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WWE Smackdown! - December 9, 2022
Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our hosts are Michael Cole and Wade Barrett.
WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship:
The Usos © (Jimmy and Jey Uso, with Bloodline) vs. The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus and Butch, with Ridge Holland)
For the first time since I've been watching Smackdown again, they acknowledge something Bloodline did on Raw. Solo Sikoa put Matt Riddle on the shelf while paying homage to Umaga. It's difficult to imagine The Brawling Brutes winning the titles here, but with over 500 days as champions, every Usos title defense feels special. Sheamus starts by roughing up Jimmy. Rolling senton by Sheamus, and then another with Butch on his shoulders. The Usos cut Butch off with a tandem neck breaker on the ropes. Back from commercials, The Usos continue beating up Butch. Desperation German suplex by Butch allows the hot tag, and Sheamus runs wild to decent crowd approval. Sheamus and Butch give the Usos stereo chest smashes. Butch refuses to stop the attack, which makes Sheamus smile. Butcch takes out Jey at ringside, Jimmy and Sheamus fight up top until Sheamus hits an avalanche White Noise for only 2! Back from MORE commercials, Butch misses a flying attack and eats Jey's neckbreaker. Sheamus gives Jimmy a White Noise on the apron, but Jey takes him out with a dive. Butch follows with a top rope moonsault onto both Usos! Tornado DDT by Butch, Jey kicks out! Butch stomps Jey's fingers, Sheamus saves Butch from a double attack, and Butch nails a sunset flip bomb for another good nearfall. Sheamus gives Jimmy a Celtic Cross into Butch' cutter, but Jey breaks the pin! Holland neutralizes Sami's interference, Sheamus hits a pump kick for 2. Holland and Solo Sikoa then slams Holland over the barricade! Jey counters Sheamus with a superkick, but Butch blind tags in, only to suffer a 1D. The Usos retain at 19:39! Good stuff here as the Usos' reign continues humming along, ***½.
Winners and still WWE Undisputed Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Birthday Boy Kurt Angle arrives with Gable Stevenson. Braun Strowman introduces himself and sucks up to Stevenson. Feels like Braun is still in the doghouse. Also, aren't there concerns that Stevenson maybe r*ped someone? What, we're pretending it's all a-okay? Whatever.
Breaking News: John Cena will return to Smackdown on December 30th!
LA Knight comes to the ring and he's got something to say. The fake crowd noise lets him have it. He thinks it's obvious that he's scared Bray Wyatt, because he keeps jumping him from behind and denying it. Knight shows footage from weeks ago that seems to suggest he was attacked by imposter Bray, because a mask keeps showing up at the scenes of the crimes. He's interrupted by a spooky imposter Bray video package, and Knight can't tell the difference between him and the real Bray, so he's off on a Bray hunt.
Parking lot interview with Legado del Fantasma. They're not worried about the Viking Warriors. They're interrupted by Shotzi Blackheart screaming after getting assaulted by Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler. They deny attacking Shotzi and argue that she's just fragile. Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox aren't buying it, so they'll fight later or something.
Legado del Fantasma (Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin WIlde, with Santos Escobar and Zelina Vega) vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar, with Valhalla)
We've got a heel vs. heel match on our hands here. The Raiders enjoy a hot start while Zelina annoys Cole on commentary Wilde hits a rana on Erik, but then gets knocked back down. Hit Row's music hits and out comes B-Fab to watch on the stage. Hit Row run in from the crowd with chairs and attack everyone to throw the match out at 1:53. Valhalla tries to help, but B-Fab deals a kick to her face, and then throws her onto Zelina. Nothing match that served to set up Hit Row to look strong for once, DUD.
LA Knight continues his search and finds a Bray t-shirt in a lockerroom. The lights go out and imposter Bray appears for a quick cutaway.
Kurt Angle and Gable Stevenson continue shaking hands at Kurt's party. Kurt is reunited with his estranged son, Jason Jordan. I like silly nods to old, bad storylines.
Ricochet and IC Champion GUNTHER (with Imperium) meet in the ring for a contract signing. Adam Pearce explains what's at stake, but they're all interrupted by The New Day. Xavier is dressed as the White Ranger and Kofi Kingston is the Green Ranger, rest in peace, Jason David Frank. This is wrestling, so they're allowed to be here. GUNTHER ignores them and directly tells Ricochet he isn't worthy of becoming IC Champion. GUNTHER claims that Imperium respects professional wrestling, unlike Ricochet and his goofy friends. All New Day heard was that Imperium have trouble “performing” and there's pills for that. Ricochet tells GUNTHER to push his personal issues aside, because he's going to be in the fight of his life. Pearce calls for a crew to remove the furniture, but GUNTHER throws the table out with ease. Ricochet throws a chair, and a big brawl breaks out. New Day and Ricochet clear the ring and hit triple dives onto Imperium. I smell a six man tag.
The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) and Ricochet vs. Imperium (IC Champion GUNTHER, Ludvig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci)
The good guys have the momentum advantage from the previous angle and Woods tries to get a quick win over Kaiser. Xavier hits the Honor Roll, but Vinci tags himself in and attacks Woods' arm. Back from commercials, Woods tries to escape Imperium's corner but eats Vinci's tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Woods takes a prolonged beating before hitting Kaiser with a missile dropkick. Kofi storms in on a hot tag and takes it to Imperium. Vinci dodges Trouble in Paradise, Kaiser grabs Kofi's boot and nails a vicious uppercut. Imperium throw Kingston over the announce table. Back from MORE commercials, Kofi fights through Kaiser and Ricochet gets the hot tag. Ricochet steps up to GUNTHER and gets chopped off his feet. Ricochet loses his temper and almost gets disqualified for pummeling GUNTHER into the corner. GUNTHER answers with a mean chop, Ricochet reverses the powerbomb into a rollup for 2. Tags are made and New Day look for the Midnight Hour, but Imperium breaks it up. Vinci sentons Kofi into place for a moonsault. Kofi responds with a rana, and Ricochet hits a super rana on Kaiser! GUNTHER is taken down by a pair of dives, Kofi hits Kaiser with Trouble in Paradise! Ricochet tags and finishes Kaiser with the SSP at 18:50! This felt like a New Japan six man in that it was built around previewing a singles title match, and it worked. Ricochet vs. GUNTHER should slap hard, ***½
Winners: Ricochet and The New Day
Kurt's birthday party continues with Otis and Chad Gable crashing the party, but they aren't on the list. Street Profits arrive and gloat that they're welcome and Alpha Academy are not.
Bloodline hang out in their locker room. Everyone is happy and animated, except for Solo pouting at the side. Jey reminds Sami that Roman Reigns is coming back next week, so maybe he should consider a haircut. It might be a big night for Sami.
Rey Mysterio is working with a physical therapist when Scarlett and Karrion Kross arrive for an unfriendly chat. Kross pretends to sympathize with Rey over the situation with his son, Dominic. Kross makes a comparison to Rey and an old horse needing to be put down. Security backs up Rey, so Kross leaves with an ominous "tick tock.""
Lacey Evans continues her redemption arc in boot camp.
Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox vs. Smackdown Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler
Rousey and Baszler are systematically injuring everyone in the women's division, so Triple H has to keep re-signing his favorite NXT women that Vince cut over the past 2 years. Tegan steps up to Shayna but gets roughed up in the corner. Tegan turns it around and sweeps the leg. Armdrags by Tegan, and more corner attacks. Ronda distracts, and Shayna kicks Nox off the top rope. Ronda tags in and hits a series of Judo throws. Ronda puts Tegan in an ankle lock but Tegan thrusts her into the buckles. Morgan gets a quick hot tag and runs wild through Baszler. You know I like Liv, but nothing she does in the ring looks particularly good. Shayna cuts her off with a German suplex. Raquel Rodriguez tries to get past Adam Pearce to interfere. Meanwhile, Tegan hits the Shiniest Wizard, and Morgan gets the pinfall at 4:08. This wasn't good but was inoffensively short, *.
Winners: Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox
Kurt tells Stevenson to stay and enjoy the party while he heads to the ring.
Hometown hero Kurt Angle comes to the ring for his main event birthday celebration. The fans give him an affection "You s*ck" chant. He barely has time to thank the fans when Alpha Academy interrupt. They're upset that every clown in Pittsburgh was invited to the party but they couldn't make the list. Otis even wore a tie, and he doesn't even have a neck! Chad Gable accuses Angle of jealousy. Chad thinks Kurt has lost the 3 I's, so he'd better get the hell out of the ring so Otis can eat his birthday cake. Otis does look hungry. Fans chant "Eat the cake."" Angle walks away while Alpha Academy disrespect the party props. Angle summons Gable Stevenson in an old timey milk truck, and they throw milk bottles at Alpha Academy. Angle grabs a hose and showers them with milk in a callback to the classic 2001 scene. Michael Cole fires off some dad jokes about Kurt "milking" the moment against the "cow-ards" and the show ends with Kurt and Gable enjoying a milk bath. This was total self-contained fluff.
Final Thoughts: Enjoyable episode that sets up next week to be a potential classic, with GUNTHER and Ricochet set for a grand showdown, and Roman Reigns returning. I can't endorse every segment tonight, but isn't that always the case? If you sit down to watch this show with a poor attitude, you might hate it, but if you're a glass-half-full kind of person, I think you'll enjoy yourself.
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