Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman Reveal Stuns, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman Reveal Stuns, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

0 of 5


    "That's not a prediction."

    A dramatic pause.

    "That's a spoiler."

    The camera panned right, revealing Paul Heyman was sitting beside Roman Reigns. And for the second time in the span of five days, WWE delivered a shocking conclusion to a show that left the audience reeling.

    Reigns' relationship with Heyman was undisputedly the biggest, most important and unforgettable takeaway from Friday's SmackDown, a show tasked with drumming up interest in a second-pay-per-view in as many weekends from Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire.

    And drum up interest it did, thanks to that exclamation point but also to the continuation of ongoing stories and the return of a former champion.

    On the heels of a blockbuster broadcast, relive these moments and angles that left the greatest impression and find out what they mean for the men and women involved with this recap of Friday's episode of SmackDown.

'That's Not a Prediction...It's a Spoiler'

1 of 5

    WWE made good on its promise that "you'll never see it coming" for a second time this week with the shocking, unexpected revelation of an alliance between Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman that wrapped up Friday's episode of SmackDown.

    The ballsy creative move pushes Reigns one step closer to a heel turn, which began with the edgy trash-talking and brutal beatdown of The Fiend and Braun Strowman at the conclusion of SummerSlam.

    Reigns big-timing Adam Pearce and refusing to sign the contract for his Payback Triple Threat No Holds Barred Match against the aforementioned competitors, only to reveal Heyman sitting next to him, was the sort of jaw-dropping and buzzworthy conclusion to a show WWE has not necessarily been synonymous with in recent years.

    It was a huge storyline development that gives the audience a peek into the mindset of WWE Creative at a time when it is desperately trying to revitalize television ratings across the board.

    Giving the fans the long-awaited Reigns heel turn is a strong start.

    The key will be following up the huge storyline development appropriately. While WWE officials are more likely to want to keep the Universal Championship on The Fiend, there is no justification not to strike while the iron is hot and put the gold on Reigns.

    He is as hot now, after two appearances, as he has ever been. And the development with Heyman as his new advocate only intensifies interest in The Big Dog. Put the gold on him right now, reap the benefits and go all-in with the Reigns heel turn.

Change in Plans Undermines Big E's Push

2 of 5

    Big E was supposed to be a guest on Miz TV on Friday, playing off his tense exchange with the Hollywood A-Lister on the previous week's Talking Smack. Instead, that segment was scrapped in favor of a Six-Man Tag Team Match pitting Big E and Heavy Machinery against Miz, John Morrison and Sheamus.

    The problem? Big E will never become the genuine main event performer he is capable of being if he cannot express himself and let his enormous personality get over with the audience. Friday's change in plans took the mic out of his hands and placed him in the unenviable position of being just another midcarder on a show full of them.

    While it was the main event—and he did pick up the win for his team—it was, all the same, meaningless tag team fodder. He didn't elevate himself because he didn't have the ability to communicate with the audience, to let them see his personality or invest in his motivations.

    Until that happens, WWE will continue to handcuff Big E, preventing him from seizing the proverbial brass ring and becoming the level of star this whole storyline is setting him up to be.

The Golden Role Models' Inevitable Breakup

3 of 5

    Some people are just meant to be tag team champions.

    It is a sentiment Bayley shared in regard to Big E but one that struck her partner and friend, Sasha Banks, as they made their way to the ring Friday night.

    Once there, The Role Model was celebratory in her promo, touting her own successes while reminding Banks that she had lost the Raw Women's Championship to Asuka. To the point, even, that Banks snapped back, clearly annoyed and frustrated by her partner's braggadocio.

    Banks' intense rebuttal to Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax, a promise that she will retain the Women's Tag Team Championships on Sunday at Payback, only further hinted at the impending demise of her partnership with Bayley.

    The tag team champions have enjoyed a hell of a run in 2020 but it is most definitely time for them to go their separate ways and deliver on the teased feud from earlier this year. And they will, sooner rather than later, if Banks' temperament Friday were any indication.

Would the Real Intercontinental Champion Please Stand Up?

4 of 5

    Would the real IC champion please stand up?

    Please stand up.

    Please stand up.

    AJ Styles staked his claim to a rematch with Jeff Hardy by decrying the Charismatic Enigma's illegal use of a knee brace to beat him last week. Hardy backed up his status as champion with a victory over Shinsuke Nakamura in an open challenge.

    It was the return of Sami Zayn, though, that elevated the Intercontinental Championship picture.

    The former champion, stripped of his title while he sat out for months because of COVID-19 concerns, exploded back on to the scene Friday night and wasted little time wiping out Hardy with a Helluva Kick.

    Zayn's return and claim to being the real champion only further elevated it.

    The Intercontinental Championship had been so woefully underutilized and underappreciated for so long that to see the sheer amount of star power battling over it is a welcome change for long-time fans who remember how prestigious a prize it was for guys like Bret Hart, Razor Ramon, Tito Santana, Greg Valentine and Rick Rude.

    That there are so many competitors with real arguments for why they should be champion will almost certainly culminate in a specialty match of some sort to determine the undisputed champion—perhaps a ladder match, a la Ramon and Shawn Michaels when they had the same argument 26 years ago?

Alexa Bliss' Dark Turn Is Underway

5 of 5

    No one who encounters The Fiend is ever the same after.

    We got our first taste of the effect Bray Wyatt's alter ego had on Alexa Bliss on Friday as the five-time women's champion reintroduced her signature pigtails and snapped at Nikki Cross, shattering her coffee cup and stomping off at the mere mention of The Fiend's name.

    While it is entirely too early to say for sure where this is headed, it appears as though we may be on our way to a Bliss heel turn and, maybe, the manifestation of the Harley Quinn-style personality she has teased so often via her ring gear.

    One thing is for certain: Her partnership with Cross is not long for this world.