The latest episode of WWE SmackDown Live took place on Tuesday, October 30 2018:
WWE #SDLIVE recap of what happened on the show…
Opening segment: AJ Styles calls out Daniel Bryan
AJ Styles revealed that he lied last week and his ‘inadvertent’ Pele Kick on Daniel Bryan during their tag match against The Usos was actually done on purpose. The WWE champion then offered to defend his title against a fired-up Bryan on SmackDown Live, rather than at Crown Jewel, and SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon made the match official.
Match 1: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship)Summary: The Georgia crowd was fully behind their very own AJ Styles, with Daniel Bryan even receiving some boos when his name was announced. The biggest moment in the early stages came when Bryan connected with a suicide dive to the outside but he appeared to tweak his left knee in the process. Styles repeatedly targeted the injury following the ad break, while Bryan also held his neck on multiple occasions after taking awkward landings from high-risk moves. Bryan rallied following another ad break, landing two dropkicks in the corner before connecting with a top-rope hurricanrana. In the end, Styles planted Bryan to the mat with an incredible Styles Clash before making him tap to the Calf Crusher. Following the match, Samoa Joe attacked Styles from behind before locking in the Coquina Clutch on Bryan. Paige later announced that it will be Styles vs. Joe at Crown Jewel.
Verdict: In storyline, Bryan now has a dodgy left knee and he is too injured to compete on Friday. In reality, reports state that he is refusing to compete in Saudi Arabia, so WWE wrote him out of Crown Jewel by having him feign an injury to his left knee. The match itself was among Bryan’s best since his return to in-ring competition in April. Now let’s just hope his storylines pick up post-Crown Jewel and his rivalries can feel a little more meaningful.
Match 2: Big E vs. Cesaro (Trick or Street Fight)Summary: The New Day dressed up as The Brood for Halloween, complete with blood, wigs, attire and entrance music. The match was supposed to be a one-on-one match between Big E and Cesaro but Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus and The Big Show all got involved right from the start. In the end, Woods sprayed ‘blood’ into Big Show’s face at ringside and Big E did the same to Cesaro before hitting with him the Big Ending for the win.
top marks for effort! We’ve seen Trick or Street Fights in the past where the usual ringside objects/weapons/pumpkins get used but the Superstars are still dressed in regular attire. That wasn’t the case here with The New Day (aka The Brood) or with Sheamus (paled-up like a Game of Thrones White Walker!). The match itself was decent enough but this was all about the ‘blood’ that The New Day used to get the win.
Match 3: R-Truth vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Summary: Tye Dillinger was due to face Shinsuke Nakamura in a United States Championship match on SmackDown Live but he was forced to miss the show after suffering a hand injury at a live event on Monday. R-Truth took his place and the match became a non-title encounter. Truth had an early spell of dominance, which naturally included a seven-second dance break with Carmella, but Nakamura soon took control before getting the win with a Kinshasa.
Verdict: We can’t put too much blame on WWE for this totally meaningless match. After all, they meant well by trying to give us a United States Championship match with Tye Dillinger! This was entertaining enough — Truth is one of my fave guys right now — but he never looked likely to get the win, so this was very predictable from start to finish.
Becky Lynch addresses Ronda Rousey Summary: Becky Lynch described herself as “the rightful main event” after her win over Charlotte Flair at Evolution. She went on to address her Survivor Series opponent, Ronda Rousey, saying that she only has her “Baddest Woman on the Planet” nickname because every woman she faces is already mentally beaten before they face her. The SmackDown Women’s champion then vowed to rip the Raw Women’s champion’s arm off at Survivor Series.
This was a typically determined promo from Lynch, who was wearing a new “I am The Man” shirt. These kinds of short promos are done simply to get soundbites for future montages, so it’s unfair to expect too much, but it was still a little underwhelming that Lynch — the best thing in WWE right now — was only given 3-4 minutes of television time.
Match 4: The Miz & Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy & Rey Mysterio Summary: Jeff Hardy struggled for momentum for much of this tag match until he hit a Whisper in the Wind on Randy Orton and tagged in Rey Mysterio. The high-flyer then traded back-and-forth offence with The Miz before tagging in Hardy again. Mysterio hit a 6-1 on Miz and Hardy followed it up with a Swanton Bomb to pick up the win for his team. Orton had the last laugh, though, hitting all three men with RKOs to send a message ahead of Friday’s World Cup.
Shane McMahon warned all four men that whoever advances to the final of the World Cup at Crown Jewel had better win against Raw’s finalist, or else they will “no longer have a home” on the blue brand. That made this match — and the whole World Cup tournament — a lot more interesting. This main event was really well booked, with Mysterio getting his trademark moves in and Orton having the final say.
- Charlotte Flair declined Paige’s offer to captain Team SmackDown Live at Survivor Series, saying she is not the right woman for the job. Paige asked her to reconsider and Flair promised that she’d think about it.