WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 22

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2021

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 22

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE ushered in a new era of SmackDown Friday on Fox with a new roster and the same Universal champion that has reigned over the brand since August of 2020. 

    Roman Reigns survived his battle with Brock Lesnar Thursday at Crown Jewel, but the wedge between he and special counsel Paul Heyman grew larger, thanks to some questionable actions on the part of the godfather of extreme.

    What were Heyman's intentions in Riyadh, how did The Tribal Chief respond and what was Brock Lesnar's response?

    Find out with this recap of the October 22 episode.

Already Announced

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    • A new era for SmackDown
    • The official coronation of Xavier Woods
    • Raw, SmackDown Women's Championship exchange

Roman Reigns Kicked Off SmackDown, Brock Lesnar Wreaks Havoc

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    Credit: WWE

    Roman Reigns celebrated day number 417 as Universal champion by kicking off SmackDown, the commentary team recapping his victory over Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel along the way.

    Reigns called into question Heyman's allegiances, again, and said his special counsel isn't great at his job. He is, though, especially after carrying WWE for a year and a half. "I'm the greatest Universal champion of all time. You wanna know why? Because I smashed everyone. The list has gotten so long now, we can't even start at the beginning."

    He ran down the list of the stars he's beaten before coming to his latest conquest. "I whooped Brock Lesnar so bad, he's tweeting now!" Reigns laughed off The Beast's latest threat. He refused to leave the ring until Lesnar met him there so he could whoop him the second night in a row.

    Back from the break, Reigns continued to talk but as he teased his exit, Lesnar's music played and The Beast made his entrance, anger painting his face.

    He brawled with Reigns before sending him into the ring steps. Lesnar obliterated Reigns with the stairs, demolished The Usos and manhandled everyone from crew members to his fellow WWE Superstars. After forging a path of destruction, Lesnar stood tall, the Universal Championship held high overhead.

    After the second break of the night, Adam Pearce indefinitely suspended Lesnar for endangering the wellbeing of the WWE crew, to which Brock responded with an F-5.

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    From Reigns' growth as a promo to Lesnar's chaotic, violent retort, this was a long open but newsworthy. 

    We know Lesnar is not out of the title picture as a top contender but will be going away as he is now suspended. It keeps that eventual rematch alive but allows Reigns to move onto someone else, presumably Drew McIntyre or another new face to Friday nights.

    While some will argue about an entire quarter of television being devoted to such an angle that probably could have been condensed into half of that time, there is no denying that the fans responded, Lesnar solidified himself as a badass babyface and Reigns further established himself an insufferable ass.

    A great start to the show and one that felt like it actually meant something.

Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn

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    Credit: WWE

    Drew McIntyre hit the ring and issued an open challenge, caring not who answered, only whose ass he would kick. Sami Zayn answered and the former intercontinental champion reminded both McIntyre and the WWE Universe that he is the longest-tenured SmackDown Superstar. He vowed to prove he was the best after beating McIntyre.

    Zayn controlled the match coming out of the break but McIntyre fought back, delivered a neckbreaker and appeared poised to deliver Claymore. Zayn rolled out of harm’s way, hung his opponent up on the ropes and set up for the Blue Thunder Bomb. McIntyre fought out, delivered the Glasgow Kiss and followed with Claymore from out of nowhere moments later for the win.

         

    Result

    McIntyre defeated Zayn

         

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    This was a fun sprint of a match that saw McIntyre look like the Scottish Warrior that captured the attention of fans prior to his WrestleMania run a year ago. He was intense and no-nonsense, with a badass finish to boot. He was engaging, charismatic between the ropes and could slay even the biggest monster in his path.

    This was the McIntyre we lost when he finally won the title and took on a more traditional babyface role.

    Drew has been exceptional for well over a year now and should absolutely be at or near the top of the card on Friday nights. He will eventually challenge Reigns for the Universal Championship, it will be fantastic and it will serve as a reminder of how utterly great he has been since his rise to the WWE Championship two springs ago.

    Zayn was the perfect first opponent for him, the loudmouth heel who fans cherish the opportunity to see silenced. He sold everything great, shined in his own right and put McIntyre over, as expected, strongly.

Coronation of Xavier Woods

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    Credit: WWE of Fox

    Kofi Kingston introduced Xavier Woods, who won the King of the Ring tournament one day earlier at Crown Jewel by defeating Finn Balor in the final round. Woods received his cloak, scepter and finally, crown. 

    Woods said his reign would be fair and offered the fans in Wichita the opportunity to hear the king’s gospel. Kingston led the fans in chants and Woods paraded around in his new outfit. Kingston flapped his cloak for him as the fans cheered on the conquering babyface.

         

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    It was a great moment for Woods to be crowned king given how actively he campaigned for the role on social media. With that said, it was super disappointing that he didn’t have more to say, nor did the segment really go anywhere. It just abruptly ended, without the gospel he teased or any real closure.

    Woods as king will be a ton of fun and both he and Kofi are likely to have a blast with the gimmick. Hopefully, it leads to something of substance for the performers because they have certainly earned continued exposure at a high level on whichever brand they appear.

Mansoor vs. Mustafa Ali

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Mansoor defeated Mustafa Ali Thursday in his hometown of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Friday, he had the opportunity to make it 2-0 against the former cruiserweight champion in singles competition.

    Mansoor did just that, overcoming a concentrated and focused onslaught from the heel before countering a sunset flip and executing a jackknife pin for the win.

    After the match, a flurry of seconds-long promos introduced the audience to new faces, including Ridge Holland, Aliyah, Humberto Carrillo and Angel Garza, and Sheamus.

         

    Result

    Mansoor defeated Ali

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    This was a much more abrupt version of what Ali and Mansoor presented Thursday in Saudi Arabia. A greatest hits version, if you will. There was little time to really highlight their abilities, but the story of Ali’s mounting frustration over his inability to defeat his young pupil was at the forefront, making this an effective segment.

    Kudos to WWE for trying to make a star out of Mansoor, who has repeatedly proven to be up to the task at hand.

Hit Row's SmackDown Debut

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    Credit: WWE

    Hit Row made its SmackDown debut Friday, treated like stars right out of the gate with promos from Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, B-Fab and Top Dolla.

    From there, Dustin Lawyer and Daniel Williams provided the opposition for Scott and Top Dolla in a squash match. The latter tandem put Lawyer away with a sidewalk slam/kick combo, an exclamation point on the faction’s first main roster appearance.

        

    Result

    Top Dolla and Scott defeated Lawyer and Williams

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    All the main roster creative forces had to do was let Hit Row be the act it was in NXT and the debut would be a success. It did, it was and the result was the first appearance of a faction with the potential to do big things and thrive in big roles well into the future.

    Top Dolla is a charismatic big man, Scott is a talented and respected in-ring worker while both B-Fab and Adonis have a wealth of potential and star qualities. This group screams “star” and will achieve that level of success as long as the creative team doesn’t try to fix something that is natural, engaging and fresh. 

    With the weight of the world on their shoulders following weeks of hype and anticipation, Scott, Top Dolla, Adonis and B-Fab excelled. Hopefully, this is the start of something special for all involved, not to mention a company that needs fresh, interesting and relatable young talent in key spots.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Happy Corbin

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura, accompanied by Pat McAfee’s favorite musician Rick Boogs, battled Happy Corbin, seconded by Madcap Moss.

    Corbin controlled the match early and often, using his size and power advantage. Nakamura fought back, though, and rolled late before setting Corbin up for the Kinshasa. At ringside, Moss cut off a musical assist from Boogs, drawing Nakamura’s attention.

    The heel capitalized on it and delivered End of Days inside the ring for the pinfall victory.

        

    Result

    Corbin defeated Nakamura

        

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    There’s nothing particularly interesting about the idea of Corbin being the next challenger to Nakamura’s title, but it keeps both guys busy, if nothing else.

    The Madcap Moss character has go-away heat rather than the type you would want a heel to have, with fans more eager for him to just walk away than to get his ass kicked by a beloved babyface. Corbin feels like he has cooled significantly from his downtrodden days, which does not help Moss’ prospects.

    We have seen Corbin and Nakamura work together before and it didn’t exactly wow anyone. It probably won’t this time, either.

Championship Exchange Ceremony

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    Credit: WWE.com

    SmackDown women’s champion Becky Lynch and Raw women’s champion Charlotte Flair joined Sonya Deville in the ring for a special Championship Exchange Ceremony, the idea being that they would simply swap the titles and go to their new, respective brands.

    After some throwing of belts back and forth, Sasha Banks entered the arena and reminded both champions that she runs the blue brand. If Flair thinks she is going to take over then, “bitch, you’re out of your damn mind.”

    Lynch exited, leaving Banks and Flair in the squared circle. The verbal exchange turned to a physical one before Banks rocked The Queen with a Meteora and Deville separated them to close out the show.

        

    Grade

    F

        

    Analysis

    Not only is the idea of swapping titles like meaningless props abundantly stupid and insulting to the idea of actual competition, but this segment was about as ice-cold as it gets. Who decided that having two petulant heels childishly throwing belts at each other was a good idea?

    Who thought interjecting another established heel character into the mix was a better one?

    Then, to end it abruptly and without resolution only further exacerbated the situation.

    This was bad and didn’t particularly make anyone overly excited to see Banks vs. Flair. Considering those two women are among the best to ever lace a pair of boots, that is an enormous indictment to the powers that be and their inability to construct a segment that actually generates excitement.

    It was, in many ways, the antithesis of the Reigns-Lesnar stuff that started the show.

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