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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (Nov. 25, 2022): On to WAR GAMES

Sami Zayn is a liar.

We learned this during Friday Night SmackDown this week, when Jey Uso caught him in a lie while listening at the door to Kevin Owens do his best to get into Zayn’s head, further sowing the seeds of dissent. Jey asked if he had spoken to anyone since he arrived. Zayn said “no.”

Case in point:

Oh the tangled web we weave.

Moments before, Owens was asking him questions of his own, namely what Sami is going to do when The Bloodline — and more specifically Roman Reigns — turns their ire toward him. He’s seen how The Tribal Chief treats his own flesh and blood. What makes Sami think it won’t be even worse for him?

And if it was Owens, he said, “I would strike first.”

It works so well for the story because it’s a legitimately compelling case. The Bloodline, or at least the entirety of it, really hasn’t fully accepted Zayn. They’ve mostly done so, but not so much that it can be trusted. Of course, Sami can’t much be trusted either, as we well know.

And now Jey, if he didn’t before, certainly knows that now.

But that’s the beauty of it how this story has played out. That it was Jey who heard this could very well be the set up to the swerve. Will the others believe him when he tells them of Sami’s lies? Does he still have their trust enough to earn their belief in his words?

And what will it mean for the War Games match?

Later, Sami appeared as thought he was going to continue right along with The Bloodline, only for Owens to get in the way and manipulate the situation enough to give Sheamus the chance to hit the Brogue Kick to score the win and give the babyface team the advantage. Zayn could be painted as the bad guy there, but it at least seemed he was sticking with The Bloodline.

Maybe that plays into his next decision. He tried to stay the course, and got burned. Does it go the same way when he’s faced with his next decision?

This entire story has been incredible, and they really did a great job with driving the narrative in a way that maximizes interest on the final episode of TV before it all plays out on Peacock and pay-per-view.

All the rest
  • Becky Lynch is back! She was announced as the fifth and final member of Team Bianca Belair in their War Games match at Survivor Series against Team Damage CTRL. She’s a fitting choice, considering she was last seen battling with that very group before going out injured. They brawled on this show and she gave a brief interview later playing the hits with her “man comes around” gimmick. It’s good to have her back.
  • BUTCH lost to Santos Escobar in the semifinals of the SmackDown World Cup because Legado del Fantasma had the massive numbers advantage thanks to Sheamus and Ridge Holland being distracted by a brawl that broke out featuring their War Games teammates. This was an easy way to get BUTCH back to that program and away from this and advance Escobar without sacrificing him to it. Finishes like this don’t feel the best, of course, but it is what it is.
  • Bray Wyatt was back this week with his unnecessarily long entrance — rough for TV, but certainly incredible for the live audience — to lie to us and say he had nothing to do with the attack on LA Knight. Uncle Howdy demanded he “wake up” from the Titantron. Knight got some interview time, and the funny part of all this is as a pure entertainer, just a guy with a microphone talking you into something, Knight is far more entertaining, at least in the traditional sense. We’re left to see where it goes from here, but it’s yet another week with very little storyline development.
  • The Viking Raiders beat up on Hit Row to make it very clear where everyone stands in the pecking order in the tag team division on the blue brand right now. Hit Row’s stock is plummeting while Erik, Ivar, and the newly christened Valhalla are on the rise.
  • WWE went ahead and had Ricochet beat Braun Strowman, though they did get Imperium involved a bit to get there. After the fact, they made sure to have Imperium put the boots to Strowman and Ricochet come down to save him. This both served to get Ricochet over as the true blue babyface he is while also allowing for Strowman to endorse Ricochet after the fact when they were both overwhelmed. This, then, they surely hope will serve to put the whole thing behind everyone. This was booked about as well as it could have been, all things considered.
  • Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler launched a surprise attack on Raquel Rodriguez backstage minutes before a planned tag match that also included Shotzi. Naturally, Rodriguez tried to heroically enter the match late and ended up losing it for the team. Shotzi would later say Rodriguez suffered a broken arm and dislocated elbow because of all this, and it meant the world to her that Raquel would have her back because she’d been bullied before but never had someone be there for her like this. So, in her friend’s honor, she would fight like hell to get payback at Survivor Series. It’s a better story than they had been giving us, I’ll say that!

I really liked this show. It was a pretty damn good go home episode. It was notable for actually feeling like a go home show for once.

Grade: B+

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