Date: October 30, 2018
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton
It’s the go home show before Crown Jewel and there isn’t much to talk about with this show. I’d expect a lot of build towards the World Cup of Wrestling with a tag match between the four participants already announced. I guess that since we’re already done with Money in the Bank this year we need another form of the same lazy booking style. Let’s get to it.
Here’s AJ Styles to open things up. With no time wasted, AJ calls out Daniel Bryan for a chat. After last week, AJ feels that he needs to apologize so he does just that. Bryan accepts the apology and says AJ knows there’s respect between the two of them. He wants the WWE Championship back though and AJ is the only thing in between himself and being champion again.
Bryan is going to take the title on Friday and there’s nothing AJ can do about it. AJ admits that he hit Bryan on purpose a few weeks ago so Bryan says he feels like hitting AJ on purpose right now. AJ: “So what’s stopping you?” The fight is almost on but here’s Shane McMahon to cut them off. Shane says he’s back and says we can have the title match tonight right here in Atlanta. Actually we can do it RIGHT NOW.
Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan
AJ is defending. Bryan takes him to the mat by the wrist to start and stomps on the arm. They get back up with AJ wrestling him to the mat before getting taken into the corner. That means an exchange of shoves until Bryan goes back to the arm. Bryan does the moonsault out of the corner and tries the running clothesline but walks into the dropdown into the dropkick instead. Nice sequence. Bryan bails to the floor and avoids a slingshot dive, setting up the suicide dive as we take a break.
Back with Styles working on the knee with a DDT and some kicks. A little cranking on the knee is countered with an armbar but AJ rams the knee into the mat for a break. Bryan is right back by countering the middle rope moonsault with a cravate and uses the good knee for some shots to the face. The YES Kicks have AJ in trouble with the big one actually connecting. Bryan’s knee slows him down though and the running knee is blocked. The Phenomenal Forearm is broken up as well so Bryan tries a superplex but AJ turns it into a crossbody in midair. AJ lands on his arm and Bryan is holding his neck as we take a break.
Back again with Bryan slapping on the YES Lock but AJ is right in front of the rope. AJ heads to the apron and suplexes Bryan outside where the knee gets banged up again. Bryan is fine enough to send him into the steps and takes it back inside for the limping dropkicks in the corner. A super hurricanrana doesn’t work as AJ tries a super Styles Clash, only to be reversed into the hurricanrana for the double knockdown.
It’s Bryan up first and wrapping the arm around the top rope, setting up some kicks to the ribs and chest. A running kick is countered into a dragon screw legwhip onto the rope. Back in and Bryan grabs a double underhook and spins him over into a cross armbreaker, which he transitions into the YES Lock in the middle of the ring. AJ slips out but Bryan switches into a triangle choke. That’s lifted up into a one armed Styles Clash and AJ goes with the Calf Crusher instead of covering as Bryan taps at 22:07.
Rating: B+. This was the technical spectacle that they should have had with the knee playing a role throughout the match. In theory this is the way they switch Bryan out of the title match and put someone else in there instead. It’s nice of WWE to actually give us the match with a definitive ending instead of doing a five minute version that means nothing, as I think even they realized they couldn’t do one more annoying thing with Crown Jewel.
Post match they hug but Samoa Joe runs in and lays AJ out. The Koquina Clutch goes on Styles so Bryan tries to make a save, only to get choked out as well. Joe holds up the title.
Jeff Hardy talks about being an artist and adding one more stroke to his world.
The Miz talks about waking up next to his perfect wife and then looking over at his beautiful daughter, who thinks he’s the best father in the world. That’s all true, but he’s also the best superstar in the world.
Paige names Charlotte as the captain of the Smackdown women’s team at Survivor Series. Charlotte seems flattered but says she’s not the right woman for the job. Paige brings up what Charlotte said about failure not defining her and tells her to think about it.
Video on D-Generation X vs. Brothers of Destruction.
Here’s New Day for a street fight….and they’re dressed as the Brood, complete with the still incredible theme song and the properly colored shirts (two white and one black). They even have people holding up fake flames to mock the circle of fire. The Bar comes out with Sheamus having a bunch of pale paint on his face which is apparently something from Irish folklore.
Big E. vs. Cesaro
Street fight with a bunch of Halloween style weapons around the ring and joined in progress with Cesaro candy corn caning Big E. That gets taken away and broken over Cesaro’s back but everyone else comes in, including Big Show to clean house. Big E. takes a pie to the face and Woods is put into a bucket of apples.
Back in and Cesaro slams Big E. into a pile of Jack-O-Lanterns but Big E suplexes him right back onto them as well. Sheamus comes in but get sent through a table, leaving Big Show to grab Woods and Kofi by the throat. That means RED MIST for Show, followed by Big E. misting Cesaro as well. The Big Ending is good for the pin at 4:04.
Rating: A+. For the Brood entrance alone. The match was exactly what you would expect from a comedy street fight with a Halloween theme and there’s nothing wrong with that. New Day is perfect to play a fun role like this and the Brood stuff was great. Big Show teaming with the Bar is still a little weird, but at least they’ve done it for a few weeks now.
Miz, Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio are ready to do whatever it takes to win the World Cup and Orton says he’ll do it again tonight. Trash is talked to set up the first round matches on Friday. Miz says Halloween has come early because Rey is a Power Ranger, Jeff is the forgotten member of Insane Clown Posse and Randy is (Randy glares at Miz)…“….cool.” Shane says that he doesn’t want Stephanie to brag about a Raw superstar winning, so if any of them lose in the finals, they’re fired from Smackdown.
AJ demands Joe at Crown Jewel and Paige makes the match. Makes as much sense as anything else.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. R-Truth
Non-title and Truth is substituting for an injured Tye Dillinger. An early headscissors takes Nakamura down and Truth starts his dancing. Truth clotheslines him out to the floor and it’s time for a dance break. Back from a regular break with Nakamura holding a seated abdominal stretch. That doesn’t last long as Truth is back up with the leg lariats and the Lie Detector for two. Nakamura will have none of that though and hits the running knee to the ribs in the corner for two of his own. Kinshasa finishes Truth at 6:49.
Rating: D+. This was the same match these two have had a few times and that’s not meant to be a compliment. Truth did his dancing but wasn’t exactly energetic otherwise and the dance break in the middle didn’t help anything. Nakamura needs an actual story as his longest title reign in two and a half years (seriously) has gone nowhere in a few weeks already.
Here’s Becky Lynch to brag about being the Last Woman Standing. She’s ready to face Ronda Rousey and doesn’t like the WE WANT RONDA chants. Sure Rousey is the baddest woman on the planet, but what planet is that? Everyone Ronda has fought has been beaten before the bell rang but that’s not the case with her. Becky is coming to Survivor Series to rip Rousey’s arm off. Good stuff from Becky here and they might have something special if they do that match right.
Video on Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar.
Samoa Joe says he isn’t done with AJ and asks how his family is doing. When Shane made the title match earlier tonight, he knew that it was time to write the final chapter. The story ends with AJ out cold on the mat and Joe finally raising the title above his head. The end.
The Miz/Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy/Rey Mysterio
Jeff and Miz start things off with Jeff picking up the pace, only to have Orton come in for a distraction. Rey comes in as well but gets sent to the apron, allowing Miz to shove Hardy off the top to take over. The running kick to Hardy’s face gets two and it’s off to a quickly broken chinlock. More stomping sets up Orton’s standing dropkick for two but he charges into a boot in the corner.
The Whisper in the Wind puts Orton down and it’s off to Rey with a springboard crossbody. A running DDT plants Miz for two but he’s right back with the Reality Check for two of his own. Rey rolls out of the Skull Crushing Finale attempt and brings Hardy back in for a little Poetry in Motion. Orton gets sent outside and it’s a 619 into the Swanton to finish Miz at 8:36.
Rating: C-. This was a Coliseum Video style main event and I can go for that almost every time. They kept it short and just sent the fans home happy (or at least sent them into Mixed Match Challenge) without doing anything out of the ordinary. The World Cup can be over and done with on Friday so the match was all it could and shove have been.
Post match, Orton hits an RKO on all three of them to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. The opener more than carried this show and I had a much easier time watching it than last night’s show. This was much more about the World Cup, which isn’t interesting in the first place, but at least they gave it some attention. Crown Jewel’s main event being changed was somewhat expected and I can give them big points for at least delivering the match at some point. Very easy show to watch as usual, though I’ll have the Brood theme in my head for days.
AJ Styles b. Daniel Bryan – Styles Clash
Big E. b. Cesaro – Big Ending
Shinsuke Nakamura b. R-Truth – Kinshasa
Jeff Hardy/Rey Mysterio b. The Miz/Randy Orton – Swanton Bomb to Miz
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