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LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
NOVEMBER 27, 2020
ORLANDO, FL IN WWE THUNDERDOME AT AMWAY CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON FOX NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-The show opened with a thunder crack echoing over a wide shot of the Thunderdome at Amway Center. Michael Cole said the events of Survivor Series looms over the Superstars of Smackdown.
-Jey Uso’s music hit and he headed to the ring. “Depending on how you look at it, this has been a rough week for Jey Uso.” He recounted Jey losing to Daniel Bryan at last week’s Smackdown, and Team Smackdown being swept at Survivor Series. Corey Graves pointed out that Jey ended Survivor Series in a “big way.”
Jey Uso said everyone’s talking about The Undertaker coming out of Survivor Series, but they should be talking about the Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. He said Drew McIntyre is no pushover. “He beat Brock Lesnar, he beat Randy Orton, but he didn’t my cousin.” Jey said Drew will always be number two. He went on to begin a glowing introduction of Roman Reigns, but was cut off by the champion’s music.
Roman Reigns appeared on stage, flanked by Paul Heyman. He ran a hand down his “Heat of the Table” shirt and held up the Universal title. Cole heaped praise on Reigns’ match with Drew McIntyre from Survivor Series. Corey Graves said Reigns had the match against McIntyre won on his own, and that Jey simply acted as an insurance policy.
Jey handed Roman his microphone. Reigns turned to the entrance way. “Play it,” he said under his breath. A video package aired covering Roman’s warning to Jey about Survivor Series, the subsequent clean sweep by Raw, and Reigns’ victory over McIntyre later in the night with help from Jey.
Following the video, Reigns circled Jey in the ring. He said he told Jey to leave after his Survivor Series match. “But you didn’t,” Reigns added. He said he never told Jey he needed help to defeat Drew McIntyre. He asked Jey why his team lost. Jey said the rest of the team wouldn’t listen to him. Reigns said it’s because they don’t fear him. “They don’t fear you because they don’t respect you.” He said if they don’t respect Jey, “they don’t respect us. Then who are we?”
Reigns said Jey must think he’s “some bitch” in the locker room begging for Thanksgiving leftovers. He asked how the locker room must look at Jey, how their family looks at him, how his own kids look at him. Jey looked flustered. Reigns raised his voice, “Is that how you feel about me?”
Roman said Jey is making him feel that way because of his failures. “I don’t like the way you’re making me feel.” He dropped the microphone and left the ring, turning back to give Jey an angry glare. Jey wiped his eyes and tried to compose himself. He sighed deeply and left the ring in disgrace.
-Michael Cole and Corey Graves teased Otis vs. King Corbin, coming up next. Otis’ music hit. He and Jey Uso crossed paths. Jey walked to the back, head down. When Otis reached the bottom of the ramp, Jey attacked him from behind with a steel chair. He bashed Otis repeatedly and violently. Jey cracked the chair over Otis’ shoulder, then his back, then his stomach. He screamed to no one in particular, seemingly trying to address Roman Reigns. Officials spilled from the back to force him away as the show went to break.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Great segment. This is exactly the sort of response I expected to hear out of Reigns following the events of Survivor Series and it didn’t let le down. Reigns, and by extension, Jey Uso, are on a level all to themselves right now. Reigns’ confidence and arrogance is wildly entertaining. Jey Uso’s puppy dog obedience and subsequent distress when he’s scolded is brilliantly acted. This has been a hit every single week and I’m constantly intrigued to see where it goes next.)
-The show returned with a recap of Jey’s brutal attack on Otis. During the commercial, Otis was helped to the back by officials and Chad Gable.
-Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode headed to the ring, carrying microphones. Ziggler said he feels bad for Otis, having finally woken from his Thanksgiving coma only to get beaten down. They cracked jokes about him sitting in catering, then turned their attention to the Street Profits. Roode said they want the Smackdown Tag Team titles.
The Street Profits headed to the ring with a sea of red solo cups. Angelo Dawkins said it’s not cool to impersonate them. Montez Ford told Angelo to “pay no mind,” saying they have plenty to be thankful for, like their match with New Day at Survivor Series. He said now they get to kick off Smackdown with a match against Robert Roode and…HBK? Angelo Dawkins corrected him, explaining it’s actually Dolph Ziggler. They launched into their catchphrase.
(1) DOLPH ZIGGLER & ROBERT ROODE vs. THE STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)
Angelo Dawkins and Dolph Ziggler locked up in the center. Dawkins wrestled Ziggler to the corner and tagged in Montez Ford. Ziggler tagged in Robert Roode. Ford hit a quick dropkick then tagged Dawkins back in. Dawkins clotheslined Roode over the top rope, but was then attacked from behind by Ziggler.
Dolph went to dive through the middle rope, but got caught with a right hand from Dawkins. Angelo tagged in Montez Ford, who climbed to the top rope, setting up for a frog splash. Ziggler rolled out of the way. Cole sent the show to commercial.
Ziggler kicked Ford and tagged in Roode when the show returned from break. Roode gave Ford a backbreaker and covered for a two count. Roode applied a modified abdominal stretch and drove his elbow into the ribs of Montez Ford. Cole said Roode and Ziggler and upset that The Street Profits traded their titles with New Day.
Roode tagged in Ziggler, who immediately hit Ford with a Famouser. Dolph covered, but Dawkins broke up the pn. While the referee forced Angelo back to his corner, Dolph raked the eyes of Montez. Ziggler tossed Ford into the corner and went for a bronco buster, but Ford moved.
Both men crawled to their respective corners. Both tagged out. Angelo Dawkins hit Roode with a pair of clotheslines, then a spinning elbow. He scooped Ziggler into a flapjack, then an overhead throw on Roode. He followed up with a running bulldog on Roode and double underhook spinning neckbreaker on Ziggler. Roode hit the Anointment on Roode, then tagged in Ford, who hit the big splash and covered. Ziggler broke up the count.
Ziggler gave Ford a super kick. Roode rolled him up for a surprise three count.
WINNERS: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in 8:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Decent match, but here we go again with the tired, weak, predictable booking in the tag team division. There seems to be no way for them to determine number one contenders outside of having the eventual challengers just pin the title holders, usually cleanly. The Street Profits are coming off arguably the biggest win of their career, defeating New Day and unofficially getting the “torch passed.” It’s ridiculous to think that they’d then lose everything they gained in that match just days later by losing to a team that just…loses most of their matches. It’s perfectly fine if they want to move Roode and Ziggler into position to challenge the Street Profits, but this is not the way to do it. Give them a few victories against lesser teams. Hell, that should have started a couple of weeks ago. Then, give them a number one contender’s match to move them into position. It’s not that hard.)
-Kayla Braxton welcomed Daniel Bryan to the interview set backstage. She asked about his strategy going into his match with Sami Zayn later tonight. Bryan said his strategy is acceptance. He said he’s accepting that Jey Uso has a devil on his shoulder and is more dangerous than he’s ever been. He’s also accepted that Sami Zayn is more delusional than ever, believing everyone is out to get him. Bryan said he’s not out to get Zayn, but he is out to get his Intercontinental Championship. He said after he beat shim tonight, he’ll be one step closer.
-Out of the break, Kayla Braxton welcomed Rey, Dominick, and Aaliyah Mysterio and Murphy. She asked if the Seth Rollins chapter of their lives is finally over. Rey, no longer sporting an eye patch, said it’s hard to look past the things Seth has done, but they have plenty of things to be thankful for.
Rey said he’s excited to see his son’s career kick off, his daughter become a confident, independent woman, and for Murphy to finally realize that he was no one’s disciple.
Mysterio was cut off by King Corbin. He belittled Rey’s one with over Seth Rollins and said Murphy is riding on the coattails of the Mysterio name while it’s still worth something.
-Michael Cole and Corey Graves tossed to a recap of the Undertaker’s farewell celebration from Survivor Series. A long “Thank You Taker” chant played over sweeping shots of the fan filled LED boards followed.
-Sami Zayn headed to the ring. Cole called him delusional and said he’d face Daniel Bryan after the break.
-Zayn was already talking when the show returned from break. He said he shouldn’t be asked the day after a holiday, even though he doesn’t respect Thanksgiving. He said it’s a day that dishonors indigenous people while simultaneously allowing gluttons to stuff their faces with factory processed turkey.
Sami admonished Bryan for failing to capture the Intercontinental title when he had his change at WrestleMania. He said Bryan, and the company, are trying to sabotage him. Daniel Bryan’s music cut him off. Bryan headed to the ring.
(2) SAMI ZAYN vs. DANIEL BRYAN
Daniel Bryan tried to lock up with Sami Zayn, but Sami retreated to the corner and asked the referee to “get Bryan back” to the center. Sami stepped into a lock up and Bryan took him down, manipulating his hand and joints. Sami rolled to the ropes. Bryan stepped on Sami’s hair, which drew complaint from the Intercontinental champion.
Bryan gave Sami a shoulder tackle. Sami rolled to the apron to catch his breath. He returned to lock up with Bryan again, this time getting the better of a takedown attempt. Bryan rolled through it and gave Sami a knee to the ribs. He torqued Sami’s arm and applied pressure using his own body weight. Sami broke the hold and rose to his feet, but Bryan caught him with a dropkick for a quick two count.
Sami managed to catch Bryan with a kick to the face. He tossed him to the outside. Bryan returned to the ring after a count of six and was immediately attacked by Zayn. Sami tossed Bryan to the outside a second time and followed him to the floor. He slammed Bryan’s head into the barricade, then tossed him back in the ring. Sami climbed to the top rope, but Bryan rushed to meet him. He set Sami up for a superplex, but Zayn knocked him down with a headbutt. Bryan recovered quickly and charged at Zayn, dropkicking him clear off the turnbuckle and all the way onto the floor. Bryan leapt onto the top rope and dove to the outside, but Zayn sidestepped him. Bryan plunged awkwardly into the barricade. The show cut to commercial.
Zayn covered Bryan three times for two counts when the show returned from commercial. Bryan retreated to the corner and Zayn stayed on the attack. He shot Bryan to the corner, but DB flipped over him and hit a running clothesline. Bryan set Zayn up on the top turnbuckle and hit a hurricanrana for a near fall.
Bryan worked over Sami’s arm, twisting it over his shoulder repeatedly. He set up for the Yes kicks as the second hour of the show began, but Zayn rolled to the apron. He lured Bryan toward him and raked his eyes, then shoved him into the turnbuckle. Zayn followed up with a brutal looking brain buster on the edge of the ring.
Bryan barely answered the referee’s count of ten, returning at nine. Zayn immediately hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Zayn kicked at Bryan, pulled his hair and said “you’re not better than me.” He went for another Blue Thunder Bomb, but Bryan rolled through it and grabbed an armbar. Zayn prevented Bryan from locking his hands, but Bryan rolled him over into the Yes Lock. Zayn fought toward the rope and finally reached them, breaking the hold.
Sami rolled to the outside in retreat. Bryan dove through the middle rope on Zayn. Sami returned to the ring and rolled out the other side. Bryan dove through the opposite end onto Sami again. Sami ran up the ramp and to the back. Bryan followed. Suddenly, Zayn returned, answering the referee’s count at nine. Bryan was counted out.
WINNER: Sami Zayn by countout in 13:00
The camera cut backstage to show Jey Uso on top of Daniel Bryan, punching him mercilessly. Kevin Owens intervened, pulling Jey Uso away. Jey took off. Kevin told referees to check on Bryan and make sure he’s okay. “I’m going where he’s going,” Owens said. He took off to find Jey.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Really good match. Bryan and Zayn are so good. While I typically don’t like this type of finish, especially in a longer match like this, it makes sense for a number of reasons. Zayn gets a smart, sensical count out finish that makes him look smart, albeit a little cowardly. Daniel Bryan gets protected, having had the clear advantage over Zayn and seeming like the clear favorite to win the match until he was attacked by Jey Uso. This keeps Bryan in the Intercontinental title picture, furthers along his budding rivalry with both Zayn and Jey Uso, continues to sell Uso as a loose cannon, desperate for approval from his cousin, and it puts Kevin Owens in a favorable light, coming to the aid of fellow good guy, Daniel Bryan. This is the kind of multi-layered story telling that WWE often fails to hit on. They hit here.)
-Kevin Owens approached Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and Jey Uso backstage when the show returned from break. He said if Roman wants to sit at the head of his table, that’s fine, but now he’s getting in other people’s heads. “For someone who talks about family so much, you sure treat yours like trash,” Owens said. He walked off.
Roman turned to Jey Uso. He said Kevin Owens doesn’t look at him with fear and told Jey to fix that.
-Back in the Thunderdome, Natalya was already in the ring. Bianca Belair followed. Cole and Graves talked up her performance at Survivor Series.
Bayley’s music hit and she walked to the ring, clapping for both women in the ring and saying she came to watch. She joined Cole and Graves on commentary.
(3) NATALYA vs. BIANCA BELAIR
Bianca Belair leapfrogged multiple clothesline attempts from Natalya then rolled her up for a quick two count. Natalya whipped Belair into the corner, but Bianca backflipped out. Natalya tossed her shoulder first into the turnbuckle, then kicked at her in the corner.
Natalya smothered Belair in the corner. Bianca shoved her away to create separation. Natalya hit a quick suplex, then went for a second, but Belair blocked it. Natalya hit a quick clothesline and covered for a two count. Bayley said she’s impressed by both women, despite them not being quite as consistent or good as her.
Nattie turned Bianca over into the Mexican Stretch. Belair forced her weight down into a double cover, both women getting shoulders up at two. Belair drove her shoulder into Natalya, cornering her. Nattie elbowed out and went for a spinning clothesline. Bianca blocked it, deadlifted Nattie and dumped her to the outside.
Belair followed Nattie to the outside and jawed with Bayley. She went to punch Natalya, but Nattie ducked, causing Belair to punch Bayley clean in the face. Nattie tossed Belair into the ring and tried to apply the Sharpshooter. Bayley leapt onto the apron. Belair kicked Natalya into Bayley, knocking her to the floor. Bianca rolled Natalya up for a three count.
WINNER: Bianca Belair in 3:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: I’m not a huge fan of Bianca Belair getting a quick roll up win, given how dominant she’s looked lately and how little seriousness has been devoted to Natalya in recent months. I just don’t see the benefit to protecting her here. In any case, this served its purpose, which was to set up the upcoming feud between Belair and Bayley.)
-Murphy came to the ring, accompanied by the Mysterio family. Cole said he’d face King Corbin next. Graves said it won’t be a fair fight at all with all the Mysterios at ringside.
King Corbin walked to the ring following the commercial break. Michael Cole recapped Jey Uso’s attack on Otis earlier in the night, who had been scheduled to face Corbin toward the beginning of the show.
(4) MURPHY (w/ Rey, Dominick, & Aaliyah Mysterio) vs. KING CORBIN
King Corbin and Murphy locked up. Murphy grabbed a waist lock, but Corbin backed him into the corner. Dominick Mysterio quickly jumped on the apron, much to the chagrin of Corey Graves. Corbin scared him off and Murphy rolled up Corbin for a two count.
Dominick leapt onto the apron again, followed by Rey Mysterio. Corbin beat down Murphy and yelled at the Mysterios in frustration. Corbin dropped Murphy and went for his slide through clothesline, but Aaliyah stepped in his face. Corbin was distracted long enough for Murphy to leap onto him, then toss him into the steel steps.
Murphy climbed to the top rope and jumped, but Corbin moved. King Corbin hit the Deep Six, but Mysterio quickly jumped on the apron. Corbin grew increasingly frustrated. He mounted Murphy and punched him repeatedly, but was again distracted by Dominick on the apron. Corbin continued his beat down.
Murphy finally managed to hit a pump knee strike after Dominick grabbed Corbin’s leg. Murphy covered Corbin, but Corbin got his foot on the ropes. Dominick pushed the foot off, leading to a three count.
WINNER: Murphy in 5:00
Corbin asked for a microphone. “This is outrageous!” he screamed, “it was 4 on 1!” He said he should’ve expected nothing less from the Mysterio family and called them spineless cowards. He requested a rematch against Murphy on next week’s show and said next time, he’ll be prepared.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Oh man, this was bad. How does this help anyone? Murphy, a babyface, looks like a cheater who can’t beat perennial loser King Corbin without a ridiculous amount of help. The Mysterio family looks spiteful and heelish. King Corbin, perhaps the most unlikeable character on the entire roster, has a real, legitimate gripe that makes a whole lot of sense. That shouldn’t happen. This shouldn’t have happened. Everyone came out of this segment worse off than when they came in.)
-Cole announced Jey Uso vs. Kevin Owens for later in the night, following a conversation backstage between Adam Pearce and Paul Heyman.
-Big E and Apollo Crews were shown horsing around backstage. They were interrupted by Sami Zayn. Zayn said he beat Daniel Bryan in “ten seconds”, which is similar to the win he scored on Apollo a few weeks ago. Crews walked off. Big E said Zayn built his house on a squeaky foundation. He said Sami’s margin of victory is incredibly thin, and it won’t take more than a flick or a gust of wind to topple his house of cards.
Zayn said he thought Big E was different than everyone else, but now he’s just coming off like sour grapes. Zayn said he’s in the middle of a historic title reign, and Big E hasn’t held the title in many, many years, “in a reign that was honestly forgettable.” Big E grabbed Sami’s hand and squeezed, counting to ten and increasing his grip with each number. In the background, Kayla Braxton asked Sami if he’d still like to do his interview. “No!” he barked.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Sami Zayn was really good here, but I continue to be perplexed by the handling of Big E. He doesn’t wrestle, he’s coming off as a complete comedic goof, perhaps even more than he did in New Day. There’s no seriousness. There’s no character pivot. There’s nothing main event about what’s happening with him, and each week we get further and further from him feeling like a viable contender in the future.)
-At the announcers desk, Billie Kay sat between Cole and Graves. She said her resume lists an extensive background in talking and offered to take over.
-Carmella narrated a brief recap of her various attacks on Sasha Banks over the last several weeks. She said she once catered to the fans, dancing for their amusement, and she lost herself. She said she no longer does anything for anyone but herself. “I call the shots, I make the orders, and everyone else jumps for me.” She snapped her fingers. A hand reached onscreen with a champagne class. The arm turned to reveal the “BOSS” knuckles.
Sasha Banks tossed the glass of champagne in Carmella’s face and attacked. She threw her off the chair and stomped at her before before officials stepped in.
-Kevin Owens headed to the ring for his match with Jey Uso.
-Corey Graves teased tomorrow’s episode of Talking Smack, featuring Kevin Owens, Bianca Belair, Dolph Ziggler, and Robert Roode.
-Jey Uso walked to the ring, head hung low. Cole said the best word to describe Jey is “confused.” They recapped Jey’s pair of attacks from earlier in the show. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown watching on a monitor backstage.
(5) KEVIN OWENS vs. JEY USO
Jey Uso immediately backed Kevin Owens into the corner, but Owens fought out, dropped Jey and tossed him to the outside. Kevin followed Jey to the floor and tossed him into the barricade. He rolled Jey back in the ring and stomped him repeatedly. Jey cowered into the corner and covered his face. Owens kicked at him, then tossed him back outside.
Jey countered Owens’ Irish whip into the steel steps, buying himself some breathing room. He tossed Owens back inside after a moment and mounted him, throwing a pack of right hands. Jey hooked Owens’ arm in the bottom rope and pulled at it violently. The referee forced him to break.
Owens caught Jey with a right hand then a clothesline after returning to his feet. Jey rolled into the corner and lured Owens in, pulling him into the ring post. Owens fell to the outside. Jey went for a suicide dive, but Owens caught him and launched him into the post. Owens hit a super kick, sending Jey over the barricade. Cole sent the show to commercial.
KO hit a rolling senton off the apron onto Jey Uso on the floor when the show returned from break. He tossed Jey inside and covered him for a near fall. Jey managed to hang up Owens’ arm in the rope, followed by an arm breaker to regain momentum. He stomped at Owens’ newly weakened arm. Jey grabbed an arm hold. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman continued to watch backstage.
Jey slammed Owens into the mat and broke his hold. Owens pulled himself to the corner. Jey charged, but Owens shot up and kicked Jey in the face. He chopped Jey into the rope, still favoring his arm. Owens went for the pop up power bomb, but his arm gave out. Jey hit a super kick for a near fall.
Uso climbed to the top rope. Owens rose to meet him. Jey hit multiple headbutts to Owens’ injured arm. Owens fell to the mat. Jey went for the splash, but Owens got his knees up. He secured Jey and hit a package sit out slam for a near fall, failing to hook the leg. Jey recovered and sent Owens flying, shoulder first, into the ring post.
Jey grabbed a chair. He hit Owens over the back with it, causing the disqualification.
WINNER: Kevin Owens by disqualification in 12:00
Jey slammed the chair into Owens’ back again. Jey went outside to tear apart the announcers desk. When he returned, Owens caught him with a surprise stunner. Jey rolled to the outside. Owens tossed him over the desk and grabbed a chair of his own. He cracked it over Jey’s back repeatedly. KO looked into the camera. “Where are you Roman? This is what’s happening to your family. You want people to fear you? I fear no one!” Owens screamed. He hit Jey over and over.
“…Including you,” Owens added. Roman was shown watching backstage. He scowled. Owens shook with rage. He turned to the camera again. “Roman, if you’ve got a problem with me, come say it to my face.” He called himself the head of this table. He gave Jey another stunner.
Owens left the ring, pulled Corey Graves’ chair to the head of the announcers desk, and sat down. “Where are you?” he asked Roman, “I’ll be waiting.”
The camera cut to Roman backstage, seething. It zoomed in on his face as his lip turned in a fit of rage. The show faded to black.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Well, well, well. There’s the kind of serious, momentum building turn I was hoping to see out of Kevin Owens. He’s been fantastic playing the moral compass of Smackdown, especially in acknowledging his previous mistakes. The match with Jey was good, and while I don’t like a second long match on the show ending with a wonky finish, I’m willing to forgive because of how good the storytelling surrounding it all is. Jey’s hubris, plus the direction of Roman, led him to sacrifice a potential win in favor of injuring Owens. It backfired, and he got embarrassed, thus embarrassing Reigns by proxy. Roman’s facial expressions backstage were excellent. Paul Heyman’s concern was palpable. Kevin Owens challenging Reigns to come at him and taking a seat at the head of the proverbial table was an excellent way to close the show.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A solid show bookended by the continued excellent storytelling benefiting the Roman Reigns and Jey Uso characters. Jey Uso’s descent into madness was weaved throughout multiple segments, telling a logical story and leading from one segment to the next. There was some outright bad stuff here – the tag team title situation is monotonous and lazy, and the Corbin vs. Murphy match was entirely counterproductive, but beyond that, this show did a lot despite failing to announce anything concrete for TLC.