SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
NOVEMBER 20, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN THE AMWAY CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- Drew McIntyre arrived to confront Universal Champion Roman Reigns ahead of his challenge to Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. He went on to defeat Jey Uso in the main event. Here’s Drew in a WWE exclusive:
- Sami Zayn defeated Apollo Crews via count out to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
- Carmella attacked Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks during a promo after retained the title over Bayley in the previous week. Bayley was on her way out when Carmella made the attack.
- Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler. Later, Chad Gable suggested Otis join his Alpha Academy, a callback of sorts to Gable’s team of American Alpha with Jason Jordan.
- Rey Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins. I’ll expand on this later in the report.
- Liv Morgan defeated Natalya, Chelsea Green, and Tamina to qualify for team Smackdown at Survivor Series. Chelsea was injured during the match. WWE followed up with an update on their website saying she has a broken left wrist. Here’s WWE exclusives with Liv & Ruby Riott as well as Natalya:
- Big E suggested to the Smackdown Tag Team Champion Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) that they were “New Day Lite.”
Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s edition of Smackdown will be the last before Survivor Series, which is being billed as “Best of the Best” this year. There’s one more spot on the men’s Smackdown team which currently consists of Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, King Corbin, and Seth Rollins. There are two more spots on the women’s team which currently has Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, and Liv Morgan. We now know that Universal Champion Roman Reigns will face new WWE Champion Drew McIntyre because of Drew defeating Randy Orton this past Monday night.
Last week we learned that Seth Rollins will face former disciple Murphy tonight. Here’s what else is advertised:
- Daniel Bryan returns to Smackdown to get retribution on Jey Uso.
- WWE Championship vs. Universal Championship Survivor Series Contract Signing.
Murphy vs. Seth Rollins
It has been a long run with many twists and turns for Seth Rollins, Murphy, and Rey Mysterio & his family. It started with Rollins shoving Rey’s eye into the ring stairs several months ago. He then defeated him in an Eye for an Eye match at Extreme Rules. Rey’s son Dominik got involved and lost a match to Rollins at SummerSlam, but then Rey & Dominik defeated Rollins and his disciple Muprhy at Payback. Fast forward to more recent events where everyone was moved from Raw to Smackdown and Aalyah, Rey’s daughter, became romantically involved with Murphy. The Mysterio’s didn’t accept Murphy right away and so he realigned with Rollins and splitting off from him several weeks ago. Last week, he double-crossed Rollins and helped Rey defeat Rollins in No Holds Barred Match that was billed as the “end of the line.” Afterwards, Murphy and Rey shook hands and the Mysterio’s finally accepted him and his involvement with Aalyah. Here’s Rey and his family in a WWE exclusive:
Later, Rollins approached WWE official Adam Pearce telling him he was done with Rey (thank God) but wanted a chance to get back at Murphy. That match was announced later in the show, and it takes place tonight. Murphy aligned with Rollins last year on Raw after Rollins turned on Kevin Owens. They briefly held the Raw Tag Team Championship. This feud with the Mysterios was their undoing. This is not their first match. They went at it several weeks ago on Smackdown:
Frank’s Analysis: This will be a good match, but I’m not sure the plans for Murphy as a babyface. Don’t get me wrong as I’m a fan of his work, but I think he’ll be mid card at best which is fine. People have to fill out the show up and down the card, right? Working with Rollins won’t give him “the rub,” elevating him to main event status. I could be wrong.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso
On the Smackdown episode following Hell in a Cell where Jey Uso lost a Universal Championship Hell in a Cell I Quit match to his cousin Roman Reigns, he took on Daniel Bryan in a Survivor Series qualifying match. Jey ended up defeating Bryan, but the story came afterwards where he told Roman “I understand now” and “I’m with you,” beginning his alliance with his cousin and acknowledging him as the tribal chief. He attacked Bryan under orders from Roman, telling Jey to “make him understand.” Bryan was carried out on a stretcher and hasn’t been heard from since. (Bryan is working a lighter schedule so this was designed to write him off TV for a few weeks.)
Tonight, Bryan returns to get a measure of revenge on Jey as Jey moves on to be a part of team Smackdown for Survivor Series. Here’s a WWE exclusive clip, which was included on a previous primer, showing what happened after Smackdown went off the air the night Jey beat Bryan.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) October 31, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: It’s still interesting to see Bryan’s involvement in this situation. My guess is he’s the next program for Roman. Having Jey beat him was eye-opening, but the attack afterwards indicated to me that they might want to move Bryan into a feud over the title, perhaps having a match at TLC or the Royal Rumble.
Contract Signing: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Universal Champion Roman Reigns Sign Contract for their Non-Title Match This Sunday at Survivor Series
Drew made a surprise appearance on Smackdown and confronted Roman Reigns. He claimed that he would defeat Randy Orton for the WWE Championship on Raw, which he ended up doing this past Monday on Raw and would be facing Roman at Survivor Series. He somewhat acknowledged their history, and said he made Paul Heyman’s last client (Brock Lesnar) his “bitch” at WrestleMania. Roman said he liked him, but nobody watches Raw because everyone is watching him on Smackdown. Later Jey would come out and issue the challenge to Drew.
Tonight, Drew and Roman sign the contract for their match. Drew is in his second reign as WWE Champion after regaining the title this past Monday.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t have much to say about a contract signing, since we’ve seen so many of them. I’m genuinely concerned about this match coming up not just because of the short build, but because these are two guys that could potentially be the top stars of the company for many years. I think you can tell a better long-term story by Roman winning clean, and Drew getting a win back down the line at a WrestleMania or a big show like that. You want Roman’s heel character to be strong and getting a clean win over a big star would go a long way of doing that. Doing some interference or crap finish would cheapen this match and doesn’t do the winner any favors (if there’s a winner).
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
I’m sure they’ll wrap up the Survivor Series teams by adding the missing participants, unless they want to do some sort of surprise on the men’s side with one spot open. Rhea Ripley just lost to Io Shirai clean on NXT in a match for the championship, so perhaps Ripley is headed to Smackdown? I think she works better on Raw, but we’ll see. Other than that, look for follow up on Chad Gable and Otis’ interaction, what’s next for Lars Sullivan after the sit-down interviews, and where things are headed with Sasha Banks and Carmella. It sure looks like they’re headed for a title match, but it doesn’t look like Bayley is completely out of the picture. There are a lot of balls in the air, so I expect a newsworthy episode.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!