WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 6
WWE's SmackDown brand turned its attention to the Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 18, producing a show Tuesday night that featured heavy promotion for the classic Big Five extravaganza.
Who qualified for the brand's traditional Survivor Series matches? What did Becky Lynch have to say in response to Ronda Rousey's promo on Raw?
Those questions and more were answered on an eventful episode of the USA Network presentation.
Shane McMahon and Paige Kick Off SmackDown
SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon kicked off this week's show, less than a week after controversially winning the World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel. He was joined by general manager Paige, who took a photo with the prodigal son and his newly won trophy.
McMahon and Paige ran down the inter-promotional matches fans can expect at Survivor Series and introduced Daniel Bryan as Team SmackDown captain.
Bryan said he is honored to be selected as team captain, but the arrival of The Miz cut his promo short. Miz was flabbergasted that he was not chosen as captain. After presenting his argument, he listened as McMahon named the fierce rivals co-captains of Team SmackDown.
This was a creative way to create tension and an intriguing bit of storytelling for the coming weeks.
Bryan and Miz are noted rivals, so it will be interesting to see how they coexist ahead of a match that is significant to the brand overall. Can they put their differences aside, and if so, will Raw be able to present a team anywhere near the quality of the blue brand's?
At a time of the year where WWE Creative typically becomes lackluster, to say the least, this was a nice and unexpected wrinkle.
The Usos vs. The New Day
The right to captain SmackDown's traditional tag team Survivor Series match was up for grabs Tuesday night as longtime rivals The Usos and The New Day's Kofi Kingston and Big E battled in a red-hot, energetic bout.
Neither team gained much of an advantage, the action back-and-forth for the majority of the contest.
Late, Kingston showed some frustration that is uncharacteristic of the cool, calm and collected babyface. It opened him up for a double suplex attempt to the floor by Jimmy and Jey Uso.
A spear from Big E wiped out Jey at ringside. Back in, Kingston retained control, setting up Jimmy for a headscissors from the top rope. Uso countered, though, and delivered a powerbomb. The top-rope splash followed, and The Usos scored an impressive and hard-fought victory.
The Usos defeated The New Day
The Usos and New Day are incapable of having a bad match.
This was fast-paced, energetic, explosive in spots and featured the type of competitiveness you would expect from two teams that know each other as well as these two do.
That Jimmy and Jey named The New Day to the Survivor Series team anyway was a great tip of the hat to the fact that they may not like each other, but they damn sure respect each other after the many in-ring battles they have waged in recent years.
Becky Lynch Promo
SmackDown women's champion Becky Lynch responded to Ronda Rousey's promo from Monday's Raw.
Lynch said that it may have been cute for Rousey to poke fun at the jobs she had before she got to WWE, but here she is, excelling. She iterated that she would be coming for Rousey's arm at Survivor Series, not the other way around.
She ended the promo by issuing a challenge that was answered by the debuting Nikki Cross, who was accompanied by Killian Dain, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe.
Cross repeated over and over, "let's play," to which Lynch said the champ doesn't play.
Becky Lynch is the best thing going in WWE.
Her promo here was convincing and really portrayed her as the underdog who overcame a lot to get where she is, even if her attitude has not necessarily been that of someone you want to support.
The debut of Cross was interesting and really came out of nowhere, given how sparingly Sanity has been utilized over the last six months.
The match between the two should be fun.
Nikki Cross vs. Becky Lynch
Making her SmackDown debut, Nikki Cross battled Becky Lynch in what was somewhat of an internet fan's dream match.
The women's champion took the fight to Cross, but the unhinged NXT export used the ring apron to her benefit, tripping up Lynch, trapping her and unloading with a series of forearms to the chest.
Lynch regained control, targeting the head and neck of her opponent.
Cross responded, mounting a spirited comeback complete with a cross-body block from the top rope for two.
The Lass Kicker recovered, though, and tapped Cross out to the Dis-arm-her for the submission victory.
Lynch defeated Cross
Cross looked good here in her first exposure on SmackDown, hanging move-for-move with the top woman on the SmackDown roster. Most importantly, the credibility Lynch has right now means Cross loses nothing in dropping a match to the champ.
The question now is whether Cross is a permanent fixture of the main roster or if her call-up was based solely on the show emanating from the UK.
Lynch continued to shine here, arguably as good as she has ever been. That bodes well for her showdown with Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series.
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas
In their first match under the WWE umbrella, Rey Mysterio battled Andrade "Cien" Almas for the right to represent Team SmackDown at Survivor Series.
He would struggle early, caught midair and slammed into the guardrail ahead of a commercial break.
After Mysterio dodged a double-knee attack in the corner, the action picked up considerably, the match taking fans on a roller coaster, as neither man was able to secure control of the bout.
Almas fended off one 619 attempt, but after the action spilled to the floor one more time, Mysterio delivered his trademark maneuver and finished off Almas with a top-rope splash for the win.
After the match, Randy Orton dropped Mysterio with an RKO from out of nowhere.
Mysterio defeated Almas
Trying to supply play-by-play for a match as fast-paced and back-and-forth as this one would do it a great injustice. Was it earth-shattering? No, but it was damn fun and a sign of great things to come between the two if WWE Creative wants to pair them up for an actual program.
Almas looked like a star here, hanging with Mysterio and nearly beating him more than once. In the end, the future Hall of Famer withstood his attack and earned the victory and a spot on Team SmackDown.
Orton's RKO suggests the rivalry between him and Mysterio will continue. Given the fact that we never got that one great match out of those two, a second chance for the extraordinary is welcome.
Paige Discusses Women's Survivor Series Match
Paige introduced the SmackDown audience to the women who will represent the brand at Survivor Series.
Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka and Mandy Rose made their ways to the ring, but the general manager was quick to inform Rose that she would not be taking Charlotte Flair's spot.
Rose reminded everyone that she was the one to eliminate Deville at Evolution in the Battle Royale. She took shots at the women around her before a brawl broke out. She eventually came face-to-face with her tag team partner Deville, but despite all attempts by the audience to goad them into fighting, they did not.
Instead, Rose walked off, leaving Deville stunned by the events that had just unfolded and wanting to talk things over.
It feels like too little, too late when it comes to Rose and Deville, as their tension dissipated exponentially since Evolution over a week ago. It was not addressed on the following SmackDown, and very little was made of it by fans in the wake of the Battle Royale.
The SmackDown team is not nearly as impressive as the Raw team will be, with Asuka really standing out as a woman wholly underutilized and mismanaged by the writing team.
Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
The more dynamic Jeff Hardy controlled the early portion of Tuesday's main event against Samoa Joe, seeking to earn a spot on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. A back elbow just before the commercial break halted Hardy's momentum, though, and allowed The Samoan Submission Machine to take control.
Hardy fought back into the match with a clothesline off the guardrail to Joe. With Daniel Bryan and The Miz watching on commentary, Joe countered the Twist of Fate with a Coquina Clutch. Hardy broke free of the clutches of his dangerous opponent with a jawbreaker and a Twist of Fate for a big pop.
Joe got his knees up just in the nick of time, though, blocking an attempt at the Swanton Bomb. From there, he finished Hardy with the Coquina Clutch for the win.
After the match, Bryan responded to Joe's taunts by trapping him in the "Yes!" Lock. Miz ran his mouth, and Bryan turned his attack to him. Shane McMahon attempted to break things up but was slammed by Bryan, who left the arena to close out the show, the other members of Team SmackDown watching from the squared circle.
Joe defeated Hardy
The SmackDown creative team has done a fantastic job of creating tension among the representatives of the blue brand at Survivor Series. There is so much dislike, and now frustration from commissioner Shane McMahon, that fans will have the opportunity to see them either overcome their differences and score a win or succumb to the dissension.
The Bryan cliffhanger is really strong stuff in that the once-proud leader looks like the malcontent after slamming Shane and walking out on his team. Whether he can regain their trust is the question for next week's show.