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John Cena is back. Cena will step into a WWE ring for the 20th year in a row on the Second Last Day of 2022 when he teams up with Kevin Owens to take on Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn.

Undisputed WWE Champion Reigns has announced his intention to rid The Bloodline of their Owens problem. Reigns would team up with Zayn to take on Owens and a partner of Owens’ choosing on the December 30 episode of SmackDown. In a shocking twist, that partner turned out to be a 16-time world champion and Hollywood superstar.

The latest presentation of the blue brand also featured two championship matches. Gunther defended his Intercontinental Championship against SmackDown World Champion Ricochet, who defeated him for the title in June. Women’s tag team champions Dakota Kai and Iyo Skye defended their crowns against the newly united front of Liv Morgan and Tegan Knox.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

Cena joins Owens in his battle against The Bloodline

Zayn arrived at SmackDown with The Usos in a limo. A little later in the evening, Zayn, hair up, beard trimmed and wearing a charcoal suit, was nervous about the pending announcement. He excused himself to get some water. Jey Uso was excited for Zayn to become the full Use, but Jimmy Uso was worried that it wasn’t in the cards for The Honorable Uso and that they were disappointing him.

Reigns arrived a little later in the evening, accompanied by Bloodline’s lawyer Solo Sikoa and special counsel Paul Heyman.

Jimmy Uso approached Reigns and asked if Reigns was really going to keep Jimmy Uso away for the big announcement. Jimmy Uso said he loves Zayn and would like to see Zayn officially invited to The Bloodline, but also that he loves Reigns and his family and will figure out if it’s best to continue without Zayn involved. Reigns told Heyman to call out the authority figure Adam Pearce.

Heyman, on behalf of Reigns, offered Pearce the opportunity to book a match; Reigns and Zayn vs. Kevin Owens and a partner of his choice. Pearce asked if he would do the Royal Rumble tonight. Heyman decided to officiate the tag team match on the December 30 episode of SmackDown.

In the final segment, Reigns celebrated his team’s victory at WarGames. He decorated every member of The Bloodline, including Zayn. Reigns said it was meant to be a good night for Zayn, but there was one problem, the Owens problem. Reigns criticized Owens for continuing to pursue Zayn and said they would take Owens down together. Zayn agreed that Owens was dragging him down, but slipped by describing Owens as his friend. Zayn retreated but was interrupted by John Cena on the big screen. Cena read Owens’ text, noting that Cena has wrestled every year since 2002 except this year. Threatening to end his streak, Cena accepted Owens’ request to team up against Reigns and Zayn at the end of the 2022 SmackDown.

A really great episode of SmackDown! WWE let Reigns’ big announcement breathe for several segments throughout the night. The dynamic between The Usos has visibly changed. The once-bitter Jey Uso was excited about Zayn’s big night; Meanwhile, Jimmy Uso has become shaky. Zayn’s promotion from “Honorary Use” to full member never happened, prolonging his eventual extradition from the group. Cena’s return was previously announced, but putting him at the center of a big feud should bring more ratings to SmackDown. Also, Owens attacked Cena in the first’s main roster debut, so it’s nice to see them join forces against Owens’ former best friend. Grade: A+

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Women’s Team Championships — Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky) def. Liv Morgan and Tegan Knox via pinfall after Sky hit Knox with a moonsault. Moments ago, a hooded figure kicked Knox in the head.
  • Uncle Howdy pinned and attacked the LA Knight in footage from Knight’s kidnapping last week.
  • Knight later attacked Bray Wyatt in the ring, despite Wyatt’s insistence that he was not the masked attacker. Howdy appeared on the big screen and asked Knight if he wanted to see something “really scary.” Howdy physically appeared on the side of the road and Wyatt smiled. The knight fled.
  • Commentator Wade Barrett identified Sia Lee as Knox’s attacker earlier in the evening.
  • Intercontinental Championship — Gunter (c) def. Ricochet with a pin After hitting the last symphony. Braun Strowman saved Ricochet from a post match defeat at the hands of the Imperium.
  • Hit Row (Ashante Adonis and Top Dolla) def. Viking Raiders (Eric and Ivar) and Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro) via pinfall After hitting Wilde, who hits a backbreaker. Hit Row earned the right to challenge The Usos for the Undisputed Tag Team Championships.
  • Ronda Rousey and Shayna Balzer attacked an already injured Raquel Rodriguez backstage before next week’s No. 1 contender’s gauntlet match.


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