One major segment advertised ahead of Friday's edition of WWE SmackDown was a contract signing between SmackDown women's champion Sasha Banks and TLC pay-per-view opponent Carmella. Instead of a simple contract signing, the pair ended up serving as the night's main event.
Banks' frustrations during the contract signing spiraled into her offering Carmella a chance to win the title in the final match of the night, an offer Carmella happily accepted. Banks would go on to lose the match, but not the title, and paid a hefty price after Carmella broke a champagne bottle over her back following the match.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action. Read on for everything you need to know coming out of SmackDown.
Carmella beats Sasha Banks, doesn't win title
Sasha Banks opened the show by coming to the ring for her TLC contract signing with Carmella, but the contract was missing. Carmella interrupted on the Tron and had the signed contract, which she sent to the ring with her "sommelier." A frustrated Banks then offered up an opportunity for Carmella to challenge for the title later in the night, which Carmella accepted. Banks then attacked the sommelier, leaving him lying in the center of the ring to end the segment.
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Carmella def. Sasha Banks (c) via disqualification when Banks did not obey the referee's command to break. Carmella got off to a hot start, taking the fight right to Banks. Banks' initial comeback attempt was cut off with a Carmella facebuster on the ring apron. Carmella's dominance continued, with her countering multiple attempts by Banks to hit a backstabber. Carmella locked in the Code of Silence before Banks locked in Banks Statement. The sommelier made the save and an enraged Banks would respond by brutally attacking Carmella in the corner and refusing to obey the referee's commands to stop, resulting in a DQ and Banks retaining the championship. Carmella attacked Banks after the match, pushing her face into a champagne bucket and then breaking a bottle over Banks' back.
Unfortunately, the whole opening segment was delivered poorly by both women and the whole situation made very little sense. The match was a bit of smoke and mirrors, with commercial breaks and a lot of time-killing strategies making it seem longer than it was. Carmella is never going to be on the level of in-ring work as the best women on the WWE roster, but there are worse ways to handle a match than to have her dominate offensively to limit the amount of work she really has to do. If anything saved the entire angle, it was the attack with the champagne bottle after the match. Still, this doesn't give a ton of hope for their match at TLC. Grade: C-
Roman Reigns delivers another harsh message to Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens cut an in-ring promo directed at Roman Reigns, saying that, even after Reigns' brutal attack last week, Owens still does not fear him. No matter how good Reigns is, Owens said, he continues to use his family to fight his battles. Owens introduced Reigns to his "friends" who would help him beat Reigns in their TLC match: chairs, tables and ladders. As Reigns watched Owens on a backstage monitor, Jey Uso attacked Owens from behind with a chair. Before Uso could splash Owens through a table, Owens was able to fire back with a chair and hit a pop-up powerbomb through a table. Reigns was out next, with Owens dealing with an injured leg from the Uso attack. Paul Heyman encouraged Reigns to not go to the ring, telling the universal champion that he needed to show Owens that he does things on his own time. After Reigns walked away, Owens gave chase with a chair.
Owens was shown backstage looking for Reigns with blood dripping from a cut below his eye when he was briefly interviewed. That was cut short when Owens was attacked by Reigns from behind. After laying Owens out, Reigns spoke to the camera, telling Owens' family that they needed to talk sense into their husband and father before Reigns takes the food off their table.
Reigns segments have been reliably good for months now and this was solid again. Owens' lack of fear of Reigns hasn't paid off well for him so far. The subtle gem here was Owens accusing Reigns of cowardice for having his family fight his battles only to see Reigns respond by sending Uso out to fight his battle. Reigns is terrifying, but also clearly insecure and that makes for a good heel. Grade: B
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
Dolph Ziggler def. Montez Ford via pinfall after a superkick. Halfway through the match, after Ziggler had ducked out of the ring, solo cups began raining down on the ring, as they do during the Street Profits' ring walk. Robert Roode took out Angelo Dawkins on the outside of the ring, providing a distraction that allowed Ziggler to pick up the win.
Sami Zayn def. Big E via count out. Before the match, Big E, wearing a newly designed shirt, taunted Sami Zayn, who was complaining that he had no merchandise for sale (he has merchandise on sale in the WWE Shop). Zayn claimed to have re-injured his hand after a uranage from Big E, eventually slapping Big E as part of the ruse. Zayn then ran from the ring and Big E gave chase. Zayn fled under the ring, Big E followed and Zayn managed to beat the 10-count to score the cheap victory.
The Riott Squad def. Natalya & Billie Kay via pinfall after Ruby Riott hit Kay with a Riott Kick. The match was a result of a segment on last week's Talking Smack where the Squad told Kay to find a find a partner to face them, leading to Natalya joining up only to be frustrated after Kay lost the match.
Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura def. Otis and Chad Gable via pinfall after Nakamura hit Gable with Kinshasa. A video package aired prior to the match, focusing on Gable's training methods as he tries to change Otis into his "Michelangelo's David." Otis seemed to be on the verge of winning the match when Gable asked to be tagged in only to end up losing the match as Otis stood on the ring apron watching his coach get pinned. Later, Gable claimed he was just testing Otis and didn't really want to be tagged in and Otis should have just won the match.
King Corbin was interviewed backstage, introducing his security team as Knights of the Lone Wolf. He then welcomed the Mysterio family to continue their issues with him as he had now evened the odds.