Hey gang! With Universal Champion Roman Reigns absent on last week's SmackDown, it was all the Brock Lesnar show and that gave way to some intriguing drama involving him and his former advocate, who is currently the special advisor for Reigns, Paul Heyman. Heyman not only revved-up Lesnar at one point, leading "The Beast" to unleash on Sami Zayn, but then said Lesnar is the likely future Universal Champion. And if that weren't enough to piss off the current Champion Reigns, Lesnar then said Heyman is still his advocate.
Reigns is back on SmackDown tonight and looking for answers, as are we. So let's see if we get any. We open with a video recap of last week:
We go live now and see Paul Heyman waiting outside for Roman Reigns to arrive at the arena.
Sasha Banks & Toni Storm vs Charlotte Flair & Shotzi
A couple of notes to start here. Everyone else in this match gets their big televised entrance, yet Toni Storm, who we're supposed to believe is a viable threat to Charlotte Flair and her title is already waiting in the ring without an entrance like she's not worth the TV time. Not a good look.
It's good to see Shotzi back on TV here, as the SmackDown women's division has been desperately missing her unique heel presence.
So, there's a whole embarrassing moment on commentary here pretty early on and it shows how truly clueless everyone at WWE is about the pop culture they like to pretend they're a part of. Sasha Banks is wearing Spider-Man-inspired gear here and WWE's resident clueless doofus Michael Cole makes note of it and how Banks was at the Spider-Man: No Way Home premiere this week.
Cole's co-doofus Pat McAfee then chimes in that she was there, along with Spider-Man himself, Toby Keith (the country singer, who was very much not at the premiere and has never played our beloved web-slinger Spidey or any web-slinger for that matter). Cole then corrects him that Toby Keith played Spider-Man a long time ago and not anymore and you can all but hear someone in their headsets screaming "It's Toby Maguire, you goddamn idiots!!!"
McAfee then corrects to Maguire, but then they both realize they may be spoiling the goddamn movie that the entire world wants to see, so they start fumbling over their words to try and fix it all and get really awkward. Wow. Just…wow. In one moment, the chuckleheads at WWE not only faceplanted by trying to sound topical but ruined a highly anticipated movie in the process. Bravo, everyone!
Anyway, back to the only thing WWE screws up more than movie discussion, which is of course wrestling. The match is your standard by-the-numbers women's tag match. It's predictable and they go through the motions and hit the spots. The crowd isn't really into this one and that's not great cause they're in a hot wrestling city in Chicago and it's only the opening match, which usually has the crowd full of energy.
I know we all say the matches in WWE lately have been noticeably short, but this one goes on far too long. An opening tag match with nothing on the line doesn't need to go over 20 minutes with two commercial breaks, especially when it's a pretty slow match where no one is doing that much.
Eventually, Storm gets a surprise reverse roll-up on Flair for the pinfall.
Winners: Toni Storm & Sasha Banks
Toni Storm is crying after the win and… why? She went from being this tough badass chick on NXT to now being another one of Vince's endless stream of Barbie Doll blondes who are just "so happy to be there!" Plus, she won a tag match on SmackDown. Save the tears for an actual accomplishment to make it look like it's worth a damn.
We now head backstage, where King Woods is sitting on a throne while all of the lower-to-mid card guys chant and sing for him. They then each kiss his hand, until The Usos show up and trash talks them. You know, it's always a bad sign when the heels show up and everything they say makes sense. They set up a tag match tonight and then another for the titles at WWE Day 1. Why do they need two? I don't know, I guess they have to kill a lot of time tonight cause Reigns and Lesnar don't wrestle matches on free TV.
We go to a backstage interview with Natalya and she lays it on thick about her silly Guinness record and that it's like an actual title or something. She gets pissed-off about Xia Li and this is all just filler, so who cares?
Viking Raiders vs Jinder Mahal & Shanky
There are Vikings, the worst champion in WWE history, and a seven-feet-tall guy who can't wrestle named Shanky in the ring. I know this sucks and so do you. Let's just move on, ok?
Winners: Viking Raiders
We go back to the parking garage now, as Paul Heyman excitedly watches an approaching SUV. He opens the door expecting Roman Reigns, but out hops Brock Lesnar instead. They exchange some pleasantries and it's actually an entertaining quick moment and both guys do great here. Lately, Lesnar has been doing his best work in 20 years and it's all because they're letting him speak for himself and give a little personality for the first time, maybe ever.
Ok, folks, now I know you didn't expect to witness history on this show, but it happened. We got the single worst segment of the entire year here now and it might be in the running for the worst segment in WWE history. The two worst wrestling personalities (and maybe people) on the planet, Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss are in the ring with Adam Pearce's desk that Drew McIntyre stabbed a sword into last week on SmackDown.
They start their schtick of Moss telling bad jokes about McIntyre and that's it, they've broken the Chicago crowd now. So in a matter of a month, WWE has killed the crowds in their two biggest cities, New York and Chicago.
This is as condemning a "go away" heat as you can get, where it's dead quiet mixed with audible insults from individuals in the audience. But then it gets worse, as a big "CM PUNK!" chant breaks out in the arena and the two shitheads don't know what to do about it.
So after he's done telling jokes, Moss goes to pull the sword from the desk, but can't do it. Corbin then tries, but also can't pull it from the desk. Then both of them try and can't do it. At this point, both Pat McAfee and Michael Cole are openly trashing the segment on the air, with McAfee saying "man, this segment…" and when Drew McIntyre's music hits a moment later, Cole chimes in with "thank god!"
McIntyre enters the ring and beats them up, before pulling the sword from the desk. So let's assess here: on top of putting on one of the most horrible and embarrassing segments in recent memory, they then have arguably their top babyface come out and do some silliness where he has a magic ability to pull a sword from something, ala Excaliber and King Arthur, just to make sure they're definitively insulting their audience's intelligence. We are truly in the dark times now friends. I would take 1995 and The Goon facing Duke "The Dumpster" Droese any day over this crap.
The clip is below, but mysteriously, WWE has decided to cut past the CM Punk chants. Can't imagine why?
We now head backstage to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville talking, when they're interrupted by Sami Zayn, who wishes them a happy holiday. He then tries to get his Universal title opportunity back and argues that the same thing happened to him with the Intercontinental title, which leads Pearce to say that next week, Zayn will compete in a "12 Days of Christmas" 12-Man Gauntlet Match and if he wins, he'll get to face Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental title.
Ridge Holland, with Sheamus vs Cesaro
Before the bell, Sheamus distracts Cesaro, which allows Holland to hit him in the ribs with a club. Cesaro collected himself, gets his midsection taped up and they start the match, but he's really favoring his injury and Holland takes advantage of it.
Cesaro battles back and they head outside, where Cesaro takes over.
Sheamus distracts Cesaro again when they get back in the ring and that allows Holland to hit Cesaro with a Powerslam for the pinfall.
Winner: Ridge Holland
Cesaro is just so good and they did a good job with the injury angle throughout, but it was a very short one here. Holland kicks Cesaro in the side again after the match.
We now go backstage to find Drew McIntrye hunting for Corbin and Moss cause we just can't let that whole horrible thing die, can we?
Naomi hits the ring now and says all she wants for Christmas is to face Sonya Deville one on one in a match. She calls Deville out, who does come out to tell her she'll face Shayna Baszler instead and of course, Baszler hits her from behind and Deville says they can start the match now.
Naomi vs Shayna Baszler
And it's SmackDown, so of course, we have to have Naomi and Baszler face each other in some kind of match. Yay…
Baszler immediately puts Naomi in a side leglock to focus on her knee, but Naomi stands up and pins her? Ugh.
And to keep the shitshow rolling, we're now in a dark place with Corbin and Moss as they hide from McIntyre. Why didn't they just leave the building? Anyway, the interviewer lady finds them and we get a stupid promo from Corbin, where he announces that McIntyre will face Moss at WWE Day 1.
The Usos vs The New Day
And now we get New Day versus Usos for the ten millionth and first time here. The match is fine, we all know it. They could wrestle each other in their sleep at this point. We've seen it enough times over the years that we know everything that will happen here.
The ref misses an Uso tag, which lets Kingston hit the Trouble In Paradise for the pinfall.
Winners: The New Day
We go back outside, where Roman Reigns finally arrives and tells Paul Heyman that they're heading to the ring.
Reigns and Heyman join The Usos in the ring. The crowd finally comes back to life now as a story they actually care about unfolds. Amazing how that happens. Reigns first lectures his cousins on losing but tells them they can get through it because they're blood. He then turns to Heyman and reminds him he's not blood. He eventually asks Heyman if he can trust him?
He continues that what happened last week was shady and then asks him if he knew about all of the things with Brock Lesnar, going back to his return at SummerSlam?
Then, he asks if he's his special counsel or Lesnar's advocate? Heyman gets emotional before telling Reigns that he's not protecting Lesnar from him, but that he's protecting him from Lesnar.
Reigns hugs Heyman and tells him he loves him, but then fires him. Reigns then lays Heyman out with a Superman Punch.
Reigns sends his cousins to get some steel chairs from ringside and sets up Heyman's head on them, which brings out Brock Lesnar, who annihilates the Usos at ringside, hitting them with F-5s on the outside.
Lesnar dives into the ring as Reigns pounds him with a chair. Lesnar absorbs it and F-5s Reigns twice in the ring as SmackDown ends.
Ok, so this was a completely garbage show with a pretty ok ending. SmackDown continues to be a totally one-note show, where if Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns aren't involved, they've got nothing. That doesn't sound like a recipe for success.
Till next time friends!