WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Big returns highlight first Friday night show of new year
Some major names resurfacing served as the overall theme of SmackDown on Friday night in Memphis
The very first Friday Night SmackDown of 2020 went down on Friday night at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. This first SmackDown episode of the new decade was newsworthy in that some major returns were featured throughout the entirety of the show as the blue brand pushes toward the Royal Rumble event in just over three weeks in Houston. Even though one of the returns to the show was botched slightly -- after it was botched off the bat -- SmackDown on Friday night can hold the claim of being a more fun watch than most episodes in recent weeks.
Let's have a look now at everything that went down on Friday during SmackDown in Memphis.
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'The Fiend' strikes, Roman Reigns' family to the rescue
Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan were interviewed backstage by Cathy Kelley immediately following the match. Bryan pointed out that "The Fiend" has broken everyone, including Miz, but he hasn't broken him because he's unbreakable. He vowed to exit the Royal Rumble as universal champion, which drew the interest of Reigns who officially entered his name into the Royal Rumble match. The two parted ways, however, fully focused on their main event.
Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs. Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler ended in a no contest: The match turned chaotic after "The Fiend" showed up, eventually taking Bryan out on the outside with the Mandible Claw after catching him from the apron on a running knee attempt. Wyatt disappeared, and from there, Reigns was outnumbered. Corbin and Ziggler were out to repeat history as they brought out the handcuffs and dog food, but family came to the rescue for "The Big Dog" as The Usos made their return. Jimmy & Jey took out Corbin and Ziggler before helping Reigns to his feet to close the show.
If the plan is to keep Reigns feuding with Corbin and his cronies, you had to make it the slightest bit more interesting. And the addition of real-life family in Jimmy & Jey Uso should be more than enough to do the trick there. When Robert Roode returns shortly from his 30-day suspension, you now have a six-man tag bout you can build to that kills some more time. Not to mention, it's always fun when Reigns and The Usos are just being Samoan badasses together as one big happy family. As for Bryan and "The Fiend," while it was more of the same with Wyatt appearing, attacking and then disappearing, but the story of Bryan refusing to let the menacing character get the best of him mentally continues to be a fun watch. Grade: B-
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Dana Brooke & Lacey def. Sasha Banks & Bayley (via pinfall) and Alex Bliss & Nikki Cross after a senton from Brooke onto Banks.
- Elias performed for the Memphis crowd with a song trolling Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin and even Shane McMahon, saying that should the former SmackDown GM ever return, "send his ass to Raw."
- Shorty G def. Dash Wilder via submission with the Ankle Lock. Post-match, the returning Sheamus came out to seemingly save Shorty G from a Revival beatdown. Instead, though, he laid out Shorty G with the Brogue Kick.
- Kofi Kingston def. The Miz via pinfall after a rollup. This match stemmed from Miz snapping on Kingston earlier in the night for attempting to cheer him up with pancakes and rattling off his accolades from the last decade. Post-match, Miz attacked Kingston before he was run off by Big E. Cathy Kelley headed to Miz's dressing room later in the night in an attempt to get an interview, but instead was met at the door by John Morrison who said that Miz has nothing more to say tonight. OK, so yeah, they've now completely botched Morrison's long-awaited return to the company ... twice. The first being the announcement of his WWE return on an episode of "WWE Backstage" late on a Tuesday evening.
- Otis def. Drew Gulak via pinfall after a Vader Bomb. Earlier in the night, Mandy Rose attempted to have a conversation with Otis but was snubbed after what went down with Dolph Ziggler last week. Rose and Sonya Deville were shown watching the match backstage.
- Braun Strowman def. Cesaro via pinfall after a power slam. Following the match, Shinsuke Nakamura nailed Strowman with the Kinshasa.
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