12/3 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: McDonald’s “alt perspective” report on Lesnar’s return, Cesaro-Sheamus, Jey-Woods, Zayn fallout

By Alex McDonald, PWTorch Contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
DECEMBER 3, 2021
SAN ANTONIO, TX AT THE AT&T CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with a recap of last week’s Smackdown. In the arena, Michael Cole welcomed the viewers to Smackdown. Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he made his entrance to a great reception. Cole said the beast is back. McAfee called Lesnar the alpha male of our species. Cole mentioned that Lesnar paid the million dollar fine. Lesnar asked for the mic. McAfee asked if Lesnar got bigger. Lesnar soaked in the cheers. The crowd chanted “suplex city”. Lesnar said his suspension has been lifted. He said he’s there for one reason, the Universal Championship. Sami Zayn’s music hit and he made his entrance. Zayn said finally their paths are crossing. Zayn said their careers have been parallel, besides UFC and Wrestlemania main events. Zayn called them both Canadian alpha males. He said he was a fan of Lesnar and he respected his work. Zayn praised Lesnar’s new hairstyle. Lesnar said he’s confused, as he doesn’t know who Zayn is. Zayn started to explain who he is, but Lesnar cut him off. Lesnar said Zayn had a lot of balls. Lesnar talked about hunting in Canada. He asked Zayn who he is and why he hasn’t ripped his head off yet. Zayn called himself the locker room leader of Smackdown and the number one contender for the Universal Championship. Zayn said he’s next in line to face Roman Reigns at Day One. Lesnar laughed. Zayn said once he defeats Reigns at Day One he will give Lesnar a title match. Lesnar said he apologizes, it’s all coming together now because they’re playing him. He asked who’s playing Zayn. He asked Zayn why he would wait until Day One to face Reigns when he could face him tonight. The crowd cheered. Zayn said it’s a great idea, but he doesn’t want to win the title in Texas, and he has a thing with his hip. Lesnar reiterated that Zayn should fight Reigns tonight. Zayn said he needs more preparation. Lesnar repeated Zayn should challenge Reigns tonight. Lesnar got close to Zayn and backed him into the ropes. Zayn “accidentally” touched Lesnar who grabbed his hand and squeezed until Zayn agreed to face Reigns tonight. Lesnar said he will be in Zayn’s corner. Zayn’s music hit and he left up the ramp. Cole asked if we would have a match between Reigns and Zayn tonight for the Universal Championship. [c]

(McDonald’s Analysis: I actually liked how they played off of each other for the brief moment they were able to. Lesnar was solid here, nothing great, but he doesn’t have to be the greatest talker. He’s a physical specimen with a legitimate background and that’s good enough. Zayn had some funny lines and Lesnar bullied Zayn into asking for the title match tonight, presumably so Lesnar can face Reigns at Day One. I assume Cole asked if there will be a match because Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville haven’t said anything yet? I wonder if Pearce will confront Lesnar, or just flat out say no, due to their history.)

-Zayn was in the back with Sonya Deville. Deville said Pearce is not present and she is in control. Zayn said he might have accidentally said he would face Reigns tonight. Lesnar arrived. Zayn said Pearce isn’t here so he can’t have the match tonight. Deville interrupted and said that she can make the match and it will happen tonight. Lesnar asked if he faces the winner at Day One, to which Deville replied, yes.

-Sasha Banks made her entrance. Cole threw to a video recap of Naomi and Banks’ win last week. Shayna Baszler then made her entrance. Cole called Baszler the submission magician and then threw to a video package that showed Baszler injuring Nia Jax and Eva Marie. McAfee called it a future endeavors kick.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I really liked that short package, it made Baszler look like a real threat. That’s a good idea moving forward. McAfee’s future endeavors kick comment was gold. There’s no way they wanted him to say that.)

(1) SASHA BANKS vs. SHAYNA BASZLER

Banks went on offense but Baszler countered into a Kirifuda Clutch, but Banks escaped. Banks took Baszler down with an arm drag and Baszler rolled to the outside. Banks went for a baseball slide, but Baszler countered into an ankle lock. Banks fought back and hit a Meteora on the outside. Banks rolled Baszler back into the ring and got a near fall as they cut to break. [c]

Back from break, Banks was still in control. Baszler recovered with a huge running knee. Baszler then hit a gutwrench suplex for a near fall. Baszler taunted Banks but Banks fought to her feet and slapped Baszler. Banks hit another arm drag, then caught Baszler’s kick attempt. Banks then hit double knees in the corner for a near fall. McAfee called Banks one of the pillars of WWE. Banks hit a tornado DDT off the top for another near fall. Banks sold an arm injury as the crowd chanted “let’s go Sasha”. Baszler got the Kirifuda Clutch, but Banks rolled through. Banks got the Bank Statement but Baszler escaped. Baszler hit another big knee on Banks and Banks appeared to be out. Baszler went for a gutwrench suplex but Banks reversed into a rollup for the win.

WINNER: SASHA BANKS in 8:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: Solid match, the rollup finish here actually made sense. Unfortunately, WWE uses it so much that it’s lost any effectiveness it once had. Baszler looked credible here despite the loss. I hope WWE continues to promote the Smackdown Women’s Division and really builds the depth so we have quality contenders.)

-Deville was in the back on Facetime with Adam Pearce. Deville explained the matches she made for tonight. Pearce said he’s going to stay away tonight, so that he doesn’t disrupt the show. Pearce said he’s going to “remember the Alamo” tonight. Deville said she doesn’t think upper management will like this. Pearce said upper management doesn’t want a “show disrupter” and Deville is in control before he hung up. Drew McIntyre appeared. He asked Deville why he wasn’t in the battle royal last week. Deville blamed Pearce. McIntyre told Deville to tell Pearce that he is looking for him. McIntyre held up his sword and stared at it as they cut back to the arena.

-Happy Corbin and Mad Cap Moss made their entrance. Cole hyped Happy Talk, next. [c]

-They showed cartoon graphics advertising who will face Lesnar at Day One, Zayn or Reigns. Corbin was in the ring, he sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. They laughed about Corbin’s “prank” eliminating Moss last week. Corbin said Jeff Hardy had so many dead brain cells he forgot Zayn was in the match last week. Moss told a stupid joke about Hardy. Corbin said McIntyre is a cry baby who tried to stab everyone last week. Moss told a stupid joke about McIntyre. McIntyre’s music hit and he made his entrance. Moss exited the ring and started to walk toward McIntyre. McIntyre pointed the sword at Moss, who stopped. Hardy hit the ring and hit Corbin with a Twist of Fate. Moss ran in and Hardy got him too. McIntyre came in and hit a Claymore on Moss. Hardy and McIntyre put on Corbin and Moss’ hats and posed.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, I’m glad McIntyre is being featured, and that he’s not forgetting about being left out of the battle royal. With that said, why is he getting involved with Corbin and Moss? McIntyre and Hardy disposed of them pretty easily the first time. Why are the good guys continuing to beat them up? I don’t care for Hardy, but they need to heat him up for a one off with Reigns at some point. Maybe that’s the idea here?)

-Cole hyped next week’s Smackdown in Los Angeles, where Xia Li will debut. They cut to another Xia Li comic book video package. Back in the arena, the Viking Raiders made their entrance. They showed a graphic for the Viking Raiders against Los Lotharios, next. [c]

-Los Lotharios made their entrance. Cole threw to a video package of their encounter with Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura last week.

(2) VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo)

Ivar started with Garza and took Garza down quick. Erik tagged in and the Raiders tried to double team Garza, but Garza moved. Garza then hit a huge superkick on Erik. Carrillo tagged in and locked Erik up as Garza measured him. Boogs and Nakamura appeared and Boogs played guitar. It distracted Garza. Erik got up and took down Garza. Carrillo rolled up Erik for the win.

WINNER: LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo) in 2:00

-The Viking Raiders went to confront Boogs and Nakamura, but Boogs played the Viking Raiders’ theme song and they all danced together.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I think this proves my earlier point about rollup finishes not meaning anything any more. WWE has the makings of what could be a solid Tag Division, but this was a joke. Why even do this? Aren’t the Viking Raiders supposed to be vicious? Why would they just dance with Boogs and Nakamura instead of being upset they lost, and destroy them? Why would they downplay a loss like that?)

-They cut to a video recap of Charlotte Flair and Toni Storm’s interaction from last week. Kayla Braxton was in the back with Storm. Storm said that Charlotte can try to embarrass her as much as she wants, but Storm is still going to go after the title. Storm said she’s in Charlotte’s head, even though Charlotte has more experience. Storm said she will prove Charlotte wrong when Charlotte accepts her challenge. Storm said she may be “two pie Toni” now, but she wants to be called Smackdown Women’s Champion.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Storm wasn’t as bad as last week, but this wasn’t great. There’s just something missing with her. I had high hopes, and I still think she’s solid in the ring. However, her acting and promo ability leave a lot to be desired and until she fixes that, she won’t be taken seriously as a top contender. Liv Morgan rebounded nicely this week, I don’t feel the same way about Storm. Less bad isn’t really a ringing endorsement.)

-The Usos made their entrance to a great pop. They showed a graphic for Jey Uso against King Xavier Woods. McAfee said it’s going to be royalty versus the Bloodline. [c]

-The Usos were in mid-ring. The crowd chanted “U-SO” loudly. They mocked Zayn for challenging Reigns. They said Reigns is the ruler of Smackdown. The crowd chanted “U-SO” again after Jey said “we the ones”. King Xavier Woods made his entrance. He said he always brings gifts to the party. He introduced Sir Kofi Kingston. Cole reminded the audience of the Usos taking out Kingston a few weeks ago.

[HOUR TWO]

(3) KING XAVIER WOODS (w/ Sir Kofi Kingston) vs. JEY USO (w/ Jimmy Uso)

Woods went after Jey but Jey reversed into a hard Irish whip into the corner. Jey hit a pop-up neckbreaker for a near fall. Jey ran at Woods in the corner, but Woods moved. Woods hit a series of chops then a high kick. Jey reversed another Irish whip, but Woods recovered with a big boot then a clothesline. Woods hit a baseball slide punch, then climbed to the top rope. Jimmy Uso knocked Woods down for the DQ.

WINNER: KING XAVIER WOODS in 3:00 by DQ

(McDonald’s Analysis: I cannot believe how over the Usos were. That was crazy. This match was nothing. It was there to promote the return of Kingston, which is fine. These two will have another great tag match or two. It won’t be new, but it will good.)

-Kingston took out Jimmy, then entered the ring. Woods and Kingston double-teamed Jey. The Usos retreated up the aisle. They showed Roman Reigns watching in the back with Paul Heyman. Reigns asked if Kingston was back, Heyman said yes. Reigns said Pearce isn’t here. Heyman said yes. Reigns said there are a lot of things he didn’t know about tonight. Reigns asked if Heyman knew Lesnar would be there tonight. Heyman said no. Reigns asked if he knew Lesnar would be in Zayn’s corner. Heyman said no. Reigns said he’s going to smash Zayn tonight, then smash Lesnar.

-Charlotte Flair made her entrance. McAfee called Charlotte wrestling royalty. Cole said Storm challenged Charlotte earlier. Cole then said Charlotte will address Storm’s challenge, next. [c]

-Woods and Kingston were in the back with Aliyah. She said she’s proud of them. Kayla appeared. Kingston said he was out with a sprained MCL and he had to watch the Bloodline destroy Woods. Kingston said they will battle the Usos at Day One for the Tag Team Championships.

-Charlotte was in the ring with a mic. She said the only way to get noticed in the Women’s Division is to mention Charlotte. Charlotte said number one doesn’t acknowledge number two, so saying Storm’s name is giving her too much credit. Charlotte said that Storm can wash off the pie, but she can’t wash off the stink of embarrassment. Charlotte said that it’s a fact that Storm isn’t on her level. Charlotte said Storm getting a title shot is laughable. Charlotte said her answer to Storm’s challenge is no. Charlotte left up the entrance way and held up the title. Storm waited behind her with a pie. She hit Charlotte with the pie. Storm laughed and walked off.

(McDonald’s Analysis: No surprises there with New Day and the Usos at Day One. It makes sense. It’s repetitive, but like I said, the match will be good. I knew something was coming when they continued to focus on Charlotte after she left the ring. The pie thing is stupid. Why can’t Storm just attack her? Wouldn’t that accomplish what Storm wants? Instead they’re taking turns “embarrassing” each other? Or, I know, what if Charlotte set up a series of opponents for Storm for three weeks for her to prove she’s worthy of a title shot? How great would that be? Ya know, a wrestler, wrestling, to earn a title match. That’s what they should be doing. Let Charlotte ridicule and doubt Storm, and just let Storm keep winning until she gets her shot.)

-They showed a recap of the Ridge Holland and Cesaro match from last week. Sheamus’ music hit and he made his entrance. The crowd booed Sheamus loudly. They showed a graphic for Sheamus against Cesaro, next. [c]

-They returned from break with a video package that highlighted Ricochet. Cesaro made his entrance.

(4) SHEAMUS vs. CESARO

Cole recapped Sheamus and Cesaro’s history with one another. They traded strikes in the ring before Sheamus hit an Irish Curse backbreaker. They showed Ridge Holland watching in the back. Sheamus asked if Holland was watching. Sheamus hit the Ten Beats, then took Cesaro down for a near fall. Sheamus mounted Cesaro and pulled at his mouth. Cesaro fought back and stood up. He hit Sheamus with a flurry of punches and forearms that knocked Sheamus to the outside. Cesaro exited the ring and hit a running uppercut that knocked Sheamus into the timekeeper’s area. Back in the ring, Sheamus recovered with a big knee for a near fall. Sheamus rammed knees into Cesaro on the ground. Sheamus told Cesaro he was never in his league and Holland is ten times the man Cesaro is. Cesaro recovered and fought back. He said Sheamus was like a brother to him. Cesaro went for a Neutralizer, but Sheamus reversed and hit a Brogue Kick for the win.

WINNER: SHEAMUS in 5:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: Really good and hard hitting. Exactly what you would expect from these two. Unfortunately, it was only five minutes long. With the win being super clean, I guess Cesaro and Holland again next week? It would make sense that Sheamus brags to Holland that he beat Cesaro easily, whereas Holland lost and he needs to take his advice. Hopefully, this all turns into a face turn for Sheamus. I think this version of Sheamus against Reigns could be really fun sometime after Wrestlemania next year.)

-They cut to a recap of the opening of the show with Zayn and Lesnar. Zayn made his entrance. They showed the graphics for Lesnar against the winner of tonight’s Universal Championship match. [c]

-Naomi confronted Deville in the back. Deville said she will give Naomi a match when she decides to take the suit off. Deville said as long as she’s wearing the suit, she’s Naomi’s boss. Deville said if Naomi lays a hand on her, she will make sure Naomi doesn’t have a job. Naomi asked if Deville was accepting the challenge. Deville slapped Naomi. Naomi doubled back and got in Deville’s face angrily. Deville accepted the challenge. McAfee and Cole were shown ringside. McAfee complained about an authority figure hitting a Superstar.

(McDonald’s Analysis: A lot of grey area there. I hope that this is an actual acceptance and we get an actual one on one match between the two. Unfortunately, Deville made a point of mentioning her suit multiple times and said Naomi can’t touch her. I feel like the match is going to be booked and Deville is going to show up in her authority role and Naomi won’t be allowed to fight back or something silly like that. I probably shouldn’t have typed that as I’m just giving them ideas now.)

-They showed the Raw Rebound. They hyped the cage match between Big E and Kevin Owens and the Raw Women’s Championship match between Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch for Raw on Monday. They then showed the cartoon graphics for the winner against Brock Lesnar at Day One.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I get what they’re going for here but it really feels like this episode is more about Lesnar then Zayn or Reigns. I feel bad for Zayn.)

-They showed a graphic for Jeff Hardy against Happy Corbin next week. They also announced Naomi against Sonya Deville. Sami Zayn was in the ring. He called Texas his least favorite state. He said he’s going to defeat Reigns and become Universal Champion. Zayn said no one supported him. He said the only person who supported him was Lesnar. He said Lesnar is the only person he will thank. Brock Lesnar made his entrance. Zayn talked up Lesnar. Zayn then said he’s not expecting Lesnar to help him win, but it would be easier for Lesnar to beat him, then Reigns. Zayn said he’s not selling himself short, but Lesnar’s track record against Reigns isn’t very good lately. Lesnar responded with a trio of German suplexes, then two F-5’s. The crowd cheered. Lesnar lifted Zayn up and propped him up in the corner. Lesnar then walked off. [c]

-Roman Reigns made his entrance with the Usos and Paul Heyman in tow. Cole said this is Reigns’ 460th day as Universal Champion. They showed a recap of the last segment. Zayn laid in the corner while Reigns entered the ring. The crowd cheered loudly when Reigns raised the finger.

(5) ROMAN REIGNS (c) (w/ Paul Heyman, Jey Uso, & Jimmy Uso) vs. SAMI ZAYN – Universal Championship Match

McAfee said the Usos propped “weekend at Sami’s” back up in the corner. Reigns did the “oooo-ahhh” pose then speared Zayn. Reigns locked Zayn in the guillotine and he tapped immediately.

WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS in 30 seconds to retain the Universal Championship

-Reigns posed in mid-ring with the Usos and Heyman as they showed the graphic for Reigns-Lesnar at Day One.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, I didn’t think we would get much of a match between Zayn and Reigns, but I thought we would get slightly more than that. The story told did make sense though. Lesnar wanted Zayn out of the way quickly so he could get his match faster. He accomplished that. Lesnar wanted to make sure he got to face Reigns for the Universal Championship because it isn’t ONLY about being champion, it’s also about beating Reigns. He accomplished that, too. So good, simple storytelling. This is one of the examples of a predictable outcome not necessarily being a bad thing. My biggest gripe with all of this tonight was that we never got to see Lesnar and Reigns face to face. I’m all for slow builds and I like when WWE makes us wait for things, but in this case, we don’t know when we’re going to see Lesnar again. So we might not see them face to face until the PPV. On second thought, that doesn’t sound so bad.

I don’t want to spend every week discussing how far this mid-card has fallen, but jeez, can we at least get a match longer than 5 minutes? They packed so much into this show for no reason. They could have cut the Hardy/McIntyre-Corbin/Moss segment entirely and had an actual match between Los Lotharios and the Viking Raiders. Or they could have cut that match entirely and given more time to Sheamus and Cesaro. I think both options would have been better than what we got. It’s just too much crammed into one show without giving anything room to breathe.

The Women’s Division is getting a good amount of attention and I thought that continued tonight. Baszler and Banks had a good match and it felt like the winner mattered. The finish sucked, but I want them to build contenders. That would be easier to do if they kept some of the lower rung women they released recently, but that’s already done, so I’ll take what we can get. I really hope that Naomi and Deville is a real match next week and not some loophole deal. With that said, I don’t know what they’ll do as a finish. If Deville beats her then Naomi looks like a joke. If Naomi wins, does she get a title match? Where do both women go after that? Since we don’t have any stipulations, it makes me think we’re not getting a real match.

Day One is shaping up to be a good show on the Smackdown side. They seem to be hyping this as a big show with real stakes, I hope they deliver.

 

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