WWE SmackDown returns tonight (Oct. 30) from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. This is the fallout from last Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (PPV). They are building their way to Survivor Series on Nov. 22.
With Survivor Series a little less than a month away, that means at the one time of year where stars from Raw and SmackDown go head to head. You know, outside any time they use the Brand to Brand Invitational. Or whenever they feel like it to fit whatever they want to do.
The concept is fine. There will be championship exhibition matches between the champs from both brands and two traditional 5 on 5 elimination matches. But exhibition is all it should be this year.
The last two years, WWE tried to up the drama by creating an all out war between the brands involved. (Last year, this included NXT but this year, it will not.) So for a month, there were brands planning covert invasions of the other brand, even with the WWE Draft having just taken place so there was no real loyalty to those brands. It would usually start out hot but then become repetitive with predictable retaliations and an overall formulaic build to Survivor Series, where there are no real stakes but bragging rights that are never brought up again.
Let’s not do any of that this year.
The championship showcases and the traditional elimination matches are enough. We don’t need anything more. Instead, Raw and SmackDown should focus on their brand’s specific stories so those don’t go on the back burner for this manufactured war.
The things that Roman Reigns is doing on SmackDown are fantastic. There’s no need to slow that down for him to build the heel vs. heel match against Randy Orton. They can do both. Reigns or Heyman can mention Orton in a promo briefly and then they about their SmackDown business. They can juggle both while giving more spotlight to the story that’s going to still mean something on November 23.
There’s no need to do any more than that. There’s no need for invasions that the wrestlers have no motivation for. Tell the SmackDown specific stories while giving just a bit of the time to addressing the exhibition with Raw.
We’ll see if they can resist themselves over the next three weeks.
The Title Scene:
Roman Reigns retained the Universal championship and solidified his spot at the head of Anoa’i tribe’s table this Sunday. He beat the ever-loving tar out of Jey Uso, but Jey wouldn’t say “I quit” until Reigns attacked his brother Jimmy. This leaves the Usos as pretty much indentured servants of the Tribal Chief. Jey will learn what that all means tonight.
Bayley’s historic run as SmackDown Women’s champion is over. At Hell in a Cell, Sasha Banks defeated her former bff to claim the prize. But winning the title has never been an issue for Sasha Banks on the main roster. Retaining it has been, giving she’s never successfully defended a main roster singles title.
Sami Zayn is Intercontinental champion. It was looking like Otis may be gunning for him, but Blue Collar Solid has new issues. Zayn didn’t care for the things Daniel Bryan had to say about defending the IC belt every week, so it’s possible they are on a collision course for a WrestleMania rematch.
The Street Profits likely will have to defend their SmackDown tag team titles against Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode at one point. There aren’t really any other teams around.
The Women’s tag team champions are co-captains for Team Raw so I don’t see them handing out any title shots to the blue brand any time soon.
Other things to keep an eye on:
- Otis was betrayed by Tucker at Hell in a Cell, losing his Money in the Bank briefcase and best friend in a single moment. Tucker is on Raw now so it’ll be hard to run this feud, though there is that one night of the year that Raw and SmackDown go head to head coming up. Also, they’ll probably ignore their rules to run this program.
- After a loss to Lars Sullivan, Chad Gable declared he’s done with the name Shorty G. He’s going back to a name that doesn’t completely suck.
- It’s time for Big E to get his next singles program.
What will you be looking for when SmackDown returns tonight at 8 PM ET on Fox?