for no apparent reason.

Zack Ryder/Justin Gabriel vs. Wyatt Family

Harper gives Ryder a freaky look to start but Zack fires off a forearm in the corner. A big boot takes Ryder down for two as everything breaks down. Gabriel is sent to the floor and Harper hits a buckle bomb on Ryder followed by the discus lariat (JBL: “GOOD GOD!”) for the pin at 1:12.

Bray hits Sister Abigail on Ryder post match and talks about keeping his promises.

RVD has a banged up elbow but HHH comes in and gives him a world title match against Del Rio at Battleground. HHH leaves and Del Rio comes in to beat RVD down, including the low superkick. Cole thinks it's odd that Del Rio was right there at that given time.

R-Truth vs. Alberto Del Rio

Non-title again. Truth pounds away in the corner to start and gets two off a suplex. The ax kick misses though and Del Rio hits a quick Backstabber for two. Off to a reverse chinlock but Truth comes back with some kicks to the ribs. The front suplex is good for two but Alberto hits the corner enziguri for the same result. Truth rolls out of the armbreaker and hits the ax kick for two, only to be caught with the low superkick and the armbreaker for the submission at 3:34.

Rating: D+. This was about what you would expect out of these two. Truth is a jobber to the stars anymore but at least we don't have to put up with his matches being set up by dancing anymore. Del Rio still has nothing to his character other than being from Mexico as the money has been phased out, keeping him as average of a heel as you can be.

Shield vs. Usos/Daniel Bryan

Bryan starts by firing off kicks in the corner to Rollins' chest before dropping a knee for two. Rollins tries the jumping knee but gets caught in the surfboard instead. With the hold still mostly on it's Jey in off the tag with a clothesline, only to get caught in the Shield corner and punched by Ambrose. Jey comes back with a backdrop and brings in his brother who gets two off a clothesline.

Off to a hammerlock but Dean fights into the corner, only to have Jey come back in with a big chop for two. The Usos drop a double elbow for two but Jey is driven into the Shield corner again for the tag off to Reigns for some stomping. Jey stays out of trouble by pulling Roman into the corner for the tag off to Bryan. Kicking abounds until Reigns takes Daniel down with an elbow to the jaw and a tag off to rollins for a chinlock. That goes nowhere as Daniel jawbreaks his way out and tags in Jimmy.

Jimmy does about as well as a career tag team wrestler fighting off three guys who have been defeating main eventers for over a year now as we take a break. Back with Jimmy fighting out of a Rollins chinlock and making the hot tag off to Jey. A few rooms of the house are cleaned but Rollins enziguris him down, allowing for the real heat segment to begin.

Dean hits a running dropkick against the ropes and holds Jey in place for a slingshot hilo, giving Rollins two. Back to Reigns for a jumping elbow drop for two and we hit the chinlock. A huge clothesline gets two for Roman and it's right back to the chinlock. Jey fights up again and fires off right hands all around followed by a Bubba Bomb on Rollins. The hot tag brings in Bryan for the real house cleaning by knocking Reigns and Rollins to the floor.

Two running corner dropkicks set up a hurricanrana to Dean for two. Jimmy dives over the top to take out Reigns and Jey does the same to Rollins. Dean clotheslines Bryan down but gets caught in the YES Lock, right in front of the ropes. Jey superkicks Ambrose into the running knee from Bryan at 14:00 shown of 17:00.

Rating: B. This was the same thing that you've grown to expect from every Shield match: great action, a bunch of saved near falls and a hot finish. On top of that the Shield doesn't lose anything here given that they were coming in at a disadvantage. Good match here but did you really expect anything else?

Overall Rating: C+. This was a hard one to grade. The gauntlet match was really fun but it was pulled halfway through for some reason. A solid main event helps of course and we got some story development, but this show felt like it was over before it started. I'm not sure if that was a good thing as only the gauntlet match felt like anything special. Still though, fun show overall and a good use of two hours.

AJ Lee b. Naomi – Black Widow
Santino Marella b. Jack Swagger – Backslide
Ryback b. Nick Nardone – Shell Shock
Shield vs. Usos/Prime Time Players/Justin Gabriel/Zack Ryder/Kofi Kingston/Rob Van Dam/Dolph Ziggler/Daniel Bryan/R-Truth went to a no contest
Wyatt Family b. Justin Gabriel/Zack Ryder – Discus lariat to Ryder
Alberto Del Rio b. R-Truth – Cross Armbreaker
Daniel Bryan/Usos b. Shield – Running knee to Ambrose

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  1. I think it's about time they just have RVD kill Del Rio for the belt. ADR's the blandest heel since... well okay, Orton is, but he's a cog in the big story.

  2. Why exactly is AJ the heel in this feud? She made a statement that the others are gloryhounds who aren't good enough...because she's the champ and all. She's then been subject to gang beatings. Then she won a fatal 4 way match clean, no cheating. She is now giving everyone she talked down to a 1 on 1 chance to prove her wrong. The person who tapped out to her clean at the PPV was on commentary talking about how she's not a real champion while she's in the process of winning another match clean.

    Seriously, WTF. Who's writing this? I mean they don't even have her cheat to win matches. Ever since they broke Big E off from her, she hasn't cheated in a match (as far as I know). The only reason given to boo AJ is because she had a lot of boyfriends in the past which is a cringe-worthy storyline and gets worse every time they try even bring it up.

    I know I'm not supposed to care about diva storylines but wow are they ever blowing this. Even the endgame which was supposed to be a slam dunk of Nattie vs. AJ is getting ruined because every time Nattie opens her mouth she gets more and more unlikable.

  3. I've wondered this since the beginning. AJ is acting like a heel, but it's impossible to like any of the Total Divas if you watch five minutes of the show. I guess we're supposed to think the Total Divas are celebrities and like them or something because they have their own show?

  4. One plot point I'm liking, because I have a feeling it's going to bite him in the long run, is that HHH cut off the punishment idea Vickie had, killed her main event match, and created his own for no reason. And his idea of a match actually put the guys he supposedly favors (Shield) at a disadvantage, while Vickie's idea gave them a huge advantage. IF they take anything that happens on SmackDown seriously, and that's a big if, this could be sowing the seeds for Walkout II, which HHH hasn't considered as endgame. We are truly in interesting times, my dear Mr. Hall.

  5. Indeed we are. We're also living in the days of outstanding house shows. Report coming soon.

  6. Joke's on HHH. Ryder's just happy to be on TV at this point.

  7. I took it as the current bullshit where HHH has to look better than ANYONE, including the heels.

    In this case, HHH effectively is pissy because Vicky beat him to the punch in punishing folks for defying him. Moreso, by doing so, it means he can't openly discipline anyone for coming to Bryan's aid because Vicky already did it and it would just raise MORE evidence that HHH has gone mad with power in the eyes of the people above him, who have the ability to end Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

    (You could also tie it into the idea of HHH seeing Smackdown as irrelevent, which could fuel the fire for Vicky in terms of her own rebellion since she would be pissed off that HHH doesn't give a shit about the show while she does, which could elevate her to do more counterprogramming to get viewers to watch to spite HHH)

    I would not be shocked if they don't drag Vicky out for some form of humiliation on Raw next week as part of this storyline. Also, I would not be shocked if we don't get something where HHH arranges for the people who came to Bryan's aid to all "mysteriously" get attacked in the back one by one by someone (HHH) and while it's quite obvious to everyone that HHH is personally attacking people left and right, he somehow frames Bryan for the attacks, claiming Bryan has had another mental breakdown and we get a bullshit ending where Bryan gets taken away to the mental institution again so HHH can get rid of him again.

    Alternatively, HHH goes after AJ or one of the Bella twins (depending on which one they want to acknowledge as Bryan's on-camera love interest) and makes Big Show and Shield beat the shit out of her to punish Bryan and the rest of the roster (who are forced to watch), since he can't punish them a second time after Vicky beat him to the punch.....

  8. What's so unlikeable about the Total Divas? On the reality show itself, I don't see anything wrong with Trinity (a.k.a. Naomi); the Bellas make it pretty clear their heel characters are just TV characters; and Natalya and JoJo are mostly presented as "good girls." The only "heels" on the show are Eva Marie (more ambitious than anything) and Ariana (a.k.a. Cameron), who's pretty whiny. If anything, the Total Divas come off worse on the wrestling shows during this feud with AJ then they do on their own show.

  9. I could get on board with that, however I dont see Vickie leading the troops in a walkout because she just sucks as a face.

    Do one of those stupid "all the rosters on the stage" segments and have a dude like Barrett be the voice that finally voices his displeasure and organizes the revolt. Immediate face turn/direction given to a talented guy.

  10. I think I would have preferred ADR as Trips' pawn; he's as bland as Orton, but I think he would have had amazing chemistry with Bryan in the ring. Plus, being handed the title would have fit with his entitled character.

  11. I'd have ADR buy lots of WWE stock and then be handed the belt. Very Ted DiBiase.

  12. Keep Gabriel and Ryder together! Ryder has some over moves and would be a good Robert Gibson.

  13. Ooh, that's a good one.

  14. I was really getting into the handicap match. However, had the Shield kept battling and gotten farther there was the chance of them getting unintentional face heat because it does seem like punishment and they were transitioning from being bullies to battlers.

    Still I could do without an HHH appearance for one of these shows. If he wants to be the overload he needs someone to play the Patterson/Brisco type. This would be the perfect time to bring Big Johnny back. Overly dominant heel administrators just don't work as well as goofy chickenshit ones.

  15. Why bring back Johnny Ace when you have a perfectly awesome Brad Maddox right there.

  16. The Bellas agreed that Bryan's house should be burned to the ground because it's not enough like Cena's mansion. Brie is moving to a different state for the sake of her dog. Arianne is one of the most annoying people I've ever seen. Natalya can't go more than 8 seconds without whining about something. Eva Marie needs no explanation.

    JoJo is fine and Trinity is bearable and that's about it.

  17. Or the perfectly chickenshit heels in the New Age Outlaws.

  18. ADR's current gimmick is "guy who has World Title" or when he doesn't have the title it's "guy who fights for World Title".

    Seriously, he's been involved in the World Title picture since mid-2012.

  19. Putting Road Dogg and Billy Gunn in not too well fitting suits and having them act as Patterson/Briscoe v2.0 would be gold.

  20. I remember Nikki Bella acting like Daniel Bryan's house wasn't good enough for Brie, but I don't remember Brie agreeing. Maybe I just forgot/missed that part. The worst thing I recall Brie doing is getting drunk in Vegas. Other than some of her immature reactions when she found out Brie was moving, Nikki's only other "heel" act was skipping Nattie's wedding.

  21. Nikki is mostly stupid but Brie really isn't that bad. She's moving back to be with her family and dog and boyfriend.


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