– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown on FOX opens live from the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin as Michael Cole welcomes us. He’s joined at ringside by Wade Barrett. The pyro goes off as fans cheer and the announcers hype the show.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Braun Strowman vs. GUNTHER
We go right to the ring and out comes Braun Strowman to a pop. He stops and poses at the entrance-way, then marches to the ring as the pyro explodes. Out next comes Imperium – WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER with Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser. They stop at ringside and GUNTHER sends his stablemates to the back. We see recent happenings between Strowman and Imperium. Champion and challenger face off in the ring now as Samantha Irvin does formal ring introductions.
Cole points out how Strowman and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL partnered to create Strowman’s custom boots tonight, to remember a young fan named Jackson Sparks, who was killed in the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack from 2021. The boots will be auctioned later on to benefit the Waukesha Christmas Parade Memorial Fund. They lock up and go at it. Strowman tries to intimidate GUNTHER as they break. They go to lock up again but GUNTHER retreats to the floor as fans boo. GUNTHER comes back in and they lock up but Strowman launches GUNTHER out.
Strowman follows and works GUNTHER over, sending him into the ring post. Strowman drops GUNTHER and returns to the ring as the referee counts. Strowman plays to the crowd for cheers. The Strowman Express starts up now and Braun runs around the ring, then launches GUNTHER over the announce table with a big shoulder. Strowman yells out at ringside as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re going at it. Braun is sent into the steel ring steps. GUNTHER slams the arm into the apron before they go back in. GUNTHER kicks the arm and grounds Strowman now, working on the arm. GUNTHER slams Strowman, then delivers more strikes. GUNTHER grounds Braun with an armbar now.
Braun fights back but GUNTHER nails a forearm to the shoulder. GUNTHER with a big knee drop to the shoulder for a 2 count. GUNTHER grounds Braun again. Strowman keeps fighting but he’s grounded again. GUNTHER continues working on the shoulder now. GUNTHER with a big chop. Braun fights back with forearms but he gets chopped again. Braun fights up and out with forearms, then clotheslines, leveling GUNTHER. Braun rallies and nails a back-drop across the ring.
Kaiser runs own and attacks Strowman from the floor but Braun grabs him as fans boo Imperium. Vinci runs over and nails a Drive-By while Braun has Kaiser by his neck from the ring. GUNTHER has the referee distracted. Strowman fights off both Vinci and Kaiser from the ring, but GUNTHER runs over and pounds on Strowman in the corner. Strowman fights back but GUNTHER charges. Strowman catches GUNTHER in a big powerslam for a close 2 count. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and GUNTHER has Braun grounded in a scissors. Strowman powers up into another big slam and now they’re both down. Fans chant for Strowman as they get up. GUNTHER with big chops but Strowman fights back with each blow. Fans go along with them. Strowman elbows GUNTHER away but GUNTHER nails a big boot.
GUNTHER charges but Braun nails a big Spinebuster for 2. Braun is a bit frustrated. Fans pop as Braun calls for the end. He goes for the Monster Bomb but GUNTHER twists the arm up and decks the shoulder. GUNTHER charges with a big right hand to the jaw. He charges again but Braun clotheslines him. Braun charges into the corner but hits the turnbuckles shoulder-first as GUNTHER moves. GUNTHER with a dropkick and a big lariat for another close 2 count. GUNTHER goes to the top and hits the flying plash but Strowman kicks out.
GUNTHER is frustrated. He goes back to the top but Braun cuts him off. Braun rocks GUNTHER and climbs up for a superplex. GUNTHER resists and works on the hurt arm up top. GUNTHER stands on the ring apron now, then chops Braun and slams his arm into the top of the ring post. GUNTHER with a big powerbomb to slam Braun from the top to the mat for the pin to win and retain.
– After the match, GUNTHER stands tall as the music hits and we go to replays. GUNTHER raises the title from the entrance-way as Braun looks on from the ring, trying to recover.
– Tonight’s Progressive Match Flo video looks back at recent happenings with The Bloodline and Kevin Owens, and what led to tonight’s match between Owens and Sami Zayn. We see Sami walking backstage now. He stops at The Bloodline’s locker room suite and knocks. Paul Heyman comes out. Sami wants to go in there and talk strategy with the guys. Heyman says he’s the only one here tonight. Sami is confused. He says he spoke to Solo Sikoa and Undisputed Tag Team Champions The Usos earlier in the day. Heyman says last week he told The Tribal Chief that Zayn vs. Owens would be the perfect chance for Sikoa and The Usos to attack Owens, but The Tribal Chief told The Wise Man that he was wrong. Heyman says Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns then asked what kind of love would he be showing Sami if he doubted him and didn’t let him do this for The Bloodline on his own. Heyman says tonight, out of love, Reigns wants Sami to do this all by himself. Sami seems a bit upset when he asks Heyman for a favor… he tells Heyman to call or text Reigns and tell him he made the right call. Sami says he will handle this, he will solve this problem tonight. Heyman smiles and says that’s why Reigns is in awe of Sami. Sami says that is not a prediction, it’s a spoiler. Sami and Heyman smile as Sami walks off. Heyman now rolls his eyes and looks annoyed. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and out comes Rey Mysterio to a big pop.
Rey says he’s always looked at the holidays as a special time, especially when you’ve been on the road for years because you cherish that family time, especially Christmas. Rey says we all know he didn’t have a merry Christmas because his son Dominik Mysterio ruined things again. Rey says now his son is walking around like he’s some sort of thug and as a father, that breaks his heart, but as a man, he’s pretty fed up. Fans pop. Rey came to SmackDown for a fresh start and he won’t let Dominik distract him. Rey knows just what he needs to do to stay on track and that’s enter the Royal Rumble. The music interrupts and out comes Karrion Kross and Scarlett.
Kross enters the ring and stares Rey down as the lights flash. Kross halts the music and takes the mic to some boos. Kross says Rey needs goals, or else Kross doesn’t know how Rey peels his old ass out of bed every day. Kross goes on and says we all remember 17 years ago when Rey won The Rumble in 2006. Kross is sure that was a special moment for Rey and his son Dominik. Kross asks Rey why he’s looking at him like that. Kross says nevermind, Rey doesn’t know if it was special for Dominik because Rey was never around his family then. Kross says he and Scarlett were backstage talking and they wondered – who does Rey hate more… his son for not growing up like Rey did, or himself for failing to raise Dominik to be just like him.
Rey rocks Kross, then unloads with punches. Kross catches Rey in a bear hug but Rey fights off. Rey keeps fighting and drops Kross into the ropes for 619. Rey runs but Scarlett distracts him from ringside. Kross takes advantage and chokes Rey out with the Kross Jacket as fans boo and the lights go red. Scarlett holds up a Mysterio tarot card at ringside as she watches Rey fade away. Kross stands back up as the music hits. He and Scarlett head to the back while Rey is laid out in the ring.
– Liv Morgan, Emma and Maxxine Dupri are backstage. Emma respects Liv for being fearless but she’s not sure about Liv entering the Women’s Royal Rumble at #1, saying maybe it’s not the best way to get to WrestleMania. Maxxine says this is the worst idea she’s ever heard, Liv doesn’t have a chance to win so it doesn’t matter when she comes out. Raquel Rodriguez walks up and says she wouldn’t go that far, but they are making some good points, Liv. Raquel says don’t get me wrong, Liv has the fighting spirit to take on 29 others but wouldn’t the best strategy be to enter later? Raquel says for what it’s worth, she thinks someone of Liv’s size has a better chance to succeed if they enter later. Raquel is excited to be in her first Rumble an she feels like she was built to win this. Liv says for what it’s worth, she got her palm read today. She shows it to Raquel but slaps her instead. Liv wants to wrestle Liv tonight. Raquel steps to Liv and she’s upset. She speaks some in Spanish and says she’s sick and tired of everyone forgetting she’s the biggest and strongest around. Raquel accepts the challenge. Liv laughs and taunts Raquel, then walks off.
Xia Li vs. Tegan Nox
We go back to the ring and out comes Xia Li. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Tegan Nox is wrapping up her entrance. They lock up and go a tit. Nox with right hands and a flurry of strikes, then an uppercut to drop Li. Nox slams Li face-first into the mat.
Nox with a corner cannonball. Nox goes to the top but Li crotches her. Li slams Nox to the mat and covers for 2. Li grounds Nox from behind now. Nox fights up but gets slammed back down. Nox fights back up and tosses Li to the mat. Li rocks Nox in the gut as she charges in.
Li kicks Nox back into the corner, then climbs up and strikes down on her. Nox fights out of the corner now but Li keeps fighting back. Li with an overhead throw out of the corner.
Li waits in the corner now, telling Nox to get up. Li charges but misses a spin kick after Nox moves. Nox comes right back with the Shiniest Wizard for the pin to win.
Winner: Tegan Nox
– After the match, Nox goes right to the floor to celebrate as her music hits. Li looks on from the ring and she’s not happy.
– We see how The Usos retained the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles over Sheamus and Drew McIntyre last week. We also see the post-show segment where The Viking Raiders attacked Sheamus and McIntyre. We cut to a new vignette and we see Valhalla standing with Erik and Ivar. She says when the Gods speak, she listens. Erik and Ivar say they obey. Valhalla says she has seen two fallen warriors sentenced to battle – McIntyre and Sheamus. The Viking Raiders say suffering awaits them. Drew and Sheamus are backstage with Adam Pearce now. Drew is going to make Pearce’s job easy – they want The Vikings tonight. Sheamus says those lunatics can wait, he wants The Usos tonight. Sheamus and Drew chop each other while having a friendly argument over who they want to fight tonight. Pearce gets in between and says he has a solution that will make them both happy. Pearce is kicking off a tournament next week and the winners will earn a shot at The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, and Sheamus and McIntyre are in the tournament. Drew says that’s only a half solution. Pearce says their opponents in the first round will be The Viking Raiders. Drew says that idea is perfect. Sheamus says this tournament will include banger after banger after banger, and so on.
– Still to come, Bray Wyatt is here. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and out comes Bray Wyatt with his lantern. The arena lights up with fireflies as Wyatt slowly heads to the ring.
Wyatt enters the ring and takes the mic as we see recent happenings with LA Knight and Uncle Howdy. Cole plugs the Lights Out match with Knight at the Royal Rumble. Wyatt has a spotlight on the middle of the ring now, shining on his rocking chair.
Fans pop as Wyatt takes a seat in the chair. He gives a shout-out to Green Bay and says we’re here. Wyatt laughs and says it’s wild how we sometimes forget who we are, and what made us in the first place. He says all it takes is a little push to come along and send u in the right direction, and then all of a sudden you understand all u had to do all along was revel in what you are. Wyatt says just lik that it all comes back to him… he remembers things lost, he remembers that he is the color red in a world of black and white, that he is the Eater of Worlds, he is Uncle Howdy, he is him. Wyatt goes on and declares he is everything, he is Bray Wyatt. Fans pop again.
Wyatt knows who he is, but who are you? He says at the Royal Rumble it will be his true rebirth, a baptism in the dark and as for Knight, know this son… when the lights go out, you should run. The graphics flash and the lights go dark to end the segment.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with Kevin Owens. She brings up the Royal Rumble match Roman Reigns for the title. Sami Zayn appears to interrupt. Sami asks Owens if he’s happy about all this, about what he’s making Sami do tonight. Sami says Owens could’ve left him alone, left him to be with The Bloodline and stayed on RAW. Owns says The Bloodline came to RAW and caused this. Owens didn’t ask for this match or the tag match with John Cena, it was Rigns who did. Owens goes on about Reigns using Sami. Sami tells him to get it through his head – he is not being used. Sami asks Owens how many tims he has to see Reigns hug him or The Usos get along with him, this is family and Owens doesn’t understand. Sami has to handle his business tonight and he’s proud to. Owens says he will see Sami out there. Sami storms off.
Liv Morgan vs. Raquel Rodriguez
We go back to the ring and out first comes Liv Morgan. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Kayla Braxton is with Imperium backstage, asking WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER if his win over Braun Strowman gave him the momentum he needs. Ludwig Kaiser says momentum is essential in all success. Giovanni Vinci says GUNTHER set an example of what it means to be a true champion. GUNTHER, who is icing his neck, says this is a glorious day because he’s overcome his biggest challenge so far. For the love of this great sport and the honor of this great title, he’s beaten Strowman. He says now it’s time to capitalize and go on to the Royal Rumble, where he will throw out body after body from their sacred mat, then he will go on to where The Ring General belongs – the main event of WrestleMania 39. We go back to the ring and out comes Raquel Rodriguez as Liv looks on. The bell rings and they go at it. Liv is having trouble over-powering Raquel.
Raquel with a big boot. Raquel sends Liv to the floor and taunts her a bit. Liv comes back in and fights, sending Raquel into the corner. Liv with a hip attack in the corner but Raquel levels her with a big shoulder. Raquel raises Liv in a bear hug but she fights out. They tangle and Liv tries to dump Raquel over the top rope but she can’t.
Raquel fights back and slams Liv into the turnbuckles. Liv shakes it off and hulks up. Liv charges and nails a knee in the corner. Liv with a missile dropkick off the middle rope. Liv clotheslines Raquel over the top rope to the floor. Liv taunts Raquel from the ropes now. Raquel pulls her out and scoops her to launch her into the ring post, but Liv slides out and rams Raquel face-first into the post.
Liv launches Raquel into the steel ring steps now. Liv returns to the ring and breaks the count, then goes back out, where Raquel is still down. Liv goes under the ring and brings a table out as fans pop. Liv drags the table over and positions it in front of the announcers, but stops to break the count. She goes back to setting the table up, then stops to kick Raquel.
Liv places Raquel on the table and goes back to the top turnbuckle. Raquel rolls off the table and enters the ring to prevent the big table bump. Liv flies off the top but Raquel swats her out of mid-air. Raquel with the big Texana Bomb in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
Winner: Raquel Rodriguez
– After the match, Raquel stands tall and has her arm raised as the music hits. We go to replays. Rodriguez continues her celebration as Liv recovers.
– We see how SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair retained over Sonya Deville last week. Deville is backstage berating Adam Pearce now. She wants a rematch against Flair. Pearce understands but she lost and he can’t give her a rematch, that’s not how it works. Deville acts like Flair has special treatment. Pearce says the only difference is Flair won, Deville lost. Deville says Pearce is being unreasonable. She asks if he expects her to enter the Royal Rumble to earn a title shot, and he does. Deville says she is going to find a way to make the rematch official. Deville walks off.
– Still to come, Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see Charlotte Flair brawling with Sonya Deville backstage. Officials enter the room and tell them to break it up. Flair says she didn’t start this. They continue brawling until Flair tosses Deville over a production case. Security and officials tell them to stop, this is over. Flair says she stopped. Deville attacks from behind again and the brawl continues.
– We get the second Cody Rhodes recovery vignette, which premiered earlier this week on RAW.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
We go back to the ring and out first comes Sami Zayn for the main event. Sami is fired up and ready to fight as we go back to commercial as he raises his 1 in the air.
Back from the break and out comes Kevin Owens. The bell rings and Owens offers his hand for a shake. Sami hesitates and kicks the hand, then shoves Owens and tells him to bring it. They lock up and Owens applies a headlock, then drops Sami with a shoulder.
Sami slaps Owens. Owens tackles him and unloads with right hands. Owens chases Sami outside and clotheslines him on the floor for a pop. Owens taunts Sami and works him over, chopping him and rolling him back in. Sami catches Owens coming back in, then stomps away. Sami runs the ring and leaps over the top rope, taking Owens back down on the floor.
Owens counters on the floor and launches Sami into the barrier, then unloads with right hands. Owens brings it back in but Sami rolls out. Sami rocks Owens as he approaches, then drops him on the back of his neck onto the edge of the apron. Owens lands hard and hits the floor as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Sami stomps away on Owens to keep him down in the corner. Owens fights back but Sami turns it back around, then stomps away and yells. Owens talks some trash back. Sami takes Owens to the corner for shoulder thrusts as the referee counts.
Sami takes Owens to the top but Owens fights back. Owens prevents a superplex but headbutting Sami to the mat. Owens flies and hits the big Frogsplash but Sami kicks out just in time. Sami blocks a Pop-Up Powerbomb and turns it into a Blue Thunderbomb. Owens kicks out and Sami can’t believe it. They brawl some more. Sami nails a suplex but Owens comes right back with a lariat. They both are down as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Owens is going up top. He flies for the big Swanton Bomb but Sami gets his knees up. Owens kicks out at 2 and Sami is frustrated. We see how Sami hit a big tornado DDT during the break for 2. Fans chant “this is awesome!” now. Sami takes Owens back to the top but Owens counters with the super Brainbuster. Sami is laid out. They trade big shots from their knees now. Sami with a big Exploder suplex, and another.
Owens slowly crawls for the corner as Sami prepares in the opposite corner for the Helluva Kick. Before Sami can run for the kick, Solo Sikoa and Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos rush the ring and beat Owens down in the corner. The referee calls the match.
Winner by DQ: Kevin Owens
– After the bell, Sami looks on shocked as Owens is triple teamed in the corner. The Usos hit the 1D on Owens. The Usos and Sikoa take Owens to the floor as Sami watches from the apron, still in disbelief. Owens fights The Usos off but Sikoa hits him with the Samoan Spike, then a superkick. The Usos hold Owens for another Samoan Spike from Sikoa. The Usos tell Sami they’re doing this for him. Sami says he was handling business. The Usos tell Sami he did good but he’s not happy. Fans boo as The Usos point to Sami and raise their 1s up. Sami also raises his 1 but he’s hesitating. We see Sikoa standing on top of the barrier now, several feet away. Sikoa runs the top of the barrier and leaps, putting Owens through the announce table. Sikoa stands tall and yells out as Sami’s continues to look disappointed. The Usos and Sikoa stand over Owens and the table debris now, and Sami slowly joins them. They all raise their 1s in the air as the music starts up and we go to replays. SmackDown goes off the air with The Bloodline standing over a fallen Owens.