8/28 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell’s review of the contract signing for “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship at Payback, Big E on Miz TV


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox
Aired live on August 28, 2020 from Orlando, Florida at the Amway Center

[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a graphic that acknowledged the death of Bob Armstrong… Footage aired of “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt beating Braun Strowman to win the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam, followed by the return of Roman Reigns…

Backstage, Adam Pearce gave marching orders to a group of security guards regarding Retribution and then pointed at Vince McMahon’s door while noting that The Chairman was in the house. Pearce entered Vince McMahon’s office and told him that everything was coordinated. Pearce looked for a fist bump and then offered his arm to escort McMahon, who blew him off.

McMahon said anyone who comes close to him is a little intimidated. He told Pearce he had a mission for him. “The Big Dog is back,” Vince said. He hyped the Triple Threat for the Universal Title at Smackdown, then handed the contract to Pearce and said he needed their signatures before the night was over.

Vince suggested starting with The Fiend. Pearce looked leery. Vince told him he could start with Bray Wyatt. Vince handed Pearce a garment holder and said not to fail him…

Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in on commentary while cameras showed off the ThunderDome structure…

New Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy headed to the ring. Cole noted that Hardy was still favoring his right knee after last week’s match. Highlights aired of Hardy beating AJ Styles. Hardy stood in the ring and was cut off as he was saying that he was ready to defend the title.

AJ Styles walked onto the stage in regular clothing and asked Hardy if this was real. Styles walked to the ring while calling Hardy a liar and a cheat. Styles said he had knee injuries in the past, but he didn’t cry to a doctor to get an illegal object (the knee brace). Styles said Hardy knew exactly what he was going to do with it.

Styles said Hardy knows how to play the system. Styles said the same doctor who approved of Hardy’s brace wouldn’t medically clear him to compete. Hardy said it was a shame. He said he was about to issue an open challenge for an Intercontinental Title match to anyone other than Styles. Hardy listened to Styles grumble about cheating the system, then hit him heading into a break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The piped in crowd noise is louder than it’s been on the past ThunderDome shows. It was way too low last Friday, and it seems like they’ve bumped it up since then. No complaints thus far. The ThunderDome structure enhances the show visually, but last week’s show especially suffered from the lack of crowd noise even compared to the noise the spectator wrestlers generated.

1. Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental Championship. Nakamura was in the ring and identified as the open challenger. Styles sat in on commentary and continued to vent about being hit by an illegal object. Cole noted that Nakamura beat Hardy to win the Intercontinental Championship in the past.

A Cesaro pre-tape aired with him saying he stepped away for a second and then Nakamura was gone when he returned. He said Nakamura isn’t more ambitious than him, but he is impulsive. Cesaro didn’t seem pleased while wishing Nakamura luck and emphasized the word partner.

In the ring, Nakamura targeted Hardy’s knee. Hardy rallied and clotheslined Nakamura to the floor and then kicked him through the ropes. Hardy followed to ringside and tossed Nakamura over the broadcast table and onto Styles. [C] An ad for Raw hyped Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio for Monday’s show.

Graves apologized to Styles on behalf of the company for Hardy tossing Nakamura onto him before the break. In the ring, Nakamura caught Hardy with a spin kick. Nakamura placed Hardy on the ropes and tried to follow him, but Hardy elbowed him to the mat and then hit him with a Whisper in the Wind.

Hardy came up selling his injured knee. Nakamura placed Hardy on the ropes and then performed a sliding German suplex. Nakamura went to the ropes and hit Hardy with a flying knee and then covered him for a near fall. Hardy came back and performed a Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb for the win.

Jeff Hardy beat Shinsuke Nakamura in 13:00 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Hardy went to ringside and told Styles that he’d be ready for him whenever. As Hardy was heading up the ramp, Styles stood in the ring and barked that he was going to take the title back.

Sami Zayn’s music played and he came out holding another Intercontinental Championship belt. Zayn told Hardy that he was never defeated. Hardy turned his attention to Styles, who was standing at the bottom of the ramp. Zayn blasted Hardy with a kick to the head and then went backstage. Styles walked up the ramp. Hardy got back to his feet. Styles taunted Hardy by telling him that he’s in trouble…

Ramblin’ Rabbit was shown polishing the WWE Universal Championship belt on the Firefly Funhouse set. The Firefly Funhouse was hyped as coming up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid television match. There was no reason to view Nakamura as a threat to win, but the reaction of Cesaro to his tag partner challenging for the title was interesting. The return of Sami Zayn was a pleasant surprise and I like that he brought his own IC Title belt back with him. For those who don’t recall, Zayn was stripped of the title shortly after he won it at Elimination Chamber.

Sami Zayn was backstage singing “Oh Happy Day” when he was approached by interviewer Kayla Braxton. He told her not to ruin his night, then stopped and spoke about how he’s back to right a wrong. Zayn spoke about how he won the title and defended it. She asked him why he didn’t defend it for five months. Zayn said he didn’t need to explain that to anyone, then boasted about being from Montreal and spoke briefly in French…

The Firefly Funhouse aired. Bray Wyatt through the door and waved to the camera before welcoming viewers to the show. He said it felt good to be back home with all of his friends. Abby, Ramblin’ Rabbit, Mercy the Buzzard, and Huskus the pig were shown. Huskus said something, then Wyatt said he thought the internet was rotting his brain.

Wyatt said he felt like something was missing and wondered what it could be. There was a flash and he had the WWE Universal Championship belt in his hand. Wyatt said neither one of the monsters with the big nasty teeth will take it away this time. Wyatt said it was good to see Roman Reigns again.

The doorbell rang. Wyatt answered the door and Adam Pearce was there wearing a post office outfit. Wyatt labeled him Postman Pearce. Pearce got Wyatt to sign the contract for the Triple Threat match at WWE Payback. Wyatt laughed while saying that if he knows “him” then he just signed a couple of death warrants. Pearce left while Wyatt signed off…

Powell’s POV: So Vince McMahon presented Pearce with the Postman Pearce outfit? Strange. In fairness, I had a tough time understanding Vince in that opening segment, so perhaps it was explained. That said, this show is off to a nice start.

The broadcast team set up a highlight package on Matt Riddle and King Corbin’s feud…

Matt Riddle made his entrance. He recalled King Corbin saying that anyone who could prove that he didn’t belong on Smackdown was entitled to the king’s ransom. Riddle said Corbin seemed afraid of facing him. Riddle dared Corbin to prove him wrong. [C]

Riddle was still in the ring and complained that it was getting ridiculous waiting for Corbin. King Corbin made his entrance and walked toward the ring. Shorty G hit Riddle from behind. Corbin said he accepted Riddle’s challenge to a match…on behalf of Shorty G…

2. Matt Riddle vs. Shorty G. Cole said G seemed to be going through an identity crisis and didn’t know what to do in his career. G performed a tiger suplex for an early near fall. G went for another German, but Riddle landed on his feet. Riddle hit Bro Derek seconds later and scored the pin….

Matt Riddle beat Shorty G in 1:30.

After the match, Corbin tried to attack Riddle, who saw him coming and worked him over with some punches. Corbin ducked a kick and then slid out of the ring…

Powell’s POV: More of the same from this feud. Here’s hoping that Cole mentioning that G is having an identity crisis is leading to him dropping the awful Shorty G gimmick.

Cole hyped Talking Smack for Saturday on WWE Network. He set up footage of The Miz and Big E exchange from last week’s show… Footage aired from earlier in the day of The Miz and John Morrison taking exception to Big E saying he didn’t want to be on Miz TV. Sheamus showed up and stood by Miz and Morrison, then Heavy Machinery arrived and stood by Big E. Producer Jamie Noble tried to get between the teams…

Cole hyped The Miz, John Morrison, and Sheamus vs. Big E and Heavy Machinery for later in the show…

Backstage, Otis pulled hard salami out of a Money in the Bank lunchbox while hanging out with Big E and Tucker. Sasha Banks and Bayley showed up. Sasha said they looked like clowns playing with their meat. Bayley was talking to the men while saying that people only have what it takes to be tag team champions. Big E pointed at Banks, who no-sold it and left with Bayley… [C]

Adam Pearce knocked on Roman Reigns’ door while holding the contract for Payback. No one answered, so Pearce walked away. They cut to Kayla Braxton catching King Corbin walking through the area. Corbin spoke about all the damage that he was going to do to Matt Riddle at Payback. He said he would prove that Riddle doesn’t belong in his kingdom on Smackdown…

Powell’s POV: For the love of all that is good in the world, end this terrible king gimmick and these awful royalty cliche promos.

Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance. Cole set up still shots from SummerSlam of Asuka beating Banks to win the Raw Women’s Championship while Graves pointed out that Bayley failed to help Banks.

[Hour Two] Cole hyped Banks and Bayley vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles and questioned whether either team could get along. Bayley said they were in the midst of one of the most difficult weeks of their careers because they had to defend all their titles. She went off about how great they are.

Bayley said she knew Banks was still devastated about losing her title. She said even when you have the best intentions, sometimes things don’t go the way you have planned. “Yeah, you can say that again,” Banks replied. Bayley said it’s all her fault. “I should have never let you challenge Asuka for the title, that’s how the whole thing started,” Bayley said.

Bayley said she saw how Banks looked at her holding both titles. She said she should have known Banks’ history and how she can never successfully defend the Raw Women’s Title. Banks looked upset. Bayley said that was in the past. Bayley said the tag titles represent their friendship and they can’t lose.

Banks said Bayley is right, they can’t lose. She said she knows Bayley is worried because of who they are facing, but she doesn’t have to be. Banks said she knows who she is and what she stands for, and Bayley is still her best friend.

Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax appeared on the big screen. Jax said the only people she can’t stand more than Baszler are Bank and Bayley. Baszler said she despises Jax, but she’d team with anyone to take the tag titles away from Banks and Bayley. Banks said she will get her vengeance on Sunday, and said they will keep the tag titles and there’s nothing that Baszler and Jax can do about that…

Powell’s POV: A really good segment. Bayley is doing a good job of putting her foot in her mouth while taking jabs at Banks. It’s worth noting that Banks was looking at Bayley when she said she would get her vengeance on Sunday. I haven’t been a big fan of how overexposed Banks and Bayley have been on WWE television in recent months, but it’s fun now that we’re on the road to the split.

Backstage, Pearce asked Drew Gulak if he knew where he could find Roman Reigns. Gulak said no, but he wanted to know where Braun Strowman was because he owed him one. Gulak found Strowman and hit him from behind with a chair. Strowman no-sold it. Gulak tossed the chair to Peace and darted out of the picture. Pearce tried to get Strowman to sign. Strowman said the only way he’d do it is if Pearce got “that twerp” Gulak in the ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: So Strowman doesn’t want to sign the contract to get a rematch for the WWE Universal Championship unless he gets a match with Gulak?

Backstage, Cesaro told Shinsuke Nakamura that he needs to know what he is doing because they are a team. Sami Zayn showed up and tried to buddy up to them. Nakamura said Zayn didn’t even call them in four months. Zayn put his Intercontinental Title next to the Smackdown Tag Titles and said it was the championship lounge. Cesaro said they were in the middle of a private conversation and would like to finish it. Zayn acted like he actually had to leave anyway…

Drew Gulak was in the ring. Braun Strowman made his entrance while highlights aired of The Fiend beating Strowman to win the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam, which was followed by the return of Roman Reigns… Graves hyped the Triple Threat for Payback…

3. Braun Strowman vs. Drew Gulak. Strowman dominated Gulak from bell to bell and won the match with a running powerslam.

Braun Strowman defeated Drew Gulak in 1:45.

After the match, Pearce met Strowman on the stage. Strowman signed the contract. Cole noted that Pearce still needed Reigns to sign…

Backstage, Kalisto told Lince Dorado that he learned from his mistakes in his match against Cesaro. He told him to stay backstage. Gran Metalik and Dorado were talking when Cesaro and Nakamura showed up and hit them from behind. Cole hyped Cesaro vs. Kalisto for after the break… [C]

Kalisto was in the ring. Highlights were shown of Cesaro and Nakamura beating Dorado and Metalik to retain the tag titles, followed by Kalisto’s issues with Dorado following the match. Kalisto watched the footage on the big screen and shook his head. Cesaro made his entrance…

4. Cesaro (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Kalisto. Kalisto performed a cool springboard into a huracanrana on Cesaro at ringside. Cesaro came right back with a backbreaker inside the ring. A short time later, Kalisto was popped up for a move, but he stood on Cesaro’s shoulders and then came down with a DDT for a near fall. Nakamura climbed onto the apron. Metalik and Dorado ran out to go after Nakamura, which led to Cesaro rolling up a distracted Kalisto and pinning him.

Cesaro defeated Kalisto in 3:20.

After the match, Kalisto was upset with Dorado and Metalik for coming out after he told them to stay backstage. He hugged them both, but he still didn’t look pleased with them…

Powell’s POV: Kalisto continues to look like the heel in this feud given that his partners were trying to help him out.

Backstage, Adam Pearce informed Vince McMahon that he had only had two of the three signatures on the contract. Vince told him to knock down the locker room door of Reigns… [C]

Big E, Matt Riddle, and Sami Zayn were hyped as the guests for Talking Smack…

Cole hyped ThunderDome while the Smackdown theme song played…

Nikki Cross was shown looking at the coffee mug that Alexa Bliss gifted her when Tamina showed up. Alexa showed up a short time later and hugged them both, then said she’s never been better. Cross noted that Bliss’s hair was different. Cross said it reminds her of The Fiend. Bliss told her not to be ridiculous, then said she thought she would be more supportive. Bliss took the coffee mug and said so much for friendship, then slammed it to the ground…

Sheamus, Miz, and Morrison talked strategy heading into their six-man tag match. Morrison came up with reasons why they couldn’t let any of their opponents tag into the match. Sheamus called him on it, then told him to follow his lead…

Heavy Machinery and Big E made their entrance. They danced on the stage together before heading to the ring.

Adam Pearce knocked on Roman Reigns’ locker room door, then opened it and walked inside. Reigns shot him a look, then took the contract and read it over… Sheamus, Miz, and Morrison made their entrances…

5. Big E, Otis, and Tucker vs. Sheamus, The Miz, and John Morrison. Otis had a hunk of meat in his hand when the bell rang to start the match. Otis had the MITB briefcase and lunchbox with him. Tucker worked over Morrison and the bell rang. Sheamus was shown in the timekeeper’s area. Cole said the match was continuing. [C]

The match continued while Cole said Reigns was still looking over the contract backstage. Sheamus tagged into the match for the first time, but the referee didn’t see it and ordered him out. Sheamus vented and was knocked off the apron by Morrison accidentally. Sheamus barked at Miz and then walked out on his team. A short time later, Otis hit Morrison with a Caterpillar. Miz took out Otis with the Skull Crushing Finale. Big E hit The Big Ending on Miz and pinned him…

Big E, Otis, and Tucker defeated Sheamus, The Miz, and John Morrison in 11:45.

Backstage, Reigns told Pearce that there were changes that needed to be made to the contract. He promised to be at Payback and angrily said he would take back his WWE Universal Championship that he never lost in the first place. Reigns looked to his left and said, “That’s not just a prediction, that’s a spoiler.” The camera moved over to show Paul Heyman seated next to Reigns. “Believe that,” Heyman said. Reigns looked at a smiling Heyman…

Powell’s POV: Finally, something fresh and exciting for Roman Reigns. I was on the verge of saying this was a lousy first episode back for him following all the “The Big Dog is back” hype on Raw, but that was big development. It shows that it’s not just business as usual for Reigns and would seem to point to a heel run. I love it.

The rest of the show had its moments. They didn’t really sell me on Payback until that show closing moment, which made Payback feel like a must see show. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review coming up later tonight. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in via our post Smackdown poll on the main page.

Join me for live coverage of WWE Payback on Sunday beginning with the one-hour Kickoff Show at 5CT/6ET.


Readers Comments (7)

  1. Everyone who is saying Roman Reigns has turned heel are WRONG it’s actually Paul Heyman who has turned babyface that’s right next week Heyman will come out holding a cute puppy and talk about how much he loves dogs and that Roman was working at an animal shelter these past few months.

    No matter what happens that was an AWESOME ending to Smackdown!

  2. It doesn’t matter to me heel or Face I’ve always been a fan.

    but to all the fans who hated him. even if he is now a heel now you like and cheer for him. he is still being shoved down your throats you got to love the fans who accept him one way but not the other. LOL

    • Before you break your hand patting yourself on the back for, well, I’m not really sure what, let us never forget…

      “Yeah make McIntyre a babyface so he can face Lesner a heel and McIntyre can be destroyed by Lesner like all other babyface and lose any momentum he had as a babyface. such a brilliant idea.

      not really McIntyre is a better heel he would do better faceing Lesner as a heel.

      I don’t like Lesner but Vince does and unless things change Vince is always going to cater to Lesner.”

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