Let’s not dance around this: The Dec. 10 episode of SmackDown sucked. With a couple of exceptions, WWE packed as much of their crap booking tendencies into this show as possible, and unlike most weeks, Roman Reigns wasn’t around to mask some of that stench.
But, as mentioned, this show wasn’t a complete waste of time. Fans got to enjoy a couple of moments that gave them a brief respite from the rest of the nonsense, and those instances of glee are what we’re here to discuss today.
These are the two things that went right on the Dec. 10 episode of SmackDown.
Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn (and Paul Heyman)
The praise for this segment goes the Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn — and their chemistry with one another — for propping up what was an otherwise rote, long opening to the show. It’s always fun seeing Lesnar show off a more comedic side while still maintaining his monster aura, and Zayn matched that hilarity with his “heel is in a wheelchair and a neck brace after getting beaten up” bit.
It’s a shame that WWE starts most episodes of Raw and SmackDown this way; it’s gotten to a point where any time one of those programs begins with a match feels like receiving an early Christmas present.
Fortunately, Lesnar and Zayn (and Paul Heyman, who was also great in this segment) can make even the laziest dreck from WWE entertaining, so kudos to them.
Xia Li’s SmackDown debut
Between yet another bait-and-switch with an advertised Naomi vs. Sonya Deville match and more heel shenanigans (Deville named Natalya as the guest ring announcer and Shayna Baszler as the guest timekeeper) there was plenty to criticize about the latest chapter in WWE’s latest heel authority figure-centric storyline.
WWE designed this angle to give Naomi a need for some backup, and she got it in the form of the debuting Xia Li, who helped Naomi fend off the heels. Aside from Li’s assistance making sense given that WWE built her up for weeks as a “protector” who looks out for those who are in a bind, it also established her as credible threat in the ring, a testament to WWE’s work here and her portrayal of the character.
Also, it was nice to see one of these Naomi/Sonya segments that didn’t end with HEAT.