Smackdown – November 17, 2023: They Got Stuff Done
Date: November 17, 2023
Location: Ford Center, Evansville, Indiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick, Road Dogg
We’re eight days away from Survivor Series and the women’s WarGames match seems all but set and announced. Both sides could still use some adjusting and we might be seeing some of that tonight. We also have to deal with the fallout from Santos Escobar turning on Rey Mysterio and the LWO last week. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week, with Asuka seemingly joining Damage CTRL as she turned on Charlotte and Bianca Belair. This is in no way similar to Drew McIntyre turning on Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso to seemingly join forces with Judgment Day because….well of course it’s pretty much the same thing.
Here is Damage CTRL, now with Asuka, for a chat. Bayley brags about how awesome it was to bring Asuka into the team and how powerful the team has become. She steals the NOT READY FOR ASUKA catchphrase, but Kai says not everyone in the ring is officially part of the team. Bayley looks scared, but Kai says it’s because Asuka hasn’t officially joined the team yet. Them she joins.
The challenge is officially on for WarGames against Shotzi/Charlotte/Bianca Belair, so here is Shotzi…..’s tank, as Shotzi comes in from behind. Charlotte and Belair come in as well but the numbers game catches up with them. Damage CTRL clears the ring without much trouble, despite Kai still being injured.
Post break Shotzi, Charlotte and Belair want revenge but need a fourth. Charlotte might know someone and Nick Aldis comes in to say he needs to know their fourth by the end of the night.
Street Profits vs. Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly
For a Tag Team Title shot next week. Prince, Butch and Ford start but Dawkins comes in to shoulder Butch down. Butch gets stomped in the corner as the Profits take over. Wilson is back up for some standing switches with Ford, leaving Butch to jump over them and bring Holland in. A DDT puts Wilson down but the ten forearms to the chest are broken up. Instead the Profits get hit with them until Pretty Deadly sends Holland into the steps. We take a break and come back with Butch cleaning house, including a tornado DDT off the steps to Prince.
Back in and a standing Sliced Bread gets two on Dawkins to leave everyone down. Holland superplexes Wilson but Prince tags himself in. Ford frog splashes the still down Holland, leaving Prince to hit the top rope legdrop for two. Bobby Lashley is watching in the back when B-Fab joins him. Back in the ring and Holland cleans house but Butch accidentally Brogue Kicks him down. The Revelation hits Holland to give the Profits the win at 10:57.
Rating: C+. You kind of had to tease some Brutes tension at some point as other than a one off win on NXT this week, I don’t remember their last important win. It also sounds like a way to bring Sheamus back to settle things, as he was always the focal point of the team anyway. For now though, the Profits winning a shot at Judgment Day the night before Judgment Day is in WarGames sounds like quite the setup for a title change, which would be a nifty way to get the titles away from the stable.
Bianca Belair talks to Michin.
Post break, Damage CTRL has jumped Michin.
We recap Santos Escobar turning on Rey Mysterio and the LWO last week.
Dragon Lee vs. Axiom
Axiom is a guest star from NXT and we get a quick highlight package (because WWE is starting to get the little things that go a long way). Lee takes him down with a headlock to start and hits a big running flip dive to the floor. Back in and a running corner dropkick hits Axiom as we take a break. We come back with Axiom hitting his own dropkick to the floor, followed by a springboard moonsault.
They get back in with Lee tying him in the ropes for a top rope double stomp. Axiom hits a dropkick into a running kick to the chest, only to have Lee grab a brainbuster. Something like flipping piledriver hits Lee but he’s right back up top. Axiom’s enziguri sets up a super Spanish Fly for two but Lee blasts him with a running knee. Operation Dragon (Destino) finishes Axiom at 9:30.
Rating: B-. This was the showcase that you would have expected from these two as they can do the high flying rather well. Lee continues to feel like a major project in the making and putting him out there week after week to pile up wins is a good idea. I could also go for more of Axiom, who has shown that he can work well with just about anyone.
Here is Santos Escobar for his big explanation. Escobar talks about the saying of “never meet your heroes”. He comes from a famous wrestling family, but Rey Mysterio was his hero. Escobar wanted the future generation to see him as the new Rey Mysterio, who became a father figure to him. Then last week, he realized that Dominik Mysterio was right all along.
Escobar earned the US Title shot and wanted to rebuild the LWO, but guess who did it instead. And then Rey brought in an outsider like Carlito! Escobar will only apologize for not hurting Rey even more and hopes he loses his leg. Cue Zelina Vega to yell at Escobar and slap him in the face. Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde come in so Escobar asks whose side they’re on. They try to talk him out of it and get jumped as well so here is Carlito for the save. Escobar was bringing the venom here and the justification makes sense. Rey vs. Escobar should be a hot feud when he gets back too.
We look at Kevin Owens filling in on commentary last week but getting suspended for attacking Grayson Waller and Austin Theory.
Grayson Waller vs. Cameron Grimes
Austin Theory is on commentary. Waller takes him down to start and hammers away before grabbing a chinlock. Grimes fights up and strikes away, only to miss the Cage In. Theory offers a distraction though, allowing Waller to hit the Dingo Driver (John Cena’s old Throwback) for the pin at 2:42. It’s sad to see Grimes as nothing more than a jobber to the stars as he’s done well when he has been given some chances.
Classic Smackdown Moment: Steve Austin vs. Booker T in a grocery store (the Green Frog Grocery Store for you history geeks).
Damage CTRL jumps Zelina Vega.
We look at Solo Sikoa crushing John Cena at Crown Jewel.
Here is the Bloodline (minus Roman Reigns of course) in the ring, with Paul Heyman honoring Sikoa for beating Cena at Crown Jewel. We get the tease of Cena showing up but naturally he’s not here tonight. Cena will never appear in a WWE ring again and Heyman gives him an official goodbye. Heyman counts down to Cena’s run in but there’s no Cena, because you’ll never experience that again and it’s all because of Sikoa. If Cena ever does come back, he has to go after Sikoa, because that’s who Cena is, but now he can’t speak.
Cue LA Knight (scheduled to face Jimmy Uso) to interrupt, saying the Bloodline is the only reason Reigns is still champion. That’s a problem and Knight is a problem solver. Knight is going to take out each member of the Bloodline until it’s just him and Reigns. We get a mocking of Heyman mocking Cena’s theme song before Knight promises to take Uso out.
Carlito vs. Santos Escobar is set for Survivor Series.
Out of options, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to make the phone call to….someone.
LA Knight vs. Jimmy Uso
Heyman gets a phone call and walks out with Sikoa, leaving this one on one. We start with the stomping in the corner until Knight is right back with a hard shot for two. Back up and Jimmy grabs a Samoan drop for a breather but Knight sends him outside. There’s the running dropkick through the ropes and Jimmy gets rammed into the announcers’ table over and over. Jimmy is sent over that table so we take a beak and come back with Knight avoiding a running Umaga attack. Knight grabs a DDT and a belly to back faceplant gets the same. BFT is broken up but the second attempt finishes Jimmy at 9:20.
Rating: B-. Knight loses big match, Knight comes back with some wins to regain momentum. This is wrestling 201 or so and it still works to this day. Knight very well could get a rematch with Reigns at the Royal Rumble to wrap up his story with them, though I’m not sure how you get out of that without Knight getting pinned again in a big moment. For now though, he’s doing well and keeping his momentum, with the back to back wins helping a lot.
Post match cue Solo Sikoa, with Jimmy knocking Knight to the floor. The Samoan Spike drops Knight…and Cody Rhodes runs in for the save. That’s interesting, as Knight could be brought in to even out Drew McIntyre, or it could be a red herring.
Charlotte made the phone call but she’s not sure if the fourth woman will be here in time.
Here’s what’s coming next week.
Here are Bianca Belair, Charlotte and Shotzi to announce their fourth team member. First, they officially accept the challenge but Charlotte talks about knowing what it means to turn on a best friend. There is a thin line between love and hate but if she’s going to war, there is only one person she wants by her side.
Cue Damage CTRL to interrupt before the announcement and say the three of them aren’t making it to WarGames. The fight is….well hang on as here is Becky Lynch as the fourth woman. NOW the fight is on and Charlotte goes up for the moonsault, which misses more wrestlers than Becky missed on Jeopardy. Cole even gets in a Jeopardy reference as Damage CTRL is in trouble to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was the Smackdown (or any wrestling show) that I like: they covered a bunch of things and had some good enough action at the same time. The focuses were on setting up the women’s WarGames match, plus LA Knight’s continuing issues with the Bloodline. Throw in a Tag Team Title match being set up for next week, plus the Santos Escobar/LWO stuff and this was a good show as WWE is rolling on the way to Survivor Series.
Street Profits b. Brawling Brutes and Pretty Deadly – Revelation to Holland
Dragon Lee b. Axiom – Operation Dragon
Grayson Waller b. Cameron Grimes – Dingo Driver
LA Knight b. Jimmy Uso – BFT
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