Big E defeated Sami Zayn in a Lumberjack Match to win the Intercontinental Championship on the Christmas Day edition of SmackDown. The show was undoubtedly a pretty eventful one, unlike most WWE shows around the holiday season during most years. With multiple big Championship matches on SmackDown, one of them was bound to see a title change.
Big E is now the new Intercontinental Champion, bolstering his stock as a singles star on SmackDown. The match was pretty fun, with lots of shenanigans in and around the ring. Zayn nearly escaped with the IC title, but the former New Day member emerged victorious.
There might be several ways WWE could go with Big E with the Intercontinental Championship, as well as Sami Zayn without the title. These are exciting times for SmackDown and this article will look at the purpose of the switch and the potential of Big E's reign as Champion.
Here are five possible reasons why Big E won the Intercontinental Championship from Sami Zayn on the Christmas Day episode of SmackDown.
#5 A possible Champion vs. Champion match at WrestleMania between SmackDown's biggest stars - Big E and Roman Reigns
It is a possibility that WWE stacks next year's WrestleMania to the degree that one match might feature multiple Championships. It would make the main event of the show even bigger if two titles were on the line in a Winner Takes All stipulation. It would be a tribute to one of the biggest matches in 'Mania history.
Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6 was for the WWE Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships, with Warrior ending the show with both titles in his arms. This could be the fate of the SmackDown main event at The Show of Shows, featuring Big E and Roman Reigns.
Big E remains one of the best possible opponents for the current Universal Champion at WrestleMania and he could pay tribute to the late, great Pat Patterson by winning the Royal Rumble Match as the Intercontinental Champion. It would instantly make the secondary belt as big a deal as it was in the early 1990s.
Roman Reigns vs. Big E for two titles would be a huge main event for WrestleMania 37 and a great match for the former New Day member to win the Universal title. Without The Rock in the picture, this might be the biggest possible match SmackDown could present at 'Mania.
#4 More conspiracies for Sami Zayn to cry about on SmackDown
Despite having just lost the Intercontinental Championship to Big E, Sami Zayn remains one of SmackDown's most entertaining Superstars. He is one of the truest heels in WWE, seeking heat from all corners at every opportunity. Zayn always goes for shortcuts and isn't shy about blaming everything around him for his shortcomings.
Over the past few months, The Great Liberator has been outspoken about the handling of certain things on SmackDown and Talking Smack. Zayn has become convinced that management has a vendetta against him by simply making him defend the Intercontinental Championship fairly.
His SAMI Awards segment on last week's SmackDown may be the peak of this persona, with Zayn hosting his own awards show to avoid WWE's 'bias'. His outburst after Big E ruined it for him shows exactly how his character works. The Lumberjack stipulation offers up some scope for Zayn's post-show complaints.
This defeat to Big E on SmackDown would only further Sami Zayn's angle, especially because of the way in which he lost the title. He could stop by the set of Talking Smack and cut a promo about it, which would be extremely entertaining.
#3 To ensure that the Christmas episode of SmackDown was a big one
The Christmas Day edition of SmackDown really proved that WWE put a lot of effort during the holidays, at least for the Blue brand, to create compelling programming. This is not usually the case, with WWE putting throwaway Christmas-themed episodes of RAW or SmackDown instead.
RAW may remain a tedious watch at times, but SmackDown has been excellent in the past few months. WWE made sure that did not change, despite the fact that this episode was taped. Three titles were in the line, all of which were contested between the top stars in all of WWE.
Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens opened the show in a Steel Cage Match, before a stacked triple threat match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship featuring the likes of Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Bayley, among others. SmackDown concluded with Big E defeating Sami Zayn.
One way to ensure that viewers would tune into FOX on Christmas night is to book a title change and a popular one at that. Big E's show-closing victory was certainly a great way to celebrate Christmas for WWE. SmackDown is firing on all cylinders and Big E winning the IC title proves that it won't change, even for the holiday season.
#2 A potential feud between Big E and Daniel Bryan that would elevate the IC title even further
With the Intercontinental Championship comes a line of challengers on SmackDown. Big E will have his hands full, with a talented roster looking to face him for the title. One of the biggest Superstars who would actively want the IC title is Daniel Bryan.
Following his victory over Jey Uso on SmackDown, Bryan will be entering the Royal Rumble Match. However, if he doesn't win, The Leader of the Yes Movement will need to remain in a prominent position in WWE. He is nearing the end of his full-time in-ring career and the company must use his talents as much as possible until then.
One of the most valuable spots Daniel Bryan could be in, right now, is opposite Big E. He has a vision for the Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown, which the fans would like to see get implemented. Even if he doesn't win it, he would elevate Big E's title reign by simply challenging him for it.
If neither man challenges Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship, Big E vs. Daniel Bryan would be an excellent IC title match for WrestleMania. It might be a true highlight of the show, as either man would make a great Intercontinental Champion and further elevate the stock of the title.
#1 So fans wouldn't be upset if Big E doesn't win the Royal Rumble
If one was to ask the fans who they would like to see win the 2021 Men's Royal Rumble match, Big E would be the overwhelming favorite, at least on the SmackDown side. As mentioned earlier, he would be an excellent challenger to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
However, a secondary Champion has never won the Royal Rumble Match, and as dreamy as the Pat Patterson tribute and title vs. title scenario is the chances of Big E winning the Rumble have drastically gone down. His title victory on SmackDown might suggest that WWE doesn't plan on putting him in the WrestleMania main event.
If that is the case, Big E as the Intercontinental Champion is still a pretty solid spot for the former New Day member on SmackDown. His time on top might come a little later, but he is on the right track. Now, the fans might be prep to believe that somebody else will win the Royal Rumble.
Daniel Bryan may be considered a strong possibility since he isn't facing Roman Reigns at the event. Keith Lee might have a chance if the winner isn't from SmackDown. Either way, WWE better find a worthy winner of the annual 30-man extravaganza. Hopefully, for their own sake, it isn't Goldberg.