SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
Tonight’s edition of Smackdown was pre-recorded because of it because of it being Christmas day. We’re past TLC and will be heading towards the Royal Rumble which takes place on January 31. There are four matches they made known of ahead of time:
Things have been hot between Sami Zayn and Big E for several weeks. In addition to what happened last week at the Sami awards, Big E pinned Sami in the eight-man tag team match at TLC. There was a leaked audio given to Kayla Braxton with Sami going off on someone because of what happened at the Sami awards, similar to the Tom Cruise rant most of us heard about recently. Braxton would not reveal her source of the leak, and Big E denied doing it when Sami confronted him later.
Big E attempts to regain the Intercontinental Championship, a title he held from November of 2013 until May the following year. WWE announced on Tuesday it would be a Lumberjack Match. They’re selling it based on Sami defeating Big E via count out two weeks ago in a non-title match:
— WWE (@WWE) December 22, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I didn’t read any of the spoilers, but I get the sense Big E wins the title here. I don’t like WWE throwing these stipulations out so early in feuds and rationalizing the decision. It should be fun though with Sami involved.
Roman Reigns retained the Universal Championship over Kevin Owens this past Sunday in their TLC match with the help of Roman’s cousin, Jey Uso. At one point, Roman expressed humorous frustration with Kevin attempting to stop Roman from climbing the ladder. In the end, Roman gave Kevin a low blow, followed by the guillotine on the ladder, and dropped him on the mat. He grabbed the title at the top of the ladder to retain the title.
Tonight, they go at it in a steel cage for the Universal Championship. This is not their first rodeo in a cage for this title. They went at it on Raw back in 2016, with Kevin Owens being the heel Universal Champion at the time:
Here’s some Twitter trash talk from Roman:
At #WWETLC I made you…
In the cage, I’ll break you.#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/Zk6T4jqYrC
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) December 21, 2020
Click Here: newcastle knights rugby store
Our pleasure. https://t.co/eFkD0MAwa6
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) December 21, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: This should be good, although why are they doing another brutal-type match so close to them doing TLC? I understand it was taped, but it’s hard to believe from a storyline standpoint that they’d be able to do another brutal-like match five days later. Reigns must be retaining here. You hope not to see interference given it’s a steel cage match, but my sense is Jey and possibly Jimmy gets involved if he’s ready to come back.
It was announced during Raw that Asuka & Charlotte Flair would defend their newly won Women’s Tag Team Championship on Smackdown. Their challengers were not revealed. They were on commentary for a match this past Monday between Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax and Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke. They later defeated Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce (Pey Pey) in a non-title match.
It was posted today that they will face Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair and Bayley & Carmella in a triple threat elimination match. Bayley and Sasha of course were champions throughout the summer before losing to Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler which led to their breakup. Sasha recently took the Smackdown Women’s Championship from Bayley. She pairs with Bianca who lost to Bayley last week. Carmella came up short against Sasha this past Sunday. Carmella and Bayley are former Money in the Bank contract winners, and both cashed in successfully to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Ironically both women cashed in on Charlotte Flair in 2018 and 2019, respectively. This is Bianca’s first crack at gold since coming over from NXT
Frank’s Analysis: My guess was the Riott Squad would be their opponents, given they won their match last week even if it were against Billie Kay & Tamina. This seems thrown together with makeshift teams, but it’s what I expect from the women’s tag division. I’m assuming this a just a vehicle to further the feud between Bayley & Bianca and Sasha & Carmella. I sense Carmella is getting another title match, but I could be wrong. It could also be a way to set up another match between Bayley and Sasha, which still has plenty of juice.
The feud between Daniel Bryan and Jey Uso will get reunited tonight when face off one-on-one. Things started between them before Survivor Series when Jey defeated Bryan to earn his place on team Smackdown. He attacked Bryan at the behest of his cousin Roman Reigns after the match, which signified Jey aligning with his cousin and acknowledging him as the tribal chief (“I understand now!” “You da chief!” “I’m witchyou.”). Jey attacked Bryan on another edition of Smackdown several weeks later before Kevin Owens came in for the save. This past Sunday, Jey assisted Roman in retaining the Universal Champion over Kevin Owens, who challenges Roman for the title again tonight this time in a steel cage.
Frank’s Analysis: I would imagine they’re setting Bryan up to be Roman’s next challenger. It sounds like a match they could do at the Royal Rumble, although I think it’s WrestleMania-worthy. They’ve kept Bryan low on the card, as evidence by his being in a kickoff show match. I know not everyone can be at the top of the card all the time but being on the kickoff show is not something I had in mind for Bryan. That said, things turn on a dime in WWE. We’ll see if this match leads to Bryan challenging Roman.
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone reading the Torch a happy and healthy holiday season. Thank you for reading my primers and especially the VIP member who listened to my new show, WWE Then and Now. I look forward to delivering more episodes and the show evolving over time. While this holiday may be different in a lot of ways, enjoy it and stay positive that things will get better for us as time goes on.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!