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WWE SmackDown results, recap, reactions (Oct. 18, 2019): Mutual respect

I’m not a huge fan of starting a show with a title match that features a dusty finish, especially when that dusty finish is then used to set up the main event. But with that said, I can’t complain too terribly much when that decision gives us Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan squaring off in the ring.

The initial title match was Roman Reigns vs. Nakamura, of course, which came to be because of their “Big D” Twitter...feud? Argument? Essentially, Sami Zayn and Nakamura took umbrage with the fact that Reigns was drafted higher than them. That’s a good enough reason to have a title match, especially when it’s Nakamura vs. Reigns.

The problem? Freaking Baron Corbin, King of Ruining Nice Things. He hit Reigns with his scepter and looked all too delighted with himself until Bryan ran out to make the save.

Those four put on a really solid main event that was really about Bryan vs. Nakamura more than anything else. It’s a feud I’ve personally wanted to see for a long time, and Bryan’s inching further and further into babyface-dom with every passing show. He was flying around the ring in this one and ended up dodging a Kinshasa to pin the champion.

There’s a secondary story here as well that’s pretty neat: Reigns and Bryan are increasingly gaining respect for each other. A few weeks ago, there were demanded apologies and refused handshakes. On this show, however, Bryan was smiling as he offered Reigns his hand.

Not sure that goes anywhere – or even if it needs to. It’s just a neat character thing.

Oh, and Reigns is Captain of Team Hogan for that Saudi show now.

“Life sucks and then you die.”

...Well alrighty then, Bayley. Tell us how you really feel.

Miz TV led off the second hour and Bayley was the Miz’s guest to talk about her egregious slashing of the Bayley Buddies.

And it was...okay. It didn’t do too much to excite me for Bayley’s heel run, but it was also good enough to seem like it’ll be fun. The biggest disappointment of the whole thing was just how she said the stuff every good guy says when they turn. “I don’t owe you an explanation, I didn’t betray you, you betrayed me”...that sort of thing.

But with that said, she absolutely got the right response. They even showed that kid crying in a video package of her heel turn which is...wonderful. She just needs time to build something unique with this turn, and her newest challenger should be a good start.

Nikki Cross won the Six-Pack Challenge on this show which featured Carmella, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, and Lacey Evans. I wasn’t a huge fan of the match, but there were really only two people who could win, here: Cross and Carmella. Either would be great with their history with Bayley, but I think I prefer Cross getting the nod.

Bayley had a little program with Cross back when she was still a face and it seemed like Cross was going to get double-crossed by Alexa Bliss. The funny thing about that feud was how bad Bayley was at trying to show how Cross was getting manipulated. There’s potential to call back to that feud that will also help Bayley to establish herself as a heel.

The Rest

Chad Gable def. Curtis Axel – The idea that Chad Gable, a goddamned Olympian, would be distraught at being called short makes no sense to me. It makes even less sense to have him talk about having to look deep down inside after being called short. I get that I’m not the demographic for this new character he’s got, but I feel like I can ask – at the very least – for the angle to not offend me with its stupidity.

Cool to see Axel get a singles match after god knows how long, but the Shorty G stuff is just...not entertaining to me. The proper response to anything Baron Corbin is to point and laugh, not to embrace his idiocy.

New Day, Heavy Machinery def. The Revival, Robert Roode, and Dolph Ziggler – I liked this match simply because it was...simple. It was just meant to be good fun. There was no complicated story or messy finish, either. Otis got tons of cheers, and I totally get why; he’s just fun. There’re no expectations on him to be a champion or anything crazy. He just goes out and is his goofy, silly self.

It’s just a nice difference from some of the issues WWE has had lately.

One thing I do need to mention – Kofi Kingston’s reaction backstage when his title loss was brought up. He and New Day tried to do their positive thinking stuff, but he crushed the pancake in his hand. WWE needs many, many more character moments like that in their shows.

Braun Strowman def. Drew Gulak – Gulak was awesome here. I know the slideshow thing is an old bit from him, but it’s hysterical that he tried that while in the ring with Braun Strowman. I hope Gulak gets a chance to carve out a consistent spot on these shows.

I thought this show was a step in the right direction. Nothing here excited me or really got me invested, but it was also significantly better than many of their most recent shows. There are little moments that give me hope that it can continue to improve.

With that said, there’s some stuff that’s consistently featured that I’m completely over with. And it’ll continue to get featured, no matter how much I whine online. I’d imagine you can figure out what those things are.

Grade: C+

Your turn.

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