A chaotic day for WWE resulted in one of the strongest episodes of television from the company in recent memory on Friday Night SmackDown.
The show has received tremendous praise, built around an NXT invasion with appearances by Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, Shayna Baszler, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Tegan Nox, Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, and others. The show led up to an NXT championship match with Cole pinning Daniel Bryan clean with the Panama Sunrise followed by the Last Shot.
The show had to be restructured when it became known that the talent coming back from Saudi Arabia would not make it to Buffalo, New York for the show. The call was made to put NXT talent on the show, and they chartered a flight, which we were told didn’t land in Buffalo until 7:55 pm eastern. A police escort brought them to the arena, and it was described that it couldn’t have been cut any closer with Shayna Baszler’s appearance occurring in the third segment.
In terms of putting the show together, we were told Vince McMahon was present at the show and it was a mix of McMahon, Paul Levesque, and the SmackDown writing staff.
The other major note from the show saw an angle with Paul Heyman announcing that WWE champion Brock Lesnar has “quit” SmackDown in order to go to Raw and feud with Rey Mysterio. This would solve the issue of both champions being on SmackDown after The Fiend won the Universal title from Seth Rollins at Crown Jewel on Thursday.