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SmackDown Live Recap & Review – Episode 953

WWE SmackDown Live
Episode 953

Original Air Date: November 21, 2017
Event Date: November 21, 2017 (aired live)

City: Houston, TX
Venue: Toyota Center

Commentary: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton


Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens contributed to SmackDown’s loss at Survivor Series two days ago.

Ring Area
Shane McMahon heads to the ring. He says that despite their loss, SmackDown is still THE show in WWE. He’s proud of everyone on the SmackDown roster, everyone except for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. He calls them both to the ring.

Owens wonders what Shane’s excuse for failing again is going to be tonight. Zayn wants an apology from Shane for being wrong. He was wrong for not putting Zayn and Owens on Survivor Series. Shane wants Owens to shut his mouth. He points out that Owens and Zayn have no respect for anyone or anything. Shane gets ready to (probably) fire them both when Daniel Bryan interrupts and heads to the ring.

Bryan wants Shane to listen to reason. He says everyone in the locker room hates Owens and Zayn, so he makes a match. Tonight, Owens and Zayn will face New Day. In a lumberjack match with the rest of the roster at ringside.


Match 1
Shelton Benjamin w/ Chad Gable vs Jey Uso w/ Jimmy Uso (SD Tag Champs)
(referee: Charles Robinson)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Shelton Benjamin wins via pinfall after Paydirt
Time: 7:09

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was a nice way to get this feud back on track after the strangeness of the last few weeks leading up to Survivor Series. The action was good, and the shenanigans of Gable continue to give him and Benjamin a shot at possibly dethroning The Usos.


Owens and Zayn ask Baron Corbin if he’ll support them tonight. Corbin doesn’t care about either of them and walks away. Owens and Zayn then attempt to persuade Bobby Roode to help them out tonight. Roode points out that Owens and Zayn interfered in the match he was competing in at Survivor Series. He’s owes them both a receipt.

The Bludgeon Brothers are here tonight.

Naomi is disappointed that SmackDown lost. Ruby Riot walks up and introduces Naomi to Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. All three NXT women then attack Naomi. Becky Lynch runs over to help Naomi, but she gets beaten up as well.

Shane appreciates Bryan’s plans for tonight. He thinks Bryan has everything under control, so Shane plans to take the rest of the night off.


Match 2
Hype Bros vs Bludgeon Brothers
(referee: Jason Ayers)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Erick Rowan pins Mojo Rawley after a double-team elevated slam
Time: 1:26

Match Thoughts
As expected, the Bludgeon Brothers completely dominated this. Squash.


Dasha Fuentes welcomes Natalya. Natalya says the only change to the women’s division that matters is the title change when she beats Charlotte tonight.

Clips of AJ Styles fighting Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series.

Ring Area
AJ Styles heads to the ring. Styles talks about the praise he’s received for his performance against Lesnar, but you don’t get trophies for second place. Still, Styles wasn’t the one limping up the ramp after the match.

Moving on, Styles is not happy about Jinder Mahal stating that he is going to take the WWE title back on SmackDown Live. Styles turns towards the stage and dares Mahal to come take his title. Mahal appears on the tron and says Styles took advantage of Mahal when he wasn’t ready, and he gets his title rematch whenever he wants it.

As Styles is distracted by the video, the Singh Brothers attack him from behind. Styles fights off the attack rather easily and holds up his title. Mahal angrily says he’ll see Styles at Clash of Champions.

Owens and Zayn walk into Rusev and Aiden English’s locker room. Owens and English try to convince them that New Day thinks Rusev and English are dumb and bad at what they do.


Match 3
SmackDown Women’s Title Match
Natalya vs Charlotte Flair (SD Women’s Champ)
(referee: Mike Chioda)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Natalya wins via DQ when Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan attack her at ringside, Charlotte retains the title
Time: 6:47

Match Thoughts
This was good, but it got cut very short by the interference of SmackDown’s new trio of women.


Ring Area
Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan beat up Natalya, then move on to beating up Charlotte.

Dasha Fuentes asks Daniel Bryan what he thinks about Ruby Riot and her friends. He has no comment. Owens and Zayn appraoch Bryan and say that firing them will be the biggest mistake he’s ever made.


Match 4
Tag Team Lumberjack Match
New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E w/ Xavier Woods) vs Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
(referee: Dan Engler; lumberjacks: Breezango, The Ascension, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Shining Stars, Mike Kanellis, Sin Cara, Tye Dillinger, Aiden English, Rusev, The Usos, Baron Corbin, Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Sami Zayn pins Kofi Kingston with a schoolboy
Time: 8:54 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
This was pretty good. I liked the finish, even if nothing leading up to it was particularly unique for a lumberjack match.


Ring Area
After the match, Rusev and English attack New Day. Owens runs away while Kofi dives onto Rusev and English. Zayn gets caught and forced into the ring with New Day. Alone, Zayn gets beat up.

Owens tells Daniel Bryan that he can’t fire him and Zayn. Bryan says he was never going to fire them. Next week though, Kevin Owens will have a match with Randy Orton. Owens doesn’t like it, but he thanks Bryan anyway.


Show Impressions
This show was pretty good. It felt like a bit of a readjustment after the buildup for Survivor Series, but it worked well enough. The matches weren’t particularly exciting, but they served more story line purposes which was probably important for this episode. I liked the debut of Ruby Riot and friends, but I wish it didn’t feel so much like what happened on RAW. Maybe space the debuts out more. Something. It felt too much like a rehash, even if it wasn’t intended to be.

Match of the Night
Lumberjack Match
It wasn’t spectacular, but it was entertaining. No big surprises.



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