Just four days after winning the WWE championship on Raw, Big E showed up on Friday night's SmackDown to confront universal champion Roman Reigns. While Big E would end up teaming with Finn Balor to take on The Usos, it was a a match set up for next week's Raw that sits as the biggest headline coming out of the show.
After Big E and Balor won their tag match, The Usos attacked the new WWE champ and laid him out. Now, Reigns and The Usos will have to take on Big E and New Day teammates Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods in a six-man tag match on Raw. All of this coming ahead of Reigns' Sept. 26 title defense against Balor at Extreme Rules.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee.
New WWE champion Big E confronts Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns, The Usos and Paul Heyman opened the show in the ring, addressing last week's confrontation with Brock Lesnar. After Heyman claimed that, for the first time in his life, he saw fear in the eyes of Lesnar when he was face-to-face with Reigns, Big E's music hit and the new WWE champion made his way to the ring. After the two men posed with their belts, Finn Balor's music hit and a match pitting Big E and Balor against The Usos was on.
Big E & Finn Balor def. The Usos via pinfall after Big E hit Jimmy Uso with The Big Ending. At the same time that Big E hit his finish, Balor nailed Jey Uso with a Coup de Grace. The shot then cut to Reigns and Heyman in the locker room with Reigns asking if Heyman had anything to tell him and if Heyman was really sure there was nothing he needed to know. Heyman swore that he did not know that Lesnar was coming to SummerSlam and that Lesnar lied when he said Heyman did.
Later in the show, Big E confronted Heyman backstage, saying he'd see Reigns -- or Lesnar -- at Survivor Series before The Usos attacked. The Usos left Big E down, saying he needed to go back to Raw. It was later confirmed that Reigns and The Usos would face The New Day on Raw this coming Monday.
It seemed like a great idea to have Big E show up and continue his momentum after winning the WWE championship on Monday but the first 30 minutes of the show didn't really do much to advance anything happening on SmackDown. Instead, what it did was set up an exciting match for Raw. Balor still feels very much like an afterthought on SmackDown, sitting behind Lesnar and now Big E despite wrestling for Reigns' title on pay-per-view in just over a week. Grade: C-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Rick Boogs def. Robert Roode via pinfall after the Boogs Cruise. After the match, Commander Azeez and Apollo Crews ran in to attack Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura. Crews then demanded a rematch for Nakamura's intercontinental championship.
- Happy Corbin attacked Kevin Owens before their planned match. The match never took place after Corbin left Owens down and out after a chokeslam on the ring apron.
- Seth Rollins challenged Edge to one final match. Rollins asked what everyone thought would happen when he got his hands on Edge, saying it was always clear he'd put Edge down.
- Liv Morgan & Toni Storm def. Carmella & Zelina Vega via count out after Carmella suffered a "broken nose" from Morgan. Carmella began screaming and refused to get back in the ring. After the match, Morgan challenged Carmella to a match at Extreme Rules.
- Sami Zayn def. Dominik Mysterio via pinfall after countering a frog splash into a pin.
- Bianca Belair took part in a hometown celebration. Glen "Kane" Jacobs -- the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee -- presented Belair with a key to the county. Belair sang Rocky Top with the crowd before Becky Lynch interrupted. Lynch said she hadn't come to steal Belair's thunder and would accept that tonight, unlike SummerSlam and Extreme Rules, could be Belair's night. Lynch offered to shake Belair's hand but Belair wouldn't break the grip before trying to hit Lynch with the Kiss of Death only to be reversed into Lynch's Manhandle Slam.