Tonight's New Year's Eve SmackDown is a special episode on FS1 looking back at WWE's top 10 moments of 2021.
The commercial for tonight's show teases several moments from the year appearing on the list, including Bad Bunny's debut, Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair at WrestleMania, and Big E winning the WWE Championship. The video also focuses on the shocking returns of the year, including John Cena returning at Money in the Bank and Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch's surprise appearances at SummerSlam.
Tonight's broadcast comes the night before WWE's first pay-per-view of 2022. Day 1 features Universal Champion Roman Reigns defending against Brock Lesnar. Also, at the PPV, Big E will defend his WWE Championship against Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Bobby Lashley in a fatal four-way match, Edge will go one-on-one with The Miz, and Becky Lynch will put the Raw Women's Championship on the line against Liv Morgan.
Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Michael Cole introduced his co-host, Pat McAfee to start SmackDown. Cole joked that not even his wife wanted to spend time with him. McAfee's wearing a suit jacket, t-shirt, and shorts. McAfee joked that Cole almost fired him a couple of years ago because of the shorts. McAfee then introduced the guest co-host, Becky Lynch. They introduced the first entrant on the list. A majority of the moments on the list were either from WrestleMania, SummerSlam, or the second half of the year.
10. RK-Bro defeated A.J. Styles & Omos to win the Raw Tag Team Titles SummerSlam 2021
This was a good way to start the list with a fun match featuring RK-Bro.
The heels had the early advantage when they isolated Riddle on their side of the ring. Orton got the hot tag and ran wild on Styles. He caught Styles with a power slam and knocked Omos off the apron. Orton set up for the RKO, but Omos pulled Styles out of the ring.
Riddle jumped off the steps, but Omos caught him with a chokeslam on the apron. Riddle then sent Omos into the ring post, but Styles took out Riddle with a moonsault off the apron.
The finish came when Orton avoided the phenomenal forearm and went for the RKO. Styles countered with a roll-up, but Orton escaped and hit the RKO for the win.
They recapped Roman Reigns' year with a short video. They promoted Reigns defending against Brock Lesnar tomorrow night.
9. Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn (w/Logan Paul) WrestleMania 37
They only showed a brief portion of the match. The main focus was on Logan Paul's involvement, which is probably why it's on the list.
Zayn hit a brainbuster for a close near fall. Owens briefly fought back, but Zayn hit the Helluva Kick to gain control. Zayn went for a second Helluva Kick, but Owens countered with a superkick. Owens then hit a second superkick and the stunner for the win.
After the match, Logan Paul checked on Zayn but then congratulated Owens. Zayn became angry and got in Paul's face. Paul pushed Zayn down, and he walked off. Paul then raised Owens's hand. Owens went to shake Paul's hand but instead hit the stunner.
McAfee and Lynch discussed 2022 resolutions.
8. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Goldberg SummerSlam 2021
They didn't show when Gage Goldberg jumped in to save his father. Instead, they cut as Lashley beat down Goldberg with the chair.
Goldberg set up for the spear, but MVP pulled Lashley out of the ring. Goldberg ran out and hit the spear at ringside. Goldberg set up for the spear again, but MVP hit his knee with a cane. Goldberg started selling his knee and could barely stand. Lashley then placed Goldberg on his shoulders and ran his leg into the ring post. Goldberg couldn't get back to his feet, so the referee called for the bell.
After the match, Lashley attacked Goldberg's knee with a chair.
They recapped Nikki A.S.H. cashing in her Money In The Bank contract and defeating Charlotte Flair to win the Raw Women's Championship.
7. Triple Threat Match: Charlotte Flair defeated Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley to win the Raw Women's Championship SummerSlam 2021
They joined the match towards the finish. Nikki and Ripley tried working together, but Flair fought back. Flair then hit a moonsault to the floor on both Ripley and Nikki. Flair got the figure eight on Ripley back in the ring, but Nikki broke up the submission. Ripley went for the riptide, but Nikki countered into a DDT.
The finish came when Nikki missed a flying crossbody and Flair locked on the figure eight to win the Raw Women's title.
They aired a video featuring Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs' entrance, including Pat McAfee dancing. McAfee continued to dance, but Lynch told him it was too much. Cole noted Nakamura played a vital role in Baron Corbin's year. They recapped Corbin's year from King Corbin to broke Corbin to Happy Corbin.
They took a look at the new superstars that debuted in 2021, including Damien Priest, Omos, Veer Mahaan, Reggie, Xia Li, Los Lotharios, and Austin Theory.
Lynch, McAfee, and Cold discussed Bad Bunny's accomplishments, including competing at WrestleMania.
6. Bad Bunny & Damien Priest defeated The Miz & John Morrison WrestleMania 37
This wasn't a surprise because of Bad Bunny's involvement. The segment's focus was on Bad Bunny's role and him hitting a flying crossbody onto Morison and Miz.
Preist caught Miz with a chokeslam, but Morrison made the save. Priest and Bunny gave Morrison and Miz suplexes for a near fall. Priest took out Miz and Morrison with a dive to the floor. Bunny then hit a flying crossbody to the floor onto the heels.
Priest attempted a tag, but Morrison pulled Bunny off the apron. Bunny recovered and gave Morrison the Canadian Destroyer on the floor. The finish came when Bunny hit a flying crossbody doomsday on Miz for the win.
They recapped the Seth Rollins and Edge feud. It featured Rollins breaking into Edge's home.
Cole, Lynch, and McAfee discussed Rollins and Edge's feud. Lynch noted that Edge was lucky he didn't break into their house.
5. Hell in a Cell: Edge defeated Seth Rollins Crown Jewel
Edge and Rollins had one of WWE's best matches of the year. They didn't show the entire match and started towards the middle.
Rollins went for the con-chair-to, but Edge fought back. Edge went for the spear, but Rollins drove the chair leg into his eye to take over. Rollins followed up with a frog splash for a close near fall. Rollins climbed to the top rope, but Edge pushed him off, and Rollins hit the cell before crashing through a table.
Edge attempted a superplex off the ladder, but Rollins countered with a sunset bomb through the table for a close near fall. Rollins then hit a superkick with a chain wrapped around his foot. He went for the stomp, but Edge hit Rollins with a chair. Edge got back to his feet and hit two superkicks. Edge took the chain off Rollins's foot and wrapped it around his face.
Rollins grabbed a wrench, but Edge took the wrench and applied the cross face. Edge released the submission and hit the stomp on the chair to win.
They recapped Bianca Belair winning the women's Royal Rumble match.
Cole noted that Belair dominated the year, but Lynch pointed out she dominated the second part. Cold asked again if he could go to a party with McAfee and Lynch. They both turned him down. This was a running joke throughout the show.
4. Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks to win the SmackDown Women's Championship WrestleMania 37
Banks and Belair had one of the most emotional WWE matches of the year.
Banks and Belair were both visibly emotional at the start of the match. The fans broke into dueling "Let's go Sasha" and "EST" chants. Banks sent Belair to the floor and hit a sliding dropkick. She followed up with a suicide dive, but Belair rolled through and picked up Banks. Belair walked up the steps while holding Banks and threw her back in the ring.
Banks recovered and locked on the Bank Statment, but Belair made it to the ropes to break the hold. Banks caught Belair in the tree of woe but missed a double foot stomp.
Belair avoided the double knees and hit a 450 splash for a very close near fall. Belair then whipped Banks with her ponytail and went for the KOD. Banks slipped out and went for the backstabber. Belair countered and hit the KOD for the win.
Pat McAfee put together a clip of Michael Cole's greatest moment of the year. They recapped John Cena returning at Money In The Bank to a huge pop.
Cole and McAfee discussed their excitement over Cena's return. Lynch pointed out that she had a more significant return. Cole and McAfee agreed and noted Lynch's return is number three. Lynch was furious her return wasn't number one.
3. Becky Lynch defeated Bianca Belair to win the SmackDown Women's Championship SummerSlam 2021
They aired the entire match except for Lynch attacking Carmella. The segment focused on Lynch's return.
Belair and Carmella faced off in the middle of the ring when Lynch interrupted. The fans gave Lynch a huge reaction and were excited for a Lynch vs. Belair match. Lynch challenged Belair to a title match, and she accepted. Lynch teased shaking Belair's hand but hit the manhandle slam to win the title.
They aired a video taking a closer look at Drew McIntyre. They turned their attention to Big E winning the WWE title. Lynch noted it gave her goosebumps, and she called her mom. Lynch added that nobody has a bad word to say about Big E.
2. Big E defeated Bobby Lashley to win the WWE Championship Monday Night Raw
Big E winning the WWE Championship was one of the highlights of the year.
Lashley struggled to walk up the steps because of his injured knee after defeating Randy Orton. Big E then cashed in his Money In The Bank contract. The finish came when Lashley picked up Big E, but he slipped out and hit the Big Ending to win the WWE Championship. Big E celebrated with New Day after the match.
1. Brock Lesnar Returns at SummerSlam 2021
Lesnar returned at the end of SummerSlam to a massive reaction from the fans. He interrupted Roman Reigns as he celebrated defeating John Cena. Reigns and Heyman were shocked.
Lesnar and Reigns faced off as the fans broke into a loud "This is awesome" chant. Reigns backed off and left the ring as Lesnar celebrated.
Becky Lynch thinks it was a mistake that she wasn't number one on the list because her intials are "B.L." like Lesnar's.
They recapped the Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar feud. The video highlighted Reigns winning the title at Payback and Paul Heyman as his special counsel. The video included Heyman telling Reigns that he's protecting him from Lesnar. Reigns attacked Heyman until Lesnar made the save.
Cole and McAfee ran down the lineup for the Day 1 pay-per-view tomorrow night. Lynch noted she defends her title tomorrow night and promised that 2022 would be her year. Cole wanted to party, but McAfee and Lynch left without him. It ended with Cole spending the night alone. He noted tomorrow is Day 1 and decided to party with McAfee and Lynch anyway.