9/6 Barnett's WWE Smackdown Live Coverage: Triple H Town Hall, Daniel Bryan vs. a Shield Member, plus Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show and more in action
By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on SyFy Live Coverage
Taped on 9/3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
[Q1] Video aired of Cody Rhodes speaking up to Triple H, then getting fired after a loss to Randy Orton. Triple H opened the show in the ring with Vickie and Brad Maddox. He welcomed everyone to Smackdown and informed the crowd that Cody Rhodes is no longer a WWE Superstar. He explained that Cody was fired for just cause, because he was insubordinate and disrespectful to the position of COO of the WWE. The COO is the public representative of the WWE, and as COO, Triple H is the WWE.
Triple H turned towards the roster on the ramp and said that Cody Rhodes fired Cody Rhodes. He claimed to be friends with Cody, his Dad and his Brother. He then said that as COO he has to make hard decisions, and he accepts that, but he always has to do what's best for business. Triple H then moved on and said he was here for all the superstars, and he wanted to create an open environment where everyone could ask questions or make any statement without fear of retribution. He then said the floor was open to everyone, and asked people to speak up.
After a few seconds of silence, Triple H said he worked for everyone, and he can only do that if they open up to him and tell him how he feels. If they do, he will work harder for them than anyone on the planet. Triple H then claimed that he wants the WWE to grow, and everyone on stage to grow. Damien Sandow stepped up and said he fully supported the termination of Cody Rhodes, because he exemplifies everything that is bad for business. He commended Hunter for being a fearless leader.
Hunter said that he didn't want people to kiss his butt. He then asked people to speak up. Kofi stepped up and said that since Cody was fired, the locker room has lived in fear, and he didn't see how that was best for business. Hunter began to answer, but Heath Slater interrupted and said nobody cared about the answer to that question. Heath said he was upset about the resident giant not doing anything while sitting at ringside. Hunter asked him for emptying the entire contents of his mind.
RVD stepped to the mic and reminded the crowd that Hunter was the one that brought him back to WWE. He was under the impression that things were better now, and the vibe he was feeling in the locker room was like, not cool, dude. Triple H said he had been waiting since 2000 for RVD to call him dude again. Triple H said he still had the same faith in RVD that he had a few months ago, and that he was a true superstar.
Bully Ry said he was tired of everyone calling him a bully. Triple H said he had a point, due to what happened on Monday between Ziggler and Ambrose. He then made a rematch between Ziggler and Ryback for later. Triple H then mentioned Daniel Bryan's absence from the stage, and the crowd lit up for him. He said Daniel not being up there is symptomatic of his ego problem, that it's out of control. Daniel's ego is so big that he couldn't be bothered to come stand out on stage with the little people. Triple H then made a match, and said Bryan could pick any member of The Shield to go one on one with.
Triple H said he thought the whole experience had been cathartic. He thanked Kofi for speaking up, and gave him a non title match between him and Curtis Axel. Triple H then made a match between RVD and Randy Orton, and then introduced Orton as the face of the company...[c]
My Take: A solid open to the show that further cemented Triple H's dominance over the show. Personally, I'm not a fan of how much time Hunter is eating up on television, but he has been delivering solid performances in the roles he's been given.
[Q2] Alberto Del Rio sat in on commentary for the opening match.
1. RVD vs. Randy Orton: Some early RVD chants as RVD hit a kick and dropped a leg from the top rope. He got an early near fall after another kick out of the corner. RVD dropped an inside to outside leg drop onto Orton, who hung on the apron. RVD went for rolling thunder a moment later, but Orton reversed into a nice power slam for a two count. Orton went to work and stomped on RVD. He then telegraphed a back drop and ate another kick to the face. Orton took control during a brief ECW chant.
Van Dam hit a split leg moonsault for a two count. Orton rolled to the outside to catch his breath, and RVD followed. Van Dam suplexed Orton onto the barricade and set up for the spinning kick. Orton moved out of the way, however, and RVD crashed into the ringside barricade. Ortons lowed the pace and tossed RVD back into the ring. Orton did more (don't call them) Garvin stomps onto RVD. Orton tossed RVD back to the outside and paced in the ring as RVD crawled around on the outside...[c]
The crowd tried to will RVD back into the match with some chants, and he responded with a kick and a standing moonsault for two. He hit another spinning heel kick, but Orton kicked his legs out from under his legs (RIP Owen) after a failed monkey flip. Orton then followed up with a second rope DDT, and pumped up for the RKO.
[Q3] Orton attempted it, but RVD avoided it and kicked him in the face. He tried to roll up Orton, but only got two. RVD hit rolling thunder and tried for a five star, but missed. RVD rolled to the ouside, but Orton threw him back into the ring. Del Rio intervened and attacked Ricardo at ringside, and RVD responded with a somersault dive onto him at ringside. Orton picked up RVD and DDT'd him from the apron to the floor. He follwed up with an RKO for the win in the ring.
Randy Orton defeated RVD at 14:32.
After the match, Del Rio attacked RVD as he was layed out in the ring. He applied the cross arm breaker, which the ref broke up. Del Rio held up his title to taunt the crowd. Cole plugged hearing from Daniel Bryan as next...[c]
My Take: A match that was much better on television due to missing the snoozefest that took place during the long commerical break. RVD got a great crowd reaction and Orton still got a favorable reaction for the finish. I hope they have him start attacking the crowds in him promos to rile people up.
Daniel Bryan was shown backstage with Renee Young. She asked him about his absence from the town hall meeting. He said first and foremost, he doesn't think he's better than anyone, and he was told by management that he wasn't invited to the meeting. He said if by ego, Triple H meant that he wanted to be WWE Champion, than the answer is yes. Bryan then claimed that later he would let The Shield choose who would face him, because he knows he can beat any of them, just like he knows he can beat Randy Orton for the WWE Championship.
Kaitlyn was then shown walking up to Aksana, Alicia Fox, and Layla. She told them the Total Divas girls think they are better than them, and that they are stealing their TV time. They all started talking over one another and AJ told them she had a plan...
Dolph Ziggler then made his ring entrance for his match with Ryback...[c]
My Take: A good promo from Bryan, and an angle that makes sense with AJ considering where they have been going with the divas. It looks like Total Divas cast vs. everybody else is where they are going.
[Q4] Video was shown of Dean Ambrose's attack on Monday, that left Ziggler vulnerable to Ryback. Bully Ry then made his entrance.
2. Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler: Ziggler avoided Ryback early and hit a dropkick. Ryback kicked Dolph in the ribs and applied a Bear Hug. Dean Ambrose joined at the announce table, and they talked to him about the assault on Ziggler. He claimed Ziggler is constantly disrespecting the business. Ziggler reversed Ryback's bear hug into a DDT. Ryback then missed a spear into the corner and ran into the post. Ziggler hit a rocker dropper for a near fall. Ryback recovered and hit a shoulder block that send Ziggler to ringside.
Ryback followed to the outside and charged at Ziggler, but he moved and Ryback crashed into the steps. Ziggler took a run after Ambrose, but Amrose led him directly into a Ryback meat hook clothesline. Ryback followed up with shellshocked in the ring for the win.
Ryback defeated Dolph Ziggler at 4:02.
My Take: An ok match that further teased the Ambrose and Ziggler feud. Ziggler looked like a putz for running after Ambrose, because he had the advantage in the match and Ambrose wasn't really the aggressor. The match was a little slow during Ryback's offense, but not so much that it detracted from the match.
Kofi Kingston made his entrance for the next match, followed by Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman. A clip aired of CM Punk guaranteeing a beat down on Paul Heyman at Night of Champions.
[Q5] 3. Curtis Axel vs. Kofi Kingston: A Curtis Axel chant started the match. Only in Minneapolis. Both guys worked some chain wrestling to start. They eventually separated, but Axel quickly went to a head lock. Kofi escaped and ran the ropes, and he hit a back elbow. Axel rolled to the outside to consult with Heyman. Kofi hit a nice head scissors a moment later, but missed a baseball slide to the outside. Axel tried to throw him into the steps, but Kofi jumped over them. He then used the steps to vault himself into Axel. Heyman the distracted Kofi, which allowed Axel to start back in on offense...[c]
The wacky Minneapolis crowd was trading “Let's go Axel” and “Let's go Kofi” chants. Axel hit a clothesline to the back of the head for a near fall. Axel hit a bodyslam, but jumped into Kofi's boots attempting a double axe handle from the top. Kofi worked some quick strikes, but Axel hit a nice standing dropkick to get back into the match. Kofi attempted to jump to the top rope, but Axel crotched him and pulled him back into the center of the ring. Axel set up for a suplex, but Kofi surprised him with the SOS and got the pin in the center of the ring.
Kofi Kingston defeated Curtis Axel at 9:58.
Cole introduced the Wyatt's promo that aired on Monday that made an analogy between Kane and Icarus...[c]
My Take: A fun match due to the chants, but otherwise a pretty unremarkable effort. Heyman's facial expressions stood out more than anything else.
[Q6] Paul Heyman was interrupted backstage by Renee Young. She asked Heyman what he felt about Curtis Axel being defeated and what it means for his match with CM Punk at Night of Champions. Heyman said tonight was an error in judgement, because they overlooked Kofi Kingston because of how obsessed he is about CM Punk. He said CM Punk had promised to break his face and to show the world a side of him that the people may be uncomfortable with. Heyman claimed he had accepted Punk at his worst, but his worst was a lot badder Punk's worst. Young then asked what he thought about Punk's guarantee that he would beat Curtis Axel and get his hands on Heyman, and he responsed by storming off and slamming a door.
4. Brie Bella vs. Naomi: No entrances for the ladies, they went right to the match. Naomi hit some athletic moves, including a dropkick and a somersault clothesline. Brie charged at Naomi and the both spilled to the outside, where Aksana, Layla, AJ and Alicia Fox beat down all the other divas at ringside.
The match ended in no contest at 1:28.
AJ grabbed a microphone while and announced herself as still the WWE Divas Champion. The Usos were shown backstage heading towards the ring...[c]
My Take: That wasn't any better on TV than it was in person. It was just kind of there.
Zeb Colter led the crowd in a “We the People” chant. The Usos then made their entrance with their full dance number.
[Q7] 5. Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger vs. The Usos: Cesaro hit a running kick and tossed Jay Uso to the outside. Swagger then tagged and hit a running shoulder block on the outside. More quick tags as the isolated Jay. Cesaro leapfrogged Swagger and hit a jumping stomp. Swagger tagged in and he and Cesaro hit a double uranage. After a rest hold, Jay made his way to the corner and tagged in Jimmy. He hip tossed Cesaro to the outside and hit a somersault tackle over the top rope.
Jimmy hit a superkick onto Ceasro and climbed to the top rope. Colter distracted the official and Swagger pushed Jimmy off the top in a European Uppercut for the win.
Cesaro and Swagger defeated The Usos at 3:42.
Backstage, Big Show stewed in Triple H's office. Hunter asked him what was wrong, and Show told him he knew exactly what was wrong with him. Triple H acted like Show was upset over 3MB taking a shot at him earlier in the night, and told him he had a handicapped match with them next. Triple H told him to ball his fist and use 3MB as human stress balls...[c]
My Take: The tag match was fast paced, and it had the effect of creating chaos, and on the other end of the coin nobody really had a chance to sell anything. As a result the finish came out of nowhere and the crowd didn't know how to react to it. Very cool spot with the uppercut though.
A Raw rebound with Daniel Bryan and Big Show was shown from Monday. 3MB was shown in the ring for the handicap match. Big Show then made his entrance.
6. Big Show vs. 3MB in a handicap match: Show manhandled everyone. He threw McIntyre into Jinder Mahal and both man crashed to ringside. He hit a spear to McIntyre at ringside and tossed Mahal on the announce table and slapped his chest half a dozen times. He then ran into McIntyre and kneed him in the face against the barricade. He tossed all three members back in the ring, and double chokeslammed McIntyre and Mahal. He then hit the KO punch on Slater for the win.
Big Show defeated 3MB at 2:18.
[Q8] After the match Big Show walked up the ramp, and The Shield made their entrance through the crowd. Big Show stopped on the stage, and Triple H came out and walked him to the back...[c]
My Take: A total squash that looked brutal. Mahal took 5 or 6 big slaps to the chest, and I can't image that felt good at all. Show looked dominant, but he needs to do something similar to The Shield to make the crowds really go crazy.
Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance to a huge crowd reaction. They showed footage of Big Show KOing Bryan on Monday. The Shield decided on Seth Rollins, who assaulted Bryan while the other to psyched him out.
7. Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins: Rollins tossed Bryan into the corner and hit him with some elbows. Bryan fired back with a high knee and hit some kicks to the chest that got the crowd into the yes chants. Bryan hit a clothesline that sent both men over the top rope. The Shield members teased an attack, but Bryan was able to get back in the ring. Rollins quickly dumped Bryan back to the outside and tossed him into the side of the ring. He then rolled him into the ring and covered for a two count.
The crowd got behind Bryan and they had a yes/no punch exchange. Bryan avoided an elbow and hit a german suplex throw that saw Rollins nearly land on his head. Bryan followed up with a running kick and a missile drop kick off the top and covered for two. Bryan fired up the crowd and hit more kicks to the chest. Bryan went up top, but Rollins hit a kick to the back of the head that sent him out to the floor. Reigns then hit a clothesline on the outside while the ref was distracted. Rollins then threw Bryan into the steps, and then back in the ring.
Rollins climbed up top and jumped at Bryan, who caught him and put him in the Yes Lock. Reigns went for the distraction, but both Shield members ended up getting kicked. Bryan hit a suicide dive onto Reigns and then jumped back in the ring to finish off Rollins with a running knee.
Daniel Bryan defeated Seth Rollins at 6:02.
After the match, Bryan celebrated on the ramp until Orton smashed him with a belt shot. The crowd chanted Randy sucks as the show went off the air.
My Take: Far and away the best match of the night. The crowd was pumped for Bryan and he and Rollins delivered a fine match. The German Suplex and the running knee spots looked great and the crowd absolutely went nuts for the finish. Overall, this show went by pretty quickly, but it didn't feel particularly memorable. The final match and the opener were well done television matches, but the in between didn't feel very important. I'll have more to say with Chris Shore tomorrow.
Do you have questions, comments or concerns? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.
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