There was no telling where things might go with SmackDown Live this week. Would the show focus on the featured main event of Kevin Owens versus Shinsuke Nakamura? Or, would Raw invading be where the attention centralized?
In the end, the WWE Universe got a nice mix of both, and the show was well done, and it made sense leading into the Survivor Series pay-per-view, still leaving open the day that Raw comes for revenge.
Like Raw, there were more winners than losers this week, and if we're being honest, that should be the way these shows always go. Here are your Five Winners and Five Losers From SmackDown Live - October 31, 2017.
Unlike many of the other segments, we give props to later in this list, the women's segment led by Becky Lynch was not nearly as strong. The problem isn't so much that the players are bad but comparatively, they don't measure up. Becky is deserving but not nearly as entertaining a captain as Alicia Fox on Raw and Natalya keeps stealing their thunder.
There appears to be dissension amongst the team members, but we're going to get Lynch trying to hold it all together for a few more weeks. It doesn't sound like a promising future for the women's division on SmackDown Live.
WWE needed to do some work to make McMahon not appear the heel after his roster attacked Raw. This is now two consecutive weeks that the company and writers brought Shane-O Mac out and made him a believable non-heel, and that is great for this battle. It isn't often that you to try to avoid a heel versus babyface dynamic but in this case, it wouldn't work. WWE is smart to ensure both sides have sympathy and are understood.
Shane delivered a smart promo that was quick and to the point and fans could understand that there is, in fact, some truth to the idea that SmackDown has always been looked at as the inferior brand and this was a way to change that reputation.
It was clear from the start that this feud didn't make a whole lot of sense and the two-out-three falls match proved it. The matches themselves were OK, but they definitely weren't steal-the-show material and that's what you look for in these kinds of contests.
And, by the time the dust had settled and the smoke cleared, there really wasn't a clear winner and that was going to be an issue with this. The feud didn't strengthen either combatant. WWE has clearly dropped the ball with both superstars and it's a shame since both deserve so much better.
It was odd when the WWE chose Sin Cara to take on Corbin. It was odder when they tried to make Sin Cara look like a legitimate threat. Now, in the third week, things are becoming a bit less odd. Sin Cara is actually beginning to look like a competitor that is more than a guy being tucked away on Superstars or Main Event, he looks motivated and convincing.
We all know this is only a temporary push for Sin Cara until Corbin and The Miz get a chance to lock horns (they've been feuding on social media leading to their Survivor Series match). But, if Sin Cara can take advantage of this opportunity, maybe he'll get another.
Roode gets double dinged on this list because he's been made out to be a loyal soldier for Shane McMahon now that he's a part of the SmackDown Live Survivor Series team. This direction is now as far away from Roode's original character as the WWE can get. The company spent a full year building him up as a guy who was too "Glorious" to have friends and now he's helping lead the "Under Seige" movement, having been motivated by McMahon.
Roode's character could be saved if he walks out on his team at the pay-per-view but that seems unlikely to happen the way WWE has booked his character since being called up to the main roster. Frankly, it's hard to watch him tow the line so feverishly.
If the WWE keeps giving Mahal material like they have the past two weeks, they'll be doing the right thing heading into his match versus "The Beast" Brock Lesnar. This episode of SmackDown Live was exceedingly convincing as Mahal gave two Khallases to a victimized AJ Styles who had just done away with Samir Singh. It was all a setup and a message meant to show Lesnar that Mahal was ready.
Somehow, WWE has to make a champion who has been winning—but inferior to date—capable of hanging with The Universal Champ. He's still isn't, but these kinds of segments get him closer and closer each week.
We did this for Raw and we're doing it again for SmackDown Live. The segment with Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin was just too good to ignore and we only had a spot for a loser. They weren't losers, so we had to add turn a loser into a winner and give the number one contenders to the SmackDown Live tag team championships their props.
There is so much chemistry between these two and their little rap cutdown to the Usos was great, capped off by a priceless reaction by Shelton Benjamin. This segment was gold.
It was a predictable outcome, but fans of Shinsuke Nakamura should take it just the same. Having Nakamura win with help from Randy Orton is much better than having Nakamura job and take clean pins to Jinder Mahal and seemingly disappear from the main event scene. Nakamura will now be a part of the team representing SmackDown Live at Survivor Series and that's absolutely the way it should be.
He looked strong in his match versus Owens and the crowd was firmly behind him. There's still a huge contingent of the WWE Universe that wants Nakamura to be a massive star. With this kind of booking, there's still hope.
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What's on deck for Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn? Now that both have been technically eliminated from wrestling for the blue brand at the pay-per-view in the main event, will they be kept off the card altogether? It seems silly to do so, but where will WWE place them?
Is there a team from Raw that these two can face? Will they instead not be a part of the card but make their presence felt anyway? There is a lot up in the air here and it could turn out fine, but as of right now, neither are on the Survivor Series show.
This one was a home run. By far the best Fashion Files to date, it was fast paced, well written, had a cameo appearance by Tye Dillinger and a box of Uggos. It was actually funny. The fact that the segment ended mysteriously and in a way that everyone now wants to know who Jigsaw was in the briefcase adds even more intrigue. Are the Blugeon Brothers somehow involved? Are they not? Who was that? Is it just a one-time thing being Halloween and referencing the Saw films or is there more to it?
Sometimes these segments are flops, but we can at least give the participants props for thinking outside the box. This segment was just awesome from start to finish.
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