Smackdown – February 25, 2022

Date: February 25, 2022
Location: Giant Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

Elimination Chamber is out of the way and that means it is time to start getting ready for Wrestlemania. In a normal year, most of Wrestlemania would already be set but WWE doesn’t operate that way, meaning they have about five weeks to get things ready. Hopefully they can start here so let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns so far this year, which has involved a lot of backstabbing and Lesnar World Title wins. As expected, all roads lead to the title vs. title showdown at Wrestlemania. The match is now officially a unification match.

Michael Cole is in the ring to introduce Ronda Rousey for a chat. Rousey talks about how she broke her hand in the main event of Wrestlemania.

Then she broke her other hand while she was rehabbing and then she got pregnant with her daughter. She wanted to come back because of her mother, who won the world championships in judo while she was a single mom and working towards her engineering degree. Cole lists off some of Rousey’s accomplishments but she would rather look forward to being the first woman in a long time to make Charlotte submit.

We see some stills of Charlotte attacking Rousey at Elimination Chamber and here is Charlotte to interrupt. She promises to make Rousey tap to the Figure Eight at Wrestlemania, meaning Rousey can go home and work on her second baby. Cue Sonya Deville to chop block Rousey from behind and the beatdown is on with the knee getting wrecked even more. Charlotte wraps it around the post a few times but Rousey still takes out Deville.

Post break, Adam Pearce makes Sonya Deville vs. Ronda Rousey for next week, with Deville not looking thrilled.

Los Lotharios vs. New Day

The rubber match and New Day comes to the ring riding an ATV, which is Kofi’s birthday gift to Big E. Kofi takes Humberto into the corner to start and it’s Big E. coming in for a running shoulder in the corner. The spanking abdominal stretch goes on before it’s Kofi jumping over Big E. for a backsplash on Humberto. Angel gets in a cheap shot though and it’s a double ram into the apron. Angel TAKES OFF HIS PANTS and we take a break.

Back with Humberto grabbing a chinlock on Kofi as Cole hypes up Los Lotharios as a huge deal. Los Lotharios do the old Rockers double leg roll but Kofi kicks Angel down anyway for a needed breather. The hot tag brings in Big E. to clean house but Angel saves Humberto from a Big Ending. The Rock Bottom out of the corner plants Angel and a wheelbarrow lift into a top rope bulldog (now the Midnight Hour) gets two with Humberto making the save.

Kofi is sent outside for a hard dive from Angel, who goes over to the ATV. Big E. isn’t having that and runs over Humberto, leaving Angel to superkick Kofi out of the air back inside. Angel goes up top…so Big E. threatens to run Humberto over with the ATV. That’s enough of a distraction for Kofi to knee Angel in the face, setting up the Midnight Hour (the traditional version) for the pin at 10:27. McAfee: “That was special.” It was good, but special?

Rating: B-. I know WWE wants this to be some big, epic feud but instead we have seen three matches between an all time team and a pretty good team. I need a bit more than that to get to some amazing level though and attempted vehicular assault didn’t exactly help things. Good TV match however and that’s always a positive.

Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura are on the road in a new Toyota Tundra truck. They go kayaking and have some more plans that we’ll see later. Good thing Nakamura is over losing his Intercontinental Title to make the commercial.

Sheamus and Ridge Holland cut off New Day on the ATV and a challenge seems to be made. New Day rides off and Sheamus is so mad that he throws his hat down.

Sam Roberts is here to interview the Usos, who are here for the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Wrestlemania contract signing. Reigns is going to take out Lesnar like they’re going to take out the Viking Raiders. The Raiders are said to smell bad, so here they are to jump the Usos.

We look at Xia Li saving Aliyah from a Natalya beatdown.

Xia Li is ready for her debut and has worked a long way to get here.

Xia Li vs. Natalya

Li flips over her to start and a dropkick gets an early two. Back up and Natalya’s discus clothesline gets one on Li and we hit the abdominal stretch with the leg lifted up. The fans start chanting for HERSHEY CHOCOLATE, which McAfee translates as XIA LI’S GOT IT as Li makes her comeback. Li sends her flying with a suplex and hits a spinwheel kick to finish Natalya at 4:01.

Rating: C-. You know, you bring in a woman as a striking machine who protects people and want her to get over. Maybe having her sell Natalya’s abdominal stretch in her debut isn’t the best way to go. The fans didn’t seem interested, and I can’t say I blame them. Li ran in to save Aliyah last week and then can’t even kick someone’s head off to win in ten seconds? Really?

We look back at Sami Zayn beating Shinsuke Nakamura to win the Intercontinental Title last week.

Here is a VERY happy Sami Zayn in his loud (and golden) tuxedo to say we he has FINALLY gotten his justice. The Intercontinental Title is laying on a table and there are balloons on the corners, even if they don’t match. The old Sami would say it’s just a conspiracy though and now there is a question to answer: if he was able to get the title back, was there ever a conspiracy against him in the first place? OF COURSE THERE WAS!

But that’s in the past, so now he’s willing to give Shinsuke Nakamura a rematch, but Nakamura is still putting his kneecap back together so he needs a new opponent. Cue Johnny Knoxville, because of course it’s him. Knoxville says he heard Sami say he needed a new challenger and since Sami interrupted his premiere, Knoxville is here to crash his. Sami says it isn’t going to work but Knoxville questions his testicular fortitude. That’s enough for Sami, who beats Knoxville up and hits a pair of Helluva Kicks.

This week’s Black History Month video looks at Titus O’Neil’s awesome charity work.

Adam Pearce is yelling at Sami Zayn in the back about what he did to Johnny Knoxville. Ricochet pops in to say if Sami wants to be a fighting champion, Ricochet is right here. Pearce makes the title match for next week.

Sasha Banks vs. Shotzi

Naomi joins commentary as Sasha starts fast with Two Amigos. Shotzi blocks the third but gets rolled up for two. Sasha sends her face first into the middle buckle and it’s a middle rope Meteora to drop Shotzi again. A running basement Codebreaker (that’s a new one) sets up the Bank Statement to complete the squash at 2:11.

Post match Naomi comes in to say she and Banks are going to be the next Women’s Tag Team Champions.

We go to the back, where the interviewer says she doesn’t know what Naomi means by that. Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin come in, with Corbin mocking Moss for his big crash landing at Elimination Chamber. Tonight Corbin is going to take Moss’ place against Drew McIntyre and that is no joke.

Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin

Hold on though as Corbin grabs the mic and says this is a Wrestlemania match. Corbin praises Madcap Moss’ toughness after being healthy despite landing so badly at Elimination Chamber. Moss gets on the apron to pose but then Corbin tells him to take this match instead. Corbin and Moss jump McIntyre before the bell and we’re ready to go anyway.

Drew McIntyre vs. Madcap Moss

Moss jumps him in the corner but gets Glasgow Kissed out of the corner. The reverse Alabama Slam is loaded up but Moss bails to the floor instead as we take a break. Back with Moss hitting a running shoulder for two but McIntyre is right back up with the snap belly to belly. The Claymore is loaded up so Corbin offers a distraction, allowing Moss to send McIntyre into the post. A DDT gets two but McIntyre pops back up to hit the Claymore for the pin at 7:21.

Rating: C-. Most years I get excited about Wrestlemania because it is the biggest wrestling event of the year and it feels special. This year I’m excited about Wrestlemania because, at least hopefully, it means that McIntyre vs. Corbin/Moss can be over already. I’m not sure who thought this feud needed to go on for three months, but WWE has some weird ideas.

We look back at Rousey getting attacked earlier tonight.

Rousey promises to take out Sonya Deville next week.

It’s time for the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar contract signing, with the Usos and Paul Heyman here with Reigns. Before Lesnar shows up, Heyman talks about how this will be the biggest Wrestlemania match in history. It’s bigger than Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant and bigger than Steve Austin vs. the Rock. It’s even bigger than Heyman breaking the Undertaker’s Streak, though he’ll still give Lesnar half credit.

Heyman talks about how Reigns is going to become the unified champion at Wrestlemania and that is what we call a cliffhanger. After a sudden break (nice one from Heyman), here is Lesnar to join things. Lesnar handles his own introductions and says that he isn’t scared of the security that is in the ring. The only things stopping Lesnar from jumping the table right now is this contract.

Lesnar signs, so Heyman says the match isn’t going to be a unification match. Heyman promises that Lesnar is going to lose the title in Madison Square Garden next Saturday. Reigns signs too and then says that the WWE Title is his too. It’s not even Lesnar’s fault because this is Reigns’ show and ring. It’s his camerman and his people because they acknowledge him. These commentators are his because they praise him. Everyone works for him, including the security. The fight is on with Lesnar wrecking the guard, including throwing a char at one of them. Reigns looks nervous to end the show.

Reigns starting to get worried about what he is facing at Wrestlemania is a good adjustment but dang it’s hard to care about this match again. I know it’s the best way to go and pretty much the only thing that they have for Reigns, but how many times do we need to see these two fight?

Overall Rating: C-. The biggest problem with this show is that it is building towards a Wrestlemania that does not look great. So far, with about five weeks to go, we have four matches set up, one of which involves Logan Paul and another which is likely to involve Johnny Knoxville. Reigns vs. Lesnar looms over everything else and it makes this rapid fire build feel so unimportant. This week’s show was another pretty run of the mill edition, with wrestling that wasn’t all that great and some stuff being built to Wrestlemania, but egads they don’t have much interesting going on at the moment and it is hurting badly.

New Day b. Los Lotharios – Midnight Hour to Angel
Xia Li b. Natalya – Spinwheel kick
Sasha Banks b. Shotzi – Bank Statement
Drew McIntyre b. Madcap Moss – Claymore




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