WWE SmackDown emanates from the WWE ThunderDome inside the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida tonight as it presents its season premiere for its second season on FOX!
- Daniel Bryan making his WWE ThunderDome debut
- The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) Vs. Bobby Roode & Dolph Ziggler for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
- Jeff Hardy Vs. Lars Sullivan
- The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods) Vs. Sheamus, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
- Roman Reigns Vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal Championship
Triple H & Stephanie McMahon Kick-Off The Show
- Stephanie & HHH promote all the pre-announced matches as the new SD roster looks on.
- They point out some of the bigger names of the roster including Kevin Owens, Aleister Black, Sami Zayn, Otis & Street Profits.
- Street Profits start making their way to the ring, but Roode & Ziggler attack them on the way which causes a roster-wide brawl to ensue. Street Profits, Kalisto, Zayn, Shorty G & Crews are the only ones left standing.
- Lars Sullivan gets his own entrance and wipes out everyone, before Jeff Hardy clears him from the ring which leads into our first match.
Analysis: A fun, if slightly corny, opener to introduce the new roster and hype up tonight’s show. Giving Sullivan his own entrance here suggests to me they’re putting A LOT of stock in him right away, which he’ll need if the rumoured feud with Braun Strowman is happening anytime soon.
Lars Sullivan defeats Jeff Hardy via Pinfall in 4:20
- Hardy focused on his high-flying offence throughout, attempting multiple dives and a Whisper In The Wind on Sullivan during this relatively short bout. ‘The Freak’, meanwhile, stuck to his usual power game.
- Hardy managed to get some offence in after Sullivan missed a Diving Headbutt, but never managed to take the larger man off his feet.
- After hesitating whilst on the top rope, Sullivan grabbed Hardy and hit the Freak Accident, picking up the pinfall win.
Analysis: Sullivan easily picks up the win to the surprise of no one. If I had to guess, I’d say we’re heading straight into Lars Vs. Braun with Lars interfering during the Universal title match later tonight, but I wouldn’t mind an intermediate feud in between – possibly with one of the new additions to the roster like Owens or Black.
New Day Deliver One Last Pre-Match Speech
- Big E says that the one thing stronger than the Power of Positivity is the WWE Draft as Xavier reiterates the three are being split as a trio due to him & Kofi moving to RAW whilst E stays on SmackDown.
- They all recall memories from their last 6 years as a trio and Xavier thanks the other two for taking a chance on him as he believes he wouldn’t still be with WWE otherwise.
- Kofi recalls losing his passion for wrestling around 2012 and that starting the New Day rekindled it.
Analysis: It’s sad that we’re finally seeing the split-up of these three, but it’s ultimately for the best. E has been fantastic as a singles star lately and Kofi & Xavier will breath new life into RAW’s tag team division which, frankly, desperately, needs it. It says a lot about New Day both as individuals & as a trio that they’ve lasted over half a decade with no break-ups or dissension whatsoever.
The New Day defeat Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro & Sheamus via Pinfall in 14:45
- New Day show off their tag team offence one last time – Xavier and Kofi in particular ahead of their RAW move, using an Irish Whip/Standing Stomp combination as Kofi tags in in the early going.
- As the match progresses, Nakamura & Sheamus use under-handed tactics to keep Kofi near their corner – isolating him from the rest of his team.
- Kofi hits SOS to take down Sheamus and manages to get the hot tag on Big E, who clears house.
- Xavier and Big E hit the Midnight Hour to pick up the win, with the three getting emotional and thanking each other in the aftermath as Cole calls them ‘one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history’.
Analysis: Incredibly fun last match for New Day – It’s been a LONG while since I’ve seen a tag match this good! This has everything that makes them great encapsulated into one: Tag team combinations galore, Big E’s power, Xavier’s ingenuity and Kofi’s high-flying offence. Cesaro, Sheamus & Shinsuke were the perfect opponents for New Day in their last match – especially considering the history Cesaro & Sheamus have with them as The Bar – and it made them look great too.
Otis Interviewed By Kayla Braxton
— WWE (@WWE) October 17, 2020
- Kayla asks Otis how he plans on dealing with Miz after he’s taken away so much from him and Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn interrupts.
- Zayn says Otis has already lost so much and that he’ll probably lose the MITB contract as well as ‘in life, there are winners and Otises.’
- Otis pushes Zayn to the floor after Zayn basically calls Otis a loser,
Analysis: If Otis is Zayn’s next IC challenger, then I am all for that. Zayn pointed out a lot of Otis’ flaws during this, including that Tucker usually speaks for him and now he’s gone, so hopefully this gives Otis a chance to flesh himself out on his own. Not that he hasn’t been great, but I’d like to see more from him – especially while he’s still got the MITB contract.
Daniel Bryan Makes His ThunderDome Debut, Multiple Interruptions
- Bryan says he loved being home with Brie & Birdie but ultimately he couldn’t wait to get back and experience the ThunderDome for himself as well as all the new talent on SmackDown after the draft before Seth Rollins interrupts.
- Rollins asks Bryan what side of history he’s on and if he’s fighting for the Greater Good – Bryan ultimately attacks him after one verbal jab too many and clears him from the ring after a number of Yes Kicks.
- Rey & Dominik Mysterio make their entrance and corner Rollins in the ring before Murphy seemingly runs out to aid the ‘SmackDown Saviour’ before attacking Rollins himself.
- Murphy offers a handshake to Rey & Dominik but the two walk away without taking it, with both still suspicious of him.
Analysis: I am SO excited for the possibilities that this segment lay bare: Rollins Vs Bryan, Rollins Vs Murphy, hell I’m even excited to see Rollins Vs Rey or Dominik with the new SmackDown coat of paint on it. Murphy seems to be beginning his SmackDown career as a face which opens up a whole new set of possibilities for him and I’m really excited to see what they do with him.
Street Profits defeat Bobby Roode & Dolph Ziggler via Disqualification, retaining the SmackDown Tag Team Championship in 1:30
- Roode & Ziggler start off strong hitting an Elevated Famouser combination right off the bat for a near-fall.
- The challengers beat down Ford in the corner and get themselves disqualified after Ziggler refuses to return to his corner after tagging out.
- Ford clears the challengers from the ring with a Frog Splash, just after Roode & Ziggler hit a Spinebuster/Zig-Zag combination on Dawkins.
Analysis: A disqualification so early was a little disappointing but the minute or so these two went was surprisingly great! Looks like Roode & Ziggler will be challenging at HIAC which is something different which the Street Profits really needed after beating basically every team on RAW. And, as much as Roode & Ziggler can be somewhat bland at times, Roode’s absence until recently should hopefully allow them to stay fresh for the duration of this feud at least.
Sasha & Bayley’s Hell In A Cell Contract Signing
- Adam Pearce resides over the contract signing as Sasha & Bayley make their entrances.
- Bayley says her reign was all her doing and that Sasha has been waiting to turn on her all this time, but Bayley beat her to the punch. Sasha refutes this by saying that if she wanted to betray Bayley she would have done it years ago and that she’s been at Bayley’s side during the biggest moments of her career.
- Sasha signs the contract and says it’ll be the icing on the cake to take the SmackDown Women’s title from her inside Hell In A Cell. Bayley walks away after refusing to sign the contract, with Sasha calling her a coward & saying that Bayley will sign it ‘one way or the other.’
Analysis: This is the kind of promo we’ve been waiting years for between these two – I got major flashbacks to the builds to Takeover Brooklyn & Respect from this. There’s so much history between these two to build off of that the story kind of writes itself but Sasha mentioning she’d supported Bayley when she got left behind in NXT, when she won the RAW Women’s Championship and when they won the Women’s Tag titles was a great touch. And of course Bayley wouldn’t sign the contract! Why would she? Great segment and character work from both!
Roman Reigns defeats Braun Strowman via Submission, retaining the Universal Championship in 10:40
- The match was built up throughout the night with FOX contributors giving their predictions on who would walk out Universal Champion. As the match starts, Jey Uso is seen watching from gorilla position and Goldberg could be seen as part of the ThunderDome.
- The power of both is shown off almost immediately with Reigns knocking Strowman down before Strowman returned in kind by knocking Reigns over the barricade with a running tackle.
- Reigns hit a Spear after low-blowing Strowman but the ‘Monster Among Men’ managed to just kick out. Reigns tried for another but Strowman countered into a Running Powerslam position before Reigns locked in a Guillotine Choke to pick up a submission victory.
- Jey Uso came out to confront Roman in the aftermath and Roman brutalised Strowman in front of him with a Spear and several steel chair shots whilst saying “If I can do this to him, imagine what I can do to you”.
- Roman offers the chair to Jey to give him a free shot on him, but Jey seems hesitates. As Roman turns around smiling, Jey loses his patience and hits him with a Superkick and delivers multiple chair shots before being pulled away by producers. Reigns hits a Superman Punch on him and says that that was Jey’s last chance as the show goes off the air.
Analysis: A dominant showing from Reigns like we’ve never seen before. His past encounters with Strowman have been a very back-and-forth display so to see him defeat the ‘Monster Among Men’ so quickly with a Guillotine Choke of all things was very refreshing to see and added to the thought that this is a whole new Roman Reigns we’re seeing. The post-match angle was great too and really showed how much the Universal Champion is getting under his cousin’s skin, with Uso breaking through his hesitation to attack the champion after weeks of torment. I’m more excited than ever for their Hell In A Cell I Quit showdown!
This was one of best episodes of SmackDown I’ve seen in a long time and it did a fantastic job of introducing most of the newly drafted roster following the draft. Even the lowest point of the show, the quick disqualification finish to the tag title match, felt like it had a purpose and didn’t waste my time because the little we saw made me eager to see more.
The high points of the show include the New Day’s defeat of Cesaro, Nakamura & Sheamus, giving the trio an emotional but impressive final match together; Daniel Bryan’s ThunderDome debut, which set up the possibility of multiple feuds all in one ten-minute segment, and the Universal Championship main event, which showed yet another new facet of Reigns’ new persona whilst adding another layer to his intricate feud with Jey Uso. I am very very excited for the future of the brand following this show and I hope we get more like this down the line.
Keep an eye out for all the news coming out of SmackDown as well as live results for RAW, SmackDown, NXT, AEW Dynamite & NXT UK every week right here at Inside The Ropes.