Friday Night Smackdown Notes: John Cena to team with Kevin Owens against Reigns & Zayn, Damage CTRL and Gunther retain

Originally published at Friday Night Smackdown Notes: John Cena to team with Kevin Owens against Reigns & Zayn, Damage CTRL, and Gunther retain

December 16, 2022

Allstate Arena – Chicago, IL

By: John Kleinchester

SmackDown began with Sami Zayn and The Usos arriving at the arena in good spirits with Michael Cole saying that rumor had it that Zayn would be a “made man” tonight.

#TheBloodline is here on #SmackDown and @SamiZayn is lookin' FRESH! 😮‍💨

— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

First up Damage CTRL successfully defended their WWE Women’s Tag Team titles against Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox after a mystery person in a hoody attacked Tegan Nox behind the referee’s back.

What the…

Who was that??? 👀#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

Later on WWE’s Twitter channel, the attacker was revealed as Xia Li.

EXCLUSIVE: After a mysterious stagehand costs @YaOnlyLivvOnce and @NixonNewell their WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match against #DamageCTRL, she reveals herself to be none other than @XiaWWE backstage before heading into @ScrapDaddyAP’s office. #SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

A video package aired about Gunther’s incredible physicality. He also called the Intercontinental Championship the Grand Prix of their sport. After the commercial break another video package aired this time highlighting Ricochet. He said he would “flip” the odds in his favor.

Sami Zayn was chatting with The Usos in the back whilst sporting a new haircut and a tailored suit. After Sami ran off, Jey said that tonight Roman Reigns was going to “make” Zayn tonight. Jimmy disagreed and thought Sami was in for disappointment tonight because of the Kevin Owens situation. Jey reassured Jimmy that tonight was going to be a great night.

Highlights were then shown from last week where LA Knight ran into Uncle Howdy. Michael Cole then said they had just received a QR code that showed what happened after we saw it on SmackDown last week. The footage showed Knight tied up by what would be presumed to be Uncle Howdy.

After the break, LA Knight was in the ring complaining about his recent blindside attacks and said that Wyatt’s speeches never went anywhere. He called Wyatt out with whatever mask or costume he needed to do to face him. Bray Wyatt came out and said that although he hadn’t touched Knight, they both knew how this story would end. Knight then attacked Bray Wyatt stomping him in the corner. Uncle Howdy suddenly walked out into the arena stopping at the top of the stage. Howdy started laughing maniacally for what felt like ten minutes. Bray had a confused smile on his face as the segment faded to commercial.



— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman finally arrived and Michael Cole again harped on the fact that there was speculation that Reigns would make Sami Zayn an official member of The Bloodline tonight.

Next up was Gunther versus Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship. Before the match began, Adam Pearce ejected the other two members of Imperium to ensure a fair fight. Gunther went on to defeat Ricochet to retain his Intercontinental Championship using his new finisher “The Last Symphony” to dispatch Ricochet. After the match Imperium set up to beat down Ricochet only to have Braun Strowman immediately come out to make the save.

#BraunStrowman rushes to the aid of @KingRicochet as #Imperium looks to brutalize him after his #ICTitle match. 😤#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

Backstage Jimmy Uso tried to convince Roman Reigns to tell him what he had planned for tonight, saying he liked “Sammy Uso” but he loved The Bloodline and their family more. Reigns wouldn’t budge and after Jimmy left instructed Heyman to get Adam Pearce on the phone. After the commercial, Adam Pearce appeared before the Tribal Chief and they proposed Roman Reigns & Sami Zayn versus Kevin Owens and a partner of his choosing. Reigns picked Friday, December 30th in Tampa after Paul Heyman suggested the date. 

A promo for the 20th Anniversary of WWE Tribute to the Troops aired, narrated by John Cena. The show will air Saturday, December 17th at 2:30 pm Eastern.

Hit Row defeated Legado del Fantasma and Viking Raiders to earn a title shot at The Usos on next week’s SmackDown. During the match, Top Dolla attempted a top rope dive that he completely botched. Thankfully all were okay.


John Cena returned to take everyone out for top dolla 🐐 #Smackdown

— melissa (fan account) (@LIVSMUNECA) December 17, 2022

Backstage Raquel Rodriguez was saying that she would be a part of the gauntlet match next week despite the doctor’s orders when Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler attacked and took her out. 

Roman Reigns and the Bloodline came to the ring sporting new shirts with “The Island of Relevancy” text and caricatures of the whole stable including Sami. Reigns said that Kevin Owens is now a problem for The Bloodline but Sami & Roman will take KO out with whichever partner he chooses. John Cena appeared on the TitanTron and said Kevin Owens texted him saying that Cena has had a match every year for twenty years except for 2022. Cena accepted and will be Owens’ partner on 12/30.

SURPRISE! @FightOwensFight has found a tag team partner for his match against @WWERomanReigns and @SamiZayn for the DEC. 30th episode of #SmackDown….

and his name is @JohnCena! 🔥

— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

After SmackDown, Adam Pearce took to Twitter to add another match to next week’s card.

Miracle on 34th Street Fight NEXT WEEK on #SmackDown!

— WWE (@WWE) December 17, 2022

Announced for SmackDown Next Week (also taped tonight in Chicago):

  • Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. Hit Row
  • Miracle on 34th Street Fight Match: Imperium vs. Ricochet & Braun Strowman
  • Women’s Championship Gauntlet Match: Emma/Raquel Rodriguez/Tegan Nox/Liv Morgan/Sonya Deville/Xia Li

Friday Night SmackDown Results:

  • WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Damage CTRL over Liv Morgan & Tegan Nox in 10:49
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Gunther over Ricochet in 21:28
  • #1 Contenders Triple Threat Match for the Tag Team Championship: Hit Row over Legado del Fantasma and Viking Raiders in 8:35
1 Like

That botch by Top Dolla was easily one of the worst of all time. Hit Row should probably be broken up and all should be sent back down to NXT.

The only reason for the group to be on the main roster is now in AEW.