The first SmackDown of 2022 takes place tonight from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The show will feature a confrontation between Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. The original Day 1 main event of Reigns vs. Lesnar didn't happen after Reigns tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, Lesnar defeated Big E, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Bobby Lashley in a fatal five-way to win the WWE Championship.
Paul Heyman resumed his role as Lesnar's advocate on Raw after Reigns fired Heyman as his special counsel and attacked him a few weeks ago. It was also revealed on Raw that Lashley will challenge for Lesnar's WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.
WWE announced ahead of tonight's SmackDown that Reigns has been medically cleared to return from COVID-19.
Tonight's show will also feature The Usos vs. The New Day in a street fight for the SmackDown Tag Team titles. New Day's Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston are getting another shot at the titles after coming up short against Jimmy & Jey Uso at Day 1.
Plus, Sami Zayn faces Rick Boogs. Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
They recapped Brock Lesnar winning the WWE Championship at Day 1 and Lesnar reuniting with Paul Heyman on Raw.
Brock Lesnar Confronts Roman Reigns
This was a good opening segment. Reigns, Lesnar, and Heyman, were all excellent in their roles in advancing the storyline.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his way to the ring alone. The fans popped and gave him a mixed reaction with lots of cheers. Reigns demanded that the fans acknowledge him, and the fans erupted in cheers.
Reigns noted that he was in isolation and had a lot of people he wanted to see except for Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. The fans tried giving Reigns the "What" treatment, but he ignored them. Suddenly, Lesnar's music hit, and he made his way to the ring with Paul Heyman.
Lesnar got a massive pop as he made his entrance. Heyman began to do Lesnar's intro, but he took the mic from him. Lesnar got in Reigns' face and did the introduction himself. Heyman praised Lesnar's intro and said it was better than his.
Lesnar noted he got what he wanted last Saturday. He wants to give the fans what they want. Lesnar mockingly told Reigns to acknowledge him, and the fans popped. Lesnar then challenged Reigns to a champion vs. champion match. Reigns admitted it was a good idea, but it's not his idea.
Reigns noted SmackDown is his show, and he makes the decisions. Reigns turned down Lesnar and said he doesn't do business with people that associate with trash. Heyman's feelings were hurt. He became distraught and noted he helped Reigns win that title and that he loved him.
Lesnar got in Heyman's face and asked what he had just said. Heyman was scared but said all he had was Reigns when Lesnar was gone. Lesnar told Heyman to shut up, and Reigns told Lesnar not to talk to him like that.
Lesnar got in Heyman's face again. Heyman tried to explain, but Reigns suddenly hit the Superman Punch on Lesnar. Reigns walked off as Heyman looked on shocked. Michael Cole wondered what was going on with Heyman.
In the back, Sami Zayn was furious that he had to face Rick Boogs tonight before taking on Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental title. He claimed Nakamura's trying to avoid him. Zayn then ran into Jackass star Johnny Knoxville.
Knoxville noted he's looking for management because he's trying to get a spot in the Royal Rumble. Zayn told Knoxville this isn't Jackass. Knoxville pointed out that he doesn't need the ability to be in the Rumble; he just needs to throw people out. Zayn told Knoxville to leave and that he didn't deserve a place in the WWE.
Rick Boogs (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) defeated Sami Zayn (6:30)
This was an okay match that dragged in the middle. After the match, Johnny Knoxville snuck up and threw Zayn out of the ring to qualify for the Royal Rumble, which is an odd way to qualify this year.
Boogs had the early advantage as he threw Zayn around the ring. Boogs gave Zayn a press slam as they quickly went to a break.
Back from the break, Boogs was firmly in control, but Zayn fought back. Zayn hit an elbow drop off the second turnbuckle for a near fall. Boogs recovered and caught Zayn in mid-air in a bear hug.
Boogs transitioned into a suplex. Zayn tried to counter with a knee to the head. Boogs dropped to one knee but didn't let go of the suplex. Boogs struggled to keep Zayn up. Boogs then powered Zayn up into the suplex.
Zayn regained control and got in Nakamura's face at ringside. The finish came when Boogs caught Zayn with a small package as he re-entered the ring to win.
After the match, Zayn was furious and yelled at Boogs and Nakamura at ringside. Suddenly, Johnny Knoxville snuck up behind Zayn and threw him over the top rope.
They then announced that Knoxville qualified for the Rumble by throwing out Zayn.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed The New Day. Braxton noted this is the New Day's last chance against The Usos. They promised to win the SmackDown Tag Team titles later tonight.
Charlotte Flair Segment
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair made her way to the ring. She noted the Royal Rumble is coming up soon. She explained that the winner earns a title shot and headlines WrestleMania.
They then announced the entrants in this year's women's Rumble, including Rhea Ripley, Nikki. A.S.H., Aliyah, Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Summer Rae, Tamina, Dana Brooke, Kelly Kelly, Naomi, Carmella, Zelina Vega, Michelle McCool, The Bella Twins, Mickie James, and Lita. McAfee pointed out that Mickie James is the current Impact Knockouts Champion.
Flair noted there's one more major star in the Rumble this year. She then introduced herself as a participant this year. She promised to win and pick her WrestleMania opponent.
Naomi's music interrupted, and she came to the ring. Naomi noted Flair doesn't have to wait until WrestleMania to pick her challenger. She then challenged Flair to a match. Flair didn't know what Naomi had done to earn a title shot. Naomi then slapped Flair in the face and threw her out of the ring.
Non-title match: SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair defeated Naomi (13:06)
Flair and Naomi had a fine that dragged at times. Deville changed the rules throughout the match, but it didn't add anything to it.
The match started during the break. Naomi had the early advantage, but Flair regained control. She slammed Naomi's head into the mat, but Naomi recovered. Naomi climbed to the top rope, but Flair knocked with a big boot to the floor. Flair jumped out of the ring and threw Naomi over the barricade.
Naomi fought back and hit the blockbuster off the barricade. Naomi almost won the match by count-out when Sonya Deville walked out. Deville announced the match could not end on a count-out. Naomi started yelling at Deville, which allowed Flair to attack her from behind.
Back from the break, Flair was firmly in control until Naomi rocked with a kick to the head. Naomi climbed to the top rope and hit a flying cross body for a two-count. Naomi went for the rearview, but Flair countered with a roll-up for a near fall. Flair then transitioned into the figure four leg lock. Naomi fought back and made it to the ropes to break the hold.
Deville then announced that the match is also no disqualification. Flair smiled, but Naomi caught her with a kick to the head. Flair regained control but missed a moonsault. She landed on her feet and hit a standing moonsault for another near fall.
Naomi then hit a sit-out full nelson slam for another two-count. Naomi missed a splash in the corner, and Flair scored a near fall. Naomi went up for the split-legged moonsault, but Flair cut her off. Flair then hit back suplex and Natural Selection for the win.
Cole pushed that Naomi should have won by count-out. Instead, Deville screwed her over.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. Braxton noted New Day is confident they will win the street fight later. The Usos promised that their feud would end tonight.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee recapped the Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns confrontation. McAfee pushed the idea of a champion vs. champion match.
In the back, Adam Pearce noted to Sonya Deville that Reigns doesn't have a challenger for The Royal Rumble. Pearce revealed that he gets to pick Reigns' opponent. He has until the end of the night to decide.
This wasn't a good segment. The fans seemed dead, and McAfee joked that they lost over 2 million viewers.
Happy Corbin came to the ring alone. Michael Cole noted Corbin has a special guest tonight. Corbin pointed out that he's alone and discussed attacking Drew McIntyre at Day 1. They recapped the attack from last Saturday. Corbin revealed McIntyre should be out for months, but he's here tonight.
Corbin introduced McIntyre, but Madcap Moss came out instead mocking McIntyre. Moss did a Scottish accent and imitated McIntyre. He said he could return tomorrow, but he doesn't want to. Instead, he's going to retire. Moss started laughing and admitted that he's not McIntyre. He ripped off his neck brace and laughed.
Suddenly, The Viking Raiders interrupted and made their way to the ring.
Happy Corbin & Madcapp Moss defeated The Viking Raiders (3:19)
This wasn't a good match.
The match was joined in progress. Ivar rocked Moss with a kick to the head to gain the early advantage. The heels took over by isolating Erik on their side of the ring. Erik fought back and sent Moss to the floor.
Moss jumped back in the ring, but Erik rocked him with a knee. Erik tried to tag Ivar, but Corbin pulled him off the apron. Moss then hit the punchline on Erik for the win.
Michael Cole discussed McIntyre's injury and announced that McIntyre has a cervical neck strain with severe contusions.
In the back, Sheamus discussed Ridge Holland breaking his nose at Day 1. Sheamus decided to cheer up Holland and announced that Sheamus is entering the Royal Rumble this year.
In the back, Adam Pearce entered Roman Reigns locker room. Pearce informed Reigns that he picked his next opponent. Reigns didn't care and told Pearce to leave because he's about to watch his cousins win.
During the next match, Michael Cole stressed that Reigns' new challenger would be revealed by the end of the night.
Street Fight: SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos defeated The New Day to retain (18:05)
The Usos and New Day had a good street fight. Both teams worked hard and had fun match. They pushed throughout the night that this was the end of the feud, although there are no other teams.
Kofi Kingston and Jey started trading shots in the middle of the ring. Despite being a street fight, Jimmy and Xaiver Woods followed the rules by standing on the apron. The New Day beat down Jey on their side of the ring until Jimmy pulled him out. Kingston then hit a trust fall dive onto the heels as they went to a break.
Back from the break, New Day and The Usos fought up the ramp to the stage. Woods sent Jey into the LED screen. They fought back to the ring and brawled around ringside. Woods hit a DDT off the middle rope for a near fall in the ring.
The Usos fought back and hit an assisted Samoan Drop on Kingston for a two-count. The Usos then taped Woods to the top rope, but Kingston made the save. He gave Jey a reverse suplex and hit the SOS on Jimmy for a near fall.
Both teams fought around ringside with The Usos taking over. They grabbed the steps and hit Kingston at ringside. They took the stairs over the barricade and hit Woods in the crowd. Woods recovered and hit a flying cross body off the barricade.
Back from the break, New Day hit a flying cross body doomsday on Jimmy for a near fall. The faces went under the ring and pulled out a knight's armor. Woods put on the helmet and absorbed a shot from Jey. They beat down Jey with the armor until Jimmy made the save. The New Day regained control, and the fans broke into a loud "We want tables" chant. Woods then pulled out a table to a massive pop.
They set up the table in the corner, but Jimmy fought back and hit a superkick on Woods. Jimmy sent Woods to the floor, and Jey rocked Kingston with another superkick. Kingston avoided the Rikishi splash in the corner and hit trouble in paradise, but Jimmy broke up the pin attempt.
Kingston tried to use the armor again, but The Usos cut him off with a double superkick. The Usos then gave Kingston the 1 D through the table for the win.
Back in Roman Reigns's dressing room, there was a strange knocking on his door. He told the person to come in, but he wasn't happy when they entered. The camera then revealed Seth Rollins.
Rollins began laughing hysterically, but Reigns wasn't impressed. There was no official announcement, but Rollins is apparently Reigns next opponent and receives a title shot at the Royal Rumble.