WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 8
Travel issues robbed fans of a showdown between Roman Reigns and King Corbin, but Friday night in Manchester, England, The Big Dog and the former Raw general manager squared off in a hard-hitting main event.
That contest, featuring two of the blue brand's highest-profile full-time performers, headlined a show that featured a tag team title bout between The New Day and The Revival as well as Sasha Banks' return to the squared circle, as she battled Nikki Cross.
Find out who emerged victorious from the night's bouts, who picked up much-needed momentum heading into Survivor Series and what it means going forward with this recap.
King Corbin Kicks Off SmackDown
The 2019 King of the Ring kicked off this week's episode, addressing his opponent in the night's main event, Roman Reigns.
He talked trash on The Big Dog, mocked his bark and dared him to bring his "small testicles" to the ring.
Reigns did not respond, and Corbin vowed to beat him later in the show.
What was the point of a promo segment designed to set up a main event match we already knew was happening?
This accomplished nothing. At all.
It was a waste of the time given to it and, worst of all, doubled as a poor example of Corbin's excellent heel work. A big thumbs down on a segment that started the show.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day vs. The Revival
The New Day and The Revival rekindled their rivalry in the night's first in-ring action, as Kofi Kingston and Big E challenged Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder for the SmackDown tag team championships.
Heading into the break, Wilder suffered an apparent injury and was writhing in pain as the official checked on his status.
Back from the commercial, Kingston launched himself over the rope, wiping the champions out at ringside. Big E tossed Dawson and Wilder around with suplexes, and Kingston scored a near-fall off an SOS to the latter.
Wilder reversed a uranage attempt, and Dawson tagged himself in, joining his partner for a double-draping DDT. The Revival scored a close two of their own, but it was New Day who finally picked up the victory with Trouble in Paradise by Kingston, while Big E held Wilder.
The New Day defeated The Revival to win the titles.
The commercial break greatly hurt the flow and overall quality of the match.
That Michael Cole and Corey Graves referred to the win as some sort of redemption for Kingston after losing the WWE championship was head-scratching. Kingston lost the top prize in the industry in a humiliating five seconds. His dream turned into a joke in the blink of an eye. Returning to the status quo of the tag team division is not a redemption story.
With that said, New Day is one of WWE's top acts, and their holding the tag team titles makes sense as the company tries to find its footing on network television. Too bad it had to come at the expense of Wilder and Dawson.
Shorty G and Ali vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Moments after NXT's Imperium attacked Heavy Machinery, Shorty G and Ali took to the squared circle for a match with intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro on heightened alert for another attack by the invading brand.
Ali and Shorty G kept the heels off-guard early, using an array of speed and technique to fluster Nakamura and Cesaro. At one point, The Swiss Cyborg appeared to injury his ankle, but he shook it off to catch Ali with a big pop-up uppercut.
Late in the match, Daniel Bryan watched from the entrance ramp as Cesaro shoved Ali from the top rope. Nakamura delivered the Kinshasa, and the heels picked up the win, much to the delight of Sami Zayn, who celebrated with his tandem as Bryan watched intently.
Cesaro and Nakamura defeated Ali and Shorty G.
The action here was never-ceasing and added up to a fun sprint of a match. The outcome was almost secondary to what it set up, though.
The idea of a faction including Zayn, Nakamura and Cesaro is appealing. The idea that Bryan may soon find himself embroiled in a rivalry with them, leading to extraordinary in-ring content, is mouth-watering for die-hard wrestling fans.
With the potential for Ali and Shorty G to benefit from working with that crop of talent, this was a win-win scenario—if WWE Creative stays the course and does not abandon ship.
Nikki Cross vs. Sasha Banks
Nikki Cross sought to reverse her fortunes of late as she squared off with the returning Sasha Banks, complete with a remixed version of her theme song as performed by her cousin Snoop Dogg in singles competition.
Cross survived an early onslaught by The Boss and sent her flying into her friend, SmackDown women's champion Bayley, heading into the break.
The unpredictable babyface again fought from underneath and found herself on the offensive late in the bout. The competitors exchanged a series of near-falls, neither able to put the other down for the count.
Banks eventually delivered the backstabber and followed with the Bank Statement for the submission win.
After the match, Bayley attacked Cross until NXT women's champion Shayna Baszler attacked again. She hit and ran as Banks returned to check on her friend.
Banks defeated Cross.
This was yet another match that was hampered by the commercial break, as it took away the entire middle section of the bout, leaving Cross in control heading in and fighting from underneath coming out of it.
With that said, it was nice to see Banks get back to her winning ways, and Baszler's attack was a good way to keep her involved with Bayley after a superb promo with Becky Lynch on Monday on Raw.
As great as Bayley's heel turn was a few weeks back, it feels like the momentum has diminished of late. Hopefully, it can be rekindled before she becomes just another heel in a company full of them.
The Fiend Attacks Daniel Bryan
During a backstage confrontation between Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan, universal champion "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt attacked Bryan, leaving him lying with the mandible claw.
The lights faded to black, and the maniacal laughter of the dangerous competitor filled the screen.
We'll see if this is the start of a program or the latest random attack by The Fiend, but if it is the latter, fans should be excited about the coming weeks and months.
Bryan and Wyatt had a stellar match five years ago at the Royal Rumble, and while much time has passed since then, in-ring chemistry does not disintegrate.
Their styles are such that they complement each other well, and Bryan is such a talented in-ring performer that he will find a way to work around the Fiend character and deliver the quality of match Wyatt's reinvention deserves.
Tyson Fury and Braun Strowman Demolish The B Team
Tyson Fury returned to Manchester and discussed his upcoming fight with Deontay Wilder before turning his attention to his Crown Jewel opponent, Braun Strowman.
The Gypsy King came face to face with The Monster Among Men and suggested that the next time they fight, they do so as tag team partners. Strowman appeared taken aback but was open to the idea.
The B Team's Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas interrupted the proceedings and paid for it dearly, enduring a hard right hand from the boxing champion and a powerslam from Strowman to end the segment.
This was harmless fun that popped the crowd, set up a potential high-profile tag match if Strowman and Fury do team up and gave a taste of what that tandem may look like.
Fury put in the effort in Saudi Arabia but was clearly green and could benefit from a tag team situation, wherein he would only be asked to come in late, hit his stuff and be the star he is.
It would accentuate his positives, hide his negatives and put the spotlight on Strowman, who could use it in moments like this, when he doesn't really have anything else better to do.
Carmella and Dana Brooke vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Coveted spots on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series were up for grabs when Carmella and Dana Brooke battled Fire and Desire's Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose.
The heels isolated and beat down former SmackDown women's champion Carmella until a hot tag to Brooke sparked the comeback.
Brooke showcased her Flex Appeal, her raw athleticism on full display as she left her opposition reeling.
At ringside, she sent Deville into the steel steps. With the Total Divas star stunned, Brooke delivered a senton for the pinfall victory.
Brooke and Carmella defeated Rose and Deville.
The grade was hurt by the lack of time given to the match; it didn't have a chance to develop. With that said, the effort from Brooke, in particular, was strong. Despite how she was mishandled throughout her main roster run, she remains a potential breakout star waiting for the opportunity of a big stage.
She may very well have that opportunity at Survivor Series.
Why WWE Creative continues to cool down Fire and Desire is a question that only the writing team can answer. Both Deville and Rose have developed into a hell of a tag team whose characters mesh and abilities complement each other.
They should be bigger stars than they are, with greater roles on the show than they have.
Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Roman Reigns sought vengeance for the words spoken about him by King Corbin earlier in the show, and he wasted little time unloading on the villain early. The Big Dog rolled until former Raw tag team champions Dolph Ziggler, and Robert Roode appeared. Reigns blasted them with Superman punches, but the distraction allowed Corbin to seize control.
The King of the Ring wore Reigns down, working him over and grounding him as Ziggler and Roode watched. Corey Graves made note of Reigns' losing the locker room, suggesting that is why The Showoff and The Glorious One made their presences felt.
Reigns fought out from underneath and looked to be on his way to victory when he again encountered the interference of Roode. He blasted him with another Superman punch and flattened Ziggler with a spear.
That allowed Corbin to recover and deliver End of Days for the pinfall victory.
Corbin defeated Reigns.
Reigns and Corbin had a solid if unspectacular match. It was aimed more at continuing their program than ending it, and there is nothing wrong with that. What is, though, is interjecting Ziggler and Roode into the proceedings without rhyme or reason.
Yes, Graves made a mention of Reigns' losing the locker room, but that felt like a storyline from out of nowhere and their interference more of an excuse for Reigns to lose rather than to build either of the former tag champions into a significant presence on SmackDown.
Maybe that will change. Maybe Ziggler, Roode and Corbin will form a stable that will dominate on the heel side of things. As it stands, it felt a bit too thrown together.