Smack The Review: Smackdown Review (20 December)

This episode is the follow up to a hit and miss PPV that was TLC last Sunday, which may suggest a lot of intrigue and interest, yet my personal expectations for Smackdown have been so low that anything above average may be considered greatness. With that being said, it is still a post-PPV episode, so we might (just might) get a couple of exciting story bits, and PLEASE WWE!! some decent WRESTLING on your WRESTLING show.

Let’s get to business …

Daniel Bryan promo time

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Talk about Cody Rhodes’ fiery promos as long as you want, Daniel Bryan is his equivalent if not his superior (as he is a really underrated promo). The YES! man came down to the ring serenaded in the chants and proceeded to cut one heck of a promo about how the “Fiend” changed him, but he changed to the better instead of embracing the darkness. He said that he needed to get rid of the brand of “Daniel Bryan” and return to the man that never main-evented WrestleMania.

All was going well in the world until The Miz interrupted and came out staking his claim for Bray Wyatt’s universal title, followed by Mr Boredom himself King Corbin who managed to tell some jokes before insulting both Miz and Bryan for being incompetent fathers, as well as putting himself in the line for a title shot. There were two people against King Corbin in the ring, and if you are familiar with WWE, you will know where this is going. Dolph Ziggler ambushed Daniel Bryan for a double beat down. The thing is, this segment was going really well in establishing Daniel Bryan’s new character direction in link with the “Fiend”, but once it became a heat generator for Corbin, any momentum it had just dissipated. Not catastrophic, but not great.

A recap for the segment WE JUST SAW!!

Heavy Machinery vs The Revival – Miracle on the 34th street

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Well, if you believe the reports about WWE’s intention to turn THE REVIVAL into a comedy team, then this is a great first step. Cathy Kelly (She is an ANGEL!!) interviewed Heavy Machinery beforehand who were motivated or Otis in particular, by Mandy Rose who gifted him a ham for last week destroyed one.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out what happened in this match. It was everything you can see from a “miracle on 34th street fight”, with tables, candy cane sticks, jingle bells, Christmas trees. The Revival had control earlier in the match then got their ass handed to them when they destroyed Otis’ ham again. Caterpillar, Compactor, PIN, REVIVAL LOSS!!. This is not good, Period.

Backstage, Dana Brooke is alongside Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, and Lacey Evans with her daughter before facing Bayley in a rematch.

Miz/Bryan vs Corbin/Ziggler is set for the main event as well as New Day vs Nakamura/Cesaro.

The Revival cut a promo, get interrupted by Elias and roasted too. They are officially a joke.

Sami Zayn is with Strowman (where he has been), they banter about secret Santa for a bit, then Strowman demands an IC title shot. Hopefully, it happens.

Carmella vs Sonya Deville

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This match is one of those that can be under the tag “chuck two women out there and label it jocking for a position in their division”. Literally after two minutes of “wrestling”, Sonya Deville tapped out to the code of silence by Carmella. The stupidest thing in this was Corey Graves who was talking about Sonya’s MMA background right after that, which explains how short-sighted WWE can be. If anything, the Smackdown women’s division has been a bit of an afterthought. So, instead of taking care of it, it gets less and less TV time each week. GREAT!.

Sheamus cuts a promo about how WWE became soft (Big Cass is that you?!)

New Day vs Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro

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This has goodness written all over it. things started slowly between Kofi and Shinsuke Nakamura, but once BIG E got the tag it went wild. Cesaro and Nakamura took over, proving to be a tandem on the rise (which is bad for each of them on their own). The pace went up again as Kofi rallied for his own hot tag, engaging in a beautiful sequence with Cesaro (underrated as usual). Sami Zayn on the outside was a joy as always with his screams and facial expressions.

The finish was innovative but very unclimactic as Cesaro got rolled up by Kingston, which gifted the win for the New Day. However, all of it was a setup so that Braun Strowman can come out for the save as Kofi and Big E got assaulted by Nakamura and Zayn. If Sami was an active wrestler, I would say that this will lead to a 6-man tag but now nobody knows. The match was good but slightly rushed for the post-match angle.

Miz and Bryan are backstage discussing before their tag match.

Bayley vs Dana Brooke

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I went into this match asking a lot of questions about Bayley and Lacey Evans’ story. After a very good showing from Dana Brooke, Bayley hit her new finisher and won. Consequently, this set up Lacey Evans coming out and challenging Sasha Banks to a match. She was talking about being raised to never let a bully win (which is ironic now she is a face), then vowed to beat Sasha and we have our match set.

Lacey Evans vs Sasha Banks

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The “Boss” entered this match well, dominating the action and halting it as Lacey looked for ways to mount her comeback. Bayley was the disguise that Sasha used whenever she was outdone, as well as beating her down in front of her family and daughter. While all of that was happening, the match ended in a count-out. Post-match, Lacey attacked Banks to get some heat back.

This was super lame, not just in the finish but the direction of the story which remains unknown. The best thing about this is perhaps Lacey’s daughter angry face, which may be more authentic than WWE’s methods of storytelling. Also, they need to tone down the family man/women that is just silly.

The Miz/Daniel Bryan vs King Corbin/Dolph Ziggler

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After a recap of Corbin’s TLC match against Roman Reigns and a bit of tension between the faces, the match started. By the way, Daniel Bryan wrestling in his 2010 look is just wonderful. During the break, Corbin and Ziggler took over the match, only for Bryan to launch some offence after it. Ziggler halted the pace, working over the YES! man setting the hot tag for The Miz. He and Corbin took turns in beating down Daniel Bryan in their corner while mocking him.

After what felt like an eternity, The Miz finally got the hot tag and managed to hit a lot of offence on Ziggler and Corbin, leading into a final sequence in which, surprisingly, The Miz tapped out Ziggler with the figure four leg lock for an unconvincing finish. Very quickly, Michael Cole announced that Miz will face Bryan and Corbin in a #1 contender triple threat match to face Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble. Lights went out (almost), and the “Fiend” laughing was the last thing to witness on Smackdown. Somehow, nothing was happening yet WWE ran short of time. Maybe they could have cancelled the Miracle on 34th street fight and gave time to the main-event to build, as it would have been drastically better.

Smackdown felt as lazy as anyone that would wake up from a Christmas party, which suggests that WWE creative are already on a holiday and there is a story generator that provided the ideas for this show. Somehow, everything felt rushed, despite nothing of a substance really happening. However, I am very intrigued to see where Daniel Bryan’s character goes from here.

Final rating: 5/10 (nothing was awful, but nothing was outstanding either)

This is only one man’s opinion after all. Reach out on twitter @austin316tn or tell in the comments below. Till next week! and Happy Holidays (I am taking next week off by the way)