12/16 WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS: Keller’s report on Roman Reign’s returning, Ricochet challenging Gunther for IC Title, Morgan & Nox vs. Sky & Kai for Women’s Tag Titles

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


DECEMBER 16, 2022

Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett


-A black SUV arrived and out came a jubilant Sami Zayn and then the Usos. They were all smiles. Michael Cole said there are rumors that Sami could have the “honorary” part of his Bloodline status removed.

-The Smackdown opening theme played.

(1) DAMAGE CTRL (Iyo Sky & Dakota Kai w/Bayley) vs. TEGAN NOX & LIV MORGAN – Women’s Tag Team Title match

The bell rang six minutes into the show. Sky kicked Liv as she ran the ropes. Liv went after her at ringside, and she grabbed a kendo stick. Cole said she’d be DQ’d for using it. Nox talked her out of using it. All four fought in the ring and then they fought at ringside. Nox leaped off the top rope into Kai and Sky at ringside. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]

Sky and Kai took control during the break. Cole said Bayley has done a good job advising Sky and Kai. Bayley overheard him and said, “A great job!” Kai hot-tagged out to Liv at 8:00. She rallied against Kai including a dropkick off the second rope followed by a kip up. Kai came back with a running kick to Liv’s face. Kai and Sky double powerbombed Liv leading to a two count. Nox hit a Shiniest Wizard seconds later for a near fall on Sky. Kai made the save, but it one of those saves where she hit the person making the cover, but didn’t break up the cover and Sky’s shoulders were still down and there was no reason for the ref not to finish her three count, but she just stopped because it wasn’t the planned finish. It’d have been better if Sky lifted her shoulder before the third count would have happened. Liv landed a leaping sunset powerbomb over the top rope onto Kai off the ring apron to the floor.

In the ring, Nox charged at Sky in the corner. Sky countered a Shiniest Wizard with an uppercut. Sky then set up a moonsault to ringside, but Kai intervened. When Bayley went after Nox, Nox threw her into the time keeper’s area. A woman in a black outfit and hood kicked Nox. Security quickly dragged the mystery person away as Cole asked, “Who the hell was that?” (Cole would note later that it was Xia Li.) Sky rolled Nox into the ring and then landed her top rope moonsault for the win.

WINNERS: Sky & Kai in 15:00 to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles.

(Keller’s Analysis: Mostly good, but a few clunky spots here and there. Nothing like a good mystery to fuel speculation regarding the mystery person attacking Nox at ringside leading to the finish.)

-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside who previewed the Intercontinental Title match. They threw to a vignette on Gunther.

-Cole hyped that they’d recap “one of the most bizarre stories we’ve ever been part of” with L.A. Knight, Uncle Howdy, and Bray Wyatt. [c]

-A vignette aired on Ricochet speaking from the Las Vegas strip talking about his World Cup Tournament win to earn his match against Gunther for the IC Title. He said he’s going to flip the odds in his favor. He said he’s a man of action and smiled.

(Keller’s Analysis: Another good presentation of Ricochet.)

-A sponsored video package aired on the Usos and Sami Zayn injuring Matt Riddle.

-Sami admired his hair style and beard trim and nice jacket over his “Honorary Uce” t-shirt. He asked the Usos where Solo Sikoa was. Jimmy said he was with Roman. Sami said he needed to go decompress. Jey then said live on national TV that Roman is planning to ake Sami a full blown Uce tonight. Jimmy said he doesn’t think Roman is going to make it tonight and they might be setting up Sami for a big disappointment. Jey said tonight will be a big night.

(Keller’s Analysis: So viewers are supposed to think they’re privy to Jey and Jimmy’s conversation in front of a camera they didn’t acknowledge, but Sami isn’t going to find out what they said ahead of the segment tonight? They could accomplish much the same thing without overtly saying what’s planned in front of the camera live on TV like that. It just breaks the narrative structure pact with the audience in terms of everything that airs on TV being “on-record” for everyone on the show.)

-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside, who pivoted to the Knight-Bray situation. A recap of last week’s happenings aired. Cole then said they just received a QR code that has disturbing footage of what happened after they went off the air last week. It aired, and it showed Knight tied up with the Uncle Howdy voice and a gloved person rubbing a mask over Knight’s face as Knight struggled to yell. He took the mask off and Knight’s mouth was duct taped.

-They cut to Knight walking backstage, looking around as if he was concerned for his safety but also out for revenge. [c]

-Knight stood in the ring and he told fans to shut up because he has business to deal with. He said for the past few weeks, he’s been blindsided and cheapshotted and abducted and taped up, but he’s still knocking on Bray’s front door. He said Bray is one of the biggest WWE stars of all time and his return is one of the most talked about returns ever. He said all he’s done since he’s returned is to whine and cry from his victim complex and “dress like a damn circus freak” and said “a bunch of gobbledy gook that never gets to the point.” He said he’s not buying Bray blaming Uncle Howdy. He said he knows it’s Bray. He said he can put on whatever costume he needs to and call himself anything he needs to, but walk to the ring and get stomped out live. He yelled “Yeah!” a few times. (He channeled Ric Flair there when Flair has freak-outs.) The lights went dark and Bray’s music played.

Bray walked out onto the stage and repeated the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” He told Chicago he’s missed them, but he told Knight he’s sick of him. He said he’s being honest when he tells him he’s barking up the wrong tree. He said he hasn’t touched him. He said they both know how the story ends. He said since they both know how it ends, he’ll give him one more chance to delivery his message and he better make it good and worth his while. As he entered the ring, Knight attacked him. He beat him down in the corner as boos rang out. Barrett said Knight is messing with forces he doesn’t understand. Uncle Howdy appeared on the big screen and asked, “Little Pig, what have you done?” He asked if he wants to see something really scary. Knight stomped on a laughing Bray. Erie music played and more fog filled the stage. Then Uncle Howdy walked out onto the stage and nodded toward the ring. Knight looked on with confusion and concern. He grew increasing nervous and then bailed out to ringside. Bray looked at the stage and began laughing at Knight’s realization that he and Howdy aren’t the same thing. Howdy laughed.

(Keller’s Analysis: Howdy appeared to be stout and neckless, which in theory should limit who it turns out to be. Wyatt seemed happy, but is that because he’s aligned with Howdy or because he’s satisfied he was proven correct that he and Howdy aren’t the same person?) [c]

-A commercial hyped Tribute to the Troops tomorrow afternoon.

-Roman and Solo arrived at the arena with Paul Heyman. Heyman was all smiles.

(2) GUNTHER vs. RICOCHET – Intercontinental Title match

Before the match, Adam Pearce ordered Gunther’s Imperium cohorts to the back. He pointed to the trophy and said he didn’t want this prestigious match tainted with interference. Cole praised the Pearce’s decision. The match began 50 minutes into the hour. Gunther dominated at first, but Ricochet made a comeback. Gunther cut it short by kicking Ricochet out of mid-air. He then slammed Ricochet on the ring apron and chopped him as they cut to a break at 4:00. [c]

Gunther remained in control after the break. Cole said Adam Pearce sent Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci to the back before the match. Gunther dominated for several minutes.


Barrett said Ricochet has an indomitable spirit, but would it be enough with the overwhelming offense of Gunther. After a Ricochet kickout, Barrett said Gunther was showing signs of frustration with Ricochet’s perseverance. At 14:00 Ricochet made a comeback and landed a flying dropkick onto Gunther off the ring apron to ringside. Ricochet let out a big yell and fans cheered. Gunther fought back at ringside, but Ricochet kicked him and then landed a springboard moonsault onto Gunther on the floor. They cut to another break. [c]

Ricochet made another comeback after the break, but Gunther cut it off with a big boot and a hard clothesline for a dramatic near fall. Fans were standing at ringside and they applauded after the kickout. Gunther leaped off the top rope, but Ricochet lifted his boots. He chopped Gunther and then suplexed him for a near fall. He followed with a top rope shooting star press for another dramatic near fall that popped the standing crowd at 20:00. Gunther came back with a hard chop and a powerbomb with a stack cover for a dramatic near fall that popped the crowd again. Gunther pounded the mat in frustration as fans continued to stand. Gunther chopped Ricochet and landed a side slam for the three count. Vinci and Kaiser came to the ring to celebrate with Gunther. Cole praised Ricochet’s performance.

WINNER: Gunther in 22:00 to retain the IC Title.

-After the match, Imperium set up a post-match attack when Braun Strowman’s marched out for the save. Imperium retreated. Cole said Braun hasn’t forgotten that Imperium cost him his chance to win the Smackdown Cup.

(Keller’s Analysis: One heck of a match. The crowd was really into it. Ricochet is as over as he’s ever been in WWE, and Gunther continues to be a reliable source of bangers.)

-Backstage Jimmy approached Reigns backstage. He asked what he has planned. Jimmy asked if he’s going to leave him out of it. Jimmy said if he’s going to make him Sami Uso, he’s with him. He said Sami is his dog and he likes him a lot, but he loves their family. He said if he doesn’t want to make him official because of his past with Kevin Owens, he’d understand. He said he’d see him out there. Reigns looked away and seemed irked or concerned or at least contemplative. Jimmy left. Reigns asked Heyman to call Pearce. Heyman called Pearce as they cut to a break. [c]

-They showed exteriof shots of Allstate Arena. Cole said Barrett doesn’t do well driving in such snow.

-Pearce joined Reigns, Heyman, and Solo backstage. He sat down and looked nervous. Heyman said Reigns has decided to bless his entire life by offering a match featuring Reigns & Sami against Owens and any partner of KO’s choice. Pearce asked if he meant tonight. Reigns laughed at the absurdity of the suggestion. Heyman said Dec. 30 in Tampa, Fla. would work. Reigns said, “That’s a hell of a lot better than Chicago.” Heyman congratulated Pearce for scoring the biggest tag team match of 2022 live on Fox. Solo stepped up to Pearce and stared at him as Pearce stood and said he’d let Kevin know.

(Keller’s Analysis: Is there a chance John Cena is KO’s partner or does WWE at least wants fans thinking that’s possible?)

-A video played on the history of Tribute to the Troops. Cole said it’s the most important and gratifying show they do each year. He plugged the airing of this year’s version the next afternoon on Fox.

-Legado del Fantasma made their ring entrance. [c]

(3) LEGADO DEL FANTASMA (Joaquin Wilde & Cruz Del Toro w/Zelina Vega) vs. VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. HIT ROW (Ashante “Thee” Adonis & Top Dolla) – Triple Threat to earn a WWE Tag Team Title match next week

After the ring entrances for Hit Row and then Viking Raiders, Cole said this is a match that makes him love his job. In the opening minute, Del Toro knocekd Erik to ringside with a dropkick. Erik clotheslined Del Toro over the top rope. Top Dolla then dumped Ashante over the top rope. Wilde and Del Toro went after Top Dolla, but he clotheslined them over the top rope on the other side of the ring. Top Dolla then signaled he was going to do a running dive over the top rope, but got hit by Erik as he ran toward the ropes. Del Toro and Wilde returned to the ring and dropkicked him. Then they landed stereo flying corkscrew dives onto a crowd at ringside as they cut to an early break at 2:00. [c]

Back from the break, Barrett said the Raiders were dominating. Dolla tagged in as Cole touted his loss of 100 pounds recently. He lifted Ivar onto his shoulders, but Erik took him down wtih a high knee. The Raiders slammed Wilde and Del Toro as Zelina Vega looked on with concern at ringside. After a series of rapid-fire moves, Del Toro went for a 450 splash on Top Dolla for a near fall. More rapid-fire near falls. Dolla then went for a running dive over the top rope. Cole asked, “What is he thinking?” Barrett said, “I already don’t like it!” Dolla then botched it badly and hit the top rope mid-dive and flipped over completely and hit the ring apron and landed on his feet. Cole said, “I guess there’s a reason he doesn’t do that often.” To his credit, he acted like nothing bad happened. Comically, Del Toro, Wilde, and Ivar collapsed anyway. Zelina interfered, so B-Fab knocked her out of the ring. Valhalla then knocked B-Fab out of the ring. Cole said the match is no DQ “so it really doesn’t matter.” Zelina flip dove over the top rope onto Valhalla. Dolla tagged in Ashante. Dolla stayed in the ring and caught Wilde and almost fell into the ropes. Ashante then dropkicked Wilde for the three count.

WINNERS: Hit Row in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Not a great showing for Top Dolla. This seems like just a way to get the Usos on TV in a title defense on a holiday weekend that they can win decisively.)

-Backstage Kayla Braxton asked Racquel Rodriguez if she’ll be medically cleared in time to participate in next week’s Gauntlet match to earn a shot at Ronda Rousey’s title. Rodriguez said she will be ready. Rousey and Baszler jumped her and attacked her arm and ribs. Rousey dropped an ice bag on her and told her to ice it for 20 minutes. [c]

-The Bloodline made their ring entrance. Fans loudly chanted “Uce-y!” Then they went silent as Reigns grabbed the mic. Reigns said they dominated at WarGames. Reigns hugged Sami. Sami was so happy. He said every night is a good night for the Tribal Chief, and tonight was going to be a good night for Samil. Sami looked panicked. He said they have a problem, though. He said it’s a KO problem. He said he won’t stop stalking him and dragging him down. He said if KO is a problem  for Sami, he’s a problem for The Bloodline. He told Sami they’re going to team up against KO and a partner of his choice. He said they will smash him and get rid of him and never see KO again. Sami told Reigns he’s right that KO drags him down and is a cancer. He said he’s his only friend. Sami then said he misspoke and he meant to say he was his only friend, as in past-tense. He said it’d be an honor to stand with him.

Suddenly John Cena showed up on the big screen. He said it’s the holiday season and everyone likes a good holiday surprise. He said he was surprised when he got a text message out of the blue from Owens. He said KO told him he’s had a WWE match every year for the past 20 years except this one, and the streak is about to be broken. Cena read out the emojis KO added, and then the invite by KO to team with him. Cena said they are running out of chances, so he’s in on that match, “a main event match that can’t be missed.” He said they will bring the fight to The Bloodline on the final Smackdown of 2022. Reigns smiled broadly as Sami looked worried.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good thing Cena had access to a camera and was even wearing a WWE t-shirt when he got that text from KO, or does he just dress like that every Friday night? That aside, that’s a big match and I’m curious what kind of viewership number that draws

2 Comments on 12/16 WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS: Keller’s report on Roman Reign’s returning, Ricochet challenging Gunther for IC Title, Morgan & Nox vs. Sky & Kai for Women’s Tag Titles

  1. Top Dollah trying that leap was hilarious, but his botch was scary. I saw him favoring his back and I really hope he’s OK. No doubt, he won’t try that again. Really, that match was the only down spot on a really good SmackDown. Of course, what draws ratings better than closing with John Cena? I was actually looking forward to “something ” happening with Sami Zayn. Oh well, maybe next week.

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