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Greg DeMarco’s Review & Analysis: WWE Smackdown 12/16/2022

Greg DeMarco is here to review WWE Smackdown, live from Chicago! Is Sami a made man? Let’s find out!



WWE Smackdown Roman Reigns Bloodline

Greg DeMarco is here to review WWE Smackdown, live from Chicago! Is Sami a made man? Let’s find out!

We have a packed house in Chicago, which is always a fantastic market for pro wrestling. Freelance Wrestling also had a show tonight in Chicago, and I believe that was packed as well. Chicago–you are THE wrestling city.

WWE Smackdown: Friday, December 16, 2022
Allstate Center, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Michael Cole and Wade Barrett

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Liv Morgan & Tegan Nox vs. Damage CTRL’s IYO SKY & Dakota Kai (champions, with Bayley)

Fantastic opener for Smackdown. It’s amazing how much Liv continues to grow…it almost feels like she’s just getting started. I am always impressed when commentary ignores any “battlelines” like tonight, where they called a Code Breaker a Code Breaker. If there was any drawback, it is Nox showing a little ring rust. But she’ll get over that soon enough.

We were on our way to a +2, but Nox got slightly clunky at the end, and we had a run-in finish. Who is she? I saw some Chelsea Green speculation, but the body type doesn’t match. More like Xia Li or Aaliyah.

(We’d later learn that it was in fact Xia Li.)

Entertainment Differential: +1 (Running Total: +1)

Gunther (vs. Ricochet) Video Package

Simple and effective–we got Gunther before commercial, and Ricochet after. But nothing I couldn’t live without.

Entertainment Differential: Promo Pass (Running Total: +1)

Progressive Match Flo: The Bloodline Assaults Matt Riddle (+Kevin Owens)

Nothing we didn’t already know, but well done as always.

Entertainment Differential: Promo Pass (Running Total: +1)

The Bloodline (The Usos and Sami Zayn) Backstage

Sami is nervous, Jimmy is unsure, but Jey believes tonight will be a great night when Roman Reigns makes Sami Zayn a full blown Uce.

Entertainment Differential: Promo Pass (Running Total: +1)

Expanded Footage From Last Week: LA Knight (and presumably Bray Wyatt)

We saw what happened after last week, when LA Knight got taped up by someone that we think is Bray Wyatt. This came courtesy, of course, of a QR code.

Entertainment Differential: Promo Pass (Running Total: +1)

Kinds stinks for Chicago, just sitting around during all this. That’s the hard part of a TV taping.

In Ring Promo: LA Knight (+ Uncle Howdy)

LA Knight is a fantastic promo. Simply amazing on the stick. And he does a damn good Bray Wyatt impersonation. He’s also doing a great Crazy Ric Flair impersonation.

A great reaction for Bray Wyatt entering as well. Amazing presentation for Bray coming out. We got a small portion of physicality for Bray, but just him taking a beating.

We finally get to SEE Uncle Howdy, and I don’t know what to make of him. Is that a real character, or a depiction of something in Bray’s head? I don’t know if Bray knew he was on camera, because it was smiling and laughing at some points, and doing nothing at others. It’s also our second mystery person of the night (physically, it could be Bo Dallas–who everyone wants it to be).

LA Knight appears confused yet intrigued–and I am in the same boat. Let’s see where this goes.

Entertainment Differential: +1 (Running Total: +2)

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ricochet vs. GUNTHER (champion, with Imperium members Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci)

Adam Pearce, who is really becoming more involved again, removes Kaiser & Vinci prior to the introductions.

Match got off to a great start, including Ricochet being “quick as a puma.” (Good line, Cole.) Match was full of action and spanned two commercial breaks. Crowd was hot the whole time–but went NUTS for Ricochet hitting a vertical Suplex on GUNTHER! And the Shooting Star Press, too.

Once GUNTHER kicked out, you knew where this was headed. But the crowd totally bought the Power Bomb near fall. But it was inevitable, GUNTHER beats Ricochet with the Last Symphany.

Imperium teasing more damage leads to a Braun Strowman entrance, which clears Imperium out. Obviously we are headed to GUNTHER vs. Braun, and I am very interested to see how that goes.

Three segments? Three points.

Entertainment Differential: +3 (Running Total: +5)

Roman Reigns (and Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman) Backstage with Jimmy Uso

Sure does seem like Roman/Solo/Paul are in a separate room than Jimmy/Jey/Sami. That’s odd. Jimmy is ready for Roman to make Sami, but he’s Bloodline and Family no matter what. Roman asks for Adam Pearce. I feel like this all plays into their segment, which I assume closes the show.

We returned from commercial with Pearce visiting The Tribal Chief, and it ends with Roman and Sami vs. Kevin Owens and a partner of his choosing on the December 30th Smackdown from Roman’s hometown of Tampa, Florida.

Entertainment Differential: +1 (Running Total: +6)

Tribute to The Troops Video

Historical presentation, narrated by John Cena himself. Good shit, pal.

Entertainment Differential: Promo Pass (Running Total: +6)

Triple Threat Tag Team Match
Legado Del Fantasma vs. Hit Row vs. The Viking Raiders

I am biased towards Legado for sure. The Viking Raiders haven’t done much for me lately, and Hit Row is seriously lacking since their return. Match itself was good, spanning a commercial break. Five out of the six competitors did well–Top Dolla needs to be sent to NXT the days he’s not at Smackdown. Or drop him, and let B-Fab manage Ashante Thee Adonis.

Interaction with Zelina Vega, B-Fab, and Valhalla, and only Zelina comes off as credible. All that leads to Hit Row winning and becoming new #1 contenders–meaning we get Hit Row vs. The Usos?

Yeet? More like yeesh.

Entertainment Differential: +1 (Running Total: +7)

Kayla Braxton Backstage With Raquel Rodriguez

We learn that we have (yet another) Gauntlet Match next week to become #1 contender for Ronda Rousey, and Raquel is in it. But then she’s attacked by Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler, so who knows.

Entertainment Differential: Promo Pass (Running Total: +7)

In-Ring Promo: Roman Reigns and The Bloodline members The Usos (Jimmy & Jey), Sami Zayn, and Paul Heyman

Roman Reigns (and The Bloodline) makes his entrance, and we get a quick recap including conformation that Roman is wrestling December 30th. Roman reminds everyone that they dominated War Games, and hugged everyone one-by-one–including Sami.

The promo seemed rushed, but they have a KO problem, and Sami says he’s KO’s only friend–err, he USED TO BE his friend. Enter John Cena, via satellite, and the end result is Kevin Owens and John Cena teaming up against Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn on December 30th in Tampa.

Entertainment Differential: +1 (Running Total: +8)


Great episode of Smackdown–the action was good, the stories are flowing, and nothing disappointed.

Except Top Dolla.

Per hour average: +4

WWE Smackdown On FOX Historical

  • 12/16/2022 – Chicago, IL: +3.5 per hour

Entertainment Differential Explained

No multi-hour long wrestling show should be designed to have every single segment appeal to every single viewer–that’s impossible. You need to present something for everyone over that timeframe. However, it can still be analyzed.

  • Typically a match or in-ring segment (or longer out of ring segment) will either be a +1 (added entertainment value or a -1 (subtracted entertainment value)
  • I will give a show one pass per hour–not necessarily in that hour. For example: a 2-hour show gets 2 passes, etc.
  • I’ll rarely go lower than -1 unless something is so egregious it makes me want to turn off the TV. It takes a lot to do that.
  • Conversely, if something is THAT GOOD, I can go +2 or +3. It’ll take a lot, but I watch looking for things to like, so this is more likely than the prior bullet point.
  • Short backstage promos can have unlimited passes–they aren’t as consequential as the a match, or in-ring segment. But they can still have +1 or -1 impact on me.
  • Extra positive or negative points can be assessed if a match spans one or multiple commercial breaks, as it occupied a larger percentage of the program.
  • I will feel free to add/subtract points at the end for major items, like a lack of women’s wrestling, a moment that will be talked about for years to come, etc.
  • The total score will then be divided by the number of hours to give a per-hour average–this way all shows have the same opportunity.

Let me know what you thought of the review, and if you want me to continue this format for WWE Smackdown On FOX and other shows I can target. As I said, I want to get to writing more often, and this could be a good way to make it happen.

Hit me up:

Until next time, remember: enjoying wrestling is a choice…make the right choice!

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King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Stone Cold VS. Scott Hall (WrestleMania X8)

Chris King is back with another WrestleMania Rewind, looking at the NWO’s Scott Hall battling Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE WrestleMania X8 from Toronto!



Steve Austin Scott Hall WrestleMania X8

Chris King is back with another WrestleMania Rewind, looking at the NWO’s Scott Hall battling Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE WrestleMania X8 from Toronto!

Chris King is back this week with another edition of WrestleMania Rewind, where he is rewatching all the past Mania matches and feuds. This week you’re in for a treat as we look back at ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall at WrestleMania X8.

In late 2001, Vince McMahon bought out his competition WCW and acquired the rights to a plethora of talent including Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and the iconic trio known as NWO. Hulk Hogan; Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall were hell raisers, and what better way to make a name for yourself than take out the two top superstars in the WWE The Rock, and Stone Cold?

The NWO cost Austin his chance at becoming the Undisputed Champion at No Way Out during his match with Chris Jericho. Adding insult to injury, the NWO spray-painted ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ with their brand logo just like they did in WCW. As you can imagine, Austin was pissed and out for revenge against the group and primarily Scott Hall.

Hall would challenge Stone Cold to a match at WrestleMania 18. Both superstars beat the living hell out of each other leading up to this highly-anticipated match for who runs the WWE.

The glass broke and Stone Cold made his iconic entrance, and black and white NWO covered Halls’ entrance alongside Kevin Nash. With the odds stacked against ‘The Toughest S.O.B’ could Austin or NWO prove their dominance? Sadly the NWO  broke up that very night when Hulk Hogan came to the aid of his adversary The Rock after their ‘iconic’ dream match. Stone Cold would ensure the victory with the Stunner. Hall would perform an Oscar-worthy sell over the finisher.

What a time to be a wrestling fan in the 2000s when nothing was impossible for WWE. Who would’ve thought WCW would go out of business and Hogan would make his long-awaited return to WWE?

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King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens (WWE WrestleMania 36)

Chris King takes a look at the most underrated WWE WrestleMania matches, and starts off with Seth Rollins battling Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 36!



WWE WrestleMania 36 Kevin Owens Seth Rollins

Chris King takes a look at the most underrated WWE WrestleMania matches, and starts off with Seth Rollins battling Kevin Owens in the WWE Performance Center at WrestleMania 36!

Chris King is starting a new series heading into WrestleMania season dubbed WrestleMania Rewind. Each week he’ll be going back and sharing his insight over underrated matches at the Show of Shows. First up, is Kevin Owens vs. “The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 36.

At the 2019 edition of Survivor Series, Rollins sacrificed himself during the men’s traditional match allowing SmackDown to ultimately gain the victory. The following night the self-proclaimed Messiah, berated the whole roster but KO was not having any part of it. Owens quickly became a huge barrier in Rollins’ cause for the greater good. The Authors of Pain attacked Owens with Rollins’ character in question.

Owens finally had enough of his rival’s mind games and torment and challenged Rollins to a match on the Grandest Stage Of Them All. Rollins mockingly accepted his challenge and the match was made official for night one of WrestleMania. Owens came out of the gate beating the holy hell out of the Monday Night Messiah trying to achieve his long-awaited moment at Mania but, Rollins tried to steal a disqualification victory by using the ring bell.

Owens hellbent on revenge provoked Rollins into turning their encounter into a no-disqualification contest where the fight could be taken all over the empty arena. The highlight of the match, was when KO used the WrestleMania sign to deliver a thunderous senton bomb through the announce table. Owens would secure the victory with a Stunner in an incredible match. Despite having no crowd during the pandemic era, both KO and Rollins put on an intense performance under the brightest lights.

In my personal opinion, this was a great feud that helped both superstars in their transformation as compelling characters for years to come.

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