We start the SmackDown Season Premiere with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in the ring, and the SmackDown roster gathered at the ramp.
Stephanie promotes The New Day’s farewell while Triple H pushes Jeff Hardy Vs. Lars Sullivan.
Stephanie promotes how Daniel Bryan will be making his first Thunderdome appearance. Bryan is on the stage and gets a “yes!” chant from the digital crowd. Triple H says there are a lot of new faces here, beginning with Kevin Owens. Owens gets a big pop on the stage. Stephanie gives a shout out to Aleister Black, who stares Owens down. Triple H introduces WWE Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn, who gets heavily booed. The crowd is loud today.
Stephanie reminds Otis and his Money In the Bank briefcase. Triple H promotes The Street Profits SmackDown Tag Team Titles match. Fans chant “we want smoke!” now. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode suddenly attack The Profits, beating them to the ring. The rest of the roster also brawls to the ring as it quickly fills up with Superstars.
Triple H and Stephanie leaves the ring as the brawl continues. Owens leaps out and takes a pack of jobbers down. Montez Ford runs and nails a big dive on Roode and Ziggler. The music hits, and out comes the new Smackdown monster Lars Sullivan. Sullivan destroys The Profits at ringside. Kalisto leaps out, but Sullivan catches him and slams him into the barrier. Sami evades as Lars hits the ring. Apollo Crews and Shorty G attack Lars but he takes them both out with ease, hitting a Freak Accident on G. Fans boo Lars loudly as he stands tall. Jeff Hardy comes from behind and hits Sullivan. Sullivan blocks a Twist of Fate, but Hardy sends him to the floor. Hardy celebrates as his music hits (I miss No More Words), while Lars stares him down from ringside.
Lars Sullivan vs. Jeff Hardy
Sullivan quickly recovers from a Twist of Fate and gets the running one-handed slam for the win in 4 minutes.
Winner: Lars Sullivan
Match Review: 1.75/5. A simple match ending with a dominating Lars Sullivan winning it with ease. Am I excited to see Lars dominate Smackdown Roster? Maybe not.
New Day come out and reminisce on their moments together one last time.
New Day vs. Sheamus, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro
Big E pins Sheamus after they hit the Midnight Hour in 15 minutes.
Winners: The New Day
Match Review: 3.75/5. A brilliant match. Cesaro, with Nakamura and Sheamus, exceeded my expectations by delivering a fine match-up. I will miss The New Day but I am excited to see Big-E’s singles’ push.
New Day console each other with an emotional hug afterward.
We go back to the ring, and out comes Daniel Bryan for his WWE Thunderdome debut. Fans chant “yes!” as Bryan hits the ring, and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Bryan is in the ring, and he’s not dressed to wrestle. We see Brie Bella and their daughter watching from the ThunderDome crowd as the “yes!” chants continue. Bryan talks about how much he loves being inside the Thunderdome. Bryan loved his time at home. He says hello to Brie and their daughter in the crowd. Bryan said he could not wait to come back and experience this. He promises tonight’s show. He’s excited for some fresh faces on the roster, like Bianca Belair, The Riott Squad.
The pyro hits, and Bryan laughs as Rollins makes his way out with a mic. Rollins says it’s so good to see Bryan. He’s thrilled Brie let Bryan off daddy duty for a night to come to the Thunderdome. Rollins believes Baby Brain may have gotten to Bryan because he named many people, but he forgot to mention the most important Draft pick, the man who will lead SmackDown into the future – Rollins. Rollins enters the ring and says he has an important question to ask Bryan – which side of history do you want to be on? Because when it comes to The Greater Good, either you’re with Rollins or against him. Rollins is sure Bryan is smart enough to want to stand next to him and mold the industry’s future to his vision. Bryan says he’s all for changing the future for the better, but to be quite honest, Rollins’ vision seems a little short-sighted, self-indulgent, self-centered, and just kind of a little bit dumb.
Rollins says Bryan doesn’t mean that, but he does. They argue a bit until Rollins drops Bryan with a right hand. Rollins stomps away while Bryan is down now as fans boo. Rollins yells at Bryan about how he’s dumb. Bryan ducks Rollins and takes him down for a pop. Bryan delivers Yes Kicks now. Bryan goes for the roundhouse kick, but Rollins retreats to the floor and backs up the ramp. Rey Mysterio’s music hits, and out he comes with Dominik Mysterio as the “yes!” chant starts up again. Rollins returns to the ring as The Mysterios stare him down. Rollins tries to get Bryan to join him. Bryan exits the ring and leaves Rollins alone with The Mysterios. The music interrupts, and out comes Murphy.
Murphy rushes the ring and stares everyone down. Rollins pats him on the back but Murphy takes Rollins down and unloads him with strikes as fans pop. Murphy drops Rollins and sends him retreating up the ramp again. Murphy and The Mysterios stare each other down now. Murphy offers his hand to Rey for a shake. Dominik leaves the ring while Rey stares Murphy down. Rey also leaves the ring while Murphy still has his hand out. Rey’s music starts back up as he and Dominik head up the ramp while Murphy looks on.
Back from the break and we get a plug for next week’s SmackDown on FS1. We go back to the ring, and out comes Bayley. Banks and WWE Producer Adam Pearce are already sitting at the table for the contract signing. Pearce talks about the match and lets Banks sign first. Banks signs and says she’s been waiting for this moment for a very long time. So has Bayley, who wants to be done with Banks, who she calls her baggage to continue her historic title reign.
Banks and Bayley have more words as Pearce looks on. Bayley says Banks has been waiting to turn on her this entire time, but she beat her to the punch, and that’s why Banks is mad. Banks stands up and says if she wanted to turn on Bayley, she would’ve done it years ago. Banks says friends don’t turn on each other. Banks recalls how she was the first person to call Bayley when she left behind at WWE NXT. She goes on talking about how she was there for Bayley at different times. Banks says she will end Bayley at Hell In a Cell because her name is Sasha Banks, and her name is bigger than Bayley’s title. Banks says it will just be the icing on the cake when she leaves the Cell with the title.
Banks shoves the contract over to Bayley, but Bayley stands up with a steel chair. Bayley backs out of the ring with the chair and says she’s not signing anything. Banks tells her to leave like the coward she is, but there will be nowhere to run in the Cell. Banks says one way or the other, Bayley will be signing this contract. Bayley rants and taunts Banks from the ramp while holding her title and the chair. Banks stares back from the ring.
We see Braun Strowman backstage warming up. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and we get shout-outs to WWE from actor/comedians Ken Jeong and Joel McHale.
Roman Reigns (C) vs. Braun Strowman – Universal Championship
Reigns wins by tapping Braun out with the Gullitone Choke in 11 minutes.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Match Review: 3.25/5. Predictable match with hard-hitting moves.
After the match, Jey Uso comes down to the ramp, and Reigns spears Strowman. He then strikes Strowman with chairs and tells Jey that if he can do this to Braun, he can do it to him as well. This is how he takes care of business, and this is how he takes care of his family. He has to be the one on top. He then tells Jey he’s embarrassing them, and it makes no sense that he thinks he’s on his level. Jey puts the chair down in frustration. Jey then punches and superkicks Roman and then attacks him with a chair. Jey is separated by officials before Roman uppercuts Jey and walks away.
WWE Smackdown Rating for October 16: 7.75/10
Three Stars of the Show
- The New Day
- Roman Reigns
- Braun Strowman