AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Asuka, and the new Daniel Bryan preserved Smackdown’s status as the A-show.
With Monday Night Raw again being a pathetic collection of cringey segments and illogical booking, it was up to WWE Smackdown to make fans excited for the upcoming TLC. Thanks to a balance between wrestling and well done promos, the blue brand more than succeeded.
Women’s Championship TLC Contract Signing:
Surrounded by tables, ladders and chairs, general manager Paige kicked off the show by mentioning how proud she was of Smackdown making history by having the first ever women’s TLC match. Becky Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte Flair were promptly called down to the ring to sign the contract and make the highly anticipated match official. The Man earned the biggest reaction, with fans bellowing her name as she questioned The Queen’s right to another championship affair after consecutive losses. Charlotte’s rebuttal was another longwinded speech about how she destroyed Ronda Rousey while Becky was nursing a broken face and wounded ego. Despite not being fluent in English, the segment really heated up when Asuka interrupted the squabbling hens and proclaimed that she would’ve beaten the female Rowdy Piper at Survivor Series. After a series of one up-manship, the irked Irish Lasskicker signed the contract and returned backstage.
With The Man gone, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville waltzed down the ramp to vent their frustrations about having lost last week’s battle royale. The duo threatened to make Asuka and Charlotte unable to compete at TLC, prompting Paige to sanction an immediate tag team match.
This was a really strong opening to the show. All the competitors spoke well and came off strong, with Charlotte delivering the best line about having shattered The Empress Of Tomorrow’s mystique at WrestleMania.
Asuka and Charlotte Flair Vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville:
Sonya Deville pinned Charlotte after Asuka intentionally smashed her in the face with a hefty boot for a previous misunderstanding. As a tag team bout designed to increase the babyfaces’ animosity towards each other, this was excellent. Sonya Deville was really impressive and got the deserved victory for her team, meanwhile Charlotte and Asuka’s reputation remains intact due to their loss being self-inflicted.
Xavier Woods Vs. Jey Uso Vs. Cesaro:
With it being official that the Bar’s tag team titles will be on the line against The Usos and The New Day at TLC, one member of each team was made to compete in a normal triple threat bout. Despite the commentators reminding the fans at home that there was no disqualification, this was a clean contest that ended with Cesaro being pinned by Jey Uso after a devastating superkick. As you’d expect, the action was fast, smooth and precise, and the highlight was The New Day’s table of pancakes being knocked over by the grumpy Swiss Superman.
Daniel Bryan On Miz Tv:
Despite starting off really bad with the irritating Carmella and R-Truth interrupting for a brief and pointless ‘dance’, Daniel Bryan succeeded in re-inventing himself as an obnoxious hippie who incessantly preaches about the Earth and how society is its enemy.
Wearing cheap sunglasses indoors like a real twit, the Miz praised the new Daniel for realising that there is no such thing as a righteous winner. This led to the former Yes-man going on a spiel about how the WWE Universe are fickle sheep, before presenting himself as a deluded messiah by insisting that his kick to AJ’s d*ck wasn’t a sin equal to the world destroying the Earth through drinking water from plastic bottles and eating factory farmed foods. AJ Styles interrupted the A-Lister’s must see show to try and enact some revenge, but was blindsided with a Skull Crushing Finale after Bryan ran away.
Having never been a master of the mic, Bryan was surprisingly evocative in his new role as the irksome vegan you never want to invite to dinner. He was believable as the WWE’s true moral compass, and he effectively rid himself of his nice guy demeanour and reputation.
Jeff Hardy Vs. Randy Orton:
In the latest Hardy-Orton bout since their fierce rivalry ended at Hell In A Cell, this was an unsurprisingly strong match thanks to the duo’s undeniable chemistry gained from a frequent number of mano-a-manos. The Charismatic Enigma was ready to perform a Swanton Bomb on Orton through the announce table, but was distracted by the dastardly Samoa Joe. With his opponent mistakenly focused on Joe’s live stream at a bar, the Viper slid into the ring and pinned the WWE’s daredevil after an RKO. After feigning an apology for costing Hardy the match, the provocative Samoan chastised the once troubled father by delivering a ‘drink responsibly’ advert.
Samoa Joe was again great at making you want to see him meet his comeuppance. Hopefully he actually wins this feud so he can regain some credibility.
AJ Styles Vs. The Miz:
Corey Graves kissed up to Bryan on commentary, essentially asking him how to cleanse himself of sin and help save the world. Bryan proceeded to roast Byron Saxton for devouring lots of chicken, and made himself a strong contender for father of the year by making it clear he wants his daughter to kick every man in the d*ck when she grows up. In the ring, AJ Styles and the Miz competed in a back-and-forth contest which culminated with the A-Lister tapping out to the Calf Crusher. After the match, the new Daniel Bryan assaulted the phenomenal one by repeatedly slamming his leg into the ‘steel’ post. Having stood on the announce table and repeatedly shouted ‘fickle’ to make it his new ‘yes’ chant, the world’s toughest vegan ended the show by torturing his redneck foe with the Heel Hook.
While the match was overshadowed by Bryan’s performance on commentary, it was still the perfect way to finish this week’s Smackdown. The former Yes-man succeeded in making himself a truly despicable villain who has a lot of parallels to CM Punk when he was the unwashed leader of the Straight Edge Society. In comparison to another pathetic Raw, Smackdown delivered another great episode that shocked the world by turning the world’s nicest guy into the biggest d*ck.