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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (Dec. 10, 2021): Theater of the absurd

When Friday Night SmackDown kicked off this week with Sami Zayn rolling his way to the ring with a boot on his foot and a neck brace on, flanked by two nurses, I knew we were in for something magical. He cried conspiracy, because of course he did, and then Paul Heyman showed up, surprisingly enough, and the two exchanged some barbs before nearly getting into a physical confrontation that was only stopped when Brock Lesnar showed up, wearing overalls, no less.

I forgot he was going to be on this show, and oh boy were we in for a delight.

Look at the way these two interact:

Right away they get you laughing, as Zayn responds to Lesnar, with a shit eating grin, asking him “how you doing” with an incredulous “I’m not great!” Brock keeps joshing with him, genuinely treating him like a friend he’s giving a hard time to. He plays it so well. The way he nods his head and looks at the ground right at the end of the clip after Zayn tells him how much his feelings are hurt over the situation makes me lose it all over again.

These two are fantastic together. There’s a real chemistry here you don’t often see with Brock. He invites Sami out to Canada where they can bond over hunting and fishing and just generally being Canadian dudes in Canada, and even starts wheeling him out, even when Zayn seems less than enthused. You get the idea that this is just Friend Lesnar, and there’s a terrifying charm to it.

As entertaining as it all is, there was a payoff to all this.

Heyman, seeing this display of fondness and affection, reacts with a mixture of confusion and disgust. Who the hell has Lesnar turned into? Is this really how it is when Brock is left to his own devices? The trademark aggressive nature is still there — you see how pushy he tends to get, even while being friendly — it’s just lurking underneath. As it turns out, he needs someone to help bring that out of him.

As it turns out, that someone is Paul Heyman.

His advocate.

They go right back into the schtick, with Heyman giving him that legendary introduction and Lesnar feeding off it as he goes, growing ever stronger, eventually unleashing a burst of impressive violence on the two nurses before doing the same to poor Sami Zayn, all while Heyman was smiling along. Just like the good ol’ days.

So, then, we’re right back to Final Boss Brock and right back to wondering if Heyman really is still on his side or not. Roman Reigns, for the record, was not on this show and therefore unable to get involved in any of it. Surely he will have much to say about this when he returns next week.

Well done all around.

Later in the show, Lesnar met up with Adam Pearce for a truly bizarre segment where he went into detail about hunting a moose and killing it and eating it and also hanging it up and naming it “Pearce.” That way he remembers being suspended, which he was actually happy about.

Also, Brock uses a flip phone.

This guy, man. He sure is something.


All the rest
  • Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs defeated Los Lotharios in a strangely short match considering they pushed on commentary that the latter team was undefeated since coming over to SmackDown. Seems odd to just throw that away for a random match on a random Friday night, but such is life in WWE.
  • Oh no, there’s a higher authority again.
  • Drew McIntyre was told the higher authority didn’t want him in the battle royal, and that also he needs to stop taking that big ass sword to the ring, probably because he tried to murder some guys with it. Even without it, he beat Sheamus clean in the middle of the ring and he “continues to roll on Friday nights,” as Michael Cole put it. He got his sword stolen by Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss, though.
  • I’m not sure how crazy I am about debuting Xia Li, she who helps the oppressed, by having her make the save for Naomi. It makes sense from that character perspective, I suppose, but I strongly dislike how one-sided this entire program between Naomi and Sonya Deville has been. Naomi badly needs a win here, somewhere, somehow, and without someone else coming to save the day for her. In this case, Li was more or less just acting as an equalizer, and there’s still time to put Naomi over, but they’ve been dragging this out too long and now the focus turned to the big debut they hyped for weeks and is much less about Naomi finally getting hers. It’s fine, it just didn’t sit right as I watched it live. Your mileage may vary.
  • Toni Storm was given a “championship contender’s match” against the SmackDown women’s champion herself, Charlotte Flair, and she got the trash beat out of her. She won by disqualification because of it, of course, but it was done in such a way that Flair decided she was done with someone she sees as underneath her and went about making that clear in a very physical manner, regardless of the rules. We’ll see if this somehow means Storm gets another match but Sasha Banks buddied up with her earlier in the night, so perhaps we aren’t far away from her getting involved once more.
  • The main event of this show was a triple threat tag team match pitting Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. The New Day in a match that would decide, as they kept pushing all throughout the evening, the best tag team in all of WWE. Naturally, the match was entirely built around making the crowd want Randy Orton to tag in, his doing so, running wild, and then getting taken out late to give Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston time to steal the match. Immediately, commentary said “they’re the greatest tag team in WWE tonight.” Funny how they added “tonight” onto that. It was a fun match, though.

I’m a big Lesnar fan, and loved all this interaction with Zayn, so this show was fun for me. The non-Lesnar stuff was mostly bland, though there was plenty of solid wrestling throughout the night.

Grade: B-

Your turn.