WWE’s next two premium live events are quickly coming together, with a pair of huge matches among those announced during Friday’s edition of SmackDown.
Bill Goldberg showed up on SmackDown to throw down a challenge to universal champion Roman Reigns for the Feb. 19 Elimination Chamber event. In addition, Ronda Rousey declared she would use her Royal Rumble victory to challenge Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania.
Those matches joined other new bouts scheduled for the upcoming events, including Drew McIntyre facing Madcap Moss at Elimination Chamber.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Goldberg returns, challenges Roman Reigns
The Bloodline opened the show with an in-ring promo. Paul Heyman was the first man to take the microphone, saying that the group came to the show to acknowledge what really happened. His turning on Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble, Heyman said, was not a “plot” or “scheme.” It was, instead, Heyman realizing he’d made a mistake when he had upset Reigns and been fired and that Lesnar proved to be stupid when he won the WWE championship and came directly to SmackDown to challenge Reigns to a title vs. title match. But it wasn’t until Reigns attacked Lesnar at the Rumble, costing Lesnar the WWE title, that Heyman realized that Reigns didn’t need to be protected from Lesnar, it was the other way around. And, when Reigns reached out to Heyman, it was a moment of forgiveness for Heyman’s past transgressions that he could not pass up.
Enter Goldberg. The WWE legend made his way to the ring to say he acknowledged Reigns, but only as his next victim. Goldberg then made an official challenge to Reigns for a match at the upcoming Elimination Chamber event. The match was later announced as official, with Goldberg once again challenging for world title gold.
It’s hard to imagine who could possibly care about another Goldberg title match in 2022 but here we are. In the wake of a Royal Rumble that faced controversy for again failing to focus on younger talent, WWE trots out Goldberg for another match no one wants to see. But the Saudi Arabia shows are often a mess in this way. And, at some point, someone needs to explain why Goldberg can show up at any event, march to the ring and receive a title shot for his troubles. Grade: D
Ronda Rousey throws down WrestleMania challenge to Charlotte Flair
Sonya Deville announced that Becky Lynch had informed her that Ronda Rousey had chosen to challenge Lynch at WrestleMania, meaning Charlotte Flair would need a WrestleMania opponent. Flair said she wasn’t surprised and asked what Rousey has been doing while Flair has continued being a dominant force in WWE. Flair then said that she would pick someone who wasn’t in the building as her WrestleMania opponent, announcing she’d face Sasha Banks.
Rousey’s music then hit and she came to the ring, saying she would pick her own opponent for WrestleMania. Rousey said Flair wasn’t special and was just the first woman up before saying she would see Flair at WrestleMania. Flair then said that the SmackDown women’s title is her baby, and it’s prettier than Rousey’s. Deville tried to put a stop to Rousey turning violent but Rousey shoved her aside. Deville jumped on Rousey’s back only to be thrown on the mat and locked in an armbar as the show went off the air.
The segment to get to the match everyone knew was happening was odd at the start. Deville and Flair rambled for a while, announced a match with Banks and then Rousey showed up to yell and curse for a bit before announcing that she would challenge Flair, leaving Banks as just a name that was randomly tossed out in the middle of a promo. A very weak edition of SmackDown closed with a whimper exactly as loud as it opened with. Grade: C-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Ricochet def. Ridge Holland via pinfall after a cradle pin. The finish came after some distraction from outside so a tag match began immediately.
- Ridge Holland & Sheamus def. Cesaro & Ricochet via pinfall after Holland hit Cesaro with Northern Grit.
- The Usos def. Viking Raiders via pinfall when Jimmy Uso hit Erik with an Uso Splash.
- Aliyah def. Natalya via countout. The win was Aliyah’s third win over Natalya. Natalya later said she wanted one more match next week, under pinfall or submission-only rules.
- Drew McIntyre hit Madcap Moss with a Claymore after Moss and Happy Corbin interrupted his promo.
- Sami Zayn complained about having not received his shot at the intercontinental title and was told the match would happen on Feb. 18, with the suggestion that Johnny Knoxville would be in attendance.
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall after hitting a Kinshasa. Zayn was on commentary for the match.
- Sonya Deville gave Naomi a shot at the SmackDown women’s championship on the Feb. 11 edition of SmackDown, avoiding Naomi’s challenge for a one-on-one match.
- New Day def. Los Lotharios via pinfall when Big E pinned Angel Garza after the Big Ending.