WWE Smackdown on October 6, 2023 from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri was the Go Home Show for the Fastlane Premium Live Event. Go home shows should ideally set up matches on the PLE. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. So what about this one? Here are my thoughts:

  • I think this is the first time LA Knight kicked off a Smackdown. It was nice to see, and a great pop. His verbal interplay with Paul Heyman was solid, and felt like he had stepped onto a whole new level. While Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa surrounding the ring, and John Cena coming in for the save may have been a bit predictable, it was a short and sweet way to set up a match later, and Fastlane.
LA Knight kicks off WWE Smackdown October 6 2023
  • Has Bayley won a match since she returned last year and started Damage CTRL? And not as part of a winning team, I mean getting the pin or submission herself, rather than taking it. Yes, I know that her and WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky versus Charlotte Flair and Asuka was all about storyline, and setting up the triple threat title match at Fastlane. I’m also aware that Bayley was the one woman in that match not fighting the next night, so she had to be the one to take the pin, but still.
Bayley chokes Asuka with the ropes as Iyo Sky and Charlotte Flair watch on WWE Smackdown October 6 2023
  • The locker room staredown between The Bloodline and Judgement Day (with JD McDonough) was intense, and incredibly well executed, especially by Damian Priest and Solo Sikoa. I also like how it reinforced Rhea Ripley’s dominance, as she is the one who will discuss with Heyman. The only part that gave me a chuckle was when they cut back to the commentary team, and Corey Graves said that he would “love to be a fly on that wall”. I mean, yeah, me too, Corey, but you’re the one with the camera in the room that you just cut away from!
  • Bobby Lashley versus Rey Mysterio was a great match. The classic David versus Goliath confrontation. Lashley had Mysterio in a crushing Bearhug, Mysterio got Lashley with the 619. It did feel weird that this was the setup for the LWO versus Lashley and the Street Profits at Fastlane, and not the other way around. Mysterio defending the United States Championship against Lashley just feels more like a Premium Live Event match.
Rey Mysterio attacks The Street Profits outside of the ring on WWE Smackdown October 6 2023
  • Of course, the real reason for this match was the angle at the end. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins took out Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro, as Zelina Vega looked on in horror. Meaning neither of them could take part in the 6-man tag match. I started thinking it might be Dragon Lee who ends up teaming with Mysterio and Santos Escobar, but he’s in another angle, and why would Rey have to phone him? He was in the building. So who? Bad Bunny? You think they’d announce someone like him before. Edge is in another company. Carlito, maybe? I’m really wondering about this one.
  • It’s interesting to note that both Rey and Dominik Mysterio were featured prominently on the same show, and didn’t interact once.
  • I never realized hearing Rhea Ripley tell Paul Heyman to acknowledge her was something I needed. But now that it’s happened I’m very happy. The temporary alliance talks between The Bloodline and Judgement Day are overall quite intriguing, but this backstage segment, in particular, was just fire.
Paul Heyman and Rhea Ripley on WWE Smackdown October 6 2023
  • That Twin Peaks-esque Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn promo was quick and didn’t even get acknowledged on commentary. Interesting approach.
  • Dragon Lee is impressive, and now he has a victory over Austin Theory. Sure, Cameron Grimes helped by briefly distracting Theory, but that was just to counter all the interference by Grayson Waller. It, in no way, takes away from that Sit-Out Powerbomb, or Lee stomping Theory when he was caught in the ropes. Theory was solid in this match, too, as he usually is, but a Lee victory was called for.
Dragon Lee kicks Austin Theory during their match on WWE Smackdown October 6 2023
  • Anyone who has been following WWE knew that the main event of Jimmy Uso, with Paul Heyman, versus LA Knight, would not end with just those three people in and around the ring. Solo was the first to jump in, causing a disqualification. Then Cena. Then Judgement Day and friend (sorry JD). It was now six on two, until Jey Uso’s music hit, followed by Cody Rhodes. Six on four, by WWE math, is pretty much even, so the fight started. It didn’t last long, and after most of the heels got knocked out outside of the ring, it culminated with JD taking the finisher of four of the top babyfaces in the company.
  • I hope this Judgement Day/Bloodline collaboration won’t be limited to this one failed beatdown attempt. There’s plenty to work with there.
  • I really like that LA Knight just seems to fit naturally with Cody, Jey, and John frickin’ Cena. If there was any doubt that he was getting a push, that has certainly been crushed.
Jey Uso, Cody Rhodes, LA Knight, and John Cena in the ring on WWE Smackdown October 6 2023

So did this Smackdown set up Fastlane? Yes. As a Go Home Show it really did its job, and got me excited for what’s to come.

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