NXT! NXT! NXT! NXT! Chants of NXT reigned from the crowd all night long on Friday Night Smackdown.
It was announced during Crown Jewel on Thursday that this year’s Survivor Series will be RAW vs. Smackdown vs. NXT! Triple H and his “army” heard that and decided to make a statement. They invaded Friday Night Smackdown and made their presence known.
With over half the Smackdown roster not able to make it, flight issues in Saudi Arabia, it left the WWE having to redo most of the show. Superstars like Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and Lacey Evans were all advertised for the show but did not make an appearance because of the flight issues.
That adversity of having to redo the show and having to use NXT superstars to fill time and have enough talent was the best thing to happen to Friday Night Smackdown. This was one of the best shows in recent memory.
Here are three things I liked and one thing I didn’t like for Friday Night Smackdown.
1) NXT! NXT! NXT! NXT!
With most of the roster stuck on a plane in Saudi Arabia, there were rumors of an NXT invasion. That’s precisely what happened. Triple H and company took over the show and made a statement.
At the end of the show, Triple H declared war, saying he is building an army for a fight. Triple H went on to say, NXT has fired the first shot, RAW, Smackdown your move. This was absolutely fantastic. Triple H said this with a lot of the NXT roster in the ring with him. NXT looked fantastic and like a genuine threat to win Survivor Series.
The invasion started after Bayley retained over Nicki Cross. NXT women’s champion Shayna Baszler appears and throws Sasha Banks against the post. Baszler then goes right after Bayley. Baszler lays out Bayley, leaving no doubt that she is one of the most dangerous women on the planet. The Queen of Spades looked like the best female on the roster and someone who could be RAW or Smackdown champion today.
Then, during an interview with Sami Zayn, Matt Riddle and Keith Lee show up. The two chases Zayn down the ramp, into the ring where Riddle hits Zayn with a Bro Derek and Lee, lands a Moonsault from the second rope!
Tommaso Ciampa interrupted Miz TV, and the two had a good match that Ciampa won.
Carmella and Dana Brook were set to take on Fire and Desire, but Rhea Ripley and Tegan Knox took Brook and Mella out. Then Ripley and Knox left no doubt in a short match against Fire and Desire.
Lastly, we had an NXT Title Match, more on that below.
2) Brock Lesnar QUITS!
The show started off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman in the ring. Heyman started off by saying Lesnar is “really really pissed off.” After showing the entire match against Cain Velasquez, Heyman said Lesnar wanted a match with Rey Mysterio, but because Brock is on Smackdown and Mysterio is on RAW, they can’t (so now superstars can’t cross brands?).
So, Brock decided to QUIT Smackdown and is going to RAW. Heyman said nobody could do anything about it (he’s not wrong) Brock will be on RAW on Monday.
This was actually a pretty good segment. After The Fiend (a Smackdown superstar) won the Universal Championship (a RAW title), something had to be done. Smackdown could not have three titles, including the top two. It appears the WWE has successfully switched the belts, which I like. With the Fiend and Lesnar on separate shows (for now), this sets up an exciting Survivor Series match between the two top champions.
Even if Lesnar doesn’t stay on RAW and the belts switch back, it will be nice to see the belts on different shows and provides for some good fantasy booking.
3) NXT Title Match
The main event of the show was Daniel Bryan against Adam Cole Bay Bay for the NXT Title!!!
Adam Cole Bay Bay won clean over Daniel Bryan!!!!
Cole retaining is not a surprise, but winning clean is. A lot of fans, myself included, thought the Undisputed Era would run down and help Cole win, but they did not. That decision made this match even better. It put Cole over big time and capped off the NXT invasion. NXT looks like a real threat now for Survivor Series.
Cole and Bryan have never faced each other, so it took them a little bit to get going, but once they did, WOW. This match was fantastic. Cole and Bryan could face each other at WrestleMania, that’s how good this match was. One of the better television matches in a while.
One thing I didn’t like:
Honestly, nothing. I enjoyed the whole show. This was a fantastic show. I can’t think of one thing I wish they had done.
As the show was going off, Pat McAfee declared this the greatest Smackdown of all time. While I won’t go that far, I do think this is one of the most memorable Smackdown episodes in quite some time. Fans have wanted an NXT invasion for a while, and they got it. NXT looked awesome.
I hope all the superstars made it back okay and are doing well. However, for WWE, the flight delay might have been the best thing to happen to the WWE. The WWE likely wasn’t planning an NXT invasion. This episode was much better than anything they had planned.
McAfee and especially Aiden English did a fantastic job on commentary replacing Corey Graves and Michael Cole. No disrespect to “The King,” but Tom Phillips, English, and either McAfee or Renee Young could replace the current RAW announcers and would be significantly better.
I loved this show. I give it a 4.75 out of five. My highest grade ever!