Welcome to The Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take of this week’s offering from Buffalo. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth analysis here. Let’s get started.
This show was 24 hours removed from Crown Jewel and most of the talent is still stuck in Saudi Arabia due to mechanical issues with their charter flight. We start off with Tom Phillips, Aiden English, and Renee Young at the broadcast desk and here comes Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar to talk about the match with Velasquez. Since we’ve got time to kill (in more ways than one as we would later find out), the entire Lesnar/Velasquez match from Crown Jewel is shown. The post-match attack from Mysterio is shown and Heyman says Brock quits Smackdown to go join Raw to attack Mysterio. No word on if Brock forfeits the WWE Title for “quitting,” but I doubt Creative will remember come Monday. (Editor’s Note: Lesnar is taking the WWE Title with him to Raw.)
The first match up is the six-woman tag match turned into Smackdown Women’s Title match between Bayley and Nikki Cross. Really good match between the two with Bayley retaining after a little help from Sasha Banks, who was at ringside. Good showing from both and I expect the feud to continue. After the match, Shayna Baszler shows up and attacks Nikki Cross. Baszler takes out Sasha before wiping the mat with Bayley. Baszler leaves Bayley, Sasha, and Nikki down while standing tall in the ring.
Back from the break and for some random reason, Pat McAfee has replaced Aiden English on commentary. McAfee keeps selling the Friday, November 1st line. Sami Zayn is backstage when Matt Riddle and Keith Lee show up. A little banter back and forth leads to Sami running away to the ring to get beat up by the NXT guys. Running theme so far. Let’s hope they don’t botch it.
Up next is MizTV with Miz coming out in his ring gear. At least this week he can be a wrestler and not just a talk show host. Anyway, Miz talks about the visits so far from NXT leading to Tommaso Ciampa coming out for the interruption. Excellent dueling promo from the two leads us into our next match. There was also an amazing match between the two with Ciampa picking up the win. The match was a little short, but they definitely need more time next time.
Daniel Bryan is shown backstage walking up to Triple H to challenge him to a match tonight. Instead of those two squaring off, we get the far better option of Bryan vs. Adam Cole for the NXT title as our main event.
Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville) are out waiting for Carmella and her tag partner, Dana Brooke, to come out for their scheduled tag match. Instead, the camera cuts backstage with Bianca Belair tossing the two of them around. Rhea Ripley and Tegan Knox come and offer to be their opponents instead. The match doesn’t last long with the NXT team picking up the dominant win.
Before the main event starts, Stephanie McMahon pops out to pat the WWE on the back for having the Natalya vs Lacey Evans match at Crown Jewel. Quick video package recap with comments from multiple people included.
Main event time and an amazing clinic was put on in this dream match. They were given sufficient time to do their thing and delivered in a big way. Hands down the best Smackdown match this year. If you missed it, go find the YouTube clip and watch it. In the end, Bryan falls to Cole to allow NXT the clean sweep on Smackdown tonight.
After the match, all of the NXT superstars that came to Buffalo filled the ring as Triple H gives a passionate speech to sell the Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT Survivor Series battle.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows:
The NXT Invasion was successfully pulled off tonight. It was done in a way to make the NXT brand feel important and introduce the characters to the audience. Let’s just hope they can keep this up.
The Heyman promo dragged on but we would later find out that it was simply stalling for time to get the NXT crew there.
Some final thoughts on the show. This was the best Smackdown this year. The whole creative felt different and something we’ve been wanting for years. I really hope the Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT theme for Survivor Series really helps up the game on all three shows including the PPV. This could finally be the shot in the arm WWE has been looking for. I just wonder if this was all meant for Raw but got bumped to Smackdown due to the travel problems?
A couple of other quick observations from the past week. I was happy to see Roman let Ali have the glory picking up the pinfall in the six man tag match. The Ricochet/McIntyre match was simply amazing and that’s how you make two people look like stars. The less said about The King’s Court, the better.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Until next time…