12/30 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell’s review of John Cena and Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn, Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Sheamus vs. Solo Sikoa


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,219)
Tampa, Florida at Amalie Arena
Aired live December 30, 2022 on Fox

[Hour One] The broadcast team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett welcomed viewers to the show. Cole touted that the show was playing to a sold out crowd of 15,738. They hyped the tag team main event…

Bray Wyatt made his entrance through his door on the stage and then headed to the ring. Footage aired from last week of Wyatt taking out a cameraman (in the people’s revenge for jump cuts and camera shaking). Wyatt introduced himself and said he doesn’t consider himself to be a good person, but he also doesn’t regret much. Wyatt said one thing he does regret is attacking the cameraman. Wyatt said the man didn’t deserve it.

LA Knight made his entrance and interrupted Wyatt. Knight said Wyatt got embarrassed because he couldn’t finish a sentence and then took it out on a cameraman. He also accused Wyatt of having someone dress up like Uncle Howdy. Knight said Wyatt is the responsible party and it’s time to pay the check.

Knight climbed onto the ring apron and said Wyatt used to be a force, but now he’s proven himself to be a broke down loser. Knight entered the ring and said the Royal Rumble is coming up. He said it will be his first Rumble and he wants to make it special by breaking Wyatt and putting him out of his misery.

“You little idiot,” Wyatt responded. “Who the hell do you think you’re talking to, son?” Wyatt said he’s been patient and he could have ended this whenever he wanted to. Wyatt said he thinks it’s time to remind Knight and the rest of the world how cruel he can be when he feels like it. Wyatt accepted whatever Knight proposed and then tossed the mic at him.

An Uncle Howdy video played on the big screen. A voice said to embrace the dark. Uncle Howdy made his entrance on the stage and walked toward the ring. Once at ringside, Howdy removed his top hat and placed it on the apron and then walked up the steps and entered the ring.

Uncle Howdy stood between Wyatt and Knight and took turns looking at both men. Howdy stood by Wyatt’s side and then both men looked at Knight. Suddenly, Uncle Howdy put Wyatt down with a Sister Abigail. Knight fled to ringside. Howdy left the ring, put on his top hat, and slowly walked to the back…

Powell’s POV: It’s no secret that WWE plans to hold a “Pitch Black” match at the Royal Rumble. The Howdy voice saying “embrace the dark” suggests that it will be a Wyatt related match. The big question now is whether it’s as simple as a blindfold match, a cinematic match, or something else. Personally, I was hoping that Vin Diesel was going to show up and take out the heroes of the WWE 24/7 division once and for all, but it’s probably better this way.

Backstage, Sami Zayn knocked on The Bloodline locker room door. Paul Heyman exited the room and exchanged holiday greetings with Zayn. Heyman told Zayn that Roman Reigns is very proud of him for the passion he showed last week. Heyman told Zayn that the entire crowd chanting “Sami” wasn’t the right optic. Zayn asked if Reigns said something. Heyman said no and questioned whether he needed to. Heyman said life on the Island of Relevancy is staying three steps ahead at all times. Heyman opened the locker room door for Zayn and was all laughs until Zayn went inside and closed the door… [C]

Cole hyped the Smackdown Women’s Championship match and then entrances for Sheamus vs. Solo Sikoa took place…

1. Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland, Butch) vs. Solo Sikoa (w/Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso). Cole offered his condolences to the family of Don West. Cole said he was a wrestling commentator who made “a true impact on the wrestling business.” Sheamus clotheslined Sikoa over the top rope. Sikoa grabbed a chair and had to be calmed down by the Usos heading into a break. [C]

Sikoa was in offensive control coming out of the break. Sheamus came back with a clothesline. Sheamus powerslammed Sikoa and then played to the lively crowd. Sheamus hit the Ten Beats (and then some) while the crowd counted along. Sheamus indicated that he was going for his finisher, but Sikoa caught him with a superkick before he could deliver the Brogue Kick.

Sheamus bounced off the ropes and blasted Sikoa with a knee to the head and then covered him for a near fall. Sheamus put Sikoa down with an Irish Curse and then put him in a Cloverleaf. Jey tried to push the bottom rope closer, which distracted the referee, allowing Jimmy to pull Sikoa to the ropes. Holland and Butch fought with the Usos on the floor.

Sheamus went up top and performed a double clothesline on the Usos. Sikoa pulled Sheamus into the ring post and then performed a light uranage slam on the ring apron. Back inside the ring, Sikoa hit Sheamus with the Samoan Spike and then pinned him.

Solo Sikoa defeated Sheamus in 11:10.

After the match, the Usos joined Sikoa in the ring and took out Holland and Butch when they tried to enter. Sikoa grabbed a chair from ringside and then wrapped it around the head of Sheamus. Sikoa backed into the opposite corner, but he was distracted before he could go for a move.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance. Jey went to ringside and was taken out by McIntyre, who then entered the ring and put Jimmy down. McIntyre cleared Sikoa from the ring. When Jimmy stood up, McIntyre knocked him out of the ring with a Claymore Kick. McIntyre stood tall with The Brawling Brutes while the Bloodline members regrouped on the floor…

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. When I saw the extras at ringside, I feared we might be getting a brief singles match that would turn into a six-man tag, so it was pleasing to see them actually follow through with the singles match. Sheamus took the loss, but he was protected by Jimmy saving Sikoa from his Cloverleaf. While I’m never a fan of wrestlers stopping in their tracks when they hear entrance music, it was good to see McIntyre return from the injured list.

A video package recapped Raquel Rodriguez winning the gauntlet match to earn the Smackdown Women’s Championship match… [C] Cole hyped Fox’s college basketball coverage and the tag team main event, and then entrances for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match took place…

2. Ronda Rousey (w/Shayna Baszler) vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Rodriguez had her left elbow wrapped, but no longer wore the bulky brace. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Rousey held up her title belt and approached Rodriguez, but the referee stood between them.

Cole recalled Rodriguez “taking Rousey to the limit” in their previous meeting and said he believes Rousey has been concerned about Rodriguez since then and that’s why she and Baszler have targeted her elbow. Rodriguez jumped out to a quick start and got an early two count. Rousey fled to ringside.

Rodriguez followed Rousey to the floor where she hit her and then pressed her over her head and tossed her through the rope and back inside the ring. Rodriguez returned to the ring and tossed Rousey. Rodriguez splashed Rousey in the corner twice. When Rodriguez went for shoulder block, Rousey moved, causing Rodriguez to go through the ropes and into post. [C]

Rousey targeted Rodriguez’s injured left elbow coming out of the break. The referee spotted blood on Rodriguez’s hand and then put his gloves on. Rousey wrenched on the bad arm, but Rodriguez got to her feet, powered up Rousey, and put her down with a Samoan Drop.

Rodriguez hit Rousey with a clothesline with her bad arm and then sold arm pain before covering Rousey for a two count. Rodriguez picked up Rousey for a move, but Rousey countered into an armbar attempt, which Rodriguez stuffed.

Rodriguez put Rousey in a Sharpshooter style hold, which Rousey escaped and countered into an ankle lock. Rodriguez rolled onto her back and kicked Rousey off. Rodriguez set up for the Tejana Bomb, but Rousey grapevined her arm. Both women ended up at ringside. Rodriguez slammed Rousey onto the apron. [C]

[Hour Two] Rousey was in offensive control coming out of the break until Rodriguez performed a fallaway slam. Rousey came right back with a sleeper. Rodriguez ran toward the corner, causing Rousey to hit her head on the top turnbuckle to break the hold. Rodriguez knocked Baszler off the apron. Rodriguez hit her spinning elbow move from the middle rope and went for the cover, but Baszler lifted Rousey’s foot so that it touched the bottom rope.

Rodriguez placed Rousey on the top rope. Rodriguez went to the middle rope. Rousey fired shots at Rodriguez and then applied an armbar while both Rodriguez was standing on the middle rope. Rodriguez fell backwards and tapped out once she hit the mat.

Ronda Rousey defeated Raquel Rodriguez in 16:45 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Charlotte Flair made her entrance dressed in new gear (no robe) and what sounded like a new variation of her entrance theme. Cole called it a goosebumps moment. Barrett said Rousey looked like she’d seen a ghost.

Rousey said it looked like Flair’s arm was feeling better and asked how her rehab was going. Rousey assumed Flair was going to challenge her to a match at the Royal Rumble. “How you feeling, Queenie?” Rousey asked. Flair said she was challenging Rousey tonight. Flair played to the cheering crowd. Rousey placed her belt on the mat in front of Flair. “You’re in luck because I’m feeling spicy,” Rousey said while Baszler tried to talk her out of it. Rousey handed the referee the belt and then he called for the bell to start the match…

3. Ronda Rousey (w/Shayna Baszler) vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Once the bell rang, Flair immediately hit Rousey with a boot to the head and covered her for a two count. Flair knocked Baszler off the apron. Flair went for a spear, but Rousey rolled through and went for an armbar, which Flair countered into a pin for the three count.

Charlotte Flair defeated Ronda Rousey in 0:42 to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Flair entered the crowd and celebrated her title win with the fans. Flair returned to the entrance area and then pyro shot off on the stage while Cole touted her as a 14-time champion…

Powell’s POV: The first match was pretty good for a lengthy Rousey match. There were some clunky moments, but it was entertaining and they did their best to protect Rodriguez. I’m guessing Baszler was supposed to arrive in time to put Rousey’s foot over the bottom rope, because it was odd that the referee caught her redhanded and didn’t eject her from ringside. Meanwhile, Flair’s return was fun. It made for a wild moment, but I’m not crazy about immediately rushing the title onto her, but we’ll see where it goes and whether she’s truly back as a babyface.

Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn were laughing and joking while the other members of The Bloodline sat on a couch behind them. Zayn asked Reigns if it bothered him that the fans chanted for him while he was in the ring with Reigns last week. Reigns tried to downplay it and asked why would it bother him. Reigns raved about the conviction that Zayn spoke with and said if he has even ten percent of that, their match would be easy… [C]

Tampa Bay sports imagery was shown… Cole recapped Charlotte Flair beating Ronda Rousey to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship…

Cole set up footage of Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley showing up at the Mysterio family Christmas at his grandfather’s house, which resulted in Dom being arrested… Cole said Ripley bailed Dom out of jail…

Backstage, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods held a broom and had some fun joking about Top Dolla’s failed dive. Ricochet, Riddick Moss, Mace, and Mansoor joined in. Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis seemed to be cool with the joking until Ricochet said at least Top Dolla knows what he does isn’t easy. Top Dolla lost his cool and shoved Ricochet…

Powell’s POV: It looks like they are calling a needed audible. Hit Row just hasn’t clicked as babyfaces since returning. Rather than fight it, it looks like they will be turning heel.

Imperium made their entrance… [C] Barrett hyped the tag team main event… The broadcast team recapped the Bray Wyatt, Uncle Howdy, and LA Knight angle from earlier in the show. Cole announced Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight in “The Pitch Black Match” sponsored by Mountain Dew’s Pitch Black for the Royal Rumble…

The Imperium trio of Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci stood in the ring. Kaiser said 2022 was the year of the ring general. Vinci said Gunther is the most dominant Intercontinental Champion and no one can take the title from him. Kaiser set up a video package to show the men who tried to take the title. The video included footage of Gunther’s wins over Shinsuke Nakamura, Rey Mysterio, Sheamus, and Ricochet.

Braun Strowman made his entrance before Gunther could speak. Strowman entered the ring and pointed out that he wasn’t in Gunther’s video, meaning Gunther hasn’t beaten him. Strowman said maybe Kaiser and Vinci were right in saying that a man couldn’t beat Gunther. “But what about a monster?” Strowman asked.

The Imperium trio laughed at Strowman and turned to leave the ring. “I’m not asking you for a title opportunity, I’m telling you, boy,” Strowman said. Strowman cleared Kaiser and Vinci from the ring. Gunther tried to chop Strowman, who caught Gunther’s arm and then clotheslined him. Gunther rolled out of the the ring.

Strowman left the ring and did his Strowman Express routine and knocked over Kaiser and Vinci. Gunther sidestepped Strowman and shoved him through the timekeepers barricade. Gunther grabbed a chair and slammed it over the back of Strowman. Kaiser and Vinci held Strowman while Gunther hit him with another chair shot, and then they ran him into the ring steps.

Kaiser and Vinci rolled Strowman back inside the ring. Gunther kicked Strowman’s left arm and then put him in an armbar. Several referees and producers ran out, but Gunther maintained the hold. Ricochet ran out with a chair, dodged Kaiser and Vinci, and then entered the ring and ran off Gunther…

The Bloodline were shown walking backstage together while Cole hyped the tag team main event as coming up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid angle to set the table for the Gunther vs. Strowman match for the Intercontinental Championship, which I assume will take place at the Royal Rumble event.

Barrett announced Gunther vs. Strowman for the Intercontinental Championship for Smackdown in two weeks. Cole announced Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship for next week’s Smackdown. Barrett announced Ricochet vs. Top Dolla for a men’s Royal Rumble match qualifier for next week’s Smackdown…

Powell’s POV: Well, so much for my theory about Gunther vs. Strowman at the Rumble, though of course the Smackdown match may be a setup for a Rumble rematch. Either way, it looked like Ricochet may have accidentally hit Gunther with the chair when he leaned over the top rope and swung it at Gunther, who was standing on the floor.

Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event while Cole spoke about how Owens’ son is a huge John Cena fan. John Cena made his entrance and pointed to the rafters. Cena looked into the camera and thanked the fans for allowing him to do this for twenty years. “I love you and this means the world to me,” Cena said. “Let’s go to work.” Cena headed to the ring.

The Bloodline made their entrance. Cole spoke about stories that Owens told while doing media about his 20-year friendship with Zayn. Cole said he can’t see Zayn throwing all of that aside for The Bloodline. Barrett called him “a damn fool” and said he proved himself at WarGames. Cole said Zayn is still an Honorary Uce despite everything he’s done… [C]

4. John Cena and Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn (w/Paul Heyman, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa). Owens and Zayn started the match. Owens put Zayn down and then told him that he was embarrassing himself in front of his Tribal Chief. Owens asked Zayn what was on his nose. Reigns held out his hand. Owens mocked Zayn, who wished him good luck and then tagged out.

The crowd chanted for Cena, who reached out for a tag. Reigns indicated to Owens that he wanted him to tag in Cena. When Owens turned his head toward Cena, Reigns punched him. Reigns was getting the better of Owens heading into a break. [C]

Owens was isolated coming out of the break. He came back with a big clothesline on Zayn and then tried to tag out, but Reigns pulled Cena off the apron and ran him into the barricade. Zayn followed up with a light Helluva kick on Cena on the floor. The isolation of Owens continued while Cena was down.

Reigns dragged Zayn to his corner and then tagged himself into the match. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Owens avoided it and superkicked Reigns. Owens performed a top rope frog splash on Reigns for a near fall. Owens eventually avoided a charging Reigns.

Cena, who returned to the apron, took the hot tag just as Reigns tagged out. Cena performed his signature offense on Zayn. Cena looked at Reigns and gave him the “You Can’t See Me.” Reigns charged Cena, who put him down. Cena tagged in Owens and then they both did the “You Can’t See Me” bit and hit stereo Five Knuckle Shuffles. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Reigns, who rolled out of the ring. Owens kicked Zayn and then put him down with a Stunner before pinning him.

John Cena and Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in 11:00.

Cena and Owens celebrated their win while a concerned Zayn and the rest of the Bloodline knelt or stood over the fallen Reigns on the floor…

Powell’s POV: A fun match. Owens suffered a cut on his eye at some point, but I missed how it happened. Cena wasn’t asked to do much, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. It was a big coup for WWE to get Cena just to do what he did. The Bloodline fallout should be interesting, and hopefully Cena will be back for a full length WrestleMania match.

Overall, a very good show. WWE made the most of the extra attention that John Cena brings by delivering a strong episode, including the newsworthy return of Charlotte Flair. I am jumping over to handle the live review of AEW Rampage, but I will be back later tonight with my weekly same night audio review of Smackdown (and Rampage) for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Thank you all for your support in 2022 and here’s to a terrific 2023.

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Readers Comments (16)

  1. YES! Finally the feud we’ve all been waiting for Bray Wyatt vs. himself!

  2. WHAT THE HELLLLLL????!!!!!!

  3. We got the power up out of the sleeper spot from Raquel that popped the crowd and then Charlotte with a cheeky way to return and get the belt off Ronda.

  4. I suspect Ricochet got Gunther legit accidentally with the chair to the scone.

  5. Charlotte is worse than Cena at his most SuperCena.

  6. Yeah, hopefully Ricochet didn’t injure Gunther with that chair shot. Looked like he got him right in the eye.

  7. As a far as a Pitch Black match goes – it could be as simple as either a match done in dark lighting, or maybe what we also know as a Lights Out match. I’d like to know what you’ve heard, Jason, if anything.

  8. Much like Cena, Charlotte is actually over with real wrestling fans and nobody but the worst of the unwashed basement dwelling smarks don’t want to see her back on top.

  9. TheGreatestOne – I thought he got him on the side of the head but you could be right.

  10. Whether they’re heel or face without Swerve Hit Row just doesn’t work on the main roster.

  11. Damn, looks like Owens got busted in the eye pretty bad.

  12. Wouldn’t it have been something if Owens turned on Cena with his son watching at home.lol

  13. For just a second it felt like Owens was going to do the Barry Windham turn on Lex Luger to Cena.

    Is WWE doing the gimmick where they advertise Lacey Evans returning but wait weeks until she actually does again?

  14. They maybe should’ve saved Charlotte for the Rumble because who will be the big “surprise” there?Sasha?Naomi?

  15. If Vince was still in charge any chance Cole would have mentioned Don West? RIP Don West. Such a great commentator!

  16. Not a chance!
    Vince probably didn’t know who Don West was..

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