Just one day ahead of WWE Elimination Chamber in Saudi Arabia, it's SmackDown on Fox, where after a long run with the Intercontinental title that dates back to August of last year, Shinsuke Nakamura defends against the very sketchy Sami Zayn in the main event. We're also set to see Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Goldberg come face-to-face in the ring ahead of their title match. Let's see what happened!
We kick things off on SmackDown with a contract signing between the team of WWE Official Sonya Deville and SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and their opponents at WWE Elimination Chamber, Naomi and Ronda Rousey.
So they have a horrendous segment here with terrible dialogue and eventually after they're done throwing terrible one-liners at each other, Deville announces a stipulation for the match where Rousey will have to have one arm tied behind her back in the match. Rousey and Naomi get shots in on their opponents and then, of course, flip the table. Awful, just awful opening segment.
Sheamus vs Ricochet
An entertaining action-packed match here. Sheamus has been doing very consistent, solid work for the past several months on the midcard on SmackDown and that continues here. Eventually, Ridge Holland tries to distract Ricochet on the apron, but it works against Sheamus, allowing Ricochet to hit the Recoil for the pinfall.
After the match, Sheamus lashes out at Holland and shoves him down.
We now go to a backstage interview with Sami Zayn, where we learn Rick Boogs will not be around for the title match tonight on SmackDown because of the electrical explosion last week. Zayn rants about all of the conspiracies against him but says it will all be worth it when he wins the Intercontinental title tonight.
We now get a cool video package celebrating the career of The Undertaker for the announcement of his entering the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
And from there we go to another video package, this one setting up Goldberg versus Roman Reigns.
Jey Uso vs Ivar
This one's a bit more competitive than Erik's quick loss to Jimmy Uso a couple of weeks ago on SmackDown. I wish they could find a good solo character, ala Vader for Ivar cause he can certainly move for a big dude. And he does that here, hitting a turnbuckle splash on Jey and nearly getting the three-count before Jimmy runs in and bashes him with the Viking helmet to cause the disqualification.
Winner by D.Q.: Ivar
After the match, Erik runs in and takes out Jimmy by bashing him in the head with the helmet.
Drew McIntyre heads out to the ring now and cuts a promo on Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin ahead of his match with Moss at Elimination Chamber.
Corbin and Moss head out and respond to McIntyre's threats with some nonsense and bad jokes. McIntyre responds seriously, letting Moss know that he's going to hurt him very badly at Elimination Chamber.
We now go to a backstage interview with Shinsuke Nakamura, where he says Sami Zayn is insane if he thinks he's beating him for the Intercontinental title tonight on SmackDown.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn – Intercontinental Championship
This match is interesting, as it's intentionally slow-paced, which is uncommon for most televised SmackDown matches in the Fox era. There are lots of holds and stretches here and a lot of calculated limb-targeting. Nakamura hurts his knee early and Zayn is all over it for the rest of the match, creating some good reversal moments. With that in mind, Zayn eventually wraps Nakamura's leg around the corner post repeatedly, kicks his leg out from under him, and gets an inside cradle for the pinfall to win the title.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Sami Zayn
We next go backstage to find Ricochet celebrating his win over Sheamus with Aliyah, when Sami Zayn interrupts and brags about his win to Aliyah and everyone else he can find.
Then we get yet another long video package, this time about the Chamber match for the WWE title.
And now it's time for Goldberg and Roman Reigns to confront each other in the ring. You know damn well how this went down: Paul Heyman cut a good promo where he hyped up Reigns, Reigns said he's the greatest of all time and Goldberg grunted and screamed.
And that's that for this week's SmackDown on Fox, a show that was dominated by video packages even though it was taped a full week in advance. We only got three matches this week and while they weren't bad quality-wise, maybe if they didn't do a two-hour commercial for upcoming events, this show would have felt more worthwhile.
Till next time friends.