Before we get into the review, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Considering the last few months, I’m happy to have what I have and I’m grateful for all the loved ones I have being here with us.
On to Smackdown, and this show is quite stacked, especially for a Christmas show. We’ve got an Intercontinental Title match between Big E. and Sami Zayn in a Lumberjack Match. The Woman’s Tag Team Titles are on the line. And finally, Roman Reigns defends the Universal Title against Kevin Owens in a steel cage. This is also coming off a pretty good TLC PPV last Sunday so we have some fallout from that show still. Let’s get to it!
WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP (STEEL CAGE MATCH (escape, pinfall, submission))
ROMAN REIGNS (C) vs. KEVIN OWENS
Really refreshing to start a WWE show with a match for a change and it’s a big one. These two guys put on a hell of a match at TLC (I have it around 4.5/5 stars), so lets hope we get something similar. Reigns and Owens throwing hands to start. Big boot from Reigns gets a 1 count early. Commentary says the cage is supposed to keep Jey Uso from interfering. Sure. Reigns smashes Owens into the cage a couple times and follows up with a Samoan Drop for 2. Big DDT from Owens to even things up. Big clothesline from Owens followed up by a cannonball in the corner gets Owens 2. Owens goes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb but Reigns counters into a leg lariat for 2 (that was neat). Frog Splash by Owens gets 2 and we go to commercial break.
Back from break, Reigns counters a super kick for a powerbomb for a 2 count. After a few punches, Owens fights back and hits a Pop-Up Powerbomb for 2. Reigns tries for a superplex but Owens reverses into a twisting fisherman buster from the middle rope for another 2. Owens tries for the Stunner, but Reigns smashes Owens with a Superman Punch for 2. Reigns is pissed and the beatdown is on as Owens eats more cage. Reigns locks on the Guillotine Choke on the ropes but Owens fights back by choking Reigns over the top rope (sweet resourcefulness!). STUNNER BY OWENS FOR 2! We go to another break.
Owens tries to climb out of the cage but Reigns is stopping him but then Owens fights him off. Owens gets a leg over the outside of the cage but Reigns catches him but Owens hits a superkick while standing on the top rope (holy crap). Senton from Owens get knees! SPEAR BY REIGNS! 1, 2, NO! Bruh, I thought that was it, that’s a pretty big kick out. Reigns wants to walk out by Owens stops him by grabbing his leg. Reigns trash talks Owens but Owens slams the door onto Reigns and smashes his head into the cage repeatedly. Owens tries to leave but Jey Uso appears on the outside. Owens smashes the door into Uso and tries to climb out but Reigns pulls him back in. Superkick by Owens, but Reigns comes back with a Superman Punch! Reigns misses a Spear and Owens hits another Stunner! Owens crawls towards the door but Uso handcuffs Owens to the cage! Owens tries to step out of the cage but his legs can’t touch the ground (great visual). Reigns gets up and smiles at Owens predicament. Reigns slowly walks out the door, taunting Owens, for the win. Owens: “YOU CAN’T KEEP ME DOWN YOU LITTLE BITCH!” 4/5. Yeah, yeah we all knew that Uso would come out to help Reigns here, which makes the stipulation a bit useless. But they managed to make a great ending out of it anyway. And the match was a blast on top of that. Owens keeps losing but Reigns keeps showing that he hasn’t beaten him without help. Another great match between these two.
Later tonight, Sami Zayn vs. Big E. for the Intercontinental Title and Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso. Up next: Charlotte and Asuka.
Asuka and Charlotte come out. Bayley interrupts right away and she says she’s impressive because she was the longest-reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion ever. Sasha Banks interrupts next as it looks like we’re getting a revolving door promo segment. Aaaand now Bianca Belair is out next as Cole tells us that she’s teaming with Banks against Asuka and Charlotte for the Tag Titles tonight. Huh, all righty then. And now it’s Carmella. Cole says Carmella and Bayley will be teaming tonight. Carmella calls everyone bitches so now we know this is serious. A Tag Team Title triple threat is up next. This was literally nothing as no one had enough promo time to make anything meaningful.
WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (TRIPLE THREAT ELIMINATION)
ASUKA & CHARLOTTE (C) vs. SASHA BANKS & BIANCA BELAIR vs. CARMELLA & BAYLEY
Charlotte and Bayley to start. Bayley hammers away early but eats a chop from Charlotte. Asuka in and we get a double team. Bayley hits a chop on Asuka and tags in Carmella. Remember when Carmella beat Asuka twice? Sorry if you were trying to forget. I could’ve said something about James Ellsworth. Hip attack from Asuka but she eats a boot and then the modified Tarantula. Banks tags in and goes after Carmella and grabs a quick 2. Belair tagged in now but Carmella tags in Charlotte. They trade some athletic counters and dropkick each other into double kip-ups. Asuka and Bayley tag in and we get a brawl on the outside. Banks hits Meteora on Charlotte on the outside. Bayley to Belly from Bayley to Asuka gets 2 as we go to break.
We return with Bayley in charge against Asuka, but Asuka hits a missle dropkick for 2. Carmella tags in and goes to town on Asuka. Bronco Buster for Carmella gets 2. Suplex gets 2 for Carmella. Bayley and Carmella get a double team between the ref’s back despite no DQs. SUCH HEELING! Big knee strike to Bayley’s dome and Belair tags in. Bianca with the hot tag and dominates Bayley. Carmella breaks up a pin. Charlotte with a Fallaway Slam on Sasha but Belair hits the Glam Slam on Charlotte. Roll up gets 2 for Bayley. SPINE ON THE PINE by Belair on Bayley gets 2. Sasha hits the Frog Splash on Bayley for the 3 and Team Baymella (or Team Carley?) are done. BANKS STATEMENT ON CHARLOTTE! Charlotte fights out but Sasha counters with a pin for 2. Big boot by Charlotte and she goes for the Figure Eight! Bianca gives her ponytail to Banks to help her to the ropes (that was awesome). Moonsault by Belair gets 2. Inside cradle by Beliar gets 2. Figure Eight gets broken up by Meteora by Banks. Asuka tags in, Bayley causes a distraction and Belair gets rolled up for 2. Asuka with a few kicks but Belair hits a Powerbomb for 2 (nasty landing for Asuka). Charlotte tags in, Asuka hits a codebreaker on Belair. Natural Selection to Belair gets the 3. 3.5/5. This started slow but heated up big time down the stretch with some great action and a lot of nearfalls. Wasn’t a big fan of all of the distractions towards the end and I do feel like Belair needs to stop taking losses. But more than solid match here. This reign is already better than Baszler and Jax.
Backstage with the Street Profits. We overhear Sami Zayn yelling at someone for being in a lumberjack match. The Profits have a gift for Zayn and open up a box with a shirt that says “I WAS INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION” on it. Sami is not impressed.
DANIEL BRYAN vs. JEY USO
Jey Uso attacks Bryan during his entrance and throws him into the Christmas trees and gifts. Officials come down to break things up and Uso kicks Bryan in the gut and slams him on the ramp as we go to break.
We come back to Bryan crawling into the ring and the match officially begins but Uso whups him early. Tope suicida by Uso and then Bryan eats the steps. Bryan fights back but eats a quick Samoan Drop for 2. Uso tries a headbutt but Bryan rolls out of the way. Bryan tries a corner dropkick and misses and Uso follows it up with a corner charge. Bryan backdrops Uso to the outside and Uso grabs his ankle (the same ankle attacked by Owens at TLC). Bryan hits a tope suicida of his own but also smashes into the bottom of the announce table. Back inside and Bryan hits a top rope back suplex as we go to break.
Bryan takes out Uso’s leg with a kick. Dropkick to Uso’s leg in the corner. Top rope Frankensteiner from Bryan gets a 2. A few kicks by Bryan, including one to the head. Byran goes for the running knee but eats 2 super kicks. Uso up top and hits a top rope splash but his leg is still damaged so it only gets 2. Uso goes for another top rope splash, but Bryan locks in the Yes Lock. Bryan transitions that into a half Boston Crab on the bad leg but Uso grabs ropes. Uso and Bryan trade mounting punches but hits a big headbutt. Bryan starts convulsing a bit in what I hope is a great sell. Uso misses the superkick and Bryan hits the running knee for the 3! 3.5/5. Another rock solid match here. I get a feeling we’re heading towards a Bryan title shot down the line so a big win here was needed. Uso looked great again and I’m fine with him taking the loss since they can use the bad leg as an excuse. Good stuff from both guys.
Up next: Sami Zayn vs. Big E. for the Intercontinental Title in a lumberjack match.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviews Daniel Bryan and he’s fired up. Bryan announces his entry into the Royal Rumble and Sami interrupts. Sami thinks everyone’s got it in for him and he blames Bryan for it. Sami says karma is coming for him. Bryan says Santa didn’t get Sami a PS5. Bro, don’t rub it in.
We get a flashback to last week and the Sami Awards, where Big E. interrupts and won Superstar of the Year.
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE (Lumberjack Match)
SAMI ZAYN (C) vs. BIG E.
Big E. overpowers Sami early and hits a back elbow. Sami trips up E. and he eats turnbuckle. Big E. to the outside but the heels attack before throwing him back in. Cole is mad at the lumberjacks attacking as if this is the first lumberjack match he’s called. Heels attack again and throw E. back in for 2. Big E. locks on a Stretch Muffler (cool!) but Sami runs outside. Big clothesline from Big E. on the apron. Big splash from E. but there’s NO H20 IN THE POOL! The heels go after Big E. again and Zayn hits a tope con helo to the outside as we go to break.
Zayn is in control of Big E. as we come back. Big E. fires up and hits 2 overhead belly to belly suplexes but Sami fights out of the 3rd. Helluva Kick is countered into a Urinage by Big E. for 2. Sami rolls outside to escape but the babyfaces throw him back into the ring. Zayn with a thumb to the eye for a 2 count. They both fight on the tope rope and Sami hits a sunset flip into a powerbomb for 2! Helluva Kicks misses again and E. hits the Spear through the ropes to the outside. A brawl breaks out between the lumberjacks and Sami tries to sneak away but Crews catches him on the top of the ramp. The Street Profits, Otis, Gable and Crews throws Sami back in. Belly to belly and a big splash for E.! BIG ENDING BY BIG E. GETS THE 3! WE HAVE A NEW IC CHAMP! 3/5. Great moment for Big E. and a fun match. Sami finally had nowhere to run, met his match and didn’t have enough in the tank to stop Big E. As much as I love Sami, the title switch was right here.
Big E. celebrates in the ring with the babyfaces as confetti rains down as Smackdown fades to black.
OVERALL: A. WHOA! What a great show! Wrestling-heavy tonight (hence a lot of play-by-play recapped here) and the wrestling rocked. Not only was the wrestling awesome but we got some good stuff to move things forward for some key names like Bryan, Big E., Jey Uso and Owens (obviously Reigns, too). Lots of these holiday-themed shows don’t really have much substance, they’re kind of disposable shows with forgettable but harmless action. But tonight felt like a PPV atmosphere. Aside from the women’s promo segment, this was a show where every minute was worth watching. Great way to spend a Christmas night as a wrestling fan.