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SmackDown recap & reactions (Nov. 10, 2023): As the wrestlers turn

I had wondered how they would handle Rey Mysterio losing the United States championship to Logan Paul from the former’s perspective. Would they draw attention to the very obvious fact that it was Santos Escobar who left the brass knuckles right next to Paul, and directly led to his taking the title from Mysterio?

Not only did they draw attention to it, they made it a focal point of the story on Friday Night SmackDown this week.

How they got there was most interesting — while Mysterio was blaming Paul for cheating and being generally upset about that fact, Carlito hit the scene to say he was directing his anger at the wrong person. Paul may have cheated but it was Escobar who enabled that with his carelessness at best and maliciousness at worst.

Blame him, Carlito said.

Escobar wasn’t happy about this, storming off. Later, he and Rey outright went at it when Escobar allowed Carlito to get jumped by The Street Profits and Bobby Lashley. Escobar attacked Rey from behind, Mysterio responded with some fisticuffs of his own, and it looked like all was breaking down. Mysterio, the mentor, quickly tried to make things right and Santos made clear there will be none of that from here.

He put him into the pole, laid him out with the steps, and told the world “Rey had it coming” before bailing off for good.

The breakup is here.

The student is done with the master.

It’s time to see how well Santos swims.

Damage CTRL is going to be okay!

Bayley, upset about Kairi Sane showing up at Crown Jewel to help Iyo Sky retain the women’s championship and disrupting the plan the leader of Damage CTRL had, called out Sky for as much. She was also the one to draw attention to the fact that it was Bayley herself who took Sane out of WWE years ago.

Smart of them to acknowledge that and incorporate it into the story, something that is becoming commonplace in Triple H’s creative. You could even say it’s the new norm.

Damn, it’s nice.

As it turned out, however, Sane was eager to forgive Bayley, saying she acknowledges her as the leader of Damage CTRL and she is letting the past stay there. The group can stay together, with Bayley at the front of the pack.

Bianca Belair interrupted to make clear she’s not okay with any of this and thankfully there are others who also hate it/them. Charlotte Flair and Asuka joined her side, setting up a trios match for later in the evening.

That match, which was actually pretty sloppy overall, was where the money happened:

They built to what would have been a hot tag to Asuka and she refused it, instead spitting mist in Belair’s face and officially joining up with Damage CTRL.

Your LA Knight segment of the week:

We learned quickly how Knight would respond to losing to Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel and, all told, it was a solid take on the situation. He got robbed thanks to Jimmy Uso and maybe you think he’s going to sit back and take that but NAH NAH! He ain’t going out that way.

Instead, he’ll dismantle Jimmy, and anyone else in The Bloodline, and eventually he’ll get to Reigns and drop him on his head too. One day, LA Knight will be WWE champion.


Which, hey, what more could he say? He showed he can get as far as any man can possibly go against the runaway freight train that is Roman Reigns right now and that is an accomplishment in and of itself. The fans at SmackDown straight up told him that with their chants for him!

It was great!

The actual best way to put that in the rearview is to give him a punching bag to take it out on, and that punching bag was none other than Grayson Waller.


Good lord!

That’s the kind of talk that leads to an exchange of hands, and sure enough they had a match right after. Knight won said match clean with the Blunt Force Trauma, and he is right back on his way as a beloved babyface we’re all going to continue cheering on.

With everybody saying…

All the rest
  • Kevin Owens was a special guest commentator for this show on account of the fact that Corey Graves is out due to the birth of his child with Carmella. This was great news for us because, well, Kevin Owens is incredible at pretty much everything he does related to professional wrestling. I thoroughly enjoyed his analysis throughout the evening, in particular his use of the telestrator, and think they should have wrestlers do guest spots for entire shows more often. It’s a breath of fresh air.
  • Dragon Lee defeated Cedric Alexander in a straight up singles match designed, quite simply, to showcase how good both of them are. Lee went over, because he’s the guy getting the push, but they both looked good yet again and deserving of more television time, even if it’s just to have fun matches like this on television. Who could possibly complain about that?

Everything on this show was meaningful and they gave us a bit of everything, from a fun promo segment, a fun match, two fun turns, and a fun special guest commentator. A fun evening overall!

Grade: B+

Your turn.

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