This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown was a taped show that featured much less than normal from WWE both because it was taped and because it’s the holidays. There’s only so much you wanna bother with on Christmas Eve, you know?
Don’t get me wrong, they still offered a worthwhile program. You certainly didn’t waste your two hours before Santa comes spiraling down your chimney or whatever.
There wasn’t much by way of a main story here, so we’ll just bullet point this review for the little bit we did get. Hey, cut me some slack, it’s Christmas!
- The timing of this show is unfortunate, considering Roman Reigns fired Paul Heyman last week. Anyone hoping for some meaningful follow up was given a brief pre-taped interview where Kayla Braxton asked him what his future holds and Heyman agonized over the fact that he’s probably done for. WWE drove it home later with a look back at his storied career. That they did so now has me convinced a swerve is coming and he helps Reigns defeat Brock Lesnar at Day 1 before it’s revealed they were plotting this all along. We shall see.
- Charlotte Flair defeated Toni Storm is retain the SmackDown women’s championship in a match I was kind of baffled by. This entire feud has felt like a way to put Flair over at the expense of Storm, who was never presented like a legitimate threat at any point over the past few weeks and was run into the ground in this very match. Flair is a heel, that comes with the territory, but she seemed to really drive home the message that Toni didn’t belong in the same ring as her. The match result only serves to reinforce that message. After the match, WWE tweeted “keep fighting, Toni” with a GIF of her anguish. Perhaps that will become a story they tell with her, and if so, bravo. If not, that sucks for her.
- Xia Li is coming into the main roster and instantly feuding with Natalya, which is a continued compliment for Nattie, who is trusted to help bring along every woman who has ever come into WWE, or at least it feels that way. Hey, add it to her growing list of accolades.
- Sami Zayn won a Gauntlet match to become the top contender to the Intercontinental championship. It was an entertaining enough 12-man Gauntlet that got a lot of run time and featured a few different stories playing out. Ricochet made clear he belongs on TV on a weekly basis, Sheamus and Cesaro are still doing their thing, poor Drew Gulak is never going to get his due on the main roster in WWE, and Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura will finally get their long awaited rematch from their epic battle in NXT back in 2016.
- Drew McIntyre & New Day defeated Madcap Moss & The Usos in the now annual “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” in the night’s main event. It was, as always, a goofy fun match that featured spots like The Usos using Christmas trees as weapons, Kofi Kingston flying from the top rope with two sheets filled with cookies and smashing them on top of The Usos, and egg nog being dumped all over Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss’s heads. This was all about just having fun, and it was just that. You could debate the logic of having McIntyre pin Moss so close to the two wrestling a singles match at a PPV show but ah, who cares, this was a good time. Sometimes you just have to let it be that.
Despite it being on Christmas Eve, and pre-taped, WWE delivered a pretty good show. In fact, I wouldn’t hate if shows like this were held more regularly.
And Merry Christmas, everyone