Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins: On a special episode that would set the tone for the next year of sports entertainment for both the Red and Blue brand, Friday Night Smackdown would kickoff properly with a match that would decide who would get first pick in the 2019 WWE Draft.
Both performers would uncharacteristically start the match slow with tie-ups and rest holds. They would pick up the pace with a series of counters over one another, displaying how well they know each other from their time as The Shield.
The match was shaping up to be one for the books as WWE clearly tossed out the usual match chemistry for both performers that we’ve come to know over the last–who knows how many years–with neither performer backing down. Reigns would land a Superman Punch off a Bucklebomb and Rollins would land a Pedigree off of a Spear.
It wasn’t until the lights went off and that usual screaming siren that has come to be associated with The Fiend would cut through the stadium and ruin the match. The Fiend, to my surprise, would rise up from the ring and lock in the Mandible Claw, dragging Rollins into the hole that he crept out of. Rollins would manage to escape, but then the lights would turn off again, and The Fiend would be on the stage, standing under a strobe light.
I’m so glad that Bray Wyatt got drafted to Smackdown because this has got to stop. Rollins hasn’t completed a match in six weeks because of this copy and paste storytelling. Hell In A Cell ruined The Fiend for me, and the fact that he’s moving to Smackdown now means that Bray Wyatt is getting dropped to the mid-card, so WWE is done with The Fiend as well because there’s no way in hell that The Fiend is going to be challenging Brock Lesnar to a title match anytime soon.
With the interference, Raw would get the first pick in the first round of the WWE Draft. Grade: C
*Note – To see who went to which brand, I will post the list at the bottom of the screen instead of going through the three rounds that happened tonight at different points of the episode.
Throughout the entirety of the show, we would see inside the Blue and Red brands War Room, where executives from FOX and USA would have influence over who was drafted to which show. This probably means that WWE executives had very little to say, as oppose to previous drafts.
At another table draft paneling, Samoa Joe, Renee Young, Booker T, and Beth Pheonix would talk first-round pics and give their opinions on certain superstars. The most entertaining thing about this commentary bit came from Samoa Joe where he would say he was happy Renee was keeping their lights on in her house, taking a shot at her real-life husband, Jon Moxley, who is on AEW.
King Corbin vs. Chad Gable: Before the match would begin, Super Tough Dude and Broke-Ass Burger King on crack, King Corbin would cut another typical heel pre-match promo, calling the crowd filthy and stinky. After a commercial break, Joe Buck and Troy Aickman would talk about Troy being the #1 pick in 1989, and then Joe would ask what Aikman’s finishing move would be. To short clips of The Undertaker landing his Tombstone Piledriver, Aikman would say his finisher would be the piledriver. So good job on that one, FOX.
In what would be Round 4 of this rivalry that is officially more obnoxious than Natalya vs. Lacey Evans (at least WWE had enough sense to end that), Chad Gable (because I’m not calling him Shorty) would have another standard one-on-one little guy vs. big guy match. The only difference with this match was that FOX decided to throw out the usual match chemistry book for this one, and had Gable keeping the pressure on Corbin.
The match wouldn’t break 10 minutes as Gable started laying in a lower back injury after his third attempt on a German suplex. Through his pain, Gable would manage to lock in the Ankle Lock and turn it into a jackknife roll-up. Corbin would kick out and Gable would walk right into an End Of Days to lose to King Corbin.
How many more? At least Natalya and Lacey Evans spiced it up with a Last Woman Standing match. Grade: C
The draft panel would talk about the next round of pics and then, after a video package about Tyson Fury and Braun Strowman, we would learn that a match had been announced at Crown Royal between the two.
Another video package, this time recapping everything that happened last week between Lesnar, Kingston, Mysterio, and Cain Velasquez would lead to Lesnar and Heyman coming down to the ring to cut a promo. Heyman would talk about the events that happened last week, about the events that happened at the fateful UFC match between Lesnar and Velasquez back in October 2010, and would spoil another match for us, announcing that Lesnar would beat Velasquez at Crown Jewel.
This would prompt Mysterio and Velasquez to come out and recap the events of that UFC with jumbotron stills, showing a battered, beaten, and bloodied Lesnar. In Spanish, Velasquez said he’d give Lesnar a matching scar on his right cheek to match that one he gave in 2010.
The New Day vs. The OC: Before the match would get underway, The New Day would host a special moment with two women who were breast cancer survivors thanks to the Susan G. Komen foundation. After a small speech, The New Day would gift the sister survivors with their very own pink WWE Women’s Titles.
The match would start off with The OC getting control of the match before the commercial break. Once we returned, a hot tag would be made to AJ Styles and Kofi Kingston. Chaos would quickly ensue as The Good Brothers and Big E and Xavier Woods would take one another out in the typical big spot move after big spot move, leaving Styles and Kingston alone in the ring. After an incredible display of back-to-back counters, Kingston would pick up the win with the Trouble In Paradise.
If you blinked, you missed most of the match as this was simply filler before the next round of draft picks. It wasn’t a solid match, but it was simple, doing exactly what it set out to do: make Kingston look strong. Strong enough to take on Lesnar? No. But if I’m incorrect about The Fiend, maybe he can win the title off of him. Grade: B-
Charlotte Flair vs. ‘Hey Bitches’ Bayley: ‘Hey Bitches’ Bayley would come out to her usual song, throwing people air hugs, but all that would change when she ripped off her hoodie to show a brand new haircut. Bayley would then get dark and begin to murder her wacky inflatable arm-flailing tubmen with this ax handle with razors attached.
Bayley has finally turned full-blown heel. The only problem is that it’s probably two years too late, but I guess only time will tell.
Bayley and her new Emo Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3 personality would take the fight to Flair in an impressive start, taking control and maintaining control throughout most of the match. Charlotte would get in some solid hits while battling a bloodied nose, landing the Natural Selection, but it was when she tried to lock Bayley into the Figure 8 would Bayley counter by grabbing her hair and pulling her into a roll-up for the win.
At first, I was impressed with Bayley’s new look and attitude, and I was surprised that she won the title off Flair, which probably means that Flair is moving to Raw to set up another triple rivalry between her, Becky Lynch, and Rhonda Rousey once she returns. But it was when she said, “Hey bitches,” that I absolutely lost my composure and was laughing hysterically. It was hands down, the funniest thing I’d heard all year from WWE.
‘Hey Bitches’ Bayley is so fantastic, there’s already a twitter profile of her. I can’t wait to see what Bayley does and what Angry Bayley tweets. Grade: A
All in all, this was a decent show made better with the draft. It was unique seeing, what I assume, were actors playing FOX and USA executives in their own War Rooms. The matches were pretty standard with nothing to really write home about other than Bayley picking up the win to become the Two-Time Smackdown Women’s Champion.
This week’s episode of Friday Night Smackdown was a very solid…
Now for tonight’s draft picks: