WWE SmackDown Flops and Hits: Roman Reigns gets a blast from the past, big mistake with former champion (7th January, 2022)

WWE SmackDown had a solid show this week. The blue brand kicked things off on a promising note in 2022 with a good title match, epic confrontations, and a brilliant surprise.

WWE finally made their statement about the “forbidden door” when they announced that Impact Knockouts Champion Mickie James would compete in the Women’s Royal Rumble this year.

Let’s look at some of the biggest flops and hits on WWE SmackDown from this week.


#1. Hit on WWE SmackDown: Roman Reigns gets the better off Brock Lesnar

 

This week, Roman Reigns returned on WWE SmackDown after missing Day 1 premium live event. He came face-to-face with newly-crowned WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and his former Special Counsel Paul Heyman.

All three men came together for an incredible opening segment, and the two biggest champions once again quarreled over their respective relationships with Paul Heyman.

Brock Lesnar mocking Roman Reigns’ “acknowledge me” catchphrase and being shocked over Paul Heyman’s “loving” the Universal Champion made for entertaining television. The Beast Incarnate even teased the idea of a WWE Champion vs. Universal Champion match.

Reigns liked the proposal but said that it was his show and things would happen at the time of his choosing. The Tribal Chief then said that he doesn’t want to do business with someone who is in a business with a “trash” like Paul Heyman.

This led to an interesting sequence of events that saw Roman Reigns asking Lesnar not to disrespect Heyman and the latter doing the same. Talk about a triangle! The Universal Champion took advantage of the dialog between Heyman and Lesnar and hit the WWE Champion with a sneaky Superman Punch.

Reigns finally got the upper hand over Brock Lesnar and it was great. Reigns has been nothing short of brilliant over the last year. He is only a few days away from becoming the longest-reigning champion in WWE history, and deserves to be booked as one of the strongest characters of all time.

Later, Adam Pearce said he had to pick Roman Reigns’ Royal Rumble opponent by the end of the night. Once the Head of the Table saw his cousins defend their titles in the main event, he realized that Brock Lesnar was not the only visitor he had this week. He came face-to-face with Seth Rollins in the show’s closing moments.

The Architect burst out laughing while Reigns looked confused. All signs indicate towards a potential match between the two superstars. Given their history dating back to The Shield, it would be great to see how this WWE booking will progress this month.

#2 Flop on WWE SmackDown: Sami Zayn gets pinned

WWE Superstar Sami Zayn returned on SmackDown for a singles match against Rick Boogs. Two weeks ago, he won a Gauntlet Match to become the No. 1 contender for Shinsuke Nakamura’s Intercontinental Championship. This week, he faced Nakamura’s ally Boogs in an impressive match but lost in underwhelming fashion.

Zayn was fantastic at drawing heat throughout the match. However, he still shouldn’t have lost the match. WWE writers wanted to show Boogs as a strong competitor, but Zayn is the No. 1 contender for a title. Having him lose via a surprise roll-up is questionable and chips away at his credibility.

Shinsuke Nakamura has not defended his Intercontinental Championship on WWE SmackDown in months. That’s why both the champion and his next challenger need to be booked strongly to keep this title feud credible moving forward.

Sami Zayn has been one of the most underrated superstars on WWE SmackDown for the last couple of years. Regardless of the role, he did welto keepng it as entertaining as possible. Zayn deserves to be booked in a way that does justice to his talent and dedication towards his work on the blue brand.

#3 Hit on WWE SmackDown: Naomi in the title picture

WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair confirmed this week that she will participate in the Royal Rumble match later this month. The most decorated female superstar in pro-wrestling cut a small promo counting her accolades before Naomi interrupted her. The latter demanded a title shot but The Queen insulred the former champion. Naomi was understandably infuriated and slapped Charlotte to get a match.

The two superstars locked horns in an engaging in-ring battle on WWE SmackDown that saw Naomi unleash a more dominant side. She is currently one of the biggest babyfaces on the blue brand and pushed Charlotte to her limit. Naomi even came close to winning the match but ultimately lost due to Sonya Deville abusing her power.

It was messy to see Deville still interfering with Naomi’s booking on SmackDown. This feud either needs more concrete developments. But it is doing a good job in getting people to sympathize with Naomi.

Additionally, she got a deserving spot in the title picture. Naomi should be competing for the SmackDown Women’s Championship picture. She would make for a fresh challenger against Charlotte, who would otherwise be forced to compete in repetitive title matches.

#4 Flop on WWE SmackDown: The Viking Raiders lose again

The Viking Raiders have been far from dominant since their arrival on WWE SmackDown. This week, they lost to Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss.

It all started with another corny edition of Happy Corbin’s talk show in which he mocked Drew McIntyre with the help of madcap Moss. The duo attacked the Scottish Warrior at Day 1 during a backstage interview, which led to the latter sustaining an injury.

The segment was fortunately interrupted by Erik and Ivar, which then led to a brawl. Soon, we saw them booked for a match that seemed like a good opportunity to make the tag team division seem more competitive. Unfortunately, that was far from the case as The Viking Raiders struggled to gain dominance throughout their bout with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss.

The former tag team champions ultimately lost the match after Madcap Moss’ impressive fight against Erik and Ivar. He pinned Erik to seal the victory for his team. Moss did well at Day 1, and he was good once again on SmackDown. It’s evident that WWE wanted to showcase his potential on SmackDown.

However, we can’t help but wonder if it was the right decision to compromise The Viking Raiders’ credibility in the process.

#5 Hit/Flop on WWE SmackDown: The Usos reign supreme in yet another rematch

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos once again put their titles on the line against old rivals New Day. King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston posed a credible threat to The Usos’ championship reign. However, the members of the Bloodline reigned supreme after an entertaining Street Fight in the main event of the show.

The match’s final moments saw both teams attempting to use the table as a weapon. However, The Usos eventually managed to control their opponents and used a well-synchronized offense to put Kingston through the table. Following that, Jimmy Uso pinned Kingston to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships. It was a good match, but there was still a glaring problem.

The New Day and The Usos delivered the best match of the night at WWE Day 1 earlier this week. As much as we enjoy the chemistry between the two tag teams, it is impossible to ignore the constant repetition in the booking of the tag team division. It’s important for both teams to move on to different feuds to help keep things entertaining on the blue brand. Hopefully, we will see The Usos cross paths with a new set of challengers in the coming weeks.

It would be criminal not to mention that The Usos donned their Bloodline t-shirts but put a cross over Paul Heyman. Their not-so-subtle dig at former “Wiseman” made for a good anecdote in the WWE SmackDown main event.

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