SmackDown on Fox Episode #9
SmackDown Episode # 1,058
Birmingham, AL – Legacy Arena
Tonight we have “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns starting off the show with a promo where he first talks about being thankful to be happy and healthy, which is far from what he was last year during Thanksgiving, he thanks the fans for being there for him in the last year. Reigns then moves on to talk about how he was the sole survivor at Survivor Series and how he had a great team with the exception of one dummy and that, of course, being King Corbin. Corbin comes out and claims that it was his leadership that led Team SmackDown to victory and Roman’s ego got in the way during the match. Corbin then runs down the town before saying that Reigns will be facing Robert Roode next and as Roode makes his way to the ring as we go to commercial.
I liked that we got to see a bit of Joe Anoa’i as the part about being thankful seemed very genuine and from the heart. As for the rest of this segment, it was nothing special and was pretty much the same as all the other promos we’ve heard during this feud.
Match #1: Roman Reigns vs Robert Roode w/ Dolph Ziggler & King Corbin
Early on in the match Roode keeps locking on side headlocks but Reigns keeps getting out of them and with the second one he takes Roode down with a shoulder block. Ziggler provides a distraction that allows Roode to take control and beat Reigns down in the corner as King Corbin looks on at ringside. Reigns comes back with some right hands and then goes to the corner where he hits the 10 mounted punches, Roode briefly gets in a shot or two that allows him time to hop up to the second rope, but Reigns hits him with an uppercut that knocks Roode off the rope and to the floor. Reigns slides out of the ring and hit Roode with a Drive-By. As Reigns rolls Roode back into the ring he is distracted by Ziggler which allows Roode to knock Reigns off the apron and onto the floor. Roode spine busters Reigns onto the announce table and then sends him into the barricade twice before rolling back into the ring as we go to commercial.
We come back from commercial right as Reigns is starting his comeback with a series of clotheslines followed by the 10 clotheslines in the corner and then a running big boot. Reigns signals for the SuperMan Punch but once again Ziggler provides a distraction and this time it allows Roode to avoid the Superman Punch and roll Reigns up for a 2 count. Roode hits the blockbuster off the second rope for another 2 count. Roode attempts the Glorious DDT but Reigns counters it and turns it into a schoolboy that he transitions into a one-armed sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count as Dolph Ziggler and King Corbin look on from ringside with worried looks on their faces.
Reigns once again signals for the Superman Punch but Ziggler pulls Roode out of harm’s way so instead Reigns takes a running start and leaps off the steps to hit Ziggle with a big Superman Punch. Roode sends Reigns face-first into the ring post and then into the steps. Roode rolls Reigns into the ring and goes up top and as he goes to jump he is caught with a SuperMan Punch (which Roode takes a funny looking bump off of) that only gets a 2 count. Reigns hulks up and goes for the Spear which is turned into a spinebuster by Roode that gets another near fall. King Corbin throws in his scepter for Roode to use but Reigns hits Roode with an uppercut and then hits Corbin (who was distracting the referee) with a Superman Punch followed by a Spear on Roode to get the win.
Winner: Roman Reigns via Pinfall Match Rating: **3/4
After the match, Ziggler tries to hit Reigns with a superkick that gets countered into a Samoan Drop and then Reigns sends Corbin into the ring post shoulder first. Roode hits Reigns from behind with the scepter and then grabs a chair from ringside which he lays Reign’s head on and attempts to bash him in the head with the scepter but Reigns moves. At this point, Reigns has lost it as he Spears through the barricade and then throws the big office chairs onto Roode. Reigns hit Ziggler with the steps and Ziggler falls into the first row. Reigns then moves the announce table over and proceeds to lift it up before tipping it over on Roode. We then go to commercial.
The match between Roode and Reigns was better than I expected as I was expecting a much slower pace than what we got, but it was action-packed from bell to bell. I liked the post-match beatdown as it’s always nice to see pissed off badass Roman Reigns and I wish we saw that side of him more often as the people really get behind him when he does get into that mode. This week was less grading than previous ones in the Corbin vs Reigns feud but I’m not getting my hopes up that it’s like this every week as next week we could easily go back to talking about dog shit and yapping like a Chihuahua.
We get a recap of the Universal Championship match at Survivor Series before going to the first of three Firefly Funhouse segments of the night. Bray says he has a lot to be thankful for before holding up the Universal title. Bray says that sharing is caring and if he has a championship it is only right that The Fiend has one as well, this leads to flashes of The Fiend holding a title belt that has his face on it. Bray talks about how fun it was to play with Bryan and would love to do it again which gets cheers from the fireflies, he says if Bryan wants to play again all he has to do is let him in.
At the moment that this part of Firefly Funhouse ended I was very disappointed as they had promised a new face to the Firefly Funhouse and I thought the face on The Fiend’s title belt was going to be that face but thankfully it wouldn’t be, but more on that later in the night.
As we go to commercial we see Mustafa Ali making his way to the ring as he will be in the next match.
We come back from commercial to a video where Sheamus talks about how SmackDown has become soft and that is why now is the perfect time for him to return and when he does come back SmackDown will be his.
While I’m not the world’s biggest Sheamus fan I am glad to see that he is coming back (along with his old haircut, so now we can go back to calling him beeker), especially after all of the speculation as to whether he would ever be able to come back at all due to his spinal stenosis I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the blue brand once he returns.
Match #2: Drew Gulak vs Mustafa Ali
Ali goes for the rear waist lock but Gulak elbows out of it and then both men trade drop down and leapfrog spots with Ali showing off as he does a cartwheel and a backflip. Ali hits a charging Gulak with a dropkick and then goes for an arm drag but Gulak pulls him down to the mat by his hair. Gulak hits some strikes on Ali but eventually walks into a back elbow which allows Ali to go up to the middle rope but Gulak grabs him and throws him to the mat on the back of his neck. Ali counters a Saito suplex only to be put in a half crab moments later. Ali fights out of Gulak’s grasp and nails him with a superkick for a 2 count. Both men are down and as Ali tries to get to his feet Gulak grabs the ankle but Ali rolls through sending Gulak into the corner and then Ali springs off the middle rope with a tornado DDT which leads to Ali going up top and hitting the 450 Splash to get the win.
Winner: Mustafa Ali via Pinfall Match Rating: **
This was a fun little match but nothing to really talk about other than it was a way to feature Ali.
We see Bayley and Sasha in the back making their way out to the ring as well as Heavy Machinery shilling WWE merchandise before we go to commercial.
As we come back Bryan is pacing back and forth after what Bray Wyatt said earlier in the night. We then get a video recap of the two women’s matches at Survivor Series.
Bayley and Sasha come out and pretty much do the same thing that Rollins did on Monday as they ran down the entire SmackDown women’s team and called all of them the weakest link at Survivor Series. Lacey Evans makes her way to the ring and says that Bayley and Sasha lack class and perhaps SmackDown needs a new leader for the women’s locker room. Sasha starts getting in Lacey’s face but Lacey isn’t having it from this nasty as she lays Sasha out with the Woman’s Right as Bayley looks on and checks on Sasha.
I guess they have decided to switch Lacey to babyface out of nowhere and that is a bit of a shame as I felt she was just finding her groove as a heel as she was becoming someone you love to hate. I just hope this feud with Bayley over the SmackDown Women’s Title doesn’t do her as much harm or expose her like the feud with Becky did earlier this year. At least they did turn her before this year’s Tribute to the Troops which is going to be in North Carolina, actually come to think of it that may be the only reason they turned her and if that’s so I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see her take the title off Bayley and hold it for a month or two.
We cut to the back where Daniel Bryan is being interviewed about what Bray said earlier, but before Bryan can answer it’s time for the second part of Firefly Funhouse. Bray talks about how the story of Thanksgiving is a lie as it wasn’t the story of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans rather that it was about the battle between the muscle men and the reptilians. This leads to Bray and Huskus the Pig doing a remixed version of the Muscle Man Dance song which this time featured rapping. Bryan doesn’t say a word as the camera zooms in and we go to commercial.
This was interesting, to say the least, however, it had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the night and while it was very entertaining it really wasn’t needed.
Match #3: Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose vs Nikki Cross
Before the match begins Mandy gets on the mic and criticizes the looks of Nikki and compares her to a plate of cold Thanksgiving leftovers.
As the bell rings Nikki charges toward Mandy’s direction but walks into a right hand by Sonya. Sonya lands some knees to the body followed by some kicks and then a sliding knee to a seated Nikki that gets a 2 count. Sonya locks in a chin lock but Nikki is not making it easy to keep it on as she continues to fight before finally hitting Sonya with a chin breaker. Nikki makes her comeback with a headbutt to the mid-section and an avalanche in the corner followed by a bulldog. Nikki goes up top but Mandy is able to distract her long enough for Sonya to come over and throw her off. Sonya goes to pick up Nikki when out of nowhere Nikki rolls her up in a small package to pick up the win.
Winner: Nikki Cross via Pinfall Match Rating: *¼
After the match Sonya and Mandy attack Nikki (which includes Mandy completely missing the bicycle knee) until the returning Alexa Bliss makes her return to help her best friend fight off Fire & Desire, Alexa and Nikki hit a double DDT on Sonya. The two best friends hug in the ring as Bliss Cross Applesauce is back together again and Nikki is over the moon with happiness that her best friend is finally back.
I could do without Mandy making fun of people’s looks as it’s 2019 and those kinds of heat triggers don’t work as they used to as they just come off as cringe-worthy. The match was nothing and only served as a way for Alexa to make her return and rejoin Nikki. I may be just as happy as Nikki is to see Alexa back and I can’t wait to review whatever she does each week on the show.
The Miz is in the back trying to talk to Bryan and cautions him about facing The Fiend again as those who have faced him in the past changed after facing The Fiend. The Miz says that Bryan escaped unharmed this time but is the Universal Title worth what may happen if he faces The Fiend again? Miz says that they can’t lose Bryan as he is important to both SmackDown and to his family, this gets Bryan’s attention as he glares at Miz before Miz decides to just leave.
I really liked this segment as it showed a different side of Miz toward Bryan, while he doesn’t like Bryan on a personal level he is able to see the big picture and since Miz is now married with one kid and another one on the way he realizes that if another battle with The Fiend changes Bryan then that would be the worst thing to happen to Bryan’s family. While the feud between Bryan and The Fiend isn’t the most captivating stuff to watch the choice to interject the Miz into it has been interesting to watch.
We go to the back where Dana Brooke is texting “someone” when Drake Maverick shows up with mistletoe and tries to get Dana to kiss him, but Dana refuses and reminds Drake that he is married which Drake responds that it is complicated. We then hear the strum of a guitar string and sure enough, it is the return of Elias who sings a song about being back while Dana awkwardly dances along.
One of the most interesting happenings on Twitter over this Thanksgiving week has been the constant open flirting between Batista and Dana Brooke that at times has been sweet and cute while at other times it feels like we are getting an inside look at a private message exchange between two people on Tinder. I hope that now Dana is assumingly dating “Big Dave” she will get a push through her association with a blockbuster actor which will be nice as she has improved in the last year and deserves to be featured more than she is.
New Day come out for their SmackDown Tag Team Championship open challenge, but first Big E and Kofi talk about Thanksgiving. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro come out as they will be answering the open challenge but before that Sami Zayn cuts a promo on hating Thanksgiving and Black Friday and shames the people and New Day for continuing to perpetuate a bogus holiday. Zayn says it’s time the titles were held by men who see through all of that nonsense. We go to commercial before the match begins.
Match #4: New Day © vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro w/ Sami Zayn (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Cesaro hits a shoulder block early and gets a 1 count on a pin and then moments later Kingston gets a 1 count of his own off a back elbow. Cesaro tags in Nakamura who delivers some knees to the gut and then attempts a monkey flip out of the corner but Kingston lands on his feet and hits Nakamura with a dropkick for 2. Nakamura hits a series of quick forearms only to meet a back elbow that allows Kofi to get to the middle rope but a distraction by Cesaro allows Nakamura to yank Kingston off the rope causing the back of his head to bounce off the top turnbuckle. Nakamura sets Kingston up in the corner and hits the running knee to the mid-section of Kingston that gets a 2 count. Nakamura makes a tag to Cesaro who slams Kingston down with a gut-wrench suplex for 2. Kingston works his way out of a chin lock and stretches out his arm to make the tag but Cesaro is holding him back while also tagging Nakamura back in. Kingston tries to fight back while in the corner of his opponents but Nakamura sends him out to the apron where Zayn pulls the leg causing Kingston to bounce off the apron and then Cesaro hits a running uppercut sending Kingston across the announce table as we go to commercial.
When we come back from commercial Kingston and Cesaro are laid out and then both men make tags to their respective partners. Big E hits a couple of overhead belly to belly suplexes followed by one to the side, Big E goes for the big splash but Nakamura moves to send Big E crashing to the mat which allows Nakamura to follow up with repeated knees to the side of Big E’s neck. Big E catches a running Nakamura with the Uranage out of the corner for 2. Big E calls for the Big Ending but Nakamura slides out the back and delivers a kick to the head followed by a diving knee off the middle rope as Cesaro makes a blind tag. Cesaro comes off the top with a diving headbutt for 2. Big E backdrops Cesaro as he was looking to hit the Neutralizer but Cesaro lands on his feet and makes a quick tag to Nakamura. Cesaro hits a running European uppercut on Big E only to be backdropped by Kingston to the floor. Big E tosses Nakamura over his head but Nakamura lands on his feet on the middle rope where he is kicked in the head by Kingston. New Day hit the powerbomb and mushroom stomp combo which gets a very close 2 count as Cesaro breaks up the pin.
Cesaro picks up Kingston and charges across the ring with him only for Kingston to use his legs to send Cesaro out of the ring. Kingston looks to dive outside onto Cesaro but Cesaro catches him in mid-air with an uppercut and then hits Big E with one. Nakamura goes for the Kinshasa but Kingston counters it into a roll-up for 2. Nakamura hits a spinning wheel kick followed by a sliding knee that only grazes Kingston’s head, this only gets a 2 count as Big E breaks the pin. Cesaro sends Big E into the corner shoulder first and then Nakamura tags Cesaro in. Cesaro works over Kingston in the corner and then catches Kingston when he attempts a Trouble in Paradise and then Cesaro drops Kingston across the top rope. Zayn gets in the ring and tries to hit Kingston with the pancake tray but the referee catches him and ejects him from ringside, as Cesaro is distracted by Zayn getting ejected, Kingston is able to hit Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Winners: New Day via Pinfall Match Rating: ***
This was yet another match on the long list of good to great New Day matches. I still can’t get used to Cesaro in pants and when he has the sunglasses and hat on he looks like a completely different person.
We get a recap of earlier tonight when Reigns turned the announce table over on Roode and we are shown that he was stretchered out. Bryan is making his way toward the ring as we take the final commercial break of the night.
Bryan says that everyone has been giving him advice about what to do concerning what Bray said earlier and Bryn says that if Wyatt does happen to change him then maybe the change was meant to be, however, he hasn’t changed because of The Fiend but rather because of the crowd’s passion, voice, and energy that made him realize who he should’ve been the entire time. Bryan knows that in the past he has said the Yes Movement is dead, but just maybe the fans have brought it back to life. Bryan then asks if he should accept Bray’s challenge and this gets a huge Yes chant from the crowd and eventually, Bryan joins in and with that, the Yes Movement is officially back.
We then get the final Firefly Funhouse of the night where Bray states that if Bryan does go through with this then The Fiend will remove Bryan’s mask and show everyone Bryan’s true form. He then says something about Bryan is the one who helped build the Firefly Funhouse and that the Fiend remembers why. We then finally get Bray going through with his promise of a new face tonight. The lights go down and The Fiend appears from under the ring and tries to drag Bryan down with him but Bryan does his best to fight him off only to succumb to the Mandible Claw moments later. The Fiend reaches under the ring and keeps looking as if he is struggling with something until finally, he pulls out what is assumed to be locks of Bryan’s hair, he does this a few times while he laughs maniacally as the show fades to black.
I’m wondering if after what happened do we see the old Ring of Honor Daniel Bryan where he had a shaved head and no facial hair? I liked the first part of this segment with Bryan bringing the Yes Movement back as it was time to bring babyface, Daniel Bryan, back. During the part of the segment where Bray was talking he said something about Bryan helped build the Funhouse and then asks Bryan if he remembers why because The Fiend knows why I don’t know what that means and I doubt creative does either and most likely it will never be mentioned again. I know a lot of people on Twitter as well as myself were hoping this new face was going to end up being Liv Morgan as she has been sending out cryptic tweets recently that would be in the same vein as something Bray would say, so we were all a bit disappointed when it wasn’t her but after thinking more about it maybe that is for the best as it already feels like The Fiend gimmick is starting to go off track so there is no need for her to be brought down when the gimmick eventually dies, just let her come back on her own and wreak havoc on the women’s division.
This was a very eventful episode of SmackDown as we had three returns with Sheamus, Elias, and most importantly “The Goddess” Alexa Bliss. We also got the babyface turn of Lacey Evans and the full babyface turn of Daniel Bryan who brought back the Yes Movement, but with the good comes the bad and while it wasn’t as dreadful as past weeks the Corbin vs Reigns feud still isn’t doing anything for me and the stuff with Bray Wyatt/The Fiend is starting to feel repetitive as it’s no longer a shock to see someone pop out from under the ring and pull someone under it as it has been done a million times.
That’s it for this week be sure to tune in next week where I am sure to be more biased toward Alexa Bliss than Dave Meltzer is toward AEW.