SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Roman Reigns was the main event of Hell In A Cell and nobody could possibly convince me different. He faced his cousin Jey Uso in the opening match – an I Quit Hell In A Cell match – and was crowned by his family as the Tribal Chief. That’s what all this has been about! After the match ended the feed apparently cut off because barely anyone seems to be talking about anything else.
Did Tucker turn on Otis? Maybe. Who knows? It’s so hard to tell. Did Jeff Hardy face Elias? I couldn’t even tell you who won that one. What about the long, long, long-awaited match between Sasha Banks and Bayley? Yeah, but did you see the Roman Reigns match though?
This new and improved Roman Reigns is dominating the field. He is one feud in and already the most compelling, most interesting character across all of WWE programming. It’s almost like he’s been sitting backstage, watching Becky Lynch take over the world and thought to himself: “that’s The Man I want to be.”
Hell In A Cell featured two people absolutely going at it. Roman stood tall and dominant for the majority. He whispered sweet nothings, he speared and speared and speared. For the purposes of this column he also totally didn’t miss when he tried to throw the ring steps into the ring. Jey Uso for his part delivered just as strongly. You can tell it’s real because people used their shoot names. Who really knew about the ballad of Josh, Jon and Joe? There is a lot of J in that family.
On SmackDown however, the knife began to twist. Since Roman’s return I’ve been excited to see a badass bad guy faction of Roman, Heyman, The Usos and Naomi. Now, Jey Uso is left with a choice. Will he accept Roman Reigns as his Tribal Chief like the rest of us already have or will he be out of the family for good?
Thanksgiving is pretty close too; being out of the family is a bad move right now.
Roman Reigns opens SmackDown, with an on screen graphic politely reminding us that he forced his cousin to say I Quit at Hell In A Cell. Paul Heyman is in tow, wearing his new “what on Earth have I gotten myself into” Heyman face. As the Thunderdome roared its disapproval (it’s strangely consistent and evenly tempered disapproval) the WWE showed assorted highlights of Jey Uso getting his ass kicked.
I always wonder how wrestlers feel when they’re standing in the ring watching clips that their company have put together of them getting brutalized. Not good? Let’s go with not good.
From here on out it’s clear that Jey Uso is expected to become an “indentured servant.” There are other words for that but I’ll just leave that there. Jey is highly emotional and unwilling to accept his loss but Roman Reigns doesn’t let that play out. He speaks slowly and calmly, almost like he’s whispering in your ear while you gently fall asleep. Just accept it Jey. Just accept Roman Reigns as your Tribal Chief. Maybe he’ll keep talking to you all nice like that. How could you turn that down?
Seriously, Roman makes this whole thing so ASMR sexy, I’m not sure it’s appropriate. It might be the most inappropriate moment on all of Smackdown.
Jey declares his hatred for his Chief. Roman’s cool with it. It’s not just love he offers, it’s unconditional love. Absolutely unconditional. With one condition; Jey has to fall in line. Roman gives him until the end of the night, tosses his Universal Championship over his shoulder, and strides away.
Paul Heyman barely said a word. That’s probably the strongest beat in all of this; that Heyman never gets a word in.
Jey Uso’s night is far from over. He’ll be facing Daniel Bryan in what we can safely assume is the main event of the evening for a place on the Smackdown men’s team for Survivor Series. Doesn’t seem all that important considering the stakes he’s already dealing with, does it?
Daniel Bryan gets the chance to cut a promo before the match and does that Daniel Bryan thing of making everyone look incredible in the space of about twenty seconds. This is one hell of a Smackdown roster, I tell you.
When the match comes, after chants of “Yes” that all operate at the same speed, pitch, volume, and consistency, Jey Uso looks shaken up. Roman Reigns is in his head and, to be fair, Roman Reigns has guided him straight into the main event of Smackdown against Daniel Bryan. Not a bad elevation at all.
In the middle of the match, with Daniel Bryan on offense, Roman Reigns casually saunters down to the ring. As Tribal Chief, he is technically entitled to watch wrestling. Weird, I know. Usually wrestlers are only allowed to actually watch wrestling if they’re backstage watching at a near ninety degree angle. Reigns is able to watch as Jey Uso picks up a win over Daniel Bryan as clean as you like.
Seriously, that’s a very, very big deal for Jey Uso as a singles competitor. We can’t downplay the importance of that victory and a place on the men’s Survivor Series team.
Jey Uso makes his choice. He accepts Roman Reigns as his Tribal Chief. Thanksgiving is important, you know? To display his loyalty, Jey Uso attacks Daniel Bryan further. He understands. He understands now. He understands. Under direction from Roman the attack continues. Much like Seth Rollins took Rey Mysterio’s eye for love, Jey Uso took out Daniel Bryan for love.
There is so much love on Smackdown. So much.