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WWE Smackdown is not solely about Roman Reigns. I know; I was shocked too!
Regular readers of these pages might be confused at this given that Roman Reigns has been known to take up two, three, or even fourteen segments a night, but every now and then Roman is not the major talking point. Sometimes even when he’s not the main talking point, such as recently with Jey Uso getting more airtime, in-ring time, and attention, he’s still the major talking point. Not this time.
Smackdown opened with a tribute to Pat Patterson, who sadly died this week. I never knew Pat Patterson or really saw him at his peak. I came to wrestling late in his career and my main memories are of Patterson the stooge. The evening gown matches and the insanely overacted facial expressions. You know what? I loved watching him and Gerald Brisco tear apart the Mean Street Posse back in the day. Those were good times that will live with me forever.
When I started working in the wrestling media field I would hear his name. I’d hear how he booked Royal Rumbles so that everyone had a moment to themselves of some sort. I’d be regaled by William Regal on topics so very varied. William Regal can really talk and I have long recordings. WWE wrestlers – and in fact wrestlers for all different companies – have all come out and said how much they loved Pat Patterson and the support they felt from him. He was loved. He was so very loved.
RIP Pat Patterson. I missed the run at the top but man nobody put a smile on my face like you.
— Tom Colohue (@Colohue) December 2, 2020
Smackdown started with that tribute. Its stars were carefully arranged on the stage with the big names and top guys on the front row. Roman Reigns, Gerald Brisco, Sasha Banks, and Vince McMahon in the middle. Roman and Sasha is the customary center-pairing for moments such as these. Baron Corbin and Rey Mysterio on the far sides. Aalyah Mysterio in a prominent position, of course. Her Instagram be popping. Yes, thank you, I’m very down with the kids.
Michael Cole delivers the tribute while the Thunderdome behind him shouts and claps into the ether. Maybe turn them off for that one? Panning over a “chanting” ThunderDome audience “Thank you, Pat!” also didn’t really work out. Didn’t quite stick the landing, WWE but bless you for trying.
From there we get to the part of the night that’s all about Roman Reigns: the middle two hours of Smackdown. Kayla Braxton invites Roman down to the ring for an exclusive interview. Braxton doesn’t read the room and wears red. Doesn’t she know about brand supremacy? That’s not just a thing for Survivor Series, you know?
Corey Graves calls Jey Uso a bad, bad man. Rikishi will be very, very happy to have people bring up that period of his career, for sure. Remember when he cost The Rock the championship and got “chokeslammed” off of the Hell in a Cell by The Undertaker?
Paul Heyman is now using the phrase “Reignsing” to prefer to Roman’s championship reign. Or, should I say his championship reigns? No. He has one title; that would be silly. Maybe Heyman is just preparing us for the inevitable Universal, Intercontinental, and Women’s championship run at the top for Roman. He’s earned it. We get a full hype package because, as the WWE knows, nobody watched last week apparently. Being fair, it’s a real high point for Kevin Owens. This feud is seriously going places.
It’s looking like Reigns vs. Owens for TLC followed by Reigns vs. Bryan at the Royal Rumble. Is it just me or has the WWE worked extremely hard to make sure that Daniel Bryan isn’t in the Royal Rumble match? Not for the first time.
Paul Heyman puts recent good ratings down to Jey Uso. I think we’ve all been putting them down to sexy Roman Reigns and his deep, quiet voice. That’s what I’ve been tuning in for. Kevin Owens makes his entrance, challenging Roman Reigns early despite knowing that there’s a tag match coming. Owens looks to formalize their TLC main event match.
Look back a few years at these two in a no DQ title match at the Royal Rumble and you’ll know how excited I am for this one. Owens builds things. He’s a builder. Give him some tables, some ladders, and some chairs and he’ll build you a house. He’ll then powerbomb you straight through it. He’s nice like that. Meanwhile, Roman right now is just an absolute bruiser. He stands tall and shouts down. Basically, this is going to be brutal and I am very, very here for it.
Smackdown is a bit all over the place. Natalya makes Bayley tap out. Big E has some new entrance presentation but is still unquestionably Big E. We see the exciting new team of Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and Shinsuke Nakamura that is almost guaranteed to never be mentioned again. Ziggler and Bryan have a great little mini-match in the middle of that one (which was a lot of fun, by the way). Dominik Mysterio wears clothes. Look, I know that joke doesn’t sound like it’s to my usual standard, but it’s how he wears them.
Kevin Owens has a promo in the middle of the show which is beautifully high quality. He shows he’s learning from his past and also that interruptions do not phase him. Otis also cuts a promo. An actual promo. He never used to cut promos, he just used to make some noises and call that a sentence. Things sure are changing over on the blue brand recently.
In the hashtag main event featuring main event Jey Uso, Roman Reigns doesn’t turn up initially. This isn’t unusual any more; Roman does what he wants. The fact that Jey Uso is actually surprised seems the biggest surprise to me. He starts off against Otis and I’ve got to say Otis has really toned it down this week. I’m not sure what to make of it. The fact that he still doesn’t seem annoyed by the loss of his girlfriend or his guaranteed championship opportunity is a bit baffling.
Roman comes down to the ring about a minute into the match. I have to wonder as to the point of all that. I swear the WWE read this column. Last week I said that Roman Reigns doesn’t wrestle on Smackdown and here he is wrestling on Smackdown for the first time in forever. Well played, Vince. Well played.
Roman mauls Otis. It’s a bit physical. That leaves this tag match, which started out as two on one, as a two on one tag match. Not sure why Roman doesn’t do that more often. The end result is another very good Owens vs. Uso match with Roman watching on from the sidelines. It’s amazing how often history repeats itself in WWE. Owens is about to win but Roman gets in, locks in his guillotine, and that’s all she wrote.
So Roman Reigns never legally wrestles on Smackdown. So it’s still kind of a thing, right? Kevin Owens is left alone in the middle of the ring with Jey Uso and Roman Reigns both armed with chairs. It goes about as well as expected for the Prizefighter.
If Owens can build a nice Christmassy gingerbread house and then powerbombs Roman through it at TLC, I will be so happy. So, so happy.