It’s another Friday evening, which means there is another episode of Friday’s greatest broadcast, WWE Smackdown! What’s on tap for this one? Specifically, a gauntlet match to determine the next number one contender for “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reign’s Universal Championship. King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, and Rey Mysterio will compete in a match to determine who is next line line! Let’s take a look at the match results and happenings for this week’s episode!

Roman Reigns/Paul Heyman In-Ring Promo
In short, Heyman and Reigns blame Adam Pearce for what happened to Kevin Owens last week, and they both want Pearce to explain himself. They claim they are doing their job, but Pearce isn’t doing his by not protecting WWE talent. Roman has an issue with the gauntlet match, as he was not given the opportunity to choose his own opponent, which indirectly means Pearce thinks Roman isn’t intelligent. The back and forth between Roman/Heyman and Pearce continues (for over 15 minutes) with the end coming after Reigns shoves down Pearce.

WWE Intercontinental Match: Champion Big E defeated Apollo Crews
Very competitive match between two very impressive WWE athletes, which saw Crews more than once almost capture Intercontinental gold. In the end, Big E won with the Big Ending, retaining his title.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler defeat The Street Profits
Early on, the match is centered around the fact that Montez Ford has been injured as of late. Great tag team action between the two teams, with Ziggler and Roode dominating the early and middle portion of the match. A hot tag to Ford turns the tables, with The Street Profits, but is stopped quickly by Ziggler. The end comes after a double team Zig Zag combination move, giving the win to Roode and Ziggler! We have new Smackdown tag team champions!

Adam Pearce/Paul Heyman Backstage
Heyman approaches Pearce backstage, and lectures him about their histories. He claims that despite his accomplishments, that Pearce was never at the top and that he envisioned Pearce as a world champion, not a backstage producer. Heyman states that courtesy of Roman Reigns, Adam Pearce is now in the gauntlet match to determine the next number one contender to Roman Reigns!

Gauntlet Match to Determine the Next Number One Contender to Roman Reigns
Rey Mysterio defeats Sami Zayn
Shinsuke Nakamura pins Rey Mysterio
Shinsuke Nakamura pins King Corbin
Shinsuke Nakamura pins Daniel Bryan
(Nakamura and Bryan shake hands afterwards, in a sign of respect between the two!)

Heyman, Jey Uso and the Universal Champion then hit the stage, to set up the final match between Nakamura and…..Adam Pearce?
Once Pearce makes his way to the ring, Reigns and Uso hit the ring to beat up Nakamura. Once the beating is over, Reigns throws Pearce in the ring. After a superkick by Jey Uso, Roman Reigns asks for the bell to ring. Reigns then throws Pearce on top of Nakamura, and the referee counts the pin. Adam Pearce is the number one contender.

ONE GOOD: Shinsuke Nakamura

Despite the finish, Nakamura reminded us why he is one of the best wrestlers on the planet today. Pinning Rey Mysterio, King Corbin and Daniel Bryan in one night is a huge accomplishment. Why Nakamura isn’t a main event guy for WWE continues to puzzle me. Unfortunately, the finish all wrestling fans actually wanted was of course what we didn’t get.

ONE BAD: The Main Event Finish

Why? WHY? Seriously, why? Adam Pearce is a very decorated wrestler, but has not had a match in well over six years, as was stated I think 432 times on Smackdown. His last match was on December 21st, 2014 where he lost to Colt Cabana at a taping for Championship Wrestling of Hollywood. Since then, Pearce has worked for the WWE as a producer. For almost a year, Pearce has been a regular on air talent, mostly serving as a semi-authority figure. He’s not a wrestler, he’s a backstage producer and authority figure. Instead of giving the opportunity to Shinsuke Nakamura, who would easily put on an incredible match with Reigns at the Royal Rumble, the Universtal Championship match is now Adam Pearce versus Roman Reigns. My brain hurts.

Featured Image Credit: WWE

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