The John Report: WWE Smackdown 11/26/21 Review
This week’s WWE Smackdown episode follows Survivor Series from this past Sunday, which was not a great night for Smackdown in terms of wins and losses against Raw.
Survivor Series saw Raw win five of the seven matches with the only Smackdown wins going to Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura (by disqualification) and the “Tribal Chief” Universal Champion Roman Reigns won his main event match against WWE Champion Big E.
This week on Smackdown, WWE is promoting a men’s battle royal to determine who will be the next challenger against the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. In addition to that, Ridge Holland faces Cesaro while Drew McIntyre & Jeff Hardy team up against the laughing duo of Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss in tag team action.
From the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, this is Smackdown for episode #1162. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The show began with a shot of the crowd in Greensboro while the announcers hyped up the Black Friday Invitational Battle Royal to earn a Universal Title match against Roman Reigns. The commentary team was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee as usual.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
Kayla Braxton welcomed us to the post-Thanksgiving edition of Smackdown. Kayla said that the rumors are heating up that Brock Lesnar’s indefinite suspension…and here comes Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns made his entrance with the “Wise Man” Special Counsel Paul Heyman, who handed Reigns the Universal Title and Reigns posed with the title while some pyro went off. Reigns took his time getting into the ring, so they showed highlights from Survivor Series where Reigns beat Big E in the main event.
Reigns stood in the ring with Heyman with Paul making Kayla hand him the microphone. Heyman to Kayla: “Rumors about Brock Lesnar – that’s the best you’ve got?” Heyman said that they don’t do rumors on the Island of Relevancy. Heyman ripped on Kayla thinking she had breaking news, but all she was doing is having a spotlight for herself with some rumors. The fans booed, so Heyman said don’t boo her and you’re not allowed judgment. Heyman told Kayla to come out there with facts next time because Reigns deals in facts. Heyman said that instead of digging through sources, she is living through life in an Instagram filter. Heyman questioned her as a legit journalist and told her to leave. Heyman thanked her for her time and said goodnight. The fans booed. The fans chanted: “We Want Brock.” Reigns didn’t like that.
Reigns said that rumors give losers false hope, so compared to him everybody is a loser around here. Reigns said that he has beaten them all while adding that Brock Lesnar is the number one loser around here. Reigns said he didn’t beat him after he flew all the way around the world and Roman “smashed his ass.” Reigns said that Lesnar is a loser while adding that’s the fact. Reigns said that Big E, the WWE Champion, is also a loser because Reigns smashed him last week at Survivor Series. Reigns bragged about how he has beaten them all. Reigns spoke about how he is running laps around the roster, management is getting desperate and tonight is a Black Friday Battle Royal to determine a number one contender for the Head of the Table. Reigns suggested that three or four of them can win tonight because he’ll smash them all. Reigns said he can do that because he’s the best of the best, Head of the Table, your Tribal Chief and the greatest of all time. Reigns said that when his days are done around here, which could be sooner than later, the whole world will acknowledge him.
Analysis: That promo was similar to what we get most weeks in the opening segment with Reigns/Heyman doing their usual promo where they brag about how great Reigns is. I don’t mind it that much, but it does get repetitive sometimes. At least it was a bit different this week with Heyman trying to silence Kayla Braxton talking about Brock Lesnar rumors, which made Heyman come across as an even bigger jerk, so it was a way to get heat. I think Kayla is pretty good in her job, by the way. I kept waiting for an interruption during that promo, but it didn’t happen.
The announcers Cole and McAfee talked about the battle royal with McAfee saying he was excited to see who wins the battle royal.
A Progressive Match Flo was shown of Jeff Hardy beating Madcap Moss last week on Smackdown because Drew McIntyre was watching Jeff’s back. This week, they are teaming up.
Jeff Hardy got a big pop from the crowd in his home state of North Carolina. Jeff was the last man standing for Smackdown in the elimination tag team match with Seth Rollins beating him. Drew McIntyre got a loud ovation for his entrance as well.
The smiling duo of Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss made their entrance looking excited as usual.
Drew McIntyre & Jeff Hardy vs. Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss
Corbin with a cheap attack with a forearm to the back. Hardy with an atomic drop, double leg drop and a dropkick. Moss tagged in, ran the ropes and hit a shoulder tackle. Hardy with a hiptoss for a two count. Drew tagged in with a double team elbow attack. Drew with a chop to the throat, Moss with a thrust to the chest, whip into the corner and Drew hit a clothesline. Hardy back in with a double axhandle off the turnbuckle to Madcap’s arm. Jeff kicked Moss off the apron to the barricade. Hardy sent Corbin off the ring to the floor. Hardy jumped onto Corbin on the floor, which allowed Moss to come back with a clothesline that sent Hardy over the barricade at ringside. That led to a break.
Corbin sent Hardy into the turnbuckle, Hardy avoided a charge, Corbin out of the ring and back in to prevent a tag because Corbin punched Drew off the apron. Moss got in some cheap shot punches on Hardy. Moss tagged in, Hardy avoided a move and they did a double clothesline spot. Drew tagged in against Corbin with two clotheslines by Drew, an elbow smash and a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Drew with neckbreakers for Moss and Corbin back to back. Drew set up in the corner, Moss got involved, so Drew punched him and then Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for two, which is the usual count for that move. Hardy saved Drew from a double team attack, Corbin sent Jeff out of the ring and Drew hit a clothesline on Corbin to send him out of the ring. Drew with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt on Moss followed by a Claymore Kick. Jeff Hardy tagged in and hit a Swanton Bomb to pin Moss for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre & Jeff Hardy
Analysis: **3/4 A standard tag team match here with the good guys getting the obvious win. The fans were strongly behind Drew as they popped for all of his big moves and then the ovation got louder for Jeff getting the win. Moss and Corbin were fine in their roles in this match. It’s so great hearing those reactions for Jeff after all these years. Love to see it and hear it every time.
Kayla Braxton was shown backstage talking to Aliyah when Paul Heyman showed up to Kayla. Heyman said that Brock Lesnar fears Roman Reigns. Heyman wanted her to call Brock Lesnar, but Heyman claimed he didn’t have Lesnar’s new number. Heyman warned Kayla that if she doesn’t get a confirmation on the rumor then she is gone, but maybe that’s just a rumor. Heyman left with a smirk while
Analysis: It looks like a bigger role for Kayla this week. I don’t mind that because like I said she is a good performer. We also know that Heyman annoys Kayla, so this is her chance to shut Heyman up.
Ridge Holland made his entrance accompanied by Sheamus with the story being that Holland idolized Sheamus, so Sheamus was taking him under his wing.
Sheamus was on commentary calling Ridge Holland the future and said he was smart for choosing Sheamus as his mentor.
Cesaro entered as the babyface opponent.
Ridge Holland vs. Cesaro
Cesaro with a running uppercut on Holland against the turnbuckle. Sheamus yelled at Cesaro, so Holland capitalized on it and hit a running shoulder tackle to the legs. Holland with a clothesline for two. Holland with a chinlock, Cesaro with forearms, Holland hooked the arms leading to a headbutt and an overhead suplex for two. Holland with a whip into the turnbuckle followed by a powerslam. Holland was standing over Cesaro without doing anything, so Cesaro caught him with an inside cradle for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cesaro
Analysis: *3/4 It was a match where Holland was on offense for about 90% of it, then he got cocky and the veteran Cesaro used a crafty inside cradle to get the win. A simple story to end the match. They will probably do a rematch next week.
There was a backstage scene with Drew McIntyre in the office of Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Drew said he wanted to make sure he was in the Black Friday Invitational Battle Royal. Sonya said that they don’t have the full list yet. Drew said he expects an invitation and Pearce said he expected it too. Drew left happily.
Analysis: That could lead to an angle for later in the show.
Rick Boogs made his entrance with Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura with McAfee dancing around as usual for the entrance.
There was a plug for the huge College Football game on Saturday at Noon on Fox with Ohio State at Michigan. I’ll bet Ohio State most likely.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Throwdown: Rick Boogs (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Angel (w/Humberto)
There are tables of food outside the ring. Angel sent Boogs out of the ring, Boogs tried to put Angel through the table, but Angel avoided it. Angel applied a chinlock as the fans chanted “we want tables.” Boogs spun around with Angel in his arms and hit a spinning slam. Boogs with a gutwrench suplex across the ring. Boogs with some gutwrench lifts leading to a Powerbomb for two. Boogs wanted to do moves, but then Humberto played guitar (it didn’t look like he was actually playing) and Nakamura kicked Humberto to put him through the table. Angel capitalized on that situation to hit a Wing Clipper on Boogs for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Angel
Analysis: *1/4 There wasn’t much to this. A distraction finish leading to a pin. I’m a bit surprised that there was no food thrown. The fans wanted a table bump, so they did get it when Nakamura put Humberto through the table on the floor. Boogs usually wins his singles matches, but I’m fine with the Angel/Humberto team picking up wins whether in singles or tags.
They showed highlights from Becky Lynch’s win over Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series. Lynch got the win with her hands on the ropes. Moments earlier, Flair had her hands on the ropes and the referee saw it. When Becky did the same thing, the referee didn’t see it.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion looking stylish and not in wrestling gear.
A commercial aired for the WWE Day 1 PPV on Saturday, January 1.
There was a backstage scene with WWE Official Adam Pearce with Kayla Braxton asking if he can let us know who is in the battle royal. Pearce said he’s getting it approved and will post it outside his office. Kayla mentioned Brock Lesnar while noting that Pearce likely remembers the night Lesnar was suspended and replays were shown. Pearce said he has not heard of any changes to Lesnar’s status. Pearce talked about the damage and pain that Lesnar caused while adding he had medical bills as well. Pearce said that he would be shocked if that suspension was lifted any time soon.
Analysis: It was strange to have a video package airing during an interview like that, but that’s WWE.
Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair
Michael Cole was in the ring to interview Charlotte Flair. Charlotte said that Becky Lynch cheated at Survivor Series and it was bad refereeing. Charlotte said that Becky got lucky. Charlotte said that the match proved that Charlotte is the better woman and Becky’s success is thanks to Charlotte. Cole asked what is in the near future for Flair. Charlotte said on Smackdown, she’s still the most dominant woman in sports entertainment.
Toni Storm walked out to the ring saying she’s right here. Charlotte said Toni barely knows she exists. Charlotte said that she is on a different level than Toni is. Charlotte wondered if Toni wants to beat her tonight. Storm sent Flair out of the ring where Flair got her hands on a pie and slammed the pie in Toni’s face. Charlotte dared Toni to come after her again, but Charlotte was ready with another pie to the face. Charlotte’s music played to end it.
Analysis: There was some food throwing that I expected in the segment before this. What Charlotte said about Becky is true because Becky did cheat to win and it was bad refereeing, so Flair had a valid point there. I don’t mind the way they booked the Charlotte segment with Toni because it’s a rivalry starting from nothing and it gets heat on Charlotte for being disrespectful by tossing pies in Toni’s face. It makes us want to see Toni kick Charlotte’s ass, but there’s no need to rush it. I saw some complaining on wrestling Twitter because people don’t seem to understand slow-paced booking anymore. There’s no need to rush it, but I guess Toni could have done a bit more this week. Toni should get the advantage next week.
They showed a video from Survivor Series when Shotzi, Shayna Baszler and Natalya caused Sasha Banks to be counted out in their tag team match.
A video was shown from earlier in the day when Sasha Banks walked up to Sonya saying that Sasha had a team full of traitors. Sasha blamed Sonya for it while noting that Sasha the captain should have been able to pick her own team. Sasha wanted Naomi on the team and asked Sonya what her problem is with her. Sonya claimed she had no issue with Naomi. Banks rubbed it in that Naomi is a two-time champion that is way more popular than Sonya, who is just a suit now. Sonya said that makes her the boss (Sasha’s nickname). Sonya put Sasha in a tag team match with Naomi against Natalya and Shayna Baszler.
Naomi made her glow entrance while McAfee was dancing. Sonya Deville was on commentary claiming she loved this entrance. Heels lie.
There was a video about Xia Li coming to Smackdown soon. Just like last week, it was an animated comic video. Xia Li said that she is a protector and she doesn’t fear the wicked because she fights them. That was it.
Natalya & Shayna Baszler were already in the ring, so then Sasha Banks got her televised entrance.
Shayna Baszler & Natalya vs. Naomi & Sasha Banks
Baszler and Banks exchanged slaps to the face. Baszler went for an Ankle Lock, Banks drove her back to the turnbuckle and Naomi tagged in with a pin attempt. Baszler with an armbar on the left arm leading to Natalya tagging in with a headlock. Naomi with a hard slap, Naomi jumped over Natalya and hit two dropkicks. Naomi punched Baszler while on the apron, but then Natalya got a hold of Naomi on the floor with Natalya delivering a slam on the floor. Baszler tagged in with a running knee on Naomi. Banks saved Naomi and hit a Backstabber to Baszler. That led to a break.
The match continued with Naomi doing a hiptoss on Natalya. Baszler tagged in to knock Banks off the apron to the floor. Baszler stomped on Naomi’s foot and Natalya back in for a double suplex by the heels. Baszler back in with a double team head-slam on Naomi leading to Baszler applying an ankle lock on Naomi. Natalya back in and Naomi bounced off the ropes with a double neckbreaker on both women. Baszler pulled Banks off the turnbuckle to prevent a tag. Banks tossed Baszler into the barricade and hit a double knee attack against the turnbuckle for two. Naomi and Natalya each got pinfalls on eachother followed by Natalya hitting a discus clothesline for two. Natalya with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Naomi with a kick to the head and Naomi jumped over the ropes with a sunset flip for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Naomi & Sasha Banks
Analysis: *** Good match with Naomi working most of it and still finding a way to win without doing the hot tag. Most WWE tag team matches don’t look like that without a hot tag, so it was a bit of a different format this time with Baszler constantly going after Banks on the apron until Sasha had enough of it. I still thought Sasha would get the hot tag, but it didn’t happen. Natalya is such a great technical wrestler. Naomi is an impressive athlete that is easy to like, so I think the story is working in terms of having Naomi dealing with a heel WWE Official like Sonya Deville.
After the match, Sasha and Naomi celebrated the win while looking over at Sonya Deville at ringside. Sonya applauded Naomi at ringside and told her good job.
There was a backstage scene with names of the competitors in the battle royal. The wrestlers were standing outside the WWE Officials office with a list appearing on the wall. When Drew McIntyre walked up to check the list, Sheamus told him that his name wasn’t on it and Drew was pissed off.
Analysis: That’s why they had the segment earlier in the show with Drew McIntyre and the WWE Officials. No Drew in the battle royal.
Sami Zayn made his entrance for the battle royal followed by the Viking Raiders.
They showed highlights from this past Monday’s Raw. My favorite part about Raw was that the Golden Egg story has apparently ended. Good.
The entrances continued for the battle royal with Ricochet up next. Cole said that they can confirm that Drew McIntyre is not in the battle royal. The ring was full of wrestlers. Drew McIntyre went out to the ring with his sword, so the other wrestlers left the ring. Adam Pearce walked out to ringside telling Drew that he had to leave the ring. Drew dared him to make him leave. They went to break.
This Monday on Raw: Big E vs. Kevin Owens, Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins and Edge returns to Raw. Two good matches, plus Edge is back on Raw for the first time since he was drafted there in early October.
Black Friday Invitational Battle Royal
The winner will get to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship.
The match started without Drew McIntyre in the match with Cole telling us that Drew left on his own accord. Cole said you can speculate who might have had a hand in who chose who was in the battle royal. They showed Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and The Usos were shown watching in Roman’s dressing room backstage. It looked like Jinder Mahal was the first guy eliminated. Sami Zayn eliminated Drew Gulak with a Helluva Kick after Gulak was sent to the apron. Mansoor tried to avoid an elimination, but Sheamus and Ridge Holland eliminated Mansoor. Zayn nearly eliminated Cesaro while Madcap Moss hit a back body drop to eliminate Mace. Madcap Moss eliminated Shanky with a lift over the top to the floor. Cesaro with a back body drop over the top on Ridge Holland over the top to the floor. Madcap Moss eliminated Cesaro, so that’s three for Moss. When Moss tried to eliminate Corbin, he stopped and they laughed about it until Corbin tossed Moss over the top to the floor. Moss and Corbin laughed about it. That led to a break.
The match returned with about 11 guys left. There were wrestlers on both turnbuckles without any eliminations. Sheamus tried to eliminate Zayn, but Sami was able to hold on and go back in. Humberto with a springboard kick to Rick Boogs and Angel eliminated Boogs with a clothesline. Ivar tossed Angel out of the ring followed by Erik and Ivar tossing Humberto over the top to the floor. Zayn went to the floor without going over the top. Viking Raiders did a double team attack on Ricochet on the floor. Ivar with a boot to Sheamus. Sheamus avoided a Viking Raiders double team move, then Sheamus clotheslined Erik out and did a back body drop on Ivar.
The final five were Ricochet, Sheamus, Jeff Hardy and Happy Corbin (with Sami Zayn on the floor too). Ricochet with a running forearm on Sheamus, a roll through dropkick on Hardy and Corbin hit Ricochet with a clothesline. Ricochet worked over Corbin with punches followed by Corbin hitting a Chokeslam backbreaker into the knee. Ricochet came back with a springboard missile dropkick. Sheamus with a Brogue Kick on Ricochet and Sheamus tossed Ricochet out to eliminate him. Sheamus tried to eliminate Corbin over the top, but Corbin caught him with an elbow. Hardy was back in the mix with a charge on Sheamus, who hit a clothesline. Hardy with a back elbow on a charging Sheamus and then Jeff hit a Whisper in the Wind diving attack off the top. Hardy with a Twist of Fate on Corbin. Sheamus and Corbin argued about working together to eliminate Jeff, but Jeff held on, so Corbin tossed Sheamus over the top to the floor. Jeff Hardy eliminated Corbin and Hardy won the match. Hardy celebrated by the turnbuckle, so then Zayn went behind him and Zayn eliminated Hardy over the top to the floor. It went about 15 minutes.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Analysis: *** It was pretty good for a battle royal. I didn’t forget about Zayn going out under the rope, but the way they called the match made it seem like everybody forgot about him, so when Jeff eliminated Corbin, people thought that Jeff won. Most people watching likely wanted Jeff to win, which makes sense and I thought that’s what was going to happen. Nope. It was a swerve finish with the heel Zayn getting the win to earn a title shot against the heel champion Reigns.
The win means that Sami Zayn gets a Universal Title shot against Roman Reigns.
Sami Zayn celebrated the win while Roman Reigns and The Usos were shown laughing at Zayn as the winner.
Kayla Braxton was about to interview Sami, but Kayla said that she has breaking news. Kayla said that the suspension has been lifted and appearing next Friday on Smackdown is…Brock Lesnar. The fans cheered. There was no interview with Zayn. Adam Pearce looked like he was going to shit his pants in fear of Lesnar attacking him again. Reigns was shown in the office looking at Heyman, who looked back at the Tribal Chief with a concerned look. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Welcome back Brock. I didn’t expect it so soon because I was thinking around Royal Rumble time, but announcing Lesnar beforehand is smart because it builds up anticipation for his return.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jeff Hardy
- Sasha Banks/Naomi
- Sami Zayn
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
2021 Average: 6.97
It was just an average Smackdown. The in-ring quality was below what Smackdown can do in the better episodes, but they did have good storyline progression throughout the night. The fans wanted Jeff Hardy to win that battle royal, so the end of the show may have upset them a bit, which is probably why WWE announced Brock Lesnar is back next week. That made the fans happy.
The next PPV is Day 1 on New Year’s Day, so there’s not a rush to announce a full card for it. That gives them plenty of time to build up to that show.
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.