Last night's SmackDown was a tale of two shows. It started with 40 minutes of brilliance (counting commercial time) with AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, but then got into the Crown Jewel build and largely fell flat, with the exception of the efforts of Becky Lynch and the reappearance of Shinsuke Nakamura. The main event of last night's show to promote the unexciting World Cup tournament should not have been the main event, to put it lightly.
It's fairly obvious that the Crown Jewel fiasco has become an embarrassment for the company, who seem just as keen to get it over with as the rest of us are. Things should pick up next week, when the build to Survivor Series can really begin to take off.
Let's take a look at the last main roster show of October and see who emerged from it better or worse off.
Winner: AJ Styles
This was fantastic. Had it taken place on pay per view as originally anticipated and not been interrupted by commercials, it could have developed into a true match of the year candidate. It was certainly one of the best matches of Styles' reign, and it taking place on a SmackDown nearly a year after he won the title on a Tuesday night was a nice touch.
AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, as expected, tore the house down. It was a great, psychologically thrilling contest of technical wrestling. The chess match saw both men looking for weaknesses in the other. Daniel Bryan made a mistake with his suicide dive, landing on his knee. That was what Styles needed. He wore Bryan's leg down until he eventually got him in the Calf Crusher and forced him to submit.
Daniel Bryan loses nothing after a match like that (his story is far from over), and it was the kind of win that Styles needed, given that many of his title defenses have ended in screwy, unsatisfying finishes.