Heading into Friday night, SmackDown was set to deliver one of the biggest shows of the year on the “blue brand.” While the WWE Draft delivered few surprises, the biggest moves and a few compelling matches made for a slightly above average show.
The big news coming out of the event was the first day of the WWE Draft, which promised to shake things up in both the SmackDown and Raw locker rooms. While that largely did not come to fruition, one of the most marketable groups in WWE was split when New Day members Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods returned from injury, only to be immediately split from fellow team member Big E.
CBS Sports was with you all night on Friday, bringing results, highlights and grades for all the night’s action. Read on to see what went down on SmackDown.
A bittersweet draft day for New Day
Big E def. Sheamus via pinfall in a Falls Count Anywhere Match after a Big Ending. Unsurprisingly, things moved outside the ring early, with Big E hitting a spear through the ropes. That allowed Sheamus to tie Big E up in the ropes and use a kendo stick until things swung back Big E’s way after he duct taped Sheamus’ feet together before taking and using the stick on Sheamus. After a commercial break, the action went backstage, and eventually into the parking garage. Sheamus used a tire iron and slammed Big E repeatedly with a car door. Big E, bloodied from going through a car windshield, fought back to hit a Big Ending off the trunk of a car and through a table for the win. Later in the show, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods returned to celebrate with Big E and say they wanted to win back the tag team titles later in the night.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) def. Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall to win the titles after a Xavier Woods rope-walk elbow. Woods grabbed Nakamura down the stretch as Nakamura was looking for the Kinshasa as Cesaro was executing the Cesaro Swing. That set up the finish with Woods hitting the rope-walk elbow to win back the titles, putting the belts back around the waists of The New Day yet again. This marks the team’s seventh time as SmackDown tag team champions. Immediately after their win, it was announced Woods and Kingston were drafted to Raw while Big E was drafted to SmackDown.
The draft was not surprising on the whole, but there was a giant hole in logic in the draft when Raw chose to draft Woods and Kingston but not Big E. There’s no way to make that decision make sense as it was made clear The New Day as a whole could be drafted — The Hurt Business were drafted as a group of four earlier in the night. Big E deserves a legitimate singles run, but you can’t ask people to suspend their entire sense of logical thinking just because this is pro wrestling. Both matches were fantastic taken as individual moments, but the draft as the overarching story failed to make any sense. Grade: C-
2020 WWE Draft:
Two more Hell in a Cell matches announced
Roman Reigns revealed his Hell in a Cell stipulation for the upcoming pay-per-view. Jey Uso demanded Reigns tell him what the stipulation for his match with Reings would be at Hell in a Cell. He was interrupted by Paul Heyman on the Tron, with Heyman telling Uso that things happen on Reigns’ time, before a video package aired reminding Uso of what happened when they faced off at Clash of Champions. Reigns then appeared on screen and cut a promo saying that Uso just needed to acknowledge him in their last match. And now, for the first time, inside Hell in a Cell, there would be an ‘I Quit’ match. Reigns then said that after Uso says “I quit,” there will be consequences.
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Sasha Banks def. Bayley (c) via disqualification after Bayley used a steel chair. Banks flew at Bayley from the opening bell, causing the champion to try and leave the ring and head backstage before Banks dragged her back. Bayley took things over with a clothesline, attacking Banks’ previously inured neck. As Banks attempted to fight back, Bayley used a steel chair, hitting Banks in the stomach, forcing the disqualification and allowing Bayley to retain her title. After the match, Bayley attempted to attack Banks with the chair, but Banks turned things around on the champ, wearing her out with the chair in the center of the ring. Banks then stuck Bayley’s head in the chair, trying to replay Bayley’s attack on her from weeks back, but Bayley was able to escape the chair — and the ring — to avoid any further damage. Later in the show, Banks said that she would face Bayley at the upcoming PPV in an Hell in a Cell match.
Bayley vs. Banks and Reigns vs. Uso being added to the PPV as Hell in a Cell matches advances the confirmed amount of matches in the Cell to three, tying the record for the amount of Cell matches on a single card. There probably will be no further matches added for the Cell, but there is a big risk in having three of your big gimmick matches on a singe show. That said, Reigns vs. Uso has been some of the best storytelling in recent WWE history and Banks vs. Bayley is a story a long time in the making, so both being in big gimmick matches make a fair amount of sense. Grade: B-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
In the first round of the WWE Draft, Raw selected Drew McIntyre, Asuka and The Hurt Business, while SmackDown selected Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Rollins is the first big change of the night, with the rest of the choices locking champions — including Hurt Business’ Bobby Lashley, who holds the United States championship — to their current brands. Rollins needs a big refresh as he’s run out of new options on Raw. Rollins cut a promo after the first round, he said that it is about his message, not the brand and that he is thrilled to finally become a SmackDown superstar. Rollins said he’s sad he won’t be there to watch the Mysterio family implode, though he’s happy to never look at their disgusting faces again, something that would prove to not be the case by an hour later.
In the second round of the WWE Draft, Raw drafted AJ Styles, Naomi, Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, while SmackDown selected Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. Styles was the big change of the round, while Belair represents a potentially big move for SmackDown, with a very high ceiling and potential as a title challenger in the near future.
Matt Riddle & Jeff Hardy def. The Miz & John Morrison via pinfall after Riddle hit Miz with Bro Derek. Basic tag match with the makeshift team beating the established team. After the match, Lars Sullivan made his return, taking out Riddle and Hardy with ease. Sullivan then turned his attention to Miz and Morrison, taking them out before standing alone to end the segment.
In Round 3 of the WWE Draft, Raw drafted Ricochet, Mandy Rose and Miz & John Morrison, while SmackDown selected Jey Uso and Dominick & Rey Mysterio. The big change here is bringing the Mysterios to SmackDown where they join Seth Rollins, which really freshens up nothing as that feud just changes brands. Beyond that, Miz and Morrison will be fresh in the Raw tag division, but without much expectation of bigger things.
In Round 4 of the WWE Draft, Raw selected The New Day, Dana Brooke and Angel Garza, while SmackDown drafted Big E and Otis. Obviously, the big news here is that New Day was broken up, with the new tag champs, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, going to Raw and Big E staying on SmackDown. There’s a huge hole in the logic here where Raw could have selected all three New Day members, but chose to not take Big E. It’s also notable in the round that Otis was drafted by SmackDown but not Tucker.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt def. Kevin Owens via pinfall after locking in the mandible claw. Owens took the fight to The Fiend from the jump, seeming close through the match to scoring a count-out win on multiple occasions, but The Fiend continuing to stand up every time it seemed he was down and out. Two pop-up powerbomb attempts from Owens was not enough to keep The Fiend down before he stood up and re-entered the ring, locking in the mandible claw. An Owens stunner was not enough to break the hold before The Fiend hit a urinage with the hold still locked in to secure the pinfall.