It’s the SmackDown after TLC, and The Empress of Tomorrow has taken the throne! Will The Queen or The Man come back for revenge?
- SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka VS Naomi; Asuka wins and retains the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
- The Miz & ??? VS ???; The Miz & Mandy Rose win.
- The Usos VS The Club; No Contest.
- AJ Styles & Mustafa Ali VS Daniel Bryan & Andrade “Cien” Almas; Styles & Ali win.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon addresses the entire roster at once.
He informs them that last night on raw–BOO!–The McMahons ushered in a “fresh start” for the entire WWE. There will be new faces, new match-ups and new opportunities. That’s because the McMahons are finally listening. They owe it to the company and to the WWE Universe. The locker room can agree to that. This all starts tonight. Don’t just reach for brass rings, but grab it, rip it down and take it for all it’s worth! Shane thanks General Manager Paige and brings her forward. On behalf of everyone, Shane thanks Paige for her work as GM. Paige isn’t going anywhere, but her position is changing. “Thank you, Paige! Thank you, Paige!”
Becky Lynch heads to the ring!
The Man is without her belt, and she’s not happy about it. Becky battled tooth and nail with Charlotte Flair and Asuka, but it would be the Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey, who affected the outcome! Asuka has the title and someone’s gonna pay for that. Fans cheer Becky on but she says it doesn’t matter who’s running the show, she’s in charge. There’s all this “corporate nonsense speech”, but she’s in front of the people because this is where the real business is conducted. And all Becky wants from the McMahons is Ronda Rousey served up. “Ronnie” better listen. When Becky stepped into Ronda’s business, she faced her up front, made her tap in the locker room and fought her in the ring. But when Ronda stepped into Becky’s business, she didn’t even stick around to fight.
Ronda pushed the ladder down but Becky worked way too hard to “let some Rowdy Piper cosplayer take it all away from me!” But now The Queen appears! She has had her own issues with Ronda, and was equally screwed over by Ronda’s interference. Charlotte joins Becky in the ring with her own microphone, and fans “WOO~!” Charlotte tells Becky to take a number. In fact, be number two behind The Queen, “because Ronda stole my opportunity at TLC.” Speaking of cosplayers… And Becky will no longer be behind Charlotte. Yet the days of her looking up to Charlotte are #ThenNowandForever. Let’s be real. The odds were, Charlotte would’ve become the eight time Women’s Champion. Becky and Charlotte argue, but then THE SmackDown Women’s Champion appears!
Asuka heads to the ring, the belt around her waist. She joins Charlotte and Becky in the ring, and with both of them glaring at her, tells them “Forget Ronda. Asuka is the champion now~!” Becky wants Asuka to prove it. Charlotte says Asuka should thank Ronda. Asuka is a paper champion thanks to Ronda’s help. But Becky and Charlotte still argue with each other, so here comes VINCE MCMAHON!? The Chairman was on Raw, and now he’s on SmackDown! And Mr. McMahon quickly wishes everyone a happy holidays before moving to business. He congratulates the new champion, Asuka, and then says Becky’s behavior is unbecoming. Someone owes her something? Same goes for Charlotte, making her excuses. It was a TLC Triple Threat, “anything goes”, which means anyone could jump in.
And they did, it was Ronda. Ronda wants to write the next chapter. So get over it and settle things with Ronda. Now, how about Asuka defending that title tonight? Fans like the sound of that, as does Asuka. Well they’ll figure out who that is tonight! And with that, here comes Naomi! Naomi says Charlotte had her chance, and Becky lost. But now Naomi wants her shot! Vince considers the options, and makes the match! The Empress and The Glow collide, who will have that throne by the end of the night?
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka VS Naomi!
SmackDown returns as the bell rings. Asuka and Naomi are noted friends but they’re willing to fight for the top spot tonight. They tie up and go around, and Naomi wrenches the arm. Charlotte and Becky watch ringside, both wanting to see who they’ll be targeting after this is done. Asuka goes for the ropes and flips through. Asuka reverses but Naomi kicks and flips through, too. Naomi cartwheels and reverses to an armlock. Asuka fights out and arm-drags Naomi down. Asuka grinds a knee into Naomi but fans rally up. Naomi headscissors but Asuka pops out, only to run into Naomi’s headlock takeover. Asuka headscissors but Naomi pops out. The two stand off and fans applaud.
Asuka whips Naomi then follows, but Naomi dodges. Naomi runs into a waistlock but resists. Naomi slips out of the back suplex, but dropkicks cancel out! Fans fire up as the two circle again. They tie up with knuckle locks, but Naomi spins. Asuka kicks but Naomi waistlocks to a full nelson. Asuka standing switches but Naomi arm-drags. Naomi kicks Asuka stiff in the back! Asuka gets a leg and goes for an ankle lock! Naomi rolls through to escape, then gets that full nelson. Full Nelson bomb, body scissor cover! TWO and Asuka makes it a cover, TWO! Naomi goes for the crucifix cover, TWO! Asuka slips out to a Fujiwara armbar! Fans applaud but Becky and Charlotte are stone faced.
Naomi gets up and fights back but Asuka forearms, too. Asuka whips but Naomi goes up. The twerk attack is denied with a kick! Asuka brings Naomi to the ropes to kick her, making sure Charlotte and Becky see it all clearly. Naomi gets to a corner and back elbows Asuka. Naomi hops up but Asuka clubs her. Asuka climbs for an elevated abdominal stretch. The ref counts and Asuka lets go, to brag that “Asuka champion!” But Naomi gives her a SUPER Russian Leg Sweep! Naomi can’t make the cover, and both women are down while we go picture in picture.
Naomi and Asuka slowly stir, and Naomi sits up first. Asuka rolls out, but Naomi sees her. Naomi slingshots and planchas! Asuka goes down in a heap, but Naomi is right on her. Naomi puts Asuka back in, then covers, TWO! Naomi keeps on Asuka with a buckle bump. She stomps Asuka, then grinds in her chaser lights. She backs off at 4, and Asuka hits back. Asuka kicks from the mat but Naomi grabs a leg to smash it on the mat! Naomi sits Asuka up to hit the sliding lariat! Naomi then wraps on a chinlock to grind Asuka down. Asuka endures as Naomi pulls back on the chinlock. Asuka fights her way up, and then fights free of the hold. Naomi shoves Asuka to light her up with kicks! Asuka kicks, Naomi kicks, then double roundhouses! Both women are down but it doesn’t impress Charlotte or Becky.
Asuka and Naomi crawl to ropes and use them to stand. Asuka runs in but her hip attack misses. Naomi dropkicks Asuka out of the ring! The referee checks on Asuka but she’s okay. Naomi slides, but is caught and dragged out! We return to single picture as Asuka catches her breath. Fans rally up for Asuka as she brings Naomi back into the ring. Asuka climbs up top, and leaps for a missile dropkick to Naomi’s back! Naomi rolls out but Asuka pursues. Asuka stomps Naomi down, then even toys with her. Asuka brings Naomi back up to run her all the way to the timekeeper’s area. Naomi goes up and hits back with a springboard enziguri! Both women are down right in front of Becky, who actually seems amused now.
A ring count begins and passes 5 before either woman stirs. Asuka crawls and gets in at 9, Naomi in at 9.5! The match continues and both women stare down. They approach and start brawling with forearms. Naomi hits, Asuka hits, repeat! Naomi gets an edge, but runs into the pop-up knee! Asuka aims at Naomi in the corner, runs in, but into boots. Asuka deflects them only to get another enziguri! Naomi has Asuka in the drop zone, GLow Ship hits knees! ASUKA LOCK!! Naomi rolls but Asuka is a backpack now. Naomi gets up and uses buckles for leverage! Cover, TWO, the Asuka Lock is in deep!! Naomi gets up again, sits out, but Asuka rolls her over for a waistlock. Naomi counters the German Suplex to a victory roll, TWO! REAR VIEW! Cover, TWO!!
Naomi almost had Asuka but she keeps her cool. She goes to the apron and takes aim. Naomi springboards, but into a code breaker!! Cover, TWO!! Asuka is furious, and goes for her lock again! She makes suer Charlotte and Becky watch, as Naomi taps! Asuka wins!
Winner: Asuka, by submission; still SmackDown Women’s Champion
The Empress didn’t know Naomi would step up, but she does prove that she’s ready for anyone! Charlotte and Becky both want that title back, but will they be ready for Asuka?
The Miz visits The McMahons backstage.
Vince is the one who answers the knock. Miz was hoping for Shane. Sorry, he can’t come out to play. Well, then with Vince here, Miz hopes Vince understands the “rough patch” he and Shane are going through. But Miz is the utility man of SmackDown. He knows he and Shane could be #BestTagTeamintheWorld!
And what is Vince to do about that? Miz is a worthy partner for Shane’s son. He just wants Vince’s blessing. Blessing? Vince has never given that in his life. He doesn’t believe in blessings. Miz isn’t getting his blessing, but he can prove himself. Vince will find a team, and a partner for Miz, and Miz can prove how great a tag team wrestler he really is. Miz is eager for this opportunity, but will he be able to make the most of it when he has no idea who he’s against and who he’s teaming with?
Backstage interview with Rusev & Lana!
The Bulgarian Brute beat Shinsuke Nakamura in a tag team match, does this earn him a United States Championship match? Rusev hopes the McMahons are watching, because Rusev is a man of action. He proved Nakamura he is a worthy challenger. Rusev is a handsome superstar super athlete! You could shave his beard off and make a baby sweater out of it, and sell it for thousands of dollars on eBay! Have you seen how Nakamura looks lately? All blue, like Sonic the Hedgehog. Nakamura can run fast and run far, but he’s not escaping Rusev. Rusev will get his hands on Nakamura, and get that US Championship back, on Rusev Day! The challenge has been issued, what will the McMahons have to say about that?
Jeff Hardy heads to the ring!
The Charismatic Enigma has been the target of Samoa Joe’s mind games, but isn’t letting it get him down. Hardy hears Joe has reconsidered his actions and wants to apologize? Some of the things Joe said were true, that Hardy has been weak, made mistakes, “but that was then, this is now!” Hardy wakes up and worships the fact that he is alive, well, and here. So Joe can “apologize”, to Hardy’s face! Samoa Joe does come out, microphone in hand. Joe tells Hardy, “I am sorry.” Joe is sorry because this is not an apology after all. They should’ve done this long ago. This is an intervention.
Joe wants Hardy to look at him, they’ve known each other a long time, and Joe is very worried for Hardy. This is the holiday season, and it can be rough on a man like Hardy. Those demons will come right back and control him again. Enough! The more Joe reminds Hardy about his past, the more Hardy remembers he’s never going back. Hardy sees right through Joe. Joe attacks other people’s weaknesses to cover his own insecurities up. Is it because Joe hasn’t had a title in two years? Joe has nothing to say, but he will attack! And Hardy is ready! Twist of Fate! Hardy leaves Joe down, but will he render The Destroyer OBSOLETE?
The Miz & ??? VS ???
The Hollywood A-Lister wants to team with Shane O’Mac, but he can’t get Vince McMahon’s blessing. However, he can prove it, if he wins this Mixed Match Challenge. Miz’s partner is the Golden Goddess, Mandy Rose! A pretty good choice for a partner, but then, who are the Golden Stars facing? The Mixed Match Challenge champions, the FABULOUS Truth!! R-Truth & Carmella defeated #Mahalicia to win the 30th spots in the Men’s & Women’s Royal Rumbles, which was preceded by defeating the previous champions, Team AWESKA! Can Truth & Carmella repeat the process against Miz and Maryse? Er, Mandy?
The bell rings and the women start us off. Carmella and Mandy tie up, and Mandy powers Carmella to the ropes. Mandy throws Carmella but then Carmella dodges to headscissor around the world! Carmella dropkicks Mandy to the corner, Miz tags in. Truth comes in and things speed up. Truth wheelbarrow to victory rolls, TWO! Miz gets up but Truth clotheslines him out. Mandy regroups with Miz, but FABULOUS Truth give us a DANCE BREAK! The flossing and twerking has it’s time, but Mandy runs in! Truth saves Carmella to FABULOUS Kick her! But Miz gets Truth with a Skull Crushing Finale! Cover, Miz & Mandy win!
Winners: The Miz & Mandy Rose, Miz pinning
The Golden Goddess takes the hit but her team gets the win! Will this convince Vince to let Shane and Miz team up? What will Shane have to say about this?
WWE takes a look at the new faces coming to the main roster!
Monsters, Beasts, Vipers, Giants. None of them compare to the Leviathan! Lars Sullivan is a dominate Freak and promises to destroy the roster.
The Lady of NXT, the Model Soldier, Lacey Evans is armed with a Woman’s Right to hit hard and class it up.
#SteaksAndWeights fuel Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic in tag team wrestling! They have a “damn good time” in the ring, and they’re COMIIIIN’!
The Loony Lass loves to play! SAnitY’s Twisted Sister finally joins her chaotic crew, who wants to play?
The Top One Percent prepares for #VictoryAfterVictory on the main roster! Will he find brand new success as he jumps from #NX3 to TV?
The Usos head to the ring!
Jimmy & Jey may not have won that SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat, but they were up against The New Day and The Bar. But they’re not too bummed out, because they’re still the constant of WWE. They may not won, but they weren’t pinned. The gold is still on their minds, so The Bar should come out here and– Wait, that’s not The Bar, that’s The Club! Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson walk out with mics, and fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” Anderson hears this week after week, Usos, New Day, Bar, repeat. Those are great teams having great matches but they had a rap battle? And The Good Brothers haven’t been around since August? That’s four months that a legit great tag team of the decade has been on the sidelines. But no more. It’s a clean slate, so let’s clean house. Time to get paid.
The Usos explain they’re not the reason The Club slipped through the cracks. You either step up or get stepped on. And these two better step up or turn around. Well they’re not turning around, so Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary! A referee hurries out, and we might have a match! Yes, this IS a match! Will the #OGBC break free of the #LockDown?
The Usos VS The Club!
SmackDown returns and Anderson has Jimmy down in a chinlock. Fans rally up and Jimmy fights his way up, only for Anderson to wrangle him back down. Jey recovers on the outside, having been treated just as rough. Fans rally again and Jimmy reaches for his brother. Anderson kicks and whips Jimmy, then hits a big uppercut in the corner. Tag to Gallows and he headbutts Jimmy in the ribs. Gallows roundhouses Jimmy, then covers, TWO! Gallows drives elbows into Jimmy over and over, then warps on a new chinlock. Fans still rally for Jimmy, and Jimmy gets a second wind. Jimmy fights with body shots but Gallows knees low. Gallows whips but Jimmy dodges to send the boot into the corner! Gallows tumbles out, but he crawls back in. He and Jimmy both crawl to their corners, hot tags to Anderson and Jey!
Jey rallies on Anderson with big clotheslines and a back kick. He uppercuts then dodges Anderson to give him a Samoan Drop! Fans fire up with Jey as he aims at Anderson. Jey runs corner to corner but misses the hip attack. Anderson rocket kicks then neckbreakers! Cover, TWO! Anderson keeps his cool and tags in Gallows. The Club go after Jey together, fireman’s carry, but Anderson gets tripped up! Jey slips out to sunset flip but Gallows pulls him back up. Gallows hits the two-handed sit-out choke slam! Cover, TWO! Jey survives and The Club is frustrated. Gallows runs but jimmy tags in. Both Usos kick Gallows away! Tag back, Jimmy leaps but into Gallows’ hand. Gallows catches Jey, too, but both Usos kick him away. Anderson tags in just before The Usos clothesline Gallows out!
Jey is in the ring and aims at Gallows, but Anderson intercepts with a shotgun kick! Jey is all hung up and we go picture in picture! Everyone else is down while the ref helps Jey out of the ropes. Jey goes to the floor, and the ref checks on him. He’s okay to continue somehow, and hurries back up. Anderson is on him and puts him in the ring. Anderson climbs, leaps, flying neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Jey survives and Anderson grows frustrated. Anderson brings Jey back up, but Jey wants a fireman’s carry. Anderson slips out but Jey standing switches. They run to ropes and Gallows tags in! Jey rolls Anderson but gets a YAKUZA Kick! Cover, TWO! Gallows drags Jey up, gut wrench but Jey slips out. Jimmy tags in, SUPERKICK rocks Gallows! Jimmy leaps for a crossbody! Cover, TWO!
The Usos are shocked but Jimmy keeps moving. Jimmy climbs but Gallows rocks him with an uppercut. Gallows tags Anderson and Anderson climbs up after Jimmy. Jey is still down from his bad leg, but Jimmy fights Anderson off. Jimmy shoves Anderson down, but Anderson gets under the leap. SUPERKICK for Gallows, SUPERKICK for Anderson! Jimmy keeps going, climbing again. But wait, NOW The Bar appears! Jimmy watches Cesaro & Sheamus head down the ramp, but still leaps for the Usos Splash! Cover, but SAnitY attacks?!
Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain & Eric Young attack both The Usos and The Club, seemingly doing what The Bar wanted to themselves. Big Damo aims at Jey, and crushes him with The Divide! Wheelbarrow neckbreaker from Eric to Anderson! Wolfe gets Jimmy up and Damo enters. They work together for the power slam neckbreaker combo! Cesaro & Sheamus watch SAnitY walk past, and Eric says “We beat you to it!” Will SAnitY soon target the SmackDown Tag Team Championships?
The Bar brush it off and go after the Usos and Club themselves! They throw Anderson into a post, then Gallows into barriers! Jey gets thrown into barriers, and The Bar raise their belts. Cesaro & Sheamus don’t care if things are changing, they’re determined to stay the champions. But will things get too chaotic for even them to survive?
Shinsuke Nakamura speaks.
“Rusev, I should be afraid of you? I should be afraid of this?” The King of Strong Style plays footage of Total Divas, as Rusev turns his trunks into a Speedo. Then there are highlights of him and Lana, and Rusev just being generally goofy. Nakamura says Rusev is no champion contender. He’s not a star. Rusev is a total diva. Will the King of Strong Style be able to keep Rusev far away from the title? Or will this only motivate the Bulgarian Brute to come after him harder?
Be sure to tune into the USA Network this Wednesday for the New Day’s WWE 2018 Pancake Powered New Year Super Spectacular~! They’ll look abck at the most unforgettable moments of the WWE. Featuring who? Who who who? John Cena! Roman Reigns! Braun Strowman! Becky Lynch! And many more! Join them so that you will have a very merry ho! Li day! Ho! Li day!
AJ Styles & Mustafa Ali VS Daniel Bryan & Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
This may be a new phase for the WWE, but the New Daniel Bryan is still the WWE Champion, and he surprisingly didn’t have to cheat to do it. But fair fight or not, that doesn’t mean The Phenomenal One and Beacon of Light will just leave it at that. They team together for the first time ever to go against the New Bryan as well as El Idolo!
But before the match, Bryan picks up a mic. Fans boo and jeer as Bryan says he “killed the Yes Movement.” Bryan destroyed the House that AJ Styles Built. But unlike the fans, Bryan isn’t about destruction, he’s about creation. He will create something better. Bryan is creating a “brave new world.” He understands the fans won’t like it, because they fear change. How else can they explain the “vacuous consumption” and the destruction of the planet that gives us life? Fresno, California is the guiltiest of all! Some fans actually agree. Bryan is sickened by how proud and ignorant they are. Fresno is #1 in pollution in California! “Shame! Shame!” Bryan shames all of the Fresno fans!
“Self-education is the only kind of education there is.” And that might work for some, but “you people” wouldn’t know education if it was handed to them through a drive-thru window! Fresno should not try self-education because they will fail! Actually, it looks like they failed already. But they have someone to show them the way, to teach them the right way to live. And that man is “your WWE Champion, the NEW Daniel Bryan!” That aside, Almas & Vega make their entrance, as well as Styles and Ali, and we finally have this match, after the break.
SmackDown returns as Bryan circles with Styles, but tags out to Almas. Almas and Styles circle now and tie up. Almas kicks low then fires off forearms and CHOPS. He rams knees in, too, then whips Styles corner to corner. Styles reverses, but Almas back elbows him away. Almas runs but Styles catches the kick. Almas dodges, boot feint to back elbow! Cover, ONE, but El Idolo feels good about rocking the Phenomenal One. Almas puts Styles in a corner for more knees and forearms. Vega cheers her client on but fans rally for Styles. Almas brings Styles up for knees, but Styles hits back with haymakers. Almas scoops but Styles slips out. Styles gets a waistlock but Almas elbows out. Things speed up and Styles dropkicks Almas down!
Both men are down but fans rally up. Styles stands first and brings Almas up. Styles wrenches the arm and tags in Ali. Ali climbs and leaps for double stomps to Almas’ arm. Ali wrenches to a wristlock but Almas forearms out. Almas fireman’s carry and swings Ali, but Ali arm-drags through! Ali wrenches the arm but Almas back drops, only for Ali to sunset flip. TWO and Almas pulls hair! Bryan tags in and he mugs Ali in the corner. Bryan gives Ali “No Kicks” in the corner over and over. He backs off at 4, but brings Ali up to bump him off buckles. Bryan SLAPS Ali, and Vega applauds. Bryan wrenches Ali into an abdominal stretch. He bends Ali’s arm back and pulls hard, making Ali and Styles look at each other. Styles and fans rally for Ali, and Ali hip tosses out!
But Bryan tags Almas and Almas drops a leg on Ali’s arm! Almas taunts Styles, then grins as he brings Ali up. Almas CHOPS Ali against ropes, and Bryan wants uno mas. Vega wants one, too, so Almas stands Ali up for another CHOP! Bryan tags in and he brings Ali up for a chop of his own. Bryan whips Ali corner to corner then runs in, but Ali slips out to roundhouse Bryan back! Ali aims, slingshots for the somersault facebuster! Bryan bails out but Ali gets moving. Almas uses tranquilo to block the path and Vega joins him. Styles dropkicks Almas down! Vega freaks out, but Styles helps Ali FLY! Ali takes out Almas and Bryan and fans fire up while we go to break!
SmackDown returns once more, and Bryan has Ali in a Lion Tamer! Ali endures the modified Boston Crab and fights out with kicks. But Bryan tags in Almas and Almas climbs to splash down! Cover, TWO! Almas keeps his cool and goes after the legs himself. Almas turns Ali for a Half Crab and pulls back hard. Ali crawls and fans rally up, but Almas shifts to drop an elbow. Ali drags Ali up to then hit a basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Almas brings Ali over and stomps him out before tagging Bryan in. Bryan dares Ali to stand, and makes sure to stay between him and Styles. Ali sits up but gets more No Kicks! Ironically, fans say no and Almas says yes. Bryan brings Ali up and whips, but Ali kicks him back! Ali throws haymakers, then runs, but into a BIG clothesline!
Bryan goes right at the legs, for the surfboard! Ali endures as he’s held up high, then brought into a dragon sleeper! Ali flails and reaches, and gets the ropebreak! Bryan lets go at 4, then tags Almas. Almas drags Ali up and taunts him. Fans rally up and Ali fights back. Almas SLAPS Ali then whips him, and flapjack tosses Ali down! Cocky cover, TWO! Almas mocks Styles with a Clash but Ali huricanranas through! Only to get flipped with a lariat! Almas climbs up and moonsaults, lands on his feet as Ali rolls, but standing moonsaults to get knees! Ali and Almas are down, but Ali is crawling for his corner. Almas starts to crawl, hot tags to Styles and Bryan!
Styles rallies on Bryan with chops and forearms, and the Phenomenal Blitz! Styles hits the sliding forearm! He hits Bryan in the corner, then suplexes him up. Bryan fights back but Styles gets him with a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Styles keeps his cool, then runs back in. Bryan puts Styles on the apron, but Styles springboards. Bryan gets under, but caught into a Calf Crusher!! Styles wrenches hard, then rolls Bryan from ropes! Almas attacks to break the hold! Almas drags Styles up, hammerlocks and facelocks, but Styles resists the DDT. They go around to ropes, and Styles dumps Almas out! Ali comes in outta nowhere with a flying huricanrana! Bryan runs but misses Styles in the corner, and Styles gets Bryan ready for the Clash! Bryan roundhouses! And buzzsaws!
But Bryan doesn’t cover, he aims at Styles, only to get a boot! Styles hops up, moonsault DDT! Both men are down, and Ali returns. Styles heads that way, hot tag! Ali runs and tilt-o-whirls for the DDT! He puts Bryan in a drop zone, but Almas goes after Ali up top. Ali fights Almas off, Stylse Phenomenal Forearms Almas down! 0-5-4!! Ali covers, Ali & Styles win!!
Winner: Mustafa Ali & AJ Styles, Ali pinning
What a massive way for the Heart of the Cruiserweight Division to officially join SmackDown then to pin the WWE Champion!! We all know this “fresh start” in the WWE means no more rematch clauses, so with AJ Styles out of the way, will a Beacon of Light shine in the title scene?
Once again the saying is SmackDown: Raw but better! Raw suffered from too many commercials but SmackDown kept the ratio just right. And even without commercials, the irony of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is that SmackDown was still great even while Raw was in the toilet. Therefore, SmackDown continues to be great, even with these changes, real or imagined by the McMahons.
I’m a little sad to hear Paige isn’t a General Manager, but it sounds like there will be some new role to make up for that. Maybe some kind of “executive assistant” or something. And opening with a brief mention of the TLC Triple Threat controversy was good, as was that opening SmackDown Women’s Championship match. Ronda’s idea of the champion defending the title after a PPV might actually be a thing after all. Asuka retains, but I wonder how they’ll determine a challenger. I’d make Charlotte VS Becky 1v1 so we can get another great match from that, and then the winner gets a title match. Of course, Becky wants Ronda, too, so I’m still thinking she goes into the Rumble for a chance to get at Ronda. Becky VS Ronda definitely should happen somehow.
The Miz talking with Vince backstage was definitely something. And when the announcement was a mixed tag, I knew right away Miz was against Truth & Carmella. Truth & Carmella already won plenty so Miz wins to continue this story with Shane. I believe SmackDown is doing taping for their Christmas episode, same as Raw for Christmas Eve, so that Miz TV segment with Miz and Shane is likely happening right now. I’d imagine Shane will again insist he would rather stay out of the ring, but perhaps he gives Miz one last chance just to see how it goes. Then a match with jobbers maybe, or maybe a real team like The Colons, and who knows? #BestTagTeamintheWorld might make it pretty far.
Speaking of tag teams, everything with SmackDown’s Tag Team Division was perfect. The Club finally get some shine against The Usos in a really good match, and SAnitY returns to make their own big statement. I would love if SAnitY finally gets in the mix and maybe even get those titles of The Bar. Perhaps in a Fatal 4 Way, give The Club an even chance at it, too. The NXT call-ups are shown tonight, too, those six will be divided equally. Nikki Cross comes to SmackDown, obviously, and Lacey Evans will go to Raw to keep the Women’s Divisions even. Then it’s either SmackDown gets a tag team or two singles competitors in Lars and EC3. I would love EC3 to be on SmackDown for a feud with Bryan’s current character.
The tag team main event was spectacular, and Mustafa Ali is officially part of SmackDown. I hope he’ll be a crossover with 205 Live, Ali still deserves to be Cruiserweight Champion and wrap his story up with Buddy Murphy. At the same time, Ali gets to be the one to pin Daniel Bryan, I would love if Ali gets both titles. It would be such an amazing thing for Ali and for everyone if the Cruiserweight Division opens up with a Champion VS Champion story. Bryan could even trim down, kayfabe or not, and compete on 205 Live to A) get that show the ratings it deserves and B) show that every title matters. Why should anyone stop at one title when they’re eligible for multiple? The New Bryan should try to spread his message to all possible outlets, and the Cruiserweight Division should be one of them.
My Score: 8.7/10