WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 3

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2021

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 3

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Beast was back Friday night on SmackDown as Brock Lesnar made his first appearance since an indefinite suspension from WWE official Adam Pearce took him off the show and out of the Universal Championship hunt.

    What did Lesnar do when he emerged from hibernation, and how badly did Roman Reigns and The Bloodline suffer from it? Did he even get his hands on The Head of the Table after months of pent-up frustration?

    Find out now with this recap of Friday's Fox presentation.

Match Card

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    • The Beast is Back!: Brock Lesnar returns from suspension
    • Cesaro vs. Sheamus (with Ridge Holland)
    • King Woods vs. Jey Uso

Brock Lesnar Kicks Off SmackDown and Sami Zayn Interrupts

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    Credit: WWE

    Brock Lesnar kicked off Friday's show to a thunderous ovation and said he is back for one reason: the Universal Championship.

    Sami Zayn, the winner of last week's Black Friday Battle Royal, came to the ring and ran his mouth in an attempt to warm Lesnar up. When The Beast questioned who the hell he is, Zayn said he is the No. 1 contender. Lesnar laughed it off, then attempted to manipulate Zayn into facing Reigns for the Universal Championship tonight.

    When that didn't work, he physically coerced Zayn into competing for the title tonight. Lesnar vowed to be by his side when the match goes down. 

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    Brock questioning who Zayn was, then bullying him into taking his title shot tonight so The Beast can slide into the Day 1 main event was a great bit of business. Lesnar's sense of humor is a really underrated element of his performance when he is allowed to express it like he was here.

    Zayn has been one of the unsung heroes of WWE programming over the last year, and he played off Brock perfectly. The facial expressions, body language and timing were all on-point and made for an entertaining opening segment.

    More importantly, it set up the night's main event and gave fans something to tune in to later in the broadcast.

Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In what would have been a dream match just over a year ago, Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler kicked off the in-ring portion of the night's show. A video package hyped up The Queen of Spades, who had fallen off significantly in recent months.

    Banks controlled early, but Baszler established dominance throughout the commercial break and rocked her opponent with a running knee coming back from the timeout. A defiant Banks slapped Baszler, igniting a comeback. 

    Baszler looked for the Kirifuda Clutch, but Banks countered, first into a rollup, then the Bank Statement. Baszler escaped but could not kick out of another rollup as Banks earned the hard-fought victory.

         

    Result

    Banks defeated Baszler

        

    Grade

    C+

         

    Analysis

    Imagine how much more this match would have meant before Baszler was beaten into mediocrity and treated as an afterthought.

    As it was, the match was solid and put over Banks as a gritty, tough babyface who absorbed what Baszler threw at her and still managed to pick up the win. Why the production team put together a video package of The Queen of Spades, just to beat her straight-up in a match that doesn't appear to have any real impact on things moving forward, is a question only WWE officials can answer.

    Banks feels like she is in a holding pattern at this point, which raises the question: Where is Shotzi? Are we going to pretend like she doesn't have unfinished business with The Boss?

    If so, it is yet another example of the company heating someone up, only to cool them off and move on in near-record time. Why even bother at that point?

Happy Talk with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss Was Interrupted

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    Credit: WWE

    Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss presented another edition of Happy Talk, this time dedicated to making fun of Jeff Hardy and Drew McIntyre following last week's loss in tag team action.

    McIntyre interrupted, threatening to hit the ring with Angela the sword. Instead, Jeff Hardy attacked from behind, and with The Scottish Warrior, they cleared the ring of the heels before standing tall.

        

    Grade

    F

         

    Analysis

    There was no reason whatsoever for this to be on the show other than to get McIntyre and Hardy in front of the fans. Otherwise, this "feud" could have been escalated in a simple backstage confrontation or even a YouTube exclusive video.

    This was a waste of a few minutes of television that did not accomplish anything of any real note.

    If there is any consolation, it is that Hardy sharing the screen with McIntyre will go a long way in establishing him as a main event star on SmackDown.

Viking Raiders vs. Los Lotharios

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Viking Raiders battled Los Lotharios in tag team action.

    Before the match could get going, Angel and Humberto set Erik up for their double-team finisher when Rick Boogs and intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura appeared at ringside. Instead of Boogs' riffing distracting the heels, though, it caught Erik off-guard, allowing Angel to score the rollup victory.

    After the match, Boogs played guitar as a peace offering to Erik and Ivar.

        

    Result

    Los Lotharios defeated The Viking Raiders

         

    Grade

    D

        

    Analysis

    Not only was there nothing to this match, the post-match antics between the babyfaces completely killed any semblance of competition in the tag division.

    By shaking off a loss just to thump their chests as Boogs played guitar, the Viking Raiders essentially admitted that wins and losses are meaningless. Instead of being pissed that they lost because of outside interference, they partied with the offenders.

    Los Lotharios look like geniuses for not allowing their rivals to distract them. Their opponent? Not so much, and that almost certainly was not the desired effect.

King Woods vs. Jey Uso

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    Credit: WWE

    The Usos were cocky and confident ahead of Jey's match with King Woods, only to be met with the return of "The Hand of the King" Kofi Kingston. 

    Before the contest between The Right Hand Man and the 2021 King of the Ring could get started, Jimmy Uso intervened on behalf of his brother, pulling Woods off the ropes. This sparked a brawl that concluded with New Day clearing the ring of the SmackDown tag team champions, much to the dismay of Universal champion Roman Reigns, who watched from his dressing room.

    "There's a lot of things I didn't know about tonight," Reigns said unhappily before questioning his special counsel Paul Heyman on several topics, including Brock Lesnar. He vowed to smash Sami Zayn, then Lesnar if he got anywhere near him.

         

    Result

    Woods defeated Jey Uso

         

    Grade

    D

        

    Analysis

    Like the previous two segments, this was far too quick to be meaningful. The match between Woods and Uso never got out of the gate before the sudden, abrupt conclusion that looked like it may set up a tag team match but ultimately led us backstage to a vignette involving Reigns and Heyman.

    Why WWE felt the need to jam-pack so many segments on this show without giving any of them any real time to click with audiences is a mystery. Instead of delivering quality segments, the creative team appeared content to shove as much as it could on to the show without worrying if any of it was any good or had enough time to breathe.

    As a result, it was the third segment in a row that did nothing for anyone involved and existed simply for the sake of existing.

Toni Storm Repays Charlotte Flair

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    Credit: WWE

    SmackDown women's champion Charlotte Flair made her way to the ring to issue a warning to No. 1 contender Toni Storm.

    Flair applauded herself for the embarrassment she dealt Storm a week ago and asked the crowd to imagine what she will do once she has the Aussie in the ring. Flair said she considered Storm's challenge and the answer is...still "no."

    Flair exited as the commentary team questioned why she won't just grant the match if she's that sure she can beat the former NXT competitor. As she stopped on the ramp, Storm appeared with a pie and smashed it in The Queen's face.

         

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    Another rapid-fire segment.

    The grade here reflects Flair's performance. Ever-confident, always sure of herself, she again turned down Storm's challenge with no explanation given. Clearly, she knows the 2018 Mae Young Classic winner is a threat to her title or she would just accept the match and get it over with.

    The way she commands attention, condescending everyone from the fans to her opponent while doing so, is an underrated element of Flair's performance. She is wholly unlikable, and it makes generating heat for her feuds and matches that much easier. 

    That she has the confidence that she does on the microphone allows her to talk people into caring about what she is involved in. It's a trait her father had and excelled in for nearly 40 years. It benefits Charlotte, her opponent and the feud all at the same time.

Cesaro vs. Sheamus

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Former five-time tag team champions Cesaro and Sheamus battled in singles competition while the latter's protege, Ridge Holland, watched on a monitor in the backstage area.

    The Celtic Warrior weathered an onslaught from his former partner to regain control of the bout. Some trash-talking by the two-time WWE champion ignited a fire in The Swiss Superman, but Sheamus quickly snuffed it out with a Brogue Kick for the pinfall victory.

        

    Result

    Sheamus defeated Cesaro

         

    Grade

    C-

         

    Analysis

    Imagine booking Sheamus and Cesaro, hyping it prior to the show, then giving it less than five minutes of ring time.

    It is apropos given the frustrating nature of this show, which featured a ton of segments that benefited no one. That was certainly the case here, as Cesaro was steamrolled by Sheamus, who was fighting "to show Ridge Holland how it's done."

    Cool. The established Sheamus beats an over babyface in a few minutes, damaging his opponent's credibility while doing what? Proving he is superior to the guy the company is hoping is a key player in its future?

    This didn't hit like creative thought it would, and worse, it hurt Cesaro in the process.

    What a strange show to this point in the broadcast.

Naomi Challenges Sonya Deville; Roman Reigns Defends Against Sami Zayn

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    Credit: WWE

    Backstage, Naomi confronted WWE official Sonya Deville and challenged her to a match. Deville said as long as she wears the suit of a WWE official, Naomi will not lay a hand on her, but if she's in her wrestling gear, it's fine. Naomi asked if that means she's accepting the challenge, to which Deville smacked her face. "Yes, I am," she said before walking away.

    Back in the arena, Sami Zayn talked about Brock Lesnar being his guardian angel ahead of his match with Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. The Beast proceeded to beat the hell out of him, delivering three German suplexes before flattening him with the F-5.

    Lesnar left Zayn propped up in the corner heading into the final break of the night.

    Reigns made his way to the ring and, after The Usos lifted the lifeless body of Zayn off the mat, delivered a spear and applied the guillotine for the successful title defense. The Head of the Table is now headed to Day 1 on January 1 for a date with Lesnar.

         

    Result

    Reigns defeated Zayn to retain the title

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    The show started and ended with its best: Lesnar.

    The Beast smiling as he made his way to the ring was ominous enough. Zayn's complete obliviousness in relation to the danger he faced anytime he shared the ring with Lesnar was comedic, as was Brock propping him up in the corner and patting his chest for good measure after beating his ass.

    Reigns taking advantage of it all, despite knowing a date with Lesnar awaited the winner, was interesting and suggests The Tribal Chief may be just arrogant enough to think he is superior to his longtime rival.

    Kudos to Zayn for knowing exactly what his role was and executing it to perfection. He is a threat to steal the show out from underneath anyone who shares the ring with him, yet tonight, he worked extremely well with Lesnar to create some fun, humorous, entertaining segments that stood head and shoulders above everything else produced for this week's show.

    On another note, if Naomi vs. Deville actually goes down as advertised, it will be red-hot. Fans are ready to see Naomi get her hands on the megalomaniacal WWE official and pay her back for months of frustration and disappointment.

    It just feels like the wrong setting for that match, so do not be surprised if it doesn't go as planned. 

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