WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Title change, NXT invasion, Tyson Fury highlight Manchester show
With WWE in Manchester, England, tonight’s edition of SmackDown was pre-taped, but the biggest blow to the show may have been uninspired writing and a crowd that was extremely reserved in its reactions. NXT is still clicking along with their invasion of the more established WWE brands, a title changed hands and Tyson Fury came back for another moment in the world of pro wrestling, but SmackDown felt as though it had taken a big step back from an electric show one week prior.
So what went down on Friday night across the pond? Let’s take a look at what transpired at SNHU Arena in Manchester as WWE tried to regroup following a last-minute rewrite last week.
The NXT invasion continues
As Heavy Machinery made their way out for a match, Imperium of NXT: UK ran in from the crowd to attack. After laying out Heavy Machinery, New Day, Apollo Crews, Shorty G and Ali ran in to make the save. Imperium walked off unscathed. A tweet from Triple H drove home the message behind the attack as he wrote “IMPERIUM … #WWENXT is global.” Even overseas, it seems, SmackDown superstars are not safe.
Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross via submission with the Banks Statement. Bayley and Sasha Banks cut a backstage promo, addressing Shayna Baszler’s attack last week. Bayley said the two of them made NXT and claimed Baszler was attempting to make herself relevant. “We can play takeover games, too,” Bayley said. Cross attacked Bayley during the match and suffered some payback from the SmackDown women’s champ after her loss. Baszler ran in from the crowd and laid out Bayley before Banks could make it back to the ring to save her friend.
Given the roster was overseas and NXT talent was less available, the invasion felt lacking compared to recent editions of WWE TV. But there also has to be something beyond “NXT runs in” to really move this story to the next level. SmackDown’s faces being at least a little ready for the inevitable in chasing off Imperium was a fine touch, but there has to be a next step to things. If this is all we’re going to get for the next few weeks, things will run out of steam in a hurry. Grade: C
Tyson Fury gets his WWE curtain call
WWE fans could be excused for thinking they’d seen the last of lineal heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury in a WWE ring when he defeated Braun Strowman by countout at Crown Jewel. Being in the U.K., it made plenty of sense for Fury to step back in the ring and get a bit of a curtain call. Fury said he had unfinished business with “The Big Dosser” Braun Strowman, who immediately came out to the ring. Fury then thanked Strowman and suggested if they fight again, it should be as a tag team.
After Strowman said nobody was stupid enough to face them, The B-Team came to the ring. Fury laid out Bo Dallas with a right hand and Strowman hit the running powerslam on Curtis Axel before the duo celebrated.
While this was a completely meaningless throwaway segment, it was good for WWE to get a little extra mileage out of their partnership with Fury. Fury also benefited by promoting his February rematch with Deontay Wilder. B-team make perfectly good foils for a situation like this. The crowd had been dead much of the show, and giving them their local boxing hero got a much needed pop. Grade: B
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- King Corbin def. Roman Reigns via pinfall following End of Days. Corbin opened the show with an in-ring promo, blaming “The Big Dog” for the NXT invasion and accusing Reigns of having testicles the size of marbles. Reigns vs. Corbin was set up as the night’s main event without Roman making his way to the ring. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler attacked Reigns early in the match, lending some legitimacy to Corbin’s claims Reigns had “lost the locker room.” They got involved again in the final moments of the show, setting up Corbin hitting his finish for the pinfall.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The New Day def. The Revival (c) via pinfall to capture the titles after Kofi Kingston hit Dash Wilder with Trouble in Paradise. The match was on the shorter side given the history of both teams. Wilder faked a knee injury early in the match, likely a shot at Xavier Woods who will remain on the sidelines for quite some time. New Day begins their fifth reign as tag champs.
- Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro def. Ali & Shorty G via pinfall when Nakamura hit Ali with Kinshasa. Sami Zayn once again pitched Daniel Bryan to join forces with himself and Shinsuke Nakamura, saying Bryan would have won the NXT championship last week had he taken him up on his offer. Bryan again didn’t respond to the offer, but did watch the tag match from the entrance ramp. Nakamura it the Kinshasa on Ali after a bit of help from Zayn. The winners waived for Bryan to get in the ring after the match, but he walked off.
- “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt attacked Daniel Bryan backstage. As Zayn again made his case to Bryan, the lights flickered before going out completely. When they came back, Wyatt was behind Bryan and he quickly locked in the Mandible Claw while laughing maniacally.
- Carmella & Dana Brooke def. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville via pinfall in a Survivor Series qualifier when Brooke hit a senton on Deville. With the victory, Carmella and Brooke earn spots on the Sasha Banks captained SmackDown team at Survivor Series.