Complete Report Card and Predictions Following WWE SmackDown for October 25
Every week here on Bleacher Report, I will take an in-depth look at SmackDown, recapping all of the action, offering analysis and grading the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show, as well as provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.
Hell in a Cell is Sunday, which means this show was WWE's last chance to lay the groundwork for the pay-per-view.
Every match scheduled for Sunday was addressed in some way, and a couple of other possible matches could end up happening after events unfolded on the show.
But that's Sunday, and this is about SmackDown. Let's get right into the show with Michael Cole's interview with Triple H.
Michael Cole, Triple H and Daniel Bryan
Michael Cole kicks off SmackDown with an interview with Triple H. The COO says that Stephanie fired six people who helped Big Show hijack the satellite feed on Monday.
Trips said he can't talk about Big Show, so Michael Cole moved on to John Cena's return. Triple H said he is happy Cena is returning and the match on Sunday for the world title will be epic.
Cole asked about the WWE title match, and Triple H said he is happy Shawn Michaels was chosen as the special guest referee. He said HBK is the right man for the job because of his history inside the cell.
Daniel Bryan came out, and Cole left the ring. Triple H didn't even look at Bryan for the first minute he was in the ring. Trips said nothing and left after Bryan screamed "Yes" in his face over and over.
The interview would have been a lot more effective had it been shot like all the other interviews Cole has done with Triple H recently and then shown in little pieces throughout the night.
The interaction between Bryan and Triple H wasn't anything special, and it unfortunately didn't end in anyone getting punched in the face.
The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
This was a quick, but decently entertaining match. The Usos are an exciting team to watch, and The Wyatt Family is always reliable as good heels.
There was no promo from Bray Wyatt before the match, which made sense once The Usos picked up the victory.
This was a good way to make The Usos look strong heading into Hell in a Cell, even if Miz did get involved a little right at the end.
Some notes from the match:
- The Usos using the double superkick to win the match was a nice change from their usual Superfly Splash.
- Bray Wyatt has not been handled properly since his debut. His team is not having the impact it should have had after those awesome video packages WWE used to introduce them.
- Later in the evening we saw Miz tied up in back by The Wyatt Family. They painted "LIAR" on his body and put a sheep mask on him. This is the kind of creepy stuff Wyatt should be doing every week.
- I'm still shocked that WWE hasn't set up face-painting booths so kids can look like The Usos. I think a lot of kids would line up for something like that.
Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee
AJ picked up a submission win in a very short match. The funniest part about this match is that the best highlight was Brie Bella being thrown into the steel steps by Tamina in a very stiff-looking spot.
There isn't much more to say about this match. Nothing spectacular happened, and it certainly didn't give any clues as to who will walk out of Hell in a Cell as Divas champion.
Los Matadores vs. 3MB
The Real Americans came out on the stage to watch the match, reminding everyone of their feud with Los Matadores.
Los Matadores picked up the win in another short match that did not really accomplish much of anything. Zeb Colter delivered a promo after the match that featured his usual immigrant material.
Some notes from the match:
- JBL seems to have turned a corner. He was cheering for El Torito instead of mocking him like we have seen in recent weeks.
- I am a little surprised WWE hasn't received more backlash for having bullfighters as characters. Bullfighting is a sport with a lot of controversy.
Ryback and Paul Heyman vs. CM Skunk, Alberto Del Rio Promo
Paul Heyman brought out some guy dressed as CM Punk with a white stripe painted on his head. Ryback and Heyman destroyed this kid in the no disqualification handicap match.
Heyman hit Skunky dozens of times with a kendo stick. The guy who took the beating deserves credit for taking a number of hard hits and selling them well.
I actually kind of enjoyed watching this. Seeing a squash match is usually pretty boring, but this was especially brutal, and Heyman looked like the amazing heel that he is.
Some notes from the match:
- Either WWE edited them out or there were no Goldberg chants during the match.
- Whoever played CM Skunk is going to have a lot of bruises in the morning. A kendo stick is non-lethal, but it can do a lot of external damage.
- After the match we saw Big E Langston talk his way into the main event after Miz took off following his attack on Bray Wyatt.
Alberto Del Rio's promo wasn't significant enough to earn its own slide, so I threw it in with this one.
Del Rio has had to sell this feud all on his own since John Cena has not yet returned, so it is no surprise that his promos are getting more and more repetitive.
Without Cena to play off of, Del Rio is just repeating himself every week, but hopefully the match exceeds the buildup.
Fandango vs. Khali
This match was thrown out after Natalya and Summer Rae had a fight that spilled into the match and caused the ref to call for the bell.
Summer Rae hit Nattie with a hard slap before they went into the ring. Fandango tried to separate the girls, but he got a chop from Khali that put him down.
This wasn't even really a match, so I don't think it should have a grade.
Some notes from the fight:
- Michael Cole gave Runjin Singh a shoutout during the match.
- Summer Rae looked almost like a cartoon as she ran away from Natalya.
- Is WWE still trying to say Nattie and Khali are in a relationship? Because that's confusing since we all know she just married Tyson Kidd.
The Shield and Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan, Big E Langston and Rhodes Brothers
If you ever wanted to know why you don't see more eight-man tag matches in WWE, you can reference this match's entrances. Exactly six minutes passed between the moment Daniel Bryan's music started to the ring of the bell.
Any match not involving The Undertaker should never even come close to that amount of time for entrances. And why they had Cody Rhodes and Goldust come out separately and waste 48 seconds is a mystery.
Yeah, I timed it. After the first time I watched the entrances I realized that it took longer for everyone to come out than half the matches had in ring time during this show, so I timed it and it was six minutes flat for everyone to come out.
These eight men really took their time, which did not make the match feel rushed or disorganized like most eight-man tag matches we tend to see. But that also meant it felt a little slow at times.
Both the heels and the faces had control for long periods of time, which was helped by the fact that the last half hour was devoted to the match and its annoyingly long set of entrances.
Everyone looked good in this match because they all had a chance to be on the offensive and defensive at different points in the match.
Daniel Bryan came in toward the end and ran through everyone, and he eventually picked up the win for his team with a pinfall on Randy Orton.
Some notes from the match:
- It's going to be so weird to see The Shield wear different outfits whenever the team decides to break up. Wearing real clothes in the ring and wearing tights has to feel very different for them when they're wrestling, too. At least Ambrose lost the tactical vest.
- JBL referenced Back to the Future, and now I want to watch it. Subliminal messaging or just a great movie?
- I don't think I heard a single reference to Legacy while Orton and Rhodes were in the ring. That's a little disappointing.
Final Thoughts and Predictions
This was a pretty average episode of SmackDown. Some stuff worked, and some stuff didn't. It didn't really feel like the final show before a PPV.
The main event was good, but it moved a little slow for an eight-man match. All the major storylines were addressed, and we had a new match added to Hell in a Cell.
Hopefully, Sunday's PPV lives up to the hype.
- Kane will return at Hell in a Cell.
- Vince McMahon will return the following night on Raw.
- Other than the WWE title, we will see at least one new champion at HIAC.
- Big Show will play into the WWE title match somehow.
What did you think of SmackDown, and what are your HIAC predictions?
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.