Keep up with all of tonight’s WWE SmackDown results as the show emanates from the WWE ThunderDome inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida with five weeks to go till Royal Rumble!
Please note these results are based on the SmackDown taping on the 22nd (seen through being a part of the ThunderDome crowd) as opposed to the official broadcast and were written a few days before the show aired live.
- Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens via Escaping The Cage to retain the Universal Championship
- Charlotte Flair & Asuka defeated Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair and Bayley & Carmella via Pinfall to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championships
- Daniel Bryan defeated Jey Uso via Pinfall
- Big E defeated Sami Zayn via Pinfall to win the Intercontinental Championship
Roman Reigns Defeats Kevin Owens via Escaping The Cage to retain the Universal Championship
- The two brawl immediately to start before Roman takes control with a series of heavy strikes and a big boot which gets him a 1-count.
- Owens tries for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Reigns counters into a mid-air leg drop for a near-fall. Reigns pulls Owens to the top rope but Owens pushes the champion off before hitting a Frog Splash. He gets a near-fall as we cut to commercials.
- We cut back to Reigns getting a near-fall with a sit-out powerbomb. The two exchange clotheslines and strikes before Owens hits a Pop-Up Powerbomb for a near-fall.
- Owens attempts the Stunner but Reigns counters with a Superman Punch. He goes for a cover but Owens kicks out at 2. Reigns taunts Owens before slamming Owens into the steel cage and pummeling the challenger with strikes several times.
- Reigns locks in the Gullotine whilst Owens is caught behind the ropes. Owens escapes after he pulls Roman’s neck across the top rope, choking him and forcing him to release the hold.
- Reigns goes for a Spear but Owens counters with a kick before hitting a Stunner which Reigns just barely kicks out of the cover for as we cut to commercials.
- We cut back to Owens trying to escape the cage as Owens attempts to cut him off. Owens eventually takes Reigns down with a Superkick and tries for a Swanton Bomb, but Reigns gets his knees up and hits a Spear for a near-fall.
- Reigns tries to escape through the door but Owens grabs his leg to stop him. Reigns taunts Owens which allows the challenger to hit the champion with the cage door before slamming his head into the wall repeatedly, which looks to have knocked Reigns out.
- Owens tries to go through the door, but Jey Uso tries to stop him. Owens levels him with the door and the challenger nearly escapes but Reigns grabs him. Owens hits a superkick and tries for a Pop-Up Powerbomb but Reigns counters with a Superman Punch.
- Owens hits a Stunner to take down Reigns again and tries to escape through the door again but Jey Uso handcuffs Owens to the cage wall. Roman gets back up and easily escapes the cage to retain as Owens calls him “a little bitch”.
Analysis: Really really fun opener to the show that arguably lived up to the high bar set by their TLC encounter last week! Owens took a very aggressive approach early on, learning from some of his mistakes from the pay-per-view, and eventually switched gears into simply escaping, which was ultimately his downfall as it allowed Uso to interfere. It’s key to note that Roman STILL hasn’t pinned Kevin Owens – at TLC he grabbed the belt and here he escaped the cage -which suggests to me we’ll be seeing more between these two. I imagine they’ll have one final match at Royal Rumble next month where Reigns will definitely pin Owens and move onto whoever wins the Men’s Rumble.
Charlotte Flair & Asuka defeat Bayley & Carmella and Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair via Pinfall to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championships
- Before the match, all six women make their individual entrances and taunt each other before commentary announce a three-way elimination tag match for the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
- Charlotte and Bayley start off and Charlotte takes the advantage with a chop before tagging in Asuka. Bayley gives Asuka a few strikes before tagging in Carmella. The two brawl before Sasha tags herself in from Asuka and keeps Carmella in her corner with Bianca before tagging Bianca in.
- Charlotte is tagged in by Carmella as we see The Riott Squad watching on from backstage. Charlotte and Belair counter each other’s offence and taunt each other with hip slaps.
- The two move to the outside and everyone brawls on the outside before Asuka & Bayley tag themselves in and Bayley hits a Bayley-To-Belly for a near-fall.
- We cut back to Bayley working over Asuka before Asuka counters with a top-rope dropkick for a near-fall. Bayley tags in Carmella and the two continually tag in and out, working over the RAW Women’s Champion.
- Everyone hits big moves on everyone and Banks tags in at some point during the chaos. Banks hits a Frog Splash to eliminate Bayley & Carmella – Charlotte becomes legal and Sasha locks in a partial Bank Statement, but Charlotte counters and tries to lock-in the Figure Eight which Banks counters into a Roll-up for a near-fall.
- Charlotte locks in the Figure Four but Bianca drags Sasha over to her corner with her braid before tagging in. She hits a handspring moonsault for a near-fall before Charlotte locks in the Figure Four again which Sasha breaks up.
- Asuka tags in and takes out Sasha on the apron, who falls onto Reginald. Bayley gets up the apron to distract Belair which allows Asuka to get a roll-up for a near-fall.
- Bianca hits an impressive deadlift powerbomb and tries for another stalling suplex before the champions hit a kick/Natural Selection combination to pick up the win.
Analysis: Great match, though I wish they could have thought of a more inventive build to it than a promo train into a random announcement on commentary. Maybe this’ll be something that gets fleshed out in a segment that wasn’t shown during the taping or on social media but the pre-match segment to this just felt like a ham-fisted attempt to try and justify the 6 superstars teaming up without much build. Carmella continues to be a thorn in Sasha’s side, essentially costing her this match through Reginald, and as I mentioned in the TLC results I wouldn’t mind seeing these two continue their rivalry onto the Rumble as well – especially if we get more matches like the one they had this past Sunday!
Daniel Bryan defeats Jey Uso via Pinfall
- Jey attacks Bryan during his entrance, brutalising Bryan with strikes and a slam onto the ramp. Producers and referees pull Uso away as we cut to commercial.
- We cut to Jey Uso in the ring as Bryan is arguing with officials that he can continue. The match starts and Uso immediately begins assaulting Bryan again, throwing Bryan to the outside and hitting a Tope Suicida.
- Uso throws Bryan into the steel steps several times before whipping him back into the ring. Jey chops Bryan and Bryan starts getting some momentum before Uso hits a Samoan Drop for a near-fall.
- Jey continues to dominate over Bryan before missing a headbutt. Bryan tries to start a comeback but Uso dodges and hits a hip attack to regain control.
- Bryan eventually launches Uso over the top rope and Jey clutches his left ankle. Bryan hits a Tope Suicida but mostly hits the announce table, seemingly injuring his arm.
- Bryan gets up on the top rope and Uso follows, allowing Bryan to get in behind him and hit a back superplex as we cut to commercial.
- We cut back to Bryan working over Bryan’s injured left ankle, wrapping it around the ringpost several times. Bryan eventually hits a corner dropkick into Uso’s leg before hitting a top rope hurricanrana for a near-fall.
- Bryan hits two Yes Kicks and attempts the Running Knee but Uso hits two Superkicks before hitting the Uso Splash, but he fails to capitalise quick enough to secure the win – Bryan kicks out of the eventual cover.
- Uso tries for another Uso Splash but Bryan gets the knees up before locking in the Lebell Lock. Uso breaks Bryan’s grab with some joint manipulation but Bryan transitions into a single leg Boston crab, which Uso breaks via rope break.
- The two brawl on the ground but Uso gets the advantage after a series of stiff strikes. Uso tries for a Superkick but Bryan hits the Running Knee to pick up the win.
Analysis: Another really great match with Bryan FINALLY getting his revenge on Uso. Sure, the match didn’t have any build (again, none that was shown during the tapings anyway) but the match itself told all the story it needed to: Uso attacked before the bell and worked over Bryan’s left leg but the Leader of the Yes Movement still prevailed against all the odds. This is a story I’d like to see both superstars move on from now as both could do with some separate spotlight on them heading into Royal Rumble. Both are legitimate contenders to last long in the Rumble match so hopefully, we see more of them to solidify that over the next few weeks!
Big E defeats Sami Zayn via Pinfall to win the Intercontinental Championship
- Earlier in the show, we see the Street Profits backstage who walk over to Sami Zayn who complains about not having time for their nonsense. Street Profits give him a gift which is a t-shirt that says “I was Intercontinental Champion”. Sami walks away in frustration.
- The lumberjacks make their way to the ring, oddly including RAW Superstars like Angel Garza and Akira Tozawa. Sami comes out with his two Sami Awards again.
- The two start with several different tie-ups which Big E gets the better of. E takes down Zayn with an elbow strike but Zayn retaliates with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle, which causes Big E to fall to the outside where the heel lumberjacks beat him up.
- Big E manages to regain control with a Brock Lock. Zayn rolls to the outside but the face lumberjacks surround him before E tries for a splash onto the apron which Zayn dodges. The lumberjacks beat him up again and Zayn hits a Tope Con Hilo before we cut to commercial.
- We cut back to Zayn choking E on the ropes and throwing his shirt into the challenger’s face before E manages to hit multiple belly-to-belly suplexes. Zayn counters a third with elbows before trying for the Helluva Kick which E counters with an Urange for a near-fall.
- Big E tries for the Big Ending but Sami escapes and rolls up the ring before the lumberjacks throw him back in. Zayn pokes Big E’s eye behind the referee’s back and goes to the top rope where E follows him.
- Zayn hits a top rope sunset flip powerbomb for a very close near-fall. The champion then tries for a Helluva Kick but Big E sidesteps it and hits a Spear to the outside. The lumberjacks throw Big E before brawling with each other as Sami tries to escape.
- Apollo Crews tackles him to the ground and the face lumberjacks carry him back into the ring before Big E hits a Belly-To-Belly, the Big Splash and the Big Ending to win the Intercontinental Championship!
- Big E celebrates with the face lumberjacks with confetti raining down as Zayn is seen crying at ringside to close the show.
Analysis: Great match with the perfect finish – all the faces that Sami has been insulting and mocking over the last few months get their comeuppance by throwing him back in the ring, allowing Big E to capture the Intercontinental Championship! I thought they’d wait until the Rumble before pulling the inevitable trigger with the former New Day member but not adverse to it happening early. It does, unfortunately, make Big E’s chances of winning the Men’s Rumble much slimmer but if that’s at the exchange of him capturing SmackDown’s second biggest prize, I’ll take it! Hopefully, we get to see a rematch at Royal Rumble next month.
And that was the December 25th 2020 episode of SmackDown!
An incredibly stacked show with nothing but great matches to end off the tumultuous year that was 2020! Reigns and Owens put on a pay-per-view level rematch, AJ and Bryan bookended their feud with an explosive final confrontation and Big E finally picked his first singles title since being separated from New Day!
My only qualm was the promo train build to the Women’s Tag Championship Triple Threat which felt somewhat rushed and ham-fisted to me, but WWE may have fleshed this out via social media or segments not seen on the tapings, so this might be a non-factor.
Keep up-to-date with all the fallout from this episode of SmackDown, as well as all the latest WWE news, right here at Inside The Ropes.