After a chaotic edition of Survivor Series, The Bloodline grew stronger and Ricochet defeated Santos Escobar in the final of the Smackdown World Cup to punch his ticket for an Intercontinental Championship match against Gunther.
Welcome to the WWE Weekly Round-up, where The Inner Sanctum will take you through this week’s most pivotal moments on WWE television and preview what shapes to be a huge period ahead.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn end their 20-year friendship… for now
In the fallout of their victory at Survivor Series WarGames, The Bloodline made an appearance on Monday Night Raw without Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman to address the result.
The huge talking point that arose from their match against Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens and The Brawling Brutes was Sami Zayn proving his loyalty to The Bloodline and finally being embraced by Jey Uso.
The two were involved in ongoing disputes for months, as the Undisputed Tag Team Champion could never trust the Honorary Uce and hated an outsider entering the family faction. Jey’s doubt was then eradicated at Survivor Series when Zayn betrayed his best friend of 20 years, Kevin Owens to secure the win for The Bloodline.
On Raw, Jimmy Uso declared that there is no longer any dissension in the group and the Honorary Uce showed his appreciation towards the twin brothers for accepting him.
After Zayn expressed his gratitude to Jimmy for welcoming him from the start, the former Intercontinental Champion turned his attention to Jey and asked if they could finally put their past grievances behind them.
The trio then engaged in a group hug to celebrate and while they were attempting to convince Solo Sikoa to join, Kevin Owens came out and ruined the party.
The Prizefighter revealed that he wasn’t angry at Zayn for his actions, but rather understood him since he betrayed the Honorary Uce multiple times over the course of their friendship. However, Owens then announced that his relationship with Zayn must come to a close and issued The Bloodline will never be his real family.
The Honorary Uce agreed to cut ties with Owens, before Jey and the former Universal Champion had a verbal altercation that led to a match later in the evening. The Prizefighter was victorious in the contest against his bitter rival, with this storyline continuing to be the most intriguing aspect of weekly television.
The popular view amongst the WWE Universe is that this angle is going to result in Zayn’s eventual departure from The Bloodline, which will lead to Owens reconnecting with his best friend and the duo hopefully defeating The Usos for the Undisputed Tag Team Championships.
It is unclear when this process will commence. but a perfect environment to implement the emotional exit or even a match between Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed Universal Championship would be Elimination Chamber.
The Premium Live Event emanates in February from the Honorary Uce’s hometown, where Zayn would be portrayed as the lovable babyface and The Bloodline guaranteed to receive insurmountable backlash.
Dexter Lumis finally earns WWE contract
Dexter Lumis is one of the many names that have been brought back to WWE under the new administration, as he made his return in August on Monday Night Raw by abducting The Miz.
The “unsigned” Lumis then consistently targeted the A-Lister for several weeks and while his motives were unknown, Johnny Gargano revealed in early November through investigations that it was actually an act for The Miz to gain popularity and enhance his career.
The former WWE Champion was compensating Lumis to help him, but eventually stopped rewarding the returnee and paid the price by continuously being attacked. On this week’s Raw, the two finally met in the ring in a bizarre anything goes match after The Miz always tried to delay the contest.
As a result of his victory, Lumis obtained a WWE contract and was also owed all the money he was supposed to be given. After the match, he handed some of his cash to children in the crowd until The Miz attacked him from behind and stole the money.
Gargano intervened in the situation again and delivered a superkick to the A-Lister, before giving the cash back to Lumis. It is now hoped that this rivalry has seen it’s conclusion, although everyone’s direction coming out of the feud is unclear.
Lumis and Gargano could join forces and revisit their time from NXT when they were in The Way, but the latter is better utilised as a standalone singles competitor and should be a future rival for Austin Theory.
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Tegan Nox returns to aid Liv Morgan in combatting Damage CTRL
Following a three-on-one brawl against Becky Lynch on Raw, Damage CTRL emerged on Friday Night Smackdown to discuss their disappointment from the women’s WarGames match at Survivor Series.
Bayley revealed how the trio combined to last 95 minutes in the contest, but expressed her anger that the WWE Universe were more excited for Lynch’s return and how no-one from the Smackdown women’s division competed against them in the match.
It then prompted Liv Morgan to confront them, before she engaged in a melee against Damage CTRL. While she had the advantage at the start, the number’s game quickly crept up to the former Smackdown Women’s Champion and Bayley’s group asserted their dominance.
However, Tegan Nox made her surprise return to WWE and attempted to help Morgan with the outnumbered assault. While she was also levelled by Damage CTRL, Morgan appeared with a kendo stick and equalised the trio before they retreated.
A glaring issue on Smackdown is their lackluster women’s division and the arrival of Nox does improve their stocks. She was once a prominent figure in NXT and has a profound history with Dakota Kai, as the two were best friends before the Women’s Tag Team Champion betrayed her at NXT Takeover: WarGames in 2019.
Not only could they rekindle their rivalry, but Nox and Morgan may potentially form a partnership to feud against Damage CTRL. While Bayley is occupied with Lynch, IYO SKY and Kai are lacking challengers for their titles and this could be a temporary solution.
Ricochet wins the Smackdown World Cup
The Smackdown World Cup reached it’s culmination this week, as Ricochet and Santos Escobar battled in the finals for the right to face Gunther in a future Intercontinental Championship match.
It was projected that Braun Strowman would emerge as the winner of the tournament, but he was eliminated by Ricochet last week and it set up an eventual clinic between the former champion and leader of Legado Del Fantasma.
The group were removed from ringside, after the referee discovered that Cruz Del Toro pushed Ricochet off the top rope behind his back. Escobar was left to win the contest on his own and this match was a quality showcase of his ability, as the WWE Universe are still becoming familiar with him.
There were multiple highlights in this final, including a hurricanrana that Escobar delivered to Ricochet from the top of the barricade. However, the latter would prevail in due course to win the Smackdown World Cup after successfully hitting a 630 on his opponent.
Although it slightly hinders Escobar’s credibility that he could not win by himself after receiving assistance from Legado Del Fantasma in recent weeks, Ricochet was the right man to win this match. His dynamic with Gunther is more ideal, as the two will lock horns for the Ring General’s title in a fortnight.
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