1. Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso (Clash of Champions)
People who do not understand why people love wrestling should be shown Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso for a prime example. This match exemplified that wrestling doesn’t have to be about who has the better looking move set, but more the character and the story involved in the battle we see unfold.
Jey Uso, in the absence of his brother Jimmy, has received a meteoric and surprise push to the main event, and in this battle with his cousin, he showed that he deserved the torch he has been given to carry. The build focused on Roman’s prior acclimation to being the man at the top; this was his level and he was welcoming his cousin to a place at the top.
Reigns flexed his heel chops to the finest, both revering and demeaning Jey for his rise, reminding him and the fans that there was no chance Uso would be taking the Universal Championship. As weeks went on, Jey asked the question that echoed through the audience, “What if you’re wrong?”.
The truth was, Jey Uso was never going to beat Roman for the title so soon into his reign, but somehow he still managed to get fans on board with the idea that he could pull off an upset. Neither men are slouches when it comes to in-ring work, but the beauty of this match was that it showcased something we had not seen from either yet: their ability to deliver a cinematic showpiece of character development and storytelling.
Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso might not have happened outside of COVID-era WWE, and that’s another beautiful nuance. This match was one of the few cases where the absence of an audience allowed for a different device for storytelling, allowing Reigns to monologue, berate, and stalk his opponent throughout the match, like the wrestling equivalent of Thanos.
This match was Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed. Everyone wanted Uso to win, no one believed it, and, as the match went on, Reigns was driving home that he was the superior wrestler. But Jey refused to give up until his brother limped down and threw in the towel to save him.
We enter 2021 with the ramifications of this particular battle still carrying over. Reigns is the best character in the world of wrestling and Jey is now set for a breakout year that needs to round off with a title win. SmackDown is must-see television because of the two involved in this match, that enough is to say that this match is not only the best but the most influential of 2020.