Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. Friday Night SmackDown kicked off its an official new era and WWE’s really, as the brand split has been reset with new separate rosters for both Raw and SmackDown. This now allows all the talent this company has to finally get their shot with no “Wild Card” rule in play and it certainly felt fresh. Heading into the night, it was all about the reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, and her new attitude. Answers were given as this new era is officially upon us. Here are the highlights.
Nikki Cross Snatches Opportunity
A six-pack challenge was scheduled for the new women of SmackDown to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and Carmella all vied for an opportunity at the championship with the first pinfall determining the winner. To remain completely unbiased the rest of the way, Sonya Deville still has not gotten her opportunity as that’s not cool but anyways, back to the match. Nikki Cross picked up the win following every woman taking each other out one by one, with Cross hitting the swinging neck breaker to leave Mandy Rose down and out for the three count. She will take on Bayley for the title in the future.
“The New” Daniel Bryan No More?
Daniel Bryan saves Roman Reigns early in the night leading to a tag team match as our main event of the evening as the Hell in a Cell tag partners took on the team of Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and King Corbin. Not so shockingly, it was a back and forth match with the champion and King getting the best of their opponents for plenty of the match. But eventually, it would be turned around by “The Big Dog” and Bryan. Reigns would take out Corbin with a match-altering Spear through the barricade, allowing this one to be down to Bryan and Nakamura. Bryan would hit the YES! Kicks on Nakamura before getting the crowd on their feet while doing his best to not to the “YES!” chants. Bryan would hit the running knee for the win, winning his first match on SmackDown and possibly setting up a future bout between him and the Intercontinental Champion. Wonderful.
SmackDown MVP: Bayley
Bayley, with Sasha Banks in toe, came down to the ring with new music and all for her segment on Miz TV so she can explain to the world “why”. And what made her the MVP of the night wasn’t just the “Life sucks and then you die” line, but the truth she gave. Bayley made it clear she was sick of putting herself second to be a role model. She was done sitting in the back and letting things happen. There was no one there for her when she needed that hug following her Hell in a Cell match when she lost the SmackDown Women’s Championship. There was not a single person there to support her as she felt sad and broken. Instead, she was alone, and she realized it was time to get rid of all that fakeness and care for her and herself only. Banks just nodded as her friend has finally seen the dark side, or as we realists call it, the reality side. Bayley made it clear that for so long she just wanted to make the SmackDown Women’s Division better but they were all just lazy. Maybe it’s time for the new division to try and prove her wrong.
This was some of Bayley’s best stuff in her career and she must continue to follow this hot streak. They use to say “It’s Bayley!” in such a happy way on commentary. Now, you’re goddamn right it’s Bayley. SmackDown’s new era felt fresh and exactly what it needed, even if it wasn’t perfect. Bayley is the Queen, Star, whatever you want to call her, she is exactly that of SmackDown and we are ALL here for it.
Next week, SmackDown will be on Fox Sports 1 in the United States for one week only.
Highlights from this show can be seen on WWE’s YouTube page.