Just as they fired the first shot a few weeks ago, it would be the NXT brand that would deal the final blow on weekly WWE programming heading into this Sunday’s Survivor Series PPV. A DX-style invasion for the yellow brand has given RAW and SmackDown plenty to worry about. Welcome to the most must-see VultureHound review in history; welcome to… the SmackDown Review.


– Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Flair & Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat match.

– The Undisputed Era defeated the New Day & Heavy Machinery in an 8-man tag match.

– The Miz vs Daniel Bryan ended in no-contest when Bryan was attacked by The Fiend.

– King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defeated Roman Reigns, Mustafa Ali & Shorty G in a 6-man tag match.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43uzrcziqHw]

Bradley’s Best Bits:

This week’s show started with Roman Reigns opening up the shutters to SmackDown and inviting RAW and NXT to come and start a fight. This led to some bickering and division between Reigns and Corbin that allowed Sasha Banks to command the blue brand into battle this week.

The Boss led the SmackDown Women’s team to the ring and called Team RAW. This brought out her old rival, and RAW Team Captain, Charlotte Flair and, in turn, NXT Team Captain Rhea Ripley who challenged Sasha to a match.

Dissension in the SmackDown ranks was a recurring theme of the night that saw Banks lose focus by squabbling with Nikki Cross. Rhea Ripley would claim the win for NXT when she intelligently trapped Charlotte in a crucifix pin whilst The Queen had caught Banks in the Figure-Eight.

Sami Zayn unveiled a new Intercontinental title belt for his friend Shinsuke Nakamura which may or may not have anything to do with the fact Cody Rhodes was the one that brought back the previous white strapped belt in 2011.

The mouthpiece for the Artist made it clear that he believes Nakamura will win his triple threat match against Roderick Strong and AJ Styles on Sunday. This brought out the Undisputed Era who rebuked this claim by countering that they will win all of their matches at Survivor Series.

As Zayn and Nakamura retreated, the New Day emerged to challenge the NXT men after they were attacked last week. They were joined by Heavy Machinery who would ultimately be the fall guys in this 8-man tag team match after Otis received a high knee from Strong for the win.

Ahead of their Universal Championship match this Sunday, Daniel Bryan demanded that Bray Wyatt come out and fight him. Though the lights went out, when they came back on there was no sign of Wyatt or The Fiend. This led to a wonderful exchange between The Miz and Bryan where, even though they are both babyfaces, they hate each other enough to maintain an interesting dynamic in and out of the ring.

Whilst we did not get a full match between the old rivals, there were enough exchanges in there to keep us invested in what might again happen in the future. Just as Bryan was ready to finally restart his “yes” chant, the lights went out and The Fiend appeared in Miz’s place to choke out his Survivor Series opponent with the Mandible Claw.

After weeks of being the aggressor and attacking her from behind, Shayna Baszler made her way to the ring to call out Bayley, only for Bayley to this time sneak attack Baszler.

Things didn’t exactly go to plan for the SmackDown Women’s Champion as she tried to escape from Baszler’s clutch multiple times. She eventually threw the Queen of Spades into a steel post and barricade before retreating up the ramp.

The main event was a match that we have seen variants of over the last few weeks. Whilst it served mostly to push the lack of cohesion in the SmackDown team, it was yet another victory for King Corbin who slammed Ali with a Deep Six for the win and posed the question as to whether the self-serving King of the Ring could cost the Blue brand on Sunday.

It was the invasions from RAW and NXT after this match however which became the main talking point. An absolute ‘super brawl’ between all three brands took place when Rollins led RAW and Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg led the NXT army into the arena. The latter was a nice reference for the older demographic as it bore similarities to DX’s “invasion” of WCW.

Whilst we have the matches set for this Sunday’s PPV, the massive brawl that closed the show left us all wondering about the future possibilities between all the talent currently signed to WWE that could stretch way beyond Survivor Series.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKGOLSBnMFA]

For FOX Sake:

I don’t really have anything negative to say about the show this week!

Whilst it wasn’t perfect, and the old dudes helping invade SmackDown was cringy, it was a very consistent episode that did well to interweave the chaos of all 3 brands coming together to compete for brand supremacy.

I’m usually not a fan of the annually forced brand warfare that happens at Survivor Series, but the welcome addition of NXT and the interesting storytelling that comes with it has been a breath of fresh air that should culminate nicely this Sunday night.

Here is the full match card heading into Survivor Series:

– Adam Cole (c) vs NXT TakeOver: WarGames Triple Threat Match winner (Pete Dunne or Damian priest or Killian Dain) for the NXT Championship.

– “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship.

– AJ Styles (United States Champion) vs Shinsuke Nakamura (Intercontinental Champion) vs Roderick Strong (North American Champion) in a Champions Triple Threat match.

– Team RAW (Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, Ricochet & Drew McIntyre) vs Team SmackDown (King Corbin, Roman Reigns, ​​​​Braun Strowman, Mustafa Ali & Shorty G) vs Team NXT (TBD) in a 5-on-5-on-5 Men’s Elimination Triple Threat Match.

– Team RAW (Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Asuka, Kairi Sane & Sarah Logan) vs Team SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, Carmella, Dana Brooke & Nikki Cross) vs Team NXT (Rhea Ripley & TBD) in a 5-on-5-on-5 Women’s Elimination Triple Threat Match.

– RAW ‘s The Viking Raiders vs SmackDown’s The New Day vs NXT’s The Undisputed Era in a Tag Team Champions Triple Threat Match.

– RAW’s Becky Lynch vs SmackDown’s Bayley vs NXT’s Shayna Baszler in a Women’s Champions Triple Threat Match.

– Brock Lesnar (c) vs Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Championship.

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtYdB3fF-dQ]

All pics and videos courtesy of WWE

By Bradley Tiernan

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

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