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SmackDown RunDown (11/1/19): Yellow is the New Blue


You know how they say you can kill two birds with one stone? You might as well call this week’s episode of SmackDown a bird massacre after they’ve killed many birds with one formidable stone.

First bird killed? Brock Lesnar being sent back to RAW where he belongs. Or rather, he quit SmackDown in yet another great Paul Heyman promo. Aside from the fact that Lesnar is getting booted, it was also nice of them to air the Crown Jewel MMA match for free. Now I don’t have to download that show and wonder how Cain Velasquez wowed everyone with his great lucha libre skills, apparently. Oh, he lost via submission after like a few minutes? Huh. 



Are you telling me this whole Cain Velasquez fiasco is a primer for a Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio rivalry? I love Rey Mysterio, but Kofi Kingston didn’t deserve to lose his WWE Championship for this. But hey, he’s not our problem now. Good riddance, Brock. At least we can keep the Universal Champion Bray Wyatt here on Friday nights. And hey, that’s another bird killed: the world champions found their right places. This week’s show is amazing!

The camera pan from Brock Lesnar leaving to Triple H and Shawn Michaels garbed in NXT swag was perfect. French chef kisses all around. They also had a DX 2006 vibe to them, like they’re about to do some watered-down DX shenanigans. I enjoyed the pop they received because hey, who doesn’t love DX? This leads to the third bird killed: executing a fallback plan while those who were part of the Crown Jewel card were stuck in Saudi Arabia. And boy, did they take the opportunity. 



From Shayna Baszler decking the SmackDown Women’s Champion to Tommaso Ciampa showing the Miz how it’s done, this week’s episode accomplished it’s job of advertising NXT to the casuals who are still content with their vanilla wrestling. Just take a look at the women’s division segments. Who can SmackDown get to match the likes of Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, and Tegan Nox? I’m actually glad Io Shirai wasn’t there. It’ll be overkill at this point.

And then there’s the main event for the ages: Daniel Bryan vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship. This alone made this week’s episode a must-watch. We haven't had an exciting main event like this in years, except maybe when AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan faced off for the first time last year. The crowd was hot for this match all throughout. It was the first time SmackDown got a good glimpse of what a usual NXT main event looks like. 



Part of me wanted D-Bry to win the title and have him be transferred to NXT, but of course that’s not happening. Adam Cole won clean as a whistle but it didn’t feel like a cop-out conclusion. Cole really fought hard for the victory and D-Bry dished out his best submission moves to try and beat the champion. This great match elevated the NXT Championship as a title worth fighting for. Chalk that one up to another bird killed. Man, this episode was on fire!

Another bird they killed is kickstarting the buildup for Survivor Series because this year, the Yellow Brand is finally allowed to play with the rest of the flock. This will definitely establish NXT as a brand of its own, rather than a developmental ground for future stars. The only negative I see is seeing the return of authority figures to the limelight. I guess Stephanie McMahon will lead the charge for RAW, but what about SmackDown? Who’s going to lead the troops?

Other than that, I’m glad NXT is getting all the love because they fucking deserve it. Literally everyone who appeared on SmackDown was over as hell. From their midcard to their top-level talent, the NXT roster received the pops SmackDown Superstars don't get on a weekly basis. I know I should root for my SmackDown peeps, but man, it’s hard to root against NXT. Basically, NXT is the new SmackDown, at least for me. 

And I know we got a great SmackDown episode out of it, but can we talk real quick about whatever caused the delay at Saudi? Apparently there was a technical problem with the charter plane, but the dirt sheets are saying otherwise. 

According to former Spanish announcer Hugo Savinovich, WWE talent were not allowed to leave because of a dispute between Vince McMahon and the Prince. KSA apparently owed the WWE money, so they responded by cutting the live telecast of Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.  

What a crazy situation if this is true. Vince McMahon pretty much gambled with the lives of half of his roster just to make this stupid deal happen. And let's say it's not true and the plan really was the problem. Why didn't they just get another charter plane? Some were able to book private flights, that's why Brock Lesnar made it to Buffalo for SmackDown. Or is it because that privilege is only reserved for the top stars? I'm glad they all made it home safely and I hope this becomes the catalyst for more talent to refuse to perform at Saudi Arabia. 

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Of all the birds they killed with this one stone of an episode, the most important is this: delivering one of the best SmackDown episodes of the year. Pat McAfee was right: we should remember November 1, 2019 as the day NXT showed everyone who the superior brand really is. The blockbuster main event alone is enough to add this show to the all-time greats. November is going to be a crazy month for WWE, that’s for sure. 

Show Grade: NXT

RunDown CutDown

  • Now that Bray Wyatt is the Universal Champion, are they going to change the color of the title from red to blue? I don’t know if I can dig a blue title, but it also can’t stay red, right?
  • I know I said Bayley needed a melee finisher for her new attitude, but what the hell is that finisher she just used to retain her SmackDown Women’s Championship?
  • I love updated intros! Love the changes they made, but I wish they removed the old-timers. Give the spots that were taken by John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Undertaker to guys like Shorty G, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, Dolph Ziggler, or even Heavy Machinery.
  • I therefore conclude that Matt Riddle never wears shoes. That, or he has shoesophobia.

Photos from WWE.com

*****

Ricky Publico (@NotDMagician) is Smark Henry's resident SmackDown reviewer... for better or worse. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's also deciding whether to buy another iPhone or not. 

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