SmackDown Reactions: Brothers Forever
By Ryan Satin
The season premiere of Friday Night SmackDown featured a brutal Universal title match, new Superstars joining the brand and an emotional farewell.
In case you missed it, here are the quick results from the October 16, 2020 edition of SmackDown:
- Lars Sullivan defeated Jeff Hardy
- The New Day’s Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and Sheamus
- The Street Profits won by DQ in a match against Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode
- Roman Reigns retained the Universal title via submission over Braun Strowman
Now let’s dig a little deeper with my four takeaways from the show.
1. The Farewell New Day Deserved
"Y’all will forever be part of my spirit."
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E have been a huge part of WWE TV for the last six years. They’ve also become three performers a generation of young people look to for inspiration.
Because of that, Friday’s farewell to The New Day as a trio was important.
We didn’t need a bitter breakup. We didn’t need a heel turn for Big E.
What we needed was a proper sendoff to one of the best WWE factions of all-time, and that’s exactly what we got.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods will still appear together on Raw, but Big E is a key part of New Day’s success as well. His departure from the group – no matter how long it lasts – deserved to be treated as the big deal it was.
Two parts of this segment, in particular, were most moving: Xavier Woods (with tears in his eyes) thanking his teammates for taking a chance on him, as well as Kofi Kingston admitting he had thought about stepping away from the business before teaming with New Day.
Wrestling may be scripted, but the emotion shown in the ring by all three performers on Friday night was as real as it gets.
2. Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins Teasing Potential Feud
Here’s a surprising fact: Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan have only had four televised singles matches against each other in WWE.
Two of those matches happened last year on the same Raw (the first ending in a one-minute DQ). Before that, another occurred all the way back in 2015.
They’ve also never had a singles match on pay-per-view against one another.
That’s not to say Rollins and Bryan don’t have in-ring history, though. They squared off in their early years while wrestling for ROH and have been on the opposite side of the ring in many WWE tag matches over the years.
Hopefully Friday’s interaction is the start of something longterm between the two Superstars, because a feud with Seth could be exactly what Daniel needs right now.
Ever since returning from what was thought to be a career-ending injury, Bryan has been giving the rub to as many performers as possible. This includes former WWE stars Erik Rowan and Luke Harper, as well as Drew Gulak and others.
A program with Seth could allow some of the focus to be put back on Bryan for a change, while keeping Rollins in a prominent position on a new night.
Rey Mysterio, Dominik and Murphy were involved in the segment too, however, so it’s possible their storyline from Raw could be continuing.
If it is, hopefully Daniel can still somehow be involved.
3. Bianca Belair Takes a Step in the Right Direction
"I’m not the next big star. I am the star."
Bianca Belair said the above quote to me during an interview last year.
The video hyping her move to SmackDown on Friday reminded me of that very correct point she made.
Backed by a killer song, the footage showcased Bianca’s college track-and-field accolades, move to NXT, training at the Performance Center and work on the main roster.
Text also flashed across the screen to explain her EST nickname (like fastest, strongest and flyest).
This was much better than the comedic vignettes she had been the subject of on Raw over the past few weeks. The package made her feel current and hip, like she truly is, as opposed to the female version of Mr. Perfect.
Bianca’s sports background, crossover appeal and proven ability to be a role model for children make her a Superstar whose push on SmackDown should be handled with care.
If done correctly, she could become a major player for WWE. The change of presentation helped a ton.
It’s time to let the her star shine as brightly as possible.
4. Roman Reigns and Jey Uso Family Drama
The storyline between Roman Reigns and Jey Uso is outstanding for so many reasons.
First, and foremost, the feud is establishing Roman’s new heel persona better than a program with any other performer on the roster could have done.
Everyone can relate to the story being told here.
Whether you’ve wanted to be the Roman Reigns of your tribe, or had to deal with a cocky Chief sitting at the head of table, it's an easy concept to grasp.
This has allowed Jey Uso to own every single second he’s on-screen and deliver emotional performances on a level many probably didn’t expect.
Each week he watches with sadness as Roman is led closer to the dark side by an evil entity, like Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels, and you can’t help but feel for the guy.
Instead of watching it helplessly this week, though, Uso felt compelled to take a stand after watching Reigns successfully defeat Braun Strowman in the main event.
Using mainly his facial expressions, and only a few words, Jey was able to show that he refuses to accept he’s lesser than and instead wants to prove he’s on the same level.
That’s how you build a proper babyface who people want to see win.