WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Sami Zayn wins No. 1 contender battle royal ...

WWE spent much of Friday night's SmackDown teasing the return of Brock Lesnar while also hyping up a main event battle royal to crown a No. 1 contender to Roman Reigns' universal title. Those two things clashed to end the show, with Sami Zayn's battle royal win seemingly rendered meaningless with the announcement that Lesnar would return next week.

Zayn was able to skillfully slide out of the ring and avoid participation in much of the match before returning to steal a triumphant moment from Jeff Hardy. After Zayn's celebration, he was shocked to hear that Lesnar would return next week on SmackDown. While Zayn vs. Reigns certainly won't be headlining WWE Day One on Jan. 1, Lesnar's return could prove to be the match that main events WWE's 2022 kickoff.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Sami Zayn wins No. 1 contender battle royal

Kayla Braxton opened the show in the ring, saying there were rumors of Brock Lesnar's return, a statement that drew Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman out. Heyman brushed off the Lesnar talk as just rumors, while Reigns ran through the locker room -- and Raw's Big E -- as "losers." That sentiment, Reigns said, carried to Lesnar, also including him in the list of "losers." Reigns then suggested that they could let three or four men win the battle royal to determine his next challenger and he'd run through them all. Throughout the night, Lesnar continued to be hinted at while others on the roster made their case to be involved in the battle royal.

Sami Zayn won the No. 1 contender battle royal. After introductions for everyone in the match, Drew McIntyre, who was not officially in the match, slid into the ring and swung his sword at everyone, clearing it out and daring WWE official Adam Pearce to make him leave. After a commercial break, McIntyre was gone from the ring and the match went ahead. Madcap Moss eliminated several men before playfully suggesting he was trying to eliminate Happy Corbin. After sharing a laugh with Corbin, Corbin eliminated him and the two laughed together. The final four in the match were Sheamus, Ricochet, Jeff Hardy and Corbin. Sheamus eliminated Ricochet. As Corbin and Sheamus agreed to eliminate Hardy, Corbin turned on Sheamus and eliminated him before Hardy tossed Corbin over the top rope. Sami Zayn then slid into the ring and eliminated Hardy, who had not yet been officially eliminated. Heyman, Reigns and The Usos were shown in the locker room laughing at Zayn becoming the official contender for Reigns' title. It was then announced that Lesnar's suspension had been lifted and he would appear at next week's SmackDown, quickly bringing down the mood in the Reigns locker room as the show went off the air.

The match took up the final quarter of SmackDown, with the pre-match nonsense really feeling like it was dragging out the entire thing. To tease Lesnar all show, have him not appear and then announce he would appear next week after the battle royal felt a lot like there was no reason to have watched any of the show since nothing else of any meaning happened over two hours of the show. This was nothing more than a time-filler of an event. If you're left feeling like you had no reason to watch, was anything worth it? Grade: D

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Jeff Hardy & Drew McIntyre def. Madcap Moss & Happy Corbin via pinfall after Hardy hit Moss with a swanton bomb.
  • Cesaro def. Ridge Holland via pinfall with a bridging pin. This was Holland's in-ring debut on SmackDown and he was caught by the veteran after dominating much of the match.
  • Angel def. Rick Boogs via pinfall in a Thanksgiving leftovers showdown after hitting the Wingclipper. Boogs was distracted by Humberto playing his guitar at ringside. Shinsuke Nakamura sent Humberto through a table but Boogs turned into Angel's finisher for the pin.
  • Charlotte Flair hit Toni Storm with two pies after Storm interrupted Flair's in-ring interview. Flair tried to explain to Storm that there are "levels to this" before the two began to brawl. With leftovers from the Angel vs. Boogs match left at ringside, Flair took advantage by using some of the pies left out on the set.
  • Naomi & Sasha Banks def. Natalya & Shayna Baszler via pinfall when Naomi pinned Natalya after a folding press. After the match, Naomi left the ring to stare down Sonya Deville, who was watching the match while on commentary.

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