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WWE SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Oct. 2, 2018): Difficult Explanation

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WWE SmackDown Live returned last night (Oct. 2) from the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. Find all the results in the bloggiest live blog that ever blogged right here.

Painted In

SmackDown had to somehow follow up from last week’s rather ridiculous ending. When SDLive went off the air last week, Samoa Joe was ringing the doorbell at AJ Styles’ house when the champion was at the arena unable to do anything about it. This type of ending is tough to follow because it’s mixing the serious theme of a home invasion (or at least harassment) with the weird world of wrestling. They did the best they could but it still had a ton of holes.

Paige opened the show addressing the issue, what she called the worst crime in WWE history. She said that Joe never entered the house. They called the authorities who were able to get there in time.

I don’t know how they’d get there in time since they’d have to contact the authorities for wherever Styles’ in-story house is. (He’s billed from Gainesville, GA so I assume that is where the kayfabe Styles’ house is.) I’m not sure how that works, but I would think it would take awhile. There’s no way that the cops would get there THAT quickly. So did Wendy see who it was and not answer the door until the cops got there? Was she not home? Did Joe sit on the porch with a doll for 15 minutes until the police showed up?

Paige then went on to say that she spoke with the higher ups and they all decided to fire Samoa Joe. That makes sense! Of course he should be fired! Especially if she considers this one of the worst crimes in the history of the promotion.

But when she called AJ to tell him, she learned that he already dropped the trespassing charges and wanted to fight Samoa Joe in Australia. Because of that they didn’t fire him.

Which in itself is pretty ridiculous. If Joe is that dangerous, WWE should fire him. They don’t have to listen to AJ. He doesn’t make the call. AJ saying “Nah, it’s OK. Let me fight him instead” shouldn’t be enough for them to change their mind. But that’s usually how it goes in all wrestling.

Then we got a message from Styles, who felt he didn’t want to leave his house after last week. But it wasn’t as much because he felt he should be with his family as he wanted to make sure Joe was on the plane to Australia before he left his house.

Styles tried to be the shaken yet determined champion, and he was decent, but he doesn’t have the chops that Joe has. And to sell this story, which is always bordering ridiculous, you need very good. Not pretty good.

In the end, they did their best to explain away the ending of last week’s episode, which is a tough spot. (Granted they painted themselves into that corner so it’s on them.) However, it was an explanation that is pretty dumb if you stop and spend any real time thinking about it. Not that it ruins the show or anything like that. We’ve come to expect these ridiculous turns in wrestling (it was just last month that the Shield were in front of a judge after being arrested within an hour on a holiday), but if they’re going to tell these stories, I reserve the right to point out why they’re so ridiculous.

Wrestling is silly and it’s part of its charm.

The match on Sunday should be very good. It’s “Must be a winner” which is very vague. (It’s not a buried alive match, even though AJ worked that into his promo.) But it’ll be good.


That Night in Milwaukee

Aiden English revealed his video, which was meant to be incriminating evidence that something scandalous happened with Lana in Milwaukee.

Aiden was taping himself working on some songs to insult Wisconsin’s largest city when Lana knocked on the door. She walked in and told him, “I want you.” That’s when Aiden cut the video, saying that he has a deal in the works with TMZ to show the entire thing so he can’t tonight.

Surely, the rest of that sentence will be the explanation. It’s probably something like “I want you to be part of Rusev Day,” given she had once conspired to try to get Rusev to kick Aiden to the curb. Perhaps she felt guilty and realized Aiden was a good fit with them? It would also address that loose thread, a thread that lingers making Lana a bit of a heel when it came to the Rusev/Aiden relationship.

Is this story a bit “icky” as my colleague Sean described it? Maybe. But it’s not one that bothers me in the slightest. It’s obvious that Lana didn’t sleep with Aiden English. The Artiste is just a heel trying to break up the relationship that he feels is the reason he’s no longer part of Rusev Day.

Given we’ve already had a much longer “problems with the relationship” angle when Lana dated Dolph Ziggler (sigh), I do hope this is a brief angle and not something drawn out.


Take What’s Mine

For my money, Becky Lynch is the best thing going right now.

A combination of good storytelling, great character work, and maybe even a little help with some miscalculation by WWE to fire up the passionate fans more, has her as an extremely hot act right now.

It’s odd too because she’s definitely not a “good guy”. She’s clearly a heel in her actions and her words. But because the story that led to her change of heart made so much sense, and because fans were so attached to her prior, they refused to turn their backs on her. In fact they dug in more when WWE seemed to try to force fans to boo her. So she’s pretty much a pure heel that gets babyface cheers.

It works though. Her promo was fantastic. She didn’t have any problem telling us that she’s the biggest star at the Super Show-Down, even making sure to mention that the big Triple H/Undertaker match could take a backseat to her. That takes a fair share of boldness to claim you’re bigger than the highly touted legends match. But that’s what makes her so great. She no longer cares what people think of her because that way of thinking only got her losses and betrayal. Again, it’s something people can easily identify with.

It will make booking a bit tough though. The Portland crowd tonight loved her and booed Charlotte mightily when the Queen had heard enough and brought the fight to the champ. Charlotte is completely righteous in her anger and received a villain’s welcome for it. Perhaps these extremes will just be specific to Charlotte, but Becky isn’t going to be the type of heel who will be able to get a babyface over (which is their main job) because she’s too damn over herself.

They can still tell plenty of great stories with her though. They’ll just have to get creative to make sure they get the reactions they want.


Untimely Loss

Despite having a big match in Australia on Saturday, Daniel Bryan picked up a loss against Shelton Benjamin this week.

It was due to a Miz distraction, but it’s odd to see someone who has a big PPV match take an L to someone who isn’t on the show. Hopefully this means they’re actually going to do something with Shelton, who has been lost in the fray since the brand split.

They continued to put over the story that Miz will do whatever it takes to win while Daniel Bryan has a sense of honor that holds him back. That’s a great addition to the story and is something they can work into the story of the match on Saturday. Little details like that always enhance a feud.


Vicious

Tye Dillinger demanded a match with Randy Orton after the Viper attacked him last week.

Despite soon being tortured by Orton, this was the best of Dillinger on the main roster. His brief flurry of offense showed a passion we don’t see from the Perfect 10. The briefest feud with Randy Orton gave him a chance to show some intensity for a change.

Unfortunately for Tye, Randy Orton then shoved Dillinger’s finger in the turnbuckle and pulled, presumably breaking it. It wasn’t as nasty as the Jeff Hardy piercing bit, but Orton has done torture style brutality very well since his heel turn.


All the Rest:

New Day Cooks: The Bar interrupted a New Day baking segment to beat up their opponents at the Super Show-Down. It was a typical beatdown outside the fact they interrupted a New Day cooking show where they introduced their special pancake chef Mr. Bootyworth. Just that name alone made the segment worth it.

Unfortunately for Chef Mr. Bootyworth, after the Bar disposed of the New Day, they poured a bunch of pancake batter on him. Those villains!

MMC: The Fabulous Truth (R-Truth & Carmella) defeated Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega in a match that was pretty much a mini-advertisement for the Mixed Match Challenge. And like all MMC matches, it was pretty fun but also rather unessential. It also made me more disappointed that Andrade and Zelina aren’t actually in the MMC. They seem made for it.

Empress Rolls: Asuka submitted Peyton Royce ahead of their tag match in four days. While Asuka’s booking has been quite underwhelming, she still only has four losses under her belt and one of them is a tag loss where she didn’t get pinned. That’s still pretty damn good for whenever they want to heat her back up again.


Overall this was an enjoyable show. The AJ/Joe stuff was pretty silly when given any thought, but in a way, that’s the fun of it.

Grade: B

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