SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
NOVEMBER 29, 2019
BIRMINGHAM, AL. AT THE LEGACY ARENA
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
Arena, Top 10 Moments of Last Week’s Show, and Items Advertised by WWE
There are a few certainties as we head into tonight’s WWE Smackdown. Most of us have probably had enough turkey, mashed potatoes, and pies for a week and anticipate going to the gym on Monday. The other is the battle for brand supremacy is behind us now as we continue to head away from Survivor Series and head towards TLC, and of course the holiday season. Tonight’s show emanates from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL. The arena opened in 1976 and has been hosting WWF/E events since 1985. A few WCW Nitro and Thunder (sorry to bring up that show) shows snuck in through the years here as well. This year’s January 15 episode of Smackdown came from this building.
Here is the YouTube clip of the top 10 moments of last week’s show:
We’re essentially “starting over” coming out if Survivor Series month, and thus we’ll start to see in what direction they go on a lot of fronts. We know of one item for tonight, which I’ll touch on briefly. Outside of that we’ll look at the big takes from last week’s show and Survivor Series issues pertinent to Smackdown. TLC may be the next PPV, but it isn’t crazy to start thinking about scenarios for the Royal Rumble as we head towards that as well as WrestleMania season.
Announced Matches & Segments
Bray Wyatt to Debut New Character on the Firefly Funhouse
At Survivor Series, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt retained his WWE Universal Championship by defeating off-and-on rival Daniel Bryan. He did so in the red lightning again, as he did at Crown Jewel defeating Seth Rollins to win the championship. This past Monday on Raw it was announced that Bray would be introducing us to a new character on the Firefly Funhouse.
It’s hard to say if the feud with Bryan is over, and if the Miz still has anything to do with this. The Miz gave Bryan a pep-talk at Survivor Series after they worked a match to a no-contest last week on Smackdown.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t have much to say about a new character on the Firefly Funhouse. I get why some people like it, but I personally could care less. It’s good for a few laughs, but it still doesn’t connect for me to Bray the wrestler. There’s been a lot of good talk on Wade Keller podcasts this week regarding the shelf life and projection of Bray and the Fiend character. My take is it reminds me of when the Undertaker first showed up in WWF in 1990. He spent a lot of time no-selling moves which I just personally could not get into. The Undertaker became a legend as the years went on and had great matches with Batista, Edge, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, etc. There wasn’t any no selling during those days, right? Think about it.
Survivor Series Takeaways
Roman Reigns Sole Survivor/Likely to Continue Feud with King Corbin
In the men’s triple threat match at Survivor Series it came down to former Shield brothers Roman Reigns (Smackdown), Seth Rollins (Raw), and Keith Lee (NXT). Lee eliminated Rollins by hitting a jackhammer, much to the delight of the Chicago crowd. Lee then nearly pinned Reigns after hitting a sit-out power-bomb but fell victim to Reigns’ spear as Reigns walked away the sole survivor. After the match, Reigns offered the Shield fist bump to Lee and he accepted out of respect. Here’s a tweet from Reigns showing more of said respect:
Prior to all of this, Reigns and Smackdown teammate Doofis … I mean King Corbin argued multiple times to the point where Reigns gave Corbin a spear. This allowed Tommaso Ciampa of NXT to pin Corbin and eliminate him. For the past several weeks Corbin and Reigns have been in a feud which has crossed onto WWE Backstage. There have been some moments on Smackdown that we REALLY don’t need to revisit. Last week, Corbin and Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defeated Reigns & Ali & Shorty G before a brawl broke out between all three brands in the run-up to Survivor Series.
Expect follow up on the feud between Reigns and Corbin tonight. Here was a tweet from Reigns talking trash to Corbin before Survivor Series. Also, a WWE exclusive with DX beating up Corbin just as a little treat:
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) November 21, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: You have to figure with TLC around the corner, and the Universal Championship maybe having a chance to be defended in that type of match, you have to figure Reigns and Corbin are penciled in for a TLC go. I don’t think anybody is going to care about that, but at least would be happy to see Corbin get his rear end kicked. You also have to wonder if Reigns is on his path back to the Universal Championship as a result of being the sole survivor at Survivor Series.
Next Up for Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks
In the triple threat women’s Survivor Series match, NXT’s Rhea Ripley defeated Smackdown’s Sasha Banks by hitting Riptide to be the sole survivor. Io Shirai and Candice LeRae (NXT rivals but teammates on this night), whom had been eliminated due to “injury” earlier in the match, came out to help Ripley win the match. It was strange because it placed Sasha Banks in a sympathetic position whereas normally, she’s a heel, and a recently turned heel to boot.
In the main event of Survivor Series, Bayley tapped out to NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler in the triple threat between them and Raw champ Becky Lynch. Before the match Bayley reminded everyone how she has held all single’s women’s championships.
Surely WWE has plans for these two best friends, and we should have a better idea of those plans starting tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: Like it or not, these two women are joined at the hip. We are likely going to see WWE line up a new number one contender for Bayley. Nikki Cross was the most recent challenger but came up short. It didn’t seem like anyone was being positioned for that spot, unless you want to count Lacey Evans pinning Charlotte Flair of Raw after hitting her Woman’s Right. I don’t foresee Sasha moving into that spot. The dynamic of her being the last woman to be eliminated in that match, Bayley being champ and a recently turned heel, and no true strong babyfaces seemingly ready to be the next challenger is interesting to watch. Alexa Bliss is rumored to be returning to the ring soon. WWE could revisit that feud, but now with both women on opposite sides of the ledger.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura with Sami Zayn
Shinsuke Nakamura took the fall from NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong in the triple threat match between them and Raw’s then-U.S. Champion A.J. Styles. Styles hit his Phenomenal Forearm on Nakamura, but Strong got A.J. out of the way and stole the victory.
Last week on Smackdown, Nakamura and Sami Zayn introduced the new Intercontinental Championship belt. WWE did away with the traditional looking title that was brought back many years ago by, hey guess who, Cody Rhodes. The tandem of Nakamura and Zayn has picked up traction recently and with the new belt to show off, I’m guessing this will get some attention tonight. Here’s a tweet from WWE Japan’s Twitter account, one from Nakamura himself, a WWE exclusive with him showing off the new IC belt, as well as a tweet which includes a WWE exclusive with Strong:
— WWE Japan (@WWEJapan) November 25, 2019
Congrats @roderickstrong.but it was just lucky. You'll pay for this soon maybe. @AJStylesOrg, we’re not done yet. Anyway I was standing tall in the ring…. tallest. #SurvivorSeries #RAW #SmackDown #NXT #AnStupidEra
— Shinsuke Nakamura (@ShinsukeN) November 25, 2019
— AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) November 25, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: With everyone going back to their sandbox to play, these feuds won’t continue right away. We’ve been through Nakamura vs. Styles, which didn’t really live up to the hype. Strong and Nakamura has potential, but again we won’t see it right away. WWE will want to make a big deal out of showing off the new-look title and having it defended.
Other Issues to Look for Tonight:
- Who are the next challengers for Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E)? Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode won a tag team battle royal on the kickoff show, so thus they make sense.
- What do they do for the rest of the women on Smackdown? Lacey Evans eliminated Charlotte with a woman’s right at Survivor Series. Nikki Cross, Carmella, and Dana Brooke all were unceremoniously eliminated, and it didn’t seem like any seeds were planted for upcoming feuds.
Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks in triple threat match between Survivor Series captains.
- All of Undisputed Era defeated New Day and Heavy Machinery
- Numerous interactions took place between NXT, Raw, and Smackdown wrestlers. Truthfully there are too many to list.
If you’ve read my primers, you know how happy I am to be past all the brand supremacy silliness. If that’s for you, that’s fine, but you just can’t sell me on this being good in any way. The draft was only a month and a half ago, so I find it hard to believe wrestler would want to be loyal to a brand they’ve been on for all of five minutes in a matter of speaking. Nonetheless, we get back to normal tonight. I anticipate some “maintenance feuds” in the next few weeks here as we head towards the holidays and then get ready for the Royal Rumble. Discussion of who could win, especially this year, will be fun to discuss.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!