It was announced this past Friday that Brock Lesnar would be returning to SmackDown the following week. That announcement rained on Sami Zayn’s parade just moments after he became the No. 1 contender for the universal championship by winning a battle royal. Lesnar’s return to SmackDown this week proved to be more of a thunderstorm for Zayn.Lesnar coerced Zayn into cashing in his shot at Roman Reigns’ title during SmackDown instead of waiting for the Day 1 pay-per-view on January 1.
On Day 1, Lesnar was also announced as the challenger to the winner of Reigns vs. Zayn. Already facing long odds, Zayn was brutalised by Lesnar prior to the match, ensuring Lesnar’s chance to avenge his loss to Reigns at Crown Jewel in October.CBS Sports was there for you all night, providing recaps and highlights from the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar has been confirmed for Day 1.
When Brock Lesnar opened the show to discuss his return from suspension, he was cut off by Sami Zayn. Lesnar asked Zayn why he shouldn’t rip Zayn’s head off for the interruption, and Zayn tried to flatter him. Zayn stated that he is the No. 1 contender for the Universal Championship and that he will face Roman Reigns for the title on Day 1 of the event. Lesnar told Zayn that he was being played and that instead of waiting for his title shot, he should fight Reigns later that night and win the title. While declining, Zayn placed his hand on Lesnar’s chest, allowing Lesnar to literally twist his arm until Zayn agreed to cash in his title shot later that night. Later, Sonya Deville made the match official, stating that Lesnar would face the winner of Reigns vs. Zayn on Day 1.
Roman Reigns (c) retains the Universal Championship by defeating Sami Zayn via submission. Before the match, Zayn delivered a ringside promo in which he stated that he never wanted the biggest match of his career to take place in Texas, his least favorite state. Lesnar came out to watch the match, and Zayn suggested that Lesnar assist him in winning because Lesnar has had little success against Reigns.
Lesnar landed a series of German suplexes and an F-5 on Zayn, followed by another after fans chanted for him to do it “one more time.” Lesnar then walked away, propping Zayn in the corner. Reigns made his entrance, hit a spear, and locked in a guillotine choke for a quick victory.
It was clear that Zayn wasn’t going to get a title shot on a major pay-per-view, and Lesnar was the only man who could fill that spot opposite Reigns. Ignoring the fact that last week’s battle royal was a complete waste of time, Lesnar and Zayn had some fun chemistry on the mic early in the show, and this was a decent way to get Zayn out of the way while boosting his character work, in which he believes there is a conspiracy to keep him from progressing in WWE. B+ gradeWhat else went down on WWE Raw?
Shayna Baszler was defeated by Sasha Banks via pinfall with a roll-up. When Banks was able to escape and counter into the Banks Statement before scoring the quick roll-up, Baszler had Banks locked in the Kirifuda Clutch.
Drew McIntyre and Jeff Hardy launched an assault on Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss. Corbin and Moss were hosting “Happy Talk” when they attacked McIntyre and Hardy. McIntyre entered the ring before Hardy struck from behind.The Viking Raiders were defeated by Los Lotharios via pinfall after Humberto Carrillo pinned Erik with a roll-up. Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura came to ringside to distract Los Lotharios, but it set up Carrillo for the pin.
To relieve the tension, Boogs played the Raiders theme song on guitar. Jey Uso defeated Xavier Woods via disqualification after Kofi Kingston interfered. Woods announced Kingston’s return before the match, and it didn’t take long for Kingston to realise he couldn’t wait any longer to exact revenge on the Usos, taking out Jey before Kingston and Woods also ran off Jimmy Uso. Toni Storm smacked Charlotte Flair across the face with a pie.
Storm made it clear earlier in the show that she wants a shot at Flair’s SmackDown women’s championship. Flair came to the ring to make a promo and eventually turned down Storm’s challenge. Storm then dashed out to attack Flair with a pie, just as Flair had done to her the week before.
Cesaro is defeated by Sheamus via pinfall with a Brogue Kick. When Naomi confronted a WWE official backstage, Sonya Deville slapped her. Naomi challenged Deville to a match, and Deville agreed, but only after a slap and a threat that Naomi not touch her while she is acting as an official.
Maya Rudolph | Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @njtimesofficial. To get the latest updates