For weeks, Kevin Owens has made it clear that he isn't afraid of WWE universal champion Roman Reigns. That lack of fear hasn't really paid off for Owens as he has received a series of beatings from Reigns. Owens' stubbornness was on display repeatedly on Friday during SmackDown as he kept coming for the champion, no matter the price he paid to do so.
From the start of the show to the finish, Owens found himself on the receiving end of punishment from Reigns along with Jey Uso, simply outnumbered and even outsmarted at nearly every turn. Still, when the show came to a close, it was Owens who may have had the last laugh, digging himself out from under a mountain of tables, ladders and chairs, to let Reigns know that he was not done fighting yet. Furthermore, Owens promised Reings that he would win the universal championship at Sunday's TLC pay-per-view or die trying.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you results and highlights of all the action. Read on for everything you need to know coming out of the TLC go-home edition of SmackDown.
Kevin Owens' moral victory comes at a price
Kevin Owens opened the show with an in-ring promo. Owens said he received the message Roman Reigns sent to his family last week, when the universal champion threatened to take the food from Owens' family's table. Owens told his family not to watch the match at TLC because he doesn't want his family to think about him differently after seeing what he does to Reigns in their match. Paul Heyman interrupted to remind Owens that Reigns operates on his own time and said he was wrong when he accused Owens of being a masochist. Instead, Heyman said, Owens is a martyr who will stop at nothing to prove his point and that makes him dangerous. Owens had heard enough and said if Reigns wasn't coming to him, he would go to Reigns.
After a commercial break, Owens was backstage at Reigns' dressing room door where Adam Pearce begged him to wait for Sunday. Owens brushed him aside but as he hit the door, Reigns' music hit in the arena and the champion made his way to the ring with Heyman in tow. Reigns said he didn't want to hurt Owens, but he can't have Owens running around claiming Reigns is a bad guy. Reigns offered Owens the chance to acknowledge him as the head of the table or he would end him, not at TLC, but tonight. Owens tried to storm the ring, but was attacked from behind by Jey Uso before Reigns joined in on the beating, with the two leaving Owens down and out. Backstage, Reigns told Jey to "end him" for good. Jey attacked Owens with a chair on his way to the trainer's room and then put him through a table in the trainer's room later.
Reigns was out one last time to close the show, entering the ring to say he didn't understand why, if you are given the opportunity to be in a championship match with him, you would blow the opportunity. Reigns said this is an opportunity to elevate yourself to the next level, only for Owens' music to hit and Owens to limp his way to the ring. Owens took out Uso with a chair before attacking Reigns. Before Owens could hit Reigns with a stunner, Uso returned to the ring to hit a superkick. Reigns followed up with a spear and Uso brought tables into the ring. First, Uso slammed Owens through a table, then Reigns hit a Samoan drop through another. Reigns buried Owens under a pile of tables before throwing ladders on top and ending with a series of chair shots. Reigns was about to be interviewed backstage only to see Owens sit on a chair in the ring and close the show by saying Roman can't keep him down and he'll either win the universal title or die trying.
While everyone is playing their part well in the story involving Reigns, Owens, Uso and Heyman, there's a danger in wrestling of crossing the line from making your babyface look tough and determined and into the range of making him look stupid. Owens continually rushing into situations where he'll be outnumbered, outgunned and ultimately beaten up is not a smart decision by any means. Yes, he's tough and that toughness and refusal to back down has frustrated Reigns, but it hasn't really given Owens any sort of "win." Grade: B
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- Street Profits (c) def. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode to retain the titles. The challengers dominated most of the match until Angelo Dawkins got the hot tag and hit Roode with his twisting neckbreaker for two. Ziggler came back with an assisted famouser for another near fall. The Profits hit The Anointment and Montez Ford's frog splash, but Ford did not cover fast enough. Instead, once Ziggler tagged out, Ford rolled up Roode for the 1-2-3. The heels complained that Ford grabbed his tights, but referee Charles Robinson screamed back and threatened suspension. The action was good here, but it's hard not to get tired of these roll-up finishes and rematches, which are clearly going to come here.
- Riott Squad def. Billie Kay & Tamina via pinfall after a missile dropkick flatliner. Tamina got a lot of work early, but once she tagged out and was knocked off the ring apron, the Riott Squad hit a missile dropkick flatliner to easily beat Kay. It was a nice tag team finisher that Riott Squad got to show off, but this wasn't much of a match.
- Carmella hosted a "champagne tasting." WIth her sommelier in the ring, Carmella said she would be picking out her championship champagne. She called herself better than Sasha Banks because the champion is mentally weak and over her head holding a title this long. Carmella said Banks won't be able to control her emotions, and she'll have to deal with no longer being The Boss. Banks attacked Carmella from behind and then went after the sommelier, giving Carmella an opening to smash another bottle over the champion's back. This was well done for Carmella all things considering, but it didn't advance the story at all.
- Otis def. Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall with a Vader Bomb. Otis got some big offense on Nakamura with a clothesline and splash, but Chad Gable stopped him in the middle of the caterpillar and told him to do suplexes. Nakamura nearly rolled Otis up, but Otis threw him with a suplex and then hit the Vader Bomb for the 1-2-3 in a short match. Yeah, you're reading this right. Otis beat Nakamura. Gable later told Otis he should've hit the caterpillar and should do what he means, not what he says.
- Sami Zayn hosted the Sami Awards, giving himself awards for comeback of the year and match of the year, but read Big E's name for superstar of the year after Big E changed his cards earlier in the show. They fought before Big E threw Zayn down the ramp.
- Bayley def. Bianca Belair via pinfall after an eye rake and Rose Plant. Backstage before the match, Belair said Bayley is not a role model, but she does see her as a measuring stick. Bayley said Belair needs to humble herself and promised to put the rookie on the map. This was a very solid match with good work from both women, as expected, but Bayley took a shortcut, raking the eyes to lead to the finish and a big victory.