WWE Smackdown Review: November 22, 2019 by Luke Balls-Burgess
The show opened with the masses of the Smackdown roster located in the basement of the arena. Baron Corbin stood before the pack and tried to get their attention but to no avail before Roman Reigns stepped up to command the attention of the entire locker room. Establishing himself as Smackdown’s alpha, Reigns rallied his colleagues before opening the gates to the stadium, inviting an assault from any faction that dare try it.
Opinion: Considering the chaos we’d already seen on the latest editions of Raw and NXT, this opening left us in doubt that we were in for more of the same tonight. This segment got everyone excited for what they were about to see and clearly establish the fractured nature of the Smackdown team heading into Survivor Series, highlighted by the dynamic between Reigns and Corbin.
Rhea Ripley def. Charlotte Flair & Sasha Banks (Triple Threat Match)
All respective factions had a chance to run their mouths before this match which led to it’s creation in the first place. The first of many a mass brawl broke out between the women inside the ring and it wasn’t until we were back from the commercial break before the match had finally started. The finish came from a very creative pin attempt by Ripley who was able to hold Flair’s shoulders to the mat as she was in the bridge with Banks locked into the figure-8.
We had one more fight break out between the women of Smackdown and Raw as NXT celebrated atop the entrance ramp after the match.
Opinion: This match produced a number of amazing visuals in between the frequent clashings of the respective women’s teams as well as Flair’s busted lip that hearkened back to (if only slightly) Becky Lynch’s broken nose before last year’s Survivor Series. Though accidental, the sighting of any blood truly heightens the intensity of any angle and considering the hard-hitting action during and after the match, this kept the strong momentum going early on in the show.
Shinsuke Nakamura unveils a newly designed Intercontinental Championship
In a simple segment, a joyous Sami Zayn unveiled a newly designed Intercontinental Championship as a gift to his buddy, Nakamura.
Opinion: A simple yet effective decision to redesign the current look of the Intercontinental Championship that has sadly lost a lot of momentum over the last few months. It garners some new interest in the title and now it looks badass; it looks like a title you want to win.
The Undisputed Era def. The New Day & Heavy Machinery
Amid the unveiling of the new Intercontinental title, the Undisputed Era made their introduction to the spectating audience before they were soon challenged to a match by the New Day and their partners, Heavy Machinery.
The Undisputed Era enjoyed the best of the opening proceedings, working over Kofi Kingston in the corner before he was able to make the hot-tag to Otis. Amid Otis’ dance routines and Caterpillar hits, a breakdown in the order of the match allowed for Tucker to get isolated and take a vicious knee from Roderick Strong to pick up another win for NXT on the night.
That wasn’t the end of the action (as it rarely is these days) as Strong made his way up the entrance ramp alone to exchange words with Nakamura who’d been watching the match from this position. As the two squared up, AJ Styles made a jump on both men which kicked off another fight between rivaling brands. It was Nakamura, however, with the help of Zayn and a steel chair that came out on top in this skirmish,
Opinion: This was another match that told the story of how dangerous the unified teams of NXT are compared to the disjointed teams rostered on the main brands. It’s great to see all these NXT superstars gaining exposure on the main shows through the medium of actual wrestling matches as opposed to just the mass brawls as it will only serve them better in the long run for when they debut officially as members of the opposing brands.
There were more brawls after the match and some great character work from all of Nakamura, Styles and Strong to effectively set up their upcoming triple threat match at Survivor Series.
Daniel Bryan vs The Miz ends in a No Contest
Interrupting a tirade from the O.C., Daniel Bryan made his entrance to the ring where he was looking for an immediate fight against Wyatt and the Fiend. Instead of getting the Fiend, The Miz made his way down to the ring who was still upset at Bryan for “disrespecting” him last week. This was the catalyst for a match between the two.
Despite some offence from both men, it was Bryan who threatened to seal the victory here but just before Bryan could lead the arena in a round of “yes” chants, the lights went down… and we all know what that means. The lights returned with a red tint and at the opposite turnbuckle where the Miz once was, now sat the Fiend! After a short staredown, the two men charged each other but the Fiend was able to attach the Mandible Claw to put Bryan to sleep.
Opinion: Bryan is officially back to being a face as well as the conductor of the “Yes” movement. This is a great decision on it’s own as it gives Smackdown it’s biggest face as well as someone who has every right and every chance of main eventing Wrestlemania next year. Miz is also developing his own interesting character arc having taken a back seat for a little while now and amid rumours he was the one initially touted to feud with the Fiend after Crown Jewel, as he seemingly searches for some relevance and respect.
The Fiend continues to make a superb impact anytime he’s on the TV and you can make an argument that he is the spiritual successor to the Undertaker’s deadman character that was so successful for so long.
Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode def. Roman Reigns, Ali & Shorty G
Before this match, Shayna Baszler and Bayley had a brief scrap in and out of the ring with Bayley attacking the NXT champ from behind before struggling to escape Baszler’s clutches.
Roman Reigns and Ali were allowed to shine for their team in this match whilst Shorty G took a couple of impactful bumps on the outside after first being suplexed onto the announce table followed by getting a Spinebuster off Roode to the floor on the outside. The finish came for the faces however when Ali was tossed off the top rope from Roode, allowing Corbin to hit the Deep-6 on the high-flyer to collect the win for his side.
After Reigns speared Corbin, however, to prevent Ali from taking a whack from Corbin’s royal cane, Seth Rollins music hit as the former Universal Champ led an assortment of Raw superstars through the crowd and down to ringside. The two ex-Shield members came face to face in the ring before exchanging punches which triggered the final mass-brawl of the evening. Raw attacked first before Smackdown’s cavalry arrived led by Braun Strowman yet as the chaos ensued, a hoard of NXT superstars made their way through the gates that Reigns had opened earlier.
The three factions once again did battle all the way down ringside and this again was the scene that closed the show.
Opinion: Again, the visuals these mass brawls create are outstanding, there’s not much better than seeing armies and armies of superstars battle it out throughout the stadium. It’s made for some of the most exciting and epic television on WWE TV in a long while and I don’t think anyone can call, at the moment, how Survivor Series is likely to be booked.
I will say, however, that it was a little lazy of creative to just crowbar this match in as the main event just to give us an excuse of a mass brawl. I don’t mind the personnel being used in the match but can we put something on the line? Just so we’re not all bored stiff waiting for the run-ins. With the story WWE have running between Corbin and Reigns, why not one or the other’s place on the Smackdown team at stake? That way it’s way more of a surprise when Rollins leads his team out before the end of the match and helps to work up the crowd using only the men who started in the ring in the first place.
Grade: A- (if only for the shot of the NXT army making their way into the stadium)
A strong show with plenty of action, as it should be heading into one of the biggest PPV’s the company has to offer. This Smackdown did a great job of maintaining the momentum throughout the entire show, using every segment to serve a purpose and promote current storylines and promote the impending blowouts. The show also contained a historic moment by rebranding the current Intercontinental Championship which we could look back on as a real kick-start to a newfound resurgence for this legendary title.
Final Grade: A