December 1, 2023


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Winners, live scores, reactions, and highlights from November 17

Winners, live scores, reactions, and highlights from November 17

Los Angeles Knight sought revenge on Jimmy Uso after he interfered in the main event of Crown Jewel and cost The Megastar a win over Roman Reigns for the undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

Friday night, he had the opportunity to make it happen in the big SmackDown match.

What happened when the two rivals clashed in the biggest pay-per-view match of the night, and what do Solo Sikoa and Damage CTRL have in store for the WWE Universe elsewhere on the card?

Find out with this recap of the November 17 show.

Previously announced for Friday’s show are:

  • Los Angeles Knight vs. Jimmy Uso
  • Sulu Sekwa’s rise to power
  • Newer than Damage CTRL
  • Contender’s Match #1: Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly vs. Street Profits

CTRL Damage hit the ring harder than ever at the top of Friday’s show, but all was not necessarily as it seemed.

Kairi Sane, Asuka and WWE Women’s Champion Io Sky looked at leader Bayley with disdain, as if she was the only one in the ring who didn’t know she was no longer in control. Skye spoke through Dakota Kai, making suggestions that were more demanding than anything else.

The Heels issued a WarGames challenge to Bianca Belair, Shotzi, and Charlotte Flair, encouraging them to find a partner before boycotting the trio. A brawl ensues and… The heels stand up as the champions retreat.

If it weren’t for the things about Ellie and her apparent disregard for the imposed situation she now finds herself in, this almost wouldn’t have worked.

Baby faces coming out of the ring? The heels stand tall after the Survivor Series challenge is issued?

Felt like she was booked completely backwards.

Fortunately, Bayley’s work is really good and should culminate in her becoming a babyface, likely as soon as next Saturday’s premium live event.



Key moments and takeaways

  • Bayley officially introduces Asuka into the new and improved Damage CTRL.
  • Sky Running Damage CTRL through Kai’s words, while Bayley is blissfully oblivious, is a nice touch. She continues the role model story after she lost complete control of her faction and didn’t even realize it.
  • The heels have officially put down the gauntlet to a match at War Games, which seems out of character considering the babyfaces are usually intent on taking their opponents to battle within the unforgiving confines of wrestling’s most grueling match.

Butch and Ridge Holland of The Brawling Brutes, Kate Wilson and Elton Prince of Pretty Deadly, and Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford of The Street Profits battled in the first match of the night for the undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.

A high-energy match ended when Butch accidentally rocked his partner, allowing Ford and Dawkins to take advantage and get the victory.

It’s interesting that the Profits would win and set up a match with tag team champions Finn Balor and Damian Priest given the latter’s status as the best on Raw and the new #1 contender’s continued attempt to overtake the role of villains themselves.

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Regardless of the booking logic, it should be a very good game next Friday night in Chicago.

The feud that Holland and Butch sparked after the match, when the former walked away from his partner, suggests one of two things will happen: The Brutes go their separate ways and we get Pete Dunne back, or Sheamus returns to reunite. And make them stronger than ever.

Hopefully this is option A.

a result

The Street Profits defeated Pretty Deadly and Brawling Brutes


Key moments and takeaways

  • Butch brings incredible energy to every one of his matches. Whether he’s the mangy simpleton in The Brawling Brutes or Pete Dunne, he’s always managed to make an impression in every match he competes in.
  • A point of misunderstanding led to Butch accidentally flattening Holland with a Brogue Kick to complete the finish. Could this be the setup for a split?
  • Backstage, B-Fab approached Bobby Lashley as he watched on screen, hinting at a possible spot in this reworked version of the yet-to-be-named Hurt Business revival.

Dragon Lee continued to build momentum so far in his main roster run with a win over NXT’s Axiom on Friday night.

In a match that was very good, with fast-paced action and smooth transitions, it ended with Lee submitting Operation Dragon.

So far on the main roster, Lee has been tasked with going out and having great matches with whoever he shares the ring with. He’s accomplished just that, putting on great performances with everyone from Grayson Waller to Cedric Alexander and this week with Axiom.

His entire character is based solely on the idea that he’s a great professional wrestler, and ironically, he’s so different from everyone else on the show that he’s successful. Hopefully he continues to build momentum because he has the talent to buy into the WWE Universe.

a result

Dragon Lee defeated Axiom



Key moments and takeaways

  • WWE producing little video packages for new faces, like Axiom, really helps clarify who the newcomers are. It’s something they’ve done very well for decades and, for whatever reason, have moved away from over the past decade or so. Good to see them back.
  • Road Dogg may have been thrust into commentary duty late, and it shows. Clearly it didn’t bother him.
  • Triple H is here booking Dragon Lee in a match of the week every Friday night and as much as he beats him, it works.

Santos Escobar followed up his shocking betrayal of Rey Mysterio at last week’s show with an in-ring promo that highlighted how rarely he is allowed to speak in front of a live WWE audience.

The trailer content was mostly there, but the delivery wasn’t so much.

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“What?!” The crowd chants didn’t help, as Escobar looked uncomfortable early on, but to his credit, he settled down as things went along. It wasn’t without its hiccups, but it ended strong enough after a slap from a stunned Zelina Vega, defeating Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde, and saving Carlito.

Was the clip perfect?

No, and we shouldn’t expect that. Escobar did not have enough promotional opportunities to build trust or connect with fans. He needs more of this to improve his performance, build equity with the audience as a heel, and really motivate him for the inevitable showdown with Mysterio.

And he seems ready to get it.



Key moments and takeaways

  • “Everything he said about you, to the end, Dominic was right!”
  • What chants are the bane of pro wrestling’s existence at this point.
  • Escobar saying he hoped Mysterio would get infected and have his legs amputated was definitely an option. Not a good option, but definitely an option.
  • Escobar beats up Del Toro and Wilde, but him backing down Carlito and getting slapped by Vega really restores the tag team’s place in the LWO hierarchy, doesn’t it?

Grayson Waller and Austin Theory continued to be a thorn in Cameron Grimes’ side on Friday night, as the latter directly interfered in the former NXT North American Champion’s match against the cocky Aussie and cost him the match.

Waller got the win and the heels stood tall to close the segment.

There was nothing of real significance here, but it served its purpose: highlighting the heels, and it was effective.

Grimes has made better gains, and will likely get more exposure on Monday nights with three hours of TV time to fill, but for now, it looks like he’ll pop up here and there to resume this on-and-off heel feud.

a result

Waller pins Grimes



Key moments and takeaways

  • Michael Cole outed himself with a “GIF” joke. He was having a lot of fun with Road Dogg and Theory on commentary and it was delightfully silly.
  • He may theoretically be the most polished man in the ring, but Waller could end up being the biggest star. Dude character jumps off the screen.

Paul Heyman cut a promo about Solo Sequa destroying John Cena at Crown Jewel and what it means for the future of the 16-time world champion’s career.

Los Angeles Knight interrupted, asserted that the only reason Roman Reigns is still the undisputed WWE Universal Champion is because The Bloodline participated in Crown Jewel, and went to the squared circle for his match with Jimmy Uso.

Knight made good on his promise to begin his journey back to confront Reigns by using Blunt Force Trauma to defeat Uso. A post-match attack by Sequa led to a two-on-one defeat before Cody Rhodes arrived, surprising the WWE Universe and working with Knight to mop up the heels.

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The knightly look Rhodes gave was interesting.

It was an indication that he appreciated backup, but not the idea that The American Nightmare would potentially jump on him to shoot The Tribal Chief.

It will be interesting to see if Rhodes becomes a bigger presence on SmackDown as Road to WrestleMania approaches, and if so, what that means for his relationship with Knight and their shared focus on the biggest prize in the company.

a result

Knight defeated Uso



Key moments and takeaways

  • Heyman making fun of Cena’s music is not the best thing on the planet.
  • Knight has complete control over the audience. There was a point or two in his promo where he went off the rails but he fully recovered before throwing in the exclamation point in the form of his catchphrase. He’s a star, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point.

Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair and Shotzi entered the ring to reveal the fourth member of their team for the Survivor Series War Games.

CTRL Damage interrupted and made his way to the squared circle, ready to execute a 5v3 attack to close out the show. That is until Becky Lynch arrived, revealing herself to be the fourth woman on the beloved side.

A fight broke out and chaos ensued as the show ended.

Lynch’s reveal is well executed, even if it’s a bit obvious. She brings star power to what may be the busiest female wargame to this point and has a history with Damage CTRL dating back to the formation of the faction just over a year ago, so it at least makes sense.

As is Flair’s reluctance to reach out to her before the segment considering their long history on and off screen.



Key moments and takeaways

  • Flair admitted there is a fine line between love and hate, no doubt in reference to the real-life heat that has existed between her and Lynch in recent years.

This week’s show focused heavily on the women’s WarGames match at Survivor Series, highlighting the ever-changing makeup of Damage CTRL (and Bayley’s diminishing leadership role), as well as the babyfaces’ search for a fourth partner.

In between, the show saw some solid in-ring action from Dragon Lee and Axiom, Santos Escobar wishing to amputate Rey Mysterio’s leg in a completely ridiculous line, and Cody Rhodes inexplicably appearing on SmackDown on his run to his expected WrestleMania 40 showdown with Roman Reigns. Kicking into high gear, LA Knight established himself as a star.

The show wasn’t always a success, and not everything had a lot of urgency, but the focus on the women’s division for the second week in a row and the solidification of the WarGames lineup helped support this show.

Grade: C+