Smackdown – December 11, 2020

Smackdown
Date: December 11, 2020
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

It’s time to head to the new Thunder Dome as basketball season has taken the Amway Center off the board. Instead it’s off to a baseball stadium, meaning we could be in for an interesting setup this time around. We’re also just over a week away from TLC, meaning we are going to need some additions to the card. Let’s get to it.

The new setup looks mostly like the Amway Center, but there are some shots where you can see how much bigger the whole thing is.

Here’s Sasha Banks for the contract signing for TLC. There’s no contract though and no Carmella, with Banks thinking this is a setup. Carmella pops up on screen to send her assistant (an unnamed man) down to the ring with the signed contract. She talks about how she isn’t getting in the ring with Banks tonight. This is the Queen’s Gambit instead of Tiger King and she’s four moves ahead of Banks. The contract arrives in the ring and the deal is signed, but Banks wants to do this tonight instead. Adam Pearce makes the match for tonight and the title is on the line. Banks beats up the assistant and turns the table onto him.

The Street Profits mock Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler, because it’s time for singles matches against the champions!

Montez Ford vs. Dolph Ziggler

Before the match, Ziggler says he’s accused of being a poor man’s Shawn Michaels, but he’s a rather rich man. The only thing less funny than his stand up comedy is the Street Profits as the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Robert Roode promises that when the two aces get their shot, the title reign is going up in smoke. Ziggler takes him into the corner and gets an early two, followed by something like a Crossface.

Back up and Ziggler kicks the leg out to set up a neckbreaker for two more. Ziggler spends a bit too much time gyrating though and gets catapulted into the corner, setting up a dropkick. A running Blockbuster sends Ziggler outside, so the partners come in for a standoff. That lets the Profits stop for a dance…..and the cannon shoots solo cups into the ring as we take a break.

Back with Ziggler dropping the rapid fire elbows and hitting a neckbreaker for two more. We hit the sleeper with a bodyscissors for a bit but Ford fights up with some clotheslines. The jumping enziguri misses but Ford slams him down and hits a standing moonsault. Ziggler goes to the knee to try the Fameasser but has to settle for two off a sunset flip instead. The Zig Zag is blocked and now the jumping enziguri connects. Roode goes after Ford for a distraction though, and Ziggler hits a superkick for the pin at 11:00.

Rating: C. Ford is always fun to watch and it’s not like losing to a former World Champion is going to destroy everything he is doing. The Street Profits have held the titles for the better part of ever (being realistic that is) and if they make it past Ziggler and Roode, they’re losing them to the Usos ASAP, so this is filling time at best or the end of the line at worst. Losing a singles match doesn’t matter, as the Profits are already a made team.

Sami Zayn yells about not having a shirt when Big E., with his new shirt, comes in with his new Think Big shirt. Worry not though as Apollo Crews has a hand drawn I AM SAMI ZAYN shirt, which Sami can’t rip up. He’ll show us later! Big E.: “I’m gonna show you all the things!”

We take a break and come back with Sami in the ring ranting about not having his own shirt. He brings up Pat Patterson getting so much attention last week….and here’s Big E., with new music, to cut him off.

Sami Zayn vs. Big E.

Non-title. Sami stalls on the floor to start and is almost immediately caught in a headlock back inside. The spanking abdominal stretch is escaped and Big E. elbows him down. The apron splash connects and we take a break. Back with Sami getting one off a knee to the face and the chinlock goes on. That doesn’t last long so Sami hits a middle rope clothesline into his own gyrating, which brings Big E. back up for a belly to belly. Another one sets up a third one and now it’s the real gyrating.

The Warrior Splash sends Sami outside, followed by a hard clothesline as he comes back in. Sami kicks him away but Big E. rolls through a high crossbody. The Big Ending is broken up with a rake of the eyes but the Rock Bottom out of the corner breaks up the Helluva Kick. Sami has banged up his previously injured hand….and he uses it to slap Big E. in the face. The chase is on around the ring with Sami diving underneath the ring. Big E. gives chase but Sami comes out the other side and beats the count at 10:51.

Rating: D+. Remember when Big E. was supposed to get some big singles push? I’m sure one is coming, but man alive they aren’t getting it off to a good start. If nothing else, it doesn’t help your solo efforts when you have NEW DAY ROCKS on the back of your gear. Then again, this is far from some end to him and it certainly seemed to be setting up a rematch.

Bayley wishes Carmella good luck and rants about Sasha Banks being overpaid and overrated. The only person worse than her is Bianca Belair, who pops up behind her. Belair thinks Bayley should be worried about herself because her hair is awful and she looks dusty. Belair whips out some receipts, saying she beat Natalya and Bayley was the first one eliminated at Survivor Series. Bayley storms off, with Belair saying she can text these to her.

Carmella promises to win the title tonight and look sexy while doing so. She tells her assistant to get the champagne ready to toast her title win.

We look back at last week with Kevin Owens confronting Roman Reigns and getting in a match with Jey Uso. After the match, Roman wrecked both of them with a chair to end the show.

Jey comes up to Reigns, who asks if Jey and his family are both good. Kevin Owens comes to the ring and Jey says let me go get him. Reigns gives him permission as Owens is loading up weapons. With Jey on the way to the ring and Reigns watching, Owens sets up the table, ladder and chairs before talking about how Reigns is using his family to fight. Owens doesn’t have a family, but he has some friends to help him out.

First up you have the cold, unforgiving chairs, which will help him bruise Reigns. Maybe he can even break a few bones to make it hard for Reigns to sit at the head of the table. That brings him to his second friend, the table. See, table is hard at first but then it’s looking forward to receiving Reigns at TLC. Then there is ladder, which is unforgiving, rough around the edges and unpredictable. It’s his favorite though, because it is going to help him hurt Reigns and get back to where he belongs.

Owens climbs the ladder and says Reigns can be head of the table because Owens is going to give everything he has to become Universal Champion again. Cue Jey Uso with the chair to take Owens down and hammer away, including a shot to the knee. Owens gets back up for a Pop Up Powerbomb through a table, so here are Reigns and Heyman. Reigns is ready to go but Heyman talks him out of it, saying Reigns is the OG and the head of the table. Heyman: “Who’s zooming who here?” Reigns leaves and Owens grabs a chair and limps off after him.

Post break, Owens yells at Reigns talking about his family….and gets jumped by Reigns from behind. The beatdown is on, with Reigns shouting about who supports Owens’ family. Reigns looks at the camera and lists off his accolades, saying he is the one who puts a roof over your head and the food on the table. Owens’ kids need to talk some sense into their daddy, before he takes the food off of the table. One more kick to the head leaves Owens laying with a glossed over look on his face. This was rather good, as Owens may be ticked off, but Reigns is a complete monster.

Riott Squad vs. Billie Kay/Natalya

Natalya is a mystery partner because WWE doesn’t know how to do mystery partners now either. Riott hits Kay in the leg to start and Morgan comes in for a running elbow in the corner. As we get an announcement that next week’s show will be on Fox Sports 1, Kay uses a Natalya distraction to hit Shades Of Kay, setting up the tag. Natalya takes her into the corner for the tag back to Kay, who tags Natalya right back in. Hold on though as Kay and Natalya argue with each other, allowing Morgan to kick Kay into Natalya. That’s enough for the Codebreaker into the Riott Kick to finish Kay at 2:45.

Post match Natalya leaves Kay on the floor.

Earlier this week, Chad Gable taught Otis to work on his blind side. This involves putting a blindfold on Otis and throwing things at him/hitting him in the back with things. Several hours later, Otis catches the ball without seeing it. He misses the high five, but it’s better than nothing. Gable: “Oh yeah. He’s an alpha.”

Gable talks about molding this lump of clay into Michelangelo’s David. Otis: “Mr. Angelo. He’s a good guy.” Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura, their opponents for tonight, come up to mock the idea of Otis and Gable beating them.

Chad Gable/Otis vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro

Otis and Cesaro start things off with Otis hitting an early slam, much to Cesaro’s shock. It’s off to Gable, who waistlocks Cesaro down for two as the surprise dominance continues. Cesaro manages an uppercut to Gable though and it’s Nakamura coming in with the kicks. A Liger Kick gets Gable out of trouble and the double tag brings in Otis and Cesaro. House is cleaned again, with Otis nailing a discus clothesline. Gable wants the tag instead of letting Otis hit the Caterpillar, allowing Cesaro to Swing Gable down. Kinshasa is good for the pin at 3:19.

Rating: C-. I’m curious to see where this goes, as it would be a little much to believe that Otis and Gable are going to beat former champions on their first shot. The match itself wasn’t great, but I can’t get over how much better it is to have Gable doing ANYTHING other than being a short joke. Now just get everything else working a little better.

Post break, Gable says Otis failed because he is using the alpha mentality. In other words, he is showing Otis what to do by showing him what NOT to do. Otis looks confused.

King Corbin congratulates Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler for their good work last week. The interviewer comes up and, after being scanned with a metal detector, asks about Corbin’s new help. Corbin dubs them the Knights Of The Lone Wolf and says they’re here to help him as needed. Makes as much sense as anything else and I’m glad to see them getting another chance.

Next week: Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode get their Tag Team Title shot, plus Bayley vs. Bianca Belair.

Women’s Title: Carmella vs. Sasha Banks

Carmella is challenging and the assistant, with champagne, is here at ringside. Sasha drives her into the corner to start but Carmella shouts a lot and ties her into the ropes. A slap to the face annoys Sasha but a flying headscissors sends her into the ropes. Carmella can’t get the Code of Silence but Banks can’t get the Bank Statement either. Sasha sends her to the apron for a knee to the face, followed by the slingshot Meteora to send her into the post.

That earns Sasha an X Factor onto the apron as we take a break. Back with Carmella sending her face first into the post and hammering away on the mat. Carmella slaps on the chinlock but Banks is out in a hurry. That means another Meteora, followed by another slingshot Meteora for two more.

Carmella grabs a figure four necklock over the ropes but can’t get the X Factor. Instead the Code of Silence goes on, only to have Banks reverse into the Bank Statement. The assistant throws in a champagne bottle though, which is enough of a distraction to allow him to break the hold. Banks explodes on Carmella in the corner and it’s a DQ at 9:56.

Rating: C. I wasn’t wild on the ending, but it was designed to set up a rematch at TLC so fair enough. Carmella was looking better than usual here, though she still has a lot of work to do to get to a higher level. Banks fighting against the odds and then slipping up at the end was fine, though Carmella really doesn’t feel like much of a threat.

Post match Carmella beats up Sasha on the floor, including breaking a champagne bottle over her back. Cole: “ARE YOU CRAZY???” Carmella sprays the champagne around to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This show was all about setting things up for the future, but the biggest problem was that it isn’t exactly thrilling stuff to be setting up. You can see a handful of matches being built up for TLC and that should work out fine, but at the end of the day, the star power around here isn’t the strongest outside of the main event. Not the worst show and the two hours go by fast, but nothing worth watching this week.

The new venue worked out well, as you can’t tell they left the Amway Center most of the time. The only notable issue was a buzzing on the audio, throughout the show, but only for a few seconds at a time. If they can get that worked out, it’s going to be just like being in Orlando, which worked fine.

Results

Dolph Ziggler b. Montez Ford – Superkick

Sami Zayn b. Big E. via countout

Riott Squad b. Billie Kay/Natalya – Riott Kick to Kay

Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura b. Otis/Chad Gable – Kinshasa to Otis

Carmella b. Sasha Banks via DQ when Banks attacked in the corner

 

 

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