NXT Superstars saved the day last night on Smackdown with many of them appearing throughout the broadcast to fill the void left by the Superstars who were stuck in Saudi Arabia while the show was on the air.
The NXT crew got the call hours before to pack their bags and head to the airport for a chartered flight to Buffalo, New York, when it was obvious that no one, not even those who left early on a different flight from Riyadh, were going to make it in time.
John Pollock of POST Wrestling reported that the flight carrying the NXT crew did not land in Buffalo until 7:55PM, five minutes before Smackdown went live and the KeyBank Center is 12 miles away from the airport, around a 20 minute drive. Pollock added that the NXT crew had a police escort all the way to the building to avoid getting stuck in traffic and even with the police leading the way, they arrived inside the arena just barely before Shayna Baszler had to hit her cue to attack Banks, Cross, and Bayley.
Those who appeared were Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler, Tommaso Ciampa, Bianca Belair, Tegan Nox, Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush, NXT North American champion Roderick Strong, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Raul Mendoza, and NXT champion Adam Cole.
Former Smackdown commentator Tom Phillips led the broadcast booth accompanied by Renee Young and Aiden English before English was replaced by Pat McAfee.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels, who did not go to Saudi Arabia, appeared on camera as well and Triple H led the NXT-heavy show backstage with Vince McMahon, who also managed to get out before everyone else, basically running the show as usual.
Smackdown ended with Triple H cutting a promo in the middle of the ring with the NXT Superstars surrounding him, promoting the Survivor Series pay-per-view saying that with this invasion, NXT has fired the first shot. “This is our army, this is our fight, this is our ring, we are NXT,” Triple H concluded.