Universal Champion Roman Reigns Confronted Jey Uso
Reigns specifically told Uso to leave the building after Uso failed to win for Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, and although Uso stick around to help Reigns defeat Drew McIntyre later in the night, apparently that didn't make up for his incompetence in Reigns' mind. Reigns still scolded Uso here and it made for a strong segment that successfully set the stage for the rest of the night. Uso has done such a good job of "falling in line" with Reigns that I hope they're together for the long term.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits (Non-Title)
I was wondering why we never got a rematch between Street Profits and Ziggler and Roode from the "season premiere" of SmackDown in mid-October seeing as how their original encounter ended in a double disqualification. They're finally moving forward with this feud and I'm glad because Street Profits need challengers. It was a quality contest, but despite their victory here, it's difficult to buy into Ziggler and Roode as threats to the titles because of how damaged they've been in the last year. Ziggler especially does nothing for me at this point.
Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn def. Daniel Bryan by Count-Out (Non-Title)
These two have history dating back to WrestleMania 36 when Zayn beat Bryan to retain his title. We were robbed of a real rivalry between them at that point because Zayn took time after WrestleMania, so I'm glad they've been able to interact again in recent weeks. I liked how Bryan didn't predictably defeat Zayn here to earn another shot at the strap, which would have been too similar to the opener. The count-out finish was clever as it not only gave Zayn a tainted win but also played into Bryan's feud with Uso. The actual match was excellent and I'd definitely be down for another match between them eventually.
Bianca Belair def. Natalya
Bayley sat in on commentary for this match. Bayley got eliminated by Raw's Peyton Royce at Survivor Series and Royce was eliminated by Natalya, so it meant something for Belair to beat Natalya here. The match didn't last long, but it was enjoyable for what it was. While I couldn't care less about Natalya, she's effective at elevating talent and she helped do that with Belair. I'm all for a feud between Belair and Bayley as I believe it's the next step of Belair's ascent on SmackDown. A win over the longest-reigning SmackDown Women's Champion of all-time would do wonders for her.
Murphy def. King Corbin
Corbin was supposed to face Otis on this show, but Uso attacking Otis earlier in the evening led to Corbin choosing Murphy as his opponent instead. He insulted Murphy and the Mysterio family backstage beforehand, so Rey, Aalyah and Dominik were ringside for this. It was a decent match, but the involvement from the Mysterios was way too distracting. Is this going to a regular thing? Is Murphy just using them to gain an advantage in his matches? Who will be Corbin's backup? I suspect there's a more than a handful of fans who don't care about finding out the answers to those questions.
Kevin Owens def. Jey Uso by Disqualification
Owens has been doing a whole lot of nothing lately, so it was nice to see him show more aggression here. Uso beat Owens a few weeks back and this was his chance to exact some revenge here. It was a well-worked match, and while I'm normally not a fan of disqualification finishes, this was logical because Uso was frustrated and then Owens got to batter him with a chair in return. It certainly looks like Owens is being set up as Reigns' next challenger for the TLC pay-per-view, which makes perfect sense to me as they save Reigns vs. Bryan for Royal Rumble.
The Black Friday edition of SmackDown isn't always the most must-see every year due to WWE phoning it on the holiday, but this was the exception. That isn't to say it was the best episode I've seen from the blue brand in recent memory, but everything mattered and there was some solid in-ring action. There was progression in virtually every division and seeds were planted for several potential matches that could happen at TLC. The no-nonsense approach from SmackDown lately has been refreshing and has made the shows worthwhile more often than not.