By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,215)
Buffalo, New York at KeyBank Center
Aired live December 2, 2022 on FS1
The Smackdown video intro started the show, Michael Cole welcomed the audience to Buffalo and was joined on commentary by Wade Barrett. Samatha Irvin was the ring announcer.
Sami Zayn’s music played and he headed to the ring with The Usos and Solo Sikoa in tow. Cole and Barrett spoke about Sami Zayn now being a full member of the Bloodline after Survivor Series. A Survivor Series video package aired with highlights from the show.
Jey Uso spoke first and said The Bloodline was now in your city. Sami said The Bloodline leveled up again at WarGames, and started to credit The Usos for the showing in the WarGames match. Jimmy interrupted him and said they said they weren’t going to do this in the back, and called him the MVP of the match. He said the crowd were chanting Sami Uso, which started those chants in the building.
Jey piped up and said he doubted him for the long time, and he didn’t like him, but when he made the decision to stand with the family he earned his respect ASAP, and it’s because of him that they won that match at WarGames. Jimmy told him he had one question “How you feelin?”
Sami replied that he was feeling pretty freaking Ucey, and the crowd chanted along. Sami asked if they were doing it, and the three of them did a group handshake before a hug. The Brawling Brutes interrupted, and Sheamus told him he hates kicking the crap out of a fellow ginger, but he’s had enough talking. He said it was fight night and it’s time to go.
1. Sami Zayn (w/Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa) vs. Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland, Butch): The action started quickly as Sheamus landed a big lariat, and then sent Sami to the floor. He followed and sent Sami into the barricade, which caused a confrontation between the Brutes and The Bloodline on the floor…[c]
My Take: A fun start to the show. The crowd is either mic’d poorly or isn’t particularly thrilled with their decision to buy Smackdown tickets.
Sami was sent back into the ring by Sheamus as the show returned. The Usos provided a brief distraction to Sheamus, and Sami caught him with a soccer kick and then a DDT as he got back in the ring. The announcers bickered about whether or not Sami Zayn sold his soul to the Bloodline. Sami applied a sleeper, but Sheamus broke the hold by slamming him into the corner. Sami responded with a tornado DDT, followed by a cover for a near fall.
Sami then tied Sheamus in the ropes and attempted to land clubbing blows to the chest, but Sheamus caught his arm and broke with a series of back elbows. The then landed a trio of lariats followed by a scoop slam. Sheamus attempted to fire up the crowd, but they didn’t react much. Sami hung Sheamus on the top rope and then attempted a top rope splash, but it was reversed into an Irish Curse Backbreaker.
Sheamus then applied a Cloverleaf submission, but Sami was able to crawl and reach the ropes. Sami climbed back into the match with some strikes and dumped Sheamus to the floor. He then performed a suicide dive and landed on Sheamus at ringside…[c]
Sami was on the top rope when the show returned. Sheamus met him up top, and Sami shoved him off. He then did a flying nothing, and Sheamus caught him with a knee strike for a near fall. He followed up with some forearm strikes, and then climbed to the second rope for an avalanche white noise. Sami found a way to reverse out of the back and land a sit out powerbomb for another near fall.
Sami lined up for the Heluva Kick, but Sheamus captured his leg and delivered white noise for a near fall. Both men crawled to their feet, and chaos broke out at ringside. Sheamus interrupted another attempt at the Heluva Kick with a knee strike. He then picked up Sheamus, but Jey Uso superkicked Sheamus and Sami completed a Sunset Flip and got the win.
Sami Zayn defeated Sheamus at 17:51
After the match, The Bloodline celebrated and we got a taped vignette from Legado Del Fantasma. Santos said he would make sure that the World Cup Tournament comes home to their superior organization. He said this win will shed light on Mexico and the craft of Lucha Libre. Zelina Vega added that this will give The Emperor Santos a first class ticket to the Intercontinental Championship, and with that Championship he will gain a position of power in WWE. Santos said Ricochet’s fairy tale was about to have it’s final chapter…[c]
My Take: A long match to open the show. The crowd finally came to life near the conclusion, and cheered for the Zayn victory. The Legado Del Fantasma promo was polished, but I’m still waiting for them to make Santos seem like a legitimate threat in the ring. If he’s going to win the finals of the World Cup Tournament later in the show, I hope he’s able to do it without interference. Ricochet doesn’t need to be protected at that level.
Megan Morant interviewed Kofi Kingston backstage. Kofi Kingston announced that he would be the first declared entrant into the Royal Rumble. He was then asked about the finals of the World Cup, and he said he couldn’t pick against Ricochet. Kaiser and Vinci of Imperium walked up and told Kofi that he spends more time online then he does in the ring. Kofi said Woods wasn’t there tonight, but he would be happy to challenge one of them to a singles match. Gunther then stepped in from out of frame and said Kofi would face him.
Bray Wyatt was shown backstage, and said that he thinks people forget that we used to be animals. Snakes eat rats, and no one sees it as an act of violence. He said we don’t dare talk about the fact that some people must die for others to live. He again claimed that he wasn’t the one who hurt LA Knight, but…..I heard you, and how you rejoiced. Bray said that was very primal of us. He then said if he had been the one, we would know, because there would be none of him left.
Afterward, Cole tossed to a video package that recapped Ronda and Shayna’s warpath of the last few weeks. Shayna then made her ring entrance. She will face Emma next…[c]
My Take: Kofi vs. Gunther could be a fun match. Gunther works well with smaller opponents. Bray Wyatt’s promo continues to leave me worried that there wasn’t as much of a long term plan in place for him as I thought. He’s kind of talking in circles now without vague hints of a larger story at play. I hope I’m wrong.
Backstage, Madcap Moss spoke to Emma on the interview set. She said a lot has changed in five years and she’s unsure of herself. Moss told her not to forget who she was, and called her a pioneer. He said the Women’s Revolution doesn’t happen without her, and because of her the competition is tough now. Moss told her she belongs there, and wished her luck. She called him Riddick, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Emma then made her ring entrance.
2. Shayna Baszler vs. Emma: Neither woman had a second at ringside, so this was purely one on one. Emma landed a nice side russian leg sweep early on for a one count. Shayna took control by wringing Emma’s shoulder on the second rope. She then slammed her shoulder to the mat, and applied a modified hammerlock. Emma shifted herself and rolled Shayna up for another one count.
Baszler attempted to place Emma’s hand on the mat for an elbow stomp, but Emma reversed out with a kick and landed some elbow strikes. She then landed a neckbreaker using the second rope and covered for a two count. Baslzer missed a knee strike in the corner, and Emma applied a tarantula and broke on a 4 count. She then climbed to the top, but Shayna kicked the ropes and she tumbled down. Shayna then applied the Kirifuda Clutch and got the tap out victory.
Shayna Baszler defeated Emma at 4:09
Afterward, Shayna continued the attack, but Shotzi ran in for the save. Shayna quickly took control and was ready to stomp on Shotzi’s elbow, but Raquel Rodriguez ran down and interrupted again. The three women regrouped and Shayna was forced to retreat.
A video package then aired for Lacy Evans, with the idea that she was a Former Marine headed back to basic training. There wasn’t a clear indication yet if she would return as a babyface or a heel, but the tone of the narrator indicated heel to me personally.
Kofi Kingston made his ring entrance…[c]
My Take: The crowd continues to be tough tonight. It wasn’t a bad match from Emma and Shayna, but they didn’t have immediate chemistry either. Hopefully the storytelling with Moss means they plan on doing more character work with Emma to establish her.
A video aired for Ricochet. He framed the finals of the World Cup as USA vs. Mexico. Ricochet said winning the World Cup would mean everything to him. He told Santos he hopes he’s ready, and that he was looking forward to his Intercontinental Title Match with Gunther.
Kofi danced like Alex Wright and said Imperium looked like a bunch of Alex Wrongs. Gunther then made his entrance in all black, and was flanked by Vinci and Kaiser.
3. Intercontinental Champion Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser, Giovanni Vinci) vs. Kofi Kingston in a non-title match: Kofi fired up early and landed some kicks. Gunther quickly shut that down with a backbreaker and some stomps. Kofi landed some punches, but Gunther chopped him down with a heavy slap to the chest. Gunther then placed his feet around the neck of Kingston and twisted his body to wrench on the neck. He then landed another slap to the chest in the corner, and Kofi went down in a heap.
Gunther attempted to send Kofi to the floor, but he reversed and sent Gunther to ringside. Kofi hit the ropes, but Kaiser interfered and grabbed his feet. Gunther landed a big boot and set up for a Powerbomb, but Braun Strowman’s music hit. He took out Kaiser and Vinci and sent them into the timekeeper’s area. Gunther was distracted and Kofi landed an SOS for a near fall…[c]
Kofi reversed a sleeper into a pinfall for a two count as the show returned. Kaiser and Vinci were chased from ringside by Strowman. Kofi landed a dropkick and a jumping lariat. He then followed up with a Boom Drop, and then fired up the crowd. Kofi set up for Trouble in Paradise, but Gunther blocked it. He attempted a German Suplex, but Kofi landed in his feet and splashed Gunther from the top rope for a two count.
Kofi then attempted a springboard move out of the corner, but Gunther chopped him out of the sky. Gunther followed up with a German Suplex for a near fall. He showed some frustration and applied a Boston Crab. Kofi attempted to crawl to the ropes, but Gunther modified the hold into an STF. After a series of reversals, Gunther landed a shotgun dropkick and a Powerbomb for a close near fall.
Kofi landed a big slap to the chest, but Gunther shrugged it off and scooped up Kofi for an Emerald Flowsion that he’s calling the Last Symphony for the win.
Intercontinental Champion Gunther defeated Kofi Kingston at 11:49 in a non-title match
Backstage, Sami Zayn said he was going to get some dinner. The Usos insisted that Solo go with him and offer some protection since he’s been making enemies. Solo and Sami left, and Jimmy asked Jey if he ever talked to Sami about lying to his face. Jey said Roman told him that he saw what he needed to see in Sami’s eyes, and then they got the W at WarGames so it was cool. Sheamus attacked from off screen with a shillelagh and took them both out. He said he and McIntyre would see them later.
My Take: A fun match from Kofi and Gunther. Braun seems to be the eventual opponent in waiting for Gunther down the road, which makes the World Cup tournament feel like a bit anticlimactic. The Bloodline story continues to add wrinkles, and I guess we’ll see if suspicion continues to build about Sami from the Usos.
Damage Control made their entrances while highlights from the Women’s WarGames match were shown. Bayley had a microphone and criticized a fan for wearing a dumb hat. She said they didn’t want to be in Buffalo, but apparently Smackdown needed rating and they knew they could count on Damage Control. Bayley said they were in the WarGames match for a combined 95 minutes, and asked if the crowd knew what that meant for their bodies. She criticized Becky for being in the match for a cup of coffee. Bayley then turned her attention to the Smackdown roster and said none of them wanted to step up to Damage Control.
Queue Liv Morgan, who said it seemed like Bayley had a problem with the Smackdown Women’s division. She counted her odds as 3 on 1, and said that seemed fair, and charged to the ring. The brawl started in the ring, and a surprise entrance from Tegan Nox interrupted the numbers. She brawled with Damage Control, but was overwhelmed by the numbers. Liv returned and shattered a Kendo Stick on Damage Control. Tegan landed the Shiniest Wizard on Bayley, sending them scattering.
Cole introduced a video that hyped up the main event between Ricochet and Escobar coming up next. Santos Escobar made his entrance with Legado Del Fantasma. The World Cup Trophy was set up on a table on the stage near the entrance…[c]
My Take: Tegan Nox returning is encouraging, as the Smackdown Women’s roster is thin. Liv and Tegan would make for some interesting challengers for the Women’s Tag Team Champions, and hopefully this was the beginning of that feud. Hopefully Tegan can find a character and personality that works for her, because she’s always been excellent in the ring.
A Karrion Kross video aired. Scarlett had tarot carts that she flipped over. Kross talked about how the universe is chaos, and he had to teach McIntyre and Moss about the violence of the storm. Scarlett then unveiled a Tarot Card with Rey Mysterio on it, indicating him as Kross’s next target.
Kurt Angle’s birthday celebration was announced for next week. As well as McIntyre and Sheamus facing the winner of The Usos and Riddle/Elias from Raw.
Another video aired from Uncle Howdy that focused on Bray Wyatt fooling people with his lies, and said the truth would set him free. It closed by urging everyone to revel in what they are. Ricochet then made his ring entrance for the Main Event.
4. Ricochet vs. Santos Escobar (w/Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde) in a Smackdown World Cup Final: Zelina Vega sat in on commentary. Ricochet landed some strikes. Cruz Del Toro provided a distraction, and Escobar jumped Ricochet from behind. Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde were quickly ejected after they were both caught interfering. Zelina Vega protested, and she was also tossed. The match is now one on one.
My Take: Good. That’s what this match needed. Karrion Kross continues to say a lot of words, but they don’t land with me.
Ricochet attempted a springboard, but Escobar tripped him up and dumped him to the floor. He then took aim at Ricochet and dove through the ropes, sending Ricochet flying over the announce table. Escobar then dragged him into the ring and covered for a two count. Escobar then applied a version of the Liontamer. Ricochet escaped, but Escobar dropped an elbow on his back. The crowd screamed about something, but it seemed to be unrelated to the match.
After Escobar missed a charge into the corner, and then Ricochet got back into the match with an elbow strike. They then traded suplex attempts near the apron. Both men ended up on the apron, and Ricochet landed a boot to the face. He then followed up with a Shooting Star Press from the apron to the floor…[c]
Ricochet landed a superplex. He then crawled over for a cover and got a two count. Both men got to their feet and traded strikes. They then hit the ropes and had a mid air collision and were down again. Escobar retreated to the floor. Ricochet followed and took a run at him, but Escobar moved. Ricochet tightroped the ring barricade, and Escobar jumped up there with him and pulled him down with a huracanrana.
Escobar took Ricochet back into the ring for a near fall. He then dropped another elbow on his back and landed a big slap to the chest in the corner. Escobar placed Ricochet on the top rope and climbed up to meet him. Ricochet shoved him off, but Escobar slid out to the apron to avoid an aerial attack. Both men got on the top rope again, and Escobar attempted another huracanrana, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet landed a pair of suplexes followed by a springboard moonsault for a near fall.
Ricochet dropped Escobar in the corner and went up top for Shooting Star Press. Escobar got the knees up and covered for a close near fall. He then went for the Phantom Driver, but Ricochet slipped up. Escobar fired back with a Poison Rana for another close near fall. Escobar picked up Ricochet and set him back on the top turnbuckle.
Ricochet turned that into Poison Rana from the top, followed by a superkick. He then landed a 630 from the top and got the win.
Ricochet defeated Santos Escobar at 21:34
After the match, Ricochet grabbed and celebrated with the World Cup. Fireworks went off, and Gunther walked out to go face to face with Ricochet to close the show.
My Take: That was a great match to close the show. Escobar and Ricochet work very well together, and I hope this performance turns into big things for both of them. Escobar was able to show out even in defeat, and he avoided the strange pairing of a heel vs. heel feud with Gunther. The question becomes who he feuds with next. They could go back to Nakamura, or perhaps even Sheamus, but they need to get him some wins first.