Well, here we are again. Times flies, doesn’t it? And it will until we’re all locked inside our houses and can’t leave anymore. But I digress. Let’s focus on the positives. SmackDown is on a roll in recent weeks and despite the last episode having a slight dip in quality, I’m really excited to see all the storylines develop. Roman and Jey. Alexa and Nikki. Bayley and Sasha. Otis.. well, he’s there too, unfortunately. It’s like a soap opera up in this joint lately. Let’s see if the ThunderDome can fix any of these relationships this week.
After all that positivity and anticipation, we started with… Miz and Morrison. Oh great. Let’s get the moaning out of the way. This is my least favourite part of SmackDown. I don’t understand the feud. I don’t get it. I don’t want it. I don’t need a Miz and Morrison tag team. It’s not 2007. Stop it. No one wants this. I doubt even Miz and Morrison want this.
With that being said, it was nice of WWE to start the show with the Otis feud so we could move on to bigger and better things. His girlfriend Mandy Rose has been drafted to RAW because The Miz suggested it, and now Otis is angry or hangry or probably both. He interrupted The Dirt Sheet, did some moves and apparently it’s all part of Miz’s plan to sue him. Does anyone care? Shall we look at the rest of the show? I think so.
Cesaro (w/ Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Gran Metalik (w/ Kalisto and Lince Dorado)
If there’s one way of getting my attention back, it’s a Cesaro match. I could watch the guy wrestle a paper bag and it would probably still be one of the best matches on SmackDown. Thankfully he had an actual opponent here and a very capable one in Gran Metalik. The Lucha House Party guys are perfect opponents for Cesaro to go with his insane strength, speed and agility, so I’m loving watching any combination of these guys work together.
Do we need a Lucha House Party split? It’s starting to feel like every combination of anyone is breaking up on SmackDown lately and they might want to calm down on that front or it all gets a bit samey. Plus unless they have real plans for any of them as singles starts, they’re really benefitting from being together. Having said that, despite the unnecessary storyline drama, this was a solid if short match that really showcased what SmackDown is all about. Great in-ring workers who can put on enjoyable matches week in and week out. Cesaro picked up the win with a Neutralizer and starts to pick up momentum towards Clash Of Champions where these teams will meet for the titles.
Sister Abigail returns
I’m a big fan of the Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross combination. At first, I was a bit confused by it, especially having seen Cross on NXT and loved the craziness. I wasn’t sure how that really fitted with Bliss’ personality but their odd-couple friendship has been fun to watch blossom. Adding another layer of intrigue onto it, Bless seems to go into a trance anytime someone mentions The Fiend, something Lacey Evans came to regret. After losing her match to Nikki Cross, Lacey made the mistake of mentioning Bray Wyatt’s alter ego and ended up in the receiving end of a Sister Abigail on the floor from Bliss. Where’s this all going? Where’s Bray? Where’s The Fiend? I need answers.
I’m still here…
Sasha Banks. It’s hard to believe that at one point we weren’t sure if she would ever come back to WWE, yet here we are with her as one of the highlights of WWE over the last few months. Safely tucked away in the WWE Performance Center, Sasha was interviewed (wearing a neck brace) by Michael Cole who thankfully took a more sombre tone than shouting IT’S BOSS TIME as usual. With tears in her eyes Banks addressed Bayley’s heinous actions and how they were the ones that built the Performance Center together, but now that friendship is over. Banks stared directly in the camera at her former partner and told Bayley how she’s nothing without Sasha.
In a shocking turn of events, Bayley managed to find the Performance Center and attacked Sasha with a steel chair again. Oh, how I love these two. Security managed to step in before Bayley could go any further but the anger and hatred between Bayley and Sasha are growing each and every week. We need this match soon, please. I want to watch them destroy each other.
AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn
Another week, another match surrounding the Intercontinental Title controversy and I am here for it. Expecting Jeff Hardy to get involved somehow, I was pleasantly surprised that they actually gave Styles and Zayn some time to put on a fairly decent match. Zayn hasn’t wrestled in months but he didn’t look like he’d missed any time at all. Obviously, being in there with one of the best and most consistent wrestlers in the world doesn’t hurt. You never fast forward an AJ Styles match.
In a classic heel vs heel ending, Sami tried to hold the tights to win but instead, AJ reversed, did the same thing but didn’t get caught. Cheaters never prosper? Well apparently sometimes they do. Luckily, Zayn reminded everyone that it was a non-title match, even if he’s not really the champ anyway but don’t worry we love you Sami. You know what else we love? Jeff Hardy and ladders. Jumping both guys after the match, Jeff then laid down the challenge – a Triple Threat Ladder Match at Clash Of Champions for the title. Christmas has come early.
Feel the POWAHHHH
In a backstage segment, King Corbin and Sheamus were discussing their tactics for the main event Samoan Street Fight when Sheamus’ security friend from the other week came to tell him that his car was being towed. Not exactly the news you want when preparing for a match is it? The fella ran to the parking lot to rescue his beloved car but instead was greeted by a much nicer surprise – Big E.
Well, it was nice for us as viewers but not so much for the Irishman. Big E hadn’t taken kindly to that backstage attack a few weeks ago and it was time for revenge. Sheamus managed to escape before too much damage was done but unfortunately, I can’t say the same for his poor security friend. Thrown into various things, including a car windshield, and then put into the boot? He’s definitely had better days at work. This vicious, passionate and angry Big E is exactly the man we want to see pushed to the main event. Welcome back.
Main Event – Samoan Street Fight Match: Roman Reigns and Jey Uso vs Sheamus and King Corbin
To hype up the main event and the Clash Of Champions match, there was a really good short promo video with a voiceover from Paul Heyman summarising the family legacy and why the Reigns/Uso combination is so important in wrestling. Such a short but effective way of selling the match and WWE at its best.
Badass Roman made his way to the ring first, making it clear that he doesn’t need to skip half of all the matches he’s in. It’s his yard, ring, island, title, WWE and everything in between and someone needs to come to take it. Please be Big E. Please be Big E. With Jey by his side (for now), this was another solid SmackDown main event with four guys who were more than happy to beat the living hell out of each other. Throwing chairs at faces, using tables and stiff knees, and really just having a damn good time out there.
All four men left it all out in the ring with Jey picking up the win, mirroring the finish from last week. Reigns was about to go for the pin but a flying Uso came down with a splash and got the 1-2-3 this week. Roman’s face told us everything we needed to know. The Big Dog was not amused in the slightest, even if Jey was acting like an excited kid at Disneyland. We all need some of whatever he’s on. With a smiley, long and awkward hug between the two family members, they eventually celebrated the win. Well, Jey did and Roman stood in the ring losing his smile. I think he’s been taking lessons from Shawn Michaels. In all seriousness, Roman (and Heyman) is killing it right now and Clash Of Champions is looking to be a great PPV.
The best of SmackDown
- Big E – Taking it to another level this week. Let’s never have another week where he doesn’t turn up again. This is the start of something special and we’re all coming along for the ride.
- Sasha and Bayley – Emotional, powerful and true. All the best feuds are grounded in reality and you know what these girls have been through to get where they are today. Top class work from the ladies again.
- Roman Reigns – People have said he’s one of the best in the world for many years now and that was always true, even if it was hard for people to get behind him. Now he’s doing the best work of his career and I bet he’s loving every second like we are.
- IC title – So I might just be a little excited at the Ladder Match announcement for Clash Of Champions. How good is that going to be???
- Cesaro – He’ll always get on my list any time he has a match just because he’s that good.
The worst of SmackDown
- Otis – He was still there, unfortunately.
- Morrison and Miz – Why? Come on. You’re making me sound like a broken record but seriously.
- Wobbly Walrus – Where was he this week? You can’t just leave him out.
- Mystery woman – I’m enjoying the fans investigating on socials more than the actual vignettes.
- Matt Riddle – I said I wanted better from him. So we got a ‘Bro’ promo video? You’re making me miss the Bobby Fish stuff.
For all the criticism of last week’s episode, I was really pleased with how everything worked out this week. Other than one particular storyline (which I’m sure you can guess), it feels like everything else is coming together and moving along at a good pace. Everything has a purpose. We have clearly defined characters who are also capable of putting on really good matches. I love it when a plan comes together and whoever is controlling SmackDown right now is doing a great job of keeping all the plates spinning. Yet another solid episode to build to Clash Of Champions.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE