Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The SmackDown Files: The Raw Empire Strikes Back Edition (11-14-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. With this being the final live show before Survivor Series, one can only assume that Raw will carry out a counterattack on the blue brand after Shane McMahon put them under siege a few weeks ago. Did Kurt Angle and company unleash the fury of a thousand burning suns or did they make peace with their blue counterpart over a warm glass of milk instead? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.

·        SD Live opened with the corniest pep rally in history. It was cheesier than a bowl of mac and cheese drenched with Velveeta on top.  

·        Fortunately, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles salvaged things as Bryan did his best Paul Heyman impersonation as he hyped Styles vs. Brock Lesnar to the hilt. Bryan accused Lesnar of being a quitter when things got tough. He quit WWE in 2004 and left UFC when a weak ass knee bar forced him into retirement in 2011.

·        Lesnar was big and strong, but he was afraid to swim in the deep end. His thick head would keep him afloat for about ten minutes before he mentally checked out. Styles’ speed and athleticism would wear Lesnar down because he had the stamina to withstand The Beast’s onslaught.

·        Bryan stated that Lesnar will be beaten, victimized, and conquered mentally by Styles at Survivor Series because he is the best wrestler of this generation.

·        Styles thanked Bryan for speaking on his behalf, but he could speak for himself, unlike Lesnar who is nothing more than a puppet that Heyman props up time and time again.

·        Styles put Heyman on notice that Lesnar was about to star in an AJ Styles Production that will see the WWE Champion come out on top as the opening segment came to an end.

·        Bullshit pep rally aside, this was a good way to start the show. Bryan cut a passionate promo as he put over Styles’ unparalleled talent and tenacity while shading Lesnar’s tendency to quit under pressure. Here’s hoping the bout lives up to expectations because both men are capable of delivering a classic if they’re given enough time to do so.

·        Baron Corbin retained the United States Championship when he defeated Sin Cara with End of Days in a solid match. Sin Cara dictated the pace, but Corbin outsmarted him when he avoided Sin Cara’s Senton from the top rope which led to the finish moments later.

·        Corbin will face The Miz at Survivor Series in a United States Champion vs. Intercontinental Champion match that looks absolutely bland on paper. Heel vs. Heel matchups are usually a fail and I expect Miz to be the de facto babyface because he has more credibility in terms of experience and tenure. Try reading that with a straight face five years ago.

·        Despite Daniel Bryan bleeding blue through and through, he still has a bone to pick when it comes to Shane McMahon abusing his power. I guess Shane-O-Mac is heading to the principal’s office despite being the head honcho in charge…

·        Charlotte became a five-time Women’s Champion when she made Natalya tap out to the Figure Eight in a good match. Charlotte’s Drive for Five has come to an end as she will represent SD Live when she faces Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series on Sunday.

·        Charlotte and Natalya had one of their better matches since their epic battle at the first NXT Takeover in May 2014. It was hard-hitting and physical throughout. When both ladies are given time to put in that work, they always over deliver and tonight was no exception.

·        After the match was over, Renee Young interviewed Charlotte in the ring about her win. Charlotte thanked the hometown crowd and noted that she’s been gunning for the SmackDown Women’s Title since the Superstar Shakeup earlier this year. She looked forward to her match against Little Miss Bliss because The Queen wanted to put the Goddess in her place while representing Team Blue to the fullest.

·        Finally, Charlotte dedicated her win to Ric Flair. Her father couldn’t be there tonight, but she knew that he was watching from home which made the moment even sweeter.

·        As she was heading up the ramp, Flair’s music hit which meant only one thing…The Nature Boy appeared on WWE television for the first time since his health scare as he received a big pop in Flair Country.

·        Charlotte ran into her father’s arms as tears were shed by all. That was a nice moment to push her victory over the top.

·        Jimmy Uso defeated Chad Gable with a Superkick in a solid match. Gable has developed a mean streak in recent weeks which suits him perfectly. He is such a dynamic performer that he can get over as a heel or a babyface. If WWE commits to Gable and Shelton Benjamin long-term, they could be an elite tag team in 2018.

·        The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn came to an abrupt end when The Shield put SD Live under siege. I think the trio jumped the gun because the crowd sensed something was about to happen as they focused their attention on the middle aisle instead of the action unfolding in the ring. Sure enough, The Hounds of Justice were on the prowl and all hell was about to break loose.

·        Owens and Zayn stood side by side with The New Day, but they had no sense of brand loyalty as they left them high and dry in the ring. The Shield pounced which led to a full-on brawl.

·        The Usos ran out to make the save which led to an interesting standoff with their cousin Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins quickly went on the attack as Reigns looked on remorsefully. His sense of family was short-lived as the ass-kicking commenced.

·        The camera cut backstage to the women from Team Raw barging inside the SD Live Women’s Locker Room as they kicked their asses from pillar to post. Even Lana wasn’t spared from the onslaught. Charlotte tried to stand up for her team, but she got decked by Alexa Bliss instead.

·        Back in the ring, Shane led his team into battle as they traded blows with The Shield. Cesaro, Sheamus, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Apollo Crews, and Titus O’Neil joined the fight as they hit everything that moved.

·        Kurt Angle appeared on the main stage and brought out Braun Strowman to finish the job. From there, Shane was a sitting duck as The Shield made him watch the carnage unfold at ringside. Angle got in Shane’s face and vowed that he will finish him off at Survivor Series before giving The Shield the Thumbs Down to drop Shane-O-Mac with the Triple Powerbomb. Angle followed things up by laying him out with the Angle Slam for good measure.

·        The Shield dropped Shane with another Triple Powerbomb as SD Live went off the air with Team Raw standing tall while the blue brand was in retreat mode.

·        It should be noted that AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal were protected from the ass whopping. I guess they left the building early which was very smart on their part.

·        In all seriousness, this was a great way to end the show. Unlike Under Siege: Part I, the sequel was better in terms of execution and crowd heat. Shane McMahon fired the first shot and Kurt Angle delivered the final salvo five days before Survivor Series. Angle didn’t flash a smile or show compassion for his adversary because his job is on the line Sunday. Will both men harken back to their classic match at King of the Ring 16 years ago minus the Plexiglas from Hell spot? We shall find out soon enough.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The in-ring action was so-so with the exception of the SmackDown Women’s Championship Match between Charlotte and Natalya. The main event was nothing more than a segue to Under Siege II which has been teased on television over the past few weeks. It was worth the wait as Team Raw fed SD Live a big slice of humble pie with a side order of crow.

·        However, the red brand can’t claim victory just yet. The matches will tell the true story of Survivor Series as AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar and The Men’s Traditional 5-on-5 Elimination Match will determine which show reigns supreme. It’s like Bragging Rights 2009-2010 minus the fake ass Stanley Cup Trophy.

·        Raw vs. SmackDown is a tried and tired concept, but I commend WWE for making the November Classic feel special for the first time in years. It should be a great show if everything goes accordingly to plan. With NXT Takeover: War Games taking center stage the night before, the main roster better step their game up or they will be left in the dust by Triple H’s brainchild. Here’s hoping the E’s four-night stand in Houston is unforgettable for all the right reasons. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls! 

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