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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
OCTOBER 23, 2018
NEWARK, N.J. AT THE PRUDENTIAL CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00PM EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Words on Roman Reigns
Before we discuss tonight’s Smackdown, I can’t help but mention what we learned last night on Raw regarding Roman Reigns. For those who didn’t watch, Reigns announced he was taking leave from WWE and relinquishing the Universal Championship to battle a re-ocurrence of leukemia. We learned he was diagnosed with this terrible cancer 11 years ago and put it in remission. Unfortunately, it has returned. Reigns must now take care of himself and his family. Having lost a father, two close friends, and nearly another to cancer, I could certainly empathize with what he is about to go through.
It amazed me to see the support both from the fans and the WWE locker room in a WWE.com exclusive video. Many have booed Roman Reigns throughout his push that has been scrutinized here at PWTorch and rightfully so. It is the character that we see on TV, and for many years we as fans have chosen to cheer and boo based on our feelings about the character. That’s our right and we should feel absolutely no guilt about negative feelings in regard to a character.
I’m sure if we asked the naysayers, we would find out they’re booing Roman Reigns and not Leati Joseph Anoa’I, the man who portrays Reigns. People who boo him have every right to do so when he’s in character, and they have every right to support him as he battles this terrible cancer. I say all of this because after learning of the news I felt bad of being critical of him in the past, but realized my criticism was of Reigns and not Joe Anoa’i.
My family’s full support goes to this man in this very trying upcoming time. May he and his family have everything they need in this upcoming battle
Arena / Recap of Last Week
WWE Smackdown returns to Newark, N.J. in the Prudential Center, otherwise known as “The Rock” (not to be confused with the beloved wrestler portrayed by Dwayne Johnson of course). Smackdown was last in this arena a week before Christmas in 2017. We’ll continue to get ready for Evolution, which is just under a week away this coming Sunday. Crown Jewel also looms a little over a week away on Nov 2.
Last week we celebrated 1000 episodes of Smackdown. The stable Evolution reunited, and possible groundwork was laid for a match between Batista and Triple H. The Usos defeated the unlikely team of Crown Jewel opponents, WWE Champion A.J. Styles and Daniel Bryan. Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Evolution opponent Charlotte Flair had an altercation on the Cutting Edge, hosted by a returning WWE Hall of Famer Edge. Rey Mysterio qualified for the World Cup at Crown Jewel by defeating U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. The Miz advanced as well scoring a quick victory over Rusev. We now have all U.S. born wrestlers in the World Cup tournament. Apparently Rusev shares my sentiments somewhat, as he said on Twitter:
If it’s only Only Americans in the #WWEWorldCup does it become USOpen ?
— Rusev (@RusevBUL) October 17, 2018
The Bar captured the Smackdown Tag Team Championship by defeating New Day with help from the Big Show.
Thus far, WWE has announced three matches in advance of tonight’s show. There’s also a MizTV segment planned, and follow-up on another altercation between Becky Lynch and Charlotte.
The Usos vs. WWE Champion A.J. Styles and Daniel Bryan
At the upcoming WWE Network event Crown Jewel, A.J. Styles will defend his WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan. Bryan won this right by defeating the Miz at Super Showdown. Last week, these gentlemen teamed up to face former Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Usos in the opening match. The match went around eight minutes and when there was a “miscommunication” between Bryan and Styles towards the end, the Usos scored the victory by double kicking Bryan. Tonight, there will be a rematch.
Here’s a little Twitter exchange between these gentlemen this past week:
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) October 22, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: Historically matches like these have worked better when they’re announced in advance, especially when it involves babyfaces who will be opponents at an upcoming event. Doing this match last week unannounced doesn’t give us the opportunity to wonder whether or not Bryan and Styles will get along. It’s good that we know about the match tonight, because we can at least think about the miscommunication in the match last week and wonder how things will work this time around. Look for more issues to arise as WWE will want to present that there’s tension between these wrestlers in advance of their championship match.
Let’s not underrate the Usos getting a win last week. This year they have been on the losing end quite often, and thus getting back in the win column reminds us of just how valuable this team can be. With the Usos being Roman Reigns’s cousins, I wonder how much that will be discussed tonight by the announcers and factored into the finish of the match given the Reigns news last night.
Rey Mysterio on MizTV
Rey Mysterio, who qualified for the World Cup last week, will appear on MizTV hosted by another World Cup participant in the Miz. Here’s the Miz discussing it on Twitter:
— The Miz (@mikethemiz) October 20, 2018
These two are no strangers to each other whatsoever. They have had many matches on Raw and Smackdown through the years and most notably, they worked together over the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam in 2012 which saw Miz retain the title. Tonight, they will likely discuss the upcoming World Cup tournament.
Frank’s Analysis: If they are giving the Daniel Bryan-Miz feud a break for the time being, this is certainly a good way to go. This is one of those “staple feuds” that always works as Miz and Mysterio have history, have worked well together, and thus I have no concerns about them working together again. It would be smart if they call on their history somewhat and not start from scratch. There have been cases where WWE ignores history for whatever reason, and I hope that’s not the case here.
Rusev vs. Aiden English
Following their long storyline and breakup, things will come to a head tonight as Aiden English and Rusev go one-on-one.
English cost Rusev a spot in the World Cup tournament when he interfered in the match between Rusev and Miz. English continues to claim he is the one who created Rusev Day, as he says on Twitter:
I created #RusevDay…now I’ll kill it.
— Aiden English (@WWEDramaKing) October 21, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: As down as I was on “One Night in Milwaukee” and the storyline in general, I do like the acting on English’s part as he has played the heel role very well. For this match to happen on Smackdown and not on a PPV shows how low it is on the card. Historically “betrayals” have always been paid off better for the most part when the match takes place at a bigger event and there’s a meaningful build. Perhaps this is just a start with something bigger to come later, but I wouldn’t put money it. English as a heel is likely ticketed for the lower to mid card. Rusev as a babyface will go as high as WWE feels about him, which is questionable at best.
Follow-up on Becky Lynch-Charlotte Altercation
Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch will defend her title in the first ever Last Women’s Standing match against Charlotte at Evolution.
Last week, WWE Hall of Famer Edge brought the Cutting Edge back and Becky was his guest. They discussed her change in heart when Charlotte came out. They had an altercation which had to be broken up by WWE officials.
According to WWE NXT’s Twitter account, another altercation took place at the Performance Center in Orlando, FL.:
There was a physical altercation between @BeckyLynchWWE and @MsCharlotteWWE at the @WWEPerformCtr yesterday morning. @WWE and #SDLive officials are investigating the matter. pic.twitter.com/q275mHpZNC
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 21, 2018
Becky certainly hasn’t been quiet since:
Investigate? You dopes better call Mulder and Scully then because the champ is out of this world. https://t.co/pjEtsrih2G
— Rebecca Quin (@BeckyLynchWWE) October 21, 2018
— Rebecca Quin (@BeckyLynchWWE) October 22, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: There’s a few things here. One, they are obviously going out of their way to build tension between these two in advance of their match at Evolution. Two, WWE wants you to pay attention to social media because anything can happen at any time. If a real fight took place at the PC or anywhere for that matter, I’m not sure WWE would acknowledge it unless they wanted to build it into their storyline. I think of the infamous “plane ride from hell” in 2002 that featured many issues including a fight between the late “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and Brock Lesnar. That was never acknowledged on TV because WWE had no plans of using it in a storyline and the issues were real between the two wrestlers.
With that said, I noticed Becky finally getting a negative reaction when she told Edge to “get out of her ring” and don’t hurt his neck on the way out. I’m not a fan of exploiting real injuries. It goes to show the uphill climb they have getting Becky over as a heel.
Naomi vs. Mandy Rose
It what is apparently a first ever one-on-one between these two women, Naomi takes on Mandy Rose. This match was likely made as a result of a little Twitter exchange between Mandy and Naomi:
Frank’s Analysis: There’s not much here, as it’s fairly straight forward. Naomi and Asuka have recently worked with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. I do like announcing matches ahead of time, as it makes them feel important no matter their location on the card. This is certainly a low-card match, but I’m happy to know about it in advance. I wish this practice was replicated on Raw, as typically we know nothing until the afternoon of or even at showtime. It makes the matches feel less important when you don’t announce them prior to the show.
Other Items from Smackdown Last Week
We saw another episode of TruthTV which featured Vince, Stephanie, and Shane McMahon. I share PWTorch VIP audio analyst Todd Martin’s negative feelings about this segment. By the way, go VIP to hear Todd’s show, “The Fix,” along with all other VIP podcasts and ad-free PWTorch reading. You will not regret this decision.
The Rock and John Cena sent their congratulations to Smackdown 1000 via Twitter and a selfie video respectively.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena website shows a start time of 7:30 p.m. local time with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. They advertise these matches:
AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan & Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz & Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair & Asuka & Naomi in an apparent three-on-one match?
They also show Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day, which is obviously inaccurate as The Bar are now champions.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani and ask any questions you may have. Thank you for reading!
NOW CHECK OUT THIS STORY: Afternoon Update: Smackdown locker room reaction to Reigns announcement, Cena not going to Saudi Arabia if Crown Jewel is there, Saudi media coverage, Marko Stunt, Size Matters match, Cody’s future
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