On the heels of WWE Super Show-Down and a strong Raw on Monday, SmackDown Live offered some good but a lot of less-than-good as they moved their Superstars toward Crown Jewel and Evolution.
Most of the show was focused on the World Cup, where Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton will be moving on. The Big Show made his return and Lynch and Flair stole the show.
Here are your winners and losers for SmackDown Live, October 9, 2018.
Winner: Flair vs. Lynch
Matches between these two don't grow stale and while this was an excellent way to open the show, it was almost too good as the rest of the program was a letdown in comparison. This match clearly should have been the main event and the spear through the LED light wall was a nice touch often reserved for the males.
Clearly, as Paige announced, these two are not finished with each other and that's not a bad bit of news whatsoever. A Last Woman Standing is an interesting choice and the stipulation makes it hard to believe Lynch leaves with the belt, so that may be the only potential downer for fans who are currently loving her work.
Loser: Lana Reveals the Truth
Relationship betrayal angles don't often work and in the past, when done with Lana, they've made for dreadful television. So, with this strange, imagined love triangle Aiden English was trying to sell, the WWE Universe can be glad it's over. But, what does this mean for English?
If this was the end of the relationship between Rusev and The Shakespeare of Song, this was a horrid way to close the door on their story. If it's just the start of something else, it will be interesting to see where WWE takes it and if English finds other ways to antagonize the Bulgarian Brute.
Loser: Hardy Eliminates Joe
Why is Jeff Hardy back already? And, why is he back with no fanfare and taking out Samoa Joe to qualify for the World Cup? Sometimes the things WWE chooses to do make very little sense. This was one of those things.
Thank goodness WWE knew at least enough to protect Joe by selling his injury if they were going to have him lose to Hardy. By the way, did we ask why Hardy is back already? Didn't he take a huge spill through a table from the inside of a cell and it was supposedly supposed to put him on the shelf or be ready to come back and attack Randy Orton?
Winner: The Miz
Anyone who watched the Super Show-Down was probably asking 'what the?' when it came to the finish of the Daniel Bryan versus Miz match. A quick rollup for the win put Bryan in line to face AJ Styles and while that's a dream championship match, it left questions about what was to happen with The Miz going forward and if it would kill his program with Daniel Bryan. Those who watched SmackDown Live on Tuesday found out The Miz will still be very much front and center in this buildup.
The corny jokes between Styles and Bryan at The Miz's expense were a bit much but the promo was good, leading into a strong match with Shelton Benjamin made this segment work.
Loser: Big Show
The big return of The Big Show to SmackDown Live was a big letdown as he lost by pinfall to Randy Orton and looked fairly useless in doing so. For a man who's in better shape than he has been in quite some time, it didn't translate into a better work rate in the ring and that WWE had him job to Orton who advanced to the World Cup was an odd choice.
This was chosen as the main event and it should have switched spots with the Lynch vs. Flair match.