The WWE Smackdown Reaction for December 30, 2022
Welcome to the WWE Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show in Tampa, FL for the last Smackdown episode of 2022.
As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
We kick things off with Promo Time with Bray Wyatt. As he speaks about the attack on the cameraman last week, LA Knight comes out to confront Wyatt. Knight talks about the Uncle Howdy appearance last week and how he can influence Wyatt. Howdy makes his appearance felt again and goes to the ring to get face-to-face with Wyatt and Knight. Howdy lays Wyatt out with Sister Abigail as Knight bails to end the segment. Knight is gold on the mic and the promos have been really carrying this so far.
It was announced a little later in the show that Wyatt and Knight face off in a Mountain Dew Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble. Yes, let’s get the sponsors in on this one. It’ll be interesting to see how/what that match entails.
Our opening contest has Solo Sikoa with the Usos taking on Sheamus with the Brawling Brutes in singles action. The match was super hard-hitting and really enjoyable to see. Sheamus put Sikoa over in a big way here. The match was terrific up until we got the obligatory Usos interference spot. That set up Sikoa to take out Sheamus with the Samoan Spike. The interference spot took a little bit away from the match but it is still worth the watch. After the match, the Usos and Sikoa triple up on Sheamus after taking the Brawling Brutes out, leading to the return of Drew McIntyre. McIntyre took out Jimmy with a Claymore that was sold great for the babyface save.
The Smackdown Women’s Championship is up for grabs with Ronda Rousey defending against Raquel Rodriguez. Shayna Baszler was in Rousey’s corner. This match was really good for a Rousey match. The story of Rousey working on Rodriguez’s injured arm was done in a really believable way. Rodriguez was able to show off her power against Rousey and Rousey sold it well. Rodriguez looked like a star in this match. Baszler interjected herself into the match but did not get ejected. Odd call there. The finish was crazy with Rousey doing an armbar on Rodriguez while up on the ropes. They fell off the ropes and Rodriguez tapped out.
After the match, Charlotte Flair returned and challenged Rousey to a title match right now. Baszler tried talking Rousey out of it, but she accepts and Flair quickly wins the title. Flair celebrates the win in the crowd.
The Bloodline was shown backstage getting ready for the tag team main event.
We are also treated to a replay of the Dominik Mysterio “arrest” at Christmas. Michael Cole called it a disgrace which just adds to the realism here. The WrestleMania match is getting set into motion.
Also backstage, some people were joking on Top Dolla’s botched dive from last week. Top Dolla shoved Ricochet and they are separated. Are we teasing a heel turn for Hit Row?
Promo Time with Imperium is up next. They present a video package on all of the opponents GUNTHER has beaten as Intercontinental Champion. Braun Strowman comes out and says that the only thing missing from the video package was him. So, they should fight. Strowman wiped out Imperium in the ring before mowing them down outside the ring. When he got to GUNTHER outside the ring, GUNTHER sidestepped and Strowman went through the barricade. I was expecting maybe both of them going through it. Imperium triples up on Strowman until Ricochet runs down with a chair. Ricochet accidentally clocked GUNTHER with the chair in the head when he swung at him. Imperium retreated and it gets announced later that GUNTHER/Strowman for the IC title will take place in two weeks on Smackdown. That should be really good.
It’s main event time. Kevin Owens comes out first followed by John Cena. The Bloodline is out next. The match had a big fight feel but it was just okay to me. Owens worked most of the match to build up to the hot tag spot. Referee Jessika Carr was rather loudly calling the last two minutes of match spots, directing the closing tag spots and giving remaining time counts. Owens pinned Zayn to pick up the win for his team. It was a big moment for the Bloodline losing a match, but it didn’t feel like it. It just felt flat to me.
It was nice to see Cena back but he was almost not needed. I don’t know if something fell behind and they had to rush through the match or what. It just didn’t feel like the moment it should have been. Maybe Charlotte’s return/title win sucked the excitement out of this match?
John Canton rated the show at 8.25 and I think that is a fair rating. I’d probably go with an 8.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The show was excellent from start to finish. Everything had a purpose and there were no filler spots. We are embarking on the road to the Royal Rumble and things are starting to take shape.
The Sheamus/Sikoa match was the match of the night. Rousey/Rodriguez was also really good. Sikoa and Rodriguez were made to look really good tonight.
The tag team main event should have felt like more of a big deal. They did not hype up the fact The Bloodline lost nor did Reigns react to the loss. Also, the ref calling spots was way too noticeable and that should not have been.
Charlotte Flair returning and winning the title right out of the gate was not necessary. She needs another title run like Roman Reigns needs another title belt. Let’s hope that this builds to a WrestleMania program with Shayna Baszler and Baszler getting the title run she deserves.
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That’s all I’ve got, until next time.