Kayla Braxton Hosted a Sit-Down Interview with Paul Heyman
This was a fantastic follow-up to last week's show-closing angle with Heyman, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. Although Reigns "fired" Heyman, I don't think for a second he's actually done. I really hope this turns out to be a swerve and he realigns with Reigns at Day 1. Either way, this was the usual excellent performance from Heyman. He always shines in this type of environment, especially when he goes the extra mile of not shaving and looking like he just got done crying. This storyline continues to carry the blue brand.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Toni Storm
I know WWE wanted an extra attraction for this holiday show in addition to the 12-man Gauntlet in the main event, but I really would have saved this for Day 1 considering it's coming up in just over a week. Yes, the finish wasn't completely decisive and I guess they could build to a rematch at the pay-per-view if they wanted to, but Flair still won in clean fashion. Nonetheless, this was a well-worked match. I can't say I'm surprised the crowd was as quiet as they were just because this was taped following last week's SmackDown and they already saw these two in action earlier in the evening.
Sami Zayn def. Ricochet, Jinder Mahal, Humberto, Sheamus, Cesaro, Drew Gulak, Ivar, Shanky, Angel, Erik and Mansoor in a 12 Days of Christmas Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender's 12-Man Gauntlet Match
There were so many throwaway names involved in this thing (for the sole purpose of stretching it out and killing time) that you had to know a majority of them weren't going to win, but it had a logical layout, nonetheless. Most of the mini matches and eliminations were rushed and it was hard to care, but the bigger stars received an ample amount of time and worked well together. Those final few minutes with Ricochet and Zayn were terrific and I appreciated that Ricochet were made to look credible in defeat. Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura could be a blast based on the one encounter they had at NXT TakeOver: Dallas over five years ago.
Drew McIntyre and The New Day (King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston) def. Madcap Moss and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos in a Six-Man Tag Team Miracle on a 34th Street Fight
I'm a sucker for these holiday gimmick matches, so I didn't hate this as much as I'm sure most other people did. It was pretty much what you'd expect and I thought they did a nice job of making it enjoyable with all the "weapons" used. It also managed to further two feuds, though McIntyre pinning Moss was weird considering we're apparently supposed to take Moss seriously when he faces McIntyre one-on-one at Day 1. All signs points to McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin happening at Royal Rumble and I couldn't care less.
Holiday shows are always tough because they rarely mean anything (though last year's Christmas episode was quite great), but this was fine for what it was. Flair vs. Storm didn't meet my expectations personally, but it was still solid and I hope we can see a rematch at some point. Most of the Gauntlet was forgettable, but it was entertaining once they picked up the pace down the stretch. Finally, the Heyman stuff was strong and I didn't mind the six-man tag team main event, so I'd actually give this show a thumbs-up. By usual standards, it wasn't anything worth writing home about, but considering the circumstances, they could have done much worse.