7 Ups & 4 Downs From Last Night's WWE SmackDown (Oct 23)

In which WWE forget they're supposed to be building to Evolution this Sunday.

Randy Orton Jeff Hardy

Given how chaotic the past few weeks have been in this weird little sport, SmackDown's two hours of consistently well-booked pro-wrestling television shone like a lighthouse on a stormy night at sea.

Its promise of escapism was more than welcome. WWE delivered an evening built largely around light entertainment presented through rigid formulae, and typical pay-per-view go-home fodder. It didn't quite live up to the brand's lofty standards, but after Roman Reigns' devastating announcement and the increasingly murky Crown Jewel story, it was enough.

Evolution-focused content was surprisingly sparse, as the writers were more concerned with WWE's return to Saudi Arabia on 2 November than the upcoming all-women pay-per-view. Still, we got another fun Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair angle, plus a chaotic showdown between some of the battle royal participants, so it wasn't a dead loss.

Elsewhere, there was another AJ Styles/Daniel Bryan vs. The Usos tag team match, a couple of World Cup previews in The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton, and what may have been the final showdown between Aiden English and Rusev.

Nothing on this week's show came close to Raw's emotional peaks and valleys, but how could it? Instead, SmackDown took a different approach, and it largely worked...


A caffeine-dependent life-form from the frozen wastes of north east Scotland. He once tried to start a revolution but didn't print enough pamphlets, so hardly anyone turned up. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.