By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox
Aired live on November 1, 2019 from Buffalo, New York at Keybank Center
[Hour One] The opening video aired (sweeeeet apple pie)… The pyro and laser show took place and the broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Aiden English, and Renee Young checked in from ringside. Phillips noted that mechanical issues delayed the crew, including the broadcast team, in Saudi Arabia…
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman interrupted the broadcast team and headed to the ring. Phillips said some on the Smackdown crew would not be able to compete, but Lesnar was obviously present. Heyman delivered his introduction and said the only way to describe his client’s mood is “really, really pissed off tonight.”
Powell’s POV: Just imagine what Brock’s mood would be like if he was still stuck in “The Kingdom.”
Heyman set up footage of the entire Lesnar victory of Cain Velasquez match from WWE Crown Jewel. Heyman said his client retained retribution almost nine years to the day since Velasquez carved a scar in his face. Heyman vented about what Rey Mysterio did to Lesnar after the match and then the footage was shown.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a real problem going around here,” Heyman said. He said Vince McMahon said he couldn’t give Lesnar a match with Mysterio due to the brand split. Heyman said that if Mysterio can’t come to Smackdown, then Lesnar is going to Raw to look for Mysterio. Heyman said that if anyone in the company had a problem with it, “what the hell are you going to do about it?”
Heyman mocked the idea of Lesnar being fined, suspended, or sued. Heyman said his people perfected litigation and he will sue WWE right back. Heyman said that just to get rid of the formality, Lesnar was quitting Smackdown on Fox. Heyman said Lesnar will show up on Monday’s Raw and will be hunting for Mysterio. Heyman spoke in Spanish and then tossed the mic. Lesnar and Heyman left the ring together.
Phillips said it was a monumental decision for Lesnar to quit Smackdown. Young wondered if Lesnar could quit Smackdown and just go back to Raw, then told him to just go ahead and go. Lesnar and Heyman were shown walking backstage. Heyman directed Lesnar toward an ambulance. Triple H was shown peaking around the corner after they walked by. The camera pulled back and a smiling Shawn Michaels was shown standing next to Triple H…
Phillips hyped Bayley vs. Nikki Cross for the Smackdown Women’s Championship for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I wonder how Fox executives feel about the opening segment of their show being used to promote Monday’s Raw on USA Network? Anyway, it was good hype for the Monday night show and hopefully Mysterio and the rest of the crew will be back in the United States by then.
1. Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Nikki Cross for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. A fan was shown dressed in a wacky wavy inflatable tube man outfit holding up a sign with images of over tube men that read “Don’t Hurt Me.” Funny. Fill-in ring announcer Kayla Braxton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Cross hit an early DDT on the floor and then threw Bayley back inside and covered her for a two count going into a break. [C]
Banks prevented Cross from performing a neckbreaker from the ropes. A short time later, Bayley performed a top rope elbow drop that led to a two count. Bayley showed frustration. Cross caught Bayley in the ring skirting and hit her repeatedly. Once Bayey was back inside the ring, Cross went to the top rope, but Banks pushed her off. Bayley slammed Cross’s face into the mat and pinned her.
Bayley defeated Nikki Cross in 8:35 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
After the match, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler showed at ringside and shoved Banks into the ring post. Baszler entered the ring and kicked Bayley, then sent Cross to ringside. Baszler ran Bayley through the ropes into the ring post. A loud “NXT” chant broke out. Baszler threw a knee to the head of Bayley and then picked up her own jacket and put it on, then picked up her NXT Title belt and put it over her shoulder before leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: Baszler appearing was a pleasant surprise. It’s possible that she would have appeared even if it wasn’t for the Saudi situation given that NXT will be a part of the Survivor Series pay-per-view.
The broadcast team touted that they were in Buffalo, then recapped the Baszler appearance…
Aiden English was replaced on commentary by Pat McAfee (why?)…
Cathy Kelley interviewed Sami Zayn, who wondered if NXT was trying to take advantage of Smackdown. He said they need to watch where they stick their nose. He said it would be bad news if one of them stepped to him. Zayn stopped when he saw something off camera. The camera pulled back and showed Matt Riddle and Keith Lee standing by. Zayn sucked up to them and recalled that he was once billed as the heart and soul of NXT. Zayn pulled his jacket open to shot off his shirt. It was a black t-shirt. Zayn said he was wearing an NXT shirt earlier and he was going to go to his car and get it. Riddle and Lee followed Zayn, who ran away.
Zayn walked onto the Smackdown stage. Riddle and Lee chased him to the ring. Zayn begged off while “Bro” chants broke out. Zayn took a swing at Riddle, who ducked it and hit him with a knee to the head. Riddle performed Bro Derek on Zayn. Lee performed a second rope moonsault on Zayn…
Powell’s POV: Okay, so I doubt there would have been a full on NXT invasion on this episode. I’m not complaining. Smackdown has been formula and uneventful despite the move to Fox. It’s just a shame that it took the unfortunate travel situation for the crew in Saudi Arabia to get them to shake things up like this.
Phillips hyped The Miz appearing and would interview himself. Footage aired of the Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman match from Crown Jewel… [C]
The Miz made his entrance for the Miz TV segment. Phillips noted that Miz was supposed to interview “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. Young said he could have found somebody else. McAfee, who was wearing a “For The Brand” t-shirt, said this was a date that would be remembered forever. Miz said it’s been the wildest 24 hours that he can remember in WWE. Miz set up a highlight package of The Fiend beating Seth Rollins to win the WWE Universal Championship at Crown Jewel.
Miz said Wyatt could not be there. The fans booed. Miz brought up “the elephant of the room” that is NXT. He recalled Baszler, Riddle, and Lee getting involved and he said he kinda liked it and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Miz said that’s what WWE is all about.
Tommaso Ciampa’s music played and he walked to the ring. Ciampa said it was supposed to be must see TV and Miz is supposed to be the most must see superstar in all of WWE. Ciampa said he just happens to be the greatest sports entertainer (vomit) of all time. Ciampa said Miz acts like the entire world revolves around him, but it’s time that someone lets him know where he sits in the food chain.
Ciampa said Miz is everything that’s wrong with WWE. Ciampa said that while Miz plays the part, he is the part. Miz said he’s heard the same thing for a long time. He said he always hears that people want to see him and Ciampa battle it out on the mic. Miz said he’s accused of being an actor. Miz said if he’s been acting for 15 years then he deserves a damn Oscar. Miz challenged Ciampa to a match… [C]
Powell’s POV: I enjoy Ciampa. I enjoy The Miz. But I’ve never once hoped they would battle it out on the mic. That said, I enjoyed the build to the supposed match that may or may not happen after the break.
2. Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Miz. McAfee played the pro NXT broadcaster while Young stuck up for Miz and said he has the respect of the locker room.
[Hour Two] At 6:25, Ciampa applied a single leg crab. Miz countered into an inside cradle for a two count. Both wrestlers got to their knees and traded chops, then got to their feet and continued. Miz hit a clothesline in the corner and then went for a top rope move, but Ciampa hit him with a knee on the way down and followed up with the Fairytale Ending and scored the clean pin. “An NXT superstar has beaten a Smackdown superstar on his own freaking show,” Phillips said…
Tommaso Ciampa defeated The Miz in 7:40.
Powell’s POV: The disbelief of Phillips over the Ciampa win feels pretty corny to fans who watch both brands, but perhaps it’s more effective with “main roster” only viewers. The match was fine and I’m all for the decision to put over Ciampa clean.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage when he came across Triple H and Shawn Michaels, who was wearing an NXT hat and jacket. Bryan asked what they were doing there. Hunter said he saw the ad for Survivor Series and it seemed like someone was calling them out for a fight. Bryan said he’s looking for a fight and challenged Hunter to fight him on the spot. They had an intense staredown.
Triple H blinked first and said he didn’t bring his gear, but he knows someone who did. Triple H told Michaels to put his coat back on. NXT Champion Adam Cole walked into the camera shot. Bryan said if they were going to do it then they should do it right by making it an NXT Championship match. Hunter asked Cole if that works for him. Cole, who stared at Bryan, said that works for him… [C]
Powell’s POV: There’s your dream match. Why is WWE better when they are put in positions where they don’t have much time to think about their creative approach? I assume the title match means the rest of Undisputed Era will be getting involved, but it should be fun while it lasts regardless of whether that’s the plan.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville were in the ring for a match. Carmella’s music played, but she didn’t come out. Backstage, Bianca Belair was shown beating up Dana Brooke. She followed by picking up Carmella and press slamming her over some production crates. Belair laughed, wiped her hands, and walked away.
Back in the ring, Rose and Deville were shown looking surprised. Rhea Ripley’s music played and she walked onto the stage with Tegan Nox, who were introduced as the opponents for Rose and Deville. Ripley said it looked like Rose and Deville didn’t have any opponents. “Well, you do now,” Ripley said…
3. Rhea Ripley and Tegan Nox vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. The bell rang and the NXT duo went right after Rose and Deville. Nox and Deville ended up at ringside where Deville came right back and tossed Nox into the barricade. In the ring, Ripley dropkicked Rose. Nox reversed a whip and sent Deville flying over the broadcast table. That wacky McAfee scurried away and revealed he was wearing rolled up jorts. In the ring, Deville applied an inverted cloverleaf on Rose and got the submission win…
Rhea Ripley and Tegan Nox beat Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in 1:20.
An aid hyped the Cole vs. Bryan match… [C]
Powell’s POV: Are they trying to make the NXT wrestlers look like heels or is that just a byproduct of obnoxious McAfee representing the brand on commentary?
Triple H and Shawn Michaels were walking around ringside slapping hands coming out of the break. Phillips noted that Hunter is the creator of NXT (actually, that was Vince McMahon with his awful gameshow version of NXT that he claimed would be the next evolution in television)…
Stephanie McMahon made her entrance and stood on the stage while saying the WWE Universe never gets enough credit. She said they started a movement known as the Women’s Evolution. She recalled the women headlining WrestleMania and now having a match in Saudi Arabia. A highlight video aired on the Natalya vs. Lacey Evans match. The fans gave a polite round of applause and Triple H was shown applauding while sitting next to Michaels in front of the broadcast table…
Daniel Bryan made his entrance. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong came out together. They bumped fists and then Strong headed backstage while Cole headed to the ring. Braxton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match… [C]
4. Adam Cole vs. Daniel Bryan for the NXT Championship. Before the match, Phillips called on viewers to make a donation to California wildfire relief. At 4:20, Bryan suplexed Cole near the ropes. Both men tumbled over the top rope to ringside. [C]
At 10:20, Bryan caught Cole at ringside with a flying knee from the apron. Bryan rolled Cole back inside the ring, then hit him with a missile dropkick. Shots of Hunter and Michaels were shown repeatedly. Bryan performed a huracanrana from the ropes, but Cole rolled through into a pin for a two count. Cole caught Bryan with a kick to the face for another two count.
Bryan sent Cole to ringside in front of Hunter and Michaels, who both moved. Bryan performed a suicide dive. Bryan went for another, but this time Cole hit him with a kick from the floor going into another break. [C]
Bryan performed a German suplex from the ropes. Bryan went for a headbutt, but Cole moved out of the way. A short time later, Bryan applied a single leg crab, then turned it into a leg lock. Cole rolled to the ropes to break it. Bryan fired kicks to the back of Cole and told him to get up if he wants to be champion.
Cole fired back with shots and then caught Bryan with a Backstabber for a two count. Bryan immediately applied a LeBell Lock. Cole eventually reached out for the ropes, but Bryan grabbed his hand. Cole reached out with his foot and reached the bottom rope to break the hold.
Bryan threw kicks to the chest of Cole. A short time later, Cole rolled up Bryan, who rolled through, and both men got two counts. Bryan delivered a kick to Cole, who came right back with a superkick. Cole performed the Panama Sunrise and hit the Last Shot kick to the back of the head and scored the clean pin…
Adam Cole defeated Daniel Bryan in 20:50 to retain the NXT Championship.
After the match, Strong rushed out and celebrated with Cole. A group of NXT wrestlers came out and celebrated with them in the ring. Triple H took the mic and said you wanted it, you got it. “You want to pick a fight with us, Survivor Series, Raw versus Smackdown versus NXT,” Hunter said.
Triple H said that when you want to build an army, you look to your blood and your family. “This is our army. This is our fight. This is our ring. And at Survivor Series, know what you’re getting into. We have no fired the first shot. Raw, Smackdown, let’s see what you got. Just remember one thing. We are NXT.” The NXT crew continued to celebrate in the ring. Triple H brought Cole and Baszler to the front and put his arms around them as the show concluded…
Powell’s POV: A very good match and a very interesting show. NXT had to come off a bit heelish to those who aren’t already partial to the brand. Nevertheless, it was good exposure for the brand and the tease that Smackdown or even Raw could retaliate can only hope generate interest in upcoming NXT television shows. I will have a lot more to say about this show in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members coming up shortly. Let me know what you thought of the show by giving it a letter grade in our post show poll available in a separate post on the main page.
Join me for my live review of MLW Saturday Night SuperFight beginning with the one-hour pre-show at 6CT/7ET.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...