Friday 18 December 2020

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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 18

Sana Ejaz Khan


    On the road to WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2020, the final stop was the December 18 edition of Friday Night SmackDown. This show, airing for the rare time on FS1, promised an impressive event ahead of the last big pay-per-view of the WWE year.

    The Street Profits have been unstoppable as tag team champions, holding the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championship combined for 289 days as of this SmackDown. Dolph Zigler and Robert Roode had plans to finally unseat Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford.

    Bianca Belair has been a thorn in Bayley's side since WWE Survivor Series. The Role Model had a plan to teach a lesson to The EST in a battle of the present and future of the women's division.

    Carmella announced she would hold a Champagne Toast ahead of her match with Sasha Banks at WWE TLC, basking in the certainty she would walk out as the new SmackDown women's champion.

    After feeling slighted by the "biased" Slammy Awards, Sami Zayn decided it was time to create his own annual award show: the Sami Awards. He presented his year-end successes for the world.

    This show had so much going for it, and it was all up to WWE to let the talent shine through on the go-home show for TLC.

Kevin Owens Calls Out Roman Reigns

1 OF 8

    Kevin Owens called out Roman Reigns. He demanded that they fight right away. He explained that he told his family not to watch what he did to The Tribal Chief on Sunday. He called Reigns a hypocrite and a poor example to his children.

    Paul Heyman appeared on the titantron, labeling Owens a masochist for putting himself in Reigns' line of sight after the beatdown he faced last week. KO stopped listening. He headed to the back to find The Tribal Chief.

    Adam Pearce talked down Owens, telling him to wait for Sunday. Reigns headed to the ring as Owens walked by a monitor backstage. Reigns demanded KO acknowledge him and apologize. KO marched down to the ring before Jey Uso attacked him from behind. Officials saved Owens from further harm.

    Uso was sure the message had been sent backstage. The Tribal Chief told Jey to end this for good. Reigns' cousin attacked KO with a steel chair as he was headed to the trainer's room. In the trainer's room, Uso sent Owens through a table, demanding he stay down.






    The promos in this rivalry have been excellent, but this might have been the best work yet. KO's calm, dangerous tone translated so well. Even if it is hard to imagine him beating The Tribal Chief, he is clearly willing to take this fight to a level he has rarely gone.

    From the family drama to the frequent mind games, this rivalry has slowly but surely risen to similar heights as Reigns' battles with Uso. It has been wonderful to watch Owens regain his fire while finding a different but still memorable chemistry with The Tribal Chief.

    This was the only sell for WWE TLC SmackDown needed. The stage is set for a motivated Owens to do anything to overcome the odds and truly overcome Reigns.

SmackDown Tag Champions Street Profits (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

2 OF 8

    Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode took over this match early by throwing Montez Ford into the steel barricade. Angelo Dawkins made the save, showing off his power. A Famouser from The Showoff almost took the surprise nearfall.

    Dawkins blocked a superkick and planted Ziggler with the Anointment. He gave Ford the tag for From the Heavens, but it took too long for him to cover. The Glorious One got the tag, only to get caught by Ford with a handful of tights for three.

    Afterward, Ziggler and Roode berated the referee Charles Robinson for failing to see the cheap tactic. He threatened to suspend them both.



    Profits def. Roode and Ziggler by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.






    This was consistent solid wrestling, but the contest felt too similar to past matches between these teams. The talent in this match is too good to be going through the same motions each time. These teams have a great one in them, but it will take some fresh ideas.

    Given Ziggler and Roode lost again, this feud should not last too much longer. However, the cheap victory should give them one more shot. Hopefully, that will be the moment the teams bring their absolute best.

The Riott Squad vs. Billie Kay and Tamina

3 OF 8

    The Riott Squad speculated over who Billie Kay would choose as her tag team partner. It turned out to be Tamina. While Kay and Tamina had an early edge by targeting Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan got the tag and went off with a fiery comeback.

    Riott and Morgan dropkicked Tamina out of the ring then hit an assisted flatliner on Kay to pick up another victory as a team.



    Riott Squad def. Kay and Tamina by pinfall.






    This did not work at all. The match was over quickly, and nothing in the action added anything to the show. The Riott Squad can be a solid presence in the tag team division, but the duo needs a worthy rivalry rather than comedy matches with the former IIconic member.

    It made no sense to break up Peyton Royce and Kay. Both have suffered since. Neither can get TV time, and when they do, they lose in tag team matches.

Carmella Taunted Sasha Banks in Her Champagne Toast

4 OF 8

    Carmella taunted Sasha Banks immediately as she sipped champagne. She called The Legit Boss sad and desperate. She explained that Banks was vulnerable because she had no idea how to hold onto the SmackDown Women's Championship.

    This set off Banks, who headed to the ring. She threw champagne into the face of her challenger. With the help of her sommelier, Carmella took control of the situation and broke another champagne bottle on The Boss' back.






    This feud has been carried by the confidence of Carmella. The Boss was coming off a huge rivalry with Bayley, so her next challenger was likely to always feel like filler. Instead, The Untouchable has elevated this rivalry, making herself out to be Banks' one weakness.

    Her promo was fantastic and nuanced, selling the flaws she saw in the champion's game. She got him some great digs before The Boss' music hit. In the end, she stood tall once more, selling casual fans on the likelihood of her dethroning the SmackDown women's champion.

Otis (w/ Chad Gable) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (w/ Cesaro)

5 OF 8

    Otis made his coach Chad Gable proud early, escaping Shinsuke Nakamura's grip and throwing The Artist around. However, Gable had to stop Otis from hitting the Caterpillar late. This almost got Otis rolled up, but he kicked out. Otis hit a leg-trap suplex then a Vader bomb to win.

    Gable told Otis to remember his training in The Alpha Academy, reminding Otis that he should have hit the Caterpillar despite his insistence not to. He needed to do what Gable meant not what he said.



    Otis def. Nakamura by pinfall.






    Otis and Nakamura have a fine sprint, but it should have been so much more. Both men can go longer and do more. The Artist felt so wasted in this spot. Anyone could have been wrestling Otis in this match, and many would have lost far less in this squash.

    Gable teaching Otis while possibly holding him back is an odd story, and the don't-listen-to-me coaching makes no sense. This dynamic can work. It just has not worked yet.

Big E Ruins the First Annual Sami Awards

6 OF 8

    Sami Zayn yelled at a worker backstage that failed to polish his trophies, leaving to find the polish. Big E gleefully looked over the trophies and cue cards.

    The Master Strategist walked out as the host of the Sami Awards. He announced that he had won both Comeback of the Year as well as Match of the Year for his win over AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy at WWE Clash of Champions.

    However, he found his cards had been switched out for Superstar of the Year. He announced that Big E was Superstar of the Year. Big E gave a big thank-you speech until Zayn pushed him. The two brawled, and Big E took down Zayn.






    This was silly, but it absolutely worked. Zayn can sell anything on the mic right now. He carried this segment right up to the arrival of Big E. The ridiculous arrival of a thankful Big E was the icing on the cake.

    While Zayn snuck away with a win recently over Big E, this rivalry has only gotten better. While Big E might not be Superstar of the Year for 2020, he could be for 2021. He just needs to get that first big title win. He and Zayn would be a great addition to WWE TLC 2020.

Bianca Belair vs. Bayley

7 OF 8


    Bianca Belair and Bayley were interviewed ahead of their match. Belair refused to consider Bayley a role model while Bayley called Belair arrogant for parading around her athleticism like a championship.

    Early, The Role Model struggled against The EST's strength until she slammed Belair's arm onto the apron before throwing her into the barricade. Belair fought back and caught The Role Model taunting, planting her with a suplex then a spinebuster.

    A series of counter pinfall attempts nearly got both women in trouble, but The Role Model found an opportunity to rake the eyes of The EST. This set up the Rose Plant for the victory.



    Bayley def. Belair by pinfall.






    This was a fantastic spot for Belair, and she delivered. This was a good main event where the two women clicked from the outset. A few late awkward spots kept this from truly shining, but the first outing hinted that Bayley and Belair have a potential classic in them.

    While it extends the feud, booking Belair to lose at this time made no sense. Bayley had lost matches for months on end, and The EST was undefeated in singles action on SmackDown. It is typical WWE to go with the easy 50-50 booking rather than the best option for the story.

Kevin Owens Limped into the Fight with Roman Reigns

8 OF 8

    After Jey Uso had continued to beat down Kevin Owens backstage, Roman Reigns walked to the ring to end the night with a smile. He questioned Paul Heyman on why anyone would waste an opportunity to fight him for the WWE Universal Championship.

    KO limped to the ring, and he faced a two-on-one beatdown. Reigns blasted him with a steel chair and threw him through multiple tables. Reigns and Uso buried Owens under tables and ladders then The Tribal Chief continued to blast him with chair shots.

    Kayla Braxton tried to question Reigns as he walked backstage, but Owens got up. He grabbed a microphone and told The Tribal Chief he would win the WWE Championship or die trying.






    This was an unnecessary use of the remaining time on SmackDown. It would have been more impactful for KO to limp out on Sunday after the beating he took. This was overkill, and despite Adam Pearce supposedly wanting to protecting his main event, no one came to save the day.

    The idea is that Owens is resilient beyond measure due to all the horrible things Reigns has said to his family. However, this now sets the stage for a match at TLC where Owens has to work the entire time hurt yet stay in the fight the whole time with Uso involved.

    The odds are stacked so high that it just feels too incredulous to believe that KO has any chance. This is wrestling, but the overwhelming singular booking for KO is trying too hard.

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