Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

Hello again wrestling fans! Welcome back to the Nutshell, since we took off for the Christmas holiday. This New Years SmackDown may be taped, but we will get to ringing in the new year by giving you a Nutshell. The big news heading into this show, of course, is John Cena’s return to SmackDown Live, something he hasn’t done in quite a while. Otherwise, expect plenty of building toward the Royal Rumble, now that we are officially into January. And if that’s not enough, we have a New Year’s Celebration with the New Day. So sit back, relax and enjoy as we crack open this Nutshell!

Best Match of the night:

More from Wrestle Newz

I honestly think I’d go with Becky Lynch and John Cena versus Zelina Vega and Andrade “Cien” Almas. I mean, I get wanting to like the main event to determine the number one contender, but that match just didn’t work out as well as I had hoped it would. The mixed tag, on the other hand, offered good action and good story. I was happy with it.

Worst match of the night:

I have to give that to Sonya Deville and Naomi. Nothing really good about this match. Not remotely entertaining.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

Rusev Day

USA

Becky

Star of the Night

I have to give Becky Lynch a ton of credit for her promo. To come out and stand face to face with Cena and cut that promo, shows how good she is right now. Cena said he wasn’t sure why he came back, but you have to think he was there to help get Lynch and the women even more over. Elevating Becky like this tonight lays a strong foundation for say, a women’s main event in a few months in New Jersey.

Spot of the Night:

I couldn’t pick one for this evening. Nothing really stood out

Jobber of the Night:

No one really. I was going to say Naomi or Jeff Hardy, but even they didn’t totally job out.

Upset of the Night:

None of note

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Minor one, but how about Becky pushing Cena out so that she can get the win for their team? I think some of it could have been handled differently, if only because it seemed for a while that Lynch was, or was not, a babyface. Then again, if she really is going to be the female Stone Cold Steve Austin, as I wrote about several months back…having her throw Cena out to get the win herself? Kind of feels like an Austin move.

LOL Moment of the night:

If you are a fan of New Day-and plenty of folks are-then the opening segment tonight absolutely made you happy. At least, I think it would have. Usual stuff from them, some sort of serious, but mostly joking. This time, jokes about pancakes and some talk of the Rumble.

Noteworthy Moment:

Right off the bat, Big E, Kofi and Xavier announce they are in the Royal Rumble. Not for nothing, but outside of Kofi’s crazy ways to avoid elimination, I am beginning to think that WWE either needs to let, or almost let, one of the three win…or stop having tag teams in the match. For the most part, they can put 12 guys out there from each brand, plus allowing for six spots for surprises, and not a single one needs to be a tag team.

Overall lowlights:

Doubt it was because the show was taped, but a couple of the matches and segments just fell flat. Here’s hoping things improve next week with the return of live broadcasts.

Overall highlights:

Samoa Joe looked like a bad ass in his match with Hardy. More of this is a good thing, and they should build him up and let him finally win a title. US title could work, though he deserves the world championship.

For all the flak Cena has gotten over the years, fans seemed to enjoy him coming back tonight (that, or WWE edited and piped in a good sound). His return was well worth it, and his interaction with Becky Lynch was strong.

Good to see AJ Styles earn his next shot against Daniel Bryan. Another Bryan/Styles match will be a good thing.

After the final bell:

For a taped show, it was still pretty good. Honestly, wonder if the Cena/Lynch bit would have been even better if it had been live. Regardless, I saw that promo and maybe I am reading into it, but it sure seemed like a big move backing Becky Lynch. I hope.

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