It’s time for our first SmackDown In a Nutshell of 2022, and it’s quite unexpected. As in, time to meet the new champ, Roman.
No, Roman is not the new champ. Instead, Roman is still the champ…because he didn’t work Day 1 as planned. 
Instead, Roman’s challenger, Brock Lesnar? He slid into the RAW title picture and blew things up.
See you on SmackDown, Roman.
As in, Roman will meet the new champ on Friday night. Or at least, that is the plan before the opening bell.
Saturday was a stark reminder of just how fast the card can change, after all. 
Now, the show isn’t all about Lesnar, the new champ, and Reigns, the Universal Champion.
What we are curious to see though, is how Lesnar’s new gold changes WWE’s WrestleMania plans.
According to reports earlier in the week…the new gold does not, or at least has not, changed plans. 
Speaking of ‘Mania, we are nearly on the Road to WrestleMania , with the Royal Rumble right around the corner.
So, beyond the big Reigns-Lesnar story arc, we should expect a bit more focus on the blue brand efforts for the Rumble.
There will be a few title matches to set up, and perhaps this SmackDown in a Nutshell will get that ball rolling.
All this means that there is a lot to do, so let us open up this one…it’s time for…
SmackDown In A Nutshell: Meet The New Champ, Roman!
Let’s get started and crack open this Nutshell!
Best Match of the night:
Honestly, we had a few good ones tonight.
I will go with the Usos versus New Day street fight.
But even the de facto worst of the evening was decent. More on that in like a handful of words.
As an aside…with Jimmy and Jey winning via 1-D through a table…any chance WWE is trying for a Dudleyz versus Usos dream tag match?
Worst match of the night:
It was not that bad…but I’d probably go with Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin versus The Viking Raiders.
Short and the least good of the night.
Star of the Night
So many ways to go here.
Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman…that opening segment was just next level.
And the close? How about a laughing Seth Rollins…who is going to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at the Rumble.
Spot of the Night:
Johnny Knoxville dumped Sami Zayn over the top rope.
That was after Zayn ripped Knoxville for wanting to be in the Rumble, with Sami saying “you haven’t even qualified”.
After dumping Sami over the top rope, however, it was announced that Knoxville has now qualified for the Rumble.
Or, that 1-D through the table….
Jobber of the Night:
Sami Zayn…it has to be Sami Zayn right?
I mean, he lost in a weird looking small package to Rick Boogs…which was puzzling enough.
Like, was it so anti-climactic because of what was coming? Perhaps.
Because, as Zayn was arguing the odd yet clean finish…Knoxville came out and put Sami over the top rope, and randomly qualified for the 2022 Royal Rumble.
Best guess here? Knoxville is involved in Zayn’s elimination, and then we see some Knoxville-Zayn one on one match at WrestleMania.
Or, sometime between now and February, when the newest Jackass comes out.
Upset of the Night:
Zayn, getting dumped over the top rope by Knoxville. That’s my choice.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Well, WWE indicated the plans had not changed.
While Heyman was fired by Roman Reigns last year, the Tribal Chief used him against Lesnar on SmackDown.
Specifically, he didn’t like Lesnar telling Heyman to shut up…and when Lesnar questioned Heyman…Reigns gave Brock a sucker-Superman-punch.
So, maybe it’s me…but now, once again, it feels like Heyman’s loyalties will be in question, with a double-cross seeming possible if not likely.
And while I didn’t think that would be topped…Mickie James back for the Royal Rumble!?
— WWE (@WWE) January 8, 2022 
Or, Pat McAfee mentioning that Mickie James was the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS Champion!?
Like…are we in the Twilight Zone?
LOL Moment of the night:
Here’s a joke…but not necessarily a good funny.
WWE is using one of it’s 30 slots in the men’s Royal Rumble on Johnny Knoxville.
Now, granted, 29 (or in a case or two, 28) Superstars don’t win the match. So…Knoxville is just going to be one of the many eliminations.
But unless WWE opts to try and set some record with him (shortest stint in?), what’s the point?
Like, say he lasts five minutes. Wouldn’t that five minutes be better off given to an existing ACTUAL Superstar?
It didn’t take long, but Lesnar came out and put it out there: champ versus champ, title versus title.
Now, could that mean we see Lesnar against Lashley AND Lesnar against Reigns at the Royal Rumble?
Or will we see Reigns/Lesnar on a future SmackDown in order to pop a rating?
To be determined if it actually happens…but if WWE is still planning for Lesnar and Reigns…and both hold gold…
Also, during Charlotte’s promo, apparently names were revealed for the Rumble.
They included Mickie James, Michelle McCool, Lita, the Bella Twins and Summer Rae.
Knoxville might be entertaining, but he does not belong in the Rumble.
Lesnar, Heyman and Reigns.
The women’s Rumble entrants that were announced. Quite a surprising l
And then…closing the show with Rollins, who faces Roman at the Rumble.
After the final bell:
What a night to meet the new champ right?
I mean, having Reigns meet the new champ would have been big enough…but wow.
Remember that time when we were saying WWE might have a women’s Rumble issue?
Yeah, they may not. Perhaps they saw the reports and decided to get ahead of things?
Because, in a weird segment, as part of Charlotte declaring she’d be in the Rumble (which was also kind of odd, as she’s the champ…)…she rattled off a lot of names.
And a good chunk are former Superstars…with one exceptionally intriguing name on the list. 
Now, one thing I am pondering:
With Lesnar proposing a title versus title match…are we heading for a new WWE Unified Championship? I mean, that’s one heck of a way for Reigns to meet the new champ, right?
And then, with Charlotte Flair putting her name into the Rumble-while still holding a belt, with the intent of choosing her opponent?
I mean, it’s not a far leap to see her winning and choosing Becky, is it?
And the final shot of the evening? Seth Rollins on SmackDown, laughing at Reigns, who then figures out that Rollins is who Adam Pearce chose as the new #1 contender.
Put that all together…coupled with the massive cuts over the last year and change…hard not to wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the brand split.
So…could the new champ…become the ONLY champ?