SmackDown recap and reactions (December 30, 2022): Cena, Flair, Howdy, oh my!

early during this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDownthey began laying the groundwork for Roman Reigns being unhappy with Sami Zayn biting his heels while in the ring, pointing to loud cheers from the titular Uce last week.

It’s just bad optics, as Paul Heyman said.

Reigns played it to Zayn like it wasn’t an issue, but it totally felt like something to note down the line, if there was anything down the line. After all, there was a match later with both teams against Kevin Owens and returning legend himself, John Cena.

That match felt it, man. It really felt something important, with the great atmosphere of the live crowd in Tampa, the kind of feeling we don’t get in pro wrestling anymore.

They put together a fun match as well, and did a great job building the hot tag for Cena, who the crowd was totally begging for. Unfortunately, they seemed to be in a hurry for quite some time by then, as you could hear the referee telling them to take it home and giving them the countdown as they rushed to the finish. It didn’t take anything away from me, just left me wondering how much better it would be if they had more time to work with them.

In the end, Owens – who had opened his eyes so badly – scored Zayn’s goal. Gee, I wonder how Reigns will react to that next week.

that was awesome. I wish she had more time, but she was still great, and she also laid out the future very well.

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First, let’s shout out Raquel Rodriguez here. She was put in the unenviable position of that show, knowing she wasn’t going to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and then in the end, despite how sheltered she was in her loss, she was completely overshadowed by a major comeback that led to a title change right after. .

Rodriguez had a very good game from Rossi, all things considered, and she deserves a lot of credit for what she’s done here.

Charlotte Flair, though, is inevitable.

Flair has been out since May, after she took time off so she could get married, go on honeymoons, and generally enjoy a life away from professional wrestling. It was only a matter of time before she returned. It was also only a matter of time before she would win the title again.

I didn’t expect these two things to happen so close to each other.

Flair literally won the title within minutes of her comeback, challenging Rousey to a match right then and there and rolling her to win back the title she lost earlier this year. I guess they wanted to make this a big show, right?

I couldn’t be happier the taste is back. This division needed it.

Is that?

is that possible?

It’s a few inches shorter, which is what tracks.

I can buy it built.

Yes, I am willing to say that.

Uncle Howdy is Bo Dallas.

Please let Uncle Howdy be Bo Dallas.

We got another appearance from the ol’ Unc during this show, this time it came after Bray Wyatt and L.A. Knight agreed to a match at the Royal Rumble. Howdy took his sweet time getting to the ring, staring at both men, and then, as he appeared to take Wyatt’s side, hit him with Sister Abigail.

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The message seemed clear enough — White didn’t give in to his most violent impulses, having apologized to the photographer who assaulted him last week and then remaining relatively calm while accepting Knight’s challenge to a match. If he doesn’t “enjoy what you are,” as Hoody repeatedly demanded, he’ll pay the price for it.

as he did here.

I suspect.

Knight was amazing through it all, playing a deeply confused guy who just wants to be done with all of his weirdness. He seems to be getting more and more comfortable like his old self every week and each of us is better off for it.

But we also got along with the movement of goodness in this story, which is a really welcome sight. Business is about to pick up, and I have to admit I’m here for it.

Especially if Howdy is Dallas.


all the rest

  • Solo Sikoa defeated Sheamus in a singles match that featured a lot of interference from both The Bloodline and The Brawling Brutes. It was still a fun match and Seiko was made to look tough. He was about to completely take Sheamus out when Drew McIntyre came back a few weeks later and removed the ring. It wasn’t a decision between these two sides, and they announced later on the show that McIntyre and Sheamus would get their much-missed title match against The Usos next week.
  • I totally enjoyed the entire locker room mocking Top Dolla for not being able to jump the top rope two weeks ago. I also enjoyed that he responded to this by getting better, resentful, and willing to fight people over him. Hey, it’s a real character builder, something they haven’t done with Hit Row since they came back. I eat her.
  • Imperium and Braun Strowman had a confrontation that was mostly just a few brawlers that didn’t see either side looking much stronger than the other. When Strowman was going to dunk him, Ricochet showed up to help him and turned everyone around (unfortunately nailing GUNTHER with a bullet to the head in what one would assume was an accident). Not much to this but done to set up the announcement of Gunther vs. Strowman for the Intercontinental Championship in two weeks.
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This was a very good offer.

Grade: A-

Your turn.

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