Written By: Mark Armstrong
(Read the original version on Pro Wrestling Journal at http://prowrestlingjournal.com/index.php/2018/10/03/wwe-smackdown-review-analysis-10-02-2018/.)
After a number of cliffhanger situations from last week’s episode of SmackDown, this week’s show promised to reveal what happened when Samoa Joe tried to enter AJ Styles’ family home, and Aiden English proclaimed to have video evidence of an alleged incident in Milwaukee with Lana. Let’s find out what went down in SmackDown town!
Paige-AJ Styles Segment
Paige opened the show by providing an update regarding the Joe-AJ business. In short: Joe did not enter the Styles home, and he was quickly escorted away by security who had been called by management (despite Paige being in the ring when Joe rang the doorbell). Anyway, Paige said that WWE’s chiefs wanted to fire Joe, but AJ insisted that he be allowed to face him at Super Showdown, so that Styles could extract full revenge. An emotional Styles was then shown at home, having not travelled to SD in case Joe tried to pay him another visit. Though there was a missed opportunity here to really establish Joe as a mad-man by having him try again, knowing that AJ was indeed at home, Styles showed how much the saga had affected him by vowing to bury Joe alive on Saturday (it’s not a Buried Alive match, mind). AJ vs. Joe is still on for this Saturday, where I expect AJ to win and move on past the Joe feud, which especially after last week has nowhere else to go, barring the two having a great match this weekend.
The Fabulous Truth vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega
R-Truth and Carmella are the new male/female pairing to watch in WWE, partly because Truth is relevant for the first time in ages, and partly because the two have good chemistry (especially what appears to be a now-routine mid-match dance). Carmella as a babyface will take some getting used to, though victories like this one will help; Carmella finished Vega off with the Code Of Silence (though Zelina’s 619 feint into a submission through the ropes was a cool sight). Almas and Vega feel like they’re spinning their wheels at the moment, but perhaps they’ll get a bigger spotlight after Super Showdown is out of the way.
New Day Cooks
Your boys, The NEW DAY, brought Mr. Bootysworth out to the ring to cook pancakes live in the ring! The Bar weren’t having any of that, and after levelling their Super Showdown opponents, poor Mr. Bootysworth took the brunt of their pancake-related punishment, first by pouring some pancake mix into a bowler hat and placing it on his head, and then dumping a whole bowl of the stuff over his back (Bootysworth almost cracked up at the ridiculousness of it all). Fans booed Sheamus and Cesaro for that. Not on the level that Seattle fans did with Elias and Kevin Owens on Raw, but they were aghast; you can’t do that to Mr. Bootysworth!
Randy Orton vs. Tye Dillinger
Having turned heel in July and really ramped up the viciousness of his character to levels that appear shocking in this PG era, Randy Orton is more interesting now than he has been in a long time, and his genuinely unpredictable assaults make him someone worth watching. In what was only his second TV match since going rogue again, Orton initially suffered a ringside attack by Dillinger, before turning the tables with a DDT off the crowd barrier. Then, Orton trapped a stunned Tye’s hand in the kring holding the bottom turnbuckle (oh, you didn’t know it was called a kring?), stuffed Dillinger’s index finger in there, and twisted it in an attempt to break it. The match never began, but Orton looked as evil as ever. He is that most dangerous of competitors; someone who doesn’t care if he wins or losses, or even if the match ever happens (the bell never rang here), so long as he seriously hurts his target.
One Night In Milwaukee
Aiden English planned to introduce footage of his One Night In Milwaukee video to Rusev and Lana, and so he did – sort of. After stalling for a while by pointing out famous shows filmed in Milwaukee (including some that most of WWE’s younger audience will have never even heard of), English showed footage in the locker room, where Lana popped by and simply said “I want you” before the footage mysteriously stopped. Rusev looked angry (even calling Aiden a bastard backstage afterwards, similar to Braun calling Dean Ambrose the same thing on Raw in a complimentary fashion; for a PG-rated product, we hear “bastard” and “bitch” a lot on WWE television), but it was obvious that Aiden had deliberately stopped the footage short, and we’ll get the full story in the weeks to come. Not that it stopped Lana being booed by fans, who took Aiden at his word. Either that or they just don’t like Lana.
Daniel Bryan vs. Shelton Benjamin
I really enjoyed this bout, and I hope that we get a longer rematch in the future (at Crown Jewel, perhaps?). On commentary, The Miz was as hilariously obnoxious as ever, having taken credit for giving Benjamin this opportunity at Bryan to showcase his skills, with his obvious real intentions being for Bryan to be hurt before Super Showdown. He nearly was, legitimately, when his diving headbutt struck a moving Shelton in an awkward manner, but otherwise this was good stuff. A Miz distraction led to a Paydirt and a surprise pinfall win for Benjamin, and Miz destroyed Bryan afterwards, ending his attack with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Given Miz’s recent dominance over Daniel, I’m wondering if Bryan wins on Saturday to end their rivalry, thus giving us an AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan feud for the WWE Championship heading into the late autumn.
Asuka vs. Peyton Royce
This followed the same theme of other recent clashes with the newly-formed Asuka/Naomi team and a member of The IIconics, ahead of the planned tag match this Saturday, though we did see Asuka claim victory with a standing Asuka Lock, which was a neat twist. The intrigue here concerns whether The IIconics will get a home country win over Asuka and Naomi at Super Showdown. Common logic says yes, but they are heels after all, and if that happens, then Asuka will receive further damage to her aura. I know I mention this a lot, but Asuka was a ready-made star at the start of 2018, and now she has minimal momentum ahead of a PPV, Evolution, that she was once tipped to headline.
Becky Lynch’s Surprise
Becky Lynch planned to have a surprise for Charlotte Flair concerning Super Showdown, and so it proved as she revealed that she was, in fact, the product of a Ric Flair fling, meaning that she and Charlotte are, in fact, half-sisters! I’m just kidding, of course; she simply revealed her version of the poster for Super Showdown, an image which she noted on Twitter to have been left off, and her picture was of Lynch standing over Charlotte following their photo shoot brawl last week (in other words, the “controversy” of Lynch not being on the poster was “a work, bro!”). Charlotte had received enough verbal abuse to come out and attack Becky, which I believe was her first truly dominant display against Becky since the SummerSlam shenanigans. On a night of the heels mostly having the last say, Charlotte stood tall here … which of course was booed as fans remain reluctant to boo Lynch. Wrestling, eh?
This wasn’t a great episode in my opinion, but it did its job of moving us into the home stretch for Super Showdown. The SmackDown landscape will look different come next week, since the AJ Styles-Samoa Joe feud is presumably about to end, and either The Miz or Daniel Bryan will be the next number one contender. Plus, we have the ongoing drama within the former Rusev Day team. So, a decent show to watch, but not essential viewing.