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Smackdown: Paige GM, Iconic Debut, Carmella Cashes, Heel Nakamura

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The episode of Smackdown Live after Wrestlemania is always exciting, but this year’s edition of the Blue Brand post-Wrestlemania had fans cheering.

The episode kicked off with the announcement of Paige replacing Daniel Bryan as General Manager. It was only a day earlier she had announced her in-ring retirement due to injuries.

During the segment, she didn’t rule out a come back in the future and has recently thanked Bryan for giving her hope. Bryan was recently cleared to return to in-ring competition after a two-year brief retirement from competition due to concussion issues.

Having Paige become the Smackdown GM is a good day to have her appear in a prominent role on television. Fans love Paige and while they want to see her perform in the ring, people are happy to see her continue working in WWE.

While Raw had several NXT superstars make their debut, Smackdown Live had a couple of call-ups as well – specifically the Iconic Duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Now dubbed as the IIconics, Royce and Kay mocked Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair before proceeding to attack her.  

Royce’s and Kay’s call up to the main roster has been long overdue. The two have grown as performers and characters during their time in NXT.

WWE changing their team name from the Iconic Duo to IIconics is going to take some time to digest for fans. The name change is similar to how creative renamed Ruby Riott – or in some cases had superstars like Neville, Big E and Cesaro only use one name. While it was difficult for fans to like those names at first, now you can’t imagine them going by any other name.

After their attack on Flair, the IIconics put the women’s division on notice. It’s cool to see something like this from debuting talent – the IIconics aren’t just stopping with Flair, they’re going after everyone.

The IIconics’ attack on Flair set up the other big moment of the night when Carmella finally cashed in her Money in the Bank contract to pin the Queen and win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

Carmella held her Money in the Bank contract for 287, longer than any previous MITB briefcase. She had previously attempted to cash in her contract on a couple of occasions, but the matches never started.

Fans who have watched Carmella since her NXT days are no doubt excited to see her win her first championship and take the next step in her career. Although Carmella hasn’t been in the wrestling business for long, she has paid her dues in life – which she goes into detail about on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast.

Carmella is also good at generating heel heat with her cheating and antics – and that will be a good foil to Flair and other babyfaces in the women’s division.

Putting the title on Carmella, as well as having the Iconics debut also gives the Smackdown women’s division a new chapter.

And of course came the biggest blow of the night. While fans were salivating for the dream match between Bryan and A.J. Styles – Shinsuke Nakamura took matters into his own hands and denied the crowd the finish of the match. The King of Strong Style kneed Bryan in the back of the head and attack Styles.

Nakamura’s heel turn came at Wrestlemania after he lost to Styles at Wrestlemania. The heel turn came at the height of Nakamura being one of the top babyfaces on Smackdown Live. The question would be how to generate more heel heat for Namakura – have him ruin the dream match between Styles and Bryan.

The Smackdown after Wrestlemania wasn’t perfect, but the debuts and major announcements outshined the low and mediocre moments. It also opened the doors for some big things on Smackdown in the months ahead.

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Daniel Bryan Wins WWE Championship, Refuses to Answer Questions Following Attack on AJ Styles

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Daniel Bryan captured the WWE Championship by defeating A.J Styles on Tuesday’s SmackDown LIVE, ending Styles reign of over 300 days and putting into motion a Bryan heel turn following his beat down of Styles following the match.

Bryan is now slated to face WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series this Sunday.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? November 12, 2018

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The Good

For Raw, when Smackdown invaded Raw this week, it was an awesome segment from start to finish. After Alexa Bliss announced that Ruby Riott would be the final member of the women’s team, the cameras cut backstage to Becky Lynch attacking Ronda Rousey. Soon after that, Lynch came out with other Smackdown women superstars and a brawl ensued. Lynch broke her nose and had a few facial fractures after Nia Jax punched in the face during this brawl. This led to Lynch bleeding profusely from her nose, but that didn’t stop her from fighting. Lynch then attacked Rousey with a chair and stood tall in the crowd. This made Becky Lynch look like the baddest women on the planet and the WWE universe seem to agree as they were chanting her name throughout this.

For Smackdown, we have a new WWE Champion! Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles after hitting a low blow and then a running knee. Bryan then attacked Styles after the match and shocked the WWE Universe. Bryan now gets to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series and some have considered this a “dream match.”

The Bad

For Raw, the whole ordeal with the tag team Survivor Series elimination match was a mess. Raw opened up with a battle royal to determine who the captains would be for Raw for that match. This battle royal was interrupted by Braun Strowman, so they pushed the match for later in the show. Then, when the match happened, nobody really cared. Lastly, the team that won could only just brag that they were the captains because all the other teams involved in the Battle Royal will be the same teams to represent Raw in the match anyway.

For Smackdown, there was no invasion angle on their show this week, which is confusing. Last year, both brands invaded each other’s show before Survivor Series. But, this time around, Smackdown only invaded Raw. When this doesn’t happen now, it really makes the matches at Survivor Series not feel as important as they should. What really doesn’t make much sense either is that during the show, they showed that security was preparing for an invasion, but it never happened.

The Final Verdict

With these being the go home shows before Survivor Series, WWE usually ramps up the build to these matches by having invasions happen as well as taking a lot of time to talk about these matches. But, with the Becky Lynch injury, she had to pull out of her match with Rousey and find a replacement. WWE also decided to throw the fans a curve ball by having AJ Styles 365+ days reign as WWE Champion come to a screeching halt this week too after losing to Daniel Bryan. As far as which brand had a better show, I will have to say that Raw had the better show this week. Raw did a really good job of building up Survivor Series as well as what is to come after the PPV too. They had time to show what is going to happen next between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as well as Braun Strowman and his situations with Baron Corbin and Brock Lesnar. Lastly, the ending invasion with Smackdown was an awesome moment for years to come. Survivor Series is looking to be a solid PPV and it is also intriguing to see what happens after the PPV too.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? November 5, 2018

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The Good

For Raw, we have new tag team champions this week after the Authors of Pain defeated Seth Rollins. After Rollins called out Baron Corbin for helping Brock Lesnar win the Universal Championship, Corbin retaliated by having him defend the tag team championship against AOP knowing that Dean Ambrose wasn’t going to help Rollins out. That was the case as Rollins tried to his best to win two on one, only to fail. After the match, Ambrose attacked Rollins again. When I stated last week that this Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose rivalry is going to be a slow build, this is a prime example of it and doing it in a effective way.

For Smackdown, we had a great one on one match between Rey Mysterio and Andrade Almas. Before this bout, Daniel Bryan picked Mysterio to be on the men’s team, only for the Miz to question it and say that Mysterio will have to prove it against Almas. Both Mysterio and Almas put on a high flying match which ended when Mysterio hit the 619. After the match, Randy Orton attacked Mysterio too, which questions where his intentions are going forward too.

The Bad

For Raw, while I do not mind the Bobby Lashley versus Finn Balor rivalry, having them face off against each other every week is not a good way to build up the rivalry. This is the 3rd week in a row they have faced off against each other and it hasn’t really led to anything for either competitor. There are much better ways to help develop this rivalry. Having them fight every week gets repetitive and boring quickly.

For Smackdown, the reveal for the women’s team at Survivor Series didn’t really have the intriguing impact compared to what they are doing on Raw. For Smackdown, there is no team captain and they don’t even have one fully committed to the team. When it was Charlotte’s turn to get introduced, she didn’t show up, instead we got Mandy Rose questioning why others were on the team in her place. While that aspect of the team is interesting, there are still some things left up in the air about this.

The Final Verdict

After Crown Jewel, it felt like WWE was trying to move past that as soon as possible and move onto Survivor Series. This seems like the smartest decision for WWE considering the controversy that was behind Crown Jewel. But, as both brands moved on, they did a pretty solid job of building up Survivor Series. But, I will have to say that Smackdown had the better show this week. They spent all of their allotted time on focusing on Survivor Series and have some pretty interesting stories going into it. While Raw, on the other hand, had some matches that felt like filler and have been extremely repetitive. Overall, WWE needs to ramp up the buildup for Survivor Series, especially considering that this is one of the Big Four PPV’s.

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