Smackdown – December 24, 2021

Smackdown
Date: December 24, 2021
Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

It’s Christmas Eve and thankfully we are taped instead of running a live show. We have a stacked card this week too, with a 12 man gauntlet match for to crown a new #1 contender to the Intercontinental Title, along with a showdown for the SmackDown Women’s Title as Charlotte defends against Toni Storm. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the end of last year’s show, with Roman Reigns hugging Paul Heyman, then firing him and laying him out with the Superman Punch. Then it was Brock Lesnar coming out and attacking Reigns to wrap things up.

Earlier today, Kayla Braxton sat down with a disheveled Paul Heyman (he needs to shave) so he can tell his side of the story. What happened was he was publicly fired, publicly attacked and publicly shamed. He told Roman Reigns the truth and he paid the price for it, publicly. Heyman doesn’t regret telling the truth because he was doing his job as special counsel.

Last week, his things had been thrown out of the locker room, but he had done his job. Reigns is the greatest Universal Champion of all time, but he needs to be protected from Brock Lesnar. Maybe now he needs to go to NXT and cherry pick a top talent and start over. But no, not at this stage. He put everything into Roman Reigns, but without him, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that his career is most likely over. Sweet goodness this man is talented.

Women’s Title: Charlotte vs. Toni Storm

Charlotte is defending. They fight over a lockup to start with Storm not being able to get very far. Charlotte kicks her in the ribs but gets crossbodied down for an early one. The champ needs a breather on the floor before coming back in to stomp/chop away in the corner. We hit the figure four necklock for a bit until Charlotte flips her over, setting up the nipup. Back up and Storm scores with a headbutt, only to get kicked out to the floor as we take a break.

We come back with Charlotte slapping her in the face and shouting about how much better she is than Storm. That’s enough to get Storm back up, so Charlotte blasts her with a clothesline. Storm finally hits a snap suplex but Charlotte forearms her in the corner. The Downward Spiral into the middle buckle cuts Storm off yet again, setting up the double moonsault for a double two.

Natural Selection is blocked though and Storm hits a quick German suplex. Not that it matters as Charlotte pulls her into the Figure Four (it takes a bit but she gets there), forcing Toni to roll into the ropes for the break. Back up and a big boot sends Storm out to the floor to keep up the near dominance. Some rollups give Storm two but Charlotte reverses into a small package of her own to retain at 14:35.

Rating: B-. Charlotte dominated the majority of the match until it felt like she caught Storm in the end. This was a feud that saw Charlotte get the better of things far more often than not and then beat Storm up in the title match. I’m not sure how this helped Storm in almost any way, but it wasn’t exactly a great look for her. I’m almost scared to see what is next for Charlotte, as she is running out of people to beat.

We look back at Drew McIntyre pulling Angela out of the desk after Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss couldn’t make it work.

Drew McIntyre and New Day are ready for the Usos and Madcap Moss tonight. It might even be time for some SEASONS BEATINGS!

Xia Li doesn’t like women like Natalya, who crush other women’s spirits. Violence/vengeance is promised.

Gauntlet Match

It’s a 12 Days Of Christmas Gauntlet Match with the winner getting an Intercontinental Title shot against Shinsuke Nakamura (ringside with Rick Boogs). Angel is in at #1 and Mansoor is in at #2 with the latter being pulled off the top for an early and nasty crash. An enziguri doesn’t get Mansoor very far as Angel hits the Wing Clipper for the pin at 1:36.

Erik is in at #3 and gets kicked off the apron before the bell. Angel tries a moonsault to the floor but gets pulled out of the air. Erik slams him hard on the floor and we take a break. Back with Erik kneeing him in the face for two but missing the running knees in the corner. Another Wing Clipper ends Erik at 6:59 and it’s Shanky in at #4.

A dropkick has no effect on Shanky, who knocks Angel hard into the corner. Wade Barrett’s old Wasteland ends Angel at 8:31 and it’s Ivar in at #5. A big boot drops Ivar but he’s right back up with some corner clotheslines to put Shanky down for a change. The Viking Splash ends Shanky at 9:51 so here is Sheamus in at #6. Sheamus hammers away but gets punched out to the floor as we take another break. Back again with Sheamus grabbing the chinlock to keep Ivar in trouble. That’s broken up with viking power but Sheamus Brogue Kicks him for the pin at 15:50.

Drew Gulak is in at #7 and gets Brogue Kicked for the pin at 16:31. Cesaro is in at #8 with bad ribs but hits a high crossbody for two anyway. That’s a Regal roll onto the ribs and we hit an armbar of all things to keep Cesaro down. Cesaro fights up but it’s a Ridge Holland distraction so Sheamus can hit another Brogue Kick for the pin at 21:18. Ricochet is in at #9 and kicks Sheamus outside for a heck of a top rope Asai moonsault to send us to another break.

Back again with Sheamus hitting the Irish Curse and grabbing a chinlock. Sheamus powerslams him to cut off a comeback attempt, setting up the ten forearms to the chest. A top rope clothesline misses though and Ricochet grabs a tornado DDT for two more. Ricochet’s Lionsault hits knees so Sheamus grabs a small package for a very near fall. Sheamus gets knocked off the top to set up a standing moonsault for two more. Holland offers another distraction though, allowing Sheamus to knee Ricochet off the apron. Cue Cesaro to take out Holland to distract Sheamus, with Ricochet getting the rollup pin at 30:52.

Humberto is in at #10 but first, Sheamus gets to knock Ricochet silly again. Humberto’s moonsault hits raised knees though and it’s the Recoil for the pin at 32.21. Jinder Mahal is in at #11 and drops Ricochet onto the apron toput him in trouble. The Khallas is countered into a cradle to give rid of Mahal at 33:01 though and it’s Sami Zayn in at #12. We take another break and come back with Sami pounding him in the corner and hitting a clothesline for two.

Sami goes up and talks trash, with the delay being enough for Ricochet to snap off a super hurricanrana for two of his own. Ricochet blocks the Blue Thunder Bomb and hits a crossbody for two more. The Blue Thunder Bomb gives Sami a rather near fall but he can’t hit an exploder into the corner. Another attempt does connect but the Helluva Kick is cut off with a superkick. The Benedriller gives Ricochet a very close two so Ricochet heads up top. The shooting star press only hits knees though and it’s a second exploder into the corner. Now Sami can hit the Helluva Kick for the pin and the win at 42:16.

Rating: B-. This was rather long and that’s a good idea on a show like this one. Sami winning wasn’t quite a huge surprise, as he has been quite the focal point of Smackdown for the last few weeks. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him getting the title in the end. Nakamura has done well as champion, but Sami has more of a story going and it would make sense to see him win. The rest of the match had its moments, especially from Ricochet and Sheamus, but a lot of people were in and out without much going on. You have to do something like that in this kind of a match, though it does mean things go rather fast.

We look back at Roman Reigns firing Paul Heyman again.

We get a long, detailed look at Paul Heyman’s career, including a good bit of WCW and ECW footage. After a look at everything that happened to him with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, we wrap it up with the ending of the show’s opening segment, with Heyman saying his career is probably over. This was pretty cool and showed you just how far Heyman has come in his career.

Madcap Moss/Usos vs. Drew McIntyre/New Day

Miracle on 34th Street Fight with Happy Corbin in Moss/Usos’ corner. Woods headlocks Jey to start and then decks him with a forearm. It’s off to Kofi for the slingshot Vader Bomb but he gets taken into the wrong corner. That doesn’t last long though as McIntyre gets the tag so he can hammer on Moss for a bit. Everything breaks down and it’s Corbin coming in with a candy cane kendo stick to drop McIntyre. The other four fight on the stage, with New Day being thrown through boxes and trees.

We take a break and come back with everyone at ringside, including the Usos still using the boxes on New Day. Kofi gets crushed between two trees (Cole: “The old Christmas tree sandwich!”) as Moss stops McIntyre with some raised boots in the corner. McIntyre is back with a suplex as Woods finds a chair in one of the boxes. We go ECW with a Van Daminator to Jimmy but some egg nog seems to slow him down.

That leaves Kofi to Boom Drop Jimmy, followed by a top rope spinning hurricanrana (cool). It’s time to bring in the cookies, which Kofi slams onto the Usos’ heads, because it’s a theme thing. Moss yells at McIntyre so it’s some snap belly to belly suplexes into a neckbreaker for Moss’ troubles. Corbin breaks up the Claymore though so Kofi egg nogs him. McIntyre does the same to Corbin and Moss at the same time, leaving Woods to kick Corbin into the announcers’ table. The Claymore finishes Moss at 12:30.

Rating: C. This is a match where your tolerance for goofy themed comedy will decide everything. Ignoring all that though, this was mainly a not that great six man, with the good guys fighting from underneath to win in the end. That’s not the most thrilling way to wrap it up, but at least McIntyre got to kick Moss in the face. For a fun main event on a less than serious show, not too shabby though.

Post match McIntyre and New Day throw presents into the crowd (McIntyre seems rather proud of one of his throws) to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. The Heyman stuff was excellent and makes me wonder where the story is going. Throw in a good and rather long gauntlet match, a somewhat depressing Women’s Title match and a fun enough main event and we’ll call this a goodish show. It’s definitely a week that seems like they were taking the night off, but at least they did enough good things to carry us to the last week of the year.

Results
Charlotte b. Toni Storm- Small package
Sami Zayn won a gauntlet match last eliminating Ricochet
New Day/Drew McIntyre b. Madcap Moss/Usos – Claymore to Moss

 

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