Date: December 25, 2020
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
It’s the biggest holiday of the year and WWE is doing a show because I’m assuming network requirements. It’s a stacked (and thankfully taped) card with three title matches, including Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns in a cage, Big E. challenging Sami Zayn and Charlotte/Asuka defending against opponents to be named. Let’s get to it.
Universal Title: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns, with Paul Heyman at ringside, is defending inside a cage. Owens slugs away to start but gets sent into the cage a few times. The Samoan drop gets two but Owens is back up to stomp Reigns in the corner. That means the Cannonball can connect for two and Reigns is in trouble. Back up and Owens tries the Pop Up Powerbomb, only to have Reigns reverse into a Rough Ryder of all things. Owens punches him down again and the Bullfrog splash connects for two.
We take a break and come back with Reigns hitting a sitout powerbomb for two of his own. Owens is able to hit the Pop Up Powerbomb for two more but Reigns catches him in the corner. The superplex is loaded up but Owens reverses into the spinning superplex for two more. Reigns hits the Superman Punch for another two and it’s time to choke on the ropes. Owens is back with his own choking to break free though and Reigns is down in the middle. The Stunner gives Owens two more and we take a second break.
Back again with Reigns having to pull Owens off the top but getting superkicked away. Owens’ Swanton hits knees though, allowing Reigns to hit the spear for a rather near fall. Reigns is aghast and talks trash, only to have Owens slam the door on his head. Owens sends him into the cage over and over to knock Reigns silly so here’s Jey Uso to slam the door on Owens’ head.
That earns Jey a door to the head but the delay lets Reigns pull Owens back in. A superkick connects but so does Reigns’ Superman Punch. The spear only hits cage though and there’s another Stunner to drop Reigns. Owens goes to the door….and here’s Jey again to handcuff him to the cage. Reigns is up and steps over Owens, who shouts that Reigns’ kids should be ashamed of him to retain at 25:36.
Rating: B. This felt like a big time TV match and that’s all you can ask for out of a big time TV match. It was a nice followup to the TLC match and that’s a hard trick to pull off given how great that was. The ending feels like a way to set up a Last Man Standing match, which should be a heck of a violent blowoff to the whole thing. This had good drama and action and the ending gave them a way to keep going. Not bad for a long, entertaining match.
Here are Charlotte and Asuka to defend the Tag Team Titles against opponents to be named, so here is Bayley to interrupt. Before she can get very far though, here is Sasha Banks to interrupt. Before she can get very far though, here is Bianca Belair to interrupt. Before she can get very far though, here’s Carmella to interrupt and the trash talk sets up a match that was already announced by commentary. So why did we need all of the interruptions and mini promos?
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Asuka/Charlotte vs. Carmella/Bayley vs. Bianca Belair/Sasha Banks
Asuka and Charlotte are defending with elimination rules. Charlotte kicks Asuka in the ribs to start and Asuka comes in to kick her down for two. Carmella comes in (with Graves swooning) so Banks joins her to send Carmella into the corner. Running knees set up a tag to Belair, who drives in the shoulders to the ribs. Charlotte takes Carmella place and they take turns mocking each other before trying dropkicks at the same time. That means stereo nip ups so it’s Bayley and Asuka coming in.
The Bayley to Belly gets two on Asuka and we take a break. Back with Asuka hitting a middle rope dropkick for two on Bayley but getting taken into the corner. Carmella comes in to send Asuka head first into the mat, allowing Bayley to come back in and knock Charlotte off the apron. Asuka fights up and brings in Charlotte to clean house as everything breaks down. Bayley gets knocked down and Banks hits the frog splash for the first elimination at 13:04.
The Bank Statement has Charlotte in trouble but she’s back up to take the leg. The Figure Four attempt is broken up though and Banks kicks her in the face. Charlotte’s big boot connects though and now the Figure Eight goes on. Belair can’t reach Banks for the tag so she throws her hair out, allowing Banks to pull herself over (Couldn’t you say that touching the hair counted as a tag?) for the tag.
Belair goes up but Charlotte kicks her down, injuring the knee in the process. The Figure Eight is broken up with a Meteora so Asuka takes Banks down, knocking her into Reginald, who is still at ringside for some reason. Bayley is still here too as Asuka kicks away at Belair. One of the kicks is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two on Asuka but there is no one for Belair to tag (which Bayley enjoys pointing out). A Codebreaker into Natural Selection finishes Belair to retain the titles at 16:56.
Rating: C+. The action was good enough, but there wasn’t exactly any drama when you have the dream team new champs facing two makeshift teams. What else was there going to be here? I have no idea who is going to take the titles from Asuka and Charlotte, because aside from the Riott Squad, I’m not even sure if there are any teams. Good enough match though, and made the champs look good.
The Street Profits preview the rest of the show but overhead Sami Zayn yelling at a member of the production team about the main event being a lumberjack match. She walks away, so the Profits bring Sami his present: a shirt saying “I WAS INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION.” Storming off ensues.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso
Jey jumps Bryan during the entrance and beats the heck out of him, including a slam on the ramp. We take a break and come back with Bryan saying he’s good to go, meaning Jey sends him outside in a heap. The suicide dive connects and Bryan is in a lot of trouble early on. Bryan gets whipped into the steps and it’s time to head back inside for the chops in the corner. Another slam bangs up Bryan again but he avoids a running elbow. Jey avoids the running corner dropkick though and the running hip attack rocks Bryan again.
Bryan hits a backdrop to send Jey outside though and he bangs up his ankle on the landing. Bryan’s suicide dive mostly misses though and he crashes shoulder first into the announcers’ table. There’s the belly to back superplex to drop Jey and we take a break. Back with Bryan going after the leg and getting two off a super hurricanrana. The running knee is blocked with a superkick though and the Superfly Splash hits Bryan.
Jey’s bad knee delayed the cover though and Bryan kicks out. Another Superfly Splash hits raised knees though and Bryan slaps on a half crab. With that broken up, they slug it out on the match with Bryan getting the better of things. The running knee finishes Jey at 13:46.
Rating: B. They did a nice job of setting up the drama here as Uso has been on enough of a roll to make you think that he could be a threat to Bryan. At the same time though, Bryan seems to be the most likely challenger to Reigns at Wrestlemania (at least for now) so giving him a win is a good idea. Also, is anyone going to think that Uso is downgraded by losing to Bryan?
Post break Bryan says there is one thing he has not accomplished in his career so he is setting his sights on it. As of tonight, Bryan is officially entering the Royal Rumble. Sami Zayn comes in to say Bryan was the one who said the Intercontinental Title needed to be defended more often and accuses Bryan of setting up the lumberjack match. If that’s the case, Sami will deal with him. Bryan: “Did Santa not bring him a Playstation 5? Is that what the kids are into?”
Video on Sami Zayn vs. Big E.
Intercontinental Title: Sami Zayn vs. Big E.
Big E. is challenging in a lumberjack match (with a few Raw wrestlers at ringside). Sami gets powered around to start but manages to get in a running shot to the face in the corner. E. is sent outside where the lumberjacks get in some cheap shots before throwing him in again. Back in and Big E. runs Sami over with the straight power that you would expect, only to miss the running apron splash.
Back with Sami charging into the Rock Bottom out of the corner for two. Sami tries to run away but gets thrown back in by the lumberjacks. Big E. pulls him back in with Sami grabbing the ring skirt in the process. The referee fixes it up so Sami uses the chance to get in a poke to the eyes. That gives Sami two so he goes up top, where a sunset bomb gets two more. The spear through the ropes connects so the lumberjacks slug it out, even as Sami tries to bail. That doesn’t work, as Sami is throw back in for the belly to belly, the Warrior Splash and the Big Ending to give Big E. the pin and the title at 13:15.
Rating: C+. The wrestling wasn’t the point here and there is nothing wrong with that. Above all else, they got in, did their thing, and got out with a match that felt important. They needed to do something special for Big E. and winning the Intercontinental Title on Christmas night, even in a match without much drama, feels like something important. Nice main event here, but the moment mattered more.
Post match the lumberjacks pick Big E. up and confetti falls to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. The wrestling ranged from rather good to good all night long, but above all else this show felt like it belonged on a special show. It felt like a show that belonged on a holiday and the Big Ending gave us a big ending. I can’t imagine many people actually watch the thing, but it certainly gave them something to talk about on the way to the new year. Very strong show here and Big E.’s singles push seems to have begun.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good Smackdown.
Roman Reigns b. Kevin Owens – Reigns escaped the cage
Charlotte/Asuka b. Sasha Banks/Bianca Belair and Carmella/Bayley – Natural Selection to Belair
Daniel Bryan b. Jey Uso – Running knee
Big E. b. Sami Zayn – Big Ending
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