The SmarK Rant for WWE Friday Night Smackdown – 11.01.19
Hey, at the very least, I’m intrigued to see what they’ll do with this trainwreck of a situation tonight. Maybe they’ll even break 888,000 viewers as a result!
Live from Buffalo, NY.
Your hosts are Tom Philips, Renee Young & Aiden English. Behind them: “My other sign got delayed in Saudi Arabia.”
Brock Lesnar joins us to start, since he managed to get the hell out of the Middle East after the first match. Also, no Greg Hamilton tonight as ring announcer, so I’m assuming it’s JoJo taking his place. I bet Shane engineered leaving him in Saudi Arabia for not declaring him the Best in the World enthusiastically enough. Anyway, Paul Heyman informs us that Brock is really pissed off tonight, even after tapping out Cain Velasquez in a humiliating 2:00 win that wasted everyone’s time. And hey, let’s go back to Crown Jewel and watch the entire match, in gloriously smooth SIXTY FRAMES PER SECOND mind you instead of the jittery 24FPS that we’ve been watching on FOX. So back to the live show and Heyman continues recapping the show, and back to Crown Jewel we go as Rey cleans house with a chair. So apparently Brock went to Vince McMahon (“Google him, bitches!”) and demanded Rey’s head on a platter, but the unbreakable boundaries of Raw and Smackdown prevent even the mighty Vince from making such a match. So Brock is declaring himself a free agent and going to Raw looking for Rey, and he officially quits Smackdown as of right now. Just in case you were thinking that they couldn’t make the draft any more pointless, there you go. Here, let me solve this for them right now: Brock Lesnar is the future considerations given in exchange for the Alexa & Nikki “trade”. There you go, thought about it for FIVE SECONDS and came up with a better solution.
Meanwhile, HHH and Shawn Michaels pop up backstage.
Smackdown Women’s title: Bayley v. Nikki Cross
Bayley is so brooding and emo now that she doesn’t even wear the belt around her waist, she just hangs it on her neck. And she doesn’t even smile! Boo! Boo on you, Bayley! Shoving match to start and Nikki gets a rollup for two and La Majastral for two. Bayley bails and Nikki hits her with a baseball slide and tornado DDT on the floor, which gets two as we take a break. Back with Nikki getting another rollup for two, but Bayley clotheslines her for two. Nikki puts her on the floor again, but Bayley runs her into the stairs and back in for two. Bayley charges and misses and Nikki hits her with forearms and a crossbody and the announcers are AWFUL, just hammering the same stupid points over and over. She’s building momentum! It’s do or die! Foot on the gas pedal! Nikki goes after Sasha like a moron and Bayley drops the elbow for two. So then the crowd starts CHEERING FOR BAYLEY because she’s been working from underneath for the entire match, as they can’t even do a heel turn right at this point. So they MUTE THE CROWD and Sasha shoves Nikki off the top rope and Bayley gets the pin at 9:32. This was HILARIOUSLY bad on every level but the actual work, which was fine. ** And then Shayna Baszler storms the ring and destroys everyone, and the crowd cheers this too even as she brutalizes three people. I’ll accept their complete ineptitude at building babyfaces in lieu of actual entertainment.
Meanwhile, Sami Zayn thinks that maybe NXT is here taking advantage of the travel problems, but hopefully none of them get in his face. So this brings Matt Riddle and Keith Lee to confront him, so Sami promises to go to his car and find his NXT shirt. So Sami ends up running to the ring to escape, but the NXT guys corner him by blocking off two sides of the four sided ring, leaving him literally nowhere to run to. So Riddle hits him with the Bro Derek and Keith adds a moonsault.
MizTV with special guest Bray Wyatt turns out to be Tomasso Ciampa instead, and he’s sick of Miz playing talk show host while he breaks his damn neck in NXT. Apparently, and this is news to me, people have been talking for YEARS about what would happen if the two of them engaged in a duel of promos. Really? Is that a thing that people said? Because I’d like to see some documentation of that. Miz is all “Let’s fight!” and Ciampa says “Them sounds like fighting words!” (No, really, he did!) and so they fight. THAT’S HOW WRESTLING USED TO WORK.
The Miz v. Tommaso Ciampa
Miz trades headlocks with him but Ciampa tosses him and Miz comes back in with a rollup for two. Miz tosses him and follows with a dive, which misses, and Ciampa runs him into the railings and the stairs. Back in, Ciampa with a chinlock, but Miz fights back and gets a kneelift and his neckbreaker combo for two. Running knees in the corner, but Ciampa blasts him with the discus lariat and running knee for two. Miz tries the figure-four and Ciampa escapes, so Miz clips the knee. Ciampa tries a powerbomb, but nearly loses Miz, who comes back with the short DDT for two. Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to put THE MIZ in the ring with Ciampa? Miz with the figure-four, but Ciampa reverses it and then cradles for two. Rollup gets two and into the half-crab, but Miz reverses that for two. Miz goes up for whatever, but Ciampa hits him with a knee on the way down and finishes with the Fairytale Ending at 7:49. This was a bizarre style clash with super-fake Miz doing the WWE “work to the hard camera” template while Ciampa was doing something else, and it didn’t particularly work but you can’t say it wasn’t something different. *1/2
Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan runs into HHH and his buddy Shawn backstage, and Daniel is looking for a fight. But HHH didn’t bring his gear, so instead he brought Adam Cole, with the NXT title on the line TONIGHT, IN THIS VERY RING.
Meanwhile, Bianca Belair beats the hell out of Carmella backstage. “That looks like it hurt!” my wife notes. I point out that she also whips people with her ponytail, and that was even more offensive to her.
Rhea Ripley & Tegan Nox v. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
So this is a total destruction and Rhea wrecks them both before Tegan tosses Sonya at the desk, and Rhea finishes Mandy with the hanging crosslock at 1:25.
Let us take you back to Crown Jewel again as we get the first women’s match in Saudi Arabia. Stephanie of course introduces the moment so she can associate herself with it. Could they not have waited a few days to pat themselves on the back?
NXT title: Adam Cole v. Daniel Bryan
So this is the first time we see Adam Cole on a national broadcast network, in the main event, and THEY TALK OVER HIS ENTIRE ENTRANCE and put a huge fucking “WWE Backstage” graphic over him while he’s doing “Adam Cole Bay-Bay”. They trade headlocks on the mat and Bryan kicks him down while Renee marvels at the stakes of Survivor Series. “We’ve got Raw, Smackdown, and NXT now!” So…what are the stakes, then? Cole puts him down with a shoulderblock, but Bryan gets a high kick and starts bending him with submission holds. Bryan pounds him with forearms, but Cole puts him down with a pump kick for two. They fight for a suplex and both lands on the floor as we take a break. Back with Cole in control as he drops elbows for two. Bryan puts him down with a knee and clotheslines him to the floor, then follows with the running knee off the apron. Back in with the missile dropkick and he pounds Cole with forearms, but Cole puts him down with a high kick for two. They hit the floor again and we take a second break. Back with them on top fighting for a superplex and Bryan wins that battle with a german suplex before bridging back up to the top again for the diving headbutt. That misses, and Cole hits the ushigoroshi for two. Cole tries the Last Shot but Bryan reverses to a half-crab and then turns it into a heel hook in the middle. Cole escapes and tries his own submission, but Bryan reverses out and curbstomps him into the Yes Lock, but Cole makes the ropes. They trade rollups for two and Bryan hits him with a head kick to set up the knee, but Cole superkicks him to set up the Panama Sunrise and Last Shot at 22:50 to retain. This was pretty great, with Cole bumping all over and Bryan bringing it hard. ****1/4
Finally, HHH brings out his NXT guys and declares that the war is now on.
Hey, you know what, this was DIFFERENT and felt exciting and even messy at times, which is something we haven’t seen since the ECW invasion of RAW in 1997. I don’t hold out any hope of that continuing, but something different is good and I’ll take it. Hopefully they have more planes stranded in foreign countries.