SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
BECKY THE TOP STAR…
Recap: At the bottom of the first hour, Becky Lynch came to the ring for a promo to a pop. She responded to Ronda Rousey’s criticisms of her last night.
Becky emphasized that winning comes for Ronda, but that her body would be let down by her weak mind at Survivor Series. Addressing Ronda’s mockery of her former jobs last night, Becky said she wasn’t hand-picked like Ronda, but made it to the top. She said she’s been chewed up and spit out and has come back. She closed by saying, “I don’t care if you’re the baddest bitch on the planet, because I’m going to make you mine.”
Evaluation: After the recent departure of Roman Reigns, many commentators have begun to refer to Ronda Rousey as the company’s top star. With all due respect, those people are flat wrong. Becky Lynch is the company’s top star.
The big departure tonight was WWE finally seemed to acknowledge this, as Becky cut a face promo. She positioned herself as someone who has worked for everything she has accomplished, contrasting herself with Ronda, who she portrayed as an anointed one.
Forecast: Ronda is being treated as an unbeaten special attraction, so she’s likely to win at Survivor Series. That could be dangerous, because if fans buy Becky’s framing of Ronda as an “anointed one, ” she could end up with a Roman Reigns type backlash.
NIKKI CROSS REUNITES SANITY…
Recap: After Becky Lynch’s promo, she said she was fired up and ready for a fight. Just then, Sanity came out to their music. The three stood on the stage, then pointed to the back, and Nikki Cross appeared. The crowd popped.
The match was only 5-6 minutes, but it was competitive. Becky won with the Disarm-her.
Evaluation: Considering she was wrestling the champ, this was a good debut.
Forecast: As the most popular member of Sanity, hopefully Nikki’s return helps bring Sanity back into the picture rather than dragging her down. Sanity is a good act, but since being called up they’ve been MIA.
It’s also possible that this was a one-night appearance.
ODD COUPLE CO-CAPTAINS…
Recap: The show opened with Paige introducing Shane McMahon as “best in the world.” The fans booed. Shane knocked down the idea that he is “best in the world,” saying the trophy belonged to everyone at SmackDown Live. He then introduced SmackDown’s Survivor Series captain, Daniel Bryan.
The Miz then came out to interrupt. He claimed the trophy was really two-thirds his, and began to discuss a time sharing arrangement with Shane. Shane disagreed, indicating that if things had gone slightly differently at Crown Jewel, Miz would’ve been fired.
Miz was angered at this, telling Shane he deserved to be captain. Shane pulled Paige aside to discuss, and then announced that he agreed, and that Bryan and Miz would be co-captains. Neither Bryan nor Miz were happy.
After the commercial break, Bryan and Miz confronted Shane. Shane told them that he wanted them to be uncomfortable, and that they brought out the best in each other. Miz reluctantly agreed, and as captain asked Shane to be on Team SmackDown. Shane declined, but Bryan said he agreed with Miz, asking him to reconsider due to how much he cared about the brand. Shane then accepted.
In a later backstage segment, Bryan told Miz he wanted Rey Mysterio to be the next member of the team. Miz said he’d allow it if Rey was impressive in his match against Andrade “Cien” Almas. The two then agreed that for the final slot, they’d each pick a competitor, with the two to face each other in the main event tonight. Bryan and Miz stared at each other weirdly, noting how odd it was that they kept agreeing. The winner would make the team.
It was later revealed that Miz selected Samoa Joe, and Bryan picked Jeff Hardy. Bryan looked angered by Miz’s selection of Joe.
In the main event, Samoa Joe won by submission. After the match, an enraged Bryan attacked Joe. When Miz and Shane McMahon attempted to break it up, Bryan took them both out.
Evaluation: Bryan and Miz were entertaining in their “odd couple” segments. It kept the show moving along.
Forecast: Shane got some serious boos tonight despite being humble about his World Cup win. It’s been speculated that the World Cup was a device for a Shane heel turn, and if so, it appears it will work. The turn could happen as part of the face-heel dissension on the Survivor Series team, with Shane siding with the heels.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 10/30: AJ vs Bryan Moved Up, Becky Cheered Over Ronda, Shane to Fire Someone?