WWE SmackDown Recap: October 30, 2018
S18 episode 44 Aired on October 30, 2018

During an unpredictable SmackDown LIVE, Jeff Hardy & Rey Mysterio took on Randy Orton & The Miz ahead of their scheduled clashes in the WWE World Cup, but The Viper went the extra mile to dismantle his fellow tournament entrants as they all aim to be named the best in the world. Elsewhere, WWE Crown Jewel came early, as WWE Champion AJ Styles defended the title against Daniel Bryan with Samoa Joe lurking in the wings.

Per the order of Shane-O-Mac, WWE Champion AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan threw down with the title on the line three days early on SmackDown LIVE.

A contentious atmosphere permeated through the arena with each Superstar hellbent on walking out of Atlanta with the WWE Title over their shoulder. The two wasted no time bringing the energy, exchanging several high-impact moves in the early goings. None were bigger than a suicide dive by Bryan to Styles on the floor that definitely did its damage to AJ, but Bryan appeared to tweak his knee.

Soon, The Phenomenal One targeted Bryan’s harmed knee, focusing a vicious attack on the body part while looking to ground The “Yes!” Man for good. Bryan refused to stay down, however, and he fought back with a barrage of strikes that had the Georgia native reeling. Styles would not relent on the left knee, though, and he suplexed Bryan over the top rope before conking him onto the announcer’s table.

Never one to surrender, Bryan fought back yet again, feeding off his adrenaline, despite Styles continuing to target the knee. Bryan seemed to be closing on the title when he locked The Phenomenal One in a series of submission holds, but Styles fired back and caught Bryan in the Styles Clash. AJ then locked in the Calf Crusher; the agonizing pain to Bryan’s already battered knee was too much, and he had no choice but to submit.

After the match, with no bitterness present, Bryan extended his hand in a sign of respect to Styles. AJ accepted the handshake, and the two embraced. However, the magical moment was short-lived, as Samoa Joe came out of nowhere to attack both men. The Samoan Submission Machine first took out Styles with a Coquina Clutch before locking the deadly hold on Bryan and boldly raising the WWE Title above his head.

The message? Joe ain’t planning on leaving the WWE Title picture anytime soon.

After retaining the SmackDown Women’s Championship by defeating Charlotte Flair in an amazing Last Woman Standing Match at WWE Evolution, Becky Lynch made it clear that she was ready for any woman on either SmackDown LIVE or Raw – including her opponent at Survivor Series, Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey.

The Irish Lass Kicker claimed she wouldn’t be broken mentally before the bell even rings – which she believes was true of Ronda’s previous opponents -- when facing off against The Baddest Woman on the Planet. Lynch brazenly declared that she wasn’t coming into Survivor Series to cosplay or promote a reality show, but simply to do one thing: Rip Ronda Rousey’s arm off.

In a major main event, the four Superstars representing SmackDown LIVE in the WWE World Cup to determine the best in the world at WWE Crown Jewel squared off in hard-hitting tag team action, as Rey Mysterio joined forces with Jeff Hardy to take on Randy Orton & The Miz.

All four Superstars had a sense of urgency, as Shane McMahon announced earlier in the night that if a SmackDown LIVE Superstar lost to Raw in the finals, they would no longer have a job on SmackDown LIVE. In the early goings, Orton & Miz wore down and cornered The Charismatic Enigma. Hardy battled back with intensity and tagged in the always dynamic Mysterio, who brought an offensive onslaught that had The A-Lister and The Viper reeling. Soon, Jeff and Rey synced up their impressive attacks, hitting unique versions of Whisper in the Wind to clear Orton from the ring before Mysterio drilled Miz with a 619 and Jeff followed up with a Swanton Bomb on The A-Lister for the victory.

The two would have no time to celebrate whatsoever, however, as The Apex Predator dropped each of them with RKOs before catching Miz by surprise with a third, making a major statement ahead of WWE’s World Cup.

In other action … AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan engage in a war of words that leads to a blockbuster match … Big E def. Cesaro in a Trick or Street Fight … and Shinsuke Nakamura def. R-Truth.

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