WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: John Cena, Kevin Owens victorious, Charlotte Flair wins title in return

John Cena is a winner in 2022. Cena returned to WWE SmackDown for his 20th consecutive year of in-ring competition as he teamed with Kevin Owens to defeat Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn.

Reigns and Zayn promised to rid The Bloodline of their Owens problem, but they couldn’t cope with Owens and Cena’s united front. Tasked with picking a partner to take on Reigns and Zayn, Owens couldn’t have made a more impactful choice than to side with the 16-time world champion.

The final SmackDown of 2022 also featured the surprise return of Charlotte Flair. “The Queen” pushed Rousey into an impromptu Women’s Championship match on SmackDown. Rousey, too proud to deny the request immediately after a competitive match against Raquel Rodriguez, backed into a corner.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

Cena makes the difference, Flair shocks Rousey

Heyman praised Zayn for the positive impression he made on Reigns. The tone of their interaction changed when Heyman suggested that Zayn’s growing popularity was a problem. Heyman was concerned about how busy fans were chanting “Sami Zayn” while undisputed champion Reigns was in the ring.

Zayn asked Reigns later that night about what Heyman suggested. Reigns took a moment to think before insisting that fans singing for Zayn didn’t bother him. In fact, he praised Zayn for being so closeted when he was on the mic. Zayn promised it would be a great night for the entire Bloodline stable.

Cena and Owens won. Reigns and Zayn via pinfall after Owens hit Zayn with a stunner. Distant best friends Owens and Zayn started the match. Owens bloodied Zayn’s nose early and teased Zayn for embarrassing himself in front of “The Tribal Chief.” Reigns asked to be tagged by Zayn and invited Cena to the ring. Reigns blindsided Owens when he went to tag Cena. Owens blasted Zayn with a clothesline following a prolonged beating. Reigns pulled Cena off the apron before a tag could be made. It was a miscalculation by Reigns that opened the door for Cena to enter the match. Cena introduced Reigns and Zayn, after which he and Owens delivered a five-joint double shakeup. Cena presented Reigns with an attitude adjustment, after which Owens hit Zayn with a stunner for the pinfall. Owens’ eye was badly broken during the game.

Charlotte Flair made a surprise return to WWE, her first appearance since losing to Rousey at WrestleMania Backlash in May. Flair pushed Rousey to defend her SmackDown Women’s Title moments after defeating Raquel Rodriguez.

SmackDown Women’s Championship – Flair def. Rousey by fall after rolling up Rousey with a schoolboy. It was an extremely short match. Flair countered Rousey’s armbar attempt with a roll-up to clinch the title moments into the match.

WWE didn’t call him on the final show of 2022. Cena’s return generated huge pop and added even more weight to an already meaty storyline involving The Bloodline. Zayn won the pinfall, sowing the seeds of a split between him and Reigns, but it was actually Reigns’ mistake that allowed Cena to enter the match. The only criticism of the main event is that it was pretty short considering the names involved. The match lasted approximately 13 minutes with a commercial break in between. Flair’s return was a pleasant surprise and winning her the title was an unexpected but welcome move. Category B

What else happened on WWE SmackDown

  • Uncle Howdy introduced Bray Wyatt with Sister Abigal after Wyatt accepted LA Knight’s challenge for a match at the Royal Rumble.
  • Solo Sikoa beats. Sheamus by fall after neutralizing it with a Samoan Spike. Drew McIntyre saved Sheamus from an onslaught by Sikoa and The Usos after the match.
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship – Ronda Rousey (c) def. Raquel Rodriguez by submission after locking his trademark armband.
  • Top Dolla Pushed Ricochet after Ricochet and various superstars mocked Top Dolla for her failed dive off the ring ropes two weeks ago.
  • Imperium furnished Braun Strowman with a steel chair and armbar. Ricochet, equipped with a steel chair, scattered the Imperium.

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