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A week after suffering humiliation at the hands of Dolph Ziggler and King Corbin, The Big Dog was unchained Friday night on WWE SmackDown.
Roman Reigns sought vengeance against his antagonists just days before a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match against Corbin on pay-per-view. Did the former WWE and Universal champion succeed, sending a message loudly and clearly to the 2019 King of the Ring or did the heels have his number again?
What would The Miz have to say about his Universal Championship match against Bray Wyatt just one week after having his family’s well-being threatened by the titleholder?
Find out the answer to those two questions and what else went down on FOX with this recap of the special Friday the 13th episode.
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King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler kicked off the evening’s broadcast in a celebratory mood after their humiliation of Roman Reigns a week ago.
Corbin announced heightened security to keep Reigns out and if he still somehow makes his way into the building, he will face a fate worse than a week ago.
The New Day interrupted. Big E said they heard their names and appeared like magic. When Corbin brought up Kofi Kingston losing the WWE title in eight seconds, the babyface said he still considers himself a champion of the people.
The promo continued back and forth until a match between Kingston and Corbin was made for the later in the show.
This was yet another paint-by-numbers opening promo designed to set up a match later in the night. It felt forced, with New Day being triggered by Corbin using the term ‘new day,’ and really accomplished nothing that WWE Creative could not have done by announcing the match ahead of time.
It was nice to hear Kingston call himself a champion of the people, but the manner in which he brushed off the eight-second loss to Lesnar continues to be a major issue with his character. How could something so important and historically significant have come to such an end that it means nothing and garners no real emotion from the former champ?
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Before the match between the teams of Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss and Fire & Desire could kick off, The Golden Goddess and Sonya Deville attacked Cross and Alexa Bliss.
The action spilled to the ring, where The Goddess broke up a double suplex and Cross picked up the victory in short order, pinning Rose.
Cross defeated Rose
If Cross and Bliss defeated Rose and Deville last week, and and again this week, what is the purpose of this feud continuing?
The babyfaces have repeatedly shrugged off any and all attempts by the heels to get one over on them and beaten them between bells. Any continuity of the program serves no purpose other to further put Bliss and Cross over at the expense of their opponents, who need the momentum more than the former tag champions.
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Commentators Michael Cole and Corey Graves announced prior to the start of the match that the battle between The Revival and The New Day at TLC will now be a Ladder match.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder grounded Shorty G and worked over him. Ali exploded into the match and took Wilder down with a headscissors on the arena floor heading into the break.
Back from the break, Shorty G delivered a bridging German suplex. Wilder broke up the pin attempt with a splash. Ali answered with a 450 splash to Wilder as the action heated up.
The Revival recovered and delivered Shatter Machine for the win.
The Revival defeated Ali and Shorty G
This was an energetic match similar to their battle from last week and showcased the chemistry between the four competitors involved. It was nice to see Shorty G and Ali have singles runs but they have gelled as a team and if there is nothing better or more compelling for them to do, there are worse ways to utilize them than as a team.
The Revival winning was the right move as they build to a tag title opportunity Sunday but a loss at the PPV sets up an interesting scenario in which WWE Creative will have to re-evaluate constantly keeping them in the mix when there are other teams ready to thrive.
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The product of a backstage confrontation that also involved Elias, Dana Brooke squared off with SmackDown women’s champion Bayley in singles competition.
Cole and Graves questioned how Bayley would fare without Sasha Banks accompanying her at ringside. Brooke attacked early and often, determined to knock off the champion and pick up the biggest win of her career.
Unfortunately for her, Bayley recovered and dropped her face-first to score the win.
Bayley defeated Brooke
Brooke is one of those talents that has been wholly underutilized for quite some time and every time it appears as though she may get a little momentum on her side, she is batted back down by the writing team.
She looked impressive and showed strong emotion as she took the fight to Bayley but the quick, clean loss erased anything she accomplished in the opening match.
Worst of all about this momentum-killing match? It spotlighted Bayley but did nothing to further her feud with Lacey Evans or shed any light on what the title match may be for Sunday’s TLC show.
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Renee Young interviewed The Miz, one week after a horrific encounter with Universal champion Bray Wyatt and the announcement that he will challenge for the title at TLC on Sunday, from his home in Austin.
Young asked him why he has taken such an interest in the whereabouts of Bryan given their storied history. He admitted respect for Bryan. “As weird as it sounds, I guess it’s time for The Miz to do the right thing.”
“Family is the most important thing to me,” he said when asked about the match with Wyatt and what about him has changed.
Before Miz could answer if he was afraid of facing Wyatt, his wife Maryse screamed. Miz joined her and saw their daughter surrounded in her crib by the puppets from Firefly Funhouse. They rushed to the child’s room, where they found a doll dressed like The Fiend.
Immediately after, Wyatt introduced a new Firefly Funhouse, where he offered to show Miz how to learn not to feel love.
Miz talking about changing as a human, only to send Maryse into a potentially dangerous situation was so him. Intentionally or not, it was an excellent touch that connected this incarnation of the character to the cowardly heel he once was.
The segment as a whole was…interesting, to say the least. Why Miz and Maryse would see the puppets in his daughter’s crib and wait for the video message by Wyatt to conclude before bolting up the stairs is puzzling, but the execution of the segment was a nice change of pace in comparison to the formulaic nonsense that oftentimes pollutes the WWE’s main roster programming.
Wyatt was, as usual, money in the Firefly Funhouse. The idea of him teaching Miz not to love is an angle I can get behind.
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Another match born of a backstage segment saw Heavy Machinery’s Otis and Tucker squaring off with intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro, accompanied to the squared circle by the always vocal Sami Zayn.
Heavy Machinery rolled into the commercial break, squashing Cesaro and clearing the squared circle of the opposition.
Back form the timeout, the heels dominated by isolating Tucker. They beat him down for a few minutes before a hot tag to Otis sparked the babyface comeback.
The big man rolled, laying out both opponents.
Late in the match, moments after Otis executed the Caterpillar, Zayn provided a distraction that allowed Nakamura to score the pinfall victory for the heels.
Nakamura and Cesaro defeated Heavy Machinery
Other than reminding fans of the impact Zayn has on Nakamura and Cesaro’s recent success, this served no real purpose. With that said, it was still a damn fun match that highlighted a Heavy Machinery team that has quietly developed into one of the most consistently strong and entertaining acts in WWE.
They may have lost here but the fans’ reaction to the big men is indicative of their popularity. If WWE Creative could build on that even in the slightest, it would have a breakout tandem on its hands.
As it is, they continue to bring consistent workrate to the SmackDown tag team division and given the mess that crop of Superstars is right now, that is not a bad thing.
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Kofi Kingston sought to silence King Corbin in the night’s main event and appeared on his way to do it early. Corbin, though, grounded him heading into the break and continued to punish the former WWE champion following the commercial.
Dolph Ziggler interfered at one point to ensure the continuation of Corbin’s dominance.
Kingston delivered SOS to spark a comeback. The Boom Drop followed and Kingston set up for Trouble in Paradise. Ziggler again interfered, though, only to be tossed from ringside by the official.
A brawl broke out at ringside between Kingston, Big E, Ziggler and Corbin, leading to the referee throwing the match out.
Big E entered the ring and demanded a tag match between the four.
Back from the final commercial of the night, the heels cut the ring off, isolating Big E and keeping him from his partner. A missed double axe handle from Corbin gave way to a belly-to-belly suplex from Big E and a hot tag to Kingston.
Ziggler dropped Big E with a superkick on the flow and Corbin downed Kingston with a clothesline. The heels handcuffed the babyface and looked to humiliate him in the same fashion they did Roman Reigns a week ago.
The Big Dog’s music played, though, and Reigns unloaded on anyone in his path, including The Revival, who arrived to assist the heels. Corbin blindsided Reigns but the babyface fought him off with a Superman Punch. Reigns sought to return the favor to the heels but Ziggler dropped him with a superkick. The Revival placed him on the announce table and Ziggler climbed a ladder. Reigns recovered and met him up top, slamming him through the table below.
The New Day defeated Corbin and Ziggler via disqualification
There was a lot going on here but the end result is exactly what it needed to be: Reigns eliminated Ziggler from the equation, ensuring a one-on-one match with Corbin at TLC.
The Revival’s involvement made sense considering New Day’s presence but they should be canceled out by the ladder match they will compete in earlier in Sunday’s show.
For all of the negativity surrounding Corbin’s push, he has been stellar this year, developing into a heel fans can genuinely despise. He has been brilliant, maximized his minutes and absolutely deserves this spot in the main event program of SmackDown.
If he excels Sunday, a continued high-profile status on the blue brand should not be ruled out.