WWE is in Saudi Arabia this Friday, or at least I think they are. They’ve not been very clear on the matter. This week’s episode of SmackDown Live was centred around the matches that will take place in Saudi Arabia Parts Unknown for the all-male PPV, Crown Jewel. Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review.


– AJ Styles defeated Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Championship.

– Big (Gangrel) beat Cesaro in a Trick or Street Fight.

– Shinsuke Nakamura made short work of R-Truth.

– Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton and The Miz in tag team action.


It’s a YES from me:

AJ Styles opened the show admitting that he kicked Daniel Bryan in the head last week on purpose. In order to write Daniel Bryan out of going to Saudi Arabia, the Yes Man said he wanted to hit Styles right there and then, to which the champ said they shouldn’t wait until Friday and instead fight now. Shane McMahon returned work to make the match official, calling for a referee and signalling the start of the match. The match was a taster of what we might get if these two are allowed to take the stage at one of the big four PPVs with both men exchanging strong offence and signature moves. However, it would be Styles that would retain his title after countering the Yes Lock into a modified Styles Clash, then rolling Bryan into the Calf Crusher for the submission victory. Immediately after the match, Samoa Joe attacked both Styles and Bryan. In a later backstage segment, Paige would announce AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE title at Crown Jewel.

In another backstage segment, Paige asked Charlotte if she would do the honours of captaining the Smackdown Women’s team at Survivor Series. Charlotte, now lacking in confidence after her Last Woman Standing defeat to Becky Lynch at Evolution, said she didn’t think she was the right woman to lead the SmackDown women’s locker room. Paige asked Charlotte to think about it before giving an answer. Ironically, the now overconfident Becky Lynch cut a scathing promo on Ronda Rousey naming the Baddest Woman on the Planet as her opponent for Survivor Series.

The night’s main event saw the four WWE World Cup representatives from SmackDown go against each other in tag team competition. The babyface duo of Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio defeated the heel combination of The Miz and Randy Orton via pinfall after Mysterio hit Miz with a 619 which was followed up with a Swanton Bomb from Hardy for the win. In typical “outta nowhere” fashion, Orton laid out Hardy, Mysterio and Miz with an RKO straight after the match.


Ah hell no:

There was some promotion for the WWE World Cup Tournament with vignettes from Jeff Hardy and The Miz. The former cutting yet another uninspiring promo in a darkened room with his face covered in paint and Miz respectively declaring why they are “the best in the world”. Shane McMahon gathered all SmackDown competitors for the World Cup competition and informed them that if they lose to a Raw superstar on Friday, they’re no longer welcome on SmackDown. Sort of cutting their nose off to spite their face. Not the best choice of words given the setting for the pay-per-view.

The New Day came to the ring as Gangrel, Edge and Christian for Big E’s Trick or Street Fight against Cesaro. Although The New Day dressing up as The Brood was a pretty funny gag that provided a couple of “blood”-spitting spots, it did little to further their feud with The Bar and Big Show. In fact, Sheamus was also in some kind of fancy dress which goes directly against the “silliness” he accused New Day of only a few weeks ago. The match between Big E and Cesaro came to a close when the former hit the Big Ending to pick up the singles victory.

The United States Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated R-Truth via pinfall in a match that served little to no purpose at all. Nakamura is currently in an empty programme with no story which is disappointing to see considering he was one of the most entertaining people on the NXT Roster just a couple of years ago.

SmackDown’s Crown Jewel:

– The Bar (c) (with Big Show) vs The New Day for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

– Jeff Hardy vs The Miz in a WWE World Cup Quarterfinal match.

– Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton in a WWE World Cup Quarterfinal match.

– AJ Styles (c) vs Samoa Joe in a singles match for the WWE Championship.

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver