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WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
DECEMBER 11, 2020
TAMPA, FL. IN THE THUNDERDOME AT TROPICANA FIELD
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
- A video tribute was given to the recently deceased Pat Patterson, who passed away last Wednesday. The Smackdown roster stood atop the stage, and the 10-bell salute was given.
- Kayla Braxton interviewed Universal Champion Roman Reigns along with his council Paul Heyman and cousin Jey Uso. Kevin Owens interrupted, and challenged Roman to a TLC match for the Universal Championship.
- Natalya defeated Bayley via submission with Bianca Belair on commentary. Here’s Bianca and Bayley backstage in an exclusive:
- Daniel Bryan & Rey Mysterio & Big E defeated Dolph Ziggler & Shinsuke Nakamura & Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn in a Pat Patterson Tribute match feature the current and former IC Champions. After the match Dolph was triple teamed by the babyface opponents. Here’s Daniel Bryan in a WWE exclusive, and also Sgt. Slaughter paying tribute to Patterson:
- Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Carmella did a split-screen “face-to-face.” Carmella said Sasha was jealous because she poured her hear and soul into the business while Carmella walked into WWE on a whim and skyrocketed overnight. Sasha told her she hadn’t been in the ring with a “badder bitch than she.”
- King Corbin defeated Murphy with assistance from a returning Steven Cutler and Wesley Blake.
- Kevin Owens & Otis defeated Roman Reigns & Jey Uso via DQ. After the match Roman beat down Otis and Owens as well as Jey. Roman question Owens as to whether he was trying to break up their family. Here’s a WWE exclusive showing Otis being taken to the back:
Items Advertised by WWE
WWE begins their journey tonight in Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL, the home of the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays. We have six matches set up for TLC coming up on December 20, and they’ll continue to build towards that tonight. Two matches and one segment are set to go:
- Sasha Banks and Carmella to make their SmackDown Women’s Title Match at WWE TLC official.
- Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn to battle Big E.
- SmackDown Tag Team Champion Montez Ford to go one-on-one against Dolph Ziggler.
I will be joining Wade Keller tonight on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post Show covering Smackdown, taking your phone calls and reading your e-mails. Look for the phone number and link to the show in Wade’s Smackdown report tonight.
Contract Signing: Sasha Banks and Carmella
Tonight, Sasha Banks and Carmella will sign the contract for their match at TLC for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Sasha is currently in her first reign holding the Smackdown title (she held the Raw title on five different occasions), and successfully retained the title recently against Bayley after never being able to do so in her previous reigns. Carmella was Smackdown champion back in 2018 after cashing in Money in the Bank on Charlotte Flair after WrestleMania. She held the title until losing it back to Charlotte at SummerSlam in a triple threat match involving Becky Lynch, a match that started the popularity of Becky.
I talked about Sasha and Carmella’s split-screen conversation last week earlier. In addition to what I mentioned, Carmella talked about holding the Smackdown title longer than all of Sasha’s reigns combined and being every man’s desire. She’s the hot chick that will embarrass her and take her title. It’s certainly not Sasha’s first contract signing this year, as she recently had one with Bayley in advance of their Hell in a Cell match a few months ago. The contract signing is a staple of WWE for years.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s hard to come up with anything insightful when we’ve seen so many of these contract signings through the years. Almost every outcome has been done. Last week was rough to watch, but I thought Carmella was better in her role than Sasha was in her’s, and that’s not saying much. Carmella’s character is plain vanilla as a heel, but she plays the role well. Sasha is simply hard to like a babyface, even with Carmella making the comment about her walking into WWE on a whim.
Non-Title Match: Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn vs. Big E
Tonight, Big E takes on Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn in a non-title match. Big E once held the IC title for nearly half of a year from late 2013-2014. He defeated Curtis Axel, then managed by Paul Heyman, and eventually lost it to Bad News Barrett. He soon got involved with New Day, and their history is well documented. He now finds himself in a singles role again with new entrance music we heard last week.
Sami Zayn and Big E had an interaction where Big E shook his hand but squeezed it quite hard for 10 seconds, mocking the count out victory he attained over Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. After a losing effort in a six-man tag last week, Sami will certainly look to get back in the win column tonight and it’ll be interesting to see what slimy tactics he tries.
Frank’s Analysis: If Big E is being lined up for an IC title match, in theory it’d be better to get him some wins and not beat Sami in a non-title match. It’s a tired formula that makes the champion look week. That said, it could be fun to watch and see what tactics Sami uses tonight, and how he tries to get out of a potential match for the title with Big E. He is just a delight to watch. I could see that match being set up at TLC, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a chair, table, or ladder stipulation is thrown into the picture.
Montez Ford vs. Dolph Ziggler
Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler hold a non-title victory over the Smackdown Tag Team Champion Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins). Last week, while the Profits were talking about different happenings on Smackdown, in walked Roode to remind them about that victory. Cesaro then interrupted saying he and Shinsuke Nakamura were the ones deserving a shot at the champions.
Tonight, Ziggler goes one-on-one with Montez in what should be a high-flying affair.
Frank’s Analysis: Given that Cesaro interrupted the conversation I wouldn’t be surprised if all of this leads to a triple threat match for the championship at TLC, and it being on the kickoff show. It’s hard to get excited about much with Ziggler & Roode. I’m more into Cesaro & Nakamura being opponents for the Profits, but it doesn’t matter to me either way.
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
The stories atop Smackdown remain strong. Even though I think they’re shoehorning Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens into a TLC match, both characters are strong enough to pull it off and at least there’s history between them (not that WWE would refer to it or anything). I can’t wait to see what Sami Zayn does on a weekly basis, and I’m curious about what’s in store for the women’s division. I look forward to joining Wade on the post show tonight and talking to you, the Torch audience.
Look for my VIP show WWE Then and Now to drop sometime today. Pro Wrestling Torch columnist Greg Parks and I went over two hours discussing TLC 2009 match by match, and the young characters at the time who were a big part of that show and are still with us today (Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston). We then did an overview of the major stories of TLC 2019, and much more! If you’re not a Torch VIP member, I encourage you to become one!
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!