Smackdown – December 11, 2018

Smackdown
Date: December 11, 2018
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

It’s the final show before TLC and the card is actually stacked. This week we have a rap battle between the Usos and the Bar, a Wrestlemania rematch between Asuka and Charlotte and, surprisingly enough, Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali. That’s a good thing for 205 Live fans but I’m not sure what to expect. Let’s get to it.

The opening recap looks at Asuka vs. Charlotte and previews Ali vs. Bryan.

Here’s Bryan for an opening chat. Last week he called the fans sheep who were destroying the world with their endless consumption. With some more thought on it though, he’s decided that they’re really all parasites. These fans take and they take and give nothing in return, especially here in Vegas. They took from the old Daniel Bryan over and over and that’s done for good.

Bryan quotes author William Gaddis (who Bryan says he’s discussed this with, even though Gaddis died about twenty years ago) by saying “stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance” and that sums up Vegas perfectly. Cue Ali to cut him off but Bryan won’t let him introduce himself. Bryan tells him to get in and introduces him, saying that the fans won’t give Ali a fair chance due to being xenophobic. These people don’t deserve to see a match between then because they’re FICKLE, FICKLE, FICKLE!

Ali wants to know what happened to Bryan. The old Bryan would want to fight, which is what Ali wants. Bryan: “What kind of car do you drive?” Ali drives an SUV, so Bryan calls him a small little man who doesn’t need such a big car. It’s because of his wife and two children, so Bryan slaps him in the face and calls him ignorant. Bryan loads up another one but gets forearmed in the face. A hurricanrana sends Bryan to the floor for a big flip dive. Here’s a referee to have our match now.

Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali

Joined in progress with Bryan kneeing him in the ribs and putting on a surfboard for some ripping at the nose. The YES Kicks (with some fort of chanting that isn’t YES) have Ali in trouble but he gets in a kick to the face of his own for two. Ali follows him to the floor but gets posted to put him in even more trouble.

Back from a break with Ali caught in the YES Lock and hanging on for a good while until he makes the rope. Bryan puts him in the Tree of Woe for some kicks to the ribs but Ali flips out of a belly to back superplex. Ali gets two off a tornado DDT but misses the 054. Bryan wraps the leg around the post a few times and a chop block makes things even worse. A heel hook makes Ali tap at 10:03.

Rating: C+. Ali held his own there and it’s not like losing to Bryan hurts him at all. He got to hit a bunch of his big stuff and that’s the kind of attention that he’s long since earned. I really do want to see him get the Cruiserweight Title at some point, but if this is the start of a move to the main shows, I think I can live with it.

Post match Bryan puts the hook on again, this time on the stage. Just to prove the point you see.

TLC rundown.

Here’s New Day, with Big E. in a suit, to host the rap battle. Back from a break with everyone in the ring so New Day can set up the match on Sunday. Big E. demands no funny business from the Bar….who proceed to do their own version of Ice Ice Baby (Ice Ice Sheamy). Cesaro: “Word to your mother.” And they even drop the mics.

The Usos rap about being ripped off last time and how they’ve already beaten the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so now it’s time to take care Bebop and Rocksteady. They reference Cesaro greasing Sheamus’ mohawk and the turnbuckle destroying Cesaro’s teeth last year. The Usos promise to win the titles on Sunday but have to send the Bar to the floor. The brawl is on with the Bar standing tall. There were some good lines in there and for a comedy segment, that’s all you can ask.

Asuka admits that Charlotte was ready for her because she stopped kicking. This Sunday, Asuka won’t stop kicking and tonight, Charlotte won’t be ready.

Here’s Miz, with the Best in the World trophy. It’s Shane McMahon’s week to have custody but Miz needs to talk to him about something and this is the only way to get Shane out here. Miz even begs on one knee for Shane to come talk to him. Shane does come out so Miz again begs him to be his partner. It’s starting to get weird, but Miz says that this is important. Miz wants to show Shane what this means….so let’s have a referee out here for a tag match.

Vegas Boys vs. Shane McMahon/The Miz

They’re named Chip and Chad and jump Shane from behind. Shane sends we’ll say Chip to the floor and hammers away on Chad, who has a Hart Foundation skull on his trunks, before mostly botching a floatover DDT. A triangle choke makes Chad tap at 1:29.

Post break the Vegas Boys invoice Paige for $5000 each, as promised by Miz. Paige throws them out.

Here’s Randy Orton for a chat, but first he has to grab a chair. Orton says you need a good chair and shows us some clips of him abusing Rey Mysterio with a chair over the last few weeks. On Sunday, everyone is going to be worried about TLC, but everyone needs to be worried about RK….and here’s Mysterio with a chair of his own to lay Orton out.

Becky Lynch is asked about how much of an advantage she could get if Asuka and Charlotte destroy each other tonight. She says there’s no advantage in a TLC match but fighting against the odds is what she does. Tonight, she’ll be at ringside scouting the two of them. On Sunday, they’ll see the chaos when the Man comes around.

Samoa Joe/Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy/Rusev

Hold on though as here are R-Truth and Carmella for a DANCE BREAK, because that joke isn’t old yet in WWE’s minds. Nakamura uses the distraction to jump Hardy from behind and it’s quickly off to Joe. That means Hardy gets sent hard into the barricade and we take a break.

Back with Joe cranking on both of Hardy’s arms before charging into Hardy’s elbow in the corner. The Whisper in the Wind drops Joe and it’s off to Rusev to knee Nakamura in the ribs. The running shoulder in the corner sets up a spinwheel kick, followed by the Machka Kick for two. Hardy dives onto Joe, leaving Nakamura to charge into the jumping superkick to give Rusev the pin at 7:02. Lana is VERY happy with the win.

Rating: C-. This didn’t have the time to go anywhere but it did its job of advancing Joe vs. Hardy. At the same time though, I have a bad feeling that it’s going to be used to set up Rusev vs. Nakamura for Sunday, which would be the thirteenth match on the card. The match should take place, but let it be a big featured Smackdown match instead of something else on Sunday.

An annoyed Shane yells at Miz and takes the trophy for everything Miz did tonight. Miz loves the McMahon aggression and says that after everything he’s done, he was never considered the best in the world until Shane came along. Shane walks away from the offer of a handshake. This gets dumber and dumber every week.

Lars Sullivan video.

Video on Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles.

AJ Styles is ready for TLC and counting down the days, hours and minutes until he gets his hands on Bryan. This is the real Daniel Bryan, but there can be only one AJ Styles.

Asuka vs. Charlotte

Before the match, Charlotte promises a preview for Sunday. Becky comes out to watch, as promised. Asuka goes for a kneebar almost immediately before throwing Charlotte HARD with a release German suplex. Charlotte kicks her down and tries the moonsault, which is countered into the Asuka Lock. That’s broken up with a drop down onto the back but Asuka grabs it again.

Charlotte gets out a second time and we take a break after a hot start. Back with Charlotte getting caught in an Octopus Hold, which she switches into a triangle choke. Charlotte punches and powerbombs her way out so it’s time for the Figure Four. Asuka turns it over so Charlotte goes right back to the knee in a smart move.

The spear is countered with a Codebreaker and Asuka starts firing off kicks, as the leg is just fine. Now the spear connects for two so Charlotte goes up again. The second moonsault attempt is blocked and the Figure Four attempt is countered into the Asuka Lock. Charlotte fights to the ropes and they fall outside, where Charlotte finds a kendo stick for the DQ at 15:23.

Rating: B. Good match here with both of them hitting everything they were going for here, including the big, hard shots and holds. They made it feel like a big showdown and that’s exactly what you needed in a match like this. I’m fine with the non-finish as you don’t want to take away the momentum from either of them before Sunday.

Post match Charlotte beats Asuka up some more and gets a swing at Becky. This doesn’t go well with Lynch, who sends Charlotte into the steps and unloads on her with stick shots. Asuka gets the stick away and unloads on both of them before posing with the stick to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. I think I’ve firmly established how much better this show is than Raw and why that’s the case every week so I’ll spare you from another repeat. They did a nice job of setting up Sunday and that’s what mattered most. I mean, I still don’t need to see more matches added to the card and the Shane/Miz stuff is still annoying, but there’s more good than bad here and I want to see what happens on Sunday, at least with the Smackdown matches.

Results

Daniel Bryan b. Mustafa Ali – Heel hook

Shane McMahon/The Miz b. Vegas Boys – Triangle choke to Chad

Rusev/Jeff Hardy b. Shinsuke Nakamura/Samoa Joe – Jumping superkick to Nakamura

Asuka b. Charlotte via DQ when Charlotte used a kendo stick

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