The following article contains spoilers for the October 18th edition of WWE SmackDown. The episode was filmed on October 15th in Kansas City, Mo., and I was in attendance.
The show saw many high-octane moments at the SmackDown taping in Kansas City this week. Fans seemed to get emotionally involved in most of the matches and truly appreciated the performance of the talent involved.
CM Punk made a very rare appearance on SmackDown and took on Big E Langston for the second time in recent memory. The match was surprisingly back-and-forth, with Langston gaining the upper hand quite frequently throughout the match. The crowd was lively for every near-fall, as Langston repeatedly attempted to get the three-count over Punk. Eventually, the veteran Punk would earn the victory with his signature GTS.
Immediately following the victory, Punk's former mentor, Paul Heyman, would come to the stage. Never alone, Heyman was flanked by his current clients, Ryback and Curtis Axel. Heyman congratulated Punk on his victory over Langston, suggesting that Punk's competition in the match was inexperienced and not near the competition he would face at Hell in a Cell. Heyman continued on to remind the crowd that he was victorious over Punk at the recent Night of Champions pay-per-view with "both hands tied behind my back."
As the war of words between Heyman and Punk escalated, Punk invited the three men to come down to the ring to take the confrontation to a physical level. The men obliged, and Punk met them at the base of the ramp, attacking Axel before being overpowered by Ryback from behind. The "Paul Heyman Guys" tossed Punk back into the ring and created a standoff, as Punk realized that he could not overcome being outnumbered.
To seemingly make matters worse, Punk's opponent in the match he had just completed in, Big E Langston, also joined the three men in the ring. Langston, Ryback and Axel had Punk surrounded.
The crowd rose to their feet as Langston gave Punk a nod and turned to attack Curtis Axel, leaving Punk to handle Ryback in the meantime. Punk and Langston quickly dispatched the Heyman Guys and stood strong in front of a Kansas City crowd that was completely behind the face turn.
Langston and Punk exchanged a look of respect before Langston left the ring and headed to the back. Punk would celebrate in front of the fans as Langston headed up the ramp to the cheers of the crowd.
The Langston face turn is an interesting move and is made increasingly more captivating with the potential Curtis Axel feud that was teased. A rivalry over the Intercontinental title could help both men generate some interest and give the WWE a chance to evaluate the future of both men going forward. Paul Heyman's involvement will keep the fans' interest heightened as Axel and Langston get their footing.
Should Axel eventually drop the belt to Langston, it would continue to develop the conflict between Heyman and Axel and the disappointment that the mentor has shown in his client. It could lead to Axel no longer being a Heyman Guy and entering into a feud with Ryback around the end of the year.
Big E Langston has the potential to show just how entertaining he can be now that he has injected himself into a meaningful storyline as the face of the feud.
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