As the dust settled on Hell in a Cell, we returned to Smackdown action last night – and it didn’t disappoint.
Sunday’s PPV wasn’t without its controversy with AJ Styles just about clinging on to his WWE Championship, and drama as Becky Lynch getting control of the women’s division from Charlotte.
How these stories, and a few others, would move on was anyone’s guess – so here are the best bits from Smackdown.
A new day is dawning
If this doesn’t fill your heart with sadness what does?
Yes, it has been teased in recent weeks, but who can honestly say their wanted to see the end of Rusev Day?
First up, Rusev’s match with Shinsuke Nakamura was pretty awesome, but it’s what happened next that will have everyone talking.
Costing Rusev the match on what seemed like an accidental distraction, Aiden English would then go on to attack the Bulgarian Brute with the mic leaving him prone in the ring.
Quite what a feud between the two of them would look like remains to be seen, but that is now, sadly, inevitable.
Side note: That primal scream from Lana. Wow.
Becky Balboa continues to land shots on Charlotte
Disclaimer: I love new Becky Lynch. Scratch that. I love Becky Lynch.
Since her patience with Charlotte ran out at SummerSlam, the LassKicker has been absolute gold – and this was no exception.
In arguably her best performance on the mic since the start of this run, Lynch was cutting, cocky, and chopped The Queen down at every opportunity.
And the crowd is still poppin’!
Getting the better of the physical battle at the end, was the cherry on top.
AJ Styles v Andrade Cien Almas, with a little bit of Joe
How good is Andrade Cien Almas?
After a barnstorming couple of weeks working with Daniel Bryan, Almas really hit the heights with AJ Styles.
Their work together was captivating, and throwing Samoa Joe into the mix only added more fruit to an already rich recipe.
The attack from Joe was almost inevitable, but leaves all avenues open.
AJ and Almas will dance again, while the heat between the Phenomenal one and Joe just intensifies.
I worry what will happen between the two post Super ShowDown, but for now, let’s enjoy the ride.
Maryse leaves Smackdown
This was supposed to be fun wasn’t it?
Arguably the biggest rivalry in WWE, with genuine levels of toxic heat, Daniel Bryan and The Miz was the story line we all wanted since D-Bry’s return.
Sadly things just seem to be limping along right now – with no better evidence than this slot on Smackdown.
Hell in a Cell’s mixed tag was a little bit of filler to extend things out a while, but things need to take a sharp upturn if this isn’t going to simply burn out.
Maryse leaving Smackdown is of no great consequence, and also means Brie Bella can now stick to RAW and not pull double shifts.
However, creative needs to get, um, creative with the main combatants in this feud – and now they are left to their won devices hopefully that can happen.
Something needs to save what could have been the story we all tuned in for, fast.
The best of the rest
Cesaro defeated Kofi Kingston in a nice little trailer for The Bar v The New Day
Asuka defeated Billie Kay – oh what has become of Asuka? The women’s division’s hottest property to this. Such a shame.
A night removed from Hell in a Cell, RAW hit to our screens with fallout from the pay-per-view, some new angles and a notable return.
While it may not have been the barnstorming show we would have wanted on the back of a high-profile event, there was enough to keep appetites whetted.
We also had the announcement of a return to Saudi Arabia in November – with the new Crown Jewel show.
Here are the best bits from Monday night…..
Braun and Roman want Brock (video above)
After the shenanigans of Hell in a Cell, it was no surprise to see Roman Reigns kicking things off on RAW, and it was even less of a surprise to see Braun Strowman too.
Both men felt the wrath of Brock Lesnar the night before and are keen for retribution – especially Strowman who had sacrificed his Money in the Bank briefcase.
We were never likely to see Brock, but news of an appearance as late as November is something of a shock.
After appearing in a UFC Octagon last month, for promo purposes, and dropping his title at SummerSlam it appeared the die may have been cast on Brock’s time in the WWE.
However, his reappearance last night has sparked interest in the Beast Incarnate – especially as it was announced he will be in a Triple-Threat with Reigns and Strowman in Saudi Arabia – what could be his final time in a WWE ring.
Again, it was nice to see Baron Corbin inserting himself into proceedings, announcing he would face Reigns later in the night.
Ronda Rousey issues an open challenge
After defeating Alexa Bliss at Hell in a Cell it is now time for Ronda to move on – and what better way than with an open challenge?
None, until your best friend’s music hits.
However instead of seeing Natalya stride to the ring to face the Rowdy one, she was dragged onto the ramp by the Riott Squad.
It was a nice was of introducing a new feud but you do wonder how long this is going to last.
With the Riott Suqad turning their attentions to Rousey, only for the Bella Twins to make the save the transition was made ahead of their six-woman tag at the Super ShowDown.
Whether Ruby is quite ready for a singles run with Rousey is questionable – a strong campaign with an experienced star, possibly Natalya, would put her in a much better position to go for the title.
For Rousey, there was one option but that may have been squashed somewhat, which leads us to…..
Nia Jax returns
Now, in the grand scheme of things, a Nia Jax return is not the biggest of news. Handled right, it could have been.
The stage was set perfectly to put her back into the title picture and a run against Rousey. Jax could have re-entered the scene in full heel mode, back at her destructive best, and looking like a real challenge to Ronda.
Remember, Money in the Bank? Their match wasn’t allowed to reach a natural conclusion because of Alexa Bliss’s cash-in, so there is a perfect opening to re-new the rivalry.
As it happens however, Nia returns as a face in a nondescript tag match alongside Ember Moon.
Seth Rollins retains his IC title against Dolph Ziggler
Quite how these two were on the bill is something in itself.
While playing the injured line well, the two were noticeably slower than their usual selves, but that didn’t detract from the story being told.
Rollins retaining should put an end to this feud with Dolph, but a tag-team run alongside Ambrose and McIntyre is still a possible.
Undertaker has a corner-man
The Undertaker/Triple H match at Super Showdown has the air of a match where the build up will be better than the main event.
As it well it may, neither man is in the prime of their career to say the least, but even the promo for this is feeling a little forced.
The showdown with Shawn Michaels was brilliant, but the same couldn’t be said for The Game the following week.
On Monday, it was Taker’s turn to take the mic individually – and, as expected, it was a little underwhelming.
Taker’s presence alone is something to send a shiver down the spine, as are his face-offs. Taker on the mic? Not so much.
The payoff line this time around was the announcement of his brother Kane being is his corner in Melbourne. Cool.
This could have been saved by an appearance from the Big Red Machine, but he’s probably a little tied up right now with his mayoral duties.
Roman Reigns and Constable Corbin
A heel GM has every right to insert himself into matches, and Corbin should be doing more of it.
Given the build-up to this one, it was never going to be a one-on-one fight, and when the Constable changed the rules to a no DQ midway through the match, the floodgates were opened.
Cue Strowman, Ziggler, McIntrye, Rollins and Ambrose all joining they ruck, with the ensuing chaos creating enough time for Reigns to get the win.
The best of the rest….
Dean Ambrose looked good in his match with an equally impressive Drew McIntyre. Giving the bog Scot the win was a smart move here.
Elsewhere, Bayley picked up a singles win against Dana Brooke.
The Super ShowDown match between Kevin Owen and Elias v Bobby Lashley and John Cena saw a little momentum built.
AOP squashed a couple of guys a quarter of their size.
And Chad Gable defeated Viktor.
Let’s see what happens on Smackdown.
WWE returns to Saudi Arabia this November.
Following on from the success of the sold-out Greatest Royal Rumble earlier this year, The Crown Jewel promises to be another bumper event.
The show’s headliner will be a triple-threat match for the WWE Universal championship between Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman.
Given his links with UFC, this could be the last time we see Brock in a WWE ring.
Also on the bill will be the first-ever WWE World Cup tournament. The format of this is not yet revealed.
The Crown Jewel will stream live on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view outside of the Middle East. Ticket availability and regional broadcast information will be announced in the coming weeks.