WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from October 23
This week's SmackDown was the go-home show before Hell in a Cell on Sunday, which means it was WWE's last chance to book more matches before the pay-per-view.
Prior to SmackDown, management had only booked four bouts for the event, one of which will see Roman Reigns defend the Universal Championship against his cousin, Jey Uso.
The Tribal Chief revealed the additional stipulation to their match on this week's show, and we also saw Otis head to court to fight The Miz for the Money in the Bank contract.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on the final episode of SmackDown before Hell in a Cell.
The KO Show
SmackDown opened with Kevin Owens in the ring for another episode of his talk show. He made a quick joke about the draft before introducing his guest, Daniel Bryan.
They talked about how they look forward to facing each other again in the future, and KO asked Bryan what he wants to see on SmackDown. Bryan talked about wanting to see the best young talent showcased on the show.
Owens said he brought Bryan out to talk about the tag titles. He mentioned how he has never been a tag team champion and Bryan said it's because KO has betrayed a lot of friends.
Before they could talk any further, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode came out to talk some trash. It wasn't long before The Street Profits joined the party. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura soon arrived to voice their complaints.
A huge brawl broke out as the show went to a commercial. We returned to see the eight-man tag match already in progress. It was the usual multi-team setup. All eight guys had a few good spots before they tagged out to someone else.
Bryan landed hard on his right knee, and the opposing team spent several minutes focusing on making the injury worse. After the obligatory sequence with every competitor, Montez Ford hit a huge frog splash for the win.
The idea of pairing Bryan and Owens together is very interesting. They are both main event talents who need something to do while they wait for a spot to open up in the universal title scene. This could be it.
Bryan bringing up Owens' past betrayals was almost like WWE wanted to plant the seeds for a breakup right away, so this union could end up being short-term.
The opening segment was a cut-and-paste brawl and talk show, but the talents involved made it watchable. The match that followed was fine. Everybody played their part well, but this was just as forgettable as every other random multi-team bout we see on a semi-regular basis.
It would have been better if Bryan and Owens faced one team alone, but this was a decent way to kick off the show.
Bianca Belair vs. Zelina Vega
Bianca Belair backed Zelina Vega to the corner to get the match going. Vega slapped her across the face and Belair made her pay by throwing her to the mat.
The EST countered a headscissor takedown with a front handspring. She took Vega down and hit a standing moonsault. Vega hit a few kicks and a hurricanrana before Belair knocked her down with one hard right hand.
Belair literally deadlifted Vega off the mat and dropped her on the top turnbuckle before hitting the KOD for the win.
It's about time WWE started using Belair. She has been on the main roster for months just waiting for her chance to shine, and she looked great in this bout.
This was quick, but it was long enough to allow both women to show off a few of their skills before The EST finished Vega off with her signature move.
Both of these Superstars are capable of great things. Let's hope we get to see more of both of them in the near future.
Chad Gable vs. Lars Sullivan
Kayla Braxton interviewed Chad Gable before the match. He said he is fed up with not getting drafted, and he decided to call out big man Lar Sullivan in order to get back on the right track.
Shorty G tried to hit a crossbody from the middle rope right away, but Sullivan caught him and threw him across the ring. He smiled as he propelled Gable into the air and let him fall back to the mat.
Gable actually managed to get in a few surprising shots before Sullivan sent him into the corner and flying across the ring with a throw.
WWE is still trying to make Sullivan matter. Nobody is asking for this, but we are going to get it whether we like it or not. After the match, Gable told Braxton that he quits.
This was a typical squash. Nobody will remember it by the time the show is over. Gable quitting could lead to a return to NXT, which would be the best place for him.
The Boss Gets the Signature
Bayley sat in the ring and said she is annoyed she even has to address why she didn't sign the HIAC contract last week to face Banks.
After she ranted a little, The Boss came out with the contract in hand. Bayley tried to hit her with the chair, but Banks ducked it and picked up the belt.
Banks eventually forced Bayley to sign the contract while holding her in The Bank Statement with some help from the chair. She posed with the title over her former friend and promised to take the title from her.
This was short and effective. Delaying the contract signing until this week didn't make much sense, but Banks and Bayley are so good together that they made this segment work.
Bayley has become one of the best heels in all of WWE. She is really stepping up her game as a solo act and Banks has fallen back into the babyface role with ease.
Their match on Sunday could easily steal the show. Regardless of who wins, this will not be over any time soon.
Law and Otis
The first segment began with Ron Simmons acting as the bailiff to introduce judge JBL. The Miz talked over his own lawyer while Otis represented himself. The opening statements were quick and to the point.
The second segment saw Rey Mysterio, Asuka and Tucker give their testimonies. Teddy Long had a quick cameo as the court reporter.
JBL returned after the break to give his verdict. He said Otis has done nothing wrong and was about to rule in his favor when The Miz said he had one last piece of evidence. It was a briefcase filled with money. JBL looked at it and immediately ruled in Miz's favor.
He ordered Otis to battle The Miz at Hell in a Cell for the MITB contract.
This had some humorous moments, but it wasn't nearly as funny as WWE wanted it to be. A huge opportunity was missed by not including David Otunga.
It was also predictable. It was obvious this would all lead to a singles match at HIAC for the contract. If WWE books Miz to win, then Heavy Machinery was broken up for nothing.
JBL, Simmons and Long were the best parts. John Morrison just kind of sat there, and Otis barely said two words.
Murphy vs. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins gave a quick interview before the match where he talked about how he would have fun beating up Murphy. They locked up and fought for control in the corner.
The Messiah taunted him and kept calling him a disciple until Murphy grabbed his arm and wrestled him to the mat in an armbar. Rollins reversed the hold and decked him in the face after a few more counters. The Juggernaut returned the favor with a punch of his own. He sent Rollins out of the ring and backdropped him on to the announce table.
We came back from a break to see The Savior of SmackDown in control. Rey and Dominik were shown asking Aalyah why she was watching the match backstage. Murphy started to fight back and nailed a missile dropkick.
He sent Rollins out of the ring again and hit a big dive over the top rope. He hit Rollins with a huge meteora but appeared to hurt his shoulder and wrist when he landed. He rolled out of the ring to pop his shoulder back in, and Rollins used the opportunity to hit a suicide dive.
He scored a near fall and looked shocked when Murphy kicked out. We returned from another commercial to see Rollins hit a buckle bomb. Murphy fired back with a knee to the face for a close two-count. After several close calls, Rollins hit The Stomp for the win.
Aalyah tried to get Rey and Dom to help Murphy when Rollins grabbed a kendo stick, but they wanted to stay out of it. She went to the ring to plead with The Messiah to stop as he unloaded on his former disciple. Dom eventually came out, and Rollins took him out. This led to Rey making the save with a chair.
The storyline with Aalyah and Murphy is strange given their age difference, but the match between Rollins and Murphy lived up to expectations.
This showdown should have taken place at a PPV, but getting it on SmackDown is fine as long as it's not their last encounter. They worked well together and will only get better as they face each other more.
The Juggernaut's arm injury seemed like it would be an easy excuse to give Rollins the win, but Murphy ended up looking even more resilient by fighting through it.
This is the kind of match Murphy used to have every week on 205 Live, and it's great to see him get the chance to perform at this level again.
Roman Reigns Names His Stipulation
Reigns and Paul Heyman came to the ring, but before they could talk, Jimmy Uso appeared in Reigns' special suite. He revealed himself, and Jey attacked Reigns from behind.
Uce grabbed a chair, but The Tribal Chief kicked him in the face. Uso fired back with a superkick and climbed up to hit a Superfly Splash. Jimmy joined his brother on the stage to celebrate, but Reigns quickly recovered.
He asked for the mic and told Jey that if he lost on Sunday, Uso will have to acknowledge him as his Tribal Chief and fall in line or both Usos are out of the Anoa'i family.
After the cell lowered around the ring, Jey climbed up the wall and stared down at his cousin.
WWE rarely uses the twin magic trick for the Usos, so it worked in this segment perfectly. The added stipulation certainly upped the stakes for their match quite a bit.
The threat of being cut off from the most prestigious family in pro wrestling is huge. Both Usos and Reigns made this another great chapter in this ongoing story.
This was a great way to send us into this weekend's event. The match between Reigns and Uso is going to be epic.