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The John Report: WWE Smackdown 02/18/22 Review

wwe smackdown feb 18

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Shinsuke Nakamura defending the Intercontinental Title against Sami Zayn while also featuring Roman Reigns-Goldberg heading into Elimination Chamber on Saturday.

This week’s Smackdown was taped after last week’s show in New Orleans. That’s because the WWE Elimination Chamber event takes place this Saturday and WWE wanted the crew to get to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia a few days earlier. Due to that, I’m sure many fans already read what happened about the show. I honestly didn’t look at spoilers although I know WWE spoiled something.

Earlier on Friday, we posted the WWE Elimination Chamber 2022 Preview written by the team and myself.

There was also some big WWE news on Friday as the company announced The Undertaker will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year during WrestleMania weekend. It takes place on Friday, April 1 after Smackdown and will air on Peacock/WWE Network. It makes sense to do it this year since WrestleMania is in Dallas, which is in Taker’s home state of Texas, so he’ll probably have a lot of family that will be able to attend as well. In recent years, WWE has gone away from having inductors for some of the inductees since they usually just do a video package and then the speech follows. It’s simple that way. While some people think that he should be the only one in the Hall of Fame this year, WWE did say in the press release there will be more HOF announcements in the coming weeks. I look forward to his speech.

From the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, this is Smackdown for episode #1174. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The Smackdown introduction video aired. Are you ready? I guess we are. They don’t play that video every week, but they did this week. The commentary team was Michael Cole and Corey Graves, who was filling in for Pat McAfee just like last week. McAfee wasn’t at last week’s taping because he was at the Super Bowl. Pat should be back next week.

Contract Signing

The WWE Official Adam Pearce was in the ring to officiate a contract signing for a tag team match at Elimination Chamber. It was Sonya Deville up first followed by her tag team partner Charlotte Flair. Naomi was next joined by her tag team partner Ronda Rousey and they were cheered as the babyface team.

Sonya, who had her left arm in a sling to sell an arm injury, said she didn’t need an explanation. They exchanged some trash talk with all four women firing off one-liners. Charlotte said that she beat Naomi last week and Ronda has never beaten her as more of the yelling continued. Ronda told Sonya to sign the contract, so Sonya did. Charlotte signed the contract as well. Sonya was stalling, so Naomi threatened to flip the table on her. Charlotte said that Sonya had a new stipulation. Sonya said she had something to tell them the entire time if they shut their mouths. Sonya noted that Ronda Rousey did a recent interview saying that she could beat Sonya with one arm tied behind her back, so Sonya talked to the higher-ups and the contract says that Rousey will have to wrestle the match with one arm tied behind her back. Rousey didn’t care and signed the contract. Naomi signed the contract as well. Rousey said one hand is plenty enough. Rousey threw the contract at Flair and slammed her head into the table. Naomi got a shot on Sonya and then they flipped the table. The heels Charlotte and Sonya left the ring.

Analysis: During the taping of this segment, Ronda slamming Charlotte into the table looked bad from an angle that a fan shared. However, they showed this from a different angle from behind Flair, so it really didn’t look bad at all. You couldn’t tell that Charlotte missed the table. Anyway, this was just a way to further this storyline and continue the rivalry going into Elimination Chamber on Saturday. There were some good lines by both sides, but it wasn’t anything that special.

Sheamus and Ridge Holland were shown talking backstage with Sheamus saying he didn’t like that Ricochet beat Ridge two weeks ago. Sheamus told Ridge to watch what Sheamus will do because he’ll take his head off and said it’s fight night.

Sheamus made his entrance with Ridge Holland by his side.

(Commercial)

Ricochet has some new theme song and was wearing some black/red/yellow fire gear.

Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland) vs. Ricochet

Ricochet with a dropkick to start the match. Sheamus came back with a knee to the gut and a forearm to the back. Ricochet with a running dropkick that sent Sheamus out of the ring. Ricochet hit a suicide dive that he turned into a somersault landing onto Sheamus. That was cool. They were back in the ring with Sheamus avoiding a move and Sheamus hit a backbreaker. Ricochet worked over Sheamus with chops, but Sheamus came back with a forearm and a belly to back suplex leading to a chinlock. Ricochet with a jumping knee to the jaw followed by a cross body block over the top to the floor. Ricochet tried a moonsault off the apron, Sheamus blocked it, Sheamus picked up Ricochet and gave him a fallaway slam onto the commentary table. It wasn’t enough to break the table. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Sheamus in control with a top rope clothesline. Sheamus hit the ten forearms to the chest including a clothesline into the ring. Ricochet got a boot up to stop a charging Sheamus and then a jumping DDT by Ricochet making it look easy. Ricochet with punches to the body, then a cross body block off the middle rope and a springboard clothesline. Ricochet with a standing Shooting Star Press. Ricochet with a springboard moonsault (Lionsault) for a two count. Sheamus blocked a slam attempt, he got a hold of Ricochet and hit an Alabama Slam for a two count. Sheamus slowly went up top, Ricochet stopped him and Ricochet went up top and hit a Spanish Fly slam off the top for a two count. Wow! That was awesome. You don’t see Sheamus doing bumps like that often off the top rope, but you can tell he trusts Ricochet a lot. Ricochet up top, Holland to the apron, Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, Ricochet moved and Ricochet hit the Recoil (jumping knee to the face like a Codebreaker) for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricochet

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match here with Ricochet picking up the big win over a bigger name like Sheamus. Ricochet was able to avoid the cheap shot from Holland, then Sheamus missed the kick because Ricochet was ready for it and after Sheamus yelled at Holland, Ricochet took advantage to win. It was booked well. That Spanish Fly off the top was a really cool spot as well. Will it lead to a sustained push for Ricochet? I don’t know about that. I have certainly thought of Ricochet as a guy that deserves a push and more TV time, but the creative team just doesn’t use him well enough.

Post match, Sheamus wasn’t happy with Holland for going up on the apron. Sheamus shoved Holland on his ass, told him to pay attention and yelled at him for not listening.

The Progressive Match Flo showed the Shinsuke Nakamura/Sami Zayn segment from last week that saw Zayn lay out Nakamura and his buddy Rick Boogs. Zayn was happy about it.

Sami Zayn was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton, who said that Boogs was out of the picture due to “suspicious faulty wiring” and Zayn said he had nothing to do with it. Zayn said he was robbed of the Intercontinental Championship (over a year ago) and they have done everything to stop him. Zayn said it’s been the worst year of his life, but none of it matters because tonight will be the best night of his life when he regains the Intercontinental Championship. Zayn told Braxton to move because he needs space for himself. That match is later.

(Commercial)

A graphic was shown about The Undertaker being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. They showed media outlets covering the news. They aired the video package about The Undertaker’s career that is on WWE’s Youtube page as well. Good choices of music with “Sad But True” by Metallica, and they got the “American Badass” song by Kid Rock in there as well. It’s nearly five minutes. Check it out below.

Analysis: The video is awesome. Every time they do Hall of Fame videos they are great, but this might be even better than usual because there’s just so much to cover with Undertaker. I don’t think you can be a WWE fan without liking and respecting what The Undertaker did over 30 years. What a great gimmick that worked so well for so long. I think you also have to credit the man for being such an awesome performer.

Roman Reigns was shown in the dressing room with The Bloodline.

A video package aired about the feud involving the Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his opponent at Elimination Chamber, Bill Goldberg. It’s just one of the big matches at Elimination Chamber.

Analysis: I think Reigns winning is pretty much a lock. I don’t expect a long match, but Goldberg should come close to winning a few times.

Jey Uso made his entrance joined by his twin brother Jimmy Uso. They are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions and Jey is against Ivar of The Viking Raiders up next.

(Commercial)

Ivar entered with Erik. They will challenge The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at Elimination Chamber on Saturday.

Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso) vs. Ivar (w/Erik)

Jey with a kick to the gut followed by punches, Ivar with punches of his own and Ivar jumped up with senton to the chest for two. Ivar with a power slam, Jey moved out of a cross body block and Jey hit a superkick for two. Jey applied a chinlock, Ivar broke free, Jey with an enziguri kick and Ivar hit a running clothesline. Ivar hit a running splash to Jey’s chest against the turnbuckle. Ivar went up top and hit an Ivar Splash (I’ll call it that) for a two count because Jimmy hit Ivar with some viking headgear. It went about three minutes with a disqualification finish.

Winner by disqualification: Ivar

Analysis: *3/4 The match was fine for the time given with the predictable DQ. I guess they didn’t want to have Jey take a pin even though it wouldn’t have hurt him much to lose a singles match by pinfall. The DQ is just a cheap way to end it and get heat on the heels.

Post match, Erik hit Jimmy with the viking headgear and Jimmy bumped to the floor. The Viking Raiders celebrated in the ring while The Usos left.

Analysis: I think The Usos winning at Elimination Chamber is very likely.

A clip was shown from last week when Drew McIntyre informed Madcap Moss that their match at Elimination Chamber was a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Moss didn’t like that.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance in street clothes and with his sword. They are pushing the “Smackdown Warrior” name for Drew instead of Scottish Warrior. Drew has some comments up next at the top of hour two.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre

Drew said he used to live in Mandeville, Louisiana near here while noting that it was after the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. Drew said he remembered the party on Bourbon Street and said it showed that the people of New Orleans can party like Drew’s Scottish people. Drew said he was even in a police car, but it wasn’t his fault. Anyway, they showed a clip of Drew getting attacked by Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin at Day 1.

Analysis: Drew was married to Taryn Terrell (Tiffany during her WWE run) in those days. She is from New Orleans, so I guess they lived in that area. They got divorced and each of them has remarried.

Drew talked about how this year during WrestleMania season, it’s personal. Drew spoke about all the things he can do to Moss while running down different ideas. Drew suggested a #MadcapMauling hashtag for ideas on what he can do to Moss.

Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss appeared with Corbin wondering what kind of role model Drew was supposed to be to little Scottish kids. Moss said he heard Drew is nowhere near 100%. Moss said that they can fight all over the arena, but Moss said he is great at using his environment and after he finishes what they started, they will be laughing all the way home. Moss had a joke about Drew McIntyre’s neck saying it was like a popular breakfast cereal – they got “snap, crackle and pop.” Those are Rice Krispies, my friends.

Drew told Moss that he has a lot of talent, but he was stupid to align himself with Happy Corbin. Drew said he also made a mistake of coming after Drew McIntyre with Drew saying that Elimination Chamber will be the night the laughter died. Drew pointed at them with his sword as his music played.

Analysis: The logical story progression is for Drew to beat Moss at Elimination Chamber and then beat Corbin at WrestleMania. I’d rather see Drew against a better, more high-profile opponent at WrestleMania, but WWE views Corbin as a pretty big star that they like to push. I don’t think the fans agree with that.

Shinsuke Nakamura, the Intercontinental Champion, was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Nakamura said his plan was to kick Zayn in the face and if Sami thinks he can beat him for the IC Title then he really is “In-Zayn.” That is Sami’s talk show.

Shinsuke Nakamura entered as the Intercontinental Champion that held the title for 178 days going into this show. Nakamura has barely defended the title, which is not his fault, but that’s just how it’s been booked. No Rick Boogs due to selling the “shock” attack caused by Zayn last week.

(Commercial)

It was announced that former WWE Champion Big E will be the honorary pace car driver at the Daytona 500 this Sunday. I don’t watch NASCAR, but that’s pretty good for Big E.

Sami Zayn made his entrance to boos from the crowd. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions. Graves mentioned their great NXT match six years ago although he didn’t say how many years it was. That match was my WWE Match of the Year in 2016.

Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn

Nakamura connected with a jumping kick to the head. Nakamura worked over Zayn with kicks to the chest and a kick to the head. Nakamura with knees to the body. Nakamura set up Zayn across the top rope followed by a running knee lift. With Zayn by the ring apron, Nakamura hit a running knee. Nakamura tried a knee drop, Zayn moved and Nakamura ended up with a knee drop to the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

Zayn was in control with forearms to the face leading to a chinlock and Zayn got an elbow drop out of that. Zayn with chops followed by a clothesline. Nakamura applied an armbar, Zayn got out of that, Nakamura with strikes and a kick to the back to the head. Nakamura with a running kick. Zayn was set up against the turnbuckle, which led to Nakamura’s sliding German Suplex spot. The crowd must have been quiet because they had on this fake noise during most of the match. Zayn blocked an Exploder Suplex with elbows to the head. Nakamura with elbows of his own, then he went off the ropes and Zayn hit an impressive Michinoku Driver for a two count. That looked like Nakamura landed on the top of his head. Zayn went for the running DDT on the floor, but Nakamura blocked with a kick to the head. Nakamura charged on the floor, Zayn avoided it and sent Nakamura knee-first into the steel steps.

(Commercial)

Zayn was in control as he set up Nakamura for a move off the top rope, Nakamura punched him down and Nakamura hit a jumping knee/shin on Zayn for a two count. Nakamura with a spin kick that knocked down Zayn. Zayn got back up with a dropkick to the knee and Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. That move usually gets a two count for Sami. Zayn did the “come on” taunt, so Nakamura came back with punches/kicks to the body and more kicks by Nakamura. That led to Nakamura’s “come on” taunt leading to a kick that rocked Zayn. Nakamura set up for the Kinshasa, but Zayn rolled out to the floor. Zayn got a hold of Nakamura leading to Zayn sending Nakamura’s left leg/knee into the ring post repeatedly. Back in the ring, Zayn caught a foot to block the kick, Zayn kicked Nakamura’s left knee directly and Zayn pinned Nakamura (with a tight pinning move) for the pinfall win after about 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with the right result. I’m happy for Zayn getting the title. I didn’t expect a finish like that with Zayn working over the left knee repeatedly, so much so that it played a part in to the finish. Zayn’s finisher is the Helluva Kick to the head, but if you’re going to work on the knee a lot during the match then you might as well use it for the finish. Nakamura’s title reign was boring due to the title being ignored and this felt like the right time to do a title change. Zayn recently signed a new deal with WWE, so it made sense that they want to invest in him more by putting the IC Title on him.

Zayn celebrated with the IC Title. It was his third time winning the IC Title.

Analysis: There are rumors that Zayn might face actor Johnny Knoxville at WrestleMania. I really hope they don’t do that, but we know WWE likes celebrities at WrestleMania, so I guess it’s a possibility.

A video aired about WWE supporting Black History Month with Booker T talking to some young kids.

They showed Goldberg’s locker room door for his main event segment coming up later.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage scene with Ricochet talking to Aliyah, who congratulated Ricochet on the victory. Ricochet said that what Sheamus has done in his past could be his future and it was a good win. Ricochet left. Sami Zayn walked up to Aliyah bragging about his IC Title, then he walked down the hall continuing to hold his newly won title and that was it.

A video aired about the WWE Championship match taking place at the Elimination Chamber. It’s the WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Austin Theory vs. Riddle vs. AJ Styles in that match.

It’s time to do some acknowledging because the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Universal Champion with the Special Counsel “Wise Man” Paul Heyman by his side. Cole noted it was 536 days for Roman as the Universal Champion while adding that it was the longest-reigning (WWE, Universal or anything resembling a World Title) champion in 35 years. The main event segment was after a break.

(Commercial)

There was a rundown of the Elimination Chamber lineup on Saturday.

Men’s WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Austin Theory vs. Riddle vs. AJ Styles

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lita

Ronda Rousey & Naomi vs. Charlotte Flair & Sonya Deville

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Liv Morgan vs. Alexa Bliss – The winner faces the Raw Women’s Champion at WrestleMania.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Bill Goldberg

They didn’t mention The Usos vs. Viking Raiders, McIntyre vs. Moss and Mysterio vs. Miz. The full card is at the bottom of this review while our preview is on TJRWrestling here.

Face to Face: Roman Reigns and Goldberg

Roman Reigns started his promo in a familiar way: “New Orleans – acknowledge me.” There was a mix of cheers and boos for that. Reigns wanted the “Wise Man” Heyman to celebrate him. Heyman said it was spiritually orgasmic to stand beside Reigns. Heyman talked about how if you never got a chance to see in his prime an athlete like Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, then he took a shot at Drew Brees and mentioned Tom Brady instead, which led to boos and “Who Dat” chants for the New Orleans Saints. Heyman ripped on the crowd for interrupting his speech. Heyman said that you get a chance to see Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns in action at Elimination Chamber…and here’s the interruption.

Bill Goldberg made his entrance as he was shown receiving a knock on the door and then walking to the ring with much shorter security guys. The fans popped for the Hall of Famer Goldberg while also chanting his name. Goldberg got in the ring with Reigns.

Goldberg looked at the microphone in his hand and then he dropped it. Reigns said he was going to give Goldberg one last chance to acknowledge him. Goldberg got in Roman’s face with the fans chanting “Goldberg” for the old guy. Reigns told Goldberg that he runs things there so Goldberg must be there to fight or talk. Goldberg said tomorrow at 12 o’clock, he’s going to apologize in front of these people and the entire world, Goldberg said: “You’re not next because when it comes to the Universal Championship, I’m next.” Goldberg dropped the microphone, he stared at Reigns and that staredown was the end of the show.

Analysis: A simple segment here. Reigns tried to intimidate Goldberg, who wasn’t really buying it and fired back by telling Reigns he was going to win the Universal Title. I don’t think so, but Goldberg may have convinced a few people out there.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Sami Zayn
  2. Ricochet/Sheamus
  3. Shinsuke Nakamura

 

The Scoreboard

6.75 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

 

Final Thoughts

The show was good but not great just like last week. There were only three matches, which is less than I prefer. However, two of those matches were very good with Ricochet beating Sheamus in a relatively clean manner while Sami Zayn beat Shinsuke Nakamura to win the IC Title. I liked that a lot because Zayn’s one of the best performers on Smackdown, so having a title on him is a good thing for the show.

It wasn’t a good night for the women’s division because they didn’t have a match. The only women’s segment was the contract signing that wasn’t that interesting at all.

Roman Reigns and Goldberg main evented with a quick promo followed by a staredown. It was okay, but once again nothing that special. If you missed it, you really didn’t miss much.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is the Elimination Chamber from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 19. Here’s what we know so far:

Men’s WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Austin Theory vs. Riddle vs. AJ Styles

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Bill Goldberg

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lita

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Bianca Belair vs. Doudrop vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Liv Morgan vs. Alexa Bliss – The winner earns a match against the Raw Women’s Champion at WrestleMania.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Viking Raiders

Ronda Rousey & Naomi vs. Charlotte Flair & Sonya Deville

Falls Count Anywhere: Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss

Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz

You can watch WWE Elimination Chamber streaming LIVE from Jeddah beginning at 12p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 19, on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.

Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport