A very strong Smackdown Live continued the build towards Survivor Series. Shane McMahon announced himself as the captain of the Smackdown Team as he explained the reasoning for the intensity of the battle of the brands, and his team began to take shape around him with Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode and either Rusev or AJ Styles joining Randy Orton & the Commissioner.
Shane McMahon Addresses Survivor Series. Grade: A+ The Commissioner of Smackdown Live single handedly provided perfect reasoning for the Siege and the rivalry that now exists between Raw & Smackdown explaining how the Blue Brand always got the short end of the stick with the Draft and was always seen as the B show despite them always doing everything the right way. He added much needed fuel to the feud and there is now an established story moving into Survivor Series. McMahon announced that he himself would be the captain of the Smackdown Team, and mocked Kurt Angles catchphrase. This was EXACTLY what this feud needed.
Bobby Roode defeated Dolph Ziggler in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match. Grade: B- This was probably the best match of their feud so far and as it should be given the blow-off. Ziggler got the first fall with a superkick before Roode got the second with a rollup pinning combination and the deciding fall with the Glorious DDT. Despite this the match still fell a little flat as have all their matches together, and now that the feud is done we can conclude that absolutely neither man benefitted from this feud at all.
Backstage Becky Lynch tried to hype her Survivor Series team up before Women’s Champion Natalya ran down the entire team and promised to defeat Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series.
Baron Corbin defeated Sin Cara by Disqualification. Grade: B- After only winning in previous weeks through count out and disqualification, giving Sin Cara some solid offence here and having him show a more intense side was a welcome change. This is the most the crowd has been behind Sin Cara since his time in the Lucha Dragons, and the intensity that came from Corbin attacking the sacred mask was great. One can argue Corbin being beaten down by the smaller Sin Cara makes him look weak, however it does well to make it look like Sin Cara has a chance, and given his recent multi-year contract extension and new shoe line, I’d say Sin Cara has more than a chance of becoming the new US Champion.
AJ Styles defeated Samir Singh. Grade: B- Jinder Mahal cut a promo before the match saying much the same thing he’s said in the last few weeks on Brock Lesnar. AJ Styles squashed Samir Singh in seconds with a great Styles Clash. After the match the WWE Champion attacked Styles hitting him with three huge Khallases which AJ Styles sold brilliantly (as you’d expect). The Modern-Day Maharaja actually looked really good here with the post-match attack. On a side note, Mahal was wearing the most awful shoes, suit pants and no socks combination I think I’ve ever seen.
Strangerer Things Fashion Files. Grade: B- Fandango & Tyler Breeze were funny as always but these are getting very old very quickly. Tye Dillinger had a funny cameo but hopefully that’s only a one-week thing. The Ascension get better and better in their role, but I still don’t like the feel of them being involved in such a comedic way given what they were in NXT. There was another new vignette for the Bludgeon Brothers and they were heavily referenced and alluded to in the Fashion Files.
Rusev defeated Big E. Grade: B+ This grade is more for the pre-match shenanigans than the match itself. Rusev & Aiden English are genuinely hilarious together and Rusev Day is officially my favourite thing on WWE television right now. The match itself was quick and average with Rusev winning through interference; but with the New Day, Rusev & Aiden English, how can you not laugh and have fun.
Announced for next week is The Usos defending their Smackdown Tag Team Champion’s against Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin as well as AJ Styles vs Rusev where the winner takes the last place on the Survivor Series team.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens to earn his spot on the Smackdown Live Survivor Series team. Grade: B. Nakamura & Owens put on your standard television main event match which was great for what it was, keeping plenty in the tank for a bigger match down the road. Having superstars earn their spot in the team instantly gives each match and the team itself more credibility. Orton took out Sami Zayn at ringside providing a distraction allowing Nakamura to get the win; the potential for a feud between Orton & the new duo of Owens & Zayn is very promising.