Kevin Owens Interrupted Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Jey Uso
Reigns is just killing it on the mic each and every week. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman is perfect in his current role and Uso is shining with his character work. They were interrupted by Owens, who demanded he get his hands on Uso after he cost him the Universal Championship the week prior. This was a fairly standard back-and-forth on the mic used to establish Owens vs. Uso as the night's main event.
Intercontinental Champion Big E def. King Corbin by Disqualification (Non-Title); Big E and Apollo Crews def. Corbin and Sami Zayn
Big E and Corbin honestly has the potential to be damn good. They weren't given nearly enough time here to have that type of match as it only existed to set up the subsequent matchup. Big E and Crews worked well together as partners and the heels were entertaining, so it was an productive piece of business on the whole. Afterward, Big E announced an Intercontinental Championship open challenge for next week, which was immediately accepted by Crews.
The Riott Squad def. Natalya and Tamina
As I've said before, it's nice that SmackDown is utilizing these women outside of the SmackDown Women's Championship picture, but I really couldn't care less about these matches. Riott Squad have already beaten Billie Kay and Natalya as well as the team of Kay and Tamina, but this was their first time beating Natalya and Tamina together. The match itself was whatever, but Kay was the highlight at ringside with her over-the-top antics. She started out as the manager for Natalya and Tamina but switched sides toward the end when she realized who was winning. That was funny, but Kay may be better off as Adam Pearce's manager than as a fake cheerleader for Riott Squad. At this point, they should be next in line for a shot at the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.
Bayley and Carmella def. SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair
This was basically last week's WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Triple Threat, just without Charlotte Flair and Asuka involved. And it was a strong match. These four ladies are essentially the core of the blue brand's women's division at the moment, so I wasn't surprised they delivered here. Bayley and Carmella were close during their NXT days while Banks and Belair are a terrific team. I loved the finish as it earns Carmella another shot at the SmackDown Women's Championship and keeps her feud with Banks alive.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode Attacked The Street Profits During Their New Year’s Day Smoke-Tacular
SmackDown has been pretty good about not being bogged down with holiday silliness these past few months. There was nothing Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas related on the show in 2020, yet we had to get an obligatory New Year's celebration here. I enjoy Street Profits, but their "smoke-tacular" was silly for the most part and I honestly didn't mind Ziggler and Roode crashing it. This successfully set up the SmackDown Tag Team Championship rematch for next week.
Daniel Bryan and Otis def. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Otis and Chad Gable previously lost to Cesaro and Nakamura, but Bryan proved to be the difference-maker here and helped Otis pick up the victory. It was a weird transition from him beating Jey Uso last week and acting serious, but my guess is that WWE is trying to kill time with him before the Royal Rumble. He's still my pick to win it seeing as how he makes the most sense from a storyline standpoint. This was a fun match and I'll never complain about any interaction we get between Bryan and Gable.
Kevin Owens def. Jey Uso
We've seen this match a few times before, so while it wasn't anything new, it did serve its purpose in furthering Owens' feud with Uso and Reigns. It was a quality main event while it lasted, though Owens putting Uso away as soon as the show came back from commercial break felt abrupt. I thought this would be the one week where Owens got to stand tall to end the night, but then Reigns and Uso beat him up again and tossed him off a high platform. Reigns and Uso are coming off as bunch of badasses, but I'm wondering where this is supposed to be leading because Owens will cement his status as a loser unless he gets an upper hand on the heels one of these days.
This was no Christmas edition of SmackDown (which was one of my favorite episodes in years), but it was still a solid show that did what it needed to do in setting up matches for next week and progressing other storylines. The two hours fly by, but if you didn't tune in live, you didn't miss much, nor is there anything worth going out of your way to check out. SmackDown has been a significantly easier watch than Raw these past few months and I hope that can continue to be the case in 2021.