WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Dec. 23, 2022) with a taped show (spoilers available here) emanating from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois, featuring the latest build towards next month’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) event.
Advertised for tonight: Ricochet and Braun Strowman vs. Imperium (Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser) in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight.
Elsewhere on the card: There is a number one contenders gauntlet match featuring Tegan Nox, Raquel Rodriguez, Xia Li, Emma, Liv Morgan, and Sonya Deville, The Usos defend the undisputed WWE tag team titles against Hit Row, and more!
Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (Note: Links to illegal streams are prohibited. Pics and GIFs are allowed.)
WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR DEC. 23
Welp, y’all must have been naughty this year. Instead of the best in the business, winter weather & holiday cheer teamed up and left the live blogging equivalent of a lump of coal in your stocking tonight. Pour yourself some hot cocoa, and I’ll try not to ruin Christmas for ya.
Michael Cole welcomes us to the show (which has some reindeer on the logo), and then it’s Christmas time on the Island of Relevancy. The Tribal Chief walks the entire Bloodline onto the tree and present-lined stage while Cole reminds us about that little tag match he & Sami Zayn have with Kevin Owens & some cat named John Cena next Friday.
Paul Heyman runs down The Bloodline’s next accomplishments, starting with The Usos retaining the Tag titles when they face Hit Row later tonight. Then next week, Solo Sikoa will take out Sheamus. Period, exclamation point, end of discussion. Then, in the biggest television match in recent memory, KO & Cena will get smashed by the Honorary Uce and Roman Reigns. He hands the mic to the Undisputed WWE Universal champ, and doesn’t look thrilled the crowd is chanting for Sami.
Roman hear-hears the Wise Man’s words, but says he wants to hear from Zayn. The Ucey One looks flustered, not the Sami Reigns is used to.
Sami says all he wanted was to belong, to be accepted. He finally has that, since the hottest group in wrestling loves him, the fans love him. But he can’t enjoy because of the black cloud hanging over his head, a cloud named Kevin Owens. Reigns looks pleased as an emotional Zayn promises to leave KO & Cena a wreck next Friday, because this isn’t their show. It’s The Bloodline’s show. Owens and his partner better get ready to do what he and the crowd are about to do right now — acknowledge the Tribal Chief. Really great promo by our guy Sam
The crew throws up the ones as Roman embraces Sami, smiling at the camera as Zayn half-collapses in his arms.
The Usos vs. Hit Row for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team championship
Ashante Adonis starts with Jey, and things go well enough he can shake his ass at the champ before tagging in Top Dolla. Jey drags him to his corner to bring in Jimmy. They target the big man’s leg (probably the one that gave out on him last week), and Dolla is playing face in peril as we go to our second commercial of the night.
Shortly after our return, Dolla with the tag and Adonis comes in hot. His flurry ends with a move off the top that gets two on Jimmy. Uce rallies back with a Samoan Drop of his own that gets a nearfall, and Sami looks relieved. Jimmy and Jey pose before attempting a double team, and Top pulls Jimmy out of the ring. They hit their finisher on Jey, but Jimmy recovers to break up the tag. Dolla tries to slam both of the champs, but his leg gives out. He takes some superkicks then a 1D ends it.
The Usos def. Hit Row via pinfall to retain the titles
Zayn gets in the ring to celebrate with his Dawgs.
We get a Progressive Match Flo on last week’s banger of an Intercontinental title tilt between Ricochet and Gunther. And of course the post-match stuff with Braun Strowman that sets up tonight’s main event.
Kayla Braxton interviews Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci about that. Kaiser says the Holiday Street Fight is an abomination to their sacred mat. Vinci says it’s a perfect match for their opponents because the acrobat Ricochet and strongman Strowman belong in the circus anyway.
Gauntlet match to determine the #1 contender for the SmackDown Women’s title
Emma vs. Xia Li
Before the bell for the start of this gauntlet, we look back on Li’s mysterious attack of Tegan Nox last week. Wade Barrett informs us she’s bitter about how her career’s gone and decided to take it out on the women being brought in.
After the opening bell, Emma has the early advantage, but can’t get two. Xia recovers and wins with a Cyclone Kick.
Xia Li def. Emma via pinfall
Next up is Xia’s target last week!
Tegan Nox vs. Xia Li
It’s all Tegan at the start. She gets two after a big corner dropkick. Li rolls to the apron to regroup, and sends Nox into the ringpost. Rolls her in, another Cyclone Kick, another elimination.
Xia Li def. Tegan Nox via pinfall
Raquel Rodriguez enters as Cole & Barrett remind us how banged up she is, and send us to another break.
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Xia Li
Action in progress when we return, and it’s all Xia. She’s targeting Rodriguez’s injured left elbow. Li is kicking her ass on the floor, then brings her in the ring to kick her ass there. But she gets cocky and is sent into a ringpost. Raquel only needs one arm to throw her opponent around, then turns her usual elbow into more of a senton for two. She dodges Li’s kick, and hits a Tejana Bomb to advance.
Raquel Rodriguez def. Xia Li via pinfall
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Liv Morgan
Morgan doesn’t waste any time, and looks to end it early with a Codebreaker, but Rodriguez turns that into a powerbomb. Liv catches the bad arm with a drop kick to rebound quickly. They through a bunch of pin attempts, then Morgan ends up on Rodriguez’s back and locks in a sleeper/choke. Raquel powers up and drops on her back to force the break right before another commercial break.
It’s Rodriguez’s power vs Liv’s speed and new ruthless streak, as Cole tells us the winner of the gauntlet gets a shot at Ronda Rousey next week in Tampa. Each woman gets a nearfall, then Morgan apologizes to Raquel before slapping on a crucifix submission. Despite the pain to her injured arm, Rodriguez stands up in the hold and tries to break free with a spinning slam, but Liv gets her knees up and turns that to her advantage. Cover, but she only gets two.
Corkscrew elbow from the big Texan, but it only gets two. Striking exchange, Morgan runs the ropes and runs right into a boot. Another power move thwarted by her bum arm, then another by a Liv counter. She tries to follow with Oblivion, but Raquel counters. A pretty basic looking slam ends up keeping Morgan down for three.
Raquel Rodriguez def. Liv Morgan via pinfall
Raquel Rodriguez vs, Sonya Deville
It’s all the fresher competitor at the start, and Deville’s every move targets Rodriguez’s left arm. She bounces the elbow of the post, but Raquel fights off an Irish Whip with her right. She flapjacks Sonya, but can only get two.
Deville fights back, still targeting the arm. But Rodriguez fights through the pain and ends it with another Tejana Bomb.
Raquel Rodriguez def. Sonya Deville via pinfall to earn a shot at SmackDown Women’s champion Ronda Rousey next week
Her comes the champ! She informs Raquel there’s nothing to celebrate yet, she still has one more opponent...
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shayna Baszler
They trade strikes for a second, but it isn’t long before Baszler is destroying Rodriguez’s arm, breaking the brace right off. But when Shayna stops to taunt, Raquel rolls her up, one-two-three!
Raquel Rodriguez def. Shayna Baszler via pinfall to earn a shot at SmackDown Women’s champion Ronda Rousey next week, for real this time
A recap of last week’s Uncle Howdy debut, then Cole teases answers about Bray Wyatt’s situation after another break.
Cole welcomes us back with a reminder about the main event, and then we hear piano keys tinkling and a glowing door appears on stage. Bray talks the Wyatt walk, and he’s back with another face-sounding promo about being grateful for the reactions he’s getting. Wyatt tries to be real with us all the time, but he honestly doesn’t even know if there is a real me.
He knows one thing. LA Knight owes him an apology. He told us he wasn’t Uncle Howdy. He knows we didn’t believe him though. As Bray tries to say more, every time he say the words “Uncle Howdy” he stammers. He apologizes for losing his train of thought, and collapses to his knees. Then he snaps, attacking the camera man. The lights come up as Bray slaps on the Mandible Claw!
Shane Helms leads the troops in from the back to get Wyatt to release the hold, and Adam Pearce is demanding to know what’s wrong with Bray (how much time do you have, Scrap Iron?) as we go to break.
A replay of what we just saw as Cole tells us Bray has been escorted from the building and Pearce is CONSULTING WITH GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS to determine how to address Wyatt’s actions.
Rey Mysterio talks about his storyline with Karrion Kross in an inset video as he heads to the ring for our next match, We see Kross and Scarlett are watching from the seats.
Angel vs. Rey Mysterio
All Rey until he gets caught with a dropkick while running the ropes. Angel hits a backbreaker, then rips off his pants and throws them at Mysterio as we see Kross laughing it up in the seats. The Lothario gets in a little more offense, then gets to arrogant and leaves an opening. Angel is saved from a 6-1-9 by Humberto, so he gets a crossbody over the top.
The heel tries to mock Rey by hitting his own signature move, but Mysterio recovers to slip out of position. He hits a hurricanrana, then the 6-1-9, and a springboard DDT to end it!
Rey Mysterio def. Angel via pinfall
Kross gives Rey the Tick Tock watch check as Mysterio jaws at him long distance.
Ricochet and Braun get a locker room promo before the main event. Ric thinks Kaiser & Vinci have a lot of nerve saying they belong in a circus. Strowman says maybe they do, so let’s go show ‘em who runs the big top. They dap up, and O’Shea is almost concussed by Braun’s meaty chesticles.
Post-commercials, Karrion and Scarlett are walking backstage when Emma pulls them up. She’s pissed they disrespected a legend like Rey, and is still pissed they disrespected her man Riddick Moss. Scarlett gets in her face, so Emma slaps her! Kross holds his lady back, telling Emma she has no idea what a mistake she just made.
A long video package about John Cena is next. It’s amazing how long we’ve been watching this jorts-wearing, wish-making goober. Love him, hate him, he’s a legend. He’ll work a match next week, his twentieth straight year doing so. Vince McMahon makes a brief return to television for a quote at the end of this.
We get a look at the tables full of cookies and other potential plunder as our main eventers make their entrances.
Before that, we get our latest Lacey Evans. She’s fighting a bunch of her fellow Marines in an outdoor fight pit like set-up, and we’re informed her mission is to destroy every woman in WWE.
Ricochet & Braun Strowman vs. Imperium in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight
Kaiser & Vinci deal with Ric early, sending him into the ring steps. They team up to ground the big man. Braun fights through to send them both to the floor just as his partner recovers to run the barricade and launch himself on the heels as we go to another commercial.
Braun is trying to launch Giovanni into the ring post when we return, but his momentum is reversed and he ends up crashing into some trees. Kaiser uses a kendo candy cane for leverage while stretching Ricochet, then flattens Strowman with a chair. Imperium swarms O’Shea, but Braun recovers to wreck Gunther’s boys on the stage (Barrett line of the night “Strowman is responsible for the deforestation taking place here tonight”).
The numbers get to Strowman, but as has been a pattern in this one, his partner recovers just as he’s incapacitated. Ric’s offense is cutoff by a chair to his back as he goes to springboard onto Vinci. Imperium then head back to the stage to bury Braun under trees. They want to add two big gift boxes to the pile, but the first has a ballerina in it. When she dances away, they open the other, and it’s The New Day dressed as nutcrackers! Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods do what nutcrackers do, low blowing Vinci & Kaiser.
Strowman is back up, and he runs the Express over Imperium. He sees Ric is still down, so he grabs some mistletoe and beckons O’Shea’s real life girlfriend, ring announcer Samantha Irvine, to give him a kiss. That rejuvenates him, and he runs wild! Braun puts Kaiser through a table. He guides Ric to get on his shoulders, and they do a Jimmy Snuka/Andre The Giant-espue spot to it a happy holiday for babyfaces and their fans everywhere.
Braun Strowman & Ricochet def. Imperium via pinfall
Vinci’s bleeding as the good guys grab a few floor cookies and celebrate. Cole reminds us that Cena will be here next Friday.
Thanks for SmackDown-ing with us. Stay warm out there, Cagesiders.