It’s Friday Night, which means another edition of WWE SmackDown. Come hell or high water I have managed to get three preview pages out of what WWE has given me today. We know that Roman Reigns will be opening the show. And we’ve been told that Bray Wyatt will be introducing a new cast member to the Firefly Funhouse. As far as matches go, The New Day will be defending the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Titles in an open challenge.
I’m Jordan Huie of the Overtimer and I will as always be here to give you the live play-by-play of the show as it occurs. Watch this space!
We open with a mass of pyro and “Happy Thanksgiving” on the tron above the SmackDown logo.
Out comes Roman Reigns as advertised, to a pretty big reception! Big chant for “Roman” as his theme fades. He says it’s a day late but in his household, if you got leftovers in the fridge it’s still Thanksgiving. Wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! To him, it means three things. Family, good health and happiness. And this time last year, he only had one of those things, in family. But to be in this ring, in good health, surrounded by new family, that’s an absolute blessing. Thanks everyone. Warm reception.
Roman has a lot to be thankful for because at Survivor Series, Team SmackDown whooped some ass. Pop, but a chant for “NXT”. Roman says it’s all WWE, NXT is badass too, but SmackDown Live got the job done in the 5-on-5-on-5. Thanks Mustafa Ali, Shorty G and Braun Strowman. But says they had one dummy on their team and he won’t thank a dummy. If anything, the dummy should be thanking him. So he wants the dummy to come out here and give thanks, and apologize for all he’s been saying.
King Corbin makes his way out and is getting a ton of boos before he even says a word. From the stage, he says Roman must’ve lost his mind, it was their fearless leadership that won things for SmackDown. Corbin notes that he eliminated two people before Reigns selfishly betrayed the team and got him eliminated. Corbin claims that Roman’s ego couldn’t handle that he was going to be the Sole Survivor and get the job done. Roman argues that there’s no way he got the job done but he has another chance to get the job done here in Birmingham.
Baron says Roman wants people to think he’s some kind of role model coming out here talking about Thanksgiving and family. Loud chant of “Roman”. Corbin tells people what it’s like to enjoy Thanksgiving as a king, having servants waiting on him hand and foot to do his bidding. If he drops a fork there’s someone there to hand him a brand new one. Says Roman probably had some store bought turkey that his wife burned the crap out of but he can’t tell the difference because he’s used to eating dog food! Gets some cheap heat with potshots at the crowd. Suggests Roman take on Robert Roode, and threatens that Reigns will get taken out on a stretcher and it will be absolutely Glorious.
Roode’s theme indeed hits and out he comes.
Roman Reigns vs. Robert Roode
Roman takes control early, big uppercuts and shots. However Roman gets knocked off the apron, then driven backfirst into the commentary table, swinging momentum. Roode with the heat segment, throws Roman time and again into the barricade. After commercial, Roman makes the comeback. Wants a Superman Punch but Ziggler with a distraction, Roode with a roll-up for a nearfall. Gets both boots up on the charge, second rope blockbuster for nearfall! Roode wants the Glorious DDT, but Roman slips behind him, roll-up into a Deadlift Sitout Powerbomb! Great nearfall. “Let’s Go Roman” as Reigns wants the Superman Punch. Roode slips to the outside. Reigns pursues, leaps off the steps, ends up nailing the punch to Ziggler! Roode posts him though, then drives him into the steps, throws him back into the ring. Roode comes off the top rope – into a Superman Punch that leaves Roode stiff as a board! Cover for a nearfall! Roman wants the spear now! Goes for it – Spinebuster from Roode!! Very close nearfall. Corbin slips his scepter into the ring! Roode takes it up, hiding it from the referee. Corbin distracts the ref as Roode takes up the scepter! Swings – but Roman with an uppercut stops him! Superman Punch takes down Corbin, spear to Roode – and that is that!
Winner: Roman Reigns
Fairly basic make-Roman-look-strong stuff here – but it was in front of a crowd that absolutely loved him! Never heard an audience be so into him during a match, honestly. Made all the difference, great stuff!
Ziggler with a sneak attack afterwards. Tunes up the band, wants the Superkick but Roman counters with a Samoan Drop! Corbin in the ring to toss Roman – only to get reversed into the post! Roode with the scepter though nails Roman in the back of the head! Not done, he goes out and grabs a steel chair. He sits it up in the ring, then grabs the scepter again? Sits Roman’s head onto the seat. Roode hollers at him “Say hello to your kids!” Goes for a big swing of the scepter but Roman dodges this, hits a Superman Punch!
Looks stunned as he stares at the chair, which was punctured by the scepter. He’s furious, slips out and rushes all around the ringpost for a huge spear taking Roode right through the barricade! Throws a couple of desk chairs on top of the wreckage. Roman is quite peeved! And now he takes up the stairs, smacks a charging Ziggler right into the crowd with ’em! That was quite the spot. Roman moves the announce desk closer, lifts it up and shoves it up on top of Roode.
Well, there was both a chair and table involved in that segment…
Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Funhouse alludes to having no family to spend Thanksgiving with, before teasing a new Universal Championship specific for the Fiend. Asks the fireflies if they want to see Daniel and him play again? Big cheers from the kids. Bray says if he wants to join in the fun again and get a toy of his own, he can make his wish come true! And all he has to do is let him in!
Oh hey… vignette of Sheamus! He says he’s had a lot of time to watch the lay of the land and the current state of SmackDown is… pathetic. All he sees are a bunch of misfits and coward. A fiend. A king. A Shorty G, whatever the hell that is. No one hungry, no one with a backbone and no one… like him. This is the perfect time for the Celtic Warrior to return and ravage everything that stands in his way. SmackDown will be his.
Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak
Chain wrestling, leapfrogs to start. Ali with a flip onto his feet just to show off a little bit. Gulak charges into a standing dropkick! Gulak with a yank of the hair takes Ali to the mat. Drives him into the corner. Ali goes up top but gets taken down with a throw-down powerbomb! Gulak grinds Ali down with a single leg boston crab. Ali escapes, superkick, falls into a cover for 2. Gulak grabs the leg, taken into the turnbuckle, Ali with a Tornado DDT! Goes up top, 450 Splash nailed for the win!
Winner: Mustafa Ali
Nice, simple action. Wish we could get more of an opportunity for Gulak, he’s both a really good talker and technician. But I can’t complain at seeing Ali rack up wins.
Sasha Banks and Bayley make their way out complaining about their loss. Sasha notes that she did not pick her team and that’s why they lost. Bayley argues that she did not lose to Shayna because she is better but because of a fluke. Sasha says the weak link of her team was the entire team! Mocks all of her partners one by one. Bayley says if Lacey Evans wasn’t so busy sipping her sweet tea on her porch, they would not be standing here right now. Lacey interrupts.
Lacey says she’s spent the whole night making Thanksgiving dinner for 32 people and is in no mood for them tonight. Says she wouldn’t trust these two nasties to lead a chicken dance at a garden party. If all they’re going to do is make excuses and blame everyone but themselves for their failures, then it’s time the SmackDown women’s division gets a real woman to lead the division. Amazingly, a “Lacey Evans” chant. They should think about coming to Birmingham every week. Mocks Bayley for tapping out under pressure, chant of “You Tapped Out” immediately. Sasha gets in Lacey’s face and eats a Woman’s Right! Bayley just watched, concerned but unmoving until Lacey makes her leave.
Daniel Bryan is asked if he’s ready to answer the challenge Bray Wyatt laid down. But then we cut into the Firefly Funhouse again! Big lay out of food where Huskus has eaten too much. The only thing that could make him feel better is if Bryan faces them again! Bray says everything you know about the story of Thanksgiving was a lie! The first Thanksgiving was actually between the muscle men and the reptilians, right before they took over humanity! But you can change, just like Daniel Bryan can with a little help, and you can be phat – with a ph! We lead into a rap based around Huskus being fat and also the muscleman dance. Erase your mind. Urges them to let him in but not let the reptilians in! Bryan just looks on, unnerved.
The crowd is chanting “Yes” wanting him to face the Fiend again but the screen fades before we get an answer.
Fire & Desire out as Nikki Cross makes her way out. Mandy mocks Nikki for looking like a cold plate of leftovers.
Nikki Cross vs. Sonya Deville
Nikki charges right into a right hand. Sliding knee to the chest. Grinding her down with a chinlock. Cross escapes, gets her to the corner, charging strike, bulldog out of the corner. Nikki goes up top, Mandy distracts, Deville rips Cross to the mat. But an inside cradle gets the win.
Winner: Nikki Cross
That was fast, and definitely the start of something. As I typed that, Fire and Desire jumped her from behind and laid her out. Alexa Bliss’ music hits though and out she comes, first appearance in a while, to run through Deville and Rose! Dropkick takes out Deville, wicked slap to Rose – Bliss and Cross with a double team DDT. The faces hug!
Backstage, Miz comes up to Bryan. Says he’s not his friend or his mentor, but he’s concerned. Says look at what happened to Finn Balor and Seth Rollins after what the Fiend did to them. They changed. Asks if it’s worth it? Miz says he can’t believe he’s saying this, but tells Daniel that he’s important to SmackDown and this locker room. They can’t afford to lose him Daniel. Starts to say the same about his family but Bryan glares at him and he makes his leave.
Drake Maverick backstage tries to get Dana to kiss him with some mistletoe. She’s disgusted and asks if he’s married. Drake says it’s complicated. Elias strums his guitar behind them and pops up, saying he has been on a journey. Has a new song now. Elias is back calling Drake a Christmas Creeper and wonders how it’s gonna be when his wife finds out. Dana dances along with the song.
New Day out now for their open challenge! Crowd very into them for their introduction of the challenge. E talks up all the food he’s eaten for Thanksgiving, but then mentions Black Friday as a day near and dear to their heart -they debuted on Black Friday – a day where your wildest treasure hunt fantasies can come true. Which is why the two of them have opened the doors for business. Tonight they have an open challenge! But the question is… they don’t even have to say it for the crowd to light up with “Who? Who? Who?”
Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and Sami Zayn come out! Sami demands that they shut their mouths. Chastises them glorifying a holiday like Thanksgiving which celebrates gluttony, imperialistic issues and worst of all, they have the gall to promote Black Friday deals? Sami speaks of people being so selfish as to step over their own mothers to put extra money in their pockets, shame on every single one of you who continue to perpetuate and partake in this bogus holiday! It is high time that the tag team championships were held by men smart enough to see through the nonsense and that is why Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura are here to answer and become the new champs tonight!
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro
Shinsuke and Kofi start out, Shinsuke takes advantage, dragon whip. Tag to Cesaro, grinds Kofi down with a side headlock. They try the quick tags and isolation, Kofi fighting out of the corner with elbows and kicks, but Sami clips the legs out from under him to send him driving into the apron. Cesaro with a running uppercut takes him onto the announce table! Commercial break. As we come back, Big E tags in and gets Shinsuke with a ton of over head belly to bellies, followed by the standard one, hits the ropes twice, wants the splash but Nakamura evades, driving knees into the side! Whip to the corner, charges, E with the uranage counter for 2. Claps gets the crowd into it as he hoists him up, Shinsuke escapes, roundhouse kick, goes up top for a flying karate kick, Cesaro tagged in, comes off the top with a diving headbutt for a nearfall. Gets him for the Neutralizer, E with a back body drop, Cesaro tags in, Nakamura charges but gets taken to the second rope, Kofi with a WWE Headkick, tags in as E holds Nakamura in powerbomb position, diving foostomp takes Kofi off his shoulders! Cesaro has to break up the pin.
Kofi dumps Cesaro to the floor, E launches Kofi over the top rope for a pescado but Cesaro clips him out of the air with an uppercut! And then one for E! Takes Kofi into the ring, Shinsuke wants the Kinsasha, Kofi counters with a roll-up for 2. Dragon Whip, driving knee, E breaks up the pin. Cesaro drives E into the ring post, then asks for a tag. Gets it, and in he comes to drag Kofi to his feet. Pummels him in the corner. Kofi counters with a Shuriken, goes in for the Trouble In Paradise but Cesaro catches him! Hot Shot! Cesaro grinds Kofi’s neck into the middle rope. Cesaro distracts the ref as Sami comes in with the New Day’s pancake platter, but the ref turns in time to catch him! And now Sami’s been ejected! Big pop for this as always. Kofi ducks a shot, Trouble In Paradise and that is that!
Winners: The New Day
Solid match, little shorter than I’d have liked though. Don’t usually see a match end that quickly after an ejection like that.
Daniel Bryan makes his way out for our final segment of the evening. He briefly recaps what Bray Wyatt said to him earlier. Notes a lot of people giving him unsolicited advice tonight, saying that the Fiend will change him. Maybe the Miz was right, and maybe he needed to be changed. Bryan says when he went against the Fiend at Survivor Series, he was as nervous as he’d ever been because of how the Fiend changed Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. But in the middle of that match, he knew he was changed… not because of the Fiend but because of you. The passion and energy of the crowd made him realize the person he should’ve been this whole time. Crowd breaks out in a huge “Yes” chant.
Bryan notes that on numerous occasions, he’s said that the Yes Movement is dead. But maybe, just maybe… you guys brought it back to life! Big pop! Bryan gets fired up and says “Let me ask you this! Do I accept?!” Big “Yes”! Bryan says it feels incomplete without him doing it too… “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” Funhouse theme hits and Bray appears, all too excited. But he has to admit something, the Miz is right. If you go through with this again, you will change! HE will remove his mask! And it’s only fair because Bryan helped him change. You helped build this place! You remember why, don’t you? Because HE certainly does. Ding! Bray remembers promising all his fireflies a new face tonight! Well he is many things, including a man of his word…
The lights slowly drop! But then burn red. The Fiend pops out from under the ring, starts trying to drag Bryan down the hole, Bryan struggles mightily but gets caught in the Mandible Claw! Fiend drags Bryan into the hole, rips out patches of hair. And then… several more. Is Bryan gonna come out bald here? Or maybe just clean shaven. Chant of “Yowie-wowie” as the laughter loop begins. And that’s our last shot of the night.