With the card already set for Sunday's WWE Clash of Champions pay-per-view, the go-home edition of SmackDown was less about building to the card and more keeping things in order two days out from the event. While that meant nothing would happen that caused any major impact, it did open the door for one of WWE's best segments of the year -- if not longer.
In the show-closing segment, Roman Reigns and Jey Uso stood face-to-face in the ring ahead of Uso's challenge for Reigns' universal title and the champion tried to put his cousin in his place. Despite being told that Reigns is their family's "provider," Uso refused to back down, instead asking, "Why not me?"
Read on for a full recap of the night's action along with highlights from the final pre-Clash of Champions episode of WWE television.
Roman Reigns claims his place at the head of the table
Early in the show, Jey Uso came to the ring and said he wouldn't need anyone to interview him and that Roman Reigns had some questions to answer about what happened after their tag match last week. Footage then aired of Reigns' intense look as Uso walked away after the pair celebrated together. Uso asked, "What's up with the look?" and the cameras cut to Reigns and Paul Heyman sitting in chairs watching Uso on the monitor. Heyman walked out of Reigns' dressing room and said that the WWE Universe deserves to hear what Reigns has to say to Uso's face, but that it will happen when Reigns' schedule accommodates it.
At the end of the show, Reigns and Uso got in the ring together and Reigns said he'd give Uso the title if he could, but Uso wouldn't know what to do with it. Uso, Reigns said, doesn't understand the weight and pressures that come with being on top because he's a twin, who has depended on someone else his whole life. Reigns said that Uso is one half of the greatest tag team of all time and he's proud of his cousin for that, but the family depends on him, not Uso and it will never be Uso. With that, Reigns dropped the mic and left the ring. But Uso asked Reigns, "What if you're wrong?" He then asked why Uso can't be the one to provide for his own wife and kids. Uso then drove home his point by saying that after he beats Reigns at Clash of Champions, people won't ask, "Which one are you?" They'll know, he said, because he'll be the man that took the title from Roman Reigns. As Uso walked up the ramp to end the show, Reigns rushed back in to land a superman punch. Reigns told Uso he provides for a whole family, so take his payday and accept that he'll never take a place at the head of the table.
It can't be overstated how incredible the show-ending segment was. Speaking broadly, WWE is in a creative ditch outside of brief glimmers of brilliance in 2020. But the delivery from both Uso and Reigns was so perfect, the messaging so on point and the intensity at exactly the right level to where it would stand out in any era. There's not much drama to who is going to win at Clash of Champions on Sunday, but the journey to the finish is worth it. Grade: A+
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
Sami Zayn def. AJ Styles & Jeff Hardy via pinfall after Styles hit Hardy with a Phenomenal Forearm. After an in-ring interview with all three men to open the show, including Zayn and Hardy both hanging their titles from the hook for Sunday's ladder match, Zayn attacked the other two with a ladder. This led Adam Pearce to force Zayn to compete in the originally scheduled match between Hardy and Styles. Styles took out both men with the ladder after the match, before climbing to retrieve both titles in a symbolic moment ahead of Clash of Champions.
Otis attacked John Morrison backstage after he and Tucker realized Miz's lawsuit to try and use the legal system to capture the Money in the Bank contract only included Miz's name. Miz vowed to drag Otis through the system endlessly if he did not relinquish the contract.
Bayley cut a promo about her plans for Nikki Cross at Clash of Champions. The SmackDown women's champion suggested that after their match, she may execute a similar attack on Cross to the one she unleashed on Sasha Banks weeks ago.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Gran Metalik via pinfall following a Kinshasa. After the match, Cesaro attacked Lince Dorado and Kalisto declined to intervene, staying outside the ring. This led Dorado to shove Kalisto and walk to the back with Metalik.
King Corbin def. Matt Riddle via pinfall following End of Days. This was a really solid, long match with the surprising result of Corbin going over clean after getting his knees up on the Floating Bro to set up the finish. After the match, Riddle admitted that losing sucks, but said a loss wouldn't stop him and he would continue to grind.
Lacey Evans def. Alexa Bliss via disqualification. During the match, Bliss was briefly distracted when The Fiend's laugh began to echo through the arena. The match continued to go back and forth until The Fiend's lighting and music hit and Bliss snapped, violently turning up her violent attack before stomping on Evans' face while holding the ropes until the referee had to call for the bell. Post match, Bliss followed Evans to ringside and delivered a Sister Abigail.