10/30 Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton and The Miz, Trick or Street Fight, final hype for WWE Crown Jewel

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Atlanta, Georgia at State Farm Arena

[Hour One] Smackdown opened with Tom Phillips mentioning Evolution and then plugging WWE Crown Jewel. Phillips was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton…

WWE Champion AJ Styles headed to the ring for a promo. Styles said he had to get something off his chest. He called for Daniel Bryan, who made his entrance. Styles said that after what happened last week, he felt the need to apologize.

Bryan said he has an infinite amount of respect for Styles as a man and as a competitor. Bryan added that when he looks at Styles now he sees the WWE Championship. He said Styles is the only thing standing in his way of regaining what kept him fighting to return. Bryan said he would take the title from Styles and he would do so on Friday “at Crown Jewel.”

Styles said Bryan didn’t let him finish. Styles said the Pele Kick he claimed was an accident was actually meant for Styles. AJ added that it was nothing personal, but he looked forward to doing it again. Bryan mocked the idea of being surprised at Styles hitting with the kick. Bryan said he doesn’t lie and he felt like hitting Styles intentionally. Styles asked what was stopping Bryan. He said they didn’t have to wait until Friday and they could have the match on the spot.

Shane McMahon made his entrance and said we’ve seen the scenario of wrestlers saying they want to fight on the spot and it never happens. Shane said he’s back and we will get the WWE Championship match. Shane called for a referee to start the match… [C]

Powell’s POV: This appears to be WWE’s way of delivering the match without having Bryan travel to Saudi Arabia against his will. If Bryan isn’t making the trip, it will be interesting to see if someone else emerges tonight as an opponent for Styles. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight, but he will be by with his thoughts in the Smackdown Hit List on Wednesday.

1. AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the match. There were some boos for Bryan, presumably due to the show being in AJ’s home state. Styles performed an early dropkick. Bryan went to the floor, then avoided AJ going for a move and followed up with a suicide dive. Bryan came up holding his knee as they went to a split-screen commercial break. [C]

Bryan was back on the offensive and threw kicks that fans responded with “no” chants to. Styles targeted Bryan’s bad knee. Bryan threw another series of kicks. Styles and Bryan fought for position on the top rope. Bryan went for a side suplex from the top rope, but Styles shifted his weight to land on top of him. [C]

Bryan was back on the offensive and threw kicks that fans responded with “no” chants to. Styles targeted Bryan’s bad knee. Bryan threw another series of kicks. Styles and Bryan fought for position on the top rope. Bryan went for a side suplex from the top rope, but Styles shifted his weight to land on top of him. [C]

Styles came back with a dragon screw leg whip through the ropes. Bryan came back and applied a crossface. Styles rolled onto Bryan, who transitioned into an armbar. Styles powered up and performed a Styles Clash and then applied a calf crusher. Bryan reached for the ropes.

AJ Styles defeated Daniel Bryan in 22:35 to retain the WWE Championship.

Styles wrenched on Bryan’s leg and Bryan tapped out. Styles and Bryan shook hands and hugged afterward. Suddenly, Samoa Joe hit Styles from behind, which knocked Styles into Bryan, who tumbled to ringside. Joe worked over Styles and then put him in a Coquina Clutch. Bryan made the save briefly, but Joe put him in the same hold while Style sold on his back next to them. Joe released the hold and picked up the WWE Championship and held it over his head to boos…

Powell’s POV: A terrific match between Styles and Bryan. There was no sign of Bryan being punished in any way, as the match was long and competitive, and the broadcast team raved about both men. I assume Joe attacking Styles means they will end up wrestling on Friday at Crown Jewel.

The broadcast team spoke about the World Cup tournament and set up a Jeff Hardy promo. Hardy was alone in the dark and spoke about the risks he has taken while comparing them to art. He said he would complete the masterpiece of his life by proving he is the best in the world…

A Miz promo aired. He spoke about being the best husband, father, and reality star in the world, and said he is the best WWE Superstar in the world and he’ll prove it at Crown Jewel… Graves hyped the tag team main event. Meanwhile, the production crew set up for the trick or street fight… [C]

Still shots aired from WWE Evolution and then Paige spoke with Charlotte Flair backstage and told her how amazing her match was with Becky Lynch. Charlotte smiled and said she appreciated that. Paige asked Charlotte to be the captain of the Smackdown team at Survivor Series. Charlotte said she doesn’t think she’s the right woman for the job. Paige recalled Charlotte saying not to let success go to your head or failure get to your heart. Paige told her to think about it…

Powell’s POV: I was worried when Charlotte smiled and accepted the compliment over having a great match despite the fact that she lost. I like that she declined because it shows that her loss to Lynch affected and meant something to her character.

A video package aired on the Undertaker and Kane vs. DX feud…

New Day made their entrance as The Brood for Halloween and came out to their entrance theme. Big Show, Sheamus, and Cesaro made their entrance. Sheamus had his hair and facial hair dyed gray for the holiday theme… [C]

2. Big E (w/Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro (w/Big Show, Sheamus) in a Trick or Street Fight. The match was joined in progress. It was a no DQ match, so the partners were allowed to interfere.

[HourTwo] At ringside, Show grabbed Woods and Kingston, but they spay “the mysterious red liquid” on his face. In the ring, Big E also spit the red liquid at Cesaro and pinned him…

Big E pinned Cesaro in a Trick of Street Fight.

Powell’s POV: People love or hate this sort of thing. I got a kick out of New Day dressing up as the Brood, but I disliked the way the heels were made to look so silly.

Backstage, Shane spoke with the Smackdown wrestlers who will be in the World Cup tournament and this show’s main event. The wrestlers facing one another exchanged words. Miz said the trio dressed up for Halloween. He said Mysterio was a power ranger, Hardy was an Insane Clown Posse member, and Randy… Well, Randy shot Miz a look, so Miz said he was cool.

Shane said one of the worst things in the world that could happen to him is his sister being able to call a Raw wrestler the best in the world. He said if one of the four are beaten by a Raw wrestler in the final then they would no longer have a home on Smackdown…

Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance for a match against R-Truth… [C]

Powell’s POV: Wow, Shane’s character is a petty dickhead. I suspect this means a Smackdown wrestler is winning, but we’ll see.

A replay Joe attacking Styles was shown… Backstage, Styles asked Paige to face Samoa Joe at Crown Jewel. She questioned why she should reward his behavior, but Styles talked her into the match…

3. U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. R-Truth (w/Carmella) in a non-title match. Philips said Tye Dillinger was supposed to challenge Nakamuara for the title, but he aggravated his finger injury. With Nakamura at ringside, Carmella entered the ring for a dance break. [C] Nakamura hit a Kinshasa and scored the clean pin…

Shinsuke Nakamura beat R-Truth in 6:45 in a non-title match.

Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage… [C] Lynch headed to the ring wearing and “I’m The Man” t-shirt. Lynch started by saying she won. She spoke about the abuse she took and said, “I got up again.” A loud Becky chant started. She said she was the last woman standing.

Lynch pondered what is next. She turned and asked a fan if they wanted Ronda Rousey. She said she has traveled the world and smashed people like Rousey. Lynch said she wasn’t there to cosplay or talk about a reality television show, she was walking into Survivor Series to rip Rousey’s arm off…

Powell’s POV: Another very good promo. Fans keeping cheering Lynch and while she does heelish things at times, she does not heel on the fans. It’s an interesting approach.

The broadcast team ran through the WWE Crown Jewel lineup and a video package focused on the Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman match for the vacant WWE Universal Championship… The Miz made his entrance for the main event… [C]

Samoa Joe cut a backstage promo. He brought up AJ’s family and questioned if Styles told them that everything is alright. He said they would write their final chapter at Crown Jewel and he will finally raise the WWE Championship above his head… The remainder of the ring entrances took place… [C]

4. Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton and The Miz. Hardy and Orton started the match while the broadcast team spoke about Shane vowing to fire a Smackdown wrestler if he loses to a Raw wrestler in the finals of the tournament. Graves said he would just lay down in the first match to avoid being fired.

Late in the match, Hardy tagged in and then he and Miz took turns leaping off of one another’s backs to perform moves on Miz in the corner. Mysterio hit a 619 on Miz and then Hardy followed up with a Swanton for the win.

Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy defeated Randy Orton and The Miz in 8:35.

After the match, Orton performed an RKO on Hardy. Mysterio leapt off the ropes at Orton, who also put him down with an RKO. When Miz stood up, Orton put him down with an RKO. Orton’s music played to end the show…

Powell’s POV: A solid main event tag match to spotlight the World Cup tournament. Orton’s post match attack on all three men on the Smackdown side of the World Cup bracket was a nice touch, though perhaps it was a little too crowd pleasing for a guy who has worked hard to establish his ruthless heel persona.

Overall, this was a good show that understandably peaked with the Styles vs. Bryan match. It’s worth nothing that while I thought we’d seen the last of Styles vs. Joe for the time being, the abrupt switch back to the feud works for me in that the feud hasn’t run out of gas yet. I’m looking forward to seeing them work together again. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review of this show later tonight.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Jerry Lynn.



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