SmackDown on Fox Episode #48
SmackDown Episode # 1,097
Orlando, FL – The Thunderdome (Amway Center)
The show opens with an In Memorial graphic for “Bullet” Bob Armstrong who passed away on Thursday at the age of 80. Bob was a legend of the southern wrestling scene in the 60s-80s and was the father of four very talented sons (Brian, Brad, Scott, & Steve) that were also a part of the wrestling business with the most notable ones being Brian “Road Dogg” Armstrong and Brad Armstrong.
The show properly opens with a recap of the Braun Strowman vs The Fiend match at SummerSlam which saw the return of Roman Reigns after the match.
We then see Adam Pearce backstage talking to some security guards and he tells them to be extra aware tonight because he doesn’t want Retribution causing chaos on the show. Pearce then enters Mr. McMahon’s office and goes to greet him with a handshake, fist bump, and elbow bump but McMahon isn’t receptive to any of it and then asks Pearce if he is nervous and when Pearce admits that he is McMahon tells him that’s ok that happens to a lot of people who meet him.
McMahon then tells Pearce he has a mission for him and that mission is to go to Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and The Fiend (who are the three participants in the Universal Championship title match at Payback this Sunday) and get all three of them to sign the contract for the match. When Pearce asks how he is supposed to find The Fiend McMahon tells him he should probably go find Bray Wyatt because he always knows where to find The Fiend and then tells him Wyatt is probably in the Funhouse. McMahon tells Pearce before he goes he needs the proper attire and then hands him a garment bag.
It looks like McMahon must’ve really enjoyed Adam Pearce’s over the top performance last week as he now has him featured in multiple segments throughout the show. I liked that they went with a different way of getting the contract signed and didn’t just resort to the same old contract signing segment we have gotten 10,000 times before.
We then go inside the Thunderdome where the new Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy makes his way to the ring. Hardy says he is glad to be back in the Thunderdome as the new champion, especially after what AJ Styles did to him before the match. Hardy says he is ready to defend… and before he can finish we get the appearance of AJ Styles. Styles says that Hardy is not a conquering hero but he is a cheat and a liar, Styles says that he has had knee injuries before as well but you would never see him crying about it and he would also never ask a doctor to put an illegal object on his knee. Styles then accuses Hardy of having the whole thing planned and knew what he was going to do with that brace from the beginning. Styles says that Hardy knows how to work the system because the same doctor that put the brace on Hardy’s knee is the one that won’t clear him to compete and it’s all Hardy’s fault.
Hardy finally gets a word in as he tells Styles he was fixing to issue an open challenge to anyone… except for Styles and when Hardy says this Styles loses it and begins yelling at Hardy until Hardy knocks him on his ass and this takes us to a commercial break.
This was a solid segment and I like how Styles is accusing Hardy of having this big plan of using the brace all along when Hardy wouldn’t have had the brace in the first place had it not been for Styles attacking him earlier in the night.
We come back and Styles is on commentary as we have an Intercontinental Championship match that is fixing to take place as Shinsuke Nakamura has answered Hardy’s challenge.
Match #1: Jeff Hardy © vs Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
AJ Styles is on commentary during the match.
They lock up and both men jockey for position but are broken apart when they get into the corner, It looks like we are going to get a knuckle lock but Nakamura goes behind but Hardy quickly breaks it and goes behind Nakamura only for Nakamura to break that and grab control of Hardy’s arm where he locks him in a standing armbar until Hardy reverses into an armbar of his own, but Nakamura backs him up into the ropes to force a break. Nakamura grabs a side headlock only to be shot off into the ropes where he comes back with a shoulder block and then Nakamura runs off the ropes only to be caught with a hip toss from Hardy. Hardy hits Nakamura with an atomic drop and then snapmares Nakamura so that he can hit him with a flipping neckbreaker for a 2 count. Nakamura reverses a whip into the ropes and takes Hardy down with a dropkick to the knee that was injured last week and when Hardy tries to get to his feet Nakamura takes him back down with a sliding knee into the back of Hardy’s leg.
We get an inset promo by Cesaro who is a little annoyed about Nakamura challenging for the Intercontinental title without running it by him but he understands that everyone wants to hold two titles now so he respects him for accepting the open challenge.
Nakamura continues to work over the leg of Hardy and then he delivers knees to Hardy in the corner and then goes back to working over the knee in the corner which includes him performing good vibrations on it. Nakamura hits some kicks to the chest of Hardy until Hardy catches his leg and starts to fight back as Hardy is able to hit Nakamura with the mule kick and then he sends Nakamura into the corner but when Hardy charges in he is met with a knee to the chest and then is set up on the top rope where Nakamura looks to hit the running knee but Hardy is able to move out of the way and get onto the apron where he attempts to suplex Nakamura to the outside, but Nakamura reverses and suplexes Hardy back into the ring only for Hardy to clothesline Nakamura over the ropes and to the floor. Hardy hits Nakamura with a dropkick through the ropes and then goes outside where he throws Nakamura across the announce table and into AJ Styles and this sends us to a commercial break.
We come back and Nakamura is working over the leg of Hardy in the ring with a submission hold but Hardy quickly makes Nakamura break the hold when he kicks him in the head. Hardy fires back with some punches and then hits a forearm after running off the ropes and then we get the series of moves that we see from Hardy in every match and then he hits a splash for a 2 count. Nakamura comes back with a flurry of strikes and then hits Hardy with the spinning heel kick. Nakamura sets Hardy up on the top rope and then joins him up there but Hardy elbows him off and then hits Whisper in the Wind, but can’t capitalize because of the knee. Hardy gets to his feet in the corner and when Nakamura charges in Hardy gets his boots up, but Hardy grabs them and swings Hardy to the outside so that he can hit him with the sliding German suplex. Nakamura goes up to the middle rope and comes off with a Kinshasa but Hardy is somehow able to kick out at the very last second.
Nakamura calls for the Kinshasa but Hardy is able to move out of the way and then Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Nakamura counters into a sleeper hold only for Hardy to throw him off and then he delivers a kick in the midsection and when he does this his knee connects with Nakamura’s head and then Hardy hits the Twist of Fate followed by the Swanton Bomb to pick up the win and retain his title.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
After the match, Hardy is walking up the ramp with his title, and then for the first time in five months, we hear the music of Sami Zayn who has returned and has his Intercontinental Championship which he never lost. Zayn calls Hardy a fraud and then lays him out with a big boot, moments later after Hardy gets to his feet he and Styles stare each other down and that sends us to commercial.
We come back and go backstage to Sami Zayn who is interviewed by Kayla Braxton, Zayn says that he is back because he wants to right all the wrongs and right now the perpetrators of the biggest wrong are Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles as they are walking around acting like they are the Intercontinental Champion when he never lost it. Zayn goes on to say that he has valid reasons as to why he wasn’t able to defend his title for five months and then says he is from Montreal, Quebec, and for that reason alone he is a true Intercontinental Champion.
I was definitely not expecting to see Sami Zayn back so soon and his return makes genuinely curious as to why both he and Reigns decided to come back now seeing as the pandemic is still going on and that was why they were taking time off in the first place because they wanted to be cautious which makes sense, especially for Reigns seeing as he has newborn twins and also has a compromised immune system that would make him more susceptible to catching the virus. Did WWE moving to the Thunderdome make them feel more comfortable or was it something else that we aren’t aware of because I wasn’t expecting them to return until there is a vaccine available? I like the story of Zayn bringing back the title that he never lost and going after the two men who held the same title while he was gone and I hope it ends in a ladder match to crown the undisputed Intercontinental Champion just like Razor Ramona and Shawn Michaels did way back at WrestleMania X.
We then go to a new edition of the Firefly Funhouse
Wyatt says it’s good to be home with all of his friends but he can’t help but think that something is missing and then the Universal Championship appears. Wyatt speaks straight to Reigns and tells him it’s been a long time, but he is glad to see him again. The doorbell of the Funhouse rings and in comes Adam Pearce (who is dressed like a postal worker) who asks Wyatt to sign the contract, but Wyatt asks why he needs to sign it when he is not even in the match and Pearce tells him that it seems like Wyatt and The Fiend have a connection and this leads to the screen flashing with The Fiend imagery. Wyatt agrees to sign it, but he hopes that Strowman and Reigns know what they are getting themselves in for because by signing that contract he just signed a couple of death warrants, Wyatt signs the contract and then Pearce makes a quick exit and then Wyatt waves goodbye as this edition of Firefly Funhouse has come to an end.
I thought that having Adam Pearce become Wyatt’s version of Mr. McFeely was a fun and creative way of having Wyatt sign the contract on The Fiend’s behalf and I loved the line about how he signed two death warrants when he signed the contract.
Matt Riddle comes to the ring and gets on the mic and calls out King Corbin and says that Corbin must be scared to face him and if that’s not the case then come out and prove it, but we cut to a commercial before we get an answer.
We come back and Riddle is still in the ring waiting on Corbin who eventually comes out and slowly makes his way down the ramp, but before he enters the ring Shorty G blindsides Riddle and this leads to Corbin saying that he accepts the challenge on behalf of Shorty G.
Match #2: Matt Riddle vs Shorty G
Riddle opens the match with some shots to the body and a series of forearms, Riddle hits a few leg kicks until Shorty catches his leg and takes him down with a dragon screw. Shorty mounts the back of Riddle and delivers some crossface punches until Riddle rolls over to the ropes to force a break. Riddle blocks an Irish whip attempt and then hits Shorty with a gutwrench suplex and then Shorty blocks Riddle’s attempt at hitting a second one so Riddle looks to hit Shorty with the Bro Derek but Shorty escapes and hits Riddle with a bridging tiger suplex for a 2 count. Shorty goes for the Chaos Theory, but Riddle lands on his feet and connects with a big knee strike and that leads to Riddle hitting Bro Derek for the win.
Winner: Matt Riddle via Pinfall Match Rating: *¾
After the match, Corbin attacks Riddle but fights back and this sends Corbin bailing to the outside where he trash talks Riddle and says Riddle will bow down to him.
I’m not really sure what this whole thing was supposed to accomplish because it did nothing to make me excited for Riddle vs Corbin at Payback if anything it made me feel bad for Shorty who gets jobbed out in less than 2 minutes which is not how I’m supposed to feel toward him because he is now a heel so they didn’t even get that right in this segment, all of this was just a complete waste but they could’ve at least gave us a lengthy match between Shorty and Riddle.
We get a recap of the Talking Smack segment where The Miz and Big E get into an argument about how Big E should behave now that he is a singles star, this leads to a video where Big E doesn’t want to go on MizTV which he was scheduled for at first and this leads to him having a face-off with Miz, John Morrison, & Sheamus where he is eventually backed by Heavy Machinery and we are then told we will have a big 6-man tag match tonight.
We go to the back where Big E is chatting it up with Heavy Machinery and he asks what is in Otis’s lunch box and it ends up being a salami and this leads to the Golden Role Models walking up and make a joke about the guys playing with their meat and Bayley tells Big E not to worry about what The Miz said because it’s not that he doesn’t have what it takes to be WWE Champion it’s just that some people can only handle the tag team championships and Bayley thinks this is the funniest thing in the world and walks off, however, Sasha lags behind and she doesn’t look pleased with what Bayley said and this sends us to break.
I liked the subtle change in Sasha’s demeanor when Bayley started talking about how some people can only handle being a tag team champion.
We come back to Adam Pearce knocking on Roman Reigns’ door but he gets no answer so he walks off.
King Corbin is interviewed where he says he is gonna beat Riddle up on Sunday and prove he doesn’t belong on SmackDown.
The Golden Role Models make their way to the ring and Bayley talks about how they are in the middle of one of the most difficult weeks of their career as they both had to defend their titles at SummerSlam and on Sunday they have to defend their tag titles, but luckily for them, they are the greatest tag champions in the world. Bayley goes on to say that while they are great, things don’t always go as planned like Sasha losing her Raw Women’s Championship to Asuka at SummerSlam. Bayley takes all the blame for Sasha losing and says she should’ve never allowed Sasha to challenge Asuka for the title in the first place, but she saw how Sasha looked at her and wanted her to have some of the same fun she was having in being a double champion, but as a friend, she should have saved Sasha from the heartbreak because she knows Sasha can never successfully defend the Raw Women’s Championship. Bayley realizes this is really starting to upset Sasha and tries to make a joke about that being in the past and it being time to moo-ve on because Sasha is wearing cow print pants.
Bayley says the tag titles represent their friendship and on Sunday they cannot lose those. Sasha agrees with Bayley on that and says that she may no longer be 2 Belts Banks but she knows who she is and what she stands for, Sasha says she is going to do everything within her power to keep those tag titles.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler show up on the tron and say that while they may not like each other but they are willing to get along if it means a shot at the tag titles and a chance to beat up Bayley and Sasha. They say that Sasha and Bayley are worried a lot about feelings when they should be worried about them and to this Sasha decides to speak up and says one bad week isn’t going to hold her back and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it and they are going to retain their titles.
I really don’t see how they are going to delay this Bayley vs Sasha feud until WrestleMania as they are really leaning heavily into it now and we are only in August. I’m really not into Shayna and Nia getting the tag title shot as I would much rather prefer to see them against each other and give the tag title shot to an established team such as the reunited Riott Squad seeing as The Riott Squad deserved to hold the titles when they were a trio and I feel the same way now that it’s just Ruby & Liv, but I guess we have to keep them in this never-ending feud against the IIconics.
We cut backstage where Adam Pearce runs into Gulak and he asks Gulak if he knows where Reigns is, Gulak says he doesn’t but then asks Pearce if he knows where Strowman is because he owes him a receipt after last week and Pearce says he is looking for Strowman too but strongly advises Gulak that he may not want to mess with Strowman tonight. Gulak then looks over and sees Strowman and grabs a chair and hits Strowman in the back with it and when Strowman doesn’t even flinch Gulak throws the chair to Pearce and runs off, Strowman turns around and Pearce tells him it was Gulak that hit him. Pearce tells Strowman he needs him to sign the contract, but Strowman says the only way he will sign it is if he gives him a match with Gulak to which Pearce agrees to and this sends us to break.
We come back to Cesaro and Nakamura talking about Nakamura challenging for the Intercontinental title earlier in the night and he wants Nakamura in his corner for his match against Kalisto later on in the night. Sami Zayn walks in all happy as if he hasn’t been gone and expects everything to still be good with him and his boys, but Cesaro and Nakamura don’t look pleased as Nakamura says that Zayn hasn’t called the entire time he has been gone. Zayn admits he could’ve communicated better, but he is working on that and Cesaro tells him not to apologize because Zayn being gone changed them for the better as they are now the SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
Zayn acts like this was all apart of some giant master plan that he came up with and then he sets his title next to the tag titles and by now Cesaro and Nakamura are looking really fed up and Cesaro tells Zayn they were having a private conversation as a team and they would like to finish that conversation, it takes a minute before Zayn realizes they want him to leave and then says he needs to go anyway as he has things to do.
I like how Cesaro and Nakamura aren’t automatically back to being best friends with Zayn just because he is back seeing as he left them high and dry without any notice and even worse he didn’t even call them the entire time he has been gone and while they were somewhat lost at first they picked themselves up and went to work and now are tag champs and they did that without needing Zayn in their corner. I also liked how Zayn’s ego made it where he couldn’t just accept that he screwed up by not getting in touch with his boys and has to make it about him and act like this was some big plan he had all along. I am interested in seeing where this goes.
Match #3: Braun Strowman vs Drew Gulak
Strowman charges at Gulak right at the bell and shoves him into the corner and then biels him across the ring and when Gulak gets to his feet in the corner he is hit with an avalanche and then Strowman whips Gulak into the opposite corner where he hits another avalanche to the back of Gulak. Strowman picks up Gulak by his beard and hits him with a short-arm clothesline. Strowman hits Gulak with a running senton and some clubbing blows to the chest. Riddle lifts Gulak off the mat by the throat and hits him with a chokeslam. Strowman picks Gulak up one last time to yell at him before hitting him with the Running Powerslam for the 1-2-3.
Winner: Braun Strowman via Pinfall Match Rating: *¼
As Strowman walks up the ramp Pearce shows up with the contract and Strowman signs it.
I like Strowman cosplaying as 1999 Hardy Boyz with his ugly looking shirt.
We go to the back with the Lucha House Party and Kalisto wants Dorado and Metalik to stay in the back and see how things should be done and Dorado tells Kalisto to go do some good lucha things and then Kalisto walks off. Cesaro and Nakamura attack Dorado and Metalik from behind and this sends us to break.
Match #4: Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kalisto
We get a lock up and Cesaro slams Kalisto immediately and then he whips Kalisto into the corner but Kalisto goes up and over Cesaro and then he sends Cesaro flying out of the ring courtesy of a satellite headscissors. Kalisto springboards off the ropes and hits Cesaro with a dragonrana on the floor. Kalisto rolls Cesaro into the ring and then he goes for a springboard crossbody but is caught and hit with a backbreaker for a 2 count. Cesaro sends Kalisto into the ropes and hits him with a big backdrop for another nearfall. Cesaro sends Kalisto into the ropes again and this time he ducks his head too early and looks to be caught with a sunset flip, but Cesaro uses his strength to pull Kalisto up by the throat but when he does this Kalisto is able to actually catch him in a successful sunset flip which gets him a 2 count.
Cesaro pushes Kalisto into the corner and nails him with a European uppercut and then whips him into the opposite corner but eats a boot when he charges in and then Kalisto hits him with a dropkick to the knee. Kalisto goes to kick Cesaro, but Cesaro catches the leg and makes Kalisto do a backflip and land on his feet. Kalisto runs off the ropes and tries to take Cesaro down with a hurricanrana but Cesaro uses his superhuman strength to pull Kalisto back up and then he hoists him up to where Kalisto is standing on his shoulders and then Kalisto is amazingly able to hit Cesaro with a DDT from that position, but that is not enough to put the Swiss Cyborg down.
Kalisto hits Cesaro with a hurricanrana driver for another close 2 count. Kalisto looks to hit the Salida del Sol but Cesaro pushes him off into the corner where Kalisto catches him with a headscissors that sends Cesaro into the corner, Nakamura gets on the apron and grabs Kalisto but LHP run down to even the odds but this ends up distracting Kalisto and allows Cesaro to catch him with a schoolboy to pick up the win.
Winner: Cesaro via Pinfall Match Rating: **½
After the match, we get more arguing between Kalisto and Lince Dorado with Metalik trying to be the peacekeeper.
The streak of Cesaro having great matches against the Lucha House Party continues as this was yet another really fun sprint between him and Kalisto. I really don’t expect this implosion of LHP to go anywhere and I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few weeks they are back together as if nothing happened.
We cut back to Mr. McMahon’s office where Adam Pearce walks in and tells McMahon that he has the signatures of both Strowman and The Fiend but isn’t able to get Reigns as he won’t come to the door. McMahon tells him he needs all three signatures and tells him to knock the door down if he has to.
We then cut to Nikki Cross who is holding a coffee mug when Tamina walks up and asks her how Alexa is because the entire locker room is worried about her, but before she can even answer, Alexa walks up and she is super happy. Alexa hugs Nikki and Tamina and then tells them that she has never been better and then asks Nikki if that is the same mug she got her. Nikki notices how Alexa has her hair in pigtails and says it’s been a while since Alexa has worn her hair like that and then as she looks closer she notices that Alexa has one single dreadlock and when questioned by Nikki Alexa says it’s just something new she is trying out and she thought about doing all of her hair like that. Nikki really starts to get worried to the point where she tells Alexa that it reminds her of The Fiend and when she says that Alexa goes silent and gets glassy-eyed momentarily before telling Nikki not to be ridiculous and she thought Nikki would be more supportive because that’s what best friends do and she thought they were best friends but she must have thought wrong and as she is saying this she is getting more heated until she finally grabs the mug and smashes it on the ground before storming off leaving Nikki and Tamina looking confused.
Yay, I’m glad to see this story is continuing as I thought they were dropping the Alexa part of The Fiend story when she didn’t show up at SummerSlam, but it looks like they may be dragging it out because I guess Wyatt/The Fiend will need something to do once he loses the title which I fully expect him to do pretty soon seeing as Reigns has a new heel character. I thought Alexa and Nikki were both great in this segment which is no surprise as they are both great. I liked how they are showing Alexa slowly changing b/c of The Fiend starting with just one strand of hair as a dreadlock and although it’s not a major change it still freaks Nikki out. I wonder when Alexa zoned out if that was supposed to be her going into a different place in her mind like Wyatt does when it comes to The Fiend or if it was just their way of portraying the PTSD she gets when The Fiend’s name alone is mentioned, either way, it definitely has me intrigued.
We then go to Miz and Morrison backstage who are chatting when Sheamus walks up and wants to know if they have a game plan for their match tonight and they both say they do and when Sheamus asks what it is Morrison speaks up and tells him a strategy that involves keeping all three men out of the ring because each of them is a big threat in their own way and when Sheamus gets confirmation that this strategy is indeed what he thinks it is he just tells them to follow his lead and walks off.
The interactions between Miz and John Morrison are mixed for me as sometimes they are tolerable and sometimes they are annoying, this one was not only tolerable but was entertaining as I got a bit of a laugh out of Morrison’s strategy of keeping all three men out of the ring and Sheamus’s reaction to it.
We get the entrances of Big E and Heavy Machinery before we go to a commercial.
We come back and Pearce is back at Reigns’s door once again and this time he walks right in and runs into Reigns, so he gives him the contract to sign and Reigns looks it over, but before he signs we cut away.
Match #5: Big E & Heavy Machinery vs Sheamus, The Miz, & John Morrison
Morrison starts the match against Otis and he immediately goes behind Otis with a rear waistlock, but Otis backs Morrison into the corner and attempts to biel him out but Morrison lands on his feet and then tries for the chuck kick but he just bounces off of Otis. Otis sends Morrison into the babyface corner and hits him with an avalanche and then tags in Big E and then Big E tags in Tucker and this leads to Heavy Machinery whipping Big E toward the corner where he hits Morrison with a shoulder to the midsection, Tucker follows that up with an avalanche and he sends Morrison into Otis who takes him down with a shoulder block which gets a 2 count when Sheamus breaks up the pin. Tucker hits Morrison with a standing springboard crossbody for another nearfall. Tucker runs to the ropes but receives a knee to the back from Sheamus and this allows the heels to take control.
John Morrison tags in The Miz and they hit Tucker with a double gutbuster and then Miz kicks Big E a few times and taunts Big E before tagging Morrison right back in. Morrison hits some strikes on Tucker and then Tucker starts to make a comeback as he fights his way out of the corner only for Morrison to come back and dropkick Tucker out of the ring. Sheamus and Miz both try to attack Tucker while he is on the outside but he takes them both down with dropkicks and then slides back in the ring where he takes Morrison down with a clothesline. Out of nowhere, the bell starts ringing and it turns out Sheamus is the one ringing the bell and this sends us to commercial.
We come back to Miz and Morrison double-teaming Tucker with some running strikes which gets a 2 count. Miz and Morrison send Tucker into the corner and Morrison whips Miz toward the corner so Miz can hit his Awesome clothesline in the corner and then Morrison takes Tucker down with a superkick for a 2 count. Miz locks in a chin lock until Tucker fights back and hits Miz with a back suplex. Miz tags in Morrison who cuts Tucker off before he can make a tag. Morrison hits some mounted forearms and then works over the neck of Tucker. We get a couple more tags between Miz and Morrison as Sheamus is growing frustrated that they aren’t tagging him in. Miz and Morrison hit Tucker with a Hart Attack style move where Morrison springboards off the ropes and hits a chuck kick when Morrison goes for the pin Otis and Big E come in to break the pin.
Sheamus finally tags into the match but the referee doesn’t see the tag and forces Sheamus to go back on the apron. Morrison comes back in and looks to hit the Moonlight Drive, but Tucker pushes him into the ropes and in doing so causes Morrison to knock Sheamus off the apron, once Sheamus gets to his feet he begins to walk out, Miz tries to stop him but Sheamus threatens Miz so he backs off and lets Sheamus leave.
Morrison knocks Otis off the apron only to walk into a big backdrop from Tucker and this allows Tucker to finally make the hot tag to Big E while Morrison tags Miz in on the other side of the ring. Big E hits Miz with the belly-to-belly trifecta and the big splash. Big E calls for the Big Ending, but Miz rolls out to the apron and hangs Big E throat first across the top rope, Miz charges at Big E in the corner and gets caught with the uranage which gets a 2 count when Morrison breaks up the pin with a springboard double stomp. Otis comes in and slams Morrison next to The Miz and looks to hit both of them with the Caterpillar, but he only got Morrison as Miz rolled out of the way. Miz hits Otis with the Skull Crushing Finale and then Big E slides back into the ring and hits Miz with the Big Ending and that is enough to end the match.
Winners: Big E & Heavy Machinery via Pinfall Match Rating: **¾
I don’t really have much to say about this match as it was what it was but I just want to say that if you haven’t seen the Big E promo on the Talking Smack episode that aired on Saturday after this show aired you definitely need to check it out because it was on the same level as the one Miz cut during the first run of Talking Smack which is ironic considering he was cutting it in response to what Miz had to say about him last week. I will say as far as the match goes I like the new Sheamus we have seen over the past few weeks where he doesn’t care if you’re face or heel if you piss him off he will not deal with your shit as he will either leave you hanging like he did in this match or he will beat your ass like he did with Corbin a couple of weeks ago.
We go to the back and Adam Pearce is standing beside Reigns who is sitting down looking over the contract and then says he will be at Payback on Sunday and he will win back the Universal Championship that he never lost and that is not just a prediction… that’s a spoiler and as he says that he looks over and as the camera pans over we see that Paul Heyman is sitting beside him and with that, it seems like Reigns is now a Paul Heyman guy and this is how the go-home episode of SmackDown before Payback comes to a close.
Holy Shit!!!! I had a feeling we may be getting a heel Reigns after how he acted at SummerSlam, however, I definitely never expected him to align with Paul Heyman but I love the pairing and with just one quick 2-minute backstage segment Reigns has become the most interesting thing about WWE and I can’t wait to see what he does at Payback. It makes sense that Heyman would join up with Reigns for two reasons, the first is that he has a history with the Samoans like he has mentioned before as he managed the SST way back in the day in WCW and the second reason is that he realizes if Lesnar isn’t going to be around due to the pandemic he needs a new charge and why not pick the one man who has been able to hang with Lesnar in the ring on multiple occasions and can be just as much of a badass as Lesnar can be. I love this move and I’m so glad someone finally convinced Vince to turn Reigns heel because it has been needed for years and hopefully this will give his character that fresh coat of paint to where once he does eventually go back babyface he isn’t hated like he has been for the past 5 years. I just hope this new heel turn brings with it new music and new gear because Reigns needs to completely remove himself from the old Shield gimmick especially now that there is zero chance of the three of them ever reuniting in WWE.
This was a mixed bag of a show as the in-ring action was nothing special except for the Cesaro vs Kalisto sprint but the storytelling and surprises really delivered especially Reigns aligning with Heyman which nobody saw coming. It was also nice to see Sami Zayn back I definitely wasn’t expecting him back this soon. I also enjoyed the continuing character change for Alexa post interacting with The Fiend.
That’s all for this week, but I’ll be back next week for more action from the blue brand where I’ll cover all the fallout of Payback.