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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
DECEMBER 17, 2021
CHICAGO, IL AT THE ALLSTATE ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a video recap of last week’s happenings involving Sami Zayn, Paul Heyman, and Brock Lesnar. After the recap, Paul Heyman stood in the parking lot holding the Universal Championship. Michael Cole said he’s been there all day. Pat McAfee said he hasn’t spoken to Roman Reigns.
-Sasha Banks’ music hit and she made her entrance. Cole said we kick it off with boss time. Toni Storm was already in the ring waiting for Banks. Shotzi then made her entrance, followed by Charlotte Flair, who got a huge response. Cole said that Charlotte lost her cool last week against Storm. They then showed a video recap of their match last week.
(1) SASHA BANKS & TONI STORM vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR & SHOTZI
Storm started against Shotzi. The pair traded headlocks and transitions. Back on their feet, they traded arm bars, then Storm countered and took Shotzi down with a kick. Banks then tagged in. Shotzi tagged Charlotte in. Cole recapped the rivalry between Charlotte and Banks. Charlotte escaped a roll-up from Banks, then Banks hit a big chop. Banks tagged in Storm who went on the attack on Charlotte. Charlotte recovered and took down Storm, then kicked Banks off the apron. Storm recovered and hit a modified facebuster for a near fall. Cool looking move, but not smooth at all. Shotzi hit the ring and knocked Storm to the outside where Banks was already laying. [c]
Back from break, Banks and Storm hit a double suplex on Shotzi. Banks made the cover for a near fall, then tagged in Storm. Storm mounted Shotzi and landed punches. Storm tagged in Banks and they hit another double team move before Banks covered Shotzi for another near fall. Banks and Storm traded tags and stomped at Shotzi. Banks hit a kick to Shotzi’s face, then motioned to the crowd. Shotzi recovered when Banks turned around and then tagged in Charlotte. Charlotte hit a big chop, then took Banks to the outside, driving her into the barricade, then carried Banks back into the ring. Charlotte put a neck vise on Banks as the crowd chanted for Banks. Charlotte hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall. Charlotte choked Banks with the middle rope and Shotzi tagged in. Banks crawled away and tagged in Storm. Storm hit a series of forearms on Shotzi. Storm took Shotzi down in the corner, then went for a slam but Shotzi recovered. Storm shot Shotzi off the ropes as Charlotte blind-tagged in. Charlotte hit the ring and took down Storm. She kipped up and posed. [c]
Storm drove Charlotte into the middle turnbuckle and crawled towards Banks. Charlotte grabbed Storm, but Storm kicked her off and tagged in Banks. Banks took down Charlotte, then knocked Shotzi off the apron. Banks dodged a big boot, then reversed a slam into a crossbody for a near fall. Banks hit double knees in the corner on Charlotte. Banks and Charlotte traded right hands in the middle of the ring. Charlotte ended it with a kick to the gut. Banks recovered and rolled Charlotte up for a near fall, then hit a bulldog. Banks climbed to the top and Storm tagged herself in. Banks came off the top but Charlotte moved. Banks rolled through and took out Shotzi with a Backstabber. Storm came off the top and hit a big crossbody on Charlotte for a close near fall. Charlotte recovered and drove Storm into the middle turnbuckle. Charlotte then went to the top rope. Charlotte went for the moonsault, landed on her feet, then went for the standing moonsault. Storm got the knees up, then suplexed Charlotte into a bridge for the win.
WINNER: BANKS & STORM in 20:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: Starting Smackdown with a twenty minute Women’s Division match was a huge departure from what they usually do, but I liked it. I thought the match was solid and was a decent enough showcase for all the women. Shotzi being isolated by the faces was a little strange. Overall, the match was solid. Banks and Charlotte did a lot of good work and Storm wasn’t awful. The moonsault spot was another weird one. They just don’t have good timing/spacing on that spot at all. They need to work that out if they’re going to use it every time they face each other. WWE pulled a tired trope at the end with the challenger pinning the champion. It’s lame and they need to stop doing that. There’s better ways to get across that Storm could win.)
-King Xavier Woods was in the back in a throne, Kofi Kingston was at his side. The Smackdown mid-card faces were cheering for him. The Usos appeared. Woods asked the Usos what happened last week. Woods then said they would win at Day One and be new champions. Jey responded that they would beat the New Day twice then. Tonight and at Day One. Jey and Jimmy smiled and walked off. Woods made a joke about how bad the Usos smell.
-In the arena, the Viking Raiders made their entrance. They showed a graphic for the Viking Raiders against Jinder Mahal and Shanky, next. [c]
-They showed a replay of Xia Li’s debut last week.
-Natalya was in the back watching the replay. Megan the interviewer appeared and asked about Li’s attack last week. Natalya called herself a record holder and the best of all time. She said Li shouldn’t have done that last week. Natalya said that if Li does that again, she is the one who will need a protector.
-Cole then said that Bobby Lashley doesn’t need a protector, then threw to a video recap of Raw from Monday night.
(McDonald’s Analysis: What have the Viking Raiders been doing in the ring this whole time? Are they napping? Or did their two minute match end during the commercial break and the viewers at home missed it? That second thing actually isn’t the worst idea in the world.)
-After the recap, the Viking Raiders did the chest thump in mid-ring as if the last five minutes didn’t happen. Shanky and Jinder Mahal made their entrance. McAfee marveled at Shanky’s size. They showed a graphic for the tag match between the two teams. Cole called the match very important. [c]
(2) JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY vs. VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)
The Viking Raiders had Mahal isolated in the corner. Erik and Shanky stared each other down from across the ring. Mahal recovered and took down Erik, then tagged in Shanky. Shanky hit a big side slam on Erik for a near fall. McAfee called Shanky’s hair flawless. Shanky dominated Erik in the corner. McAfee mentioned that he talked to Erik in catering earlier, and Erik doesn’t use silverware. Shanky hit a big clothesline after a chop on Erik for a near fall. Mahal tagged in choked Erik in the corner. Mahal took Erik down with a clothesline then whipped Erik into the corner. Erik recovered and tagged in Ivar. Ivar hit a sideslam then a jumping splash. Ivar ran up to Shanky and punched him but Shanky no sold it. Mahal attacked Ivar, but Ivar took him down and tagged in Erik. They hit a double team move for a near fall. Mahal tagged in Shanky. Erik moved and Shanky hit the turnbuckle. Erik tagged in Ivar and they hit a double team move on Shanky in the corner. Ivar climbed to the top and hit a big splash on Shanky for the win.
WINNER: VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) in 5:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: I really didn’t expect the Viking Raiders to win after the shine they put on Shanky here. Color me surprised. This match actually wasn’t as terrible as it could have been. I don’t care about either team, but it’s interesting that Cole called this match important, then said the Usos should be on notice after the Viking Raiders won. Maybe they are trying to line up challengers for the Usos? I won’t hold my breath, but I’ll give it a chance.)
-The Viking Raiders celebrated in the ring. Cole said that Adam Pearce made up a rule last week regarding Drew McIntyre’s sword. They cut to a video package of the altercation between Pearce and McIntyre. The package ended with Happy Corbin and Mad Cap Moss stealing the sword. After the package they showed Corbin and Moss in the back. They wheeled the desk with the sword in it forward. A graphic was shown for Happy Talk with Corbin and Moss, next. [c]
-Heyman was still in the parking lot. A black SUV pulled up. Heyman went to the door and said “my Tribal Chief”, but the door opened and Brock Lesnar appeared. Lesnar asked Heyman if he was doing some advocating tonight. Heyman said he expected someone else. Lesnar asked if it was Reigns. He then told Heyman good luck with that and walked off.
-Corbin and Moss made their entrance. McAfee said he forgets they have pyro every week. McAfee said Corbin and Moss’ self awareness is a negative number. The desk with the sword in it was in the middle of the ring. Corbin asked the crowd to clap their hands if they’re happy and they know it. Corbin pointed out the desk and sword. Corbin said the desk and sword is a piece of luxury furniture. He listed uses for the sword while Moss laughed. Corbin asked Moss to tell a joke. Moss told a terrible joke that was supposed to insult McIntyre. Corbin said the crowd didn’t get it. The crowd then chanted “CM Punk”. McAfee said that the crowd was chanting “we want love”. Moss told a couple more lame jokes. Corbin said he was going to leave the sword in the desk forever, but he wants Moss to have it. Moss tried to get the sword out of the desk but couldn’t do it. Corbin told him to stop messing around. Moss said he couldn’t get it. Corbin then tried. Then they tried together. McIntyre’s music hit and he made his entrance to a great pop. McIntyre smirked at them at the top of the stage.
-McIntyre asked if they were having performance issues. Moss went to attack McIntyre, but McIntyre hit him with the microphone then took out Corbin with the Glasgow Kiss. McIntyre took the sword out of the desk with ease. McIntyre swung the sword towards Corbin, but Moss pulled him out of the way. McIntyre taunted Corbin and Moss with Corbin’s hat on the end of the sword. McIntyre posed with his sword as Corbin and Moss cowered on the outside.
-Sami Zayn was in the back with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Pearce said that Zayn was alive and didn’t have his neckbrace. Zayn said his lawyer said he didn’t need it. Zayn mentioned it being Christmas time and the time for gifts. Pearce asked Zayn what gift he was expecting. Zayn wanted to know when he gets another shot at the Universal title. He mentioned he never got another chance at the Intercontinental title after he lost it. Pearce asked if Zayn liked the IC title. Zayn said he loved it, the title is his. Pearce announced a twelve days of Christmas, twelve man gauntlet match next week. The winner earns a shot at the Intercontinental Championship. Zayn said it’s not a great present.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Where are they going to get twelve guys for this gauntlet match? Does Smackdown even have twelve male wrestlers once you subtract Reigns, Nakamura, presumably McIntyre, and the Usos? They didn’t think this through. Zayn was good here though.)
-Ridge Holland made his entrance alongside Sheamus. Cesaro made his entrance. Sheamus coached up Holland in the ring. Sheamus distracted Cesaro and Holland hit him in the back with a billy club. Cesaro rolled to the outside in pain. [c]
-Cesaro was taped up on the outside. Cesaro said he was good.
(3) RIDGE HOLLAND vs. CESARO
Holland took Cesaro down right away and kicked him in the gut. Holland hit a big backbreaker, then a stretch with his knee in Cesaro’s back. Holland tossed Cesaro into the corner then locked on an abdominal stretch. Cesaro fought back with an uppercut then a back suplex. Cesaro hit a running uppercut on Holland in the corner, but Holland hit Cesaro in the ribs. Cesaro was able to knock Holland over the top rope. Cesaro and Sheamus stared each other down on the outside. Sheamus distracted Cesaro as he got back in the ring. Holland hit Cesaro, then hit a powerslam for the win.
WINNER: RIDGE HOLLAND in 3:00
-Holland hit Cesaro again and knocked him out of the ring. Sheamus and Holland posed in mid-ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Imagine that, a distraction finish. Matches like this are why WWE needs a lower part of the card. Holland has had two matches on Smackdown, both of them against the same guy. On top of that, he lost, then won. None of this does anything to build Holland. On top of that, Cesaro is reaching Dolph Ziggler levels at this point and he’s not taken seriously at all. The fact that Holland needed a pre-match attack and a distraction to beat him doesn’t make Holland look like a heel, it makes him look really week. I wish WWE would realize that and stop doing this. Beyond that, the action of the match was fine. Holland is clearly green, but his stuff looks solid.)
-McIntyre was in the back looking for Corbin and Moss. He said he wanted to hear one of their jokes.
-Back in the arena, Naomi’s music hit and she made her entrance to a solid pop. Cole discussed Deville’s treatment of Naomi. He recapped last week and said Naomi asked for a rematch tonight. [c]
-Naomi was in the ring with a mic. She said she always makes a Christmas list. She said the only thing on her list this year is a match with Sonya Deville, one on one. She said she knows Deville is in the back listening. Naomi said Deville has done everything but face her one on one. Naomi challenged Deville to a match tonight. Deville walked out. She called Naomi unprofessional. Deville said when she has the suit on, Naomi can’t touch her. Deville said she has an opponent for Naomi, someone superior, Shayna Baszler. Naomi said that’s fine, but she dared Deville to get in the ring. Deville got in the ring and Shayna Baszler appeared and attacked Naomi from behind. Deville told the ref to start the match.
(4) NAOMI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
Naomi couldn’t stand to start the match. Baszler put Naomi in a leg lock. Naomi reversed into a rollup for the win.
WINNER: NAOMI in 1:00
-Deville and Naomi stared each other down on the outside of the ring.
(McDonald’s Analysis: We need a pay off to this. I’m all for long term story telling. I really am. However, when next to nothing happens every week, it’s not a long term story arc. It’s treading water. That’s where we are now. Let’s get a resolution and find something else for all these women to do.)
-Corbin and Moss were in the back hiding. Megan appeared and asked for the lights. She asked if they would be happy if McIntyre found them. Corbin said he’s always happy. He said they’re going to laugh all the way to Day One, where McIntyre is going to lose to Moss. Moss stared at Corbin as Corbin laughed.
-Back in the arena, King Woods and Kofi Kingston made their entrance. Woods was wheeled out in the throne. They showed a graphic for the Usos against the New Day tonight. Cole asked if the match would be for the titles or not. [c]
-The Usos made their entrance to a huge pop. Cole said Reigns is still due tonight and Heyman is still waiting for him.
(5) THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) vs. THE NEW DAY (King Xavier Woods & Sir Kofi Kingston)
Kingston started with Jey. The two ran the ropes, then Kingston hit an S.O.S. for a near fall. Jimmy blind-tagged in and hit a huge kick to the back of Kingston’s head. The crowd chanted for New Day. Jimmy beat on Kingston in the corner and tagged in Jey. Jey pounded on Kingston some more, then tagged in Jimmy who put a headlock on Kingston. Kingston fought out toward the corner and reached for Woods. Jimmy reversed position, but Kingston hit a superkick. Kingston tagged in Woods, but the official didn’t see it. Jey ran to the outside and tossed Kingston into the barricade. The Usos posed as they cut to break. [c]
Both Kingston and Jey were down. Both tagged their respective partners. Woods went on the attack on Jimmy. Jey tried to attack Woods, but Woods took him out. Woods knocked Jimmy to the outside then hit a flying dropkick through the ropes. Woods rolled Jimmy back in the ring and hit a leg drop from the top rope for a near fall. Kingston tagged in as Woods went to attack Jey on the outside. Jey moved and tossed Woods into the barricade. Kingston went to the top and missed Jimmy. Jimmy hit a superkick for a near fall. The Usos tagged, but the ref didn’t see it. Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise on Jimmy for the win.
WINNER: THE NEW DAY (Woods & Kingston) in 9:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: I liked the call back to earlier in the match. However, I don’t know how well that works for the face team as opposed to the other way around. The match was solid, but nothing we haven’t seen these teams do before. I know I sound like a broken record, but their match at Day One is going to be good, but nothing about it will be new or fresh. See, I’m almost as repetitive as WWE when it comes to this feud.)
-Heyman was in the parking lot. An SUV pulled up. Heyman opened the door, but Reigns exited the car on the opposite side. Heyman ran up to Reigns side. Reigns said “let’s go” and they walked toward the arena as they cut to break. [c]
-They showed a graphic for next week’s Smackdown. They advertised a Women’s Championship match between Storm and Charlotte. They also showed a graphic for the aforementioned twelve days of Christmas gauntlet match.
-Roman Reigns’ music hit and he made his entrance. He got a tremendous reaction. Heyman handed Reigns the Universal title and Reigns held it up as his pyro went off. They showed the graphic for Reigns and Lesnar at Day One. Cole hyped the match. McAfee said that 2022 will be starting on the mountaintop. Cole mentioned the presence that Reigns brings to an arena. Cole said Reigns has been champion for 474 days. The Usos appeared in the ring with Heyman and Reigns. Reigns stood mid-ring as the crowd chanted his name. Heyman smiled as he handed Reigns the mic. Reigns asked Chicago to acknowledge him. The crowd cheered with some mild boos. Reigns said he thought he made himself clear before, he doesn’t like it when his cousins lose. Reigns went up to each Uso and said that they are family and they can get through anything because they are blood. Reigns then turned to Heyman and said that Heyman is not his blood. Reigns said that he can’t have people disrespecting him. Reigns said he’s going to ask Heyman a few questions. He asked Heyman if he could trust him. Heyman looked shocked. Reigns said that he knows everything that happens on Smackdown and Heyman looked shady last week. Reigns asked if Heyman knew Lesnar was going to be at Summerslam and Madison Square Garden. Reigns asked if Heyman knew Lesnar’s suspension would be lifted. The crowd chanted “you screwed up”. Reigns said they’re right, he did screw up. Reigns asked Heyman if he is the special counsel or the advocate. Heyman looked at Reigns stunned. Heyman nodded and asked for a mic from ringside. Heyman rubbed his face and turned to Reigns. Reigns cut Heyman off and told Heyman that he wants the truth. He asked Heyman why he’s protecting Lesnar from him.
-Heyman breathed into the mic. Heyman said he’s not protecting Lesnar from Reigns. He said he’s protecting Reigns from Lesnar. The crowd cheered. Jey yelled at Reigns to get Heyman. Reigns hugged Heyman and told him he loved him. He thanked Heyman for his honesty and for forty years of service to his family. Reigns then fired Heyman and hit him with a Superman Punch. Reigns asked for a chair and Jey got it for him. Reigns placed Heyman’s head on the chair, then asked for a second chair. Lesnar’s music hit and he appeared at the top of the stage. The Usos left the ring to attack Lesnar but Lesnar took them both out. Lesnar f-5’ed Jey on the outside. Jimmy hit a superkick, but Lesnar recovered and F-5’ed him as well. Lesnar stalked Reigns from outside the ring. Reigns stood in mid-ring with a chair. Lesnar entered the ring. Reigns hit him with the chair, but Lesnar got up and hit Reigns with an F-5. Lesnar picked Reigns up and hit another F-5. Lesnar stood over the downed Reigns.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow. Just, wow. I don’t think this is the end of Heyman as the special counsel. I think this could lead to Heyman backing Lesnar, then revealing he’s still with Reigns at the PPV. He had to take the punch “for the family” much like Jey did last winter. I see something like that coming. Well, I hope so anyway. This felt too sudden and anticlimactic to truly be the end. Maybe I’m just trying to talk myself into that because I don’t want it to end. Either way, everyone was on the money here. The Brock attack at the end tells us all we need to know about the finish of the PPV if neither guy is going to be featured on the show next week.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a strange episode of Smackdown. It felt like both nothing and a lot happened at the same time. I really liked the final segment, but I really hope the Reigns-Heyman relationship isn’t over. This was an effective use of Lesnar, even if it was fun seeing his personality the past couple of weeks.
The mid-card is still a huge mess and they aren’t even trying to fix it at this point. Corbin and Moss against McIntyre is the second option from the top in the Men’s Singles Division? Jeez. That is such a warning sign it’s not even funny. I would say move some people over from Raw, but honestly, without saying AJ Styles as a solo act or bringing Seth Rollins back, I don’t know what would work. At least it seems like they’re making an effort in the Tag Division.
The Women’s Division is promising. They need to move on from Naomi and Deville, but the rest is solid. They seem to be building multiple stories. Natalya and Xia Li, the ongoing Naomi and Deville, along with Storm and Charlotte. On top of that, they still have Banks and Shotzi. I wonder if the match between Storm and Charlotte next week will have a clean finish, or if they’re going to put off giving us an ending until Day One.
This wasn’t a bad show, but yet again, other than Reigns, there’s nothing here to write home about.