WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from October 16
This week's SmackDown continued to build up next week's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, but there were also two big returns on Friday's show.
Daniel Bryan was back after being away from the ring for several months, and Goldberg appeared for the first time since losing to Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 36.
We also saw Jeff Hardy take on the recently returned Lars Sullivan. The Street Profits had their first SmackDown tag title defense against Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, and Roman Reigns had a confrontation with Strowman.
This week also marked The New Day's farewell to the blue brand after Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were drafted to Raw.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's SmackDown.
Here are the segments WWE advertised ahead of Friday's show:
- Bryan returns to the ThunderDome.
- Goldberg returns to WWE.
- The Street Profits vs. Roode and Ziggler
- Hardy vs. Sullivan
- Reigns and Strowman meet face to face.
Jeff Hardy vs. Lars Sullivan
The season premiere opened with the roster on the stage while Triple H and Stephanie McMahon stood in the ring. They hyped the segments scheduled for the show.
It took all of two minutes before the whole roster started brawling. The fight spilled into the ring after Stephanie and The Game made a quick escape. It ended with Jeff Hardy hitting Lars Sullivan with a Twist of Fate.
Their match began after the break. The Charismatic Enigma tried to get the upper hand again, but Sullivan ran him over like a steamroller.
The Freak threw him across the ring and hit a sliding clothesline for a quick two-count. Hardy rolled out of the way to avoid a huge splash from the top rope and unloaded with a flurry of right hands.
Hardy dropped him with a Twist of Fate, but Sullivan was back up before he could hit a Swanton. He grabbed Hardy and hit the Freak Accident for the win.
Needless to say, Sullivan is problematic. We are not going to go into everything here, but if you want to know why, a quick Google search will tell you everything you need to know.
Controversy aside, there is nothing to separate him from every other powerhouse on the roster. He has no discernable personality beyond wanting to cause destruction and a look that is too generic to stand out.
This match was fine. Hardy is great at selling and can make anyone look good. This one just didn't stand out as anything special.
The New Day vs. Cesaro, Sheamus and Shinsuke Nakamura
Kingston, Woods and Big E came out and delivered an emotional promo about how they won't be a trio anymore after the draft split the group.
Cesaro, Sheamus and Shinsuke Nakamura gave a quick interview backstage about how they are looking forward to ruining The New Day's farewell match.
We returned from a break to see Woods and Nakamura already fighting in the ring. Kingston came in and hit a double stomp for a near-fall.
The next several minutes were a series of tags and double-teams by the heels. They kept Kingston isolated until he was able to break free and make the tag to Big E.
Cesaro was able to take the big man down, but a tag to Woods allowed The New Day to hit a double-team for a two-count. The next few minutes saw both teams trade big moves back and forth.
Woods and E hit Midnight Hour for the pin and the win. They embraced in the middle of the ring to celebrate their win.
The promo before this match was as real and genuine as it gets in pro wrestling. These are three guys who were floundering when they formed a group six years ago and elevated each other to the top of the tag team division.
It's unlikely they will be apart forever, but the emotion was still real as they talked about their love for each other. As far as the match that followed is concerned, it was a standard six-man bout designed to give The New Day a nice send-off.
Cesaro, Sheamus and Nakamura are all great at what they do, so they were able to play the part of the heels who put the good guys over as well as anyone.
A lot of fans are upset WWE is breaking up the group, but giving Kingston, Woods and E one last match together was a nice gesture. Let's hope this leads to a lot of success for everyone involved.
Daniel Bryan Is Back
Bryan made his triumphant return to SmackDown and talked about how much he has missed the WWE Universe and how much he loves the ThunderDome. He waved to Brie and Birdie on one of the screens before talking about how excited he is to be back.
He said he couldn't wait to get back into the ring with some of the new faces before Seth Rollins came out on the stage. He said it was good to see Bryan, back but he did it in his usual villainous way.
They traded some insults, and Bryan taunted Rollins until the SmackDown Savior attacked him. The Yes Man returned the favor with a running clothesline and a flurry of Yes Kicks.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio came out as Rollins tried to run away. Rollins foolishly thought he could get Bryan to fight by his side, but he left The Messiah alone. Murphy ran to the ring to stand next to Rollins but ended up attacking him to officially sever their alliance.
The feud between Rollins and Mysterio has dragged on a bit too long, but it was satisfying to see Murphy finally take out the man who has abused him for weeks.
The Mysterios were unwilling to accept Murphy's handshake, but it's just a matter of time before they form an alliance.
It's always nice to see Bryan, and having him back on SmackDown will open up a lot of possibilities for different feuds.
The Street Profits vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler (SmackDown Tag Titles)
Ziggler and Angelo Dawkins started for their teams with a fast-paced exchange. Roode was quick to tag in and stomp Dawkins into the mat before hitting a nice vertical suplex for a two-count.
The Glorious One brought The Showoff back in for a double-team move, but Montez Ford broke up the pin. The ref ended up calling for the bell when everyone refused to stop brawling and get out of the ring.
The challengers beat up Dawkins a bit before Ford took them down with a huge crossbody to both guys. Ric Flair was shown watching on one of the screens with a huge smile on his face.
This match was incredibly short and ended with a disqualification. It's obvious WWE is going to continue this feud, but it didn't want to commit to anyone getting a win right away.
Had the match at least had a few more minutes to be exciting, it might not have mattered that it ended dirty because they would have given us more to look forward to in future encounters.
The blue brand does not have an abundance of tag teams at the moment, so these two teams will probably have several opportunities to fight again in the coming weeks.
Banks and Bayley
Bayley and Sasha Banks were out after a commercial break to sign their Hell in a Cell contract. Adam Pearce oversaw the proceedings.
Banks wasted no time signing the contract, but Bayley jabbered on a bit about how The Boss was baggage she was happy to dump.
The Role Model said Banks is just angry because she didn't turn on Bayley first, but The Boss reminded her of all the times she had her back.
One of the best details about this segment was how uncomfortable Bayley looked as Banks told her the hard truth about why she has been the champion for so long. It was a great bit of character acting from the champ.
Refusing to sign the contract is something we rarely see in these segments. It made Bayley look scared and gave Banks the upper hand.
This wasn't groundbreaking, but it was a fantastic display from two characters who will forever be linked by their years-long storyline.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (Universal Championship)
They locked up and fought for control until Reigns dumped Strowman out of the ring. As The Monster Among Men tried to get back in, The Tribal Chief drilled him with a Superman Punch.
Reigns maintained dominance over the big man for quite some time. The former champion caught him in midair and slammed him into the ring post before throwing him over the announce table.
We returned from a break to see Strowman still in the driver's seat. He ran into a boot in the corner before The Big Dog sidestepped him into the ring post. He recovered quickly and chokeslammed Reigns for a two-count.
As the champ kicked out, he hit a low blow just like he did to Jey Uso during their match. He hit the Spear, but Strowman kicked out at two. He went for a second, but when Strowman caught him, Reigns attempted a guillotine submission. Surprisingly, Strowman tapped out.
Uso came out on the stage to watch as Reigns hit Strowman with a Spear. Reigns told him to come to the ring, but he waited with a steel chair. He told Uso that he doesn't want to hurt him like Strowman before he hit the big man with the chair a few times.
Reigns put the chair down and turned around to give Uso a chance to hit him. His cousin refused, but when Reigns turned around, he decked him and nailed a superkick. He picked up the chair and smashed Reigns across the back a few times. As the officials held him back, Reigns popped up and hit a Superman Punch.
Ending the match with a submission was an interesting decision. Reigns is not known for using holds, and Strowman has rarely ever lost this way, so it made The Tribal Chief look even more dominant.
The storyline between Uso and Reigns continues to be entertaining, but at some point, Jey needs to look like he is capable of beating his cousin, and so far, we haven't seen that.
The match between Reigns and Strowman was physical just like all of their previous encounters, but having a HIAC match already scheduled made the outcome predictable.