WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 11/1: Travel issues in Saudi Arabia will lead to an unpredictable format and mix of wrestlers tonight

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

Smackdown Set (photo credit Frank Peteani © PWTorch)


NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves


Travel Issues from Saudi Arabia

According to multiple wrestling media outlets, WWE experienced travel issues coming back from Saudi Arabia.  After my primer was written earlier today, WWE broke the news on their website.  They said the issue was due to a mechanical problem with the chartered aircraft after the door was closed.  Apparently some talent, although they don’t specify whom, took it upon themselves to book their own charter flights and fly home in time for Smackdown.  That will not land in time for the live broadcast.

They are saying the show will go on tonight with a few “surprises.”  They advertise that Daniel Bryan, the Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, and the surprises to which they allude.  Here’s a tweet from WWE talking about the issues:

There’s a lot of speculation on social media as to various explanations of why the talent was delayed other than the mechanical delay.  I won’t cite anything but rather stick to what WWE is saying.  WWE had their preview posted earlier today, but pulled it along with all the matches and segments they had advertised.  Those were included in my primer.

(Frank’s Analysis:  Being an airline pilot myself, I could certainly understand and believe the mechanical delay.  If there are other reasons, I’ll let others speculate on that.  I’ve been in the charter business previously, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they had issues getting something so quickly in Saudi Arabia.  It’s a pain enough to get something in the states.  As far as tonight goes I’d imagine the six-woman tag match goes as scheduled since those involved were not on the Crown Jewel card.  They probably do something with Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan.  With the announcement that NXT will partake in Survivor Series, perhaps they bring in some of the talent.  Everything else is up in the air.)

So, below the write-up for the show I anticipated happening before the flight delay. It will be substantially different, of course…

Arena, Crown Jewel Results Pertinent to Smackdown, Top 10 Moments of Last Week’s Show, and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Smackdown returns to the Keybank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. for the first time in over two years. Raw made an appearance during the summer of 2018. The building opened in 1996 and is home to the NHL’s Buffalo Center. It used to be named the Marine Midland Arena, HSBC Arena, and First Niagara Center. Wrestling events started appearing here in 1997 the first of which being an episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Numerous PPV events have taken place here as well, the last of which was Battleground in 2013 just before the WWE Network era began.

Here is the WWE YouTube clip of the top 10 moments of last week’s show:

Crown Jewel is now behind us and we turn our attention to Survivor Series. It’s a bit of a quick turn as that event takes place in a little over three weeks on Sunday, November 24. Here are the results of Crown Jewel pertinent to Smackdown:

  • Brock Lesnar defeated Cain Velasquez to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Mansoor defeated Cesaro.
  • Tyson Fury defeated Braun Strowman via countout
  • Natalya defeated Lacey Evans in a cross-brand match. This was the first women’s match in these Saudi Arabia events since their start in 2018.
  • Team Hogan defeated Team Flair
  • “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated Seth Rollins to win the Universal Championship.

Tonight’s Smackdown returns to Fox after appearing on FS1 last week. There was a lot of promotion for the show during the NFL games this past week. Charles Davis, broadcasting the Giants-Lions game with Kenny Albert, briefly discussed the Bayley heel turn. He even likened a play to what might happen in WWE. That being said, here is what’s advertised for tonight’s show thus far:

  • Roman Reigns collides with King Corbin
  • Bray Wyatt to join “Miz TV”
  • The Revival to defend Smackdown Tag Team Titles against The New Day
  • Nikki Cross, Carmella & Dana Brooke square off against Bayley, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
    Survivor Series Announcement

During Crown Jewel it was announced that NXT will partake in this year’s Survivor Series. The catch phrase for the show this year is “Who owns the night?”. Here is a clip of the commercial:

(Frank’s Analysis: I’m not going to be the one to say don’t do this, because NXT taking part is Survivor Series is a positive. It’s going to be interesting to see how things are booked for sure especially since NXT hasn’t been touched by Vince McMahon at all and now, they’ll be under his umbrella. Does NXT winning any matches define down the main roster and vice versa? Also, I’m skeptical of the “battle for brand superiority” narrative starting. People I would think see NXT as the superior brand and so does Vince mess that up at all.)

Matches & Segments

Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin

Last week, the Smackdown portion of Team Hogan defeated the Smackdown contingent of Team Flair in advance of their five-on-five match at Crown Jewel yesterday. Prior to the match they cut a promo to start the show. King Corbin was doing his usual trash talking and was interrupted by Roman Reigns, who told him to shut his mouth. Corbin has been on Reigns case lately, taking out his frustration with Reigns’ cousin The Rock. The Rock, as we recall, joined Becky Lynch on the Fox debut to verbally attack Corbin and gave him a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow. Fast forward to last week, Reigns joined the crew on WWE Backstage via video from the locker room. He was attacked by Corbin. Here is a clip from that incident and also the tweet from Corbin that explained his whole deal with the Rock and Reigns:


These two are no strangers to each other, and they worked together previously while on Raw. Yesterday at Crown Jewel, Team Hogan defeated Team Flair. There’s more juice to this now with Corbin’s frustration with the Rock which he’s taking out on Reigns. They go one-on-one tonight.

(Frank’s Analysis: I have to admit I like the exchange between Reigns and Corbin. Corbin came off like that annoying kid in high school and Reigns was like the starting quarterback telling him to buzz off. When they let Reigns sound more relaxed and more like himself, it’s an enjoyable listen. Keep it in this lane and everything will be fine. The Backstage stuff is cool as well. Reigns felt incredibly relaxed and real and discussing the match.)

Bray Wyatt on Miz TV

Miz TV has been around for a little while and had a wide array of guests. The Miz has had his future opponents, wrestlers scheduled to face each other, legends, Hall of Famers, and once even had the Ball brothers. Like any other wrestling talk show, they’ve ended either in a stare down, a brawl, or setting up a future angle. He’s never quite had the guest he’s about to have tonight.

For those watching WWE regularly, Bray Wyatt needs no introduction. He hosts the Firefly Funhouse but is also “The Fiend.” Last week on the reconstructed Firefly Funhouse, he resurrected Ramblin’ Rabbit, who seems to have nine (maybe more) lives. Yesterday at Crown Jewel, he defeated Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship. This week, he makes his first appearance on Miz TV. WWE says the Miz is “offering the perfect forum to shine a light onto Wyatt’s dark world.”

(Frank’s Analysis: Yowie wowie! The Fiend as Universal Champion, on Smackdown, has definitely gotten my attention. You have both main roster champions on one show. My guess is WWE underestimated the poor reaction they’d get at Hell in a Cell and how badly the crowd would turn on Rollins. It sure seems like we’ve been here before with a former Shield member getting booed by the masses. As far as tonight on Miz TV, I just don’t know what in the world to expect but that’s fine. It’s ok to tune in a wrestling program and not think about what the result will be but rather see what happens.)

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Revival (champs) vs. New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E)

A little under two months ago at Clash of Champions, the Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) defeated New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) for their first Smackdown Tag Team Championship. They had previously held the Raw title twice and the NXT straps as well.

Two weeks ago, New Day paired with Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) to defeat the Revival and Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in an eight-man tag match. This was a showcase of the “new teams” on Smackdown if you will. Last week, Ziggler & Roode defeated New Day in about five minutes. The Revival attacked them after the match. Yesterday at Crown Jewel, during the World Cup Tag Team Turmoil match won by the O.C. (as predicted by yours truly), New Day beat the Revival.

Tonight, in a rematch from Clash of Champions, the Revival puts the titles on the line against your world famous six-time champs, so FEEL …. THE POWER! Here’s New Day in a WWE exclusive following their loss to Ziggler & Roode:

(Frank’s Analysis: It’s good to finally see Kofi show some emotion following the loss of the WWE Championship. I still find it a travesty that they haven’t touched upon that with him on TV. Hopefully they get to it at some point. It will really be interesting to see how things go with New Day with Woods on the shelf. Say what you want, he was the spokesperson for the group. It could be time for Kofi and Big E to go in a different direction. Big E was once a big favorite of Vince’s, so we’ll see.)

Six Woman Tag Match: Nikki Cross & Carmella & Dana Brooke vs. Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville) and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley

Two weeks ago, Nikki Cross earned a title match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. It’s not known when that match will take place, but the shot at the title is intact. Last week, with Bayley and Sasha Banks on guest commentary, Nikki defeated Mandy Rose with her Fire & Desire partner Sonya Deville in her corner. Here’s Nikki in a WWE exclusive following the match:

Tonight, Nikki teams with Carmella and Dana Brooke to take on Fire & Desire who will be joined by Bayley in a six-woman tag match. All parties were involved in the six-pack challenge to determine the challenge except the sixth woman was Lacey Evans, not Bayley of course.

Frank’s Analysis: This is just a straight-forward six-woman tag without any real talking points. I like that Nikki is getting a chance to be the head babyface on Smackdown. I don’t think this would have happened with Charlotte or Becky Lynch on the show. We’ll see how it goes, but I am positive. Nikki is likable and fun to watch.

Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week

Lacey Evans won a squash match. She talked about it afterwards in a WWE.com exclusive. Also, check out an exclusive with her discussing the Saudi Arabia match against Natalya:


Kalisto defeated Drew Gulak in a virtual squash match. We at least got to see some of Gulak’s slide presentation. He probably should skip slide two next time.

Michael Cole interview Daniel Bryan. He asked him if the Yes movement was back. Before he could answer, Sami Zayn and his protegee Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura proposed joining them. He teased accepting but walked away. Here’s Sami and Shinsuke in a WWE.com exclusive afterwards:

Summary and Closing Thoughts

Smackdown lost nearly two thirds of its viewers last week. Raw had its worst viewership of the year and both NXT and AEW were under a million viewers. I’ll personally give WWE a mulligan on Smackdown because it was on FS1 last week and the World Series was on Fox. Raw has been terrible, but the rating they got while still alarming doesn’t surprise me especially since you had so much wrestling to watch this week if you were tuning into Impact’s AXS debut and watching Crown Jewel this week. Who knows what’s truly happening, but when you have a lot of wrestling, fans are going to cherry pick. You would think WWE would put their best foot forward with their shows, but it’s not happening with Raw or Smackdown. We’ll see what happens now that Survivor Series is coming.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!

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