On this week’s edition of SmackDown, the men’s and women’s Survivor Series teams continued to come together ahead of this month’s pay-per-view event. But the biggest headline coming out of the event may have been Sasha Banks successfully defending her SmackDown women’s championship — the first time she has successfully defended her title with a win in six stints as a world champion.
Banks had to fend off the challenge of her former best friend after Bayley was able to secure a rematch after being forced to sign a Hell in a Cell contract last month “under duress.” Banks was able to score the win, but the celebration only lasted a moment before she was blindsided by a former champion.
CBS Sports was with you all night, providing highlights and recaps of all the night’s action. Read on for everything you need to know coming out of SmackDown.
Sasha Banks beats Bayley, but a new threat emerges
Bayley opened the show with a backstage interview after a video package covering her history with Sasha Banks. Asked what emotions were conjured up by the package, Bayley expressed joy at the memories of turning on Banks with her brutal attack in early September. She then pointed out that Banks had never successfully defended a world championship, and said that would continue in their match, which was up next.
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Sasha Banks (c) def. Bayley via submission with the Banks Statement. After a fairly standard start to the match, things picked up in a big way as the two women went to the ring apron and Banks used her knees to drive Bayley’s head into the ring post. Seconds later, Bayley used a modified monkey flip to launch Banks into the air and crashing down onto the apron. The match built to a hot stretch where Bayley hit the Bayley-to-Belly for a near fall. She followed up with an elbow drop for another two count seconds later as Banks continued to try to fight off another failed title defense. Bayley locked in Banks’ own Banks Statement, only to have the champion again manage to escape danger. Banks would lock in the same hold moments later to force the tap and retain the championship. As Banks walked up the entrance ramp, she was met by a superkick from Carmella, who continued the attack and left Banks out cold.
Obviously, Bayley and Banks have great chemistry in the ring and they delivered again. There are small quibbles with the match, such as two commercial breaks during the match that were spaced only minutes apart. Aside from that slight distraction, the match was the high-quality affair you’d expect. Carmella emerging as the next threat to Banks is somewhat obvious given her multi-week vignette treatment, but it’s hard to say how exciting she is as a challenger. Grade: B+
Roman Reigns gets Jey Uso in line
Jey Uso was backstage getting coffee when Kevin Owens confronted him about the “rough time” Uso has been having. Owens cracked a joke that Paul Heyman should be getting Roman Reigns’ coffee, leading Uso to get heated that Owens thinks his family is a joke. Owens cooled things down and said he just wanted to talk to Uso as Survivor Series teammates and suggested he switch to decaf. After a commercial break, Uso was interviewed backstage. He explained that he “did what he had to do” when he attacked Daniel Bryan after their match last week on SmackDown, saying Bryan was his friend, but he’s not family. Heyman then interrupted and asked if Reigns had approved the interview, ending things as Uso got upset at Kayla Braxton for making jokes about Heyman having better standing in the family than Uso. Reigns was upset with Uso and Heyman later in the show, saying Heyman should have known about the interview and Uso should have handled Owens for his disrespect.
Jey Uso def. Kevin Owens via pinfall after an Uso Splash. The match was Reigns’ idea of making things right after Owens’ earlier comments. Early in the match, when Owens took things over, Reigns was shown backstage sending Heyman out to ringside. With Heyman at ringside, Uso upped the aggression, but still had to deal with Owens giving as good as he got and eventually scoring a near fall with a swanton. As Owens looked to have the match in hand, Reigns’ music hit, distracting the referee and allowing Uso to hit a low blow. Uso followed up moments later with an Uso Splash for the victory. Reigns met Uso on the entrance ramp after the match and the duo posed to close the show.
It was a relief to see the story between Uso and Reigns continue to move toward this mutual intensity. And Reigns ruling with an iron fist and setting out the expectation that Uso do nothing without his permission and approval is great character development. Uso has proven himself as a true singles talent and he is more than carrying his part of this storyline no matter what has been asked of him. It’s hard to find flaws with what they’re doing. Grade: A-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Survivor Series Qualifying Match — King Corbin def. Rey Mysterio via pinfall after an End of Days. Corbin attacked Mysterio backstage before the match, already stacking the odds against him and forcing him to wrestle in his street clothes. As Mysterio made his comeback, Seth Rollins’ music hit and Rollins made his way to ringside. Dominik Mysterio stood guard at the bottom of the entrance ramp, but was eventually hit by a Corbin cheap shot. That allowed Rollins to run down and attack Dominik as a distraction for Rey. Another distraction followed when Murphy and Aalyah ran down as well. As Rey yelled for Murphy to leave, he turned around only to be hit by End of Days for the finish.
- Survivor Series Qualifying Match — Ruby Riott def. Natalya and Zelina Vega via submission with an armlock. Natalya had Vega in the Sharpshooter when Riott came in and locked up Vega’s arm. Natalya released the hold a second before Vega tapped out, allowing Riott to secure her place on the team.
- The Street Profits tried to pump Big E for a scouting report on New Day. Big E shot down the attempt ahead of Survivor Series, telling the Profits if they lay down in the ring, they’ll escape a beating. Billie Kay then entered the picture and tried to give her resume to the Profits.
- Survivor Series Qualifying Match — Seth Rollins def. Otis via pinfall after a stomp. Murphy made his way out early in the match, staring down Rollins and distracting him. That allowed Otis to grab the advantage, eventually tossing Rollins outside the ring where he landed at the feet of Murphy. As Otis seemed to nearly have the match won, Murphy jumped on the apron for a distraction, when Rollins smiled at him, Murphy jumped down as Otis tried to attack, allowing Rollins to hit the stomp for the win. After the match, Rollins confronted Murphy backstage and Murphy once again called Rollins “messiah.” Aaliyah got upset with Murphy, but he told her that she needs to trust him and it isn’t what it looks like.
- Lars Sullivan huffed and puffed through another interview. Sullivan talked about how he hates bullies. He was bullied as a kid, then he got strong and bullied the bullies and anyone who didn’t help him when he was being bullied. Also, he made them eat weird things and showed off how he would scream at them.