This week’s edition of SmackDown kicked off with thunderous returns and even more explosive reactions from fans.
Finn Balor competed against AJ Styles in singles competition but witnessed interference by his fellow Judgment Day mates – Dominik Mysterio and Damian Priest. The Rock’s triumphant return was met in awe by many, including his former rival John Cena backstage, and the two shared a hug as the Cenation Leader welcomed him back to WWE.
Additionally, there were numerous moments that elevated the latest episode of SmackDown. Below is a list of the best and worst from the show:
#5. Best: Solo Sikoa picking a fight with John Cena; AJ Styles coming to his aid as SmackDown came to a close
John Cena was a special guest on The Grayson Waller Effect. However, this is not the first time the talk show host and the Cenation Leader came face to face. Back at Money in the Bank in July, the 16-time world champion made a surprise appearance and was confronted by Waller, who challenged him to a match.
On the blue brand this week, Cena could barely get a word in, with the Australian star taking every opportunity to mock him. Things got out of hand when Jimmy Uso walked out and told the 46-year-old that no one wanted him there. Solo Sikoa came out, accompanied by Paul Heyman. He caught his brother by the collar but hit the Cenation Leader with a superkick.
During all this chaos, AJ Styles ran out to side with Cena against Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa. The Phenomenal One has had run-ins with Jimmy in previous weeks, rendering their recent confrontation into a build-up to a match at a Premium Live Event.
This works well for John Cena, whom WWE has been actively pairing up for tag team matches to avoid singles competition.
#4. Worst: Shotzi and Baley’s feud seems too lackluster and comes off as repetitive
The two WWE stars have been at it for quite a while. In July this year, Bayley and IYO SKY attacked Shotzi backstage and even cut off some of her hair.
In the following week, the 31-year-old taunted Bayley as she shaved off her head on live television. This left the Damage CTRL members terrified of what they created amid their rivalry. On SmackDown this week, Bayley faced Asuka in a singles match.
Shotzi appeared from behind the barricade to scare Bayley and chased her back into the ring, enabling Asuka to get the win. This game of cat and mouse has been transpiring over the past few weeks, leaving their rivalry stale. Bayley and Shotzi need to face each other in a match with a heavy stipulation to give their rivalry some weightage.
#3. Best: LA Knight calls out Roman Reigns after his rematch on SmackDown
A fired-up LA Knight went against The Miz in a Payback rematch on SmackDown. The 40-year-old defeated The A-Lister again, giving him a 2-0 score over his opponent.
Following his match, Knight addressed fans on his future goals and highlighted he was looking to hold gold very soon. He vowed to have a championship even if he had to go up against Roman Reigns. There has been some tension between Paul Heyman and LA Knight recently suggesting a potential feud between him and The Tribal Chief.
At the same time, there are reports on WWE having no interest in taking off the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship from Reigns. However, a match with LA Knight and Roman Reigns would be one for the books.
#2. Worst: Bobby Lashley and The Street Profit’s booking
Rey Mysterio wanted to address fans and the LWO on his next potential contender and future as United States Champion. His stablemate Santos Escobar requested to challenge the Master of 619 for the title, given his history of vain events to have gold around his waist. The WWE Hall of Famer accepted, and the two shared a hug.
During this time, Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits walked out and launched an attack on the group. The All Mighty seemed displeased with the former tag team champion leaving Rey Mysterio unscathed. Lashley stepped into the ring and distracted Mysterio while Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford attacked him from behind.
The trio have been working together for nearly a month without any name or plans being laid out.
#1. Best: The Great One’s return to SmackDown
Pat McAfee kicked off the show but was interrupted by Austin Theory. The two share an intense history since their WrestleMania 38 match. The former United States Champion trash-talked the WWE commentator before The Rock stunned everyone with his appearance on SmackDown.
The People’s Champion confronted the 26-year-old who mocked him. The SmackDown star cut The Rock mid-sentence using his signature ‘it doesn’t matter what you think’ catchphrase against the WWE legend. Things got heated, and Theory pounced on The Rock, who countered and hit him with The Rock Bottom and The People’s elbow. Pat McAfee also followed suit.
Before his WWE return, The Rock confessed to a blockbuster match against Roman Reigns being ‘locked down’ for WrestleMania 39. His latest appearance paves the way for many iconic first-ever feuds with the current roster. Additionally, it remains to be seen whether his appearance was a one-time thing or will continue in The Tribal Chief’s absence.