I’m going to have to get this review written a lot quicker than normal. After all, once Crown Jewel kicks off at 1pm Eastern on Saturday, and that will make commentary on the November 3 Go-Home WWE Smackdown old news.

I’d first like to mention that I find it hilarious how they like to pretend shows a day before an international Premium Live Event aren’t pre-taped, to the point of not naming the city and arena they are in at the beginning, and even having Roman Reigns no ask the specific town to acknowledge him, so it’s not clear that they’re in the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the same place they were last Friday. In fact, they taped this episode right after the live one went off the air.

I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but in the world of Kayfabe, shouldn’t things still make sense? Flights from Milwaukee to Riyadh, even on a private jet, take just over 14 hours, then there’s customs, checking into hotels, and so on. What’s wrong with admitting this is pre-taped, and saying things like “tomorrow, for those of you watching…”. But I digress.

Kayfabe goggles back on. Here are my thoughts:

  • Undisputed WWE Universal Champion interrupting LA Knight, payback for Knight interrupting his entrance, makes Knight feel bigger. Roman’s not sending flunkies anymore, no matter what the Tribal Chief says, his sheer presence is acknowledging (see what I did there) LA as a real contender. The opening confrontation promo was a great bit of verbal jousting on both parts, and they even needed to be pulled apart. This feels big.
Nick Aldis and referees pull apart Roman Reigns and LA Knight with Paul Heyman watching on WWE Smackdown November 3 2023
  • I like Kevin Owen’s new augmented reality intro. It seemed like they had stopped making new ones, and only using the ones they had already made for superstars like Roman and Bianca Belair. Are they going back to this? Or is KO special?
  • Austin Theory saying in a promo that KO won’t have to wear a mask for Halloween, and then Michael Cole correcting him on commentary because Halloween “already happened” was, well, see my mini-rant above.
  • I like the KO versus Theory pairing. Owens’ street fighting style meshes well with Theory’s more polished, though still mat-based approach. A Pop Up Powerbomb, followed by a stunner, gave KO a clean, and somewhat quick victory, with no interference from Grayson Waller sitting at the commentary table. That leads me to believe that maybe a longer feud isn’t in the cards, and this is just a good way to reintroduce Owens to Smackdown, and propel him to a higher level. He is, after all, a back-to-back WrestleMania main eventer.
Kevin Owens gives Austin Theory the Stunner on WWE Smackdown November 7 2023
  • B-FAB with Bobby Lashley and the Street Profits? Hmm, that could be interesting. Now I see why WWE didn’t let her go when they released Top Dolla.
  • If we do get Charlotte Flair and Shotzi versus Chelsea Green and Piper Niven for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships, the challengers would obviously win. Or, minus a major amount of cheating, should win, especially if this quick non-title match is any indication. The only strategy Chelsea and Piper employed here that almost worked was keep Charlotte from tagging in. If Flair and Shotzi did take the titles, it would be a great elevation for Shotzi, and the women’s tag championships in general, and give Charlotte something to do, and a new belt to hold. But I wonder what that would mean for Chelsea and Piper, whose reign I am enjoying, as well as Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre, who we did see watching, and whose feud with the current champs I am looking forward to. Maybe this was just a nice surprise one-off, with no follow-up title match, but somehow I don’t think so.
Shotzi teaming with Charlotte Flair on WWE Smackdown November 3 2023
  • “You’re nothing but a bargain-basement Taz ripoff.” Wow, John Cena eviscerated Solo Sikoa, and put him over at the same time by saying those words in a raspy voice caused by Solo’s spike “last week”. That’s some A-level promo work, and I’m now more excited for a match that I had almost forgotten about.
John Cena responds to Solo Sikoa with Paul Heyman in the background on WWE Smackdown November 3 2023
  • Okay, wait. Nick Aldis, why are you banning Damage CTRL from ringside tonight for Bayley versus Bianca Belair instead of tomorrow, when there is a title on the line?
  • I didn’t think Pretty Deadly would win a Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match against the Brawling Brutes. That would be like The Viking Raiders losing a Viking Rules Match to, well, anyone. Then again, I also didn’t expect to see such a match this week on Smackown, but I’m glad we got it. It was a fun way to feature two teams we won’t be seeing on the PLE, and I like the creative use of the set and props as weapons. Elton Prince hitting Ridge Holland with a barstool to break up a submission attempt on Kit Wilson was clever, and using the bar table as, well, a table to put someone through, just made sense. It was wild, fast paced, and, yes, Pretty Deadly won, because, well, cheating was legal, so of course they did.
Elton Prince hits Ridge Holland with a barstool to break up a submission attempt during the Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match on WWE Smackdown November 3 2023
  • I didn’t need to know how much Logan Paul and Rey Mysterio weigh (213 and 175 respectively, if you’re interested). The United States Championship Weigh-In, which was advertised, by the way, ended in a bit of physical fighting, as expected. It didn’t happen in the ring, so I’m guessing it was a way to fill time while cleaning up the ring after the Donnybrook Match.
  • Bianca Belair versus Bayley is a match that we’ve seen quite a few times already, but it was still a good main event for this show. It was a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest between two talented performers. Bayley using Bianca’s hair to slam her into the post during the match was on-par for her character, but Bianca showed a new aggressive side after the match. The EST finished off her opponent with the K.O.D. for the win, but then gave her another one through the announce table to close the show. Sure, it may be part strategy, to take Bayley out of the picture and prevent her from interfering in the title match the “next night”, but it was also some character development for Belair.
Bianca Belair after putting Bayley through the announce table on WWE Smackdown November 3 2023

Well that was Smackdown, hope they all catch their flights and make it to Crown Jewel in time. I kid, I kid. But seriously, this was a solid go-home show with a few good matches, and some A-1 promo work.

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