Well, another work week has passed so it’s time to reward ourselves with another entertaining episode from the Blue brand. So many questions left unanswered from last week – what’s the relationship going to be like between Roman and cousin Jey? Will we get answers from Bayley? Who’s the latest friend in the Firefly Funhouse? And who really IS the Intercontinental champion? I don’t know but I’m excited to find out!

The Special Counsel speaks again

It’s funny how things can change so much in a short space of time. You could easily argue that the Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar combination, while ultimately successful, became quite stale. The same old spiel from Heyman over and over. Yet now I’m hanging off his every word as he’s got Roman Reigns by his side.

Roman Reigns feels so comfortable as a heel that you’d find it hard to believe he was the biggest babyface in the company for so many years. This is the badass character he was born to play, and WWE are playing it to perfection. Much like many heel characters, there’s an element of truth in what Heyman and Reigns are saying, but they do it in such a cocky way that you just want to hate them.

Throwing Jey Uso in the mix is a stroke of genius. We all know Roman will turn on him eventually. Hell, even Jey knows it and acts a little suspicious of the brand new pairing in front of him, but there’s a lot of history between all three of them. In the traditional Smackdown way, King Corbin and Sheamus interrupted and we ended up with a tag team main event, playa! A nice slow burn for the inevitable family split. We’re all sat on the edge of our seats waiting for it to happen.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (champion) vs AJ Styles

What a combination! Even in 2020, Hardy vs Styles is still one of those matches you can’t get enough of. Even if it’s still strange seeing it in a WWE ring. Unfortunately, Sami Zayn had other ideas, as he’s refusing to accept that Hardy has a legitimate claim to the IC title. Adam Pearce tried to stop Zayn from ruining the match but he’s very persistent and caused a DQ ending. Come on Sami, I’m a big fan of yours but you robbed us of a great match here. Hopefully, we’ll get a three-way at Clash Of Champions and all will be forgiven.

Jeff Hardy vs AJ Styles

Lucha House Party vs SmackDown Tag Team Champions Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro (non-title match)

Seems like we’ve arrived at that part of the years where WWE have no real ideas for their tag team champions so they end up facing each other. I do wish they’d invest some proper time into their tag division. That’s one thing that TNA and AEW do really well, and they’ve proven that there is an audience out there for it. I always loved tag teams when I was a kid, and it gives a solid ground for building future stars too. Maybe when Vince retires…

We got the smoke this week as the Street Profits came over from Raw to antagonise their opponents for next week. Cesaro and Nakamura didn’t seem in the party mood this week. Instead, their sights were set on those pesky Lucha guys – all of which work incredibly well with Cesaro I have to say. I can take or leave Nakamura these days but put Cesaro in the ring and my eyes are firmly stuck to the screen. The man is an absolute machine and there’s so much he has to offer. I wish they could find a way to get him to the next level as a singles star somehow.

It wasn’t a terrible match by any means but you knew it was only serving to further the champs feud for their match on Raw. The Luchas picked up the win after a Profits distraction and now I guess they’re owed a title shot? We’ll see. I wouldn’t mind seeing another longer match between those guys. Nakamura can go to sleep in the corner for a while.

Cesaro Street Profits

Keep your friends close…

After months of will they won’t they, the break up finally happened last week with Bayley casting aside her so-called best friend Sasha Banks. We all know their history and the split was always coming but damn what a ride it’s been. The real question is why? Bayley was all too happy to let the ThunderDome and everyone at home know that she’d been manipulating and using Banks all the time. When Sasha was useful and helped to create Bayley Dos Straps, she was fine to have around, but the failure to regain the women’s tag titles and Banks’ RAW women’s title loss meant that she’d outstayed her welcome.

A solid explanation with a real believable motivation that stays true to the heel Bayley character. Everything that comes out of her mouth is absolute gold and I know so many of us can’t wait for Sasha to come back and get her revenge. If these two aren’t winning all the awards at the end of the year then there’s no justice in the world.

Number 1 Contender – Fatal Four-way Match: Alexa Bliss vs Nikki Cross vs Lacey Evans vs Tamina

Just going to throw this out there – am I the only one that’s surprised that Tamina is still employed? She’s been around for over ten years and done what exactly? I honestly couldn’t tell you any significant moment in her career whatsoever. It’s absolutely outstanding. Good for her for managing to stay in employment when many others haven’t. For me, she’s usually a fast-forward material, but I could never do that to Alexa Bliss.

With Lacey Evans on a bit of a downturn lately, this match was really about two things – whatever is going on with Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Cross’ road to another title opportunity. The action was all over the place until out of nowhere Bliss hit a Sister Abigail on her best friend on the outside and randomly walked off in a trance. I hope they pull the trigger on this Bliss situation sooner rather than later, but it’s definitely got a lot of intrigues and it’s nice when the women have real storylines. Over the years they’ve often suffered by being given far less than the men in terms of character development etc.

Once Bliss had gone, my worst nightmare of Tamina being in the Clash Of Champions title match was nearly coming true, but thankfully Nikki recovered enough to grab the 1-2-3 and she gets another opportunity at Bayley. Will the end result be different this time? Maybe Sasha comes back? Could we even see Bliss go full Sister Abigail? I love a match with so many unknowns.

Otis (w/ Tucker) vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz)

If you read my review last week, you’ll know how I feel about any combination of these four men. I really have no idea where they’re going with this feud, if anywhere at all. Surely it has to end with one of the other guys getting the contract? Or else what’s the point in any of this? While SmackDown has been on a roll lately, this has been a real low point every week and they need to wrap it up and do whatever they’re planning on doing to finish it. No more lunchboxes. No more Caterpillars. No more wasting John Morrison. Stop it. The match was thankfully short with Otis picking up another win but who really cares.

Otis vs John Morrison

Yowie Wowie

We’re getting a new friend! Or are we? Excitement quickly turned into despair as Bray’s promised reveal ran into some “technical difficulties” i.e. he forgot to put holes in the box and that poor parrot.. let’s not think about that anymore. It may not have been the friend we were expecting but Evil Vince came along and introduced a whole new character – Wobbly Walrus. I will admit I sat there laughing at this for a good few minutes so I’m obviously easily pleased. I’m looking forward to seeing what Wobbly brings to the table. I’m not sure it’s going to be plain sailing for Bray and his new special advisor.

Main Event – Jey Uso & Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman vs Sheamus & King Corbin

Looking at the clock I realised we didn’t have much time left so this was always going to be a short main event. Once it started you realised why – poor Jey was having to go it alone. Roman apparently doesn’t wrestle full matches much anymore and was more than happy to let his cousin do the heavy work in the main event this week. It was practically a 2 on 1 handicap match for the majority, with Jey taking it to his opponents for a good while until Reigns’ music hit allowing Jey to get the upper hand and distraction. But for all his efforts, it was Roman who stole a tag and with one spear won the match for his team.

While I had absolutely no interest in Sheamus/Corbin getting involved in this feud, this dynamic worked perfectly. It gave the opportunity for everyone to get behind Jey and then share his frustrations with Roman for stealing the show right at the end. I don’t think their nice way of playing family is going to last much longer. I’m glad they didn’t blow it up straight away, as their relationship needs a little more tension added to it to make that believable. It’s coming through and Roman’s heel turn will be absolutely cemented by it. What a guy.

The best of SmackDown

  • Bayley – with no Sasha by her side, she was able to let rip on the mic and show why this heel persona is the best thing she’s ever done. She can really sell a feud, even if this one doesn’t need it too much. I’m really excited about their matches once they happen.
  • Roman Reigns – his work right now is as good as it has ever been. He’s taking the ball and running with it and Heyman balances him perfectly. This is exactly what we need from him and I can’t wait for him to be able to feed off the energy of the fans again one day.
  • Nikki Cross – always gives 100% whatever she’s doing. I’m loving how multi-layered her character is and she’s really been given a chance to shine on SmackDown.
  • Cesaro – if you gave me 60 minute Iron Man matches with him every week, I would not complain.
  • Wobbly Walrus – I want him to be WWE champion within a year. Please.
  • IC title – Three exceptional men fighting over it like it’s the most important title in the world? I am all for this.

The worst of SmackDown

  • Otis and his lunchboxes – just stop it now.
  • John Morrison – the guy can’t act at all. Focus on what he can do.
  • Riddle and Shorty G – poor guys just got to party and do nothing else? We can give them better.
  • Cross-brand feuds – I’m rarely a fan of thrown-together feuds based on absolutely nothing other than brands. It just doesn’t work for me unless it’s a combination I really want to see. I’m sure Profits vs Cesaro and Nakamura will be fine but I’d rather see real storylines.

In summary…

Overall, it wasn’t quite the hit that last week’s SmackDown was from top to bottom (if you ignore Otis), but there was still a lot of good to take away from this episode. Roman’s character work continues to be subtle, intriguing and on point. Jey Uso makes for a great face in this storyline and the family dimension is really enjoyable. The Bayley and Sasha feud continued with yet another strong promo. The IC title situation is boiling over too. And we didn’t even have everyone this week! I missed Riddle and Big E for sure, but it’s good that they’ve got a strong roster and don’t have to over-expose everyone every episode.

All images and videos courtesy of WWE