SmackDown has been on a roll as of late. The rise of Roman Reigns, claiming his rightful place at the head of the table alongside Paul Heyman. Bayley and Sasha showing how great women’s wrestling can be. And then there’s Otis. He’s been there too. We’re now just a few weeks away from Survivor Series, which is apparently featuring Undertaker’s final farewell but would they really do that in front of no crowd? I get it’s the anniversary and all but there’s no way he should be going out with no fans. He’s got to have one last big moment in front of those that have supported him this long. Anyway, I digress – let’s get back to some SmackDown action. Will Bayley regain her title? Who else will be on Team SmackDown? And will Jey Uso continue to fall in line?

SmackDown Women’s Title Match – Sasha Banks (c) vs Bayley

What a way to kick off the show this week. The two former best friends, Golden Role Models, and whatever else you want to call them. I like to call them two of the best in 2020 without a doubt. The story boils down to Banks never being able to defend a title successfully in her WWE career and Bayley has a point there in amongst all her ding-dongs. Part of me wanted Bayley to win because she had an incredible run as a heel champion but it feels like it’s time for Sasha to prove herself finally.

The match itself was good, not great. Unsurprising for an opening match on SmackDown, my expectations weren’t nearly as high as the match at Hell in a Cell. This just felt like a bit of a stepping stone to close the feud off, give Bayley her expected rematch as a formality, and then move Sasha on to other things. They did their best considering the short time and tried to make Bayley look like she was close to winning on a few occasions but I think we all knew deep down that The Boss was walking out as the champ still. Bayley tapped out to the Banks Statement and I do wonder what’s next for her.

As for who’s next for Sasha, we found out very quickly as Carmella attacked her at the top of the ramp and did a lot of posing over her after. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments about Carmella online, especially surrounding her vignettes etc, but I always thought she achieved more on the main roster than anyone thought she would coming from NXT. If she’s coming back as a cocky heel then I think that persona works well and will provide the perfect foil for the plucky Banks who I guess is a face these days. Funnily enough, I think The Boss works better as a heel character but hey it is what it is.

Falling in line

After last week’s despicable actions against Daniel Bryan, everyone’s got questions for Jey Uso. Why would he do that? First Kevin Owens caught up with him at the coffee table, cracking a joke that Heyman should be getting Roman’s coffee not Jey. That went down as well as you could imagine. Then Kayla dared to be a little sassy in her interview with Jey, which Heyman was concerned about because it hadn’t been authorised by The Tribal Chief himself. Kayla suggested that Paul had a better spot than Jey did. Ouch. This whole subservient storyline is an intriguing one and who knows how far Jey will go now. Heyman also makes for a perfect snivelling special counsel. The look on his face when Roman was angry that he didn’t know all about it? Absolutely perfect.

Survivor Series Team SmackDown Men’s Qualifier – King Corbin vs Rey Mysterio

After some backstage drama involving Rey not being able to find Aalyah, and then not being ready with his gear, and THEN getting attacked by Corbin backstage we finally got to the actual match. Unfortunately, it was far more focused on the Mysterio family drama than it was two guys having a decent encounter together. I think it could’ve been a good big man/little man dynamic and there were glimpses of hope there with some interesting moves but it really didn’t matter. We all knew what was coming.

Out came Seth Rollins to distract Mysterio and Dominik, and then Aalyah turned up with Murphy which, unfortunately, distracted her dad enough for the King to hit him with the End of Days to claim his place on Team SmackDown. Now I like the End of Days as a finishing move but you know what I’d rather have? An end to this storyline. When it all began and Dominik was having great matches and showing his skills then I enjoyed it because it was more about building a breakout star. But now? Week after week, it’s just soap opera rubbish and it’s not going anywhere. I don’t know how much longer they can drag it out for.

Survivor Series Team SmackDown Women’s Qualifier – Natalya vs Ruby Riott vs Zelina Vega

Well for a triple threat match it really didn’t get much time at all. I was hoping it might be Zelina’s chance to bounce back after losing to Bianca Belair but it wasn’t to be. She was taken down by a double submission where Natalya had her in the sharpshooter and Riott in an armbar but Natalya made the mistake of letting her go just before she tapped and Riott picked up the win. A really big win for Ruby and I’m all for it because she’s always been a solid and underappreciated talent. It’s just a shame that Vega lost again.

Big E rocks

He turned up again finally! I can only assume that they’re not really sure what to do with Big E yet so his appearances are a bit here and there at the moment but it’s nice to see him involved again somehow. The Street Profits tried to get him to give some insider tips about his New Day brothers heading into Survivor Series but obviously, he wasn’t going to do that. He suggested that if they lay down they won’t get beaten up too bad. Cue some awkward laughing between all three men which Billie Kay joined in on. She’s amazing by the way. She deserves more segments like that.

Survivor Series Team SmackDown Men’s Qualifier – Otis vs Seth Rollins

Oh wow. Let’s combine my least favourite thing about SmackDown in Otis with my other least favourite thing on SmackDown in Rollins and the Mysterio drama. I think Adam Pearce must read my reviews and want to punish me. Come on Adam be kind. At least Otis is getting a chance to move on from all his previous dramas and try to pick up a positive win by taking a spot at Survivor Series. Did we really think he was going to win though?

Once again this was more about the drama than it was the actual match. It’s a shame as both men’s qualifying matches really needed to build Survivor Series and make it seem important but they failed at that. Murphy came out, distracted Otis for some reason and the Friday Night Messiah managed to wrangle his way into Team SmackDown. Messiah reunites with Disciple once again – or does he? Aalyah was concerned backstage but Murphy told her to trust her. I really don’t care either way.

I hate bullies

Ah yes, we all loved the Lars sit down interview so much last time that they decided to do it again this week, only with Michael Cole there instead of Corey Graves. Lucky Michael. If you want to see a more entertaining version of this then go and find the Heidenreich segments with Cole on YouTube. That’s how you do weird and creepy. To be honest Lars did come across a little more comfortable and intense this time but I don’t really need to hear about him making kids eat glass or that weird screaming thing he does. He loves being a bully apparently. What a nice chap.

Jey Uso vs Kevin Owens

Well, this is awkward. Two men who have spots on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series and now they’re coming to blows because Roman Reigns is a manipulative bastard. He’s like a puppet master now. You have to feel sorry for Kevin as he’s trying to be a better person these days and make friends and be trustworthy but other people just push his buttons don’t they? To be fair to KO he does take responsibility for his own actions and says he’s his own man rather than Jey and Paul Heyman who are both just taking orders from Roman.

A good fight that was tough to get into because you just knew something screwy was coming in the end. Survivor Series is already breaking down. KO was getting the better of Jey but after distractions from Heyman and having Reigns’ music play, Jey took a page from his cousin’s playbook by hitting a low blow. One Uso Splash later and he’s picking up a win again. Not cool Jey. Not cool at all. Roman looked proud of that one as he held his title up high to end the show. The family is running SmackDown and I don’t know who’s going to stop them at this rate.

The best of SmackDown

  • Sasha Banks – finally learning how to keep that title around her waist.
  • Roman Reigns – there is nothing I like about this man at all and I love it.
  • Ruby Riott – a huge opportunity and a great win. I hope she shines at Survivor Series.
  • Big E – he’s got more charisma in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.
  • Billie Kay – she’s funny as hell and put a huge smile on my face.

The worst of SmackDown

  • Murphy, Rollins and the Mysterios – they’re still all far too good for this trash.
  • Team SmackDown qualifiers – too cheap and no importance given to the PPV.
  • Otis – sticking him in the middle of another rubbish storyline is not helping.
  • Sami Zayn MIA – come on, I need some IC title goodness.
  • Chad Gable – did I miss him somewhere?

In summary…

I have to say this week was one of the weaker efforts in recent times for SmackDown. I do really feel like the way they approached the men’s qualifiers for Survivor Series wasn’t great, and there was a lot of messy and cheap finishes this week too. I don’t mind the Roman/family stuff quite so much as at least that’s building an entertaining storyline which you can’t say for the Mysterio soap opera. It’s sad to see Sasha and Bayley come to an end but at least it was definitive and Carmella’s got some big shoes to fill there as the next contender. I hope they use the next few weeks to build Survivor Series a bit more as this week didn’t do much for selling it. It’s difficult enough to care about random matches with no build.

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