It is our last live SmackDown In A Nutshell before Christmas, and this week, we welcome back Roman Reigns.
That was the big hook heading into this particular SmackDown in a Nutshell, at least.
The welcome back committee? Well, that is fixing to be Brock Lesnar.
It makes sense, of course. Reigns and Lesnar are set to meet on January 1st, at Day 1.
The number of chances we have to see them face to face, hyping the card? Those are dwindling.
So, that’s our main focus…but not the only focus.
As mentioned, this is the last live blue brand show for a bit. So, it’s likely all hands on deck to hype Day 1.
Plenty of matches to build to and set up, and that’s all the more reason to get right to it.
It’s time for…
SmackDown In A Nutshell: Welcome Back Roman Reigns
Let’s crack this Nutshell open and say welcome back!
Best Match of the night:
I have to go with the opening women’s tag match.
Was a really strong match for all four. Toni Storm in particular did well.
I found it somewhat amusing that the announce team was doing a lot of hard work to put Sasha Banks over as a good babyface…as if fans don’t remember what she’s done.
Worst match of the night:
I have two, and I am not totally hating either…but hear me out.
Naomi and Shayna Baszler…was bad because it was short. Interesting because, in spite of the odds and all, Naomi stole one.
Ridge Holland versus Cesaro. I feel like Sheamus was meant to help Holland acclimate to the main roster…but it feels like more being overshadowed.
Like, Holland won…and it was Sheamus’s music played.
Star of the Night
Lesnar, Reigns, Heyman.
Any or all, and likely really all. The dynamic heading into Day 1 shifted this week, and that is OK.
It was something we all saw coming…but then again…who knows if this won’t be a double swerve…
Spot of the Night:
Some of the spots in that main event segment were fierce.
Jobber of the Night:
Baszler, I think.
Or maybe Cesaro.
Upset of the Night:
Naomi winning over Baszler with a little schoolboy type move. Or schoolgirl, I suppose.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
The turn, if you will, at the end of the night.
As in, Paul Heyman was fired by Roman Reigns. And then attacked by Reigns.
Before being saved by…Brock Lesnar.
Day 1 got a whole lot more interesting, and the downside of this is that tonight was basically the final hype.
There’s a taped show next Friday, and there is no SmackDown in 2 weeks…so this was it.
Not a bad way to go out…but 2 weeks is a long time.
Botch of the night:
McAfee referring to Tobey Maguire as Toby Keith. He caught it, but he did say it and own it.
Commentary of the night:
I noted this before, no lines, just another comment.
But especially in the opening bout, it sure felt like the announcers had a narrative to push. Even McAfee, who usually feels less scripted.
WWE really wants us feeling the Banks babyface run, eh?
Well, it is being taped as I type this out, but next week’s show has a couple interesting matches.
Not sure if they move the needle…but…
Toni Storm gets her title shot against Charlotte, hot on the heels of her pinning the SmackDown Women’s Champion this week.
And we have a 12 Days of Christmas gauntlet match. The winner of the match gets an Intercontinental Championship match.
To me, for what this was, the show was not a good mixed bag.
Some really good stuff…and some really meh stuff.
The hard part is the schedule. Next Friday will be a taped show, the week after there isn’t even a taped show.
Which means, unless WWE impresses with a taped show for a change, this was basically it.
Was it enough for Day 1? In some spots, yes.
Other spots…I can’t say so.
The suspense laced through the show…and the payoff in the main event segment.
Also liked what we saw from Toni Storm. Feels like she really could give WWE another strong woman on the roster…IF they push her right.
After the final bell:
Kind of an all over the map show, and thus an all over the map SmackDown In A Nutshell.
Quite the welcome back for Roman Reigns, in any case.
It has to be asked…but with Lesnar getting the good rub this week, in what was basically the go home show…does that mean he’s losing at Day 1?
Honestly already assumed he was…I feel like, if Lesnar is beating Reigns for the gold, that won’t happen until Dallas.