Date: December 22, 2015
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T., Jerry Lawler
This is the special live show that follows the age of rule of “don’t have a show on Christmas Eve”. It’s also a stacked show as WWE tries to get some more attention on Smackdown before the move to the live broadcast just after the new year. Therefore we have two title matches as Dean Ambrose and the New Day defend their titles. Let’s get to it.
Opening sequence, this time with Christmas trees at the beginning.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Lucha Dragons
The Dragons are challenging. Before the match, New Day plugs their new Christmas album, featuring songs such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Unicorn and Kofi the Snowman. Woods is the odd man out here as Cara dropkicks Kofi to start. It’s quickly off to Kalisto for the monkey flip 450 but he gets Big E. for his luck. E. tries a slam but gets kneed in the face, followed by a staggering dropkick. Cara’s missile dropkick gets two but Kofi comes in with a hurricanrana. That’s not really a heel move but then again the New Day aren’t really heels. A baseball slide puts Kofi down and it’s time for tromboning and a break.
Back with Big E. missing a splash and it’s the hot tag to Kalisto as everything picks up. Woods finally trips him up to take over again, allowing Big E. to drive Kalisto HARD into the barricade. That was one of the hardest looking crashes I’ve ever seen. It’s time for the Unicorn Stampede bug Kalisto flips out of a belly to belly and makes the hot tag. Everything speeds up again and the Dragons score with a double suicide dive. Back in and Cara kicks E. in the head, setting up Salida Del Sol. Kofi breaks up the Swanton though and Cara moonsaults into the Big Ending to retain the titles at 12:37.
Rating: C+. This was fine for what it needed to be and lets New Day look good before their big showdown with the Usos. The Dragons were a good choice for a quick challenge and the match worked well enough. I was hoping they would push Kalisto as something on his own after the performance in the tournament and the big Salida Del Sol but it’s just more false hope.
Santino puts the star on his tree but someone (who looked like Stardust) steals it.
Dolph Ziggler, Charlotte, Tyler Breeze and Roman Reigns wish us a Merry Christmas.
Ambrose says he’s sore from the last week but says he’s going to hit Ziggler and Owens with whatever it takes to retain Intercontinental Champion.
Ryback/Kane/Dudley Boyz vs. Wyatt Family
Ryback and Rowan get things going but it’s quickly off to Bubba for a shoulder and we take a quick break. Back with Harper putting Bubba in a chinlock to slow things down even more. It’s off to Strowman who wants Kane, which is exactly what he gets. The smaller monster is easily pounded down and it’s off to Wyatt for some shots in the corner. Kane comes back with a quick faceplant on Harper before bringing in Ryback. The middle rope dropkick puts Harper down but he grabs a Michinoku Driver as we go to our second break.
Back with Rowan holding Ryback in a head vice until a spinebuster gives him a breather. Another double tag brings in D-Von and Bray with the Dudley taking over. The top rope headbutt gets two on Bray and everything breaks down. Rowan clotheslines Ryback over the barricade and the reverse 3D gets two more on Wyatt. There’s a superkick to D-Von and Sister Abigail ends Bubba at 16:08.
Rating: C. This is the kind of match the Wyatts need to win. They’re slowly being built back up but at some point they have to actually do something. It’s also amazing how much more I can tolerate these things with fewer ancient ECW guys in there and people like Ryback having something to do instead. Not a great or even good match but it did its job.
Santino’s Christmas party is a disaster as everything has been wrecked. This brings in Stardust and the Ascension to take credit for destroying everything. Neville, in a hilarious elf hat, comes in to stand up for Christmas. Titus, in the same hat, appears and says he’ll put a boot down Ascension’s chimney. A tag match is made for later.
Rusev/Alberto Del Rio vs. Usos
Jey chops Rusev to start but gets dragged into the corner as the League starts taking turns on him. Del Rio hits a top rope right hand and Rusev rakes a boot over the face. Jey gets over for the tag and Jimmy comes in for two off a double flapjack. Everything breaks down and Jey’s dive over the top nails Alberto. Jimmy does the same to Rusev but they’re both dropped with kicks as we take a break.
Back with everything breaking down and Jimmy being sent into the steps. Del Rio snaps Jey’s throat across the rope but gets caught on top. A superplex is broken up and it’s time for the top rope double stomp. Thankfully Jey realizes that he can move to break it up, only to have a Rusev distraction allow Rusev to knock him back into place. The stomp is good for the pin at 10:30.
Rating: C-. I wasn’t feeling this one quite as much as the Usos win an award, beat the champions last night and then lose here. As usual it’s the same story of bad booking going in the same circles over and over. I’m getting tired of trying to care about a team and then having them lose all over again. What does the win over New Day last night mean now? Watchable match but more bad booking.
Post match the League loads up the Brogue Kick on Jimmy but Reigns makes the save.
Dean Ambrose, Santino Marella, Becky Lynch and New Day wish us a Merry Christmas.
Titus O’Neil/Neville vs. Ascension
Santino introduces Neville and Titus (“My favorite Irishman!”) and it’s Neville and Konor starting things off. Neville is in some early trouble thanks to the power game so it’s off to Viktor. That doesn’t go very well as the hot tag brings in Titus. Viktor takes him down as well and everyone surrounds Santino on the floor. The Cobra is loaded up but Santino just wipes himself off with it, allowing Neville to dive onto all three. Back in and a big boot sets up the Red Arrow to Viktor for the pin at 3:09.
Rating: D+. Nothing match here and the saving Christmas story was just tacked on. I mean, this is no Mark Henry vs. Damien Sandow or JBL Claus vs. Mick Claus but then again this isn’t much of a show anyway. Neville getting the pin is a good thing though after they gave him an award last night and then had him lose.
We recap Ziggler vs. Owens vs. Ambrose.
Dolph says he’s been going about this the wrong way but tonight he’s going to make 2016 the year of Dolph Ziggler.
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella
Non-title with Becky Lynch on commentary. Charlotte, in a Mrs. Claus skirt, kicks away to start as the fans want Becky. A Flair knee drop misses and Becky can’t answer if she’d rather have friends or win the Divas Title. Charlotte ducks the big YES kick and hits a quick spear. Cue Team BAD as a snowman, a reindeer and…..I’m not sure what Tamina is supposed to be. They throw eggnog on Becky and beat her down but Charlotte puts Brie in the Figure Eight for the win at 3:39.
Rating: D. Angle advancement here as we need Brie on TV to set up the new season of Total Divas. I mean, I hear there’s going to be Brie vs. Nikki drama this time. Becky vs. Charlotte should be good, much like when we FINALLY get rid of Team Bad as the female New Day, minus any of the actual comedy.
Becky is annoyed at Charlotte post match.
Owens promises to turn Smackdown into the Kevin Owens Show and says Renee Young looks ridiculous.
Intercontinental Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
Ambrose is defending so of course he comes out first. Owens is quickly sent outside but he pulls Dolph outside. Dean breaks up a powerbomb attempt on the floor so Owens backsplashes both guys as we take a break. Back with everyone heading up the ramp and Owens throws Ziggler through the Christmas presents. Ziggler breaks up a powerbomb to Ambrose and they throw Owens off the stage through more trees.
That leaves Ziggler and Ambrose to fight on the stage with empty boxes. They head back to the ring with Ziggler loading up a superplex, only to have Owens runs back in for the save. Owens superkicks Ziggler and Dean clotheslines Kevin to put all three down. Dean goes up top but Dolph runs up the corner for a super facebuster. Ziggler is sent into the steps to give Owens two on Ambrose.
Dolph runs back in for a sleeper but gets thrown to the floor, leaving Owens to suplex Dean onto his head for two. As the referee makes sure Dean can remember what planet he’s on, Owens is smart enough to go beat on Ziggler to give the crowd something to watch. Dean gets back up and tries Dirty Deeds on Owens but Ziggler comes in to add the Zig Zag to Ambrose, putting all three down again. Ziggler covers Dean for two and superkicks Owens but walks into Dirty Deeds to retain Dean’s title at 13:25.
Rating: B-. Good, action packed match here that was a few miles ahead of everything else on the show with all three guys working hard to get the match over. Again they made sure to keep Owens from getting pinned which is the exactly right idea to keep the feud going. Ziggler is the kind of guy who can lose all the time and still be fine but Owens might be going somewhere big. Good stuff here and almost enough to save the show.
Owens destroys the Christmas trees as Ambrose celebrates to take us out.
Overall Rating: C. Totally skippable show here with really nothing major happening. The two title matches were nice but you can tell they’re saving their big stuff for the regular premiere on USA. It doesn’t help that this is a week they basically take off for the holidays because we get seven hours of mostly lame WWE in three days. This was nothing to see though and a really standard episode of Smackdown: watchable wrestling that meant absolutely nothing.
New Day b. Lucha Dragons – Big Ending to Cara
Wyatt Family b. Dudley Boyz/Ryback/Kane – Sister Abigail to Bubba
Rusev/Alberto Del Rio b. Usos – Top rope double stomp to Jey
Titus O’Neil/Neville b. Ascension – Red Arrow to Viktor
Charlotte b. Brie Bella – Figure Eight
Dean Ambrose b. Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler – Dirty Deeds to Ziggler
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