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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
OCTOBER 30, 2018
ATLANTA, GA. AT THE STATE FARM ARENA
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00 P.M. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Arena / Recap of Last Week & Evolution / Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown returns to the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA after last appearing in May of 2017. WWE shows the site as the Philips Arena; however, the name was changed in August of this year when State Farm purchased the naming rights. I don’t know if Jake from State Farm had anything to do with this, but I’m certain he’s somewhere wearing khakis.
We move past Evolution and turn our attention to Crown Jewel which is just three days away. We now know, according to Michael Cole on Raw last night, that Crown Jewel is a “global event” with a special start time of noon. Why is that WWE? It’s okay, you can say it. They know.
Last week, the Miz had Rey Mysterio on Miz TV before having a one-on-one match that saw Mysterio come out on top. They could potentially face each other in the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel. Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy in the main event. They also could face each other in the World Cup. Last night on Raw, the brackets were revealed. I will touch on that later. Big Show and Kofi Kingston fought to a no-contest. The Usos once again defeated WWE Champion A.J. Styles and Daniel Bryan, this time pinning A.J. Rusev defeated Aiden English.
At Evolution, Becky Lynch retained the Smackdown Women’s Championship by defeating Charlotte in a last woman standing match.
Thus far, WWE has announced these items for tonight:
- Who will compete in a trick-or-street fight?
- A.J. Styles will confront Daniel Bryan
- Tye Dillinger to challenge Shinsuke Nakamura for the U.S. Championship
- Who will gain momentum ahead of the World Cup?
- How will Becky Lynch prepare for Ronda Rousey
Trick-or-Street Fight: One Member of New Day vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, or Big Show
At Crown Jewel, you know that global event with the special start time of noon on Friday, the Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) will defend their Smackdown Tag Team Championship against New Day. The Bar will likely have Big Show in their corner as he has recently aligned with them. Tonight, there will be a trick-or-street fight where one member of New Day takes on either Sheamus, Cesaro, or Show. For those not familiar, a trick-or-street fight is just that, a street fight with no DQs or count outs. Halloween themed items ranging from pumpkins, bowls of candy, apples, skeletons, witches, etc. are used as weapons. The last match of this nature was on Halloween in 2016 between Enzo Amore and Luke Gallows on Raw. Remember Enzo folks?
Frank’s Analysis: First off, if there’s candy in those bowls, could somebody save the Hershey minis and Reese’s peanut butter cups? You just don’t waste those items or any chocolate for that matter. Anyway, joking aside this is fairly straight forward. It’s Halloween so somebody has to do the comedy bit. Would you think it would involve anybody but New Day? I have no inclination as to who will do the match tonight, but does it really matter? We’re just bridging the gap until Crown Jewel, you know that global event with….oh you know the rest.
A.J. Styles Will Confront Daniel Bryan
At Crown Jewel, A.J. Styles will defend his WWE Championship against former WWE World Heavyweight Champion (the way the title was named in 2014) Daniel Bryan. To recap, Bryan won a number one contender’s match at Super Showdown by beating the Miz surprisingly in just under three minutes.
In the last two episodes of Smackdown, A.J. and Bryan have teamed together and lost to former tag team champions The Usos. Last week A.J. took the pin while Bryan took the pin a week earlier. Each match featured a miscommunication leading to the loss. Tonight, they confront each other in the run-up to their match at Crown Jewel.
Interestingly, one media outlet is saying that Daniel Bryan will not be travelling to Saudi Arabia. If confirmed, the scheduled match will be certainly be augmented. There’s a possibility tonight’s angle will somehow write Bryan out. There are other possibilities having the match filmed tonight, as a dark match, and aired during Crown Jewel. They could also have the confrontation escalate to the point of “let’s not wait until Friday, let’s do this match tonight!” and have it as tonight’s main event. It’s anybody’s guess but Crown Jewel continues to be an issue on many levels. As rumored, John Cena was pulled from the World Cup as he refused to participate and was replaced by Bobby Lashley.
Frank’s Analysis: Good on Bryan if he doesn’t want to go to Crown Jewel. I could care less if Cena doesn’t go, as he is all but out of WWE. Bryan is a full-time wrestler, so for him to take a stand it certainly sends a convincing message. That notwithstanding, I’m not a fan of what they’ve done teaming A.J. and Bryan. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to see the combination. Historically, when babyfaces are to square off for a championship or anything for that matter, a much bigger deal is made of the fact that they are teaming in advance of the match. Two weeks ago, we didn’t know of the match until showtime. Last week we knew about it ahead of time, but had already seen it, and thus the concept was watered down to a degree. The other issue here is nothing is made of the Usos getting two straight victories over these top wrestlers. The Usos, former tag champs as I said, have not done much in the way of winning in 2018. You would think WWE would make a bigger deal of this especially with a championship tag team that has clearly delivered through the years.
U.S. Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (champion) vs. Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger will challenge Shinsuke Nakamura for the U.S. Championship. We last saw Dillinger nearly a month ago in a match with Randy Orton where at the end, Orton attempted to break his fingers. In case you missed this dastardly act, take a look:
Dillinger and G.M. Paige communicated on Twitter:
Well what good is a General Manager if she doesn’t keep her word? You kept your side of the bargain, I’m keeping mine.
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) October 30, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: This is not a matter of elevating Dillinger but rather an exposure of a lack of babyfaces on Smackdown. It is good to see them trying to make something out of him, as I feel all talent should be used to lengthen the roster. There just can’t be a ton of expectations for this going beyond a TV feud. Nakamura continues to have a lack of challengers since winning the U.S. Championship and ending his feud with Jeff Hardy. Rusev could be looming assuming his feud with Aiden English is over.
Who Will Gain Momentum Ahead of the World Cup?
The brackets for the World Cup at Crown Jewel were revealed on Raw last night.
- Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio
- Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz
- Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Kurt Angle
As of this writing, nothing is announced for tonight in terms of a match or any sort of promo. This is just me speculating, but the graphic on WWE.com suggests a tag team match with Mysterio & Hardy facing Orton & Miz if history serves me well on what they done in situations like this.
Frank’s Analysis: I’m not overly concerned about what they do here. Whatever they do tonight is just a means to get to Crown Jewel. The brackets are set, and I’m more concerned about what they do with the winner of the tournament. Let’s not rule out the possibility of the winner of World Cup getting a championship opportunity on their brand, as this is what should have been done the whole time in my opinion. If Daniel Bryan indeed doesn’t go to Crown Jewel, and his WWE Championship opportunity is pulled, it’s not crazy to imagine the winner coming from Smackdown and challenging A.J. Styles. I don’t know if this would happen at Crown Jewel though, as the winner will have wrestled three matches before getting to A.J. That would give the babyface champion an unfair advantage, something usually reserved for heels. It’s anybody’s guess with WWE.
CHECK OUT THE NEW WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING POST-SHOW covering last night’s Raw. Wade Keller is joined by Matt Koon along with an on-site correspondent…
How Will Becky Lynch Prepare for Ronda Rousey?
It was announced on Raw last night that the women’s champion from both brands will face each other at Survivor Series coming up Sunday, Nov. 18. Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, who retained her title over Charlotte Flair at Evolution, will face Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. Ronda of course retained her title over Nikki Bella at the same event. Here’s a WWE.com exclusive that followed Evolution:
Here’s some twitter exchange between both women:
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) October 29, 2018
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) October 30, 2018
She tried. pic.twitter.com/roO56ylSAJ
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) October 29, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: This is certainly not surprising as the champions faced each other last year and I expect more of the same with other champions at this year’s Survivor Series. It certainly makes sense as to perhaps why Becky was positioned as Smackdown Women’s Champion and has had the character change she had recently. You get a more badass Becky facing the “baddest woman on the planet” and promos that will likely raise a lot of interest in the match. We will certainly speculate on the outcome in the weeks to come as this is the most formidable opponent for Ronda to date. The other big point of interest is who the crowd will favor. Becky, while a heel, is still cheered even more so than when she was a babyface. Ronda is clearly over as a babyface as well. It will be interesting to see if Charlotte plays a role in this storyline as well considering her history with Becky and many people thinking it will be Ronda vs. Charlotte at ‘Mania. The latter, if true, suggests to me Charlotte will likely not get involved.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena website shows a start time of 7:30 p.m. but doesn’t specify when doors will open. They advertise these matches.
- A.J. Styles & Daniel Bryan & Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz & Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura.
- Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
They show several wrestlers appearing. The ones that jumped out to me were Sanity, whom we haven’t seen since they competed for the right to face the Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. Speaking of the Bludgeons, the site shows them appearing as well.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani and ask any questions you may have. Thank you for reading!