Welcome to another recap of WWE’s Friday night highlight, Friday Night Smackdown! After last week’s episode, we are left with more questions than answers. Adam Pearce is the number one contender for Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble for his WWE Universal Championship. After Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin and Daniel Bryan to reach the final portion of last week’s number one contender gauntlet match, he was beat down by Reigns and Jey Uso. After Pearce was tossed into the ring, and then superkicked by Jey Uso, Reigns placed Pearce on Nakamura, and the referee counted the pin. What will happen on this week’s show, as Nakamura looks for revenge against Jey Uso?
The show begins with Roman Reigns in his locker room with Paul Heyman. Both Reigns and Heyman discuss the contract for his upcoming WWE Universal title match against Adam Pearce. Reigns is not happy with the contract and demands that the contract be fixed. Heyman suggests a stipulation for the match and then leaves to fix the situation.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Jey Uso
The first match of the show is the revenge match between Nakamura and Uso. Before the match, Uso grabs a microphone and states that the Bloodline are the ones running this show, not Adam Pearce or any other superstar on the roster. He then states he will enter the Royal Rumble, win the match and challenge Drew McIntyre or “Oldberg” for the WWE Championship. Uso then praises Nakamura’s performance in the gauntlet match, but ensures him that he will defeat him tonight. Out comes Nakamura, with his old theme music. Looks like we have a face turn for Nakamura after last week’s match. As expected, these two put on a great match, with both talented competitors putting in their signature offensive moves. Right before a commercial break, Nakamura’s tag team partner Cesaro makes his way to the ring to join commentary for the match. Towards the end, Uso tries to steal the match by putting his feet on the ropes for leverage, but referee Charles Robinson stops the count and reprimands Uso. Nakamura then hits Uso with the Kinshasa for the win!
We then cut to the back, where Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and discussing the show when Paul Heyman approaches. He presents Pearce with a contract the WWE Universal Championship match, which will be contested as a No Holds Barred match. Pearce states it clearly wouldn’t benefit him and its set up for Reigns to hurt him, but he signs it anyway. When we return from the break, and after a brief in ring interview with the Street Profits (who state they want their tag titles back), we cut to Reigns in his locker room with none other than Apollo Crews. Heyman enters with the contract, stating it was signed by Pearce and was a No Holds Barred match. Reigns isn’t happy, and states he wants it to be Falls Count Anywhere. Heyman states that Pearce will never sign that contract, but Reigns tells Heyman to make him, and make him do it in the ring tonight!
Natalya (with Tamina) defeats Liv Morgan (with Ruby Riott and Billie Kay)
This one centers around the addition of Billie Kay to the Riott Squad (allegedly). Kay joins the broadcast team for this match, and when Morgan gets into trouble, Kay rises to help out Morgan. Kay then finds herself on the wrong side of the ring next to Tamina, who scares away Kay. Kay then winds up in the ring in between Morgan and Natalya, distracting Morgan enough for Natalya to get the surprise win.
King Baron Corbin defeats Rey Mysterio (with Dominick Mysterio)
Lots of big guy small guy back and forth in this one, with Dominick Mysterio on commentary. The younger Mysterio commented that he would like to win the tag team titles with his father in 2021. With Corbin in control, and the match spilling to the outside, Corbin takes a cheap shot at Dominick and connects with a right hand. Enraged, Dominick tries to enter the ring and fight Corbin, but his father stops him. Corbin pushes Rey from behind who collides with Dominick. Corbin then hits the End of Days and pins the elder Mysterio for the win.
To the back we go again, as we see Adam Pearce strolling down the hall.. He runs into Paul Heyman again with contract in hand, and Pearce asks Heyman if Roman has signed it. Heyman says no, and states he wants something bigger for their match. Reigns wants it to be a Last Man Standing match. Pearce looks it over, and Heyman demands he bring to the ring signed tonight.
Ding Dong Hello, with Bayley (special guest Bianca Belair)
Another talk show, Bayley debuts Ding Dong, Hello with her first guest, the EST, Bianca Belair. The first portion was quite humorous, as Belair entered the ring. Bayley demanded she enter through the door set up in the ring, but only after she rings the door bell. Bayley shows a video clip of her pinning Belair last month on Smackdown to rile up the EST. Belair then challenges Bayley to a match, but instead, they will compete in an obstacle course next week……….yes…….and obstacle course.
Cesaro defeats Daniel Bryan
This match was exactly what we have grown to expect from both competitors, as they both put on quite the technical match. Lots of back and forth strikes as well as some high impact spots from Cesaro saw the Swiss Cyborg dominate most of the match. However, Bryan did make a strong comeback, locking the Yes Lock towards the end. However, for someone who was supposedly primed for a Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns, and for the second week in a row, Daniel Bryan takes a loss. Cesaro picks up the win with the Neutralizer.
We cut to another quick backstage segment with Sasha Banks, Carmella and her Sommelier, Reginald. In the end, Banks states that Carmella can get her championship match only if Banks can have a match with Reginald!
Apollo Crews defeats Sami Zayn
The final match of this week’s Smackdown pits former Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn against Apollo Crews. Yet again, we have a guest commentator with Intercontinental Champion Big E on commentary for this match. A sofa was rolled out for Big E during this match, which he watched comfortably from. With Zayn in control, he attempts a roll up on Crews for the win, but the referee catches Zayn holding the tights. The back and forth between Zayn and the referee was enough for Crews to roll up Zayn, holding on to the tights, for the victory. Zayn pleaded his case after the match that Crews had the tights, but the decision stood. After the match, Crews makes his way to ringside and snatches the Intercontinental title from Big E, who immediately takes it back. The two bicker back and forth, which set ups a title match between the two next week.
Contract Signing for WWE Universal Title Match at the Royal Rumble
Reigns, Heyman and Uso make their way to the ring, followed by Adam Pearce. Pearce sits down at the table, but Roman wants the chair he is sitting in. Uso hurries Pearce out of the chair, which is moved to the “head of the table.” Pearce signs the contract, and it is passed to Reigns, who signs it as well. Pearce states, “I’ve been waiting all night for that.” Pearce exits the ring, and makes his way up the ramp in silence, stopping at points as his knee seems to be bothering him. After a couple fake stumbles, Pearce states that the contracts for these are always the same. Pearce claims that as a WWE official, and because he would not be cleared for the match, he has to find a suitable replacement for the Last Man Standing match at the Royal Rumble. Out comes Kevin Owens, who signs the contract. Smackdown goes off the air with Roman Reigns looking rather upset.
THE BAD: Another Talk Show?
Yep, I’m going there. The talk show has been played out, and has no impact on the show anymore. While they used to serve some sort of significance to the show, and they no longer hold their weight. Like many things WWE has found that generates some attention, they use them over and over until they become stale. Bayley and Bianca Belair are better talents than this, so, why are the subject to a talk show segment? Maybe they could take part in, oh I don’t know, A MATCH! This feud could be something they use to build up Belair, or reinsert Bayley into the title picture for Wrestlemania. Let’s hope they refrain from this going forward.
THE GOOD: Shinsuke Nakamura, Face
Shinsuke Nakamura came to the ring Friday night with his old entrance music, which is a great sign if you’re looking forward to a face turn for the former WWE Champion. This is a long time coming, and something that needed to take place a while ago, as the heel version of Nakamura was not being used to its full potential. Now that Nakamura is back as a face, let’s hope WWE does the right thing and positions him into a feud with Roman Reigns. We all know those matches will be incredible!
Tune in Monday for our WWE Raw recap!
Featured Image Credit: WWE
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