No Plane Sailing For Smackdown As NXT Get Their Crowning Moment With The Jewel In Sight
With the majority of the Smackdown roster unable to make it back from Saudi Arabia in time for the show, it was left to the NXT superstars to shine, and shine they did.
We got an epic main event between two of the best in the world, several main roster debuts, a Women’s Championship match and a stunning promo from Triple H.
We also got the answer to what WWE would do now they have both World Champions on the same show. Unfortunately it was very dull and predictable, which takes us nicely into the review.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar Quit Smackdown To Get His Hands On Raw’s Rey Mysterio
WWE clearly did not have much material for this hastily put together episode of Smackdown, due in large part to 95% of their roster being stuck in Saudi Arabia because of travel problems. They’re all back on American soil now, as far as I am aware, which is great news. Maybe not for the NXT stars or hardcore wrestling fans, but great news nonetheless.
We opened the show with the FULL airing of Brock Lesnar’s squash victory over Cain Valesquez from Crown Jewel. Albeit, the bout lasted shy of three minutes, but I can’t remember the last time WWE aired a PPV Championship match in its entirety on free TV. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.
Anyway, with Brock having a private charter, he was one of the few who made the trek back from Saudi in time for Smackdown, so we got a rather lengthy promo from Paul Heyman while The Beast bounced around on the spot. To sum up, Lesnar is quitting Smackdown to get his hands on Rey Mysterio over on Raw. Makes sense in the grand scheme of things, but not sure how Fox will react to losing Lesnar so early after the draft. Once again, brand warfare means nothing in WWE.
Bayley Def. Nikki Cross To Retain The Smackdown Women’s Championship
This was decent enough, but this pair of extremely talented performers just don’t have the chemistry in the ring together. I know it would’ve been predictable, but to help get Cross to that next level, WWE really should’ve had Alexa Bliss turn on her. Hey, it worked for Nia Jax until she nonsensically turned into a bully weeks later to lose to Ronda Rousey.
When WWE have their back to the wall, they invariably come out fighting and deliver a solid wrestling show. This was no different. Thanks in large part to the NXT roster, who seized their moment here, starting with the arrival of the brand’s Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, who destroyed Bayley to promote the upcoming Champions Triple Threat Match at Survivor Series. Spoiler – Becky Lynch wins.
NXT’s Keith Lee And Matt Riddle Wipe Out Sami Zayn
I know I will get a lot of heat for saying this, but Matt Riddle and Keith Lee do not belong on the main stage just yet. They both look ridiculous, neither is over to the mainstream audience, and their offense looks weaker than Arsenal’s defense.
Sami Zayn was the saving grace of this segment, riling up the fans with his usual top class promo before the NXT “stars” shut him up with a two-on-one beatdown. Not my favourite moment of the night.
Tomasso Ciampa Def. The Miz
This was meant to have featured Bray Wyatt as Universal Champion, but sadly issues out of WWE’s control prevented that from happening. What we got instead was a solid plan B featuring one of NXT’s very best squaring off with The Awesome One. If this was me, I’d have had Finn Balor in this spot, highlighting his heel turn, and give him a much needed win ahead of Survivor Series.
The Miz TV segment was rather poor, as both men felt alien to one another and the whole thing felt flat. The match that followed was much better, and again showcased how good Miz is at WWE wrestling. He’s one of the very best. I do like Ciampa, great look, excellent between the ropes and a magnificent story teller. Him winning here was no surprise considering Miz has spent the majority of 2019 losing to a 50-year-old high blood pressure sufferer in kids baseball jerseys.
Rhea Ripley & Tegan Nox Def. Fire & Desire
Some have called this match rushed, but I remember a great time in wrestling where matches and segments never went over 10 minutes because there was so much to fit in to one show. More of this will be a welcome return. Lengthy matches are fine when it’s a main event or on PPV, but not on weekly TV where viewers have a remote in their hand.
I think Nox and Ripley have a big upside, and will be dominating this division in the next couple of years. Their brief showcase here was evident of what they are capable of. Get ready for the first ever Women’s War Games Match over in NXT, it will be talked about forever.
Having Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose look like a couple of jobbers again will do them no favours. If I was in charge, I’d put Deville on a major roll, highlight her MMA credentials, and have her win the Royal Rumble Match before challenging Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. A fresh bout and a new major star that will only take a few months of patience and planning on WWE’s part. But that seems impossible to them.
NXT Champion Adam Cole Def. Daniel Bryan
Going forward with the Survivor Series build I can see NXT absolutely trouncing AEW in AEW Weekly ratings as we undoubtedly see the likes of Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch and others invade the brand. I love the idea of involving NXT in this yearly staple which has become staler than Jose Mourinho’s managerial style.
This main event was sensational. Two of the best athletes on the planet today delivering a TakeOver worthy performance. What else did you expect from Daniel Bryan and Adam Cole? It was an instant classic, and easily the best Smackdown main event of the year, maybe even of the decade.
What was surprising however was to see Cole defeat Bryan cleanly which flies in the face of everything we have seen from the cowardly heel over on NXT. If any match needed a no contest finish with a massive brawl to end things, this was it. A huge scalp for Cole, but one that damages Bryan moving forward.
The post match promo from a pumped up Triple H surrounded by his army of NXT talent was spine tingling. No one does this sort of rousing of the troops better than The King Of Kings. WWE just injected some excitement and unpredictability into their product. I guess we have something to thank Saudi Arabia for after all.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JK_CFC3. Thanks for reading!