Winners, grades, reactions and highlights from February 11th

Goldberg returned a week ago to host a showdown with Universal Champion Roman Reigns at the Elimination Chamber, and he made another appearance on Fox on Friday night to hype the blockbuster main event...

USA About: #SmackDown Publish: 02/13/2022 Edit: 02/13/2022 Author: Gardener

February 11thGoldberg returned a week ago to host a showdown with Universal Champion Roman Reigns at the Elimination Chamber, and he appeared again on Fox on Friday night to hype the blockbuster main event. What did the WCW icon have to say about his upcoming showdown with The Tribal Chief, and would Reigns have an answer for the Hall of Famer? That question surfaced over a broadcast that also featured Charlotte Flair defending her SmackDown Women's Championship against Naomi and the latest in the Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura feud. WWE Official Sonya Deville opened the evening show after sustaining an injury to her left arm following Ronda Rousey's Fujiwara armbar last Friday night. She announced that she had sought a $100,000 fine against Rousey. This came out to Adam Pearce, who revealed an email from Vince McMahon himself preventing Deville from further abusing her powers and engaging in Naomi's SmackDown Women's Championship match against Charlotte Flair later that night. If she insisted, her job would be "seriously jeopardized". This brought out Naomi, who correctly explained that the email said nothing about not touching the WWE Official. Naomi beat Deville to close the segment. Vince McMahon writes the longest emails of all time. Additionally, this was an apt segment, stopping some of Deville's abuses of power for good, giving Naomi a moment of revenge, and setting up a match for later in the night that was supposed to be relatively one-on-one. For Naomi, it was a segment that was months in the making. It was nice to see her step through the eye with confidence, confronting Deville and showing her the lack of respect the WWE official has shown her since last September. Last week's match was so nice that WWE Creative booked it twice. Kingston and Big E dominated early and often, putting an exclamation mark on their offense as they went into the commercial break. During the timeout, Angel and Humberto took control, putting Big E down and cutting him off from his tag team partner. A hot day with Kingston sparked a babyface comeback. In a cool spot, Big E lifted Humberto for a powerbomb and Kingston came off the top rope with a double stomp. Los Lotharios were a great team, despite their lack of consistent TV push, and what better way to give them some much-needed credibility than to have them clean-slap two former WWE Champions in the middle of the ring. While maybe it wasn't on the level of their match a week ago, it was still a hell of a fun competition that further demonstrated the teams' exceptional chemistry and set the stage for a potential rubber match in the near future. Hopefully the strength of the ring at work doesn't encourage WWE to overexpose the matchup as it's a rare one that could bring a freshness to the blue brand's tag team division they desperately need. Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed Roman Reigns about the Tribal Chief's Universal Championship defense against Goldberg at Elimination Chamber. Undeterred by the Hall of Famer's accomplishments, he claimed, "If I was in WCW, everyone would win... because they'd still be in business." When the topic of conversation turned to Brock Lesnar, Reigns laughed it off and asked why they were still talking about him. The championship leader ended the segment by promising "Goldberg" Goldberg in the Elimination Chamber that he vows to crush the legendary figure just as he has crushed so many throughout his career. Could his hubris come back to cost him at WrestleMania? when they fight for the grand prize in professional wrestling one last time? Originally planned Although it was supposed to be a dungeon style match, the showdown between Aliyah and Natalya was nothing more than another duel between the two. Nattie grabbed intense early on but Aliyah absorbed it and fended off a sudden and abrupt end at The Queen of Harts catching her in the famous sharpshooter and forcing the tapout. After the match, Natalya tried to add more penalties, but Xia Li parried, deflecting heel and standing upright. The match was too short to be meaningful and inexplicable The disappearance of the advertised condition showed how invested the creative team was in the competition. At the very least, Li's arrival hints at a new rivalry for Natalya, which should help make Li a real star of the main roster. Hopefully this doesn't spell the end for Aliyah, who is a great underdog babyface. Sami Zayn presented the latest installment of his In Zayn Live Podcast. He threw a video of Johnny Knoxville visiting the WWE pop-up shop in Los Angeles and slandering Zayn merchandise. From there, Rick Boogs and Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura made their way to the ring just seven days before The Artist defended his title against Zayn Arm. Not at all. Nothing about this feud feels like a program for one of the most important titles in the company. Instead, it feels like the setting where Knoxville reappears and pulls off a WrestleMania program with Zayn. While Madcap Moss was knocked out by a black eye, Happy Corbin went it alone on Friday and fought Cesaro in singles. A back-and-forth match ensued in which neither had a lasting advantage. Moments later, the undefeated and obnoxious heel flattened the Swiss Cyborg with End of Days for the pinfall win. Backstage, Drew McIntyre interrupted Moss' eye exam and revealed their match in Elimination Chamber will be a Falls Count Anywhere match. This was a really fun little match that came out of nowhere. Corbin is an underrated worker and his style paired well with Cesaros, making for a better match than it should have been. The revelation that Moss and McIntyre's match at the Premium Live Event will be a Falls Count Anywhere match kicks things up a notch, having just witnessed the Day 1 fight, this will all be McIntyre, and it will be enable him to challenge Roman Reigns coming out of the Elimination Chamber. Michael Cole sat down with Goldberg, who dismissed the idea that Roman Reigns could beat him in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the Elimination Chamber. He vowed to beat Reigns, win the Universal Championship and defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Back in the arena, Naomi stepped into the ring for her shot in history when she challenged Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women's Championship. The challenger started red-hot, overpowering The Queen early and controlling the early moments of the game heading into the break. Flair hit back, wrestling the advantage by slowing the pace and grounding the challenger. Naomi exploded with a blockbuster for a close two count, but Flair sent her knees in first before another break ensued. The resilient Naomi found herself able to put pressure on the champion while seeking her first title reign in five years. She hooked Flair into the turnbuckle, but the powerful Flair powerbombed her opponent to the mat for a two count. Flair missed a moonsault, ate his knees on another attempt, and Naomi provided the rear view for a dramatic near-fall that blew the New Orleans crowd out of their seats. Near falls from a headscissor and a split leg moonsault led fans to believe Naomi would dethrone the Queen. Later, Naomi tried another rearview, only Flair blocked her and delivered Natural Selection for the win. After the match, Naomi unloaded on a boastful Sonya Deville only to be jumped by Flair. Ronda Rousey parried and cleared the ring with a big bang to end the show. This was one hell of a legitimate match-of-the-year nominee. Flair and Naomi tore down the house with a wildly dramatic match that had fans believing a title change was imminent. It's a testament to the cast themselves, but positive proof that the months of positioning Naomi as the likable babyface forced to overcome unfair treatment at the hands of WWE official Deville worked. The loss didn't hurt Naomi in any way. If anything, the emotions she displayed throughout the match will only make her more popular with fans who appreciate how much she loves wrestling. The post match hints at a tag team match pitting Naomi and Rousey against Flair and Deville. If so, that would be a blockbuster encounter, hot enough in the US to headline a premier live event.

Keywords: Naomi, Flair, Deville, WWE, one, two, Natalya, Aliyah, WrestleMania, Kingston, Charlotte Flair, the Elimination Chamber, night, first, McIntyre, Falls Count Anywhere, Zayn, Li, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Michael Cole, Humberto, Vince McMahon, Sonya Deville, WCW, Friday

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