UPDATE: This preview was written before the reported confirmation that Daniel Bryan will not travel to Riyadh to work Crown Jewel.
On the eve of All Hallows Eve, WWE is in Atlanta for the last show before all the men fly off to Saudi Arabia.
It’s on tomorrow’s scary/delicious holiday that it looks like SmackDown might focus on Oct. 30. And maybe this is me burying my head in the sand (pun semi-intended), but I kind of hope WWE does double down on stuff like the advertised “Trick or Street Fight” between The New Day and tag team titleholders The Bar.
There’s a whole lot going on for the company, in kayfabe and in the real world. Like fallout from their first all-women’s pay-per-view (PPV) a couple days ago, which so far has been used to set-up a big match at Survivor Series. And continuing to set the stage for that Nov. 18 ‘Big 5’ event, which will once again have a brand warfare theme. And, of course, finishing the build for the controversial Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia this Friday (Nov. 2).
And based on the official preview for tonight’s episode, they will tackle most of those things. But that article on WWE.com leads with a trio known for throwing breakfast foods around in a Halloween-themed gimmick match. And I am 100% okay with that.
Big Show returned, turned and thankfully didn’t add his part of his name to Cesaro & Sheamus’ team moniker. They’re now a trio, just like the unit they took the belts from. Just a few days away from New Day’s rematch to try and reclaim the straps and become six-time champs, one member of The Bar will go head-to-head with either Big E, Kofi Kingston or Xavier Woods. At stake is... pretty much nothing. Which is as it should be for a no disqualification affair that’s certain to involve a pumpkin being put on someone’s head.
The story would indicate this should be serious business. Not only did Show’s latest heel turn help Cesaro & Sheamus become five-time champs on SmackDown 1000, the new trio destroyed the Princes of Positivity last week. But with the name they’ve given the match, and New Day’s history, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope for costumes, jokes and silliness.
Maybe I shouldn’t be hoping for a goofy distraction with so much real business and real-world drama to deal with. But I am. Bring on the costumes and candy corn.
The Title Scene
Actual drama awaits in the form of a promised confrontation between WWE champ AJ Styles and the man he’s supposed to face at Crown Jewel, Daniel Bryan. But there’s speculation and rumor Bryan may join John Cena in sitting out the event, and the wording of WWE’s preview blurb for tonight doesn’t do much to dispute or confirm that. Perhaps, after couple weeks of inadvertant assaults on one another during tag losses to The Usos, DB simply won’t show up when called out by the Phenomenal One? Maybe (gasp) the whispers of the Beard pulling out were wrong and we’ll get a traditional ‘go home’ segment? Either way, let’s hope they do this feud again someday, but with more of story.
Speaking of feuds we hope they do again some day, it was revealed on Raw that WWE is going ahead with a Women’s champion vs. Women’s champion match between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series. Will they do much to build that in two weeks beyond just hyping it as a dream match?
Thanks to some tweets, General Manager Paige remembered she’s got the United States championship on her show. So Shinsuke Nakamura will defend it against Tye Dillinger tonight. Since WWE is back on their “one night of the year when Raw and SmackDown collide” bull$#!+, hopefully this somehow starts the build toward Nak vs. Seth Rollins (or whoever has the Intercontinental title come Nov. 18).
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Crown Jewel’s World Cup tournament will kickstart the red vs. blue drama by ensuring the finals pit a Raw Superstar against a SmackDown one. We don’t know what they’ll be doing exactly, but WWE says that Team Blue’s entrants - Randy Orton, The Miz, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio - will be stiving to gain momentum on tonight’s show.
- What will the rest of the women’s roster do with The Champ set to face a member of the Raw roster at the next PPV? How does Charlotte Flair bounce back from losing a Last Woman Standing match at Evolution? Will this all be answered by a ten-person tag match like it was on Monday?
- If last week’s quick win over Aiden English is any indication, it looks like the Rusev Day break-up angle is already over. Will the Bulgarian Brute & the Ravishing Russian focus solely on Mixed Match Challenge glory from here on out?
It’s the Evolution fallout / Crown Jewel ‘go home’ show! And only three weeks until Survivor Series!
What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?