By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,112)
Live from in Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired December 11, 2020 on Fox
[Hour 1] Lightning and Thunder rained down as Michael Cole and Corey Graves introduced the show. Sasha Banks then made her ring entrance in street clothes for a contract signing with Carmella for TLC. Owens vs. Reigns in a TLC match was plugged for TLC as well. Adam Pearce ran down recent events around Banks issuing a challenge to Carmella for TLC. Sasha opened the leather booklet, and there was no contract in it.
Sasha was outraged, and Carmella appeared on screen with it backstage. She said Sasha follows her rules, and sent her personal assistant to the ring with the contract that she had already signed. Carmella said she was never going to get in the ring with Sasha tonight after she had attacked her a few weeks ago, and she’s a hot chick playing chess four moves ahead. Sasha said she would play games with Carmella at TLC, including making her head touch her spine.
Sasha signed the contract in the ring, and said since she makes the rules, she wanted to have the match tonight. Carmella agreed, and Pearce took the contract and said it would be tonight’s main event. Sasha said she would give Carmella a taste of what is coming, and beat up her assistant and toppled the table onto him.
Elsewhere, Kayla Braxton interviewed the Street Profits backstage. She asked them about Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode’s recent comments about them only being interested in Money. Ford asked if it would be funny if he made it rain solo cups while he was slapping Ziggler around, and Dawkins asked if it would be funny if he slapped a hole in space time, and a bunch of doppelganger Robert Roode’s came out and called the original embarrassing. He said that much corny facial hair would be too much, and then said they wanted the smoke. The Street Profits then made their ring entrance.
My Take: The Sasha and Carmella promo was fine, but I have a feeling moving the match to this show means they are setting up a rematch at TLC with some kind of stipulation derived from a DQ finish coming later in the show. The Street Profits promo felt a bit forced, if I’m honest. it was the writing more so than the performance.
Ziggler and Roode made an entrance, and said Ford had called him a poor man’s HBK in the past, and that didn’t work because he was rich as hell. He then called them a poor man’s Desus and Mero, and said the only thing less funny than his stand up is the fact that they are tag team champions. Roode grabbed the mic and told them to yuck it up, because their time as champions was coming to a close.
1. Montez Ford (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Robert Roode): Things were slow to start, as Ziggler took control and kept Ford grounded. Ford got to his feet and returned fire with a slingshot into the corner and a dropkick that sent Dolph to the floor. Roode got in the ring, but Dawkins cleared him out quickly. He and Ford then made it rain solo cups from a launcher on the other side of the barricade…[c]
The solo cups were cleared, and Ziggler had a chin lock applied in the ring. He then dropped repeated elbows on Ford, and covered for a two count. He remained in control with a body scissors and chin lock combo, and kept Ford grounded. Eventually, Ford fought to his feet and landed some kicks and a clothesline. He then hit a back suplex and a standing moonsault before shaking the ropes. Dolph kicked Ford’s knee and went for a Fameasser, but Ford avoided it. Dolph went for a Zig Zag, but Ford held the ropes. Ford landed a kick to the head and went up top for a big splash.
Roode created a scene on the outside by attacking Dawkins and threw him into the steps. Ziggler then crotched Ford on the ropes and landed a Superkick for the win.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Montez Ford at 8:31
After the match, Cole and Graves plugged the Main Event, they went backstage to Sami Zayn. He complained at a merch area set up backstage, and he wondered why he didn’t have a shirt yet. Big E walked up and told him not to worry about the shirt, worry about the meat inside the shirt. Big E enlisted Apollo to hold up a stick figure homemade shirt they made for him. Zayn tried to rip it in half, but he couldn’t. Big E said he would show him all the things next…[c]
My Take: Ford and Ziggler was pretty forgettable. I understand having to get the challengers over, but do they really need to beat the champions to establish this? The story is so rote at this point. It seems the same pattern may continue with Big E and Zayn.
Sami Zayn listed off all the people he’s beaten, and said it was insulting that he didn’t have a piece of merchandise to represent his real fans. He said he didn’t want anything to do with rampant consumerism, and began speaking about his fellow Quebecois Pat Patterson before he was interrupted by Big E’s entrance. Big E threw his coat at Corey Graves. Sami Zayn was quick to have the announce team reiterate that it was a non-title match.
2. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn vs. Big E in a non-title match: Sami grabbed a tie up, and got thrown on his ass. Sami complained about a hair pull, and then got tossed into the ropes for an abdominal stretch. Sami escaped and landed a few punches, but Big E landed a back elbow and put Zayn down hard. He then landed a splash on the apron and gloated to the camera…[c]
Zayn landed a knee to the face of Big E, and covered for a two count. Zayn pressed the attack with a top rope forearm strike. Zayn then mocked Big E by gyrating over him, which prompted Big E to pop up and land a series of belly to belly suplexes. Big E then stood over Zayn and did some gyrating of his own. He followed up with a Big Splash, and Zayn rolled to the floor.
Zayn tried to lure Big E to the floor, but he didn’t fall for it and Zayn ate a lariat. They battled in the corner. Big E caught Zayn coming off the top and rolled through to set up the Big Ending, but Zayn raked his eyes. Sami then faked an injury and ran around on the outside before climbing under the ring. Big E gave chase, but Sami wriggled free in order to win the match via a fluke countout yet again.
Sami Zayn defeated Big E by countout at 10:39
Bayley was shown backstage, and said she was sending best wishes to Carmella, and claimed she still ran the division. She called Sasha Banks overpaid, and said she’s irrelevant, just like Bianca Belair. She continued to say that it was time for Bianca to be gone. Bianca walked up and said Bayley couldn’t keep her name out of her mouth. She then pulled out some receipts, and read off that she had beaten Natalya, and that she was the last person remaining in Survivor Series, unlike Bayley. She started in on some other facts, but Bayley was disgusted and walked away…
My Take: A fun match between Zayn and Big E, and the depiction of Zayn and surviving unconventionally by ducking his opponents is a lot of fun. Bayley and Bianca’s promo wasn’t particularly strong, but I liked the attempt to give Bianca more to say. She needs regular promo time to find her stride.
Carmella was interviewed by Kayla backstage. She said she made Sasha relevant by coming for her title, and she would kick her ass later and look sexy while she was doing it. Carmella compared herself to Mariah Carey looking down on Jennifer Lopez. After tonight, she’d say she didn’t even know Sasha Banks. She asked her assistant Tommy to have her champagne ready for later, because she would celebrate with a perfect view of Sasha’s tears hitting the ground.
We got a recap video of the Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, and Roman Reigns feud and segments from last week’s show. Backstage, Jey Uso walked up to Roman Reigns, and asked if they were good. Roman said he was great. Jey said he was good, and Roman said he should be. Kevin Owen’s music played as he made his ring entrance. Jey asked Roman if he could get him, and Roman said he knows where he is, so go get him. Owens threw some tables, ladders, and chairs into the ring.
[Hour 2] Owens grabbed a microphone and said even after what happened last week, and even though he was better than he’s ever been, he still doesn’t fear him. Owens said he understand fighting for family, but Roman is having his family fight for him. Owens said TLC is the most important match of his career, and he knows he’ll need all the help he can get, his family isn’t in the industry. They watch from home on TV, but he has some friends that will help him.
Owens’ first friend was chairs, and they will help him bruise Roman up and maybe even break a bone. He then went through tables and ladders in a similar way. He said ladders were his favorite friend, because not only is it going to help him hurt Roman, it would help him climb back to where he belongs. Owens said Roman can keep the head of the table, because he wanted to climb the ladder and take his place as Universal Champion once again.
Owens started speaking about family again, but Jey Uso commenced an assault. He landed several chair shots to the knees and elbow of Owens, followed by the back. He set Owens on the table and climbed up top, but Owens got to his feet and knocked Uso off the ropes with a chair. He then sent Uso into the ladder, and landed a Popup Powerbomb onto the table.
Roman Reigns music hit and he walked out on stage, but was advised by Paul Heyman that Owens was in control of this situation, and he should wait until he could do things on his own time. Roman eventually agreed, and they walked to the back. Owens hobbled to the back on his knee that Jey Uso targeted, and muttered to himself that he was done running…[c]
My Take: Owens promo wasn’t very well written, but he managed to get through it pretty well based on his performance. Roman continues to be the best written character on the show. Jey Uso got his ass whipped again, which I hope doesn’t become a regular occurrence after they put in the work of making him credible.
Owens walked backstage and was approached by Kayla Braxton. He said Roman talked about his family, and said he did what he did to Jey Uso because he had to. Roman hit Owens with a chair from behind, and assaulted him while talking trash. Reigns introduced himself to Owens’ family through the TV camera. He said he was the head of their table, and put a roof over their head. He said if they don’t talk some sense into him, into Daddy, then he would be the one that takes the food off the table.
Back in the arena, The Riott Squad made their entrance. Footage was shown of them being interrupted by Billie Kay on Talking Smack last week to setup this match. Billie Kay made her entrance, followed by her partner Natalya.
3. Billie Kay and Natalya vs. “The Riott Squad” Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott: Ruby and Billie started the match. Liv quickly made a blind tag as Ruby hit the ropes, and landed a running splash on Billie. Ruby tagged in and landed an assisted spear on Billie with Liv’s help. Ruby pulled Billie to her feet and made another quick tag. Billie managed to fight free and land a Big Boot on Liv. The heels then isolated Liv in their corner for a bit.
There was a mishap in the corner where Billie hit Nalalya somehow. Ruby and Liv capitalized by landing a double knee strike and Riott Kick combination for the win.
“The Riott Squad” Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan defeated Billie Kay and Natalya at 3:55
After the match, an instagram video between Otis and Gable was shown, where Otis was blindfolded while Gable beat the crap out of him with a medicine ball. After “several hours”, Otis was able to anticipate and catch the ball. Gable and Otis were then interviewed, and said they were ready to test their alpha skills. Cesaro and Nakamura walked up and insulted them, and Otis has to use his new skills to keep from losing his cool…[c]
My Take: Otis and Gable have been entertaining for the most part, it’ll be interesting to see if they have any team chemistry. The Riott Squad makes Billie Kay out to be a fool, but to what end? There was no story told in the match. Roman’s brief promo about Owens’ family was very good.
Mario Lopez got more promo time than most of the roster, and spoke about how excited he was for the Sasha vs. Carmella main event. Nakamura and Cesaro were in the ring. Otis made his entrance with Chad Gable.
4. Otis and Chad Gable vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro: Gable and Cesaro started the match, but Otis tagged in immediately. Otis tossed Cesaro to the ground and flexed his muscles. Gable tagged back in and grabbed a waistlock. He grabbed a gutwrench, and turned that into a back suplex. Otis tagged in and landed a slam of his own. Cesaro landed and uppercut on Gable and ragged him to the heel corner to tag Nakamura.
Nakamura missed a couple of kicks, and Gable landed a somersault kick to Nakamura and tagged in Otis. He cleaned house and landed a splash in the corner on Cesaro. He set up for the worm, and Gable reminded him of the plan. He tagged in and said he would finish the match. Gable got caught in the Cesaro Swing, and tagged in Nakamura. He landed Kinshasa, and got the pinfall victory.
Cesaro and Nakamura defeated Gable and Otis at 3:32
The Main Event of Carmella vs. Sasha Banks is up next…[c]
My Take: Poor Gable. He gets a new gimmick and is still losing. Banks vs Carmella seems unlikely to get 30 minutes of action, so big angle alert.
Backstage, Chad Gable said they learned a great lesson tonight. Gabe said he asked to be tagged in, but he didn’t actually want to be tagged in. He said he should have finished the match, because he had it own. Gable said he’s showing him what to do by showing him what not to do. We got a video package for Murphy and Corbin from last week.
Elsewhere, King Corbin was interviewed backstage with his crew. He called them the Knights of the Lone Wolf, and said they had pledged their cold blooded loyalty to the King. He said if Mysterio wants to mess with him, the consequences will be much more severe this time than just losing an eye.
Carmella made her entrance. Her shadow was cast on a white sheet, and she danced a bit before being revealed. She was followed by Sasha Banks…[c]
My Take: So I guess it wasn’t next, just after a couple of promos and video packages.
Greg Hamilton delivered ring introductions for the main event.
5. Sasha Banks vs. Carmella (w/The Sommelier) for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella tossed Banks to the ground after the latter missed a clothesline attempt. She then slapped her across the face. Carmella landed a drop toe hold and went for the Code of Silence, but Sasha escaped and backed into the corner. Carmella landed some elbows and then tossed Sasha into the opposite turnbuckle. Sasha sent Carmella over the top onto the apron. She then hit a kick and jumped out to the apron, but Carmella replied with a facebuster that sent Banks to the floor…[c]
Banks and Carmella fought on the turnbuckles, and Carmella slammed her into the post twice. Once into the top of the post, and then pulled her shoulder in through the ropes. She then pulled Banks into the ring and covered for a two count. Carmella applied a chin lock, and slowed down the match. Banks backed Carmella into the corner and landed some blind elbows.
She then landed a Meteora and covered for a two count of her own. Carmella pulled Banks into the corner as she sat on the top turnbuckle. She then fell back over the top rope and wrenched on the neck of Banks. Carmella then landed a cross body from the top for a near fall. Carmella locked in the Code of Silence, but Sasha fought free and Applied the Bank Statement.
Carmella’s assistant threw a Champagne bottle into the ring, and then with the ref distracted he pulled Sasha out of the ring. Sasha slapped him around and then stomped on Carmella in the corner until the ref disqualified her.
Carmella beat Sasha Banks by DQ at 11:04 in a Smackdown Women’s Championship match
After the match, Banks applied the Bank Statement to Thomas, and Carmella broke it up with a Superkick. She then dragged Banks to ringside, and slammed Sasha into the ice bucket. She then dumped it on her, and slammed a bottle of Champagne on her back. She then celebrated by shaking up the remaining Champagne and spraying it everywhere. Carmella was announced the winner and celebrated to close the show.
My Take: The match was ok while it lasted, but the post match angle didn’t come across very well. There was too much time left in the show, and Carmella wasn’t able to fill in the gaps after the bottle spot with anything interesting. There was a lot of stalling until her music hit and the show went off the air. I’m sure they’ll be able to cut a good video package out of it, but it just felt a bit awkward watching it live.