The John Report: WWE Smackdown 11/01/19 Review


Welcome to another WWE Smackdown review on Rajah for what is shaping up to be a different kind of Smackdown with some surprises. The reason for that is because WWE superstars have been dealing with travel woes flying from Thursday’s Crown Jewel show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and as a result, some of the advertised Smackdown stars won’t make it back in time for Smackdown tonight. We covered it in news posts on TJRWrestling first on Friday morning here and then later in the day right here. Here’s a statement released by WWE on Friday around noon.

"The WWE roster is delayed in its return from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following a historic performance at yesterday’s record-breaking WWE Crown Jewel event. More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours. With SmackDown set to emanate live from Buffalo, N.Y., several Superstars felt so strongly that they arranged for their own separate charter in order to make it back to the U.S. for the show. Due to unforeseen issues, that charter will not land until after the live broadcast on FOX.

As always with WWE, the show must go on. Live at 8/7 CT on FOX, SmackDown will feature Superstars, such as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke — plus, additional surprises. For the latest updates on this story and tonight’s SmackDown, check back with WWE.com and follow WWE on social media."

Some WWE people left on different planes, so they got back in time for Smackdown, but not most of the wrestlers and employees. The charter company that was supposed to get WWE’s superstars back in time for Smackdown is Atlas Air. They released a statement apologizing for the delay and claimed there was a mechanical issue. It’s expected that the rest of WWE’s superstars and employees will get back to the US at some point on Saturday. (Update: The last flight left on Friday night with WWE's Ali tweeting at about 9:30pmET that they were on the plane back home to the US.)
The reason I am sharing all this is because even though WWE held a Draft recently to separate Raw and Smackdown’s rosters, tonight is going to be different where anybody can be on the show. With Survivor Series set to have a Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT thing, maybe it will work out for the best in the long run. There have been reports that WWE isn’t happy about what happened by having so many superstars and employees delayed in this way. Will that affect future WWE shows in Saudi Arabia? We don’t know that yet, but these are the kind of travel issues that can happen when you have to take a 14-hour flight back to the US. They will need to plan things out better in the future, that’s for sure. Anyway, let’s go into this show with an open mind. Matches they had planned were thrown out and now it’s a completely different show. Let’s hope for a good one.

Live from Buffalo, New York, this is Smackdown for episode #1054. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The Smackdown opening video aired to begin the show.
There was an impressive pyro show to begin the broadcast and the fans in Buffalo were making a lot of noise. We were welcomed to the show by former Smackdown main announcer Tom Phillips. He is joined by Renee Young and Aiden English as the makeshift announce team. English has been an announcer on 205 Live this year in case you don't watch that show. There’s no Michael Cole or Corey Graves due to travel issues.

Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman Talking for Brock Lesnar
The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar made his entrance with the WWE Title still around his waist. He was joined as usual by Paul Heyman. When they got into the ring, they were met with boos while Heyman did his usual intro for Lesnar.
Heyman said that the only way to describe his client’s mood tonight is to educate you that Lesnar is really pissed off tonight. Heyman said you’re thinking how that can possibly be after the “most historic moment in combat sports history” when Lesnar conquered Cain Velasquez. Heyman said instead of him talking about that fact, there was an “ultimate piece of footage” showing Lesnar’s win over Velasquez.
They showed the entire match with Lesnar beating Velasquez in just over two minutes. Lesnar won via Kimura Lock armbar with Velasquez tapping out.

Heyman talked about how Lesnar got revenge (since Cain beat Brock in UFC nine years ago) and vanquished Velasquez. Heyman complained about what happened after when “your hero” Rey Mysterio got involved.
They also showed the post match angle with Lesnar giving Velasquez an F5 on the steel chair, so Mysterio saved Cain by attacking Lesnar with a lot of chair shots that sent Lesnar out of the ring.
Heyman said that they went to Vince (“if you don’t know who that is, google him, bitches”) and reminded us that Vince runs the company. Heyman claimed he told Vince to serve Rey Mysterio to Lesnar. Vince said he can’t do that. Heyman said that Vince claimed that Smackdown superstars are exclusive to Fox and Raw superstars are exclusive to USA Network, so Rey (as a Raw guy) can’t be served up to Lesnar (hey WWE, Rey was on Smackdown last week!). Heyman said that if Mysterio can’t come to Smackdown then Lesnar will go to Raw looking for Mysterio and if anybody has a problem with that, what the hell are you going to do about it? Heyman wondered if you would fine, suspend or do something else to Lesnar? Heyman said his people would sue WWE back. Heyman said that Lesnar quits Friday Night Smackdown on Fox and he is showing up this Monday on Raw and he’s going hunting for Rey Mysterio. Heyman spoke in Spanish to Mysterio and then they left.
Analysis: That’s an interesting development in the story to have Heyman say Lesnar has quit Smackdown. I don’t see that lasting very long since Lesnar is arguably WWE’s biggest star and Fox is going to want him to remain on Smackdown. It’s just a story development for now. Right now Smackdown has two major titles with Bray Wyatt as Universal Champion and Lesnar as WWE Champion, so something will change, but I’m not sure what or who will be part of that change. If Lesnar does become a Raw guy again then it's a way to keep the titles separate. I just find it hard to believe that WWE wouldn't have Lesnar remain on Smackdown on Fox, which is the more important show more. I know Paul Heyman has more booking influence, but Smackdown is the "A" show of the two brands now. We’ll find out in the weeks ahead where things go with Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were shown walking in the backstage area. The announcers wondered if Lesnar was going to get away with this. After Lesnar walked towards the parking lot, Triple H and Shawn Michaels (in NXT gear) were shown watching Lesnar and Heyman leave. Hunter and Shawn got a big pop when they were on camera.
Analysis: Good to see Hunter and Shawn there. Shawn usually just works for NXT, but WWE likely brought him up to Smackdown due to so many people missing the show due to flight delays. Hunter did not make the trip to Crown Jewel because Stephanie McMahon posted on Instagram showing they were at home for Halloween with their kids, so Hunter being there is normal for him.
Bayley vs. Nikki Cross for the Smackdown Women’s Title is up next.
(Commercial)

Bayley made her entrance with the Smackdown Women’s Title with Sasha Banks by her side. Nikki Cross entered alone as the challenger with no explanation for why Alexa Bliss isn't around. Cross won a match to earn the title shot. Kalya Braxton was the ring announcer. She is normally a backstage interviewer, but she has experience doing the introductions too. Regular ring announcer Greg Hamilton was likely dealing with travel issues as well. This was originally going to be a six-woman tag team match, but they changed it to a title shot to get a title match on the show due to all of the travel issues.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Nikki Cross
Cross was aggressive early going for some rollup attempts early on. Cross with a headscissors that sent Bayley out of the ring, followed by a dropkick. Cross hit a Tornado DDT off the side of the apron with the DDT connecting on the floor. They went to break two minutes into it.
(Commercial)

The show returned with Bayley in control with a chinlock, Cross got a rollup and Bayley came back with a clothesline. Cross hit Bayley with forearms, Bayley went to the floor, she grabbed Cross and sent Cross back first into the steel steps, which drew applause from Banks. Back in the ring, Bayley missed a corner charge, she hit the turnbuckle and Cross hit a jawbreaker. Cross came back with a running cross body block to take out Bayley. Cross hit forearm shots to the face, a corner splash and a bulldog. Cross went to the top rope, she hit a cross body block off the top and that got a two count. Cross went for a neckbreaker off the ropes, Banks on the apron, Cross hit Banks, so Bayley kicked Cross to knock her down. Bayley hit an elbow drop off the top for a two count. The fans were getting into this match and getting behind Cross. Bayley blocked a DDT attempt by Cross by tossing her to the mat. Cross pulled the ring apron out leading to forearms on Bayley, Cross punched Banks down and Cross went up top again. Bayley distracted the referee, Banks shoved Cross off the top rope and Bayley hit a new finishing move on Cross where she used her knee to drive Cross into the mat for the pin after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: *** Good match with a predictable ending since the most popular prediction for this would have been to have Banks help Bayley to win and that’s exactly what happened. Cross showed a lot in the match as the babyface with some big moves that kept coming back for more. If Bayley beat Cross clean then that would have been fine, but a cheap ending puts over Cross as being tough for Bayley to defeat. I like the way this was booked.
Shayna Baszler showed up at ringside and she knocked down Banks. The crowd gave a big response for NXT Women's Champion Baszler, who had a serious look on her face. Baszler kicked Cross out of the ring. Baszler whipped Bayley into the turnbuckle and hit a spinning slam. Baszler with a running knee strike to knock Bayley down. The fans were chanting “NXT” as Baszler put her jacket back on and stood in the ring with her NXT Women’s Title. Baszler left through the crowd with her title on her shoulder while the camera focused on Bayley, Banks and Cross all down because of the Baszler attack.
Analysis: This year’s Survivor Series has a Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT theme, so having NXT Women’s Champion Baszler show up to attack Bayley is a way to further that angle leading to Survivor Series. Was this the plan before the travel delays that affected Crown Jewel? I’m not sure, but the crowd sure reacted to this in a big way and the “NXT” chants were great to hear. The NXT brand is the cool brand in the eyes of the fans, so seeing somebody from NXT on the show is going to get a positive reaction like that even with Baszler is a heel. This was well done.

(Commercial)
The announce team was shown with Pat McAfee replacing Aiden English. I'm not sure why, but McAfee has ties to NXT since he has worked on NXT Takeover kickoff shows in the past.
Sami Zayn was interviewed by Cathy Kelly with Zayn saying that if somebody from NXT gets in his face then it will be pretty bad news. That’s when NXT’s Matt Riddle and Keith Lee showed up. Zayn said he was a big fan of them while Zayn told them they used to call him the heart and soul of NXT. Zayn revealed a plain back t-shirt while Riddle and Lee had on NXT shirts. Zayn said he was taking off his NXT shirt in the car when he was eating a salad. Zayn said he’ll go get the shirt in the car, don’t follow him and then they did follow Zayn as he walked away to avoid the confrontation. Zayn ran away down a hallway so Riddle and Lee chased after him.
Zayn ran all the way onto the stage, then down the ramp and into the ring. Riddle and Lee chased after Zayn. Riddle runs fast for a dude in pink flip flops! Riddle threw Zayn into the ring, Riddle kicked off the flip flops and Zayn tried to get out of the situation. Riddle hit Zayn with a jumping knee left followed by the Bro Derek slam. Lee pulled Zayn towards the turnbuckle. Lee went to the middle ropes and hit a moonsault on Zayn. The fans cheered for this with McAfee putting over Lee for being 340 pounds and doing an incredible moonsault like that. The fans cheered for Riddle and Lee as Riddle’s music played.
Analysis: That was a fun moment although it does make Zayn look like a loser for getting beat up so easily. It’s hard to know if this will lead to anything down the road because Riddle/Lee were likely only there due to the travel issues. I don’t mind it, though. Riddle and Lee are both guys with very bright futures no matter what brand they are on. I'm guessing this was done to set up a tag team match next week on NXT or Smackdown with Riddle and Lee teaming against Zayn and his buddy, the Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. That would make a lot of sense to do that match.

The Miz is up next hosting Miz TV.
There was a video showing Tyson Fury beating Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel by countout. After the match, Strowman gave Fury a Powerslam.
(Commercial)
Miz TV
The Miz made his entrance to host Miz TV and he was wearing a “Buffalo is Awesome” shirt under his coat. Miz had his ring gear on, so he’ll be in some match after whatever this talk show segment is. Miz talked about how his guest was supposed to be Bray Wyatt, which led to a video package.
They showed a video from Crown Jewel with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt beating Seth Rollins to win the Universal Title in a Falls Count Anywhere match. I thought the match was okay, but I hated that WWE went with the dreaded red light for the whole match. It hurts the quality of the performance when you can’t see things clearly. Anyway, Fiend survived after taking The Stomp eight times and getting knocked off a stage, which led to The Fiend hitting Sister Abigail neckbreaker to become the Universal Champion.
The Miz said that unfortunately Bray Wyatt cannot be there today. Miz said let’s talk about the elephant in the room: NXT. Miz said thus far we’ve seen NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler attack Bayley and we saw Matt Riddle and Keith Lee brutalize Sami Zayn with Miz saying he liked it while adding that we all liked it. Miz said that’s what WWE is all about…and here comes NXT’s Tommaso Ciampa! Yes! One of my favorite NXT guys is here.

Ciampa got into the ring with Miz saying that this is supposed to be must-see TV? Ciampa said that Miz is supposed to be the most must see superstar in all of WWE. Miz nodded his head yes. Ciampa said it’s time that somebody gives Miz a reality check and let him know where he sits in the food chain. Ciampa told Miz he is everything that is wrong with Raw and Smackdown. Ciampa said while he’s out there breaking his damn neck in NXT to prove exactly how good he is, Miz is doing what exactly playing actor and talk show host. Ciampa said while Miz plays the part, Ciampa is the part. My feed cut out a bit. Miz said he knows all about Ciampa as an NXT Champion and NXT Tag Team Champion while adding when people talk about NXT, people talk about you. Miz said people have wanted to see Miz and Ciampa battle on the microphone, but he was hoping for something more original. Miz said that people have said the same thing about him for 15 years saying he was there just to be famous and be an actor while adding if he's been acting for 15 years then he deserves a damn an Oscar. Miz told Ciampa if NXT is here to make a statement and Ciampa is there to make a statement then make a damn statement. Ciampa said those sound like fighting words to him. Miz said “you, me, right here, right now” and they went to break to clear the ring to set up the match.
Analysis: That was a good promo exchange from two of WWE’s better talkers. Ciampa’s heel promos in NXT were so much fun to watch last year especially while Miz has been one of WWE’s best talkers for a long time. It’s an easy way to set up a fresh match. Both guys are faces in their current roles although both of them have been better as heels in their careers.
(Commercial)
The match began after the break at the top of hour two.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Miz
Ciampa with a shoulder tackle while McAfee said Smackdown has been electrifying tonight. Miz got a rollup on Ciampa, then he tossed him out of the ring and Miz ran the ropes leading to an attack on the floor, but Ciampa moved. Ciampa whipped Miz into the barricade, side of the ring apron and he whipped Miz into the steel steps. Ciampa gave himself an applause and a pat on the back, which is always funny when he does that. Ciampa grounded Miz with a chinlock with Miz coming back with his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. Miz hit two running knees on Ciampa against the turnbuckle, but Ciampa came back with a clothesline. Ciampa with a running knee strike to the face for a two count. Miz came back with a forearm to the back of the leg, Ciampa wanted a Powerbomb, but the was unable to get Miz up due to selling the leg injury and then Miz hit a DDT. Miz slapped on the Figure Four Leglock in the middle of the ring, Ciampa was selling the pain and then Ciampa reversed it to put the pressure on Miz. The hold was broken, then they each got two counts after some rollup counters. Miz and Ciampa were both on their knees exchanging chops, Ciampa missed a corner attack when Miz moved and Miz hit a corner clothesline. Miz jumped off the top, but Ciampa stopped him with a knee to the face. Ciampa hit the Fairy Tale Ending leading to the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa
Analysis: ***1/4 That was pretty good. More time would have been nice, but they made the most of their time and were selling the big moves well as if this was a much longer match. Ciampa getting the win sends a big message that tells the fans these NXT stars are just as good if not better than the guys/girls on Raw and Smackdown, so I like the idea of Ciampa getting the win. That’s perfectly fine with me. I don’t think Miz is hurt by this loss. Ciampa is one of my favorites in all of WWE and Miz had a nice showing here too.

Daniel Bryan was shown walking around backstage with Triple H in a suit and Shawn Michaels in full NXT gear. Triple H said he knows for Survivor Series it’s Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT, so it sounds like they are looking for a battle. Bryan noted that he’s looking for a battle and had a staredown with Hunter. Michaels took off his jacket, then joked he was cold and put the jacket back on. Hunter called for “Champ” and Adam Cole showed up with the NXT Title. Daniel Bryan said let’s do this for the NXT Title. Hunter asked Cole if that’s okay, Cole said yes and it’s on.
Analysis: That’s a great idea. Bryan vs. Cole is a fresh matchup and it will be an outstanding match no matter what the result is. This was set up well with Bryan and Hunter showing a lot of intensity during their staredown, but I figured it would be Cole or Johnny Gargano showing up to face Bryan. That’s cool with me. How about that Michaels vs. Bryan tease? Not happening, bit it would have been incredible.
(Commercial)
The team of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville aka Fire and Desire were in the ring for a tag team match. Carmella’s music played in the arena, but there was no sign of her.
They cut backstage where Carmella was shown down against an equipment case while NXT’s Bianca Belair attacked Dana Brooke. Belair picked up Carmella and tossed her over some cases causing Carmella to land on something that we couldn’t see. I’m sure it was padding, but the idea was that it was a big bump to take Carmella out.

The NXT duo of Rhea Ripley and Tegan Knox entered the arena. Ripley said it looked like they don’t have any opponents, but they do now.
Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville) vs. Rhea Ripley and Tegan Knox
Ripley battled Rose in the ring while Knox went after Deville. Ripley tossed Deville into the announce team. Knox with a running knee to the face of Rose. Ripley picked up Rose with a submission move where she locked up the legs of Rose and that led to Rose tapping out to give Ripley the win. It went about two minutes.
Winners by submission: Rhea Ripley and Tegan Knox

Analysis: * A quick win to put over the dominant NXT duo. Ripley is an outstanding wrestler with a bright future and I really like Knox too. That was a dominant ass kicking with Rose and Deville barely getting any offense in.
It’s Daniel Bryan vs. Adam Cole up next.
(Commercial)
The legendary Shawn Michaels and Triple H made their entrance to watch this match from ringside.
Stephanie McMahon also showed up as she waved at her husband Triple H at ringside. Stephanie said that the WWE Universe never gets enough credit because the fans have started a movement that has created change all over the world. Stephanie talked about moments like main eventing WrestleMania and then at Crown Jewel, Natalya and Lacey Evans had the first women’s match in Saudi Arabia.

A video package aired showing highlights from Crown Jewel with Natalya and Lacey Evans wrestling in their t-shirts for the first women’s match in Saudi Arabia. The fans responded to it in a big way. They showed a lot of women reactions to the match along with some female fans talking about how proud they are. It was a big moment for Natalya and Evans as well with both of them getting emotional during the match. They also showed some post match comments from Natalya and Evans talking about how important it was. The fans in Buffalo cheered at the end of the video.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a good pop from the crowd. There were “yes” chants, but Bryan hasn’t embraced the “yes” return yet.
Adam Cole made his entrance with the NXT Champion and he was accompanied by NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong. Cole walked to the ring alone while Cole walked to the back. The two men stood in the ring as Kayla Braxton did the introductions for this championship. That match begins after a break.
(Commercial)

There was a plug with Phillips talking about donating to the Red Cross to help people in California dealing with the fires.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole vs. Daniel Bryan
There are 26 minutes left in the show in case you’re wondering how much time they might get. They did some quick mat wrestling with neither guy getting the advantage. Bryan was aggressively working over Cole with kicks and chops. As Cole grabbed a headlock, McAfee said this was the greatest Smackdown in the history of Smackdown, which he said a few times. Cole ran the ropes leading to a kick to the chest. Bryan stomped on the left arm of Cole, then he hooked Cole’s arms and slapped on the surfboard submission. Bryan pulled back on Cole’s head, but Cole got out of it and Bryan stomped on his head. Bryan ran the ropes leading to Cole hitting a pump kick to the face for two while Phillips noted that Cole had a fracture in his wrist and Cole’s right wrist was taped up. They did a suplex spot over the top to the floor with both guys bumping out to the floor. Both guys were down leading to a break after about five minutes.
(Commercial)

The match returned with Cole hitting a neckbreaker while Triple H and Michaels continued to watch from ringside. Cole grounded Bryan with an armbar to work him over a bit. They got back up as they exchanged punches, forearms and Bryan hit an uppercut. Bryan avoided a Cole charge with a flip off the ropes followed by a running clothesline. There were “yes” chants for Bryan. Cole with a kick to the shoulder, but Bryan sent him over the top to the floor. Cole’s tailbone hit the side of the apron, which looked like a rough landing. Bryan hit a knee to the face off the apron to Cole on the floor. Bryan went up top and connected with a missile dropkick. Bryan followed up with a corner dropkick followed by a hurricanrana off the top, but Cole countered into a sunset flip pin for two. Bryan with forearms, then he ran the ropes and Cole hit a jumping kick to the face for two. That kick looked great while leading to a good nearfall. Bryan sent Cole out of the ring in front of Michaels and Triple H. Bryan hit a suicide dive on Cole while Hunter and Shawn got out of their chairs. Bryan went for it again, but Cole stopped him with an enziguri kick to the head! Ouch. Bryan and Cole were both down again on the floor after 13 minutes.
(Commercial)
The match returned with Bryan on the top rope, Cole went after him and Bryan managed to crotch Cole on the top rope. Bryan hit a German Suplex off the top rope with Bryan hooking himself on the turnbuckle, so he didn’t take the bump too. Bryan went up top and missed the headbutt because Cole moved. Cole picked up Bryan with a suplex into the top of the knee with Bryan’s shoulder going into the knee for a two count. There was a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. Cole went for the running kick, but Bryan grabbed the leg and slapped on a single leg crab submission. Cole tried to fight it, but Bryan hooked the leg in a heel hook submission and Cole managed to roll to the ropes to break the hold. Bryan trash talked Cole about being a champion, then Bryan kicked the legs repeatedly and when Bryan went for a slam, Cole hit a backstabber to the back. Bryan locked in the LeBell Lock submission, but Cole managed to break free. Bryan hooked the arms followed by stomps on the head and Bryan pulled back on the wrist of Cole leading to the LeBell Lock submission again. Cole got to his knees, he crawled towards the ropes and Bryan pulled back on the arms. Cole got his leg on the bottom rope to break it. Hunter and Shawn were freaking out at ringside with great reactions to the match. Bryan continued the attack with three kicks to the chest, Cole avoided the head kick, they each got a rollup and Bryan came back with the roundhouse kick to the head. Bryan went for the running knee, but Cole stopped him with a superkick. Cole to the turnbuckle and he hit the Panama Sunrise. Love that move! Cole hit the Last Shot knee to the back of the head after about 21 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole (BAY BAY)
Analysis: ****1/4 This was a fantastic pure wrestling match featuring two of the best in-ring performers in WWE. It was one of the best WWE matches of the year and probably the best match on Smackdown this year because I can’t think of anything better right now. I think Bryan’s still the best in WWE while Cole has had an incredible year and the fact that they had such an awesome match in their first match together is a testament to how excellent they are. It also helps that they got over 20 minutes to have this match because it allowed them to tell the story with Bryan working over Cole’s arm throughout the match. Cole managed to keep coming back, then he hit his signature spots and Bryan did the clean job to put over the younger guy. Bryan losing clean to Cole is huge for Cole, who may not be known as well to the bigger WWE audience, but when he beats a former multiple-time World Champion like Bryan that gives Cole a lot of credibility. That Panama Sunrise move followed by the Last Shot knee is such a deadly combination. Bryan sold it perfectly. I look forward to a rematch one day between these guys because it might be even better the next time they have a match.

After the match was over, NXT wrestlers filled the ring to support Cole. There were men and women in the ring with them. Triple H and Michaels went into the ring with them. McAfee left commentary to go in the ring because McAfee is NXT too.
Triple H said that at Survivor Series, if you want to pick a fight with us, then it’s Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT. Hunter said he’s going to need an army, so you look to your blood (he touched fingers with Shawn) and Hunter said this is their fight, this is their army and at Survivor Series, know what you are getting into. Hunter said they have fired the first shot. Hunter said remember one thing: “WE ARE NXT.” The microphone dropped to end it. Ciampa was staring at Cole the entire time since they have a rivalry going on in NXT these days. Hunter posed with Cole and Baszler, his two top champions, to end it. That was it for Smackdown.
Analysis: That was an excellent “mission statement” kind of promo from Triple H to end Smackdown. I really liked Ciampa staring at Cole too because that story has been hot on NXT and it makes sense for Ciampa to focus on Cole like that. This set the stage for what’s to come the rest of the month in building to Survivor Series later this month.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Daniel Bryan
  2. Adam Cole
  3. Tommaso Ciampa

The Scoreboard
9 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2019 Average: 6.71 (Raw is 5.84)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 6.5, 6, 7, 6.5
2019 High: 9 (November 1)
2019 Low: 4.5 (October 25)
The 2019 High was this week and the 2019 Low was last week. That just shows how fast it can change.

Final Thoughts
I give this week’s Smackdown a 9 out of 10.
This was an excellent show full of energy and excitement in terms of the matches as well as the promo segments that place. This is exactly what Smackdown needs to be. I think about how boring and uneventful last week was with not a lot of good action. This was completely opposite of that thanks to some fresh faces from NXT. What we don’t know right now is how this plays into the build into Survivor Series and if there will be more NXT stars on Raw and Smackdown. The main reason for it tonight was because of the travel woes, but I sure hope we get more exciting Raw, Smackdown and NXT shows that focus on the in-ring action more like this.
I loved the main event with Adam Cole beating Daniel Bryan clean in a match that got over 20 minutes. If they only got half that amount of time, I would be frustrated by that and want to see more. It’s rare to see a match that long in the main event of Smackdown. It was also probably the best WWE TV match this year, so it’s a hell of a way to end the night. Please check out the full match if you didn’t see it because you’ll probably love it as much as I did.
It really was the best Smackdown of the year. I review them all and when it sucks I’ll tell you that too like it sucked last week. This one left me excited about what's to come on Raw, Smackdown and NXT, which is the point of having brands interacting like that going into Survivor Series. Great matches. Fun storylines. A dominant showing from the third brand NXT sets the stage for what could be a fun month of shows. We need more of this. WWE is capable of it and there's enough talent on the roster to deliver quality programming like this on a regular basis. Just prove it to us. A lot of WWE programming is overly scripted. We need less talking and more great in-ring action like we got this week while also delivering interesting stories. What they did here with a limited roster was impressive. After the build to Crown Jewel wasn't interesting and Crown Jewel was just average, things are on the right track again.

The next WWE PPV is Survivor Series on November 24. There’s nothing announced so far, but we know there's a Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT concept to some degree.

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Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, reigning NBA Champions Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.
John Canton
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