WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from November 20
Sunday is WWE Survivor Series, which means Friday's SmackDown show was the last chance that management had to fill up the teams for the blue brand.
Going into the show, the women's team had two open spots and the men's team had one. Who qualified to join the SmackDown brand at Survivor Series?
Drew McIntyre headed to SmackDown for the second week in a row. This time he was there to sign a contract for his match against Roman Reigns.
Daniel Bryan returned to action to get revenge on Jey Uso after Jimmy Uso took him out a few weeks ago with a brutal attack. Buddy Murphy took on Seth Rollins.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on Friday's SmackDown.
The New Day and Street Profits vs. Ziggler, Roode, Corbin and Zayn
SmackDown opened with The Street Profits in the new and improved champion's lounge. They make some jokes about The Undertaker and Big W shows up in a sombrero doing an impression of Taker. Big E talks some trash about how The New Day will beat them and they say they will knock the Jamaican accent back into Kofi Kingston.
When we go live to the arena, Xavier Woods and Kingston head to the ring. They do their best Undertaker impression until Sami Zayn comes out and says they shouldn't be making jokes. He said the only reason Taker is retiring is because he knows Zayn owes him some payback.
Corbin came down and said they don't belong on his show and ordered them to leave. Before they could respond, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode made their way out.
Woods and Kingston offer to defend their titles and say Zayn and Corbin should fight Roode and Ziggler for the right to challenge them for the Raw tag titles. They all seem to the idea, but Ziggler and Roode quickly turn around and attack The New Day. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford run down to make the save.
We returned from a break to see the eight-man tag match already taking place. Michael Cole made sure to mention how Adam Pearce approved this bout during the commercial. What unfolded was exactly what you would expect from a match involving these eight competitors.
We saw some double-team moves from the established duos, and every Superstar had a chance to shine for a few moments. Unfortunately, that means nobody really stood out from the pack. Kingston accidentally took out Ford with a crossbody when Roode moved out of the way to create some tension.
After another break, Ford scored the win for his team with a giant frog splash.
The backstage exchange between Big E and The Street Profits was funny and fed right into the first segment in the ring with the rest of The New Day.
Ziggler and Zayn are both great on the mic and added to what was already going on to make this an entertaining way to kick off the show. Even King Corbin contributed, but Roode barely said two words if anything at all.
The action in the eight-man match was good but predictable. This kind of match almost always follows the same pattern. It allows for everyone to get some time in the ring, but it leads to a lot of confusion over who is legal sometimes.
This took up a surprising amount of time considering how many other things this week's SmackDown needed to accomplish.
Natalya vs. Tamina (Winner Joins Women's Survivor Series Team)
Bryan got into a brief confrontation with Zayn backstage before he gave an interview with Kayla Braxton. She replayed the clip of Uso attacking Bryan a few weeks ago. In another quick segment, Otis is named as the final member of the men's SmackDown team. Natalya walks up and yells at Pearce for having to compete for a spot on her team, and he revealed Bayley as the other member of the women's team.
Rollins also gave a short promo backstage before we went to the ring for Natalya vs. Tamina. Bianca Belair joined the commentary table, and Bayley came out right as the match began. She bragged about being handpicked for the team while Nattie had to qualify.
Tamina took control immediately and got a two-count after sending Natalya into the steel steps. The Queen of Harts took her down with a discus clothesline before locking in the Sharpshooter to get the win.
Natalya hugged Bayley as they celebrated. Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Belair joined them in the ring to pose together for the first time as a team.
This match was really short, and too much attention was being paid to the two women on commentary instead of the two who were in the ring.
Tamina and Natalya are the two most tenured women on the roster, and to see them given what was essentially a squash match was disappointing.
We can't expect every segment to knock it out of the park, but it felt like minimal effort went into putting this one together. They left two open spots until the last show before the PPV and filled them in less than five minutes. That tells you everything you need to know.
Pearce was sitting at the head of the table, but when Reigns got to the ring, he made him get up so he could sit at the head of the table to play some mind games with his opponent.
The Tribal Chief stared at McIntyre, and the WWE champion stared right back at him. Reigns said he knew McIntyre would regain the title because he has been in his shoes before.
He said The Scottish Psychopath was in the right place at the wrong time. McIntyre said Reigns' games wouldn't work and he is not going to get under his skin.
They continued to go back and forth with verbal barbs for a little bit. The segment ended without a single punch being thrown, which was the right call.
When Reigns and McIntyre had their feud on Raw last year, they never clicked for some reason. This segment proved they had it in them but needed to switch roles as heel and babyface for it to work.
The tension was palpable as they traded insults and fake advice. Reigns has found his calling as a cocky champion, and McIntyre is the perfect foil for him.
Calling his opponent a secondary champion was a nice touch by The Tribal Chief. This segment sold this match that has had only one other segment before this week's show.
Seth Rollins vs. Murphy
Rollins attacked Murphy before the bell and knocked him from the apron. Rey, Dominik and Aalyah Mysterio helped him up, and he rushed back into the ring.
He and Rollins fought until The Messiah threw him into the barricade and ring post. Rey stopped him from using a kendo stick, but Rollins made him pay by slamming his head into the announce table. He also threw Dom into the barricade before The Juggernaut recovered and took him down.
Rollins shoved him from the top rope all the way down to the barrier, and he hit hard. We returned from a break to see Murphy kick out after a sling blade.
Rollins hit a superplex and a falcon arrow for another near-fall. He yelled at Murphy before sending him into the corner with a buckle bomb. Murphy caught him with a pair of jumping knees before he hit Murphy's Law. He made the cover and got the upset victory.
This was a good match with a surprisingly clean outcome. Murphy beating Rollins clean would have been better at a PPV, but seeing it happen at all was still great.
These are two of the best workers on SmackDown, and they lived up to that reputation with a high-energy contest. The Mysterio family being there made sense, but it would have been nice if Murphy got this win all on his own.
Rollins will likely take some time off soon when his child is born, so this could have been WWE's way of writing him off of television for a few months.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso
Sasha Banks and Asuka had a strange segment together in the ring before Carmella attacked The Boss from behind. Asuka just watched as Mella beat her down.
The main event of the night saw Bryan take on Uso in an attempt to get some payback for the brutal attack he suffered a few weeks ago. As soon as the ref called for the bell, Bryan sprinted at Uso and started hitting strikes.
He locked Uso in a modified STF and hit a few forearm blows before letting him up. Uce took him down and brought him out of the ring so he could drive him into the steps. He cleared off the announce table, but it allowed Bryan to recover and roll him back in for a missile dropkick.
As we went to a break, Uso put Bryan through the announce table. We returned to see Uso still dominating the match. He taunted Bryan before picking him up for a simple body slam.
Bryan countered a Samoan drop and lined up for the running knee, but Uce blocked him and hit a couple of superkicks. Bryan blocked the Uso Splash and rolled him up for the win.
Just like their first encounter, Bryan and Uso put on a great show. The aggression was much higher this time around, which led to a very physical exchange of strikes.
The attitude change Uso has gone through has been almost as significant as the one Reigns has undergone. He is convincing in his delivery and has adjusted his style to work as a villain.
Bryan is still one of the best underdogs in the business because he is also one of the toughest. He may be smaller than a lot of guys, but he always looks realistic when he stomps somebody's face into the mat.
This was not related to Survivor Series, but it was still a fun way to close the go-home show.