By Ryan Satin
FOX Sports WWE Analyst
Karrion Kross surprised the wrestling world with a return to WWE on SmackDown — and he had a message for Roman Reigns.
First, here’s a rundown of the match results:
— Ricochet defeated Happy Corbin via pinfall due to Corbin being distracted by Pat McAfee at the announcer’s desk
— Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Ludwig Kaiser via pinfall
— Shayna Baszler earned a SmackDown women’s title shot after winning a Gauntlet match that included Raquel Rodriguez, Shotzi, Aliyah, Xia Li, Natalya and Sonya Deville
— The Viking Raiders won a Squash match over local talent
— Kofi Kingston defeated Erik via roll-up pinfall
Moment of the night: Karrion Kross and Scarlett are back
Karrion Kross returns as Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre face each other on SmackDown
Roman Reigns returned to Friday Night SmackDown after defeating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in one of the most brutal matches in WWE history. The Universal Champion addressed Drew McIntyre before Karrion Kross made his shocking return.
Another huge coup at the start of the Triple H era.
Kross and Scarlett never should’ve been released in the first place.
Even with an initial disastrous debut that was out of his control, Karrion Kross still oozes credibility and demands attention on-screen. He’s someone you can build an entire brand around.
The way he was brought out on SmackDown this week is a much better way to make that happen.
Attacking Drew McIntyre and sending a message to Roman Reigns with the hourglass made you forget about the silly outfit from last year and instead focus on the fact that he’s a monster.
Moves such as this from Triple H are creating excitement around the product again and regaining trust from the fanbase. Kudos all around.
Match of the night: Ricochet vs. Happy Corbin
Ricochet is one of the most impressive wrestlers in the world. A possible renewed push on the horizon gives me hope in his WWE future.
A win over Happy Corbin, even due to distraction from McAfee, is a step in the right direction.
Hopefully he can continue to rack up meaningful wins again.
WWE announced that starting on Raw this week, there will be a tournament to crown new Women’s Tag Team champions.
No teams have been announced yet, and it’s unclear at this time where the situation stands between WWE and former champs Sasha Banks/Naomi.
Shayna Baszler earns a chance at Liv Morgan in a high-stakes Gauntlet Match | WWE on FOX
Raquel Rodriguez, Aliyah, Shotzi, Xia Li, Shayna Baszler, Natalya and Sonya Deville battled it out in a high-stakes Gauntlet Match for the opportunity to challenge Liv Morgan for the SmackDown Women’s Title at WWE Clash of the Castle.
Shayna Baszler earning a title shot at Clash of the Castle was another W for fans of NXT 1.0 watching the show.
Kross, Ricochet and Baszler all had great runs in NXT when it was run by Triple H. The possibility of similar positioning in WWE with “The Game” as head of creative is very promising.
As for Shayna and Liv, I’m looking forward to seeing how Ronda Rousey factors into the story.
Will the former champion help her friend? Or will she be more focused on regaining the title herself? Time will tell.
For a segment-by-segment breakdown of the show, listen to the SmackDown Roundup podcast in the “Out of Character” feed on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Ryan Satin is a WWE analyst for FOX Sports. Satin previously appeared on FS1’s “WWE Backstage” and founded Pro Wrestling Sheet, where he broke countless news stories as editor-in-chief.
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