Jey Uso Fails, Kevin Owens Sends a Message and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
After Survivor Series, where he failed to gain respect and incite fear among his blue brand comrades, Jey Uso arrived on WWE SmackDown hellbent to win over his cousin Roman Reigns and establish himself a leader.
Kevin Owens had a different idea for the former tag team champion, leaving him lying (and Reigns seething) to end the night.
Those two Superstars headline this week's SmackDown Fallout, which also highlights the latest between Sasha Banks and Carmella, as well as the presumed next challenger to Sami Zayn's Intercontinental Championship.
Jey Uso Fails Roman Reigns Again
Roman Reigns left Jey Uso with an important message at the top of Friday's show: When the rest of the locker room doesn't respect Uso, they don't respect Reigns, and if they don't respect Reigns, they don't respect the family.
It was a not-so-subtle warning to his cousin to go earn the fear and respect of the SmackDown Superstars and, more importantly, not to fail like Uso did at Survivor Series.
He started off on the right foot, attacking Otis and brutally beating him down with a steel chair. He followed up with an attack on Daniel Bryan, costing the former WWE champion his match against Sami Zayn. In the process, though, he earned the wrath of Kevin Owens, one of the men who shrugged off his leadership at the pay-per-view.
In the night's main event, Uso had the opportunity to earn the affection of The Tribal Chief while eliminating one of his greatest threats.
He failed. Again.
Uso fell prey to the same chair he used on Otis before suffering a stunner that left him lying on his back, staring into the lights while Reigns watched from the backstage area.
Jey's latest inability to live up to The Head of the Table's expectations will further put him in Reigns' crosshairs. At what point will he finally lose his place in the family, cast aside by a Big Dog who no longer wants the frustration and headache of dealing with someone who cannot execute his vision and aid him in firmly establishing himself as the ruler of the SmackDown island?
It remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: Uso's plight has been the single most compelling story in WWE in 2020 and continues to make SmackDown the one must-see property in McMahonland.
Kevin Owens Lashes Out, Enters Universal Championship Picture
Uso's failure proved to be Owens' success, as KO sent a message loudly, clearly and directly to Universal Champion Reigns to close out Friday's show.
In between pummeling Jey with a chair and delivering a stunner, Owens looked into the camera and told The Tribal Chief that he's not afraid of him. It was defiant, it highlighted the lack of respect Reigns cited earlier in the show, and it seems to have set up a showdown between The Prizefighter and The Big Dog as soon as the December 20 TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view.
Reigns and Owens have a long history of physical battles, dating back to 2017 and their wars over the same Universal Championship the former wears over his shoulder. They beat the hell out of each other and nearly stole the show at that year's Royal Rumble.
With their roles reversed and Reigns on the hottest in-ring streak of his career, there is every reason to believe their next battle will exceed their previous wars.
Their impending match not only enhances Reigns' title reign by putting him in the ring with another former world champion, but it also elevates Owens, who has been wholly underutilized for the better part of the last year. He is a main event talent who has been shut out of the top of the card for too long.
Expect him to remind fans, peers and Vince McMahon himself just who the hell he is as he returns to a position on the card he never should have left.
Sasha Banks and Carmella Intensify Rivalry
Carmella isn't pandering to fans anymore. Everything she does, she does for herself, as she stated in her first promo since returning.
It was a short, logical explanation for her heel turn and personality change, but it also set up a bit of retaliation for SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks, who answered weeks of sneak attacks by catching The Princess of Staten Island off-guard and trapping her in the Bank Statement.
The angle, which was relatively brief all things considered, further intensified what is becoming a heated feud and will likely set Banks and Carmella on a collision course for a title match as soon as WWE TLC on December 20.
The one obvious question to come out of this feud, at least to this point, is whether Banks or Carmella can actually afford a loss.
Banks is in the middle of her hottest run in years and has certainly earned a lengthy title reign. Carmella is a returning Superstar in the midst of establishing a new character. A loss for her would threaten to strip her of her heat and leave her in need of another rebuild.
While those inconclusive finishes are rarely favorites of the viewing audience, the first battle between Banks and Carmella would likely benefit from one as WWE further establishes the heel's new persona while giving The Boss the opportunity to extend her title reign.
Intercontinental Championship Feud on Horizon for Big E...but Is It Enough?
There isn't a Superstar that Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn has encountered that hasn't made light of him, underestimated him or left him seething in anger. Big E was no different Friday night.
The powerhouse of The New Day poked fun at Zayn's underhanded means of retaining his title, to which the champion brought up the big man's reign with the title "many, many, many moons ago," poking fun at the irrelevance of it.
Big E answered with a handshake that left Zayn in pain, his hand crushed by E's power.
And with that, we got our first look at Zayn's next championship program.
The heel has carved out a Honky Tonky Man-esque reign for himself, utilizing every possible scenario to escape a match with his title reign intact. He has been phenomenal in the role, a heel fans want to see get his comeuppance, and if the backstage exchange is any indication, said comeuppance may be coming sooner rather than later.
The question is whether this is the right role for Big E.
When WWE heartbreakingly split The New Day, with the idea being to give Big E his long-awaited singles push, most assumed it would be to the top of the card as a genuine threat to the Universal Championship.
Not the intercontinental title. Keeping him at that position on the card accomplishes nothing. His push is essentially stagnant, rendering the split from Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods unnecessary.
Would Big E be better equipped to run with that title now than he was back in 2013? Absolutely. He's better, smarter and more entertaining than he was then. He has found himself as a performer, for sure. But he is capable of so much more than floating around backstage, encountering random heels and, now, putting himself in contention for a title he has already held.