WWE Friday Night Smackdown Hits and Misses 10.11.19 w/ The Chairman
Smackdown comes from Las Vegas and it’s a big night. Charlotte puts her newly won Smackdown Women’s Championship on the line against Bayley who she defeated this past Sunday at Hell in a Cell. Also Seth Rollins will represent Raw while Roman Reigns represents Smackdown in a match where the winners respective brand will earn the first pick in the WWE Draft. Yes the Wild Card Era is dead and network executives from FOX and USA will try to put together their best WWE roster with the draft that kicks off tonight and concludes this Monday on Raw.
HIT: The Battle For the Number One Pick
While it was rather odd for Rollins to represent Raw and Reigns to represent Smackdown when they may not get drafted to those respective brands, the match delivered. Rollins and Reigns is something we haven’t seen in quite some time and it was a solid match. Both men used alot of their signature moves and of course since Reigns and Rollins know each other, there were quite a few counters. I personally enjoyed the spot where Reigns went for the spear and Rollins leaped up again and hit a modified Pedigree. Very similar to how Rollins defeated Reigns for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank 2016. Of course in typical WWE fashion we didn’t get a decisive winner. The arena blacked out and The Fiend came up from under the ring and attacked Rollins and drug him under. Rollins escaped and strange enough Roman Reigns was nowhere to be found as all this was going on. The referee ruled the match a disqualification giving Rollins and Raw the victory.
The draft began after the match and it was really weird how they set this up. They split the roster in half so some wrestlers will be eligible to be drafted on Smackdown and the rest on Raw. There will be only so many wrestlers drafted and if they go undrafted, they become free agents and can sign anywhere. Stephanie McMahon read off the picks for each round.
First Round of the Draft
RAW: Becky Lynch. Big statement seeing The Man the first overall pick in the 2019 draft. There were rumors FOX wanted Lynch on Smackdown, but that is not to be. Becky is one of the most popular superstars in the WWE so this was a no brainer. Of course it’s up to RAW now to surround her with talent otherwise we’ll be stuck with bad drawn out feuds again such as back in the spring with Lacey Evans.
Smackdown: Roman Reigns. Personally found it funny the first two picks were the cover wrestlers for the upcoming WWE2K20 game. Smackdown obviously didn’t want to lose out on Reigns who was moved there during the Superstar Shakeup in the spring. It’s only going to be a matter of time before Reigns wins the WWE Championship again.
RAW: The OC. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson remain intact on Raw. AJ holding the United States Championship definitely has some appeal. Of course Styles in general is one of the most popular superstars that USA couldn’t lose. Gallows and Anderson fill depth in the tag team division. Whether or not the tag team division gets restored properly remains to be seen.
Smackdown: Bray Wyatt. This was a surprise! The first superstar to switch brands and it was a big one. This could be the reason why Wyatt didn’t capture the Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell. Curious to see how The Fiend gimmick works on FOX. Also somewhat concerned knowing the Fiend was on the cusp of winning the biggest prize on Raw and now gets shuffled to Smackdown where Lesnar holds the title. It probably wouldn’t have been the worst thing if The Fiend would’ve been the one to beat Kofi Kingston, but what do I know?
RAW: Drew McIntyre. I personally was hoping Drew would’ve got moved to Smackdown. Felt he did the Raw thing and hasn’t benefited at all. Hoping Paul Heyman straps the rocket to Drew and pushes him to the moon, but that’ll remain to be seen. Knowing how WWE is, Drew will end up someones lackey like he has been.
MISS: Shorty Gable
If it isn’t bad enough Chad Gable is now going by the name Shorty Gable, he’s wrestling King Corbin again. How many times are the WWE creative team going to go down this road? With wrestling competition at an all time high and this is what WWE trots out to FOX on its second show is not a good sign. Corbin won if anyone cares.
Second Round of the Draft
RAW: Randy Orton. I like this move. Orton has been a staple of Smackdown for quite some time and Raw is lacking top heels. This is a win/win all around. Orton could easily enter a feud with Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship considering they’re both captains for this cheesy match at Crown Jewel coming up.
Smackdown: Sasha Banks. The hair matches the brand. I like this move as well. The Becky/Sasha story should be over now considering they wrestled inside Hell in a Cell. Of course Sasha and Becky are wrestling on Raw with the first pick stipulation on the line again. Sasha is a big gain for the Smackdown women’s division and the division can easily be built around her like Raw can do with Becky. We’ll find out Charlotte and Bayley’s fates come Monday.
RAW: Ricochet. Ricochet has only been on the main roster for a few months, but he’s definitely a fan favorite. The question is what is next for him on Raw?
Smackdown: Braun Strowman. This is a good move as well. Braun needed a change of scenery and hopefully this helps. The question is will creative book him as a monster like he was or will he remain intertwined with celebrities and booked as a joke?
RAW: Bobby Lashley. USA reached here considering there are FAR more valuable assets still on the board. I only pray Rusev ends up on Smackdown so this terrible storyline they started with Lana is scrapped.
MISS: Lesnar vs Velasquez Hype
Earlier in the day, it was announced Brock Lesnar would face Cain Velasquez at Crown Jewel for the WWE Championship. I have a personal opinion about all this MMA hoopla and don’t like the fact that the WWE Championship is involved. Lesnar and Velasquez could easily do their big celebrity match without the title involved and I don’t understand why they wouldn’t save this for Wrestlemania? Basically it was a bunch of highlights of the UFC match between the two were Lesnar got victimized. The weird part was Velasquez comes out and cuts a quick promo in Spanish when he could’ve easily cut it in English. Rey Mysterio translated it and said Cain would give Lesnar a scar on the other side of his face.
MISS: New Day vs The OC For Possibly the Final Time
With the draft going on, it was hyped that this could be the final time we see The New Day against the OC. So is it safe to assume Smackdown retains New Day? Guess we’ll find out Monday. The thing that bothered me the most of all of this is Kofi Kingston had literally no reaction at all to losing the WWE Championship in seconds a week earlier. It’s almost as if the entire title reign of Kofi’s was forgotten about and we’re back to right where we started with New Day. Kofi didn’t mention it once and didn’t even vow to win it back or anything. Kofi though did look good here in the end by hitting AJ Styles with Trouble in Paradise. By WWE rules Kofi should be getting a WWE United States Championship match in the future, but he won’t.
Third Round of the Draft
RAW: Alexa Bliss. Well USA makes up for their botched Lashley pick and drafted the Goddess. Probably the top woman wrestler far as popularity goes outside of the Four Horsewomen. Could easily see Alexa getting in a feud with Becky Lynch for the title.
Smackdown: Lacey Evans. So FOX whiffs on Bliss and settle for Evans??? This is the equivalent of missing on a quarterback or tight end run in your fantasy football draft and you draft one at the end of the run just because. Could’ve used this pick to I don’t know draft the guy USA took next.
RAW: Kevin Owens. So KO banishes Shane McMahon from WWE and then gets moved back to Raw again. Seems legit. Kevin Owens has been possibly one of the most mishandled wrestlers this year and honestly getting moved to Raw might be a blessing in disguise. KO however was not happy about where he was drafted believing he’s better than a third round pick. Considering Lashley went in the second round, I don’t blame him.
Smackdown: The Revival. The Smackdown Tag Team Champions are off the board as the cornerstone to FOX’s tag team division. Now the question is what tag teams will FOX surround their champs with?
RAW: Natalya. Guess Raw felt they needed to add depth to their women’s division so they go with the veteran here. It’s not an exciting move, but it is what it is.
Fourth Round of the Draft
RAW: Viking Raiders. Someone didn’t want the OC and Viking Raiders feud to end so we’ll be seeing this weekly. At least the Raw tag team division though is shapely up nicely.
Smackdown: Lucha House Party. Tag team division depth I suppose. Nothing more, nothing less.
RAW: Nikki Cross. So riddle me this? Why wouldn’t USA draft her and Alexa Bliss together and have another pick for something else??? This makes no sense to me.
Smackdown: Heavy Machinery. More tag team division depth. However FOX sees more potential in Lucha House Party and rightfully so.
RAW: Street Profits. Final pick and RAW gets a steal here. One of the top tag teams in NXT. Question is will they wrestle finally or just cut their backstage promos?
Cesaro. This one surprises me considering who was drafted before him. Hopefully he goes to NXT or NXT UK.
Chad Gable. Or is he Shorty now? Either or he lost his name and doesn’t have a home.
EC3. Definitely not surprised. He probably should’ve never left Impact.
Drew Gulak. Loses the Cruiserweight Championship on NXT and now neither network wants him.
Humberto Carrillo, Akira Tozawa, Sin Cara, Eric Young, Heath Slater, B-Team, Tamina. The rest of these superstars honestly should just get their walking papers, but Vince won’t do that.
HIT: Bayley Goes Full Heel
Bayley has snapped. After losing the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell to Charlotte Flair she chopper her ponytail, slayed her inflatable tube men, and took Charlotte Flair to the limit in the main event. Bayley managed to defeat Charlotte Flair and win the Smackdown Women’s Championship and ended up with new music as well to close the show. Of course Bayley had to drop the B word in a quick promo to celebrate her victory. Don’t understand the point of Charlotte Flair getting another title reign only to be ended in five days, but makes you wonder where the future of the Smackdown women’s division goes. Bayley’s friend Sasha Banks has joined Smackdown and will possibly look to take the title at some point. Does this mean Charlotte is heading to Raw because she dropped the title? I don’t see it, but who knows? Either or, Bayley is the champion for the time being.
Not a bad episode. Reigns and Rollins was fine, minus the finish. Bayley stole the show with her heel persona finally out there. The draft moved some wrestlers around, but it almost feels the same as what they did in April. We’ll see on Raw where the rosters go next and hopefully then we can get a real feel for a brand split again.