Before we get into our assessment of Friday’s episode of SmackDown, let’s preface this article by saying, we wouldn’t be writing it if the WWE Superstars who finally left Saudi Arabia hadn’t gotten out safely. No matter how good Friday’s show was, it takes a back seat the safety and well being of the talent in WWE who couldn’t make it.
That said, Friday’s show was evidence WWE needs to have their hands forced like this more often.
On a night that could have been a total disaster, WWE proved they have the ability to make lemonade out of lemons and delivered a show that fans not only loved, but an episode that made almost everyone forget they were about to tune in to see the new Universal Champion, The Fiend debut as the titleholder on SmackDown.
There was no Roman Reigns, there was no Wyatt, Strowman or any of the cast of SmackDown, with the exception of Brock Lesnar and those who didn’t make the trip.
A Great Storyline That Worked
Whether WWE intended to do this storyline down the road or not, Vince and Triple H were forced to make the show all about NXT, because that’s the talent they had available. Not only did it work, but the timing was perfect, setting the stage for Survivor Series where NXT talent will be included for the first time in the PPV’s history.
Some might argue that it was “too much” NXT, but in the context of the story, it made sense. NXT was answering what they deemed a challenge by Raw and SmackDown, they were taking advantage of the fact most of the roster wasn’t there and they seized an opportunity that wouldn’t come again. The story practically wrote itself and made fans want to watch Survivor Series.
Again, WWE might not have put Daniel Bryan up against Adam Cole at this point in time, but you won’t hear one complaint out of the fans who viewed this as a potential dream match.
It was given a good 30 minutes to unfold, the two stars were greenlit to do what they do and Cole was featured in a match that Bryan likely had no issues doing the job in. What a main event. It proved WWE has talent that can simply wrestle and keep the fans entertained.
Showcasing The NXT Brand
With NXT now on the USA Network, this was a fantastic way to promote the show. Clearly, FOX wasn’t about to let WWE say another network’s name on the show but it didn’t matter. After watching some of NXT’s best, plenty of fans will want to tune in on Wednesday to see what’s next.
This was an awesome showcase for well-deserving talent and in the long-run, this will do WWE a ton of good.
Let The Talkers Talk
One thing that might have gone unnoticed, but shouldn’t be overlooked is the talent who spoke and took up time on the mic Friday. There was virtually no time to write promos considering the scrambled nature of the show, but more talking points the talent had to get over. This is likely why stars like The Miz, Sami Zayn, Paul Heyman, Tomasso Ciampa and Daniel Bryan did all the talking. They’re good at it.
Maybe nothing comes of this, but hopefully WWE notices that these talents are good at what they do. If the company offers a bit more freedom in terms of what gets said during a promo, they might be pleasantly surprised.