SmackDown Report for 1/8/21

SmackDown on Fox Episode #67
SmackDown Episode # 1,116
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Tropicana Field)

It’s Friday Night, you know what that means. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

We go straight into the Thunderdome where the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, & Paul Heyman make their way to the ring. 

Reigns says that since last week everybody is talking about what he did to Kevin Owens, but Reigns wants us to know that although KO can be a pain in his ass he likes him and furthermore he respects him because he keeps coming back just like a cockroach. Reigns says he never wanted anything bad to happen to KO, but KO put him in a tough spot so he had to do what was necessary. Reigns says that he loves the entire SmackDown roster and cares about their wellbeing and now after what happened last week KO isn’t able to come to work and provide for his family. Reigns places all the blame for what happened last week on Adam Pearce and tells him to come to the ring. 

Pearce comes down to the ring and Reigns then throws to a video package that highlights everything that happened last week. Reigns asks Pearce what he has to say and Pearce is perplexed at what Reigns wants from him, Reigns wants Pearce to take responsibility for what happened to KO last week since he made that match after Reigns had stated earlier in the night that he was done with KO. Reigns says that since Pearce is good friends with KO he should’ve known better than to make that match, but instead he did make the match and now KO isn’t able to provide for his family. Reigns says that after screwing up last week Pearce screws up even worse this week as he has booked a gauntlet match to determine his next challenger as if Reigns isn’t capable of picking his own opponent as if he is inadequate at his job.

Pearce tries to talk himself out of the situation as he tells Reigns he is just trying to pick the best challenger for him and Reigns mockingly asks for a round of applause for Pearce’s efforts. Reigns tells Pearce that he should just put himself in the match, but Pearce says that would be a conflict of interest. Reigns starts to really get riled up as he accuses Pearce of thinking he is stupid and Pearce assures him he is not thinking that so Reigns says that must mean that Pearce is stupid or maybe Pearce thinks Vince McMahon is stupid, this goes on for another minute until Reigns settles with the fact that Pearce thinks he is stupid and the fact that Pearce thinks that is disrespectful. Reigns says there are consequences for people who disrespect him or his family. 

Reigns grabs Pearce by the collar and backs him into the corner but before he goes any further he stops himself and backs away. Reigns says maybe he made a mistake and nobody in this ring is stupid and maybe right now Pearce is perfectly safe. Reigns slaps Pearce on the shoulder and then walks out of the ring as the segment ends and we go to a commercial break. 

This was another great promo by Reigns but I will admit that it felt longer than his others but that doesn’t take away from how great it was. I was expecting the part last week where Reigns sent Heyman to find out who made the main event match to just be a throwaway segment but I guess I was wrong as they are going full speed into him having issues with Pearce, which is a bummer as I have enjoyed Pearce as the impartial member of management that just makes matches much like William Regal is over on NXT. We will get much more on this whole Reigns and Pearce thing throughout the show. 

We come back from the break and the two participants for our opening match are already in the ring. 

Match #1: Big E © vs Apollo Crews (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Crews comes out of the gate on fire as he takes Big E down with a dropkick and a boot to the face for a 2 count. Crews drags Big E over to the corner and goes up top where he tries for something but Big E rolls out of the way and Crews rolls through and then Big E takes him down with a running back elbow. Big E pulls Crews over to the ropes and puts him halfway on the apron so that he can hit the big apron splash, Big E picks up Crews and looks for a back suplex but Crews lands on his feet and catches Big E with a kick to the head. Crews fires up with a couple of running strikes and then he gets Big E in the corner where he drives his shoulder into the midsection of Big E and then he hits him with a running splash in the corner and then he hits Big E with the rolling German suplexes which gets a 2 count. 

Big E rolls to the outside but that doesn’t allow for a breather as Crews hits him with a moonsault off the apron. Crews throws Big E back into the ring and gets a 1 count off a pinfall attempt. Crews sits Big E up on the top and after they jockey for position for a minute Crews hit Big E with a superplex, and when they land Crews goes to rollup Big E but Big E does the same to Crews and this results in the referee counting to 3 while both men have their shoulders on the mat. 

Crews celebrates thinking he won the match but Big E is trying to tell the referee what happened and the referee looks confused as we go to a commercial break. 

We come back and after the announcers show us exactly what happened before the commercial we go to the ring where the referee has the belt in his hand and he gives it back to Big E as he declares the match a draw.
Winner: N/A via double pinfall draw Match Rating: **

Big E puts his fist out looking for a fist bump, but Crews isn’t happy about what just happened and slaps Big E. Big E is now pissed off as he tells the referee to ring the bell and we have another match. 

Match #2: Big E © vs Apollo Crews (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Big E is hot out of the gate with the belly to belly trifecta and a big splash, but when he goes for the Big Ending, Crews slips out the back and rolls out to the apron. Big E goes for the suicide spear but Crews catches him with a knee and then goes up top where he hits the frog splash but Big E counts out a 2. Crews looks for a press slam on Big E but he slips out the back and pushes Crews into the ropes where he goes for a clothesline, but Crews ducks and tries for a backslide but Big E is too powerful so Crews breaks and runs off the ropes where he tries to catch Big E with a rollup but Big E kicks out at 2. 

Crews kicks Big E in the midsection and then hits a running kick to the head before taking him down with a spinebuster, Crews hits a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Crews looks like he could be setting up for a powerbomb but before we get a chance to see Big E counters into a schoolboy which he transitions into a stretch muffler but Crews is able to kick Big E away. Crews runs off the ropes and is caught by Big E who tries to position him for the Big Ending once again, but Crews slips out and hits Big E with the enziguri and then he lifts Big E up for the spinout powerbomb, but Big E counters by taking Crews down with a headlock takeover. Big E staggers over to the corner and when Crews charges in he catches him with the uranage out of the corner, Big E is finally able to hit Crews with the Big Ending and that is enough to pick up the win.
Winner: Big E via Pinfall   Match Rating: **½ 

For the second week in a row Big E has been involved in a match that ends with a screwy finish and results in Big E wrestling in a second match and both of those matches are less than 10 minutes combined. They made such a big deal of Big E winning the title but since he won it the booking for his title reign hasn’t been great, it would’ve been so much better if they had just let Big E and Crews have one concise six-minute match without breaking it into two separate matches. I get that they did the break in between so that they could tell the story of Crews being pissed and showing a more heelish side, but they still could’ve had Crews slap Big E after the match, and then there wouldn’t have been any reason to have the stupid double pinfall finish. I did like the action that we got from Big E and Crews in this match and hopefully, down the line, they are given more time to really show what they can do in a match against each other. 

We go to the back where Pearce is on the phone with someone talking about earlier tonight when Sonya “Daddy” Deville walks up and Pearce reveals that she is his new assistant. Sonya says she is not proud of the things she has said and done and wants to put the past behind her and wants it to be known that she is not bitter about losing a match to her best friend (which forced her to leave SmackDown) who went to Raw and joined a random new tag team. Sonya says she wants to learn and help Pearce since he is busy with both Raw and SmackDown and he is especially going to need it tonight since he is in a match. Pearce stops her in her tracks and says that he hasn’t had a match in six years and he’s not coming back tonight. This sends us to a commercial break. 

I’m glad to see Daddy Deville back on my TV as she is always great to watch, I hope this whole assisting job doesn’t last long because as great as Sonya is at cutting promos she is just as great in the ring and that is where she belongs. I wouldn’t mind her ending up as part of the crew aligned with Reigns and that could be where it’s going since it was very suspicious that she would suggest that Pearce was in a match when he hadn’t mentioned anything about that happening. 

We come back from the break and go to an interview with Bianca Belair who has declared herself for the Women’s Royal Rumble but before she can talk she is interrupted by Bayley. Bayley talks about how Bianca eliminated 8 women but she didn’t eliminate her, Bianca reminds her that she wasn’t even in the match and Bayley says that is right because she was busy adding another day to her historic title reign. Bayley says that she will be in this years Royal Rumble and she is going to win it and in the slight chance that Bianca does win the Rumble she will probably end up squandering it, Bianca says that may be the case but she would be no different than Bayley because by the looks of it Bayley squandered her title reign and then Bianca walks off. 

We go to a recap video showing the beating that the Dirty Dawgs gave the Street Profits last week. 

The Street Profits make their way to the ring and we go to another commercial break. 

We come back from the commercial and go backstage to Carmella and Reginald the sommelier. 

Carmella talks about how she appreciates Sasha’s hard work and hustle to make her dream of being in WWE come true and congratulates her on becoming Sports Illustrated’s #1 Wrestler of the Year, but Carmella finds it ironic that Sasha was given that honor in the same year in which she decided to take a vacation for most of the year. Carmella tells Sasha that all the hard work and determination mean nothing if the raw talent is outmatched and when it comes to talent Sasha can’t touch her. 

This was a typical heel promo from Carmella as she said nothing special or to take note of. 

We go back to the ring for our next match of the evening. 

Match #3: The Street Profits © vs The Dirty Dawgs (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Dawkins and Ziggler start out with Ziggler going for a single leg but Dawkins blocks and grabs a waistlock but Ziggler quickly gets to the ropes to force a break and he also nails Dawkins with a back elbow. Dawkins escapes a side headlock and applies one of his own but gets sent into the ropes where he is taken down with a shoulder block. We get a drop-down and leapfrog spot that leads to Dawkins sending Ziggler into the ropes and dropping him with a dropkick. Dawkins drags Ziggler over to the corner and tags in Ford who hits Ziggler with the assisted backflip splash for a 2 count. Ford picks up Ziggler only for Ziggler to break free and hit Ford with a right hand and then Ziggler makes a tag to Roode and the Dirty Dawgs work Ford over in the corner.

Roode continues the punishment on Ford until he starts to make a comeback with strikes to Roode in the corner, but Roode quickly regains control when he kicks the injured leg of Ford. Roode charges at Ford in the corner but gets sent out to the apron and is then knocked down to the floor and Ziggler joins him on the outside moments later after Ford knocks him off the apron. Ford hits the heels with the tope con hile but when he goes to stand up his leg gives out on him, Dawkins and the referee come over to check on Ford as we go to commercial. 

We come back to Dawkins stomping a mudhole in Roode as Ford is on the outside trying to walk off the pain in his leg. Roode lands a knee to the gut of Dawkins and then tries for a suplex, but Dawkins blocks it and hits one of his own and then follows it up with an exploder. Dawkins hits Roode with the spinning splash in the corner and then hits a one-handed bulldog for a 2 count. Ford gets back on the apron and Dawkins looks to make a tag but Roode cuts him off so Dawkins hits him with a right hand and then applies a side headlock only to be backed up into the ropes where Ziggler makes a blind tag. Roode sends Dawkins into the ropes and when he comes back Ziggler levels him with a dropkick for a 2 count. 

Ziggler stomps on the hand of Dawkins and then rakes his eyes, Ziggler places Dawkins across the middle rope and distracts the referee so that Roode can take a cheap shot. Ziggler grounds Dawkins with a front facelock and every time he reaches out in the direction of Ford, Ziggler rolls him closer to the heel corner where he eventually tags Roode back in. Roode hits Dawkins with a neckbreaker for a 2 count and then talks some trash to Ford. Roode and Ziggler continue their attack on Dawkins until he dodges a corner splash from Ziggler which causes Ziggler to crotch himself on the middle rope and then Dawkins sends Roode to the outside. 

Dawkins slowly crawls across the ring toward his corner, but right when he is fixing to make the tag Roode pulls Ford off the apron but ends up paying for it as Ford sends him into the barricade. Ford takes a drink from the Solo Cup which fires him up as he gets back up on the apron and as that happens Dawkins kicks Ziggler away and we get a tag to Ford. Ford comes in on fire as he hits Ziggler with clotheslines and kicks with the good leg and then he catches Roode with a backdrop. Ford goes for a back suplex on Ziggler but he lands on his feet so Ford instead takes him down with a discus clothesline for a 2 count. 

Ford slaps his leg to get it to cooperate and then he has to slide out to the apron as his adrenaline has worn off and he is feeling the pain in the leg once again, Ford goes up top but his leg gives out and he slips and then he has to kick Roode off the apron, this gives Ziggler enough time to leap up to the top turnbuckle as he sends Ford back down to the mat with an avalanche X-Factor which gets a very close 2 count. Ziggler gets to his feet and looks to hit Ford with the superkick but when he charges toward him Ford catches Ziggler with a kick of his own which gets a 2 count when Roode breaks up the pin. 

Dawkins comes in and sends Roode out to the floor and then he goes back to the apron as Ford needs to make a tag, but Roode jumps up on the apron and we get an exchange on the apron between the two until Dawkins knocks Roode back down to the floor, since Roode didn’t get the job done Ziggler runs over and knocks Dawkins off the apron sending him into the barricade. Ziggler goes back over to Ford and looks to hit him with a back suplex, but Ford counters it into a pinning combination for another very close 2 count. Ziggler catches Ford with a chop block and then tags in Roode who hits Ford with a Fisherman Suplex for a 2 count. 

Roode goes for the Glorious DDT, but Ford counters and hits Roode with an enziguri which causes Roode to fall right into a tag to Ziggler. Ziggler shoves Ford into the ropes and then the Dirty Dawgs hit Ford with their combo spinebuster and Zig Zag finisher to pick up the win and become the new tag team champions.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode via Pinfall  Match Rating: ***½ 

This was a really good match that was highlighted by the tremendous sell job by Montez Ford of his injured leg as he sold the leg with every move he made during the match. I also thought Dawkins did a good job of carrying most of the match for his team. This match was way better than I expected as I thought it was just going to be an average TV tag match that we see every week, but this was much better than just an average TV match. I wasn’t surprised to see the Dirty Dawgs win the titles as they need a reason to continue the feud since we are probably going to be getting these two teams facing off against each other for the next couple of months. 

We go to the back where Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville are talking about the tag division, Paul Heyman walks up and Sonya Deville walks away.  Pearce tells Heyman that if he came to him about the gauntlet match then he can just save it. Heyman says he likes Pearce and the reason he calmed Reigns down earlier in the night was because he holds Pearce in high regard and then Heyman talks up Pearce’s past by bringing up the moniker of “Scrap Daddy”, Heyman talks about how great it would’ve been if Pearce had been managed by Paul E Dangerously back in the day. 

Heyman says that he knows Pearce’s accomplishments and why he was picked for the job he has now but reminds Pearce that being in management wasn’t the career he wanted as he wanted to be the world champion in WWE. Heyman says that Reigns ordered him to pull some strings and he did just that and tonight Pearce is in the gauntlet match and now he has that opportunity to pursue the dream he always had and that is happening courtesy of Roman Reigns. Heyman says he is happy for and proud of Pearce. Heyman shakes the hand of Pearce and tells him it was a pleasure doing business with him. This sends us to a commercial break. 

We get a recap of the Riott Squad vs Natalya and Tamina match from last week. 

We go to the back where the Riott Squad is chilling until Billie Kay walks up and talks about how she is still celebrating their win last week and says that she thinks it’s the perfect time for this Riott duo to officially turn back into a Riott Squad. Ruby rejects her offer and this leads to Billie going into a hysterical and over the top crying fit, but when Liv speaks up and gives her the littlest bit of hope she stops crying and tells them that she knew they would come around. Billie says she can be punk and edgy, in fact, she has been listening to Blink 182 recently and has also added mosh pit expert to her resume. Billie hands her resume to Ruby and walks off and then the Riott Squad sees that mosh pitting expert is actually on the resume as the segment ends. 

I like how even though they didn’t have time to feature these women in a match they still found a way to further this storyline as this is a really fun C plot story for the women’s division. While Billie will never take the place of Sarah Logan I am totally into her joining Riott Squad as Ruby, Liv, and Billie play great off of each other. 

We then go back into the Thunderdome as it’s time for the big main event. 

Match #4: WWE Universal Championship #1 Contender Gauntlet Match
Rey Mysterio makes his way to the ring to start the match and then Sami Zayn comes out, but as he is coming down the aisle he cuts a promo. Zayn says that when he heard about the gauntlet match he demanded that WWE management put him in the match and much to his surprise they had no problem with that and they put him in the match. Zayn then complains about being one of the first two to start the match and suggests that this is part of the conspiracy against him. Zayn points out the camera crew that is with him and says that they are his own personal documentarians who are here to get footage for the documentary on the conspiracy against him and once the documentary is released we will all see that he is still the rightful Intercontinental Champion and although he doesn’t have the championship he will always be the champion of the people. Zayn says he is going to start with Mysterio and then he is going to beat every single person in the match because he is undeniable. 

Match #4-A: Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio vs Sami Zayn
Zayn turns toward the documentary crew to tell them something and when he turns around Mysterio hits him with a dropkick that knocks him into the ropes and puts him in the perfect place for Mysterio to hit the 619 and a frog splash which is enough to eliminate Sami Zayn.
Sami Zayn eliminated via Pinfall

Nakamura makes his way to the ring and then we get a commercial break. We come back and are ready for more gauntlet match action.

Match #4-B: Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura grabs a side headlock but Rey sends him into the ropes where Nakamura comes back with a shoulder block to Mysterio. Nakamura goes for a slam but Mysterio slides out the back and grabs a waistlock where he pushes Nakamura into the ropes but Nakamura hangs on causing Mysterio to roll back, Nakamura hits a sunset flip, but Mysterio rolls through and lands a kick to the head of Nakamura which ends up getting a 1 count. Mysterio helps Nakamura to his feet but Nakamura comes back with numerous strikes. 

Mysterio reverses a whip into the ropes and takes Nakamura down with a hurricanrana which sends Nakamura sliding out to the floor, Mysterio looks to hit a baseball slide but Nakamura catches him and spins him around so that he can connect with a knee to the head and then Nakamura gets up on the apron and looks to hit a knee drop to the back of Mysterio’s neck but Mysterio is able to move out of the way sending Nakamura crashing to the floor. Mysterio tries to hit the belly slide sunset flip bomb on the outside, but Nakamura rolls through and hits Mysterio with a sliding knee. Nakamura rolls Mysterio back into the ring and goes for a cover but only gets a 2 count.

Nakamura places Mysterio into the corner and gives him some good vibrations and then he hits Mysterio with a running kick in the corner which gets him another 2 count. Nakamura hits Mysterio with a knee drop and then he places Mysterio up on the top rope and after some struggle up top, Mysterio knocks Nakamura back down to the mat and hits him with a seated senton off the top and then follows up with a basement seated senton. Mysterio rolls Nakamura up with a wheelbarrow into a victory roll for a 2 count. Nakamura backdrops a charging Mysterio out to the apron and then kicks him in the head. 

Mysterio blocks being sent into the corner head-first and then he delivers a headbutt to Nakamura and then tries for some kind of slingshot move, but Nakamura catches him and goes for a powerbomb, but Mysterio counters with a hurricanrana which causes Nakamura to spike himself on the mat. Mysterio hits Nakamura with the 619 and then goes for the frog splash but Nakamura gets his knees up and then transitions into an armbar and it doesn’t take long before Mysterio is tapping out.
Rey Mysterio eliminated via Submission

King Corbin comes out of nowhere and sends Dominik Mysterio into the steps and then he sends Nakamura shoulder-first into the ring post. Corbin hits Mysterio with a chokeslam and this sends us to a commercial. 

We come back and are in the middle of the next portion of the match. 

Match #4-C: Shinsuke Nakamura vs King Corbin
Corbin nails Nakamura with a knee to the midsection and then drives his elbows into Nakamura. Nakamura blocks a punch and comes back with a flurry of strikes which sends Corbin bouncing off the ropes and he takes Nakamura down with a clothesline for a 2 count. Corbin works Nakamura over with body punches in the corner and then charges in but Nakamura dodges and sends Corbin shoulder-first into the ring post, Nakamura hits Corbin with a spinning heel kick which sends him rolling to the outside. Nakamura looks to hit an ax handle off the apron but Corbin catches him and drives him back-first into the ring post. Corbin throws Nakamura back in the ring and goes for a cover but only gets a 2 count. 

Corbin continues his attack on Nakamura as he takes him down with a back suplex which gets him another 2 count. Corbin goes for a suplex, but Nakamura floats over and runs off the ropes where he connects with a single leg kick. Nakamura goes to town with kicks to the chest which causes Corbin to stagger over to the corner, Corbin reverses a whip into the corner but when he charges in Nakamura moves out of the way sending Corbin into the corner and then Nakamura hits him with a big kick. Nakamura goes up to the middle rope and connects with a diving kick, but Corbin still kicks out at 2. 

Nakamura sets up for the Kinshasa but when he runs toward Corbin he is caught with the Deep Six which gets a very close 2 count. Corbin grabs Nakamura looking to pick him up off the mat, but Nakamura locks in a triangle choke for a minute until Corbin breaks it with a deadlift powerbomb. Corbin charges at Nakamura but gets passed through to the outside and when Corbin slides back in he is caught with the Kinshasa which is enough to get the 1-2-3.
King Corbin eliminated via Pinfall

Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring and we go to a commercial.

We come back to the next portion of this match.

Match #4-D: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Daniel Bryan
Bryan catches Nakamura with a running dropkick right out of the gate and then fires away with kicks and uppercuts before sending him into the ropes where Bryan is kicked because he ducks his head too early. Nakamura charges at Bryan but gets sent out to the floor and then Bryan dives out onto him with a tope suicida. Bryan throws Nakamura back into the ring and goes up top but when he dives off he is caught with a kick from Nakamura. Nakamura hits Bryan with the inverted exploder and then looks to hit the Kinshasa but Bryan catches the leg and rolls through into a single leg crab which he transitions into an ankle lock, but when Nakamura starts to stand with his free leg Bryan hits Nakamura with a bridging German suplex for a 2 count. 

Bryan connects with the Yes Kicks but Nakamura ducks the big roundhouse kick and hits a kick of his own to Bryan’s midsection and then when Bryan goes for a clothesline, Nakamura catches the arm and locks in an armbar, but Bryan quickly escapes and tries to lock on one of his own but Nakamura is blocking it with everything he has so Bryan transitions into the Yes Lock. Nakamura struggles for a minute and then Bryan transitions into a Rings of Saturn, but Nakamura is able to use his long legs to reach the ropes. 

Bryan hits Nakamura with several over the shoulder armbreakers and then he sets him up on the top where he looks to hit a hurricanrana, but Bryan slips which causes him to fall to the mat and this allows Nakamura to come off the second rope with a diving kick which gets a 2 count. Nakamura drives his knee into the ribs of a grounded Bryan and then he goes for a big kick to the head, but it only grazes Bryan. Nakamura then ducks a big roundhouse from Bryan and takes him down looking for the armbar, but Bryan rolls in toward Nakamura which causes his shoulders to be on the mat for a 2 count. 

Bryan and Nakamura trade strikes in the middle of the ring which Bryan comes out on the winning end of as he backs Nakamura into the corner and continues his kicking assault as he lands a big roundhouse that drops Nakamura into the corner. Bryan charges in with two successful dropkicks in the corner, but when he goes for the third one Nakamura catches him out of nowhere with the Kinshasa which is enough to put Bryan away.
Daniel Bryan eliminated via Pinfall

Both men are knelt down and are talking to each other, Bryan gets to his feet first and then pulls Nakamura to his feet and extends his hand and both men shake hands after a hard-fought battle.

Roman Reigns and his crew come out and stare down Nakamura before we go to a commercial. 

Match 4-E: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Adam Pearce
We come back and Adam Pearce makes his way down the ramp as he is followed by Reigns and the crew, before Pearce enters the ring Reigns nods at Uso who slides in the ring and talks some trash to Nakamura before nailing him with a forearm and then both Uso and Reigns beat down Nakamura. Uso nails Nakamura with a superkick and the Reigns follows up with a Superman punch and Uso puts the final nail in the coffin as he hits Nakamura with the Uso Splash. 

Reigns rolls out of the ring and talks to Pearce as he has his arm around him and then he throws Pearce into the ring, Uso hits Pearce with a superkick, and then Reigns demands the bell to ring.

Uso drags Pearce across the ring so that he is covering Nakamura and then a reluctant referee counts the pinfall 1-2-3.
Shinsuke Nakamura eliminated via Pinfall

Gauntlet Match Winner: Adam Pearce  Match Rating: ****

After the match, Reigns holds the title high in the air as Pearce comes to and realizes what just happened and that is how SmackDown ends for this week. 

This was a really good match for several different reasons which I will list:
1. Within this one match we got a bit of storyline advancement to some of the mid-card storylines on SmackDown such as Zayn the conspiracy theorist getting shut up in record time, and Corbin attacking the Mysterios before his segment of the match started.

2. It provided some really good in-ring action that took up majority of the second hour of the show 

3. It provided a moment nobody would’ve saw coming a week ago as we now have 4x NWA Champion “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce as the #1 contender to the Universal Championship and while I can’t argue that it would’ve been better if an actual in-ring performer was given this title shot on one of the big 4 PPVs, I will say that I am very intrigued as to what will happen next. This also further added to the Roman Reigns heel character as he ended up picking his challenger for Royal Rumble just like he wanted at the beginning of the night, but he will play it off as if he is doing this in Pearce’s best interest as he is giving him that one opportunity to achieve his dream of winning a world championship in WWE.

4. The biggest stories coming out of this match was the fact that within 45 minutes they were able to completely reheated Nakamura and gave fans a reason to care about him, this match also reminded everyone exactly what Nakamura is capable of when he is given the ball and when he has his heart fully invested into what he is doing. It’s safe to say we haven’t seen Nakamura this motivated since his Rumble win in 2018. Hopefully, this wasn’t a thing they did just to give fans a one night treat and it’s the beginning of a very memorable run for Nakamura in WWE and possibly a run with the Universal Championship. 

I thought this was a really good episode of SmackDown as we got two really good matches in the gauntlet and the tag title match and had some stellar storytelling throughout the night involving Reigns, Heyman, & Pearce. The only part of the show I didn’t care for was the whole situation involving Big E and Apollo Crews at the beginning of the show as I feel they need to be doing a better job with how they book Big E. 

I look forward to seeing what happens next week as it has been announced that Nakamura will be taking on Jey Uso, so for the time being it looks like Nakamura could be involved at the top of the card which is long past due. 

That’s all for me this week, but I’ll be back next week for more action and drama from the blue brand.