Who will end 2022 as SmackDown Women’s Champion and head into 2023 with the gold around their waist?
After winning a number one contender Gauntlet Match on Dec. 23 we know it will either be Raquel Rodriguez or current champion Ronda Rousey. Rodriguez defeated three (four) women to earn herself a championship match. She has not had a singles title match since first joining the SmackDown roster in May.
The Gauntlet Match started with Xia Li and Emma. Li has been jaded by women returning to WWE and on the blue brand jumping ahead of her for opportunities. Emma is one of those women who had a championship bout against Rousey on her first night back. Li took out Emma quickly and would go on to defeat Tegan Nox next who was another woman that Li has had animosity with.
After defeating both Emma and Nox, Li would then square up against Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been nursing a broken elbow at the hands of Shayna Baszler and Rousey. Rodriguez was able to eliminate Li from her hopes of becoming the number one contender. Next up was Liv Morgan.
Rodriguez and Morgan had the longest back-and-forth of the match. Ultimately, it would be Rodriguez to continue to move on to the last competitor which was Sonya Deville. After Rodriguez defeats Deville making her the winner and number one contender, Rousey’s music hits. Rousey took to the mic and stated that Rodriguez shouldn’t celebrate yet because she has one more woman to beat – Shayna Baszler.
Baszler entered and took off the brace from the arm/elbow of Rodriguez and took too long to gloat. Rodriguez quickly rolled up Baszler to secure the pin and victory. It has been officially confirmed that Rodriguez will challenge Rousey next week.
Later in the night, Emma approaches Scarlett and Karrion Kross backstage. Kross has been targeting Rey Mysterio as his next opponent and Emma blamed both Kross and Scarlett for disrespecting a legend. She then adds that they came for Madcap Moss as well which left Emma slapping Scarlett across the face. Kross stopped anything further from escalating but told Emma that she has no idea what she has just done.
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