This week’s WWE Smackdown featured the SD World Cup finals between Ricochet & Santos Escobar while Sheamus faced off against Sami Zayn.
It’s the first Smackdown after Survivor Series last Saturday with The Bloodline picking up the big win over The Brawling Brutes in the Men’s WarGames main event.
They showed the Smackdown intro video with the new song that they started using recently. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett were on commentary. It was on FS1 in the US due to Fox showing college football.
Let’s Hear From The Bloodline
The show started with Sami Zayn making his entrance joined by The Usos, the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, and Solo Sikoa. No Roman Reigns this week. They got into the ring and there was a video package showing highlights from Survivor Series.
The Usos started the show by telling the crowd that The Bloodline was in their city. Sami was going to put over The Usos, but Jimmy said they aren’t going to do it because Sami was the MVP of the match. Jey said that he didn’t like Sami, but he said because of Sami, they won that match at WarGames.
Sami said he didn’t know how he was feeling, so Jey asked how he was feeling? The fans chanted “Ucey” in reply to that. Sami said that right now, he is feeling “pretty freaking Ucey.” Sami and Jimmy wanted to do their handshake, but Sami invited Jey to join, so Jey joined. Solo just had his arms crossed the whole time.
The Brawling Brutes trio of Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch showed up with Sheamus talking about fighting another ginger like Zayn. Sheamus: “Sami I’d hate to beat the bollocks off a fellow ginger.” Ginger heat! Sheamus said there was enough talking, so let’s go. It was onto the match.
Analysis: The promo from The Bloodline was fine. It was their usual promo routine with Jey officially putting over Sami, which we already got to see on Raw as well. The fans were into it as usual. Sheamus could have said more, but they kept it simple and it was onto the match.
Sheamus (w/Butch & Ridge Holland) vs. Sami Zayn (w/Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso & Solo Sikoa)
Sheamus used his power early on sending Zayn into the turnbuckle. Zayn went for a hiptoss, but Sheamus blocked it with a clothesline. Sheamus sent Zayn over the top to the floor. Sheamus tossed Zayn into the barricade leading to a break.
Zayn was in control with a DDT followed by a chinlock. When Sheamus tried to get out of it, Zayn hit a Tornado DDT. Zayn tried his own version of the forearms to the chest, but Sheamus blocked that and hit Zayn with running forearms. Sheamus with a running clothesline followed by a powerslam. Zayn avoided the forearms to the chest with a neckbreaker across the top rope. Zayn jumped off the top, Sheamus caught him and hit the backbreaker. Sheamus applied the Texas Cloverleaf submission, but Zayn got to the ropes to break it. Zayn hit Sheamus with a back elbow, then he pulled the rope down to send Sheamus to the floor and Zayn followed up with a somersault dive over the top to the floor.
The match continued with Zayn knocking Sheamus off the turnbuckle. Zayn jumped off the top with nothing while Sheamus hit a rising knee to the head for a two count. Sheamus went for White Noise off the ropes, but Zayn countered it with a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for a two count. A great counter move there. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick, but Sheamus caught him and hit White Noise for a two count. Zayn avoided a Brogue Kick by going to the apron, but that led to Zayn hitting the 20 forearms to the chest with the crowd chanting along. Sheamus set up in the corner, there was a distraction by The Usos and Sheamus was kicked in the head leading to Zayn hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. The Usos and Brutes fought on the floor with Solo taking out Holland and Butch on the floor. Jimmy jumped on the apron to distract the referee, so Jey superkicked Sheamus while he was going for a move and Zayn got a sunset flip on Sheamus for the pinfall win after about 20 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match with a chaotic ending. It gives Zayn a credible win over a top singles guy like Sheamus while also pushing the story that Jey Uso is on the same page with Zayn now, which makes them all more dangerous since they are working together very well. Since there was all the action on the floor it was a bit distracting for sure. Solo looked dominant as the difference maker there. Anyway, Sheamus should be fine after the loss since it wasn’t clean.
Legado Del Fantasma was featured in a video package with Santos Escobar talking about how he was going to win the Smackdown World Cup and go on to win the Intercontinental Title. Zelina Vega (what an outfit) talked about how it was going to give Escobar a lot of power. Escobar ended it speaking about how he was going to beat Ricochet in the SD World Cup finals.
Still to come in the main event is Ricochet against Escobar. I like both guys, but I don’t think that’s a strong main event.
There was a commercial for the Royal Rumble on January 28th.
Kofi Kingston was interviewed by Megan Morant with Kofi saying he was in the Royal Rumble. Kofi picked Ricochet to win the Smackdown World Cup. Imperium’s Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci trash-talked Kofi about New Day, but Kofi said Woods wasn’t there to have a tag team match, so he said he’d face one of them. GUNTHER walked up with the IC Title saying Kofi will face him.
Let’s Hear from Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt was shown backstage talking about how talked about animals trying to survive in the wild while saying that some must die so that others can live. Wyatt talked about how we don’t want to be the freak because we want to fit in to society. Wyatt said that he was not the one that hurt LA Knight. They showed clips of LA Knight getting attacked in the last two weeks. Wyatt said it wasn’t him, but “I heard you.” Wyatt said he heard how “you” rejoiced and said it was primal of you to react like that. Wyatt said if it was him, you would all know because there would be none of him left. Wyatt stared at the camera to end it.
Analysis: An interesting message from Wyatt there. I like his segments more when they’re in the ring, but I get why they do this sometimes if it’s only going to be two or three minutes because his entrance takes so long. Whether Wyatt is admitting the truth that he didn’t attack Knight is unknown, but I liked the message at the end saying you would know if it was him.
A video aired about Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler destroying the women’s division on Smackdown in recent weeks.
Shayna Baszler made her entrance alone, so I guess Ronda has the week off with Cole saying she was off doing PR work. Shayna was in action against Emma up next.
Emma was shown warming up behind the curtain with Madcap Moss asking her if she was alright. Emma talked about being gone for five years, Moss said what happens is who you are and Moss said that the women’s evolution doesn’t happen without her. Moss said that the game has change, the competition is tough, but she is Emma and she belongs here. Emma thanked Moss and kissed him on the cheek.
Analysis: A budding romance on TV. They have been dating for months if you follow their social media, so it’s a way to put them together on TV as well.
Shayna Baszler vs. Emma
When Baszler tried a takedown, Emma did a counter into a two count. Emma hit a side Russian legsweep. Baszler wrenched on Emma’s arm against the rope followed by Baszler working on the left arm a bit. Emma countered a move into a rollup, but Baszler was back up with a clothesline. Baszler with punches leading to Emma bouncing off the ropes with a clothesline. Emma avoided a charging Baszler, who went to the ropes and Emma hit a neckbreaker for two. Emma tried a move, but Baszler got out of it and sent Emma into the turnbuckle. Emma applied the Tarantula by the ropes. Emma went up top, but Baszler kicked the top rope and Baszler pulled Emma down by the arm. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch submission and Emma tapped out. It went about four minutes.
Winner by submission: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: *1/4 An easy win for Baszler. Emma got a bit of offense, but she was never really a threat to win. The crowd was dead for it. They need to do more with Emma to try to get the crowd to care.
After the match, Baszler kicked Emma’s left arm. Baszler wanted to do more, but Shotzi ran to the ring and went after Baszler. That failed because Baszler got knocked down and kneed Shotzi in the head. Baszler wanted to stomp on Shotzi’s left arm, but Raquel Rodriguez showed up with a brace on her left arm. Cole said Raquel was injured for 4-6 weeks. Baszler left the ring to avoid a 3-on-1 attack while the faces stood tall in the ring.
Analysis: Raquel’s injury is just a work. The plan is for her to challenge Rousey at the Royal Rumble in eight weeks, so if they say 4-6 weeks she’ll be ready by the Royal Rumble event.
A video aired about Lacey Evans saying she was getting back to basics. They showed Evans training in some military attire while training with the US Marine Corps. It ended by saying “The Mission Begins” while telling us that a marine goes back to basics.
Analysis: It’s probably the start of a babyface run for Evans after years of being a heel. They teased her as a face with the previous regime along with many videos for her, but then they made her a heel again. Now they’ll likely push the story that she used to be in the military.
Kofi Kingston entered for singles action.
This week on Raw: The Usos defend the Undisputed Tag Team Titles against Matt Riddle & Elias while JBL hosts a high-stakes poker tournament.
A video aired about Ricochet talking about how much it would mean to win the Smackdown World Cup tournament. Ricochet said “it would mean everything.” Ricochet spoke about how if this was the route he had to take to get his rematch against Gunther for the IC Title then that’s what he’ll do and he hopes Escobar is ready.
The Imperium trio of GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci made their entrance. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin does a great job of saying “Giovanni” for what it’s worth. She’s really good.
GUNTHER (w/Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) vs. Kofi Kingston
This is not for the IC Title held by Gunther. Kofi tried an attack, but Gunther hit a backbreaker followed by a stomp. Kofi tried a move only for Gunther to chop him hard in the chest for a knockdown. Gunther used his feet to twist Kofi’s neck. Gunther with a forearm to the lower back, Kofi came back with a forearm and a kick to the gut. Gunther stopped that with a hard chop to the chest. Gunther charged, Kofi sent him out of the ring and when Kofi ran the ropes, Kaiser tripped up Kofi. Gunther wanted a Powerbomb on Kingston there, so Braun Strowman’s music hit and he rand own to ringside. Vinci charged at Strowman, who sent Vinci into the ring post. Strowman dumped Vinci over the barricade, Kaiser charged at Strowman, who dumped him over the barricade too. Kofi hit the SOS trip into a pin for a two count as Gunther rolled out of the ring to regroup.
Gunther was in control with a sleeper, they went to the ground and Kofi turned it into a two count. The guys at ringside were gone to the back. Kofi hit a dropkick followed by a leaping clothesline. Kofi with a leg drop. Gunther avoided the kick, he went for a German Suplex, Kofi landed on his feet, Kofi stunned Gunther and Kofi jumped off the top onto Gunther’s back for a two count. Kofi jumped off the top again, but this time Gunther chopped him hard in the chest. Gunther powered Kofi up leading to a German Suplex for two. Gunther applied a Boston Crab submission, then Gunther let go and applied a chinlock. Kofi kicked Gunther to break free, they each countered moves and Gunther hit a running dropkick knocking Kofi down. Gunther hit a Powerbomb for a two count. That’s a move that Gunther has used many times for pinfall wins. They exchanged hard strikes, then Gunther picked up Kofi and hit a powerslam for the pinfall win after 13 minutes. Cole said that was called The Last Symphony.
Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER
Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good although it was another match where the crowd wasn’t into it that much. Perhaps it is because it was only set up with a backstage segment. I like GUNTHER a lot, but he’s not the most exciting guy to put out there. Kofi worked hard and came close to winning a few times. Gunther winning with a newer move is okay as a result of a match like that. A Powerbomb is more devastating than that slam, but if GUNTHER wants to use it then more power to him.
Sami Zayn was shown outside The Bloodline’s locker room. Sami left to get some food while The Usos told Solo to go with him because Sami was making enemies on the roster. Sami left with Solo. Jimmy talked to Jey about how they can’t believe Jey was getting along with Sami so well. Jimmy asked why Jey didn’t talk to Sami about lying to him last week, but Jey said that Big Uce (Roman) said it was okay since Sami told Roman what he needed to hear. Sheamus showed up to attack The Usos with his shillelagh. Sheamus knocked both Usos down. Sheamus told them good luck in their title match on Monday and said that he’s coming after the with McIntyre. Sheamus left while saying “banger after banger” repeatedly.
Analysis: Sheamus and Drew beat The Usos non-title last week on Smackdown, so it makes sense that they will follow up on that with a likely title match.
Let’s Hear from Damage CTRL
Damage CTRL made their entrance with a video package aired about Women’s WarGames at Saturday. Bayley said they didn’t want to be there while saying that they bring ratings to Smackdown. Bayley said they were in the WarGames match for 95:19 while ripping on the crowd for not knowing what it did to their bodies. Bayley trashed Becky Lynch for barely being in the match. The fans chanted for Becky, so Bayley told them to shut up. Bayley said nobody on the Smackdown wanted to step up and face them. Bayley said she was disappointed about it since she’s the longest-reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion in history. Bayley kept on going with Liv Morgan showing up to interrupt.
Liv Morgan said if Bayley has a problem with the Smackdown women’s division, Liv is here to address it. Liv said 3 against 1 was fair, so she went to the ring and sent Kai & Sky into the steps and barricade. Morgan went after Bayley, but the DC trio dominated Morgan. Tegan Nox made her WWE return as she helped Morgan fight back against Damage CTRL. Bayley managed to come back on Nox with a clothesline. Morgan used a kendo stick as an equalizer against Kai, Sky and Bayley. Nox hit the Shiniest Wizard on Bayley to knock her down. Morgan and Nox celebrated that attack while Damage CTRL retreated.
Analysis: This was okay. Bayley knows how to get heat with her promos while Morgan is likable as a former champion. Tegan Nox coming back adds depth to the women’s division and if she becomes a team with Morgan then maybe they can go for the Women’s Tag Team Titles held by Kai & Sky. The fans barely reacted to Nox, though, so that’s not a great sign. Triple H worked with Nox a lot in NXT, which means there was a familiarity there and it’s good to see Nox get another shot in WWE.
Santos Escobar made his entrance with Legado Del Fantasma’s Joaquin Wilde, Cruz del Toro and Zelina Vega. The SD World Cup trophy was in the aisle during his entrance.
A video aired with Karrion Kross and Scarlett in a darkened room. Kross talked about the world is full of chaos. Kross said he taught Drew McIntyre and Madcap Moss that you don’t try to walk against the wind. Kross said it was time to show somebody else. Scarlett held up a tarot card with Rey Mysterio on it, so Kross is coming after Rey.
Analysis: It’s a fresh feud for Kross while Rey is likely back soon from his foot injury.
Next Friday on Smackdown:
* The Usos or Matt Riddle/Elias vs. Drew McIntyre & Sheamus for the WWE Tag Team Titles
* Shotzi vs. Shayna Baszler
* Kurt Angle’s Birthday Celebration in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
A video aired from Uncle Howdy talking about how he knows how he thinks and feels. Uncle Howdy said it’s all fiction, trust me. Howdy: “Revel in what you are.”
Analysis: I think the story is that Uncle Howdy is trying to tell the fans that what Wyatt is saying is all a lie (fiction). We still don’t know who Uncle Howdy is.
Smackdown World Cup Finals: Ricochet vs. Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro & Zelina Vega)
The winner gets an Intercontinental Title match against GUNTHER.
Zelina Vega was on commentary. Escobar sent Ricochet out of the ring, but Ricochet came back with a dropkick. Escobar was on the floor, so Ricochet hit a suicide dive on Escobar. Wilde distracted the referee, Ricochet went up top and Cruz shoved Ricochet off the top rope. The referee Jason Ayers saw Ricochet on the mat, so he tossed Cruz & Wilde to the back. Zelina Vega argued about it, so she was sent to the back also. Ejecting heels from ringside always leads to a good pop from the crowd. Anyway, Escobar looked frustrated about it.
The match continued with Ricochet getting a headscissors followed by a splash in the corner. Ricochet with a shoulder tackle, then he went up top and Escobar knocked Ricochet off the top to the floor. Escobar ran the ropes leading to a suicide dive that sent Ricochet onto the commentary table. Ouch. Escobar sent Ricochet back into the ring for a two count. Escobar grounded Ricochet leading to a surfboard submission. The fans were distracted by something in the crowd. Escobar lifted Ricochet, who broke free with an elbow and a shoulder to the ribs. They battled over a suplex, they were on the apron and Ricochet kicked Escobar down. Ricochet kicked Escobar while he was on the apron and Ricochet hit a running Shooting Star Press onto a standing Escobar to knock them both down. That led to a break.
Escobar was on the top rope going for a move, but Ricochet met him up there and hit a superplex. They exchanged strikes, then they each ran the ropes and they did a double cross body block/forearm smash that knocked them both down. Escobar bailed to the floor. Ricochet charged after him, Ricochet jumped up to the barricade, Escobar met him there and Escobar hit a hurricanrana off the barricade. Back in the ring, Escobar got a two count. Escobar with an elbow drop to Ricochet’s back. Escobar chopped Ricochet hard in the chest followed by a jumping kick to the head. Ricochet was up top, Escobar tried a move, it was blocked and Escobar bumped to the mat. Escobar went to the apron and they were on the top rope with Escobar doing another hurricanrana, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet hit a Northern Lights Suplex followed by a suplex. Ricochet hit a Lionsault for a two count. Ricochet hit a running dropkick. Ricochet went up top again and jumped off with a Shooting Star Press, but Escobar got the knees up to block for a two count on an inside cradle. Escobar went for the Phantom Driver off the shoulders, but Ricochet countered it for two. They each went a move and Escobar hit a Reverse Rana spiking Ricochet on the head for a two count. Escobar lifted Ricochet to the top rope, Ricochet fought back and Ricochet hit a Reverse Rana off the top. Ricochet with a jumping knee, a superkick and a back kick to the head. Ricochet jumped off the top with a 630 splash after 21 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: ***3/4 I thought they had a great match. It was competitive the whole way with both guys looking like they had a chance to win. In the end, Ricochet was impressive with that reverse hurricanrana off the ropes along with a barrage of strikes and the impressive 630 Splash for the win. Since the winner was getting an IC Title match, it made sense for the babyface to win rather than the heel Escobar. I thought maybe they’d do a referee bump spot leading to the Legado guys trying to help Escobar win. Nope. It was clean for Ricochet.
That victory meant that Ricochet won the Smackdown World Cup. The Intercontinental Title match against Gunther is in two weeks (December 16th) on Smackdown in Chicago.
Ricochet celebrated the win by grabbing the Smackdown World Cup trophy in the aisle.
GUNTHER walked out with the Intercontinental Title on his shoulder. GUNTHER stared at Ricochet while Ricochet said that title is next. Cole mentioned that the match was in two weeks. GUNTHER stared at Ricochet and that was it. End show.
Analysis: I don’t expect GUNTHER to lose to Ricochet, but it should be an interesting match. GUNTHER beat Ricochet for the title back in June, so Ricochet finally gets a rematch. I think GUNTHER will move on to a feud with Braun Strowman heading into the new year.
— WWE (@WWE) December 3, 2022
Three Stars of the Show
- Sami Zayn
- Ricochet/Santos Escobar
- GUNTHER/Sheamus/Kofi Kingston
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
It was a good show carried by three long matches, but I don’t think it was that interesting overall in terms of stories. There was a lack of star power this week with no Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre or Ronda Rousey. I know people don’t like Ronda, but it’s still true. Perhaps since it was shown on FS1, WWE felt like they didn’t need some of their bigger names since the TV audience is going to be lower.
The three longer matches are what made the show interesting with Sami Zayn picking up the win over Sheamus thanks to an assist from The Bloodline guys. Jey Uso directly helping Zayn win shows that Jey and Sami are on the same page now. GUNTHER survived against Kofi Kingston, but it was close. The main event with Ricochet beating Santos Escobar was fun. However, it just didn’t feel like that big of a match worthy of a main event even though the SD World Cup went to Ricochet. I just think the whole episode was lacking excitement a bit.
I liked seeing Tegan Nox back in WWE although the crowd reaction to her wasn’t much. She’s still relatively unknown on the main roster while this Buffalo crowd was quiet for most of the night. Nox adds depth to the women’s division whether in singles or as a tag team with somebody else.
Bray Wyatt being on was nice too, but it was just a short segment this time.
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