Rhea Ripley def. Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match
SmackDown and Raw's female Survivor Series teams encountered each other, only for Team NXT to join the fray. By the way, we now know Team NXT will officially consist of Ripley, Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae and Toni Storm. Yes, Storm randomly returned after months of inactivity and is apparently apart of NXT despite still being a member of the NXT UK roster. It was pleasant surprise to see her, but I just think Dakota Kai would have made more sense, especially since she's been a regular on SmackDown as of late, anyway. The match wasn't as great as it had the potential to be due to all the shenanigans going on around ringside, but it was solid for what it was. I loved that Ripley pinned Flair for the victory and the finish was creative.
Undisputed Era def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day and Heavy Machinery
Before this bout, Undisputed Era confronted Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn, who revealed the brand-new design for the Intercontinental Championship. It's a beautifully looking title, but I'm heartbroken as I've always been partial to the classic white strap. The eight-man tag team match that followed was fun and received an ample amount of time. Undisputed Era going over was the right call and I loved that the AJ Styles vs. Nakamura vs. Roderick Strong Triple Threat at Survivor Series received some extra attention afterward with their brawl. I was looking forward to it regardless, but there had been zero build to it prior to this point.
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz Ended in a no Contest
Bryan called out Bray Wyatt ahead of Survivor Series but got The Miz instead after what Bryan said to Miz last week. They've always had amazing chemistry together, both in the ring and on the mic, but I'm not a fan of their match being thrown out on television without being hyped in advance. Just as they started to pick up the pace, the lights went out. The Fiend appeared and laid out Bryan with the Mandible Claw. Their storyline hasn't been terribly intriguing so far, but I have hope they can redeem themselves with a quality matchup at Survivor Series.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley Attacked NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler
Bayley accused Baszler earlier in the evening of always attacking her from behind, so Baszler demanded she meet her in the ring. Bayley ended up coming through the crowd and, unsurprisingly, ambushed Baszler from behind. It was a short and sweet angle that did what it could to make viewers think Bayley has a shot of winning that Triple Threat match on Sunday. In reality, she doesn't. It's worth noting the audience in attendance chanted for Becky Lynch, but she was nowhere to be seen.
King Corbin, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler def. Roman Reigns, Mustafa Ali and Shorty G
Similar to what we saw on Raw, I have no idea why members of Team SmackDown would be pit against each other days before the pay-per-view. I realize Reigns and Corbin are feuding at the moment (and it's been dreadful), but it could have been put on hold for a week. Ali competing in front of his hometown crowd in the main event was cool and I liked the sense of urgency they worked with, but it would have been even better if Ali picked up the win for his team. Of course, none of that ended up mattering once all three brands predictably broke out in a brawl afterward to close out the show. It's an angle we see every year before Survivor Series, but NXT's army truck was a nice touch and the crowd ate this up.
The Survivor Series build has been very hit or miss over the past three weeks, but as a go-home show, I thought this edition of SmackDown was successful on the whole of setting the stage for Sunday. There wasn't a ton I'd consider "must-see," but the in-ring action was enjoyable and, as far as I could tell, most matches on the Survivor Series card received an equal amount of attention throughout the night. It helped that this Chicago crowd was livelier than most, making me optimistic they'll provide an electric atmosphere for the upcoming NXT TakeOver: WarGames III and Survivor Series events as well as Monday's Raw.
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