By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,113)
Live from in Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired December 18, 2020 on FS1
[Hour One] A video package aired to open the show that recapped the Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens situation from last week, along with Jey Uso’s involvement. The show then cut to the ThunderDome, where Kevin Owens made his ring entrance. Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary.
Tables, Ladders and Chairs were scattered around the ringside area. Owens quickly grabbed a mic and called out Roman, and said he was waiting for this all week. He said he told him not to watch their match on Sunday under any circumstances, not because he was afraid of what would happen to him, but what they would think of him after what he had done to Roman.
Owens said if Roman’s kids judged him based on his actions the last few weeks, they already know he’s a hypocrite. He claimed Roman used his own family like pawns, and that was absolutely pathetic. He then said when Roman looks in the mirror, he knows that for a fact. Owens said he’s not the head of the table, he’s a coward.
Paul Heyman appeared on the screen and said he made a mistake in his judgement about Owens. He said he told Owens on Talking Smack that he must have been in a mindset to get mutilated. Heyman claimed Owens was a masochist, because he thought he would take any abuse to become a champion. But he was wrong, because Owens was a martyr, because he was willing to be destroyed in order to prove his point. Heyman started to say that Owens must be eradicated, but Owens stopped him and said if Roman wouldn’t come out, he would go looking for him. Owens then stormed to the back. Heyman was seen looking at someone off screen and nodding no….[c]
My Take: A slightly better promo from Owens this week, but the writing is still letting him down somewhat. Calling Reigns a coward lands pretty hollow, because he’s been physically dominant whenever he engages someone. Manipulative or egomaniacal might be a better fit. Calling people hypocrites in WWE is also utterly pointless, because everyone is a hypocrite over a long enough time scale, including Owens.
Backstage, Adam Pearce pleaded with Owens to reconsider going after Roman Reigns in his locker room. As he started to bang on the door, Roman Reigns made his ring entrance in the arena. Owens was left staring at Reigns on a backstage monitor, but didn’t immediately run out to the ring for reasons that were not explained.
Reigns soaked in the artificial boos before addressing Owens. He said he didn’t want to hurt him or his family, but he was running around telling the whole world that he was a bad guy. He disagreed, and said he was doing what it takes to be the guy. Reigns said it was above Owens pay grade to understand it. He offered Owens a chance to acknowledge him as the tribal chief, and the head of his family table, and they were all good. Owens was shown making his way out to the ring.
Reigns said if Owens can’t acknowledge him, then he would end him tonight and he wouldn’t make it to TLC. He then demanded Owens walk out and apologize to him and tell him the words he wanted to hear. Owens walked down to the ring, but was jumped from behind by Jey Uso. Owens turned the table briefly, but quickly succumbed to the numbers once Roman joined and continued the beatdown.
Owens tried to climb to his feet, but Roman rained down forearms and punches. WWE officials walked out to try and put a stop to it, but Roman was undeterred. He picked up Owens and slammed him into the barricade. He then collected his Universal Championship from Heyman and walked to the back. The Street Profits vs. Ziggler and Roode is next for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships…[c]
My Take: That Reigns promo was decent, but it covered a lot of the same ground that we’ve heard from him before. His delivery continues to be good, but every appearance on television where we learn precisely nothing new about a character is a wasted opportunity, and I think that’s what we witnessed here.
We got a recap of the previous segment, and then they went backstage to Jey and Roman. Jey is convinced that Owens got the message, but Roman said he knows his kind and he’s not going to stop. He then instructed Jey to end him, because he didn’t want to see him on Sunday. The Street Profits made their entrance in the arena, followed by Roode and Ziggler.
We then saw a video of Clark Duke, star of the new Croods movie, who endorsed the Street Profits.
1. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Roode got a few shots in early on Dawkins, but the Profits turned things around quickly with double dropkicks. Ford and Ziggler tagged in, and Ford quickly got the advantage with a back suplex followed by a standing moonsault. He tried to climb up to the top turnbuckle, but Roode interrupted him, and Ziggler knocked him down to the apron.
Ford knocked Ziggler aside with a head kick. He then headed to the top rope, but Roode shoved him off the top and out into the barricade on the floor…[c] Ziggler pressed the advantage on Montez Ford, covering for a two count as the show returned. Roode tagged in and landed a side Russian leg sweep for another two count.
Roode showboated for the crowd while he held his knee to the back of Ford’s neck. Ziggler tagged back in, and Ford struggled to get to his feet while Ziggler taunted him. Roode then grabbed a body lock, and pulled Ford into a pin for a two count.
Ziggler pulled Ford back to his feet and tagged in Roode, who landed a vertical suplex release into a facebuster. We saw more frequent tags by the heels, concentrated in cutting off Ford in his own corner. Ford sent Zigger over the ropes in the corner, and avoided a charging Robert Roode to break free and make a hot tag.
Dawkins entered and landed a series of lariats and elbows on Roode. He then grabbed Roode for a greco roman throw, and then landed a twisting neckbreaker for a near fall. Roode avoided a suplex and went for a Glorious DDT, but neither ended up landing. Ziggler tagged in and landed an assisted Fameasser for a near fall. He then revved up for a superkick, but Dawkins avoided it and landed a spinebuster.
Ford landed a big splash from the top, but he couldn’t make a cover due to his rib pain. When he finally covered, Roode broke up the pin. Ziggler made a tag and Roode entered and tried to pin Ford by using his tights. Ford turned the tables and and grabbed the tights on Roode and got the win.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins defeated Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at 11:48
After the match, Roode and Ziggler argued extensively with Charles Robinson, who threatened to suspend them.
Carmella will toast Sasha Banks with champagne later, and Bianca Belair will face Bayley. Backstage Kevin Owens was walking backstage with Adam Pearce and Kennadi Brink. Pearce tried to convince him to go home, but Jey Uso attacked him from behind with a chair and left him staggering back to his feet…[c]
My Take: A good, but not great tag match. The isolation heat spot seemed to drag on for way too long, and it just wasn’t exciting to watch while it was happening. Ford stealing a win here was the most interesting event, and it was designed to give the losers credibility, I think? In any case, this feud continues to be about “Funny doesn’t equal money”, and I think you have to pay Colt Cabana Royalties for that.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Bianca Belair. She said that while Bayley is no role model, she is the measuring stick to beat on Smackdown. Belair said Bayley can’t keep her name out of her mouth, and she hopes it tastes good because she would shine like she always does when she defeats her later.
The Riott Squad stood in the ring as a video played of them conversing about who Billie Kay got to be her tag partner. Morgan’s guesses included Beyonce and Wonder Woman. Billie then made her entrance, and did ring introductions for her new tag partner Tamina.
2. Tamina and Billie Kay vs. “The Riott Squad” Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott: Tamina started the match with Morgan. She showed off her power early on by throwing around Morgan. Riott tagged in, and suffered much the same fate. Tamina landed a lariat and a headbutt and did some gloating. Billie smiled on the apron as Tamina did her work. Billie tagged herself in as Tamina landed a Samoan drop out of the corner.
Billie went for a pin, but got a two count. Morgan then tagged in and knocked Tamina off the apron. They then landed a dropkick and STO double team attack for the win.
“The Riott Squad” Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott defeated Tamina and Billie Kay at 2:49
After the match, Carmella was shown backstage. She’s up next with her Champagne Toast.
My Take: Billie is funny, but I’m not sure this is the best format to show that off. I liked the idea of Billie as Adam Pearce’s assistant, but losing weekly matches without much of a payoff in sight isn’t helping.
Video was shown of the Sasha vs. Carmella match from last week, along with Carmella’s post match attack. Her Sommelier was in the ring as she made her entrance in heels and a revealing dress. She sang “Tis the season to drink bubbly” and did a little dance to begin her promo. She said she asked her Sommelier to prepare a tasting, so she could stand in the ring and toast with Champagne with a price tag that’s bigger than the audience’s phone numbers. She said she was toasting her victory on Sunday, because while she’s physically got it all, she’s mentally weak.
[Hour Two] Carmella said she was in over her head, and she was drowning. But not in the bottle of Champagne she broke over her back last week, she’s drowning in the expectations of being a Champion. She claimed Sasha felt her title slipping from her fingers last week, and got herself disqualified for it. And that’s why she’ll lose on Sunday, because it’s core to Sasha’s ego that she’s better than Carmella, but she won’t be able to beat her without snapping and getting herself disqualified again. Carmella said this turmoil will eat Sasha up inside, and she will become desperate when she realizes she’s no longer the best, or a blueprint.
She then toasted to her victory, and said the Champagne tasted cheap and frantic, kind of like Sasha banks. Sasha’s music hit, and Carmella’s Sommelier headed up the ramp, but Sasha entered and attacked her from behind. She took her down and applied the Bank Statement, but the Sommelier broke it up. Sasha slapped him across the face, but Carmella smashed another bottle over her back to send her down. Carmella looked on smugly.
Backstage, Jey Uso attacked Owens in a room backstage while he was recovering. Owens traded punches with him, but was eventually slammed through a table in the room…[c]
My Take: Carmella got lost in that promo a bit. She tried to get across the idea that Sasha would be torn between proving she was the best and wanting to keep her title, but Sasha would retain again with a DQ, so there wasn’t really a hook there. Maybe if there was a stipulation that figured into the story, it might have been a more effective promo. Thus far, Carmella’s character feels like yet another mean girls heel act, which has been way overdone in wrestling. Hopefully they can add some additional layers to the act.
Otis made his entrance with Chad Gable. Video was shown of Gable losing their match last week, and twisting it around like he was coaching Otis about what not to do in the ring. Shinsuke Nakamura then made his ring entrance.
3. Otis vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: Otis escaped a wrist lock from Nakamura with a body slam. He then followed up with a headbutt, and covered for a two count. Nakamura recovered quickly and pressed the action with heavy strikes.
Otis shook them off and landed a shoulder block, followed by a discus lariat. He then shook the ropes and landed a big splash in the corner. Otis went for the Caterpillar, but Gable put a stop to it. He told him to land a suplex instead. Nakamura rolled up Otis by surprise, but got a near fall. Otis landed a T-Bone Suplex, followed by a Vader Bomb out of the corner for the win.
Otis defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at 2:57
Backstage, Sami Zayn was shown next to a bunch of trophies made of what looked like Action Figures and Tin Cans. He yelled at a backstage production worker for polishing the trophies, and walked off screen. Big E then walked up and started giggling both awkwardly and uncontrollably while holding Zayn’s cue cards for his award trophies…[c]
My Take: Shinsuke Nakamura got squashed by Otis in three minutes. Yep, that’s a thing that happened.
Backstage, Gable and Otis celebrated his win. Gable asked him why he didn’t do the Caterpillar, because it was right there. Otis said he thought it was a test, and Gable said it was. He’s supposed to do what he means, not what he says. Otis was confused. Gable told him to stay hydrated and they train “Alpha Style” tomorrow.
Sami Zayn stood behind a lectern and said he was there to give the Sami Awards, because the Slammy’s had fallen out of favor since it hasn’t been presided over by fellow Canadian Jack Tunney. He then called for a video package that recapped the year in review for 2020, which included clips of his best moments while claiming he was a humanitarian and pillar of the community. Sami’s first award was for the comeback of the year. He tossed out Edge, Roman Reigns, and himself as potential winners.
Sami, of course, won the first award. He congratulated himself, and quickly moved in to “Match of the Year”. He didn’t name any specific matches, but said there were lots of choices from every brand, but the winner was himself defeating AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy in a ladder match. He said he really wanted to win that one. Sami then moved on to Superstar of the Year, which was announced as Big E.
Big E walked out and said “Momma I made it!”. He thanked Notre Dame for covering the spread, and Sami shoved him out of the way for a mix up. Big E slammed Sami into a nearby table, and tossed him down the ramp. He then spiked the Superstar of the Year Trophy like a football.
Elsewhere, Bayley was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. She said she heard every word Bianca said about her, and she was happy somebody said something nice about her. Bayley said she wouldn’t take it easy on her, and compared her own high school cross country and basketball career to Bianca Belair being a collegiate All American, but claimed she doesn’t go around bragging about it.
Bianca Belair made her entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Sami is very entertaining at being both delusional and self righteous. Big E is a nice foil for him, but I’m still waiting for a promo that announces he’s really landed in a singles role.
Bayley made her ring entrance as the show returned.
4. Bayley vs. Bianca Belair: Bayley took control early, using some strategy to bottle up Belair’s power. Bianca landed a shoulder block, and then taunted Bayley in the corner before vaulting over her and landing a dropkick. Bayley caught Belair trying to bounce off the ropes and dragged her to the outside. She slammed her arm onto the apron, and then sent her shoulder first into the barricade…[c]
Bayley controlled the action during the break, and tossed Bianca to ringside. Belair drove Bayley into the steps, and climbed back in the ring. Bayley barely beat the count, and they had a collision in the ring that knocked both of them down. Bianca landed right hands and charged at Bayley with shoulder thrusts in the corner. Bianca taunted Bayley, and then hit a springboard moonsault for a near fall.
Bianca landed a backbreaker and covered for two. Bianca went up top, but Bayley knocked her down. Bayley attempted to land suples, but Bianca landed on her feet and reversed into a suplex of her own. Bianca then landed a spinebuster for a close near fall. Bayley managed to maneuver into a pinning situation in the corner, but the ref stopped the count when Bayley’s feet were on the ropes. Bianca stacked up Bayley for another pin, and then picked up Bayley for a powerbomb, but Bayley raked her eyes to break it up. Bayley then landed the Rose Plant for the win.
Bayley defeated Bianca Belair at 10:11
After the match, Bayley celebrated and the announce team ran through the TLC Card. Roman Reigns then made his entrance once again with Jey Uso and Paul Heyman. He will deliver a final message to KO next…[c]
My Take: Bayley’s Rose Plant finish is what she used to use when she worked pre-WWE under the name Davina Rose. Bianca and Bayley had a fun match, but much of it was lost to a long commercial break. I’m sure they have better matches in store for bigger moments.
Roman Reigns stood in the ring and Paul Heyman placed a microphone in his hand. He said for the life of him he’s been trying to understand why anyone who had an opportunity to join him on the island of relevancy for a PPV Main Event, why would you blow it? He said it would elevate his career to the next level, and get paydays…..Kevin Owens interrupted.
Owens barely walked to the ring, and Jey Uso ran up the ramp. Owens grabbed a chair and beat him with it twice. Reigns stole the chair, and then cut Owens down with a spear. He then took the chair and used it on the back of Owens. Jey Uso set up two tables in the ring as Reigns continued to beat on Owens with the chair. Jey Uso slammed Owens through one of the tables, and then pulled him to the center of the ring.
Roman talked trash and told Owens that he squandered the opportunity of a lifetime. He then gave Owens a Samoan drop through the second table. He then beat Owens with pieces of the broken tables, and stacked them on top of him. Jey placed ladders in the ring, and Reigns slammed those onto the broken tables. Reigns and Uso took chairs, and beat on the tables and ladder that were stacked on top of Owens. They then left up the ramp.
Kayla Braxton interviewed Roman backstage, but it was in front of a monitor. He pushed her aside as Roman noticed Owens stirring in the ring. Owens grabbed a mic and said he would take the Universal Title, or die trying.
My Take: It seems like he’s going to die, then. RIP Kevin Owens. The beatdown at the end of the show was a nice capstone on the series of beatings Owens had faced throughout the night. I think Owens proved his point that Reigns would not be able to break him, but Owens’ central argument that Reigns was a coward never seemed to materialize. Visually the attack at the end of the show was great, but the story is a bit of a mixed bag.