WWE's travel delays leaving Saudi Arabia led to the build to Survivor Series picking up earlier than anticipated.
An NXT invasion storyline was the theme of tonight's SmackDown in Buffalo, New York. NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, NXT Champion Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Raul Mendoza, and Dakota Kai were all on the show.
An NXT Championship match headlined the episode, with Cole defending his title against Daniel Bryan. For the finish, Cole hit a superkick when Bryan was going for the running knee, then hit the Panama Sunrise and Last Shot to retain.
With the NXT wrestlers in the ring, Triple H closed the show with a promo. He sent a message to Raw and SmackDown and said that NXT had fired the first shot ahead of Survivor Series.
The other NXT appearances on the show were:
- After Bayley retained her SmackDown Women's Championship against Nikki Cross, Baszler shoved Sasha Banks into the ring post, kicked Cross out of the ring, and attacked Bayley.
- Riddle and Lee interrupted a backstage interview with Sami Zayn and laid him out in the ring.
- Ciampa defeated The Miz after interrupting him during Miz TV.
- Belair attacked Carmella and Dana Brooke backstage, then Ripley & Nox defeated Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville in a tag match.
- Strong briefly accompanied Cole during his entrance for the main event. Strong, Rush, Scott, Mendoza, and Kai joined the rest of the NXT wrestlers in the ring for Triple H's promo.
Shawn Michaels also appeared in backstage segments with Triple H. Pat McAfee joined Renee Young and Tom Phillips on commentary, replacing Aiden English during the show.
Post Wrestling's John Pollock tweeted that the NXT wrestlers arrived in Buffalo right before SmackDown started: "Was told the NXT charter didn't land until 7:55 pm and they had a police escort to get them to the building. One person I spoke with added they could not have cut it any closer to get everyone in place for the third segment when Shayna Baszler made her appearance."
WWE announced yesterday that Raw, SmackDown, and NXT would all be involved in this year's Survivor Series, with the brands going against each other in head-to-head competition. The Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois is hosting the PPV on Sunday, November 24.
NXT TakeOver: WarGames is also taking place at the Allstate Arena the night before Survivor Series.