Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Paul Heyman kicked off this week’s episode of WWE SmackDown.
Reigns took issue with Adam Pearce for not protecting Kevin Owens from the beating he took last week. Reigns said that now Owens can’t provide for his family and the blame falls on Pearce. He also took issue with Pearce booking a Gauntlet Match to determine Reigns’ challenger instead of letting Reigns pick his own opponent. Later in the show, Paul Heyman said he was able to pull some strings to get Adam Pearce added to the Gauntlet Match. This was done even though Pearce objected to this idea.
The Gauntlet main event came down to Nakamura and Pearce, who was followed to the ring by Reigns, Heyman and Jey Uso. Reigns and Uso entered the ring first and destroyed Nakamura with several moves, including a superkick, a Superman Punch and the Uso Splash. Reigns then talked some trash to Pearce and let him know that SmackDown belongs to The Tribal Chief, and he can do whatever he wants, when he wants. Reigns then aggressively rolled Pearce into the ring. Pearce said a few words to Reigns, but turned around to a superkick from Uso. Reigns then signaled for the timekeeper to ring the bell, and Uso pulled Pearce on top of Nakamura. Both Pearce and Nakamura were laid out, but the referee was ordered to make the count and Pearce got the win. After the match, Reigns stood tall with the Universal Title in the air as Pearce began to recover. SmackDown went off the air with Reigns staring down at Pearce as Michael Cole and Corey Graves wondered if Pearce is really the #1 contender to Reigns for the Royal Rumble.
WWE has not issued an update on Pearce’s status or who will challenge Reigns at The Rumble as of this writing. It’s likely that they will do another angle on an upcoming show to determine the real challenger for Reigns at the pay-per-view, but there’s no word yet on what direction they might take.
Gauntlet match results:
- Rey Mysterio defeated Sami Zayn with the 619 and splash off the top
- Shinsuke Nakakamure forced Rey Mysterio to tap to the armbar submission
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated King Corbin with the Kinshasa
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Daniel Bryan with the Kinshasa
- Adam Pearce pinned Shinsuke Nakamura, thanks to Roman Reigns and Jey Uso
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