As we move on from the brand warfare of Survivor Series, we can get back to some important brand building with this weeks episode of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX. Expect to see some interesting returns on the horizon, including the newest face of the Firefly Fun House, and witness the crowd actually getting behind Lacey Evans. Yes, you read that correctly! Welcome to the most must-see VultureHound review in history; welcome to… the SmackDown Review.
– Roman Reigns defeated Robert Roode.
– Mustafa Ali defeated Drew Gulak.
– Nikki Cross defeated Sonya Deville.
– The New Day defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro.
Bradley’s Best Bits:
Opening the show, Roman Reigns talked up SmackDown’s impressive victory in the Men 5-on-5-on-5 Elimination Match at Survivor Series. This linked nicely into the Big Dog calling out King Corbin for almost costing his team the win last Sunday. Rather than facing Reigns himself, the cowardly King sent Robert Roode on his behalf to take on the locker room leader in the first match of the night.
It was a solid match from 2 of the most reliable men on the roster. Whilst Reigns coming out on top was never really in question, the match did well to ease the audience into nights action and once again displayed Reigns as the top guy on the Blue brand as he was able to overcome interference from Corbin and Ziggler and eventually see off Roode with a spear for the win. Reigns then physically (and maybe metaphorically) buried Roode with a pile of announcing desk chairs before tipping over the actual announce desk onto the one-time NXT Champion.
With how this has been developing in recent weeks we could see the blow-off match between Corbin and Reigns at the TLC PPV in just over two weeks time before Reigns moves on to his next challenge… The Fiend?
An open challenge for their SmackDown Tag Team championships saw The New Day take on the team of Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro, accompanied by the loud-mouthed Sami Zayn.
Nakamura and Cesaro looked an impressive outfit as they worked well together to target their offence on Kofi Kingston. However, the inevitable hot tag to Big E saw the babyface champions mount their comeback which eventually led to Kofi smashing the Swiss Cyborg with Trouble in Paradise to successfully defend their titles.
This was the best match of the night, but it does raise some questions as to what is next for either of these duos. Will they continue to face each other in the build-up to TLC or will they move on to new challengers entirely? Either way, it is a good thing to want to come back next week to find out.
Speaking of “what happens next week?”, Bray Wyatt unveiled his new Fiend-themed Universal Championship as the latest face in the Firefly Fun House. Whilst it wasn’t quite the Liv Morgan as Sister Abigail debut we were hoping for, it is great to see a championship belt that is hideously on-brand for the current demented champion.
The closing segment of the show saw Daniel Bryan admit that he felt like he changed during his match with The Fiend the Universal Championship at Survivor Series. A change that he believes the fans were able to put into effect with the revival of the Yes Movement. This led to Bryan joining in the ‘yes’ chants before Wyatt interrupted from the Firefly Fun House.
Wyatt pointed out what The Miz had said to Bryan earlier in the night, that if he decides to take on The Fiend again, the demonic character will take Bryan’s mask off. Hinting that the new addition to the Firely Fun House could potentially be Daniel Bryan’s head on a stick, Wyatt then said he will make good on his promise to introduce a new face next week.
As that happened, the lights turned red and The Fiend emerged through the ring to attack Bryan with the Mandible Claw, taking out clumps of Bryan’s hair, before dragging him underneath to close the show.
For FOX Sake:
Mustafa Ali was able to continue his recent winning streak by defeating Drew Gulak in a rather short match. Sadly, this left the crowd feeling a little empty after only minutes before they had seen a vignette for the return of Sheamus who declared “SmackDown will be mine”.
It was disappointing that two wrestlers with the amount of talent of Ali and Gulak weren’t able to put on more of a showcase that we know they’re capable of. However, the promise of a Sheamus return did help soften that blow.
In contrast to Roman Reign’s show opening speech, Bayley and Sasha Banks took it upon themselves to blame the blue brand’s female stars for their loss at Survivor Series and chose to omit that they were also at fault for the defeat.
This led to Lacey Evans being the one to stand up for the women’s locker room which may be the beginning of a face turn for the “Sassy Southern Belle” as she received chants in support from the… *checks notes*… Alabama crowd. I guess that explains it. Before leaving, Evans planted The Woman’s Right on Sasha’s face which Bayley just stood there and let happen without defending her best friend.
After failing to capture the RAW Women’s title from Becky Lynch previously in the year it seems as though Lacey Evans is the next woman in line for Bayley’s SmackDown title. Yet, there was a return for Alexa Bliss last night who came out to make the save from a post-match beat down and celebrate alongside Nikki Cross after Cross defeated Sonya Deville in singles action.
Without speculating too much about the future of the SmackDown women’s division, there is room for a new top babyface after Nikki Cross was unable to dethrone Bayley. If the Lacey experiment fails, why not position Sonya Deville as a rallying hero with a face and heel dynamic partnership alongside Mandy Rose? With a legitimate MMA background and likeable personality, Deville is more than capable of going much further than her current position in the company suggests.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE