WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from December 24

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2021

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from December 24

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    Credit: WWE.com

    'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the place, Toni Storm and Charlotte Flair wiped stale pie from their face.

    Flair's women's title was on the line, and the stakes were high. Fans hoped the end of The Queen's reign soon would be nigh.

    A gauntlet match and Miracle on 34th Street Fight rounded out the show. Nothing could turn down the heat, not even some snow.

    This is the recap of Christmas Eve SmackDown on Friday night. Happy Holidays to all and to the Superstars of WWE, a good fight.

Match Card

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    • Miracle on 34th Street Fight: Drew McIntyre and The New Day vs. Madcap Moss and The Usos
    • SmackDown Women's Championship match: Toni Storm vs. Charlotte Flair
    • 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet match for a shot at the Intercontinental Championship: Shanky vs. Ricochet vs. Erik vs. Ivar vs. Angel vs. Humberto vs. Mansoor vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Drew Gulak

Paul Heyman Addresses the Events of Last Week

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    Credit: WWE.com

    A video package recapping the firing of Paul Heyman by Universal champion Roman Reigns on last week's show kicked off Friday's episode. From there, cameras caught up with Heyman, who sat across from Kayla Braxton for a special interview, gray stubble adorning his tired face.

    When asked if he regrets telling The Tribal Chief the truth a week ago, he said no, explaining it was in his role to tell him the difficult truths. Heyman said he would not be going to NXT, cherry-picking a new talent and starting over.

    Heyman said he put everything into being the special counsel for The Head of the Table. "Without that...maybe it's time for me to acknowledge that my career is most likely over."






    Heyman not shaving, allowing gray to grow into his hairline and looking all kinds of beaten, worn and exhausted, was a great touch and really hammered home the emotional toll the last week has taken on him.

    It was interesting that he even teased scouring NXT for a new talent before suggesting his career may be over. It is highly unlikely that will be the case. Heyman has been one of the best characters on any WWE property all year. He understands nuance and detail in a way few others do. He is a master of his craft and a joy to watch every week, if only because you really never know exactly what you're getting out of the godfather of extreme.

    Where he goes from here isn't known, but whatever he does—whether it is returning to Reigns' side, advocating for Brock Lesnar or making his presence felt elsewhere—will make for must-watch television.

SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Toni Storm vs. Charlotte Flair

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    Credit: WWE.com

    One week after upsetting SmackDown women's champion Charlotte Flair in tag team action, Toni Storm challenged The Queen for her title in the night's opening match. Flair demonstrated her dominance early, often and through the commercial break. Her hubris got the best of her, though, as her insults and condescension fired the challenger up and allowed her to mount a comeback.

    Flair cut her off again and reestablished control. Storm reversed a Figure Four and fought the champ to the floor. Flair attempted to cheat her way to victory, but the referee caught her with her hands on the ropes during a roll-up attempt. It mattered not, though, as The Queen later reversed a roll-up attempt by the challenger and scored the clean pinfall victory.



    Flair defeated Storm






    That was a disappointment, hampered significantly by the same questionable booking that has plagued this feud from the start. Why even tease Flair needing to use the ropes to beat Storm if she is then going to beat her clean in the middle of the ring just moments later?

    Storm was never allowed to have a sustained offensive flurry, instead constantly reacting to Flair. She fought out of The Queen's submission, escaped her grasp and delivered a move or a strike in retaliation, but she was never allowed to build any momentum.

    She was gobbled up and spit out, the victim of one-sided booking that undid everything that worked so well last week. So much so that it is difficult to see this feud continuing in a way that generates fans' excitement when they just watched a month's worth of television culminate with Flair dominating the action and not even needing to cheat to pick up the win.

    It's probably best to let Storm out of this creative hell before too much damage is done to the character for it ever to recover.

12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The next challenger to Shinsuke Nakamura's Intercontinental Championship was determined in the night's second match, a 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet match.

    Angel of Los Lotharios and Mansoor started the action. After a few minutes of back-and-forth action, the heel delivered the Wing Clipper to send the Saudi Arabian competitor packing. (Mansoor eliminated)

    Erik of The Viking Raiders hit the ring as Angel's next opponent as the show went to break. Back from the commercial, Erik rocked Angel with a knee to the face and then downed him with a suplex for two. An ill-advised blind charge into the corner allowed Angel to recover and deliver the Wing Clipper for another win. (Erik eliminated)

    The 7'1" Shanky entered the match next and made short work of Angel, flattening his shorter opponent for the decisive victory. (Angel eliminated)

    The Viking Raiders' Ivar arrived next, fighting power with power and putting the inexperienced big away with a middle-rope splash. (Shanky eliminated)

    Former WWE and world heavyweight champion Sheamus was out next, entering the ring with considerable swagger as he sought to get back to his title-winning ways on SmackDown. Ivar rocked Sheamus heading into the commercial, but The Celtic Warrior controlled coming out of it. Ridge Holland made his presence felt at ringside, watching his mentor wear down his larger opponent. Ivar fought back but walked into a Brogue Kick as Sheamus advanced. (Ivar eliminated)

    The criminally underrated and underutilized Drew Gulak entered next but was immediately sent packing following a Brogue Kick after five or so seconds. (Gulak eliminated)

    Cesaro entered next, going right after his former tag team partner following a sneak attack that left him at the mercy of Holland last week. The Swiss Superman started hot but found himself on the defensive as Sheamus targeted his ribs. Cesaro failed to execute his Swing because of the injured ribs, and after interference from Holland, Sheamus put him away with a Brogue Kick. (Cesaro eliminated)

    Ricochet hit the ring next, immediately taking the fight to The Celtic Warrior and leaving him reeling entering the commercial break. The One and Only was forced to fight from underneath coming out of the timeout, delivering a tornado DDT as Michael Cole and Pat McAfee questioned whether exhaustion was becoming a factor for the heel.

    Ricochet tried for a springboard moonsault, but Sheamus got the knees up and earned a close near-fall off it. Cesaro reappeared moments later and wiped out Holland. Ricochet capitalized on the distraction for the pinfall victory. (Sheamus eliminated)

    After a cheap Brogue Kick from Sheamus, Humberto of Los Lotharios hit the ring and tried to capitalize. He drove Ricochet into the corner with a dropkick. He tried to follow up with a moonsault, but Ricochet got his feet up and added the Recoil to send him to the showers. (Humberto eliminated)

    Former WWE champion Jinder Mahal entered next, overpowering Ricochet immediately as he looked to cash his ticket to a title match with Nakamura. He set up for the Khallas, but the babyface rolled through for the quick win. (Mahal eliminated)

    Sami Zayn entered the match last, his health significantly improved from the last time we saw him F-5'd by Brock Lesnar. After several moments of the conspiracy-minded competitor dominating and talking trash, Ricochet caught him with a jumping hurricanrana for a dramatic two-count. He fought out of one exploder suplex but found himself launched into the corner by Zayn. Ricochet recovered and tried for a Shooting Star Press, but Zayn got the knees up, delivered another exploder and ended the match with a Helluva Kick.



    Zayn won the 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet






    What you expected to be good was, and everything else was mostly meh.

    Other than Sheamus, Cesaro, Ricochet and Zayn, it was fairly obvious that no one else involved stood a chance in hell of winning this. The stuff involving the former two escalated their rivalry, while Ricochet looked like a world-beater during his run in the match.

    Zayn winning is the right call, though.

    Fresh off the stuff with Brock Lesnar, he is as hot as he has been in a long time. Striking while the proverbial iron is hot and giving him a shot at a title feels like the right call. That the match is against Nakamura, a guy he previously wrestled in one of the greatest matches of the last decade while they were in NXT, could be the spark the blue brand's midcard vision needs.

    If it is not, at least we know the match will still be good.

Miracle on 34th Street Fight: Drew McIntyre and New Day vs. Madcap Moss and Usos

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    Credit: WWE

    The annual holiday tradition continued in the form of a Miracle on 34th Street Fight in the night's main event as King Woods, Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre battled SmackDown tag team champions The Usos and Madcap Moss, accompanied by Happy Corbin.

    Early success by the babyfaces came to a screeching halt when Corbin interjected himself, beating McIntyre down with a candy cane-themed kendo stick. After the break, Moss worked over the former WWE champion while The Usos dominated New Day with gift boxes and Christmas trees at ringside.

    Woods introduced a steel chair and delivered a Van Daminator to Jey Uso while Kingston delivered the Boom Drop to Jimmy inside the squared circle.

    The action intensified and a rejuvenated McIntyre unloaded on Moss. A Claymore attempt was interrupted by Corbin, who quickly found himself trapped between the three babyfaces. Woods poured eggnog on Corbin, and then McIntyre added another pitcher to the former king and one to Moss. A Claymore to Moss followed as McIntyre and New Day picked up the win.



    McIntyre and New Day defeated Moss and The Usos






    Mindless fun.

    This was little more than the typical holiday-themed match, with a slight preview of what is to come on New Year's Day as part of the Day 1 pay-per-view, and it didn't have to be anything else. Not on a pre-taped theme show like this one.

    McIntyre is so vastly superior to Moss that the idea that WWE Creative would even try to convince us otherwise is comical, yet Moss never looked out of place here.

    A veteran of the WWE developmental system, he has the tools and raw athleticism to succeed in a higher-profile role. It's just unfortunate his opportunity is coming as one-half of the most groan-worthy act in the entire company.

    And that covers quite a bit of real estate.

    This sent the fans in attendance home happy, entertained the viewers at home and was inoffensive. You cannot ask for more than that on these through-the-motions holiday shows.