WWE Smackdown results, recap, grades: Goldberg challenges 'The Fiend,' Carmella earns title shot
Goldberg will return to action at Super ShowDown in an attempt to take the universal title from 'The Fiend'
The dominant headline coming into WWE SmackDown was Bill Goldberg's pending announcement of his intention for Super ShowDown. Coming out of the show, not much is different as fans will see Goldberg take on an entirely unexpected opponent when WWE returns to Saudi Arabia later this month.
Also on the show, Roman Reigns locked in yet another match with King Corbin. This time, the two will face off in a steel cage, looking for closure for the third consecutive month. Also, the next challenger for Bayley's SmackDown women's championship was lined up in the night's main event.
Let's take a look at what happened from SmackDown at SAP Center in San Jose, California.
Goldberg and "The Fiend" agree to Super ShowDown title match
After Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin threw down (see below), Michael Cole kicked off a remote interview with Goldberg to find out who the former WCW and WWE universal champion would face at Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia. With the seemingly obvious choice of Reigns off the table and Brock Lesnar tied up with other things on Raw, Goldberg was asked the trademark question of "Who's next?" Goldberg quickly reminded fans of his short run as universal champion and the fact he never received a rematch after losing the title to Lesnar before turning his focus to the current champ. Goldberg called out "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, which drew a "Breaking News" edition of Firefly Fun House.
Wyatt quickly accepted Goldberg's challenge on behalf of his evil alter ego. Goldberg said he was refusing to fall for any of Wyatt's mind games and delivered a simple message. "You're next," Goldberg shouted before the segment came to a close.
Who saw a Bray Wyatt vs. Bill Goldberg match coming in 2020? It's a wild idea and very much in keeping with the tone of the WWE's adventures in Saudi Arabia. That is to say, completely random and bordering on existing outside WWE canon. The interactions over the coming weeks between the always-serious Goldberg, the wacky Wyatt character and the dangerous and dark "Fiend" should be interesting if nothing else. And who doesn't love being blindsided by a match announcement? Grade: B+
Carmella earns shot at Bayley's title
Early in the show, Alexa Bliss was shown speaking with tag partner Nikki Cross backstage. Cross reminded Bliss about the uphill battle she had later in the night to earn a shot at Bayley's SmackDown women's championship, when she'd face Naomi, Carmella and Dana Brooke. Bliss told her tag partner you don't become the first woman to hold the Raw and SmackDown titles unless you have a "something twisted" up your sleeve. That moment served as one of two red herrings on who would be the next woman up to challenge for Bayley's title, along with Naomi's recent return to action and seeming clear path to a title shot. By the end of the night, neither woman would sit as No. 1 contender.
Carmella def. Alexa Bliss, Naomi & Dana Brooke via pinfall after pinning Naomi following a superkick. Bliss seemed briefly poised to win down the stretch, heading up top for Twisted Bliss on Naomi. Naomi got the knees up to counter the move and hit Bliss with the Rear View. Carmella entered the picture then, hitting Naomi with a superkick to get the pinfall and become No. 1 contender to the SmackDown women's title. Seconds after her victory, Carmella was attacked from behind by Bayley, who had been watching the match from ringside. The attack left Carmella down while Bayley walked to the back with her title to end the show.
Somewhere along the line, WWE really decided Carmella was in a very specific group of "any time, any place" title challengers. That's great for her and she has come a long way with developing her character and in-ring work. But the general sense was that Naomi's return at Royal Rumble and subsequent interaction with Bayley had her set for a title program with Bayley. Instead, fans will be treated to Carmella vs. Bayley, which feels unsatisfying in a way. Wrestling is a long game, though, and Super ShowDown obviously won't feature a strong women's presence on the card, so Carmella may just be the challenger to fill time until the next event where WWE is allowed to have women fully participate in the show. A stronger title run for Bayley would also add some weight to the whole situation, but that's just not the reality of her reign. Grade: C
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- The Miz and John Morrison brought back The Dirt Sheet to kick off the show. The tag team introduced the trailer for a "movie" they claimed would win an Academy Award. Afterward, The New Day duo of Big E and Kofi Kingston interrupted their Super ShowDown challengers to discuss their upcoming match. After Miz and Morrison said they'd defeated every tag team SmackDown has to offer, The Usos made their way to the ring to point out that they'd not yet picked up a win over the former multi-time tag team champions. Dolph Ziggler's music was next to hit, leaving an opening for Miz and Morrison to jump New Day from behind.
- The Usos def. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode via pinfall after Jimmy Uso hit Roode with the Uso Splash. Jimmy countered a Ziggler superkick with one of his own, tagging in Jey Uso for a splash, but Ziggler countered that with the knees up for a near fall. Moments later, in the ensuing chaos, Roode ate a double superkick from the Usos and Jimmy hit him with the Uso Splash for the pinfall.
- Elias def. Cesaro via pinfall after a top-rope elbow drop. Before the match, an Elias performance was interrupted by Cesaro. Sami Zayn chalked up the interruption to Elias interrupting him last week after Shinsuke Nakamura lost the intercontinental title to Braun Strowman.
- Roman Reigns challenged King Corbin to a cage match. Earlier in the evening, Corbin had thrown a production team member down a flight of stairs for re-airing the footage of him being covered in dog food by Reigns and The Usos. Later in the night, Corbin came to the arena and continued his claims he would not have lost to Roman Reigns had The Usos not gotten involved -- involvement spurred by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode interfering on Corbin's behalf. He demanded yet another match with Reigns. "The Big Dog" ran out, delivered an abbreviated beatdown and chased Corbin off before agreeing to one last match, but said this conflict would take place inside a steel cage, preventing anyone from interfering on behalf of either man.
- Daniel Bryan def. Heath Slater via submission with the LeBell Lock. Bryan was backstage when Heath Slater stopped by to check on the founder of "The Yes Movement." Bryan, clearly frustrated at Slater's rundown of the things that have recently gone wrong for him, threw down a challenge for the two to meet in the ring immediately. Bryan brutalized Slater from the jump before delivering a lengthy series of stomps to the head before locking in the LeBell Lock on a basically unconscious Slater.
- Braun Strowman was interviewed in the ring. Strowman addressed winning the intercontinental championship from Shinsuke Nakamura on the previous week's SmackDown, his first singles title run. Sami Zayn and Nakamura interrupted him before Zayn requested "an honorable rematch." Strowman said he'd put the belt on the line any time, any place, including this very night. Zayn accepted the match, but said it wouldn't happen tonight before saying they'd be "surgical" and "tactical" and would use every resource before The Revival attacked Strowman from behind. Strowman was able to lay out Nakamura and The Revival before taking off after Zayn. Zayn escaped by slipping out of his jacket, leading Strowman into a knee from Nakamura and a Kinshasha to lay out the champ.
- Otis was shown backstage with Tucker. The two then had an 80s move-style montage with Otis looking to get in "date shape" for his Valentine's Day date with Mandy Rose. Tucker gave Otis several tips, including ripping the sleeves off his suit jacket, and telling his tag team partner to eat his steak using utensils.
- Sheamus def. Apollo Crews via pinfall after a Brogue Kick. The match was over in a matter of seconds. Shorty G ran in to make the save when Sheamus was about to deliver another post-patch kick to Crews. Sheamus ended up laying out Shorty G with a kick as well.
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