WWE SmackDown Live (taped) returned last night from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. You can find all the results at a live blog that’s never pre taped right here.
Odd Couple Captains
Shane McMahon and Paige ended up making both Daniel Bryan and the Miz Survivor Series co-captains at the start the show and then tasked them to complete the team by the end of the night.
This is a rather creative way to keep their issues going in a different manner. Instead of fighting each other like they did the last few months, now they have to collaborate. Their odd couple pairing was evident right down to their attire. As Miz wore a three piece suit, Daniel Bryan rocked a hoodie and jeans. Keep it comfy, Daniel.
Their first pick was Shane McMahon. Miz made the pick, likely to suck up. The commish declined, but Bryan surprisingly agreed with Miz. That convinced Shane to accept. There was some early unity between captains.
They’d actually agree on a few things, which weirded both men out in some great comedic moments. After despising everything about the other for years, just the idea of agreeing felt dirty.
Daniel Bryan suggested Rey Mysterio, but Miz wasn’t sold. He’d watch Rey’s match with Andrade “Cien” Almas and then decide.
That’s right, Mysterio vs. Almas.
We were treated to this match, and it delivered. We haven’t seen Almas on TV for about a month after he had been featured for awhile. His return was in a losing effort, but he looked good against the future hall of famer. I’d sign up for a rematch.
After the match, Orton delivered an RKO to Mysterio, likely upset that Rey beat him in the Best in the World™ tournament. That or Rey wouldn’t shake his hand. Either one.
Even with the post match RKO, Miz agreed that Mysterio looked good and agreed to add him to the team.
The final spot was decided when both men picked a wrestler to fight. Bryan picked former TNA champion Jeff Hardy. The Miz picked former TNA champion Samoa Joe, of who he claimed “my guy always comes through in the clutch.” Apparently the Miz doesn’t count title matches as a clutch situation.
Miz questioned if Bryan would be able to keep his cool and co-exist with Joe if necessary given Joe’s attack on Daniel last week.
Turns out Miz was right to be worried.
Joe tapped Jeff Hardy and then got right in the face of Daniel Bryan afterwards. Bryan couldn’t take it and attacked Joe, putting him in the Yes Lock. Miz pulled Daniel off but Bryan punched him as well. When Shane McMahon came out and tried to pull Bryan off Miz, Daniel tossed him and walked off.
This was an intriguing ending to this show-long arc. As they teased getting along for the good of the team, it was Daniel Bryan who couldn’t keep it together. In a way, Bryan’s attack on Joe was understandable. Joe put his body right in Daniel’s face. But he still couldn’t keep his cool to properly manage his team.
Now it’ll be Miz who has to keep Bryan in check if they want to succeed at Survivor Series.
The Man and the Twisted Sister
Becky Lynch had a response to Ronda Rousey’s promo from Monday, and to the surprise of no one, she nailed it.
Lynch hit on a couple points. She claimed she’s the only real champion between the two because Ronda has never been tried. She claimed that the fact she had to crawl to this position when it was never meant for her shows she’s really championship material. Becky doesn’t want Ronda’s respect... just her arm.
Some may say we’re just a Becky Lynch fan site at this point, and I do feel there’s only so many different ways I can say “Becky is the hottest thing going right now.” But what do you want from me? She IS the hottest thing going right now. It’s rare that we see someone find themselves and master a popular character like she has. It’s special, and I’m going to enjoy it every single week.
One of the most impressive things about this new Becky Lynch is it feels like 100% her. For years we saw her cutesy, punny attitude. We saw this on TV and in less kayfabe spots like UpUpDownDown videos. But if I met her today, I’d expect that her real persona is the one we see on TV. One that’s full of swagger and oozes confidence. I’d never expect the quinoa loving Becky we’ve been exposed to for many years. That’s how much she has this character mastered. When she cuts a promo, I believe she means every word.
On the other end, Ronda is still working on her promo game. She’s improved, but it still feels like she’s trying to act tough or be a badass. It doesn’t yet feel natural. If they put the two of them in the same ring with microphones, Becky would murder Ronda right now.
It wasn’t just a strong promo from Lynch this week. The champ fired herself up and asked if someone wanted to fight her.
She got Nikki Cross.
Introduced by SAnitY, who thanks to Nikki got to be on TV for five seconds, NXT’s Twisted Sister gave the champ a run for her money. No one can prepare for Nikki Cross, even those who know they’re going to fight her. But The Man got her to tap out.
Now Becky can be off to body some folks on Twitter.
Tag Survivor Series
The tag teams are going to have their own elimination match at Survivor Series. (This is probably why they brought the Lucha House Party to Raw - to have enough teams).
The Usos and New Day squared off to see who would captain the blue team.
These two teams can’t have a bad match together if they tried. This wasn’t part of the utterly epic feud they had last year, and we’d all understand if they held something back. They’ve been traveling around the world the last week.
But if they did hold back, I wouldn’t be able to tell. Because there’s just a chemistry between these two teams that can’t denied.
The Usos picked up the win and immediately picked the New Day to be on their team. The hatred that turned respect between these all-time teams feels special. Watching two sets of warriors earn the respect of the other and expressing that respect right after a fierce battle is something really cool.
The Women’s Survivor Series team didn’t get the time the men’s did, but then again, the entire episode was about building the men’s team.
But they did get some storytelling work done in the segment they had.
Paige introduced the team as Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka, and then Charlotte. But Charlotte didn’t come out. Mandy Rose did instead, after the Queen’s music played for a little bit.
Mandy was salty that her partner Sonya got the spot instead of her, despite eliminating her at the Evolution historic battle royal. Then she got into the face of the rest of the women and finally talked the wrong trash to Naomi. She was about to cop a beating until the women separated them.
A few things happened here:
- Charlotte didn’t come out, adding to the “Shook Charlotte” story my colleague Sean put over in his preview this morning. Last we checked, Charlotte was doubting herself after losing her friend Becky and then losing a feud to her. To come out tonight smiling about being on the team wouldn’t be in line with that. Now we continue to question her state of mind.
- Mandy Rose started shit with everyone this week, and thanks to an off comment about Jimmy Uso, could have a feud with Naomi in the future.
- The bigger feud is going to be with Sonya Deville, of whom she’s jealous.
- On the topic of Mandy, she had to carry a bit of a promo for awhile and did rather well with it.
This was a strong episode. There was a main story about the entertaining odd couple putting the SmackDown men’s team together. The women’s segment with the champ was very entertaining while the women’s segment putting their team together was also effective.
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