19th Dec2018

WWE Smackdown Live – Dec 18th 2018: Results & Review

by Phil Wheat

smackdown-2018-logo

The WWE’s “fresh start” comes to Smackdown Live but what does it entail for the blue brand? Read on to find out…

Match #1: SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka def. Naomi

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch watching from ringside, Asuka made her first title defense as SmackDown Women’s Champion against Naomi on the blue brand. The good friends battled with ferocity, pushing each other to their limits. Naomi nearly sealed the victory when she connected with the Rear View after an intense scramble, but Asuka narrowly kicked out. The Empress of Tomorrow withstood one last aerial assault from Naomi and trapped her in the Asuka Lock for the second time in the match to earn the tap-out victory. Asuka was successful in her first title defense, but Becky and Charlotte were, quite literally, breathing down on her reign.

My Take: There was no way Asuka was going to lose her first match after becoming champ, but you have to hand it to Naomi she put in some real effort in this match, foregoing the usual showboating to concentrate on her opportunity – even the dancing was subdued.  In the end, despite putting on a great performance, managing to fight out of the Asuka lock on numerous occasions, and getting a VERY close pin, Asuka was too much for Naomi. But it was a great start to the show – and hey, at least it WASN’T more Charlotte/Becky championship action… After all, isn’t Smackdown the land of opportunity? So give more of the womens roster a chance at the title!

Match #2: The Miz & Mandy Rose def. R-Truth & Carmella

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The Miz attempted to gain Mr. McMahon’s blessing so that he could team with Shane McMahon, but The Chairman suggested that Miz must first prove that he can be trusted after last week’s shenanigans. The WWE CEO then placed The A-Lister in a Mixed Tag Team Match with Mandy Rose against the winners of Mixed Match Challenge Season 2, R-Truth & Carmella. Truth & Carmella were rolling, showing off their moves with an epic dance break, and Carmella connected flush with a superkick to Mandy. However, in the split second that Truth spent relishing Carmella’s picture-perfect kick, Miz snuck up behind him and nailed the Skull-Crushing Finale for the major win.

My Take: No more dancing please. Can we have a fresh start WITHOUT flossing and stupid shenanigans from Carmella and R-Truth? I guess not given that their trip to WWE HQ is set to be a series of comedy vignettes (accroding to rumours). The only thing that marked out this match was the ridiculously sleazy commentary from Corey Graves… Dude, it’s 2018, not the era of pillow fights and bikini matches!

Match #3: SAnitY brutally attacked The Usos and Gallows & Anderson

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The Usos were looking to pick up their unfinished business with The Bar, but Gallows & Anderson had other plans. Insulted with how they’ve been treated on SmackDown LIVE over the past few months, The Good Brothers looked to take advantage of a new opportunity on the blue brand by trying to knock off Team Blue cornerstones The Usos. Each squad clearly looked to get the attention of the McMahon family as this new era in WWE gets rolling. The match was wall to wall insane with both teams going all out, but The Bar hit the scene, clearly looking to cause trouble for both teams. However, before Sheamus & Cesaro could attack, SAnitY arrived from out of nowhere and viciously beat down The Usos and Gallows & Anderson, taking both teams out and sending a cold-blooded message to the blue brand. Once SAnitY did their damage, The Bar then picked the bones and decimated The Usos and The Good Brothers, as Eric Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe watched on with an odd, sadistic glee.

My Take: A great match wasted with interruptions and interference galore. Can Gallows & Anderson not get a break – as they said its been 4 months since they’ve been on TV and they come back to a match that essentially sold SAnitY rather than anyone actually participating! Though I did love the reference to how much same three tag teams get to fight on TV each week, ignoring the rest of the roster. Could this “fresh start” change things? I’m hopeful but I doubt it.

Match #4: AJ Styles & Mustafa Ali def. “The New” Daniel Bryan & Andrade “Cien” Almas

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

After WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan earned a victory against AJ Styles at WWE TLC, The Beard arrived on SmackDown LIVE claiming that he destroyed The House that AJ Styles Built and chastising the WWE Universe for destroying the planet. Bryan would look to defend what he now considered to be his house as he teamed with Andrade “Cien” Almas to take on Styles and 205 Live stalwart Mustafa Ali.

Action came early and often in this main event tag team match, with Ali and Almas throwing caution to the wind and scrapping it out like a pair of hungry lions, impressing the WWE Universe and stunning their opponents with their mettle. Finally though, Styles got his hands on Bryan, and the two picked up right where they left off this past Sunday. The Phenomenal One seemed to have Bryan right where he wanted when he locked in the Calf Crusher, but Almas ran interference and broke up the submission hold. However, once Ali took Andrade out at ringside with a hurricanrana, it was down to AJ and the WWE Champion in the ring. “The New” Daniel Bryan tried to keep Styles down with a barrage of strikes and kicks, but AJ kept rallying back. Styles then tagged in Ali and took out Almas with the Phenomenal Forearm, giving Ali the opening to connect with his dazzling 054 on the WWE Champion and get the pinfall.

My Take: I’m bored of “the new” Daniel Bryan already… Which means his self-righteous heel persona is working! However the same cannot be said of Mustafa Ali, who seems to have fit in very well into the fast-paced, high-flying style of Bryan, Styles and Almas. A great main event for this episode of Smackdown… See what happens when you have new players in the wrestling game AND use your existing talent to their best?! More please WWE.

News of the Night:

  1. Paige was officially relieved of her duties as General Manager by Shane McMahon.
  2. Mr. McMahon made a VERY rare appearance on Smackdown Live.
  3. Becky Lynch opened the show with a declaration that she wanted to fight Ronda Rousey.

Final Verdict: 2.5/5

A good episode of Smackdown but not a GREAT one. There were missed opportunities (Gallows and Anderson for sure) and there were flourishes of greatness but it didn’t all come together well enough to warrant more than an average score.

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