Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Oh my. It’s nearly time to get our yearly dose of December destruction and I am hyped for it. As a Kevin Owens fan for many years prior to his NXT and WWE debut, I always have a smile on my face when he gets thrown into the main-event scene. As talented as he is nice and genuine, it is a pleasure to see such a guy succeed. And it’s a great way for him to end 2020 after a few tumultuous years.
I’m just happy that we’re ending the year with Roman Reigns giving career-best performances on a weekly basis. This is what we’ve all been dreaming off for years and while this year has been pretty rubbish, at least it has forced WWE to take some unusual risks that maybe they wouldn’t have before. I hope this version of Reigns continues for a long time to come – especially once we start getting fans back into arenas etc. Can you imagine those actual legit reactions rather than piped in ones? I can’t wait. For now, though, it’s the virtual ThunderDome fans getting to see the last action before this Sunday’s PPV.
Stun the world
Damn, this is personal. Owens stormed down to the ring with intent and quickly started discussing families. You know it’s getting serious when the kids start getting involved. Kevin did everything he could to get Roman out to the ring, even calling him a coward, but all he got was Paul Heyman on the big screen. The Special Counsel thinks KO isn’t a masochist but he’s a martyr and Owens is a dangerous man willing to lose everything and won’t back down.
As Kevin went backstage to get Roman, Reigns’ theme hit and he instead made his way to the ring. The mind games are real. Have I said how much I love this Roman? Only a few times a week but it’s true. Heyman can say more with a look than many can with words and Reigns is showing charisma and presence that few have ever had in the industry. The Universal champion doesn’t consider himself a bad guy but just doing what it takes to be the guy. All of this was a set up to get KO jumped by Jey Uso and then Roman destroying him. Kevin really should have made more friends over the years.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships – Street Profits vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Why do they have to keep using Ziggler’s music? Roode has a far better theme and my heart doesn’t sink every time I hear it so I wish they’d sort that out. I’d be lying if I said that’s the only problem. After one of the best tag matches of the year against The New Day, it just feels like a real step down to be feuding with Ziggler and Roode, especially when no one is really buying into them winning the titles. It’s one of those cases where you know it’ll be a decent match but there’s no real question as to what the outcome will be.
Both teams put on a decent if not short TV match with the Profits beating Roode and Ziggler at their own cheating game. I liked that. The real question is where do Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford go next? Even if Dolph and Robert get a rematch, which they will inevitably lose, then who’s next? I’d actually be quite interested in the Mysterios – maybe Rey and Dominik, or even Buddy Murphy with either one of them. I think they’d put on some great matches with the Profits. Knowing our luck we’ll probably get King Corbin and his knights instead.
The Riott Squad vs Billie Kay and Tamina
Imagine being Michael Cole or Corey Graves and genuinely trying to put Tamina over on commentary. Is there anyone else who has done as little over their career in such a long time? I’m guessing Billie had a very limited set of options for choosing her partner. She probably would’ve been better off picking one of the women that work on costumes or maybe Rey Mysterio’s wife or.. well, you get the idea.
I know Billie Kay has to wrestle because she’s a wrestler, so I can’t really argue with that, but her real strength is her personality. With another loss this week to the Riott Squad in a quick match, maybe she should stick to funny backstage segments or something. She can make people smile and we really need that in 2020. As for her partner Tamina, I’m yet to find out what her strengths are and she has been around for a decade. According to Wikipedia, she did win the 24/7 Championship once, so I suppose that’s something.
Carmella’s Champagne Toast
For all the criticism she gets on social media, Carmella has a presence and confidence in her performances that validates her place on the main roster. She always seems comfortable on-screen and this new heel persona fits her perfectly. With the new entrance and the fresh swagger, she’s a fantastic villain to go against The Boss. I must admit I did enjoy her fun times with R Truth but this champagne loving character feels far more natural for her.
Obviously, Sasha Banks wasn’t just going to sit back this week and listen to Carmella’s trash talk, especially after the attack last week. I will say that whatever Carmella’s assistant is getting paid she needs to double it because he’s the difference-maker at the moment. Banks tried to get some revenge but after another distraction, Carmella was able to leave her on the floor again. I’m actually looking forward to their match at the PPV as they’ve worked well together in the past few weeks.
Otis (with Chad Gable) vs Shinsuke Nakamura (with Cesaro)
Does anyone remember Nakamura vs Sami Zayn? One of the all-time classics in NXT history. Or even some of the incredible matches that Nakamura had in New Japan against AJ Styles and another top tier talent? Well, they were nothing compared to his match with Otis. I fully expect Dave Meltzer to give this an 8-star rating at some point. It’s great to see that all that Performance Centre work has been paying off for Otis and I fully expect him to be Universal Champion by this time next year.
For now, we’ll have to put up with Otis learning under Chad Gable’s guidance. I’m not sure this was exactly what I was hoping for when Gable reclaimed his name but at least it’s better than the Shorty G nonsense. Their pairing started to pay off this week as Otis managed to pin the former tag team champion and Gable could not have looked prouder. Where this storyline ends is anyone’s guess but it feels like it’ll build towards a Gable vs Otis feud eventually and sadly I don’t think it’s going to be my man Chad coming out on top there.
The first-ever Sami Awards
The totally fixed Slammy Awards are taking place on Wednesday. Thankfully we’ve got a far more honest man in Sami Zayn to give us an alternative this week in the Sami Awards. As we all know, WWE tend to treat Zayn with a lot of disrespect – from missing him out on advertising to forgetting to make t-shirts for him. He deserves a lot better and the Sami Awards luckily went a long way to giving Sami the love and respect he should get. Sami won ‘Comeback of the Year’ as well as ‘Match of the Year’ but somehow he lost ‘Superstar of the Year’ to… Big E. He was more than happy to spoil Zayn’s award ceremony and smack him around a bit. I think it won’t be long until Big E does win an award like that.
Bayley vs Bianca Belair
Bayley still hasn’t learnt to keep her mouth shut but that’s okay because we’ve got Bianca on board who absolutely loves getting into verbal slagging matches with absolutely every woman on the roster. This is like a match made in heaven really. Backstage segments, social media and everywhere in-between has been these two women going back and forth. As with everything in WWE it has to end in a match and Bayley’s role post-championship seems to be to work with some of the newer talents and try to bring them up to her level.
Belair is a fantastic all-round talent and this match proved it. She’s spectacular in the ring with speed, strength and agility. One thing she does not have quite yet though is Bayley’s number as the former champion managed to rake her eyes and cheat her way to a victory. There’s no shame in losing to the best woman of the past year and Bianca will just have to use this as a learning experience. I doubt this will be the last time we see these two go at it. I’d love to see Bianca have another dominant performance in the Royal Rumble next year.
Become champion or die trying
You thought we were done with Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns for the night? Oh no, no, no. Not only did Reigns send Jey off to destroy KO at various points throughout the show, attacking him with a chair and putting him through a table, but we even came full circle and ended SmackDown with another in-ring segment. Roman just doesn’t think that Kevin is getting the message and I think he’s right there. Either that or he’s getting the message and completely ignoring it, which is probably the more likely option.
Despite everything, Kevin managed to limp down to the ring and not back down from Roman and his family. Suffering another brutal punishment, Reigns and Uso used multiple chairs and tables and did everything they could to put Owens on the shelf and buried him underneath a huge pile of items, leaving him there to suffer. But as they got backstage, they saw Kevin crawl out and grab the last word – that there’s nothing the family can do to keep him down. We talk a lot about how every word that Roman says is believable, but KO has got just as much conviction and I cannot wait to see how far he goes on Sunday to try and win the title.
The best of SmackDown
- Kevin Owens – utter determination and a man that won’t quit
- Carmella – once again getting the upper hand and showing her smarts
- Big E – winning a huge Sami Award
- Otis – he beat a former IWGP Heavyweight champion
- Bayley – she may not have a title but she’s still capable of picking up a win
- Street Profits – a win is a win
The worst of SmackDown
- Tamina – no one would actually choose her as a partner
- Billie Kay – poor girl really needs to go back to the PC
- Nakamura – I’m sure the regrets of signing with WWE are sinking in
- Sami Zayn – losing the biggest award at his own awards ceremony
Well if you’re not a Roman Reigns or Kevin Owens fan, then this week definitely wasn’t for you. I do admire the fact that they’ve done everything they can to build Owens up over the past few weeks to get him to a level where he seems like a legit threat to Roman, even if it’s unlikely he’ll win. It’s good to have a reminder of just how far he’ll go. The SmackDown Women’s Championship match at Tables, Ladders and Chairs has been built up really well too so I think the blue side of things on Sunday is going to deliver again. I don’t expect any SmackDown title changes but we should get some really enjoyable matches from all involved.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE