Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. This is the first Smackdown episode following Survivor Series from this past Sunday. Smackdown got wins from Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks and The Street Profits at Survivor Series, but everybody else lost. To my friends in America, I hope you had a happy, and safe Thanksgiving on Thursday. The next WWE PPV is TLC on December 20, so let’s see what WWE has in store for us as we head into December in a few days.
From the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1110. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s get to it.
It was another night in the WWE ThunderDome with the fans on the video screens surrounding the ring.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and Jey Uso
The show began with Jey Uso in the ring doing a promo talking about how great his cousin Roman Reigns was because he beat Drew McIntyre at Survivor Series. Jey mentioned that Drew beat guys like Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton, but he couldn’t beat Roman. Jey introduced Roman as the Universal Champion, Head of the Table, Best of the Best…and here comes Roman Reigns with the Universal Title along with special counsel Paul Heyman. The announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves as usual.
Roman Reigns took a long time to walk down to the ring with Heyman and Reigns held up the title in the ring while Jey applauded his cousin. Heyman took the microphone from Jey and put it in Roman’s hand, which was pretty funny.
Reigns said “play it” and it was a video of Survivor Series when Jey Uso’s Smackdown team lost 5-0 to Team Raw. Reigns told Jey he had to make the other wrestlers respect him. Reigns told Jey to leave with his brother. Later that night, Jey was a factor in the Universal Championship match with a superkick on Drew after a referee bump and that led to Reigns winning the match with the Guillotine Choke that caused McIntyre to pass out. After the match, Reigns hugged Jey on the stage.
Reigns asked Jey what he did he tell him to do at Survivor Series? Reigns said he told Jey to leave and he never asked him to help against Drew McIntyre. Reigns asked Jey why Team Smackdown lost at Survivor Series? Jey said that they wouldn’t listen. Reigns told Jey that they didn’t listen because they don’t fear Jey, they don’t respect Jey and if they don’t respect Jey then they don’t respect “us.” Reigns wondered if they don’t respect us then who are we? Reigns said if people looked at Reigns like that then how do they (the wrestlers) look at Jey? Reigns wondered if people look at him like he’s some bitch in the locker room begging for Thanksgiving leftovers. Reigns told Jey he didn’t like his failures and he didn’t like the way Jey was making him feel. Reigns dropped the microphone and left the ring with Heyman while Jey was left to ponder. The crowd was booing. After Reigns went to the back, Jey slowly walked up the ramp on his own.
Analysis: It was another great promo from Reigns as he spoke in a quiet, calm voice. It’s different than other wrestler promos because a lot of guys might yell or raise their voice when angry. That’s not how Reigns is. He speaks quietly, but also with an aura of confidence that nobody else has. It works so well. Jey did a nice job of reacting to what Roman was saying.
Otis made his entrance for a match while Jey was on the ramp and Jey walked beside him with his head down. When Otis got near the ring, Jey attacked him from behind with a steel chair. Jey hit Otis in the back with repeated chair shots along with chair shots to the shoulder/arm as well. Jey hit Otis with two more hard chair shots to the back. A referee ran out to stop Jey as the show went to break.
Analysis: The pressure Jey feels from Roman has made him lose his mind in terms of doing violent things. It’s an evolution of the character with Roman manipulating Jey to do evil things. Poor Otis was in the wrong place at the wrong time although Otis was also a good choice because he’s a face that was on the Survivor Series team.
They showed a replay of what happened to Otis. During the break, Otis was helped to the back by referees along with his buddy Chad Gable. Otis was supposed to have a match with King Corbin.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made jokes about Otis getting beat up. They had Thanksgiving jokes for him and a full plate of food for him at catering. Ziggler called out The Street Profits saying “fam” while Roode made it clear that they want the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
The Street Profits made their entrance with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Montez Ford joked that they were facing Shawn Michaels while Angelo Dawkins had to correct him that Dolph just tries to look like Shawn. Dawkins made fun of Roode’s mustache that he used to have, but Roode has a beard anyway. Anyway, it’s time for a match.
The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
This is a non-title match. Ford with a dropkick on Ziggler, Roode into the ring illegally, double team flapjack and Dawkins sent Roode out of the ring. Dawkins came back with a punch to Ziggler. Ford went up top, but Roode knocked Dawkins down and then when Ford jumped off the top with a Frog Splash, Ziggler moved, so Ford hit the mat and was selling that bump. That led to a break.
The match returned with Ziggler going after the ribs of Ford, then a corner splash and legal man Roode hit a backbreaker for two. Roode worked on the ribs with an abdominal stretch, Ford with a hip toss and Ziggler was back in with a Fameasser for two as Dawkins broke up the pin. Ziggler with a kick to the ribs and hard whip into the turnbuckle. Ziggler missed a corner splash when Ford moved and Dawkins got the hot tag against Roode. Dawkins with two clotheslines, jumping elbow, face first slam on Ziggler and a belly to belly suplex on Roode. Dawkins with the corner splash on both heels along with a bulldog. Dawkins with a double underhook into a spinning neckbreaker on Ziggler. Dawkins with the spinebuster on Roode. Ford got the tag and Ford hit the Cash Out splash off the top for two as Ziggler made the save. Great nearfall there. Ziggler with a superkick to Dawkins and Ford hit an enziguri on Ziggler. Roode capitalized with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Ziggler for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Analysis: **3/4 The work in the match was good between two talented teams, but it’s frustrating that WWE went with the most obvious finish with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! in a non-title match. Those are two things that frustrate me a lot as a WWE viewer, yet they do it all the time. If you want Ziggler and Roode to get a title shot, have them face another team that are not the champions and beat them, then they get the title shot. You don’t need the champs to lose a match. Anyway, Ford did a nice job of selling and I liked Dawkins’ offense after the hot tag. I just wish the creative team was more creative.
There was a brief video about Daniel Bryan’s history with Sami Zayn.
Daniel Bryan was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Bryan said he had to accept that Jey Uso has a devil on his shoulder and that’s who he is now. Bryan said that he’s known Sami Zayn for 15 years as a great wrestler, but what Sami does now is he does anything to try to escape with his title. Bryan said Zayn thinks that everybody is out to get him, but Bryan is out to get the Intercontinental Title and tonight he’ll get one step closer.
Up next is a look at The Undertaker’s farewell.
There was a backstage interview by Rey Mysterio with Dominik, Aalyah and Murphy with his arm around Aalyah. Kayla Braxton asked what it was like to be done with Seth Rollins. Rey was thankful for his family. King Corbin showed up, trashed Rey for not passing talent to his son, questioned Aalyah’s decisions and trashed Murphy as well. Rey and his family didn’t say anything as Corbin left.
Analysis: Perhaps that is the beginning of a new feud. I’m not a big fan of Corbin matches, but he is good at being a pure heel that knows how to talk. I’d like to see Dominik featured in the ring more, so maybe they’ll do a long-term story where Dominik can’t beat Corbin and then when he finally does get the win it could feel like a big deal. Long term, I want Rey and Dominik to win the Tag Team Titles, but it's best if that is saved for WrestleMania.
There was a video package about The Undertaker’s career along with clips of his Final Farewell speech from Survivor Series. Metallica’s “Now That We’re Dead” song played during the video. It’s the same video that aired during Raw. Most of the video was at Survivor Series as well although they did add clips from Final Farewell as I mentioned.
Analysis: I liked the video package a lot. Did we need to see it again? Probably not, but that’s WWE. They love repeating things.
Sami Zayn made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion for a non-title match.
Sami Zayn was in the ring saying he didn’t like Thanksgiving while people stuff their faces with factory-farmed turkey. He’s a vegan. Zayn ripped on Daniel Bryan saying that if he was Intercontinental Champion, he would be doing this or that while Zayn reminded Bryan that Sami beat Bryan at WrestleMania. Zayn claimed that WWE gladly gives Bryan an opportunity because WWE tries to sabotage him and here comes Bryan.
Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan
This is not for Zayn’s Intercontinental Title. Bryan took down Zayn by the arm and stomped on the left arm. Bryan with a running shoulder tackle that knocked down Zayn, who went to the apron. Bryan took down Zayn as Bryan hit him with a knee to the ribs while Graves credited Zayn for being a master technician in the ring. Zayn ran the ropes right into a dropkick by Bryan. Zayn came back with a kick to the face and he tossed Bryan out of the ring. Zayn attacked Bryan when he slid back in the ring. Zayn tossed Bryan out of the ring, Zayn followed him out there and Zayn sent Bryan into the barricade. Zayn went up top, Bryan tripped him up there and Zayn headbutted Bryan down. While Zayn was on the turnbuckle, Bryan hit a dropkick to knock him down to the floor. Bryan jumped off the top, Zayn moved and Bryan hit the barricade with his face. I always call that the Randy Savage bump because Macho Man would always do that move.
The match returned with Zayn hitting a clothesline for two. Bryan got some momentum going with a backflip off the ropes and then Bryan hit a running clothesline. Bryan with a running dropkick against the turnbuckle and Bryan followed up a hurricanrana off the top for a two count. Bryan worked over Zayn with kicks to the chest along with an arm wringer, so Zayn went to the apron and he shoved Bryan into the ring post. Zayn did an eye gouge before that. Zayn hit Bryan with a brainbuster on the apron! Damn. Bryan fell out to the floor and he got back in at the nine count to beat the countout. Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count, which is usual for that move. Zayn told Bryan he’s not better than him and he didn’t deserve respect. Bryan with a takedown into an armbreaker, Zayn fought out of that and Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock (LeBell Lock) submission, but Zayn managed to get his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Zayn was on the floor, so Bryan hit a suicide dive. Zayn went out the other side of the ring, so Bryan hit another suicide dive. They went up the ramp, Bryan went after him, the referee was counting them out and Zayn managed to get back in the ring before the ten count while Bryan was in the back. The match went 13 minutes.
Winner by countout: Sami Zayn
Analysis: ***1/2 The action was very good as you would expect from two of the best wrestlers in WWE. The finish sucked, but I didn’t go into it expecting a clean ending since it’s fitting for Zayn’s character to be shady like that. At least they were a bit more creative than normal by not having Bryan win by countout because he chased after Zayn, who made it back to the ring before Bryan. It’s also a case of a champion winning non-title, so I can’t complain too much about that.
The camera cut to the back where Jey Uso was shown beating up Bryan with punches. Kevin Owens showed up to save Bryan. Jey told Owens he knows where to find him. Owens asked a referee to check on Bryan while Owens left to go after Jey.
Analysis: I like that Owens was there to save Bryan when he needed it. These babyface wrestlers need to help eachother sometimes.
This Monday on Raw: Riddle vs. Keith Lee vs. AJ Styles for a WWE Championship opportunity. Plus, A Moment of Bliss talk show with Randy Orton. They have already done that, but they are doing it again.
Jey Uso was shown talking to Roman Reigns backstage saying he was going to show everybody. Kevin Owens showed up saying that Smackdown is not Roman’s personal playground. Owens said that for somebody who says family is so important, Reigns treats his family like trash. Owens left. Reigns told Jey that Roman takes pride in how Roman’s sons look at him. Reigns told Jey that KO doesn’t look at Roman in fear, so Jey has to fix that.
Natalya was in the ring for a match. Bianca Belair made her entrance. Bayley made her entrance with an armband that said “Captain” on it and she joined commentary.
Bianca Belair vs. Natalya
They did a spot with Natalya going for a move, but Belair countered into a pin attempt for two. Natalya managed to send Belair into the turnbuckle and then stomped on her. Natalya hit a suplex along with a shot to the ribs. Belair blocked a suplex with a cradle for two and Natalya came back with a clothesline for two. Cole noted that Bayley was the first one out at Survivor Series. Natalya slapped on a surfboard submission on Belair, which she turned into a pin attempt. Belair whipped Natalya into the turnbuckle and then stomped on Natalya. Belair blocked a clothesline, then Belair lifted up Natalya and sent her over the top to the floor. Belair followed Natalya out to the floor, then Belair tried to punch Natalya, who moved and Belair punched Bayley to knock her down. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, Belair kicked her off and Natalya bumped into Bayley on the apron. Belair with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Natalya for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair
Analysis: ** Some good action here before Bayley was involved in the finish although not in a way you would expect with a heel like Bayley. Natalya worked well with Belair. I guess you can say somebody in WWE is thankful for the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finisher because there it is for the second time on this show.
There was a backstage scene with Paul Heyman talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying.
Murphy entered for a match with Aalyah, Rey Mysterio and Dominik by his side.
There was a commercial for WWE Tribute to the Troops airing Sunday, December 6 on Fox. Check local listings for the time.
King Corbin made his entrance. He was supposed to face Otis earlier, so they showed Jey Uso beating up Otis earlier in the show.
King Corbin vs. Murphy (w/Rey Mysterio, Dominik and Aalyah)
Corbin with a shoulder tackle on Murphy, Corbin missed a charge, Murphy got a rollup for two and Corbin got a clothesline. Rey and Dominik kept on jumping on the apron to try to distract Corbin. There was a hard whip into the turnbuckle by Corbin. When Corbin went for his slide out of the ring spot, Aalyah stood in front of him to stop him. Murphy kicked Corbin along with a running kick while on the apron. Corbin caught Murphy, but then Murphy sent Corbin into the steel steps. Murphy went up top, jumped off, Corbin avoided that and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam. Rey was in the ring again, so Corbin yelled at him to get out of the ring. Corbin with punches, Dominik on the apron again and Corbin stared at him. Corbin sent Murphy into the corner, Murphy avoided a charge and sent Corbin into the turnbuckle. Dominik grabbed Corbin’s foot, Murphy hit a rising knee to the face, Corbin had his foot on the bottom rope and Dominik pushed the foot off the rope (the referee never saw it) and Murphy won by pinfall after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Murphy
Analysis: *3/4 It’s rare to see babyfaces cheating so much, but you could say that Corbin deserved it after the mean comments he made earlier in the night. I thought the finish could have been better with Murphy winning on a better move. I guess they opted to go with that finish so that Corbin lost to a move that he could have kicked out of if Dominik wasn't there to push Corbin's foot off the rope.
King Corbin complained about how the math was 4 on 1 because the Mysterio Family are a bunch of spineless cowards. Corbin said that he wants a rematch against Murphy next week, but this time Corbin will be prepared.
It was announced that Kevin Owens will face Jey Uso is in the main event. They are saying this with 33 minutes left in the show. Owens was showing taping up his wrists.
There was a backstage scene with Big E and Apollo Crews playing around where Big E was guarding Apollo against shooting a piece of paper into a garbage can as if they were playing basketball. I used to do that in school when I was eight years old. Anyway, Sami Zayn showed up since they were by the interview area with Sami saying he had an interview to do. Zayn bragged about his win over Future Hall of Famer Daniel Bryan and he beat Crews recently as well. Big E said that Zayn built himself quite the house, but he has no foundation. Big E laughed about vertigo with Zayn saying it’s a medical condition. Big E said that Zayn’s house is more like a house of cards, so all it takes is one flick or one gust of wind (he blew into his hair) and it call comes tumbling down. Zayn said that Big E came off like he had sour grapes while Zayn is in the middle of a historic title reign while Big E’s IC Title reign was a long time ago in a forgetting run. Zayn thought Big E should appreciate him, so Big E shook his hand while counting up to ten (he said five is his favorite number while mentioning the five count). Big E squeezed Sami’s hand for a ten count like the countout. Kayla Braxton asked Sami if they can do the interview, but Sami said no.
Analysis: Big E hasn’t done much over the last month or so. I’m certainly fine with Big E going after Sami Zayn’s Intercontinental Title because if that happens then Big E will probably win that title. Big E hasn’t lost a singles match since he started the singles push in the summer, so I think he’s the next IC Champion.
Billie Kay showed up at the commentary table with her resume and her headshot. Cole and Graves said nothing while Cole signaled to cut away, so they did.
Analysis: That is Billie's gimmick of late. She hands out her resume. I don't know where it's going.
Carmella did a seated promo telling Sasha Banks that the WWE Universe will find out who the most dominant woman is. Carmella said that she lost it all when she was catering to them meaning the fans. Carmella said she’s not doing anything for anyone anymore, so now she calls the shots, she gives the orders and everybody else jumps for her. Carmella slapped her fingers twice while somebody appeared with a glass of wine and it was Sasha Banks, who attacked Carmella with punches. Carmella slapped on the Bank Statement submission on Carmella on the floor with Adam Pearce and Pat Buck there to break it up.
Analysis: Good for Banks to attack Carmella after so many cheap attacks by Carmella over the last month. I like Carmella more as a heel, so I think she’s back in her best role. I assume they'll have a match at TLC next month.
Kevin Owens entered for his main event match.
The Street Profits and Bianca Belair were at a WWEShop merch table shilling WWEShop.com Black Friday deals.
This week on Talking Smack on WWE Network the guests are Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode and Bianca Belair. The hosts are Kayla Braxton with Paul Heyman.
Jey Uso made his entrance for another main event on Smackdown. That’s not a complaint. I like Jey a lot. Just a statement. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown watching on a TV backstage.
Kevin Owens vs. Jey Uso
Jey tried to run away, Owens went after him and worked him over with punches. Jey left the ring again, Owens went after him again and this time Jey managed to whip Owens into the steel steps. As Reigns stared at the TV, Heyman stared at Reigns. Heyman is so great in his role. Owens was selling a left arm injury, so Jey worked on the arm against the ropes. Owens came back with a clothesline followed by a senton splash. Jey sent Owens left shoulder first into the ring post. Jey went for a suicide dive, Owens caught him and Owens gave Jey a catapult into the ring post. Owens with two superkicks that sent Jey over the barricade leading to a break.
The match returned with Owens hitting a senton splash off the apron onto Jey on the floor for two. Jey to the apron, he yanked on KO’s left arm and Jey hit a double knee armbreaker to the left arm. Jey wrenched on the left arm of Owens and then pulled Jey pulled KO down by grabbing the head. Jey went for a running attack, Owens moved and Jey hit the turnbuckle, so Owens followed up with a superkick. Owens worked over Jey with punches to the head, but his arm was too hurt to do a Popup Powerbomb, so Jey hit a superkick for two. Nice selling by KO there. Jey went for an Uso Splash off the top rope, but Owens got the knees up. Owens hit a cradle suplex where he drove Jey’s shoulder into the knee. Jey came back by shoving KO’s left arm into the ring post two times. Jey grabbed a steel chair from under the ring and hit Owens in the back with the chair for the DQ finish. It went about 13 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Kevin Owens
Analysis: *** An intense match that was booked well even with the cheap ending. I say that because I’m writing this after the post match attack, which was excellent. In other words, this match was used to fire up Owens to try to build him up for Roman Reigns and WWE didn’t want Jey Uso losing this match, so that’s why they went with the DQ ending. I’m fine with non-pinfall finishes once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with that if it makes sense in the story and I think in this case, it does make sense.
Post match, Jey hit Owens in the back with more chairshots. Jey cleared off the announce table. Jey tried to attack again, but Owens did a kick to the gut and a Stunner. Owens sent Jey over the announce table. Owens grabbed a chair and he got some payback with two hard chair shots to the back. Owens asked Roman if he’s watching and Owens hit Jey in the back with the chair again. Owens said that Roman wants people to cheer him, but Owens fears no one. Owens hit Jey with about five more chair shots. Owens stared into the camera as we got a shot of Reigns watching and Owens said: “Including you.” Reigns was watching while Heyman put his head into his hands. Owens said that if Roman has a problem with him then he should say it to Kevin’s face. Owens said that he was the head of this table. Owens hit Jey with a Stunner. Owens stared right into the camera again. Owens sat by the announce table at the head of the table and said: “Where are you? I’ll be waiting.” Reigns was watching this on the TV and then he had a serious look on his face. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: I think it’s obvious that Kevin Owens will be the next contender for the Universal Title held by Roman Reigns. Owens specifically called out Reigns while beating up on Jey, who did get some offense in after the match. This was more about building Owens back up as a Universal Title contender, which is something I like to see. Owens is the kind of guy that should be in the main event picture more often than he is. I know that when he was on Raw there was Drew McIntyre in that top spot, but I think Owens could have done more. At least now we can say Owen is being utilized in the right way. With that said, I would be shocked if Owens won the Universal Title. I expect Reigns to hold that title until at least WrestleMania or even longer than that.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kevin Owens
- Daniel Bryan/Sami Zayn
- Roman Reigns/Jey Uso
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2020 Average: 6.51
This show was okay, but not as good as some of the more recent episodes of Smackdown. I’d call it more like an average episode. The matches with Zayn beating Bryan by countout and Owens beating Jey Uso by disqualification were the two best matches of the night. The opening tag team match was fine too. It is frustrating that two matches ended with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and there were cheap finishes in three of the matches (since Dominik helped Murphy beat Corbin), but that’s WWE booking. They want to try to advance stories in a way where they feel like they need to end matches that way.
Most of the promos were fine. I like how Roman Reigns continues to do the tough love routine with Jey Uso while Kevin Owens stepped up as the likely next contender for Roman’s Universal Title. I really liked the promo by Big E on Sami Zayn backstage, so they’re likely having a feud for the IC Title as well (I think Big E wins that title at TLC). Fresh rivalries are a nice thing to have on the show.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Tables, Ladders and Chairs on Sunday, December 20. There is nothing official for TLC yet.