Date: November 7, 2017
Location: Manchester Arena in England
The Big Takeaway --
AJ Styles beat Jinder Mahal to become WWE Champion. Styles will face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. The title change received a monster pop from the Manchester crowd and Tom Phillips said it was the first ever WWE Title change outside of North America. It was also the first WWE Title change on Smackdown since 2003.
Becky Lynch beat James Ellsworth in a singles match, and there were two very strange finishes elsewhere on the show.
Show Recap --
They showed a video package hyping tonight’s title match, with AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal cutting pre-taped promos. This was good. The announcers plugged Becky Lynch vs. James Ellsworth, calling it “A battle of the sexes,” as well as the two title matches.
Shane McMahon came out to start the show to a big reaction from the Manchester crowd. He said Raw will never be able to call SmackDown the B show, and this time it’s personal. He held Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle responsible for what happened to Daniel Bryan and claimed they sent Kane after him.
Shane said he could get revenge on Raw himself because he’ll be in the ring at Survivor Series. The crowd chanted “Yes” for Bryan and Shane let them know he would return next week. Shane then called out the guys who did something phenomenal last night, and the crowd chanted “New Day rocks” before he actually introduced them.
Kofi Kingston laughed about Raw doing nothing. He admitted they had no intentions of costing Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins the titles, but those were the consequences of Raw being under siege. Shane loved what they did and led a New Day rocks chant and swiveled his hips along with them.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens interrupted (to Owens’ music). Owens said Shane’s dance was the stupidest thing he’s ever seen. The crowd chanted “Ole” and “Kevin Owens.” Zayn mocked Shane’s dancing, so New Day mocked Zayn’s dancing.
Owens said Shane had daddy issues and Zayn said they could’ve taken out Raw by themselves. Zayn called he and Owens, “men of honour” and claimed they were being set up to fail. They complained about needing to even have qualifying matches to represent SmackDown but Shane noted that they both failed.
Owens asked if they would get favouritism if they danced with him like the New Day puppets. Kingston mocked Zayn for looking like a paperboy and someone who has never been to the gym. Zayn said he would be happy when Raw beats SmackDown, so Shane put him in a match with Kingston.
Kofi Kingston (w/Big E & Xavier Woods) defeated Sami Zayn (w/Kevin Owens) (9:49)
Excluding the Royal Rumble, this is the first time these two have opposed each other in a match on TV. Kingston took most of the match until Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall.
Kingston came back with a flying crossbody for the pinfall win, which was a surprise. Owens immediately jumped in the ring to break up the cover, but was too late. I don’t know if they botched the finish or not, but it sure came off that way.
Backstage, Jinder Mahal told Renee Young that AJ Styles was just an appetizer, and at Survivor Series, he would feast on the beast.
Bludgeon Brothers promo. “This world is a horrible place. We’re here to make it worse. No cage can contain us. No asylum can understand us. And when we’re done, humanity will swell over. Harper. Rowan. Bludgeon Brothers.” [Slam the ground with hammers.]
Randy Orton defeated Rusev (w/Aiden English) (7:00)
Aiden English introduced Rusev with a new song:
The lion of Bulgaria, who beat the viper before
And tonight he shall defeat Randy Orton once more
He’ll join Team Smackdown, so Raw beware
And at Survivor Series, all will declare
It’s Rusev Day
The crowd chanted “Rusev Day” and there were dueling chants of “Let's go Rusev” and “RKO.” They cut to a shot of Bobby Roode (in his robe), Shane McMahon and Shinsuke Nakamura just standing around watching the match together.
Orton won with an RKO, so Rusev failed to join Team SmackDown.
James Ellsworth was outside the women’s locker room and asked Tamina to find Carmella for him. He got Becky Lynch instead. Ellsworth said this women’s revolution was getting out of hand and she didn’t have a chance against him. He said the ring was no place for the softer sex and he just lets Carmella compete because it makes her happy. He also noted they were in Manchester, not Womanchester. Lynch told him those were some ballsy statements from someone who didn’t have any.
Becky Lynch defeated James Ellsworth (w/Carmella) (5:54)
Ellsworth came out to Carmella’s music. Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Tamina and Lana are at ringside. This is the top-of-the-hour segment. The crowd chanted “Becky’s gonna kill you” and “Where’s your chin.”
Ellsworth took off his shirt and he appears to be in worse shape than when he started in WWE, but Dave Meltzer will have to confirm. Lynch gave him an airplane spin and he fell to the outside. He was surrounded by the women outside the ring (excluding Carmella) so climbed back in. He turned around and saw Lynch, so he shoved her down hard and pushed her outside.
Lynch came back with a flying dropkick for a two count. Ellsworth followed with a schoolboy for two. Ellsworth tuned up the band for No Chin Music, but Lynch caught him, hit an atomic drop and Exploder.
Ellsworth fell to the outside and wanted to leave, but Charlotte pushed him back in. He pleaded with Lynch and kissed her hand, so she grabbed him and applied the Disarmer for the win.
Afterwards, Carmella got in the ring and helped Ellsworth to his feet. She stared down Lynch, but then gave Ellsworth a superkick. The crowd chanted “Yes.”
Backstage, Shane met with Charlotte and Natalya. Natalya offered to take Charlotte’s place on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, in addition to taking on Alexa Bliss. Shane recalled that Natalya barely escaped Hell in a Cell with her title, so he made a title match between the two next week, and the winner would face Bliss. Natalya was upset and asked how many chances Charlotte would get.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin defeated The Usos via countout
Before the match, the Usos cut a promo calling Gable & Benjamin, “American Alpha 2.0” and said they were the next victims for the Uso Penitentiary. The Usos attacked them before the bell and they went to commercial.
The match was short. Gable gave an Uso an awkward-looking chop block on the outside, then crawled under the ring to hide. The announcers recalled the Usos taking out Gable a year ago with a similar move. Benjamin just stood in the ring and watched as the Usos were counted out.
This was so bizarre. Gable reappeared and mocked the Usos while Benjamin had no strong reaction one way or the other.
They plugged the TV show Damnation and mentioned Luke Harper would be on a future episode. They showed clips of him on set and he fits right in on whatever show this is.
AJ Styles told Renee Young that Mahal shouldn’t take him lightly and he needs to focus on the task at hand. Styles said he’s often undersized, but he works harder, shows up earlier and leaves later than everyone else. He stole a line from Mahal and said he would feast on the beast and beat Brock Lesnar.
Baron Corbin will defend the US Title against Sin Cara next week. Winner faces The Miz at Survivor Series.
AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal (w/The Singh Brothers) to become WWE Champion (16:42)
Corey Graves said the WWE title last changed hands on SmackDown in 2003 when Brock Lesnar beat Kurt Angle. The crowd chanted “You’re on steroids” so Mahal flexed in front of Styles (but didn’t look at the crowd). Styles tried a sunset flip but Mahal just grabbed him and tossed him over the top rope.
After a break, Styles fought out of a headlock and hit dropkick and forearm. He went for a slingshot dive but Mahal grabbed his leg and dropped him face-first on the apron. Mahal then tossed Styles onto the announce table to gain control.
Styles came back with strikes, sliding forearm and fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two. Styles applied a Calf Crusher but Mahal got a rope break. Styles tried more strikes but Mahal countered with a big clothesline.
Styles dropped Mahal to the outside then hit a slingshot forearm to the outside. Styles followed with a 450 splash in the ring but the Singhs pulled Mahal out of the ring. Styles attacked them both and laid them out.
Styles went for the Phenomenal forearm but Mahal grabbed him and nailed the Khallas. He seemed to have it won but Styles got his foot on the rope. Big “Yes” chants. Mahal seemed like he wanted to try a Khallas off the top, but Styles countered with a stunner over the ropes.
Styles climbed back on the apron and nailed the Phenomenal forearm for the win. Styles is the new champion. Giant pop from the crowd.
Tom Phillips said this was the first time the WWE title changed hands outside of North America. Mahal shoved down the Singh brothers as Styles celebrated.
Styles vs. Lesnar at Survivor Series.