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

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

At the start of this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDownthey began to set the stage for Roman Reigns to be unhappy that Sami Zayn was shining a little too much while in the ring with him, referencing the honorary Uce receiving loud chants last week.

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

Reigns played it Zayn like it was no big deal, but it was absolutely something to consider for the sequel, if there was a sequel. After all, there was a match later with both teams against Kevin Owens and the returning legend himself, John Cena.

This match had a feel, man. It was really something big, with a great vibe from the live crowd in Tampa, the kind of feeling we don’t get enough of in pro wrestling anymore.

They also put on a fun match, doing a great job building Cena’s hot tag, which the crowd absolutely craved. Unfortunately, they seemed pressed for time then, as you could hear the ref telling them to take it home and giving them a countdown as they raced towards the finish. It didn’t take anything away from me, I just wondered how much better it would have been if they had more time to work.

In the end, Owens – who had his eye gouged out pretty badly – ​​pinned Zayn. Hell, I wonder how Reigns will react to this next week.

It was great. I wish he had more time, but it was still great, and it also prepared the future well.


First off, let’s shout out Raquel Rodriguez here. She was placed in a somewhat unenviable position on this show, knowing she wasn’t going to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and then ultimately, despite how protected she was in her loss, completely overshadowed by a major comeback. . which led to a title change right after.

Rodriguez got a really good game from Rousey, all things considered, and deserves a lot of credit for what she did here.

Charlotte Flair, however, is inevitable.

Flair has been out since May, having taken some time off so she could get married and go on honeymoon 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 won 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 return, challenging Rousey to a match on the spot and rolling her up to regain the title she lost earlier this year. Guess they wanted to make a big show out of it, huh?

I couldn’t be happier to have Flair back. This division needed her.


Is it?

Could it be?

It is shorter by a few centimeters, the following.

I can buy that it is his construction.

Yes, I am ready to say it.

Uncle Howdy is Bo Dallas.

Please let Uncle Howdy be Bo Dallas.

We got another appearance from the former Unc on this show, this time after Bray Wyatt and LA Knight accepted a match at the Royal Rumble. Howdy took his time getting to the ring, staring at the two men, then, just when he seemed to have sided with Wyatt, he punched him with Sister Abigail.

The message seemed obvious enough – Wyatt wasn’t giving in to his most violent urges, having apologized to the cameraman he assaulted last week, then remaining relatively calm while accepting Knight’s challenge for a match. If he’s not going to “revel in what you are,” as Howdy repeatedly demanded, he’s going to pay the price.

As he did here.

I think.

Knight has been amazing through it all, playing the deeply confused guy who just wants to get this whole weirdness over with. He seems to be getting more and more comfortable as himself every week and each of us is better for it.

But we also get an honest move towards goodness in this story, and it’s definitely a welcome sight. Business will pick up, and I have to admit that’s what I’m here for.

Especially if Howdy is Dallas.

Go on!


Everything else

  • Solo Sikoa defeated Sheamus in a singles match that featured a lot of interference from The Bloodline and The Brawling Brutes. It was always a fun game and Sikoa was made to look strong. He was about to knock out Sheamus completely when Drew McIntyre returned after a few weeks away and cleared the ring. It didn’t look like a resolution between these two parties and indeed, they announced later on the show that McIntyre and Sheamus would get the title match they missed against The Usos next week.
  • I enjoyed the whole locker room poking fun at Top Dolla for her inability to jump over the top rope a few weeks ago. I also appreciated that he responded to that by getting good and pissed off and willing to fight people for it. Hey, that’s some real character building, something they haven’t done with Hit Row since coming back. I completely agree.
  • Imperium and Braun Strowman themselves had a confrontation that was mostly just a brief fistfight that saw neither side truly stronger than the other. When Strowman was about to be overwhelmed, Ricochet showed up to help and chased everyone away (unfortunately pinning GUNTHER with a chair shot through the head in what can only be assumed to be an accident). Not much to it, but done to set up GUNTHER’s announcement against Strowman for the Intercontinental Championship in two weeks.

It was a damn good show.

Rating: A-

Your turn.