Smackdown Notes: The Usos retain, Rodriguez wins Gauntlet Match to face Rousey next week

Friday Night SmackDown included an Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship defense and a Smackdown Women's Championship Gauntlet Match

Photo Courtesy: WWE

December 23, 2022 (taped the week prior)

Allstate Arena – Chicago, IL

By: John Kleinchester

SmackDown kicked off with The Bloodline coming down to the ring. Michael Cole noted that Reigns has now been champion for 845 days and will have his first match on SmackDown since June next week. Sami Zayn said that he found family and respect with The Bloodline. Sami exasperatedly exclaimed that Kevin Owens’ mere existence was a black cloud hanging over his head and no matter what he does he’s never been able to get away from him. Sami Zayn said The Bloodline were going to mangle John Cena next week.

The Usos successfully defended the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships against Hit Row via their 1-D finisher.

Backstage Imperium’s Kaiser and Vinci were interviewed ahead of their match with Ricochet and Strowman. Kaiser and Vinci said they would restore the honor of Gunther.

Despite an injured arm, Raquel Rodriguez won the Gauntlet Match for a shot at Ronda Rousey’s SmackDown Women’s Championship next week. Immediately after the pin, Ronda Rousey came out and said there was one more opponent in the match and Shayna Baszler charged down to the ring. Somehow this was allowed despite the announcers saying that they couldn’t do this. Rodriguez got a roll-up pin and the ref inexplicably counted so Rodriguez still won.

A video package highlighting Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy’s feud with LA Knight aired next. After the commercial break Bray Wyatt came to the ring. Side note: His entrance from the first note of his theme to the blowing out of the lantern took 2:57. Wyatt said that LA Knight owes him an apology because he isn’t and never was Uncle Howdy. Bray then suddenly lost his train of thought and crouched down in the center of the ring. Out of nowhere he jumped a cameraman and put him in a Mandible Claw a la Mankind. Security ran out and rescued the cameraman and the show went to break. When we came back from commercial Michael Cole explained that Wyatt was removed from the building and Adam Pearce would be consulting “global headquarters” to determine the appropriate disciplinary action.

Rey Mysterio defeated Angel. Karrion Kross and Scarlett watched the match from the crowd. After the break Emma confronted Scarlett and slapped her for calling Riddick Moss a fool. Kross said Emma had no idea what she’s done.

A lengthy video package highlighting John Cena’s career aired even featuring a short clip with Vince McMahon. Michael Cole called Cena “the greatest of all time” ahead of next week’s tag match teaming with Kevin Owens against Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns.

Another Lacey Evans marine video package aired culminating with the text “The Mission Commences Next Week”. 

Ricochet and Braun Strowman defeated Imperium. During the match, Vinci’s eye was busted open hard way by a stiff punch from Strowman. When the teams inevitably ended up throwing each other through staged presents and Christmas trees, Imperium opened a large box to find a ballerina who simply danced away. They then spotted another large present and opened that one revealing The New Day dressed as toy soldiers. The New Day low-blowed both members of Imperium.

Braun Strowman then realized that Ricochet was having trouble recovering at ringside. Strowman grabbed some mistletoe and held it over Ricochet’s head and asked ring announcer Samantha Irvin (Ricochet’s real-life girlfriend as the announce team noted) to kiss him to which she obliged. This sent Ricochet on a tear and the pair won easily. 

Announced for SmackDown Next Week in Tampa:

  • Solo Sikoa vs. Sheamus
  • Smackdown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez
  • John Cena and Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn

Friday Night SmackDown Results:

  • Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos over Hit Row in 9:03
  • Women’s Championship Gauntlet Match: Raquel Rodriguez over Emma, Tegan Nox, Liv Morgan, Sonya Deville, Xia Li and Shayna Baszler in 22:44 (plus under a minute for the Baszler late addition)
    • Xia Li over Emma and Tegan Nox; Raquel Rodriguez over Xia Li, Liv Morgan, Sonya Deville and Shayna Baszler
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Angel in 3:58
  • Miracle on 34th Street Fight Match: Ricochet & Braun Strowman over Imperium in 11:56
About John Kleinchester 159 Articles
New Jersey born and raised. Wrestling fan since Lex slammed Yokozuna on the deck of the USS Intrepid. Favorite Wrestler of all time is Owen "The Rocket" Hart.