SmackDown Recap: New Day No More
By Ryan Satin
The first night of the WWE Draft was certainly newsworthy, but the biggest shock came when the most beloved trio in the company were split between brands.
Here’s a rundown of where each Superstar available in the talent pool for night one was drafted:
This means Murphy, Humberto Carrillo, Mickie James, Drew Gulak, Tucker, Lucha House Party and Shorty G are now considered undrafted free agents – although more of the draft will continue on Saturday morning’s Talking Smack.
With all that laid out, here are the 5 biggest takeaways from SmackDown on October 9, 2020, where the first night of the WWE Draft took place.
1. New Day Splits
The New Day went through a rollercoaster of emotions tonight which began with an intense Falls Count Anywhere match between Big E and Sheamus.
Early in the match, Sheamus brutalized Big E with a kendo stick while he was tied up in the ropes. Things then spilled to the back and got a little messy.
The two Superstars also made their way to the parking lot area where both put each other through car windshields. Big E eventually got the win once he hit the Big Ending on Sheamus through two tables after launching himself off a car.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made surprise returns after in a backstage segment where they proclaimed their intention to regain the tag team titles. A match was then set for later in the night against Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura with the SmackDown tag titles on the line.
Considering Kofi has been out of action for a few months, and Xavier Woods was coming back from a year-long injury recovery, either one showing ring rust would have been understandable. Instead, the two performers wrestled with a refreshed sense of purpose.
This renewed energy led to Woods and Kingston defeating Cesaro and Nakamura to once again become SmackDown Tag Team champions.
Big E came out to celebrate with the team afterwards, but the celebration didn’t last long once Stephanie McMahon announced the next draft picks – Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston to Raw, Big E to SmackDown.
Wrestling fans are understandably unhappy with this decision. First and foremost, it doesn’t really make sense from a kayfabe standpoint why one of the brands would only want two members of the group and not all three.
The build to Kofi Kingston’s WWE title win at WrestleMania, as well as his run with the belt, were proof that it’s not necessary for New Day to be split apart in order for one of them to have singles success.
Big E will do great on his own, as his in-ring skill and charisma are more than enough to help him continue being a top star in WWE, but pulling him from New Day just doesn’t seem necessary.
2) The Return of Lars Sullivan
Another performer who returned on SmackDown after more than a year away from the ring was Lars Sullivan. As you may recall, he suffered a significant injury back in June of 2019 during a match against Lucha House Party on Raw.
Sullivan made his presence felt tonight, however, when he alone attacked Matt Riddle, Jeff Hardy, The Miz and John Morrison following a tag match.
Since the controversial performer manhandled four other performers, it would appear as though upper brass still see potential in him. Sullivan has lots of work to do though in order to prove himself again in WWE. Can he find more success this time around? Time will tell.
3) Rollins & Mysterio Drama Moves to SmackDown
"I think you and I are destined to do this forever." – The Joker, and probably Seth Rollins after tonight.
The former "Monday Night Messiah" thought he was getting away from the Mysterio family after being drafted to SmackDown in the first round.
But we later learned this telenovela isn’t ending anytime soon, as the Mysterio family were drafted to the blue brand as well in round three.
This was a great decision. The program between Seth and Rey over the past few months has been one of the highlights of that show. Now the two Superstars can keep things going on Friday nights while also getting fresh opponents and possibly some new disciples behind Seth.
Murphy being the only undrafted person involved in their storyline (as of this writing) makes him the wild card, so it should be interesting to see if he continues to play a part. Especially after not getting picked by either brand, essentially proving Seth right about his disciple needing him.
4) Miz and Morrison Get a Change of Scenery
The Miz and Morrison had started to feel like they were spinning their wheels on SmackDown. A fresh start on Raw should be good for both performers. Their brand of comedy fits better there.
This puts an end to their involvement with Otis, who stayed on SmackDown.
Raw could also use a new babyface in the near future, so an eventual split between Miz and Morrison would be helpful for the brand. Morrison deserves the push after continually impressing in the ring since making his return in January.
This was one of the better moves of the draft that I believe will pay off for Raw down the line.
5) Big Hell in a Cell Matches Take Shape
"After you say, ‘I Quit’ … there will be consequences."
A unique stipulation was added to the Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso Hell in a Cell match for the Universal Championship later this month.
In case you forgot … Reigns promised the match would have the "highest stakes that any match has ever had in WWE history," which became more clear tonight when "The Tribal Chief" explained their encounter will be a Hell in a Cell I Quit Match.
Roman’s transformation to boss mode continues to be a highlight of WWE programming, and his stellar promo inside of an office with creepy statues behind him on Friday only added to that.
Reminiscent of an encounter with a mob boss wanting one of his family members to join his gang, Roman’s delivery was on-point and further displayed he’s right at home as a heel.
Another Hell in a Cell match started to crystallize as well after Bayley intentionally got DQ’ed in her SmackDown Women’s title defense against Sasha Banks.
"The Boss" then challenged her former friend to settle things once and for all inside of the giant steel structure.
Will Bayley accept? Guess we’ll have to wait for next week.