By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox
Aired live on November 29, 2019 from Birmingham, Alabama at Legacy Arena
[Hour One] The AC/DC opening video kicked off the show (then get ready for the night line)… Michael Cole and Corey Graves check in on commentary and hyped Bray Wyatt introducing a new face in the Firefly Funhouse, and New Day’s open challenge for the Smackdown Tag Titles…
Roman Reigns made his entrance and was introduced by ring announcer Greg Hamilton. The corny CGI dog graphic was shown above the ring. Reigns said that if there are still leftovers in the fridge then it’s still Thanksgiving. He wished fans a happy Thanksgiving and spoke about how this year was better than last year when he was battling Leukemia.
Reigns spoke about Survivor Series. Some fans chanted NXT while others responded with boos. “It’s all WWE, they’re badass too,” Reigns said. “But they didn’t get the job done. Smackdown Live, baby.” Reigns thanked everyone on his team other than King Corbin and then called him out.
King Corbin walked onto the stage and soaked up the boos. Corbin said it was his fearless leadership that won the elimination match for Smackdown. Corbin accused Reigns of selfishly betraying his team when he attacked him at the pay-per-view. Reigns said he Superman Punched and speared Corbin, so he didn’t get the job done like he did.
Reigns called Corbin to come to the ring to see if he could get the job done. Corbin said Reigns is an egomaniac who wants fans to believe he’s a role model. There was a loud “Roman” chant. Corbin said boasted about being waited on by servants during Thanksgiving dinner (you know, because who wouldn’t opt to serve a fake pro wrestling king?). Corbin assumed Reigns had a store bought turkey that his wife burnt.
Corbin introduced Robert Roode as an opponent for Reigns. Corbin said he had a good feeling that Reigns would be wheeled out on a stretcher and said it would be absolutely glorious. Roode and Ziggler made their entrance to Roode’s theme. Cole said the match would kick off the show after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: One of the many flaws of the brand supremacy battle was on display via the live crowd’s reaction. Why would WWE ever want fans to respond to some cheers for NXT (or any of their other brands) with boos? These are battle lines that the company should stop drawing. Meanwhile, the Reigns vs. Corbin feud isn’t doing anything for me and there’s no reason to believe it will end anytime soon.
1. Roman Reigns vs. Robert Roode (w/Dolph Ziggler, King Corbin). Reigns was in offensive control when he was distracted by Ziggler and Corbin, then Roode knocked him off the apron and into the broadcast table heading into a break. [C]
Roode picked up a near fall, then Reigns came back with a sit-out powerbomb for a good near fall of his own. Reigns went for a move out of the corner and ate a spinebuster, which led to another near fall for Roode. Corbin slipped his scepter to Roode and then distracted the referee. Reigns caught Roode with a Superman Punch, then ht Corbin with one. Reigns ducked Roode’s attempt to hit him with the scepter and then speared and pinned him.
Roman Reigns defeated Robert Roode in 13:40.
After the match, Ziggler attacked Reigns and then went to the corner and tuned up the band. Reigns caught him with a Samoan Drop. Corbin went after Reigns, who ran him through the ropes and into the post. Roode hit Reigns from behind with the scepter.
Roode brought a chair into the ring while his dopey sidekicks opted to watch from ringside. Roode placed Reigns’ head on the chair and then swung and missed with the scepter. Reigns hit Roode with a Superman Punch. Reigns went to ringside and speared Roode into the timekeeper’s area. Reigns tipped the broadcast table onto Roode…
A teaser aired for the Firefly Funhouse… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match between Reigns and Roode, but everything about the Reigns vs. Corbin feud feels hokey and meant for children. While Corbin gets booed by live crowds because he’s an easy target for a crowd looking to have a good time, the King persona is cornball material that is painful to watch on a weekly basis.
Cole and Graves stood at ringside and recalled Corbin saying Reigns would be stretchered out, then noted that it was Roode who was in that position. They set up a video package that recapped “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeating Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Universal Championship at Survivor Series…
Bray Wyatt hosted the new Firefly Funhouse and spoke about Thanksgiving. He held the WWE Universal Championship and said he had a lot to be thankful for. He said he loves his new toy. Wyatt asked the “fireflies” if they want to see him and Daniel Bryan play together again. The sound of children cheering could be heard. Wyatt said he could make all of Bryan’s dreams come true if he just lets him in…
Powell’s POV: There has to be more to this, right? It’s bad enough that the advertising for the show was built around hype for a new puppet, but it’s even worse that they haven’t actually delivered yet.
Mustafa Ali made his entrance for a match… [C]
A Sheamus vignette aired. He was in a dark hallway and his face couldn’t be seen. He said Smackdown used to be the land of opportunity. He said he’s had a lot of time to sit back and survey the situation. He said he sees a bunch of misfits and cowards with. fiend, a king, and whatever the hell Shorty G is. Sheamus stepped into the light and said Smackdown will be his…
2. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak. Cole said the rivalry between the two heated up when Gulak did a Powerpoint presentation on Twitter (yes, really). Gulak’s entrance was not televised. Ali hit a 450 splash from the top rope and scored the pin…
Mustafa Ali defeated Drew Gulak in 3:10.
Powell’s POV: It would have meant something if Ali had beaten Gulak on 205 Live a few months ago. Gulak is a joke on Smackdown and beating this version of him means nothing.
Bayley and Sasha Banks were shown walking backstage. Cole said they would address the entire women’s division… Heavy Machinery hosted a merch pimping segment… [C]
Daniel Bryan was shown pacing on the backstage interview set while Graves assumed he was wondering if Bryan was thinking about Wyatt’s offer to give him another title shot. Cole set up footage of the women’s elimination match at Survivor Series…
[Hour Two] Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance. Once in the ring, Banks said they weren’t giving a rah-rah speech. She said you can leave that mess for Raw. Banks said she didn’t get to pick the Survivor Series team or they would have won.
Bayley said Smackdown didn’t lose because NXT is better, nor did she lose her match because Shayna Baszler is better. Bayley said they lost those matches because the entire locker room let them down. Banks said the weak link on her team was the entire team. Banks and Bayley ran down each of her Survivor Series team and saved Lacey Evans for last. Bayley said Evans should spend more time in the ring and less time drinking tea on her porch.
Lacey Evans made her entrance to no crowd reaction. Evans told Bayley and Banks not to test her patience. She said she made Thanksgiving dinner for 36 people, including her in-laws. She said Bayley and Banks were too classless to even sit at the kid’s table.
Evans spoke about Smackdown needing a leader with style. There was a brief Lacey Evans chant. Evans said they need someone who wouldn’t tap out under pressure, then tapped Bayley’s title belt. Banks got in Evans’ face, then Evans hit her with a Woman’s Right punch while Bayley just stood and watched. Evans left the ring…
Powell’s POV: So that was the Evans babyface turn? Strange. If they are serious about this, I wonder how much longer it will be until she drops the southern bell routine and plays on her military background.
Kayla Braxton approached Daniel Bryan and asked him about Wyatt. The Firefly Funhouse video aired. Huskis told Wyatt that he ate too much for Thanksgiving. Wyatt told him that everything he thought he knew about the holiday was lie. He spoke about The Muscle Men battling The Reptilians who tried to take over the plant.
A music video aired with Wyatt and Huskis doing The Muscle Man Dance. Wyatt was shown watching the video on a backstage monitor and he somehow kept a straight face. It concluded with Wyatt saying “let me in.” Braxton followed the video by saying, “Well?” and sticking a mic in Bryan’s face. Bryan showed no emotion and remained silent going into the break…
Powell’s POV: The Muscle Man Dance was strange and did nothing to put heat on Wyatt. That said, it was also the best thing about this show.
An ad for Raw said Seth Rollins will issue an apology on Monday’s Raw… [C]
3. Nikki Cross vs. Sonya Deville (w/Mandy Rose). Rose’s entrance was not televised. Rose took the mic and said she doesn’t like to make fun of the way people look, but Cross looked like a cold plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. After that worthless promo, the bell rang to start the match. In the end, Cross caught Deville in an inside cradle for the win.
Nikki Cross beat Sonya Deville in 1:40.
After the match, the heels double teamed Cross until Alexa Bliss ran out and made the save. Cross and Bliss hit a clunky double DDT on Rose and then hugged…
Bryan was now pacing in a locker room when The Miz approached him. Miz said The Fiend changes people when they have matches with him. He told Bryan to decide whether it was worth it. Miz said he couldn’t believe he was saying it, but Bryan was too important to Smackdown and they couldn’t afford to lose him. Miz started to say that Bryan’s family couldn’t afford to lose him, but Bryan shot him a look and Miz backed down and left the room…
Cole hyped New Day’s open challenge for after the break… [C]
Backstage, Drake Maverick held mistletoe over Dana Brooke and tried to get a kiss. Brooke rejected him. Elias showed up with his guitar and Brooke asked where he’d been. Elias said he’d been on a journey. Elias sang a song that referenced Maverick’s wife finding out. Brooke danced to the music…
Powell’s POV: What a red hot return for Elias!!! Or not. Good lord.
Big E and Kofi Kingston made their entrance while the broadcast team hyped the New Day’s podcast debut for Monday. The New Day duo spoke about the holiday and the open challenge. Sami Zayn led Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro onto the stage. Zayn ran down Thanksgiving and Black Friday… [C]
4. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro (w/Sami Zayn) for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Zayn took a cheap shot at Kingston while the referee was distracted. Cesaro caught Kingston with an uppercut near the broadcast table going into an early break. [C]
Kingston was isolated. Zayn stole New Day’s platter of pancakes and entered the ring with the platter with the idea of hitting Kingston with it, but the referee caught him and ejected him. Kingston recovered and hit Cesaro with Trouble in Paradise and scored the pin…
Big E and Kofi Kingston beat Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles in 11:15.
Powell’s POV: A well worked match with the expected outcome.
Footage aired of Reigns avoiding a scepter shot from Roode and then leaving Roode lying at ringside…
Bryan was shown walking backstage. Cole said Bryan was soul searching, but he would reveal what he would do about Wyatt stating that he wanted to play with him again… [C]
Daniel Bryan made his entrance and delivered an in-ring promo. Bryan recalled Wyatt saying that if he wanted another title shot then he just needed to let him in. Bryan also recalled The Miz trying to talk him out of taking the match because The Fiend will change him. Bryan said Miz might be right, but maybe he needed to be changed.
Bryan said he walked into their title match at Survivor Series more nervous than he’s been in years because of the possibility that The Fiend would change him. Bryan said he felt change in the middle of the match, but it wasn’t because of Wyatt, it was because of the fans. Bryan said they made him realize the person he should have been the whole time.
Bryan recalled saying the Yes Movement was dead, but he conceded that maybe the fans brought it back to life. Bryan asked the fans if he should accept. The fans responded with a loud yes chant. Bryan joined in on the chant.
The Firefly Funhouse theme played and then Wyatt appeared on the big screen. Wyatt said Bryan’s new energy is so excited. Wyatt said Miz was right, Bryan will change. Wyatt said it’s only fair because Bryan made him change and helped build the Funhouse. Wyatt said The Fiend remembers.
Wyatt brought up the new face and said he’s many things, including a man of his word. The big screen went black and the lighting in the arena changed to red. The Fiend emerged from a hole in the ring and attacked Bryan. The Fiend put the Mandible Claw on Bryan and then dragged him into the hole in the ring.
The Fiend released the hold and came up with two clumps of hair in his hand. The Fiend went back to fighting under the ring and brought up more hair. The Fiend went back under the ring and continued to bring up clumps of hair. The Wyatt laugh track played to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Bryan was very over with the live crowd and might be the only guy who can draw good cheers against The Fiend these days. So we never got the new puppet, but we did get The Fiend throwing around clumps of hair. Um, okay. While nothing was made official, all signs point to The Fiend vs. Bryan at the TLC pay-per-view. I will be by later tonight with my audio review of this episode. Let me know what you thought by giving the show a letter grade in our weekly post Smackdown poll.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...