WWE SmackDown recap and reactions: Elimination Chamber build intensifies

The latest episode of WWE SmackDown chose a few interesting ways to build hype towards the upcoming Elimination Chamber event.

Naomi is attacked by Sonya Deville on WWE SmackDown. (Image: WWE)
By Shayne Dias | Feb 12, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

WWE SmackDown returned to television with a show live from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. And it was a mixed bag of a show at best.

The focus is on the Elimination Chamber but it’s WrestleMania season too. And this show saw both special events get plenty of focus.

It even saw a bleeding in of two feuds in the women’s division, as Sonya Deville and Charlotte Flair joined forces to get one up on rivals Naomi and Ronda Rousey, respectively.

Deville opened the show saying she had asked WWE higher-ups to suspend and fine Rousey. Adam Pearce came out and said management had decided instead to ban her from putting hands on Naomi in any way on the night.

Naomi entered the ring, taunted Deville and slapped her off her feet. This came back to haunt Naomi after she lost her WWE SmackDown women’s championship match against Flair.

The two put on a good back-and-fourth encounter but Flair picked up the clean win. No surprise there since this is Flair we’re talking about.

What was notable is that afterwards, Deville came out to mock Naomi and caught a beating but Flair pulled Naomi off and Deville kicked out at her, contravening orders.

Rousey would eventually make the save and the show closed with the babyfaces in the ring and the heels outside. And later a tag match featuring these four was announced for Elimination Chamber.

Not working

Look, everyone knows that Roman Reigns vs Goldberg is a placeholder feud. Reigns is destined for a WrestleMania match against Brock Lesnar at this point.

As for Goldberg… new reports suggest this match at Elimination Chamber is the last on his current deal. He might well re-sign but as things stand, there’s no way he’s winning that match.

Which means that the result of this match is fairly obvious. And WWE is doing nothing of any note to build up the rivalry.

In all fairness, there is no rivalry here: Goldberg simply returned, demanded a match and got it. But surely there is more than can be done? Showing the Lesnar-Goldberg match doesn’t help; neither does having Reigns say that he will “Goldberg Goldberg”.

More is needed. But with only one taped SmackDown between the shows, it seems unlikely we’ll get it.

WWE SmackDown – best of the rest

  • The New Day – Big E and Kofi Kingston – lost to Los Lotharios. What’s interesting is Angel Garza and Humberto Carillo debuted a ‘Kiss Cam’ gimmick while entering the ring. Interesting.
  • Natalya beat Aliyah in a match that could only be won by pinfall or submission. The ending was weird though; Aliyah went for the ropes when in the Sharpshooter but was told there’s no disqualifications, which is fair enough. She then immediately tapped and was saved from a post-match beatdown by Xia Li.
  • Sami Zayn had a talking segment with Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick BOOGS. The segment ended with BOOGS getting zapped and Nakamura eating a Helluva Kick.
  • Happy Corbin beat Cesaro in a singles match.

This SmackDown was segment-heavy and pretty up and down.

Grade: C

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