WWE Friday Night SmackDown Results (12/29/2023): Absolute Best Of 2023

WWE Friday Night SmackDown wrapped up the year for WWE with a "Best Of 2023" recap show. Featured below are complete results.

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Commentators: (Jackie Redmond & Corey Graves)
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
Transcription by Josh Lopez and WrestlingHeadlines.com

LA Knight Promo

Hold on, wait a minute, let’s bring it in. It’s not New Years, just yet. You may have seen The Miz on Monday bringing the best of Raw. But if we’re talking about the absolute best of 2023, who’s game is it, with everybody saying, LA Knight. So, WWE Universe, let me talk to you. SmackDown has had one hell of a year. And nobody knows a hell of a year more than I do. And with all the noise a certain mega star was making on Friday nights, it’s no surprise that everybody wants to be back on the blue brand. We’ve seen it all. Friends become enemies. We’ve seen enemies become friends. We’ve made moments. We made headlines. We’ve seen new champions crowned. We’ve seen champions break records and create history. What am I, Kayla Braxton? That’s why you brought me here? To talk about The Bloodline? We’ve had resolutions. 2024, we will see you soon. Tonight, SmackDown, the absolute best of 2023 begins, now. Hit the countdown button, dummy. YEAH!

INTRO

Jackie Redmond: Happy New Years Everybody. I’m Jackie Redmond alongside one of the voices you hear every single Friday night on SmackDown, the man, the myth, the legend, Corey Graves. For the next couple of hours, we’re going to relive the absolute best of 2023.

Corey Graves: Without a doubt this past year has been one of the greatest in WWE history. As you just saw, some new, and some familiar faces made 2023 truly unforgettable. But perhaps none bigger than the return of the greatest of all-time, John Cena. The sixteen-time champ came all the way back to prove to himself, and the WWE Universe that he still had the hustle, the loyalty, and the respect needed to remain at the top.

Jackie Redmond: Of course, he did, but that also made John Cena a target for The Bloodline, and more specifically, Solo Sikoa. With the direction of his tribal chief, Roman Reigns, Solo tried to eliminate John Cena from the WWE, once and for all.

Corey Graves: Last month, these two men would meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at Crown Jewel. Would Solo’s dominant Samoan Spike silence John Cena for good, or could the sixteen-time champion overcome one of the biggest obstacles in his storied career?

First Match: John Cena vs. Solo Sikoa (WWE Crown Jewel 2023)

Cena ducks under two clotheslines from Sikoa. Cena with a side headlock takeover. Cena stomps on the right hand of Sikoa. Cena applies a wrist lock. Cena with three shoulder blocks for a one count. Cena applies an arm-bar. Cena works on his joint manipulation game. Cena drops his weight on the right shoulder of Sikoa. Cena wraps the right shoulder of Sikoa around the top rope. Cena dumps Sikoa out of the ring. Cena slams the right hand of Sikoa on the steel ring steps. Cena rolls Sikoa back into the ring and proceeds to dump him back to the floor. Cena continues to attack the right hand of Sikoa. Sikoa HeadButts Cena. Sikoa repeatedly stomps on Cena’s chest. Sikoa with Two HeadButts. Cena fires back with two toe kicks. Sikoa drops Cena with a Spin Kick. Sikoa drags Cena to the corner. Sikoa with The Banzai Drop. Cena avoids The Samoan Spike. Cena goes for The Attitude Adjustment, but Sikoa lands back on his feet.

Sikoa SuperKicks Cena for a two count. Sikoa with a Running Hip Attack. Sikoa poses for the crowd. Sikoa goes for The Samoan Spike, but Cena counters with The Lebel Lock. Sikoa rolls Cena over for a two count. Sikoa clotheslines Cena. Sikoa gets Cena tied up in the tree of woe. Sikoa with a Diving HeadButt for a two count. Sikoa with a Side Belly to Belly Suplex for a two count. Sikoa delivers another Running Hip Attack. Sikoa has complete control of this match. Siko goes for The Samoan Spike, but Cena ducks out of the way. Cena with two diving shoulder tackles. Cena ducks a clothesline from Sikoa. Cena with a Spinning Side Slam. Cena nails Sikoa with The Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes for The Attitude Adjustment, but Sikoa lands back on his feet.

Sikoa hits The Samoan Drop for a two count. Sikoa with his third Running Hip Attack of the match. Cena slams the right shoulder of Sikoa on the top rope. Cena with a Flying Crossbody Block for a two count. Sikoa blocks The Attitude Adjustment. Sikoa SuperKicks Cena. Sikoa goes for The Pop Up Samoan Spike, but Cena counters with The Chokeslam for a two count. Cena and Sikoa are trading back and forth shots. Cena goes for The Attitude Adjustment, but Sikoa lands back on his feet. Sikoa drops Cena with The Spinning Solo for a two count. Cena blocks The Samoan Spike. Cena with a drop toe hold. Cena applies The STF. Sikoa grabs the bottom rope which forces the break. Sikoa kicks Cena across the ring. Sikoa delivers a series of Samoan Spikes to pickup the victory. After the match, Cena gets a massive ovation from the Saudi crowd.

Winner: Solo Sikoa via Pinfall

John Cena Promo

WWE Universe, John Cena here, all dressed up to celebrate a wonderful group of people. A toast to the WWE Universe for making my 2023. As you know, I was able return to SmackDown in the fall. The reception, the respect, I will never forget. I don’t know how much time I have left in the WWE. But I do know in recent times, when I’ve been able to return home, you have always welcomed me back as one of your own. I am forever indebted to your generosity, your empathy, your respect, and your excitement. I look forward to the next time we could get together. But I wanted to take a moment to truly say, thank you for making this a wonderful year for me and for my family. To the WWE Universe, until the next round, cheers.

– Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits Vignette.

– We get a video recap of Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens becoming the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions at WrestleMania 39.

Kevin Owens Interview

Cathy Kelley: Kevin, what a wonderful moment, you and Sami Zayn winning championship gold at WrestleMania.

Kevin Owens: Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty hard to put it into words how great that was and what that meant to us. I’m still pretty heartbroken over how it ended, to be honest, but that’s another story for another time. I’m looking ahead to next week. I’m in the finals of the tournament. I’m so close. Santos Escobar stands in my way, but I will beat him, I really will. You know, it’s not even just about getting more gold, it’s about taking it away from Logan Paul. Because I said it before, I’ll say it again, him inside my ring, in WWE, and as US Champion is an absolute nightmare. And I will do everything that I can, broken hand or not, to make that go away. Next week, I beat Santos, I go on to beat Logan, then restore prestige to the United States Championship.

Cathy Kelley: It sounds like you got your New Years Resolutions set for the New Years Revolution.

Kevin Owens: My New Years Resolution is to get ready for New Years Revolution. Awesome.

– Austin Theory and Grayson Waller give their New Years Resolutions. Theory wants to become the Universal Champion. Waller has plans on main eventing the Elimination Chamber PLE in Australia.

– We get a video recap of The Rock’s epic return from a couple months ago.

Bianca BelAir Interview

Corey Graves: Bianca, it’s great to see you. Happy New Year. I’m going to ask you to look back at 2023, and ask you if there’s one particular thing that you are most proud of?

Bianca BelAir: Well, 2023 was an amazing year for me, but I will have to say, becoming the longest reigning Raw Women’s Champion. Hands down, it was the biggest thing this year for me.

Jackie Redmond: Understandably so, you made history, that’s a big deal. So, I guess moving forward, what is next in the mind on Bianca BelAir? Are you a goal setter during the new year? Like, what do you have your eyes on for 2024?

Bianca BelAir: Honestly, I’m not a person who makes New Years Resolutions because I always stay ready, so I don’t have to get ready. But, while I had the moment of becoming the longest reigning Raw Women’s Champion, I also had one of the hardest times in 2023. I got cashed in on by Iyo Sky. So, my new goal for this year is to go back after Iyo Sky and take that WWE Women’s Championship. I want to become champion again in 2024 and make this another great year.

Corey Graves: Well, if you’re talking about Iyo Sky, you’ve got to mention Damage CTRL, as a whole, definitely gave you a run for your money in the past year. Is it safe to say that Damage CTRL is near the rear-view mirror for The EST?

Bianca BelAir: Definitely not. I’ve been going after Damage CTRL I would say for the past two years. They played a huge part in Iyo Sky cashing in on me at SummerSlam. We just did battle with them at WarGames. They are very dangerous, so I have to keep two eyes in the back of my head.

Jackie Redmond: Do you have any special moments throughout the year that you will remember forever?

Bianca BelAir: Definitely WrestleMania. You know, going out, and being able to three-peat at WrestleMania. But also my entrance, I mean, I think that’s going to stay with me for the rest of my life. Being able to bring out, The Divas Of Compton, they showed up and showed out in front of 70,000 people at SoFi Stadium. That was one of the most special moments for me in 2023.

Corey Graves: You still got your eyes on the prize, but I think busiest might be an apropos descriptor for 2024. Talk to us about the brand-new show, the premiere of Love In WWE: Bianca BelAir & Montez Ford?

Bianca BelAir: Yes, so my husband, Montez Ford and I, we have a reality show that’s coming out on Hulu on February 2nd. We’re very excited for it. I’m very nervous about it, but I’m also excited for the fans in the WWE Universe to see it. We filmed it on the road to last year’s WrestleMania, so everyone knows that’s the busiest and most hectic time of the year. We really want to show everyone who we are outside of the WWE. Show how we navigated the road to WrestleMania as a couple as WWE Superstars. We’re super excited to share it with everybody, so please go tune in, and I hope you guys are excited for it as well.

Corey Graves: Looking forward to 2024, what would say your overall goals entail?

Bianca BelAir: I would say, my overall goals for 2024, hands down is to become the WWE Women’s Champion. I want to go back to WrestleMania. I want to four-peat. I want to remain undefeated at WrestleMania, so that are my goals for 2024.

– Damage CTRL Vignette.

– We get a Bray Wyatt Tribute Package.

– Corey Graves runs down the recent WWE Live Event at Madison Square Garden.

– SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis runs down the card for the New Years Revolution edition of SmackDown.

Second Match: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Logal Paul For The WWE United States Championship (WWE Crown Jewel 2023)

Collar and Elbow Tie Up. Paul backs Mysterio into the turnbuckles. Paul pats Mysterio on the forehead. Mysterio with a waist lock go-behind. Paul transitions into a side wrist lock. Paul with two shoulder blocks. Paul with a high wrist lock takedown. Greco Roman Knuckle Lock. Paul drives his knee into the midsection of Mysterio. Mysterio avoids The Roundhouse Kick. Paul kicks Mysterio in the gut. Paul launches Mysterio to the corner. Mysterio decks Paul with a back elbow smash. Mysterio kicks Paul in the face. Mysterio with a Headscissors Takeover. Paul regroups on the outside. Standing Switch Exchange. Paul with a back elbow smash. Paul whips Mysterio across the ring. Paul leapfrogs over Mysterio. Paul drops down on the canvas. Mysterio holds onto the ropes. Mysterio ducks a clothesline from Paul. Mysterio with a Tilt-A-Whirl Headscissors Takeover into the middle rope. Paul avoids The 619. Paul catches Mysterio in mid-air. Paul with a Running Death Valley Driver into the turnbuckles. Paul with The Rolling Senton. Paul follows that with The Springboard MoonSault for a two count.

Paul with rapid fire bodyshots in the corner. Paul with a knee lift. Paul whips Mysterio back first into the turnbuckles. Paul toys around with Mysterio. Paul sends Mysterio chest first into the turnbuckles. Paul with a waist lock takedown. Mysterio with two back elbow smashes. Mysterio stomps on the right foot of Paul. Mysterio kicks Paul in the chest. Mysterio with forearm shivers. Paul reverses out of the irish whip from Mysterio. Paul with The Tilt-A-Whirl BackBreaker for a two count. Paul with a Press Slam. Paul poses for the crowd. Paul with The Warrior Splash for a two count. Paul applies The Bear Hug. Mysterio escapes the hold. Paul buries his knee into the midsection of Mysterio. Paul with The Canadian BackBreaker. Mysterio escapes with an arm-drag takeover. Paul drives Mysterio back first into the turnbuckles. Paul with clubbing shoulder blocks. Paul is mauling Mysterio in the corner. Mysterio sends Paul shoulder first into the steel ring post. Mysterio lands The Suicide Dive. Mysterio rolls Paul back into the ring. Mysterio with a Flying Seated Senton. Mysterio with a Springboard Crossbody Block for a two count. Mysterio follows that with three cradle style rollups. Mysterio applies a waist lock. Paul sends Mysterio face first into the top rope. Paul drops Mysterio with The Buckshot Lariat for a two count.

Mysterio avoids The One Lucky Punch. Mysterio applies The CrossFace. Paul grabs the bottom rope which forces the break. Mysterio kicks Paul in the ribs. Mysterio kicks the left hamstring of Paul. Mysterio goes for a Springboard MoonSault, but Paul counters with a Powerslam for a two count. Both men are fighting for position on the top turnbuckle. Mysterio HeadButts Paul. Paul with clubbing blows to Mysterio’s back. Paul with The MoonSault Fallaway Slam for a two count. Paul pops back on his feet. Mysterio avoids The Frog Splash. Paul kicks Mysterio in the gut. Mysterio with a Hurricanrana that sends Paul to the middle rope. Paul blocks The 619. Mysterio dodges The Springboard Lariat. Mysterio with an Apron Enzuigiri. Paul stops Mysterio in his tracks. Paul gets Mysterio into the electric chair position. Mysterio with The Sunset Flip PowerBomb. Mysterio hits The Code Red for a two count. One of Paul’s assistants gives him the brass knuckles behind the referee’s back. Mysterio runs Paul into the ring post. The brass knuckles fall out of the ring. Santos Escobar runs after the crony. Mysterio dropkicks Paul into the middle rope. Paul retrieved the brass knuckle. Mysterio connects with The 619. Mysterio goes for The Springboard Splash, but Paul counters with The KO Punch with the brass knuckles to pickup the victory.

Winner: New WWE United States Champion, Logan Paul via Pinfall

– There was a spotlight on Santos Escobar turning his back on Rey Mysterio and The LWO.

Rey Mysterio Interview

Corey Graves: We know you’re currently at home recuperating from your recent knee surgery. First things first, how’s recovery going?

Rey Mysterio: Recovery is going great. I’m looking forward to coming back and taking care of business.

Jackie Redmond: Well, 2023 had its highs and lows for you, it kind of had everything in between. As you look back at this past year, what stands out the most to you?

Rey Mysterio: Oh, come on, that’s a very easy question to answer. Unfortunately, what Santos did to me, but at the same time, you know, it’s something that’s happen to me over the years. For some reason, I keep picking the wrong partners. Things will be told when the time is right.

Corey Graves: Well, Rey, what are your thoughts on Santos new alignment with Angel and Humberto?

Rey Mysterio: That alignment, I kind of saw it coming once Santos stabbed me in the back. I don’t sweat it. You know, I have my people, I have my crew. I have people that I really trust. Things will be taken care of sooner or later.

Jackie Redmond: When you look back at your WWE Hall Of Fame Induction Night, what does it mean to you?

Rey Mysterio: Well, it was very hard for me, at the corner of my eye, see my son get up as I was conducting my speech, and see him walk away. It was really hurtful. But at the same time, like I said before, these are reoccurring events that have happened to me in the past. It’s like my heart is already set in stone for situations like these. So, I just got to man through it, keep moving forward.

Jackie Redmond: Do you think Dominik Mysterio will ever find his way again?

Rey Mysterio: I truly hope so as a father that he finds his way. I mean, deep down inside, I give credit to him and what he has accomplished this year. He’s my son, he turns his back on me, but overall, his growth in the ring has been tremendous. And I can’t take that away from him. He’s doing an incredible job as the person he wants to be.

Corey Graves: What do you think 2024 holds for Dragon Lee?

Rey Mysterio: That kid is going to be a superstar. I truly endorse him as the future of lucha libre. I truly believe that I see a young Rey Mysterio in him. He steps into the ring and is willing to give it all, every single time. He’s incredible. He’s unique. He’s creative. I really enjoy watching Dragon Lee when he steps into that ring.

Jackie Redmond: What do you think of Logan Paul as a WWE Superstar and what he does in the ring?

Rey Mysterio: Logan is doing what he needs to do for himself to become the superstar that he is now. I give him credit for that. I can’t take that away from him, either.

Corey Graves: Is it safe to say that there might be a little bit of unfinished business between you and Logan Paul or at least as it pertains to the United States Championship?

Rey Mysterio: Most definitely. I’ve already started my 2024 list. Santos is there. Dominik is there. And whoever wants to get added to the list, just jump on board.

Paul Heyman & Jimmy Uso Interview

Corey Graves: While we have you here, I couldn’t think of a better person to ask this question. Roman Reigns has switched roles recently, from hunter to hunted, with Randy Orton, LA Knight, and AJ Styles all breathing down his neck, is Roman Reigns starting to feel the heat at all?

Paul Heyman: Yes.

Jackie Redmond: What about his preparation, has it changed at all, considering who he’s up against?

Paul Heyman: Yes.

Corey Graves: Of the three men who are vying to get an opportunity at the Royal Rumble, does the Tribal Chief have a preference regarding the winner of that Triple Threat Match?

Paul Heyman: No, just three top challengers, all who are more than qualified to be World Heavyweight Champions, Universal Champions, coming after the biggest box office attraction in the history of sports entertainment, that’s enough for me to be concerned.

Jackie Redmond: How will Jimmy Uso feel about Solo Sikoa becoming the Tribal Heir?

Paul Heyman: Call, Jimmy Uso.

Jimmy Uso: OG, what is the deal? Okay, check this out. Now, I hear you, Corey Graves, and I hear everybody talking about me hating on my little brother. Is he hating on The Tribal Chief? I mean, please, it’s the new year, it’s the holiday season. Have you been naughty, or have you been nice? We’ve been nice over here. So, to answer your question, is Roman Reigns scared of LA Knight, AJ Styles and Randy Orton? Hell no. Tribal Chief sitting at home, you think he’s tripping? I’m about to call him and see how he’s enjoying his eggnog. Happy New Year to everybody. Happy New Year to The Bloodline. That’s Solo, holla at your boy, deuces, my uces.

– The show concluded with a replay of the epic Roman Reigns/Cody Rhodes WWE Universal Championship Match from this past year’s WrestleMania.