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3 Talking Points From Tonight’s Episode Of WWE Smackdown – 17th November 2023

8 months ago By Sports Desk

Welcome everyone to another exciting edition of the blue brand’s weekly show, SmackDown! Tonight was jam-packed with high-octane action and compelling storylines that have set the stage for the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view. There were several notable moments throughout the night that are worth discussing, so let’s get right into the top 3 talking points from tonight’s episode.

The first talking point from the Smackdown was in the Damage CTRL. One of the most interesting developments tonight revolved around the dominant heel faction Damage CTRL. Ever since Bayley brought Dakota Kai and IYO SKY over from NXT to join her and Raw’s Asuka, Damage CTRL has run roughshod over the WWE women’s division. However, cracks seem to be appearing in the foundation of the group. During a backstage interview, Kai translated a conversation between Asuka, SKY, and Kairi Sane where SKY apparently stated that this wasn’t the “new and improved” Damage CTRL because someone in the group isn’t part of that vision.

While Kai claimed SKY was referring to Asuka not yet being an official member, it was clear Bayley sensed the comment was aimed at her. Bayley’s shocked reaction showed she is fully aware dissension is brewing within Damage CTRL’s ranks. This is a refreshing change of pace from the typical breakup angle where the leader ignores obvious warning signs. Bayley’s superb character work here has me invested to see where this story goes next. A group imploding from within rather than the standard leader kicking someone out offers plenty of possibilities. I’m very excited to see how this situation unfolds in the coming weeks, especially with Survivor Series looming. This has the potential to be an all-time great stable breakup storyline if booked correctly.

The second talking point is when Santos Escobar shredded the LWO faction during a blistering promo. Escobar has led the new incarnation of the iconic Latino World Order stable since March, recruiting Dominik Mysterio as his lieutenant and Zelina Vega as a manager. However, cracks emerged after Dominik turned on his father Rey Mysterio and tensions arose between Vega and Escobar. Tonight, Escobar went nuclear and destroyed the LWO epically.

Escobar stated the old saying “never meet your heroes” rings true, agreeing with Dominik’s harsh comments about Rey last week. Escobar shockingly said he hopes Rey’s recent knee surgery went poorly and wished for an infection, leg amputation, and for the wrestling legend to never perform again. This intense promo led to a confrontation with Vega, who slapped Escobar for his words. Escobar’s former Legado del Fantasma partners Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde also took issue with his actions.

The chaos brought out Carlito, who has a long history with Escobar. This led to a match between Escobar and Carlito being announced for Survivor Series. Where things go from here is wide open, which is exciting. Carlito didn’t return simply to back Rey Mysterio. He excels as a heel, so realigning as one again would make sense. Wilde and Del Toro have mostly been Escobar’s followers, so perhaps they turn on him as part of a grand plan. Escobar’s rant likely ends Dominik’s LWO run, but could Dominik reunite with Rey upon his return? That would allow Zelina Vega to get back to managing him. Plus, Vega was on fire earlier this year and could use rejuvenation herself.

The implosion of the LWO has opened up many possible directions this storyline could take. While the stable didn’t last long, its destruction sets up some intriguing possibilities going forward. Escobar has proven his elite promo skills and ability to generate interest in any feud. By verbally annihilating the LWO in such a spectacular fashion, he has created buzz and questions that will keep fans invested. We have multiple wrestlers in Escobar, Vega, Dominik, Rey, Wilde, Del Toro, and Carlito who could develop in interesting ways from this point. Credit WWE’s creative team for crafting a compelling narrative that will have the audience eagerly anticipating how everything unfolds.

One pleasant surprise of the night was Cody Rhodes showing up on SmackDown to confront The Bloodline. While Rhodes is gearing up for WarGames against The Judgment Day, he hasn’t forgotten about his quest to defeat Roman Reigns and win the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Rhodes’ unwavering obsession with finishing his story with Reigns led to an exciting appearance tonight.

After LA Knight interrupted Paul Heyman, Rhodes came out to even the odds and help Sheamus defeat Solo Sikoa and Sami Zayn in a tag team match. Rhodes popping up to remind fans he still despises The Bloodline and is laser-focused on Reigns was excellent subtle storytelling. Despite being involved in the WarGames match at Survivor Series, Rhodes is consistently staying true to his goal of toppling Reigns.

It was great to see WWE not assume fans are incapable of following multiple story arcs at once. Rhodes pursing both The Judgment Day and The Bloodline simultaneously shows trust in the audience’s intelligence. His hatred of The Bloodline supersedes all else, so of course he would seize any chance to inflict damage on them. This consistency adds layers of believability to Rhodes’ motivations.

Additionally, the brief backstage moment between Rhodes and new SmackDown GM Nick Aldis hit the right notes. Aldis awkwardly hinting it was time for Rhodes to leave after invading the show avoided consequences while still acknowledging the breach of boundaries. This segment was crafted intelligently to progress different stories at once.

In summary, Rhodes appearing to fight The Bloodline exemplified strong, nuanced long-term storytelling. WWE trusted viewers to recall his feud with Reigns hasn’t concluded despite being occupied with Judgment Day. This multi-layered consistency rewards engaged fans. Cody’s unwavering vendetta against The Bloodline continues to build anticipation for the eventual climax.

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