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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
DECEMBER 17, 2021
ROSEMONT, ILL. AT ALLSTATE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON FOX
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-A video package aired on last week’s happenings with Sami Zayn, Brock Lesnar, and Paul Heyman.
-They showed Heyman standing in the parking garage with the Universal Title belt. Michael Cole said he’s been standing there all afternoon waiting for the arrival of Roman Reigns. Pat McAfee said his sources indicate Heyman and Reigns haven’t spoken in over a week. He said Heyman has a lot of explaining to do.
-The camera panned the crowd in the arena as Cole said it was a jam-packed crowd.
(1) SASHA BANKS & TONI STORM vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR & SHOTZI
Sasha came out first. They showed Cole and McAfee at ringside. Cole said Toni told him it means the world to her that Sasha is willing to stand by her since her arrival on Smackdown. Storm was already waiting in the ring, all smiles as Sasha entered the ring. They hugged. Shotzi made her entrance next. Charlotte tagged in against Storm, then kicked Sasha off the ring apron. Cole said Charlotte won’t underestimate Storm again. Storm then took Charlotte down with an inverted judo throw for a two count, broken up by Shotzi. Shotzi knocked Storm to the floor alongside Sasha as they cut to a break at 4:00. [c]
Back from the break, Charlotte threw Sasha hard into the ringside barricade. She carried her back into the ring and got a two count. Sasha tagged in Storm at 11:00, who went on offense against Shotzi. Charlotte tagged in and gave Storm an overhead toss, sending Storm to ringside. They cut to another break at 12:00. [c]
Sasha rallied against Charlotte after the break, while also hitting Shotzi with a forearm to knock her off the ring apron. They cut to a wide shot of the arena as Cole touted the “great, jam-packed crowd.” Charlotte and Sasha exchanged forearms mid-ring. Sasha rolled up Charlotte for a two count, hit a bulldog, and then climbed to the top rope. Storm tagged herself in. Sasha leaped off the top rope, but Charlotte ducked. Cole said Sasha didn’t know Storm tagged her. Storm surprised Charlotte with a top rope crossbody for a near fall. The crowd oohhhed and popped as Cole said it was nearly a major upset. Charlotte drove Storm’s head into the bottom turnbuckle to turn momentum. Charlotte went for a top rope moonsault, but Storm lifted her knees. Storm rolled up Charlotte and bridged back and got the three count. “Storm pinned the champion!” exclaimed Cole. “Can you believe it?” The crowd popped for the finish.
WINNER: Storm & Sasha in 19:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really solid tag match start to finish. Storm will benefit from this win. It didn’t feel like a fluke. She needed a signature win.)
-Backstage Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew Gulak, Ricochet, Mansoor, and Rick Boogs were backstage worshiping Xavier Woods. The Usos walked in and made fun of Xavier. Xavier talked about the royal beating they gave the Usos last week. Kofi Kingston laughed uproariously, then gyrated. The Usos agreed to face them tonight and beat them, then face them again and beat them at Day 1 too. When the Usos left, Xavier said they smell so bad.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a weird way to set up a tag team match between them on Smackdown tonight.)
-The Viking Raiders made their ring entrance. [c]
-A sponsored video package aired on Xia Li showed up last week to even the odds for Naomi against Sonya Deville.
-Backstage, Megan Morant approached Natalya for an interview. Natalya said she is a World Record holder of the most matches of any woman in WWE and the most PPV matches of any woman in WWE. She took issue with Xia Li coming after her last week. She said she is the best of all-time and if Xia Li ever steps up to her again, she’ll need a protector.
-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside. They threw to the Raw Rebound segment.
-Jinder Mahal and Shanky made their ring entrance. [c]
(2) THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY
The bell rang 13 minute after the Viking Raiders arrived in the ring. (I suggested in last week’s Smackdown report that WWE should make someone stand in the ring for 30 minutes one of these weeks. I think 13 is the longest so far. Is the promise of a pending Viking Raiders match really worth a 13 minute delay to keep viewers tuned in through various video packages and backstage segments. Just call an intermission in the building so fans can head to the concourse for 15 minutes instead.) Shanky overpowered Erik early. A few minutes later, Ivar cartwheeled out of Jinder’s path. Erik tagged in and slammed Ivar onto Jinder, then scored a two count on a weak looking cover. Jinder tagged in Shanky, so Erik tagged in Ivar. The Raiders double-teamed Shanky in the corner. “Ass for dinner!” exclaimed McAfee after Erik dropped Ivar butt-first onto Shanky’s face. Ivar leaped off the top rope with a splash on Shanky for the clean win.
WINNER: The Viking Raiders in 6:00.
-A clip aired of Adam Pearce telling Drew McIntyre last week he couldn’t bring his sword to the ring, so Drew jabbed the sword into his desk. Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin were shown stealing the desk.
-They showed that Corbin and Moss had brought the desk from Los Angeles to Chicago with the sword still stuck in the top. They were snickering as they rolled it through the back hall. [c]
-WWE promoted donations to the American Red Cross for victims of the tornadoes in Kentucky.
-Roman Reigns finally arrived, or so Heyman thought when he opened the door to the black SUV. Brock Lesnar stepped out and smiled at Heyman. The crowd popped. “We’re doing a little advocating tonight, are we, Paul?” Lesnar said. Heyman stammered that he was expecting someone else. Lesnar said that’s okay and asked if it’s Roman. Heyman nodded. Lesnar patted Heyman and told him, “Good luck with that.”
-Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss made their way to the ring. Corbin told fans, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” The desk with the sword was in the ring. Corbin said they have a new addition to their Happy Talk set. He said the sword in the desk is an expensive hat rack and could be used to cut a cigar or trim fingernails. Corbin said he couldn’t be happier, but he’d still like an amazing joke from Moss. “What do you call Drew McIntyre when he leaves a sword behind on a desk? The Glasgow ditz.” They laughed. Moss asked, “Where can you find a discount kilt? Don’t ask me, ask Bargain Basement Braveheart.” The fans began protest-chanting, “C.M. Punk!” McAfee said, “I’m with this crowd, I want love.” Moss asked, “Why did Drew McIntyre’s girl decide to wear a suit? She decided at least one person in the relationship should wear the pants.” Fans were booing and looking sorta dismayed with their life choice to be there tonight. Moss then tried to pull the sword out of the desk. He couldn’t. Corbin said that’s a great Adam Pearce impression. Moss said he really can’t get it out. Corbin tried, but also couldn’t. They tried together. Drew McIntyre’s music played. Cole said, “Thank god! I’m surprised it took that long to drop the curtain on this show.” McAfee said McIntyre can’t be pleased. Cole said Happy Talk is about to be canceled.
McIntyre leaned on the top rope and asked, “What’s the matter lads, are we having some performance issues?” Moss took a swing. Drew blocked him and then knocked him to the floor. Then Drew headbutted Corbin. McIntyre then pulled the sword out of the desk. “That’s how it’s done! Angela is free!” exclaimed Cole. Moss pulled Corbin to safety. Drew stabbed Corbin’s hat to the end of his sword. Corbin wasn’t happy about that.
-Backstage, Sami Zayn walked up to Pearce and Deville. Deville noted that Sami wasn’t in a neck brace or wheelchair anymore. Sami said his lawyer told him he didn’t need it, then corrected himself and said his doctor said that. Sami then said he was robbed of his Universal Title opportunity, and he wanted to know how long it’ll take to get his opportunity back. Sami said the last time it happened with his Intercontinental Title, it was over a year ago. Sami said he loves that title. Pearce said next week he can be in a 12-man gauntlet with the winner getting an IC Title match. Sami said that’s not really a gift because he has to beat 11 other guys. Pearce wished him Happy Holidays.
(Keller’s Analysis: Seeing Sami was a relief after that awful Happy Talk segment. A “12 Days of Christmas” gauntlet match next week fits the “we’re just trying to fill two hours on a holiday” theme. With the preemption of Smackdown on New Year’s Eve, there’s not a lot of opportunity left for WWE to build anticipation for Smackdown’s Day 1 contributions.)
-Ridge Holland walked to the ring accompanied by Sheamus. Then Cesaro made his ring entrance. When Sheamus got Cesaro’s attention, Holland jabbed Cesaro in the ribs with his billy club. Cole wondered if the match would take place as Cesaro struggled to stand at ringside. [c]
(3) RIDGE HOLLAND (w/Sheamus) vs. CESARO
Cesaro favored his ribs as Holland took early control. When Cesaro took over, Sheamus DISTRACTED Cesaro. Holland then powerslammed Cesaro for the win. Sheamus celebrated with Holland afterward in the ring.
WINNER: Holland in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Of all the things that could filled time on this show with some solid, hard-hitting wrestling action, they kept this short of three minutes. Is that a lack of confidence in Holland at this stage?)
-Drew was walking backstage calling for Corbin and Moss to come out from hiding. He said he wanted to hear one of their great jokes.
-Naomi made her ring entrance. [c]
-Naomi stood in the ring and said her annual gift list is just one wish – facing Sonya Deville one-on-one. She said Deville has “literally done everything to me at this point other than face me one-on-one.” She told her she wanted to do this tonight. “Where you at?!” she yelled. Sonya walked out and told Naomi she is so unprofessional. She said she’s explained before that when she’s wearing a suit, she can’t touch her. She said she has another opponent for her, though. She said that person is superior to her in every single way – Shayna Baszler. Naomi said she’ll fight Baszler, but she dares Sonya to get into the ring. Sonya entered the ring. She began to take off her jacket when Baszler attacked Naomi from behind. She beat up Naomi’s leg. Sonya told the ref to ring the bell.
(4) NAOMI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
Baszler applied a leglock right away. Cole said she’s trying to embarrass and humiliate her again. Naomi, though, leveraged Baszler’s shoulders down for a sudden surprise three count. Cole said Baszler got cocky and paid for it. Sonya wasn’t happy as she reacted at ringside. Cole said one day, judgment day will come for Sonya. Naomi walked up to Sonya and smiled as she walked to the back.
WINNER: Naomi in 1:00.
-Backstage, Megan interviewed Corbin and Moss hiding in a back boiler room. Corbin said he’s happy because he’s rich and can look down on common people. He said they’re going to be laughing all the way to Day 1 when Drew is going to lose to Moss. Moss reacted like that was news to him and wasn’t thrilled. Corbin assured him he should be happy.
-Xavier Woods rolled out on his throne with Kofi by his side. Cole wondered if the match will be officially for the title. McAfee said they’ll find out next. [c]
(5) THE USOS (Jimmy & Jey) vs. NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) – Non-title match
As the Usos entered the ring, Cole said Heyman is still waiting patiently for the arrival of Reigns. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Xavier landed a top rope flying legdrop onto Jimmy. Kofi tagged himself in leaped at Jimmy, but Jimmy ducked and hit a superkick for a near fall. The ref disallowed a tag to Jey that he didn’t see. Xavier knocked Jey off the ring apron. When Jimmy joined the protest, Kofi landed a Trouble in Paradise on him for the win.
WINNERS: The New Day in 9:00.
-Reigns finally arrived. Heyman excitedly said, “My Tribal Chief.” He opened the door to the SUV. Reigns came out the other side. He didn’t make eye contact as Heyman approached him with a glowing smile. Reigns told him to follow him to the ring. Cole said this is going to be good.
-A Raw commercial hyped the return of The Cutting Edge with special guest Maryse. [c]
-They advertised Charlotte vs. Toni Storm next week on Smackdown with the Smackdown Title on the line. Also, the “12 Days of Christmas” gauntlet match for an IC Title shot with Sheamus, Sami, Erik, Ivar, Gulak, Mansoor, Cesaro, Ricochet, Jinder Mahal, Shanky, Humberto Carrillo, and Angel Garza.
-Reigns made his ring entrance with Heyman by his side. Cole said Reigns brings a certain presence to the arena. The Usos joined them in the ring. Reigns wore a “Needle Mover” t-shirt (probably not the best t-shirt given Smackdown’s flat viewership). Reigns finally spoke. “Chicago,” he said. Cheers. “Acknowledge me.” Fans cheered and booed. Heyman held up the Universal Title belt. Reigns milked the moment. He said he thought he had made it clear that he doesn’t like it when his cousins lose. He put his hand on Jimmy’s shoulder and rubbed it. Then Jey’s. “You know that, right, Jey?” he said. “We’re family and we can get through anything because we’re blood.” He turned to Heyman and said, “But you.” Heyman was all smiles. Reigns said, “You’re not my blood, and you should know better than anybody that I can’t have people disrespecting me, because if you disrespect me, you disrespect our entire family.” Heyman was wide-eyed with concern.
Reigns said he had some questions for Heyman. “Can I trust you, wise man?” he asked. He said he took a week off and he heard what happened last week. He said last week, he seemed a little shady. He asked if he knew Brock was going to return at Summerslam, that he was going to be at Madison Square Garden, that his suspension was going to be lifted. Fans chanted, “You screwed up!” Reigns looked at the crowd and said, “You’re damn right he screwed up.” Fans laughed. He said this is the most important question: “Are you a Special Counsel or are you an Advocate?” He turned and stared at Heyman. Heyman hung his head and asked for a handshake. Reigns didn’t budge. Heyman asked for a mic.
Heyman looked stressed out as he turned back around to face Reigns. (Seems like this should be an easy answer.) Reigns said, “Before you say anything, I want you to acknowledge me with the truth. Why are you protecting Brock Lesnar from me?” Heyman looked around at the crowd nervously. Heyman said, every word a tense struggle to utter, “My Tribal Chief, I’m not protecting Brock Lesnar from you – God help me – I’m protecting you from Brock Lesnar.” Reigns didn’t like that at all. Heyman gave him a pleading look. Reigns then moved in and hugged Heyman. “I love you, Wise Man, and I thank you for our honesty,” he said. “And I thank you for four years of service to my family, and you’re fired.” He then turned to leave, but turned back and gave Heyman a Superman Punch. Cole said, “Oh my God!”
Reigns asked for a chair. McAfee said, “Absolute betrayal by Paul Heyman.” As he was about to smash Heyman’s head with a chair, Lesnar’s music played and he walked out in his overalls. He plowed through the Usos at ringside and then gave Jey an F5. Jimmy caught Lesnar with a superkick. Lesnar brushed it off and gave him an F5. Lesnar looked at Reigns in the ring. Reigns stood his ground with a chair in hand. Fans chanted “Suplex City!” Lesnar entered the ring. Reigns gave him several chairshots to the back, but Lesnar powered to his feet and gave Reigns an F5. He gave Reigns another F5. Cole said maybe Heyman was right. He said in two weeks, Lesnar might end the rein of Reigns.