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WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, reactions (Dec. 18, 2018): New?

All throughout the night, I was on the lookout for something new. The McMahons promised, didn’t they? They said new things were on the way.

Well, until the final match of the show, I was extremely disappointed. Sure, the tag teams showed up. But that wasn’t anything truly special – that could have happened on any random Tuesday.

Y’all, I’m already sick of the McMahons.

First of all, poor Paige! She was stellar as the General Manager! I know they said she’d get a new role, but do you really want to trade Paige for more Shane?

Didn’t think so.

Vince McMahon made another appearance where his role was very odd to me. Becky Lynch opened the show trash talking Ronda Rousey and swearing vengeance. Charlotte Flair came out to do the same and then Vince came out, called them both entitled, and then told them to take their issues up with Rousey.

...W-wasn’t that what they were just doing, Vince?

Vince then booked a title match between Asuka and Naomi that was okay. It didn’t set the world on fire for me. In fact, I thought it looked clumsy at times. I do like the new emphasis to have champions defend on their shows more often though, but I’ve already gotten my fill of the McMahons.

And we’re just getting started, aren’t we?

Actual change

We finally got some change in the final match of the night. Mustafa freaking Ali, man.

The New Daniel Bryan had a great promo to start the segment. The man had Fresno, California out here cheering their pollution, for goodness sake. That promo riled up a crowd that had been largely quiet the entire night and got them into the main event.

We got a really good match out of Ali, Bryan, AJ Styles, and Andrade “Cien” Almas. I really loved Almas’ work in this one; he’s such a smug bastard waltzing around the ring and looking down derisively on his opponent. Hopefully this can be the start of something for him.

Anyway! The actual story here is Ali. The new call up to SmackDown Live just pinned the WWE Champion. How’s that for change? Yes, it’s a random episode of SmackDown and yes, champions lose in tag matches all the time. It’s still rare to see a new name get a huge win like this clean as a whistle. It’s the sort of thing that makes you sit up and take notice.

On a night where a lot felt very routine, this stood out to me. Hopefully Ali can ride the wave once all that “change” finally gets here.

The Rest of SmackDown Live

Tag team brawl – This was one of the high points of the show for me. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson interrupted the Usos and basically called out the tag team division for getting stale. The same three teams keep fighting each other and nothing changes. They want their shot.

So that led to a tag match and it was fun! That’s kind of what was so maddening about the cyclical nature of SmackDown’s tag division; everyone could go in the ring, not just the three teams we see the most.

The Bar came down to interfere but SAnitY beat them to it, laying boots to both teams. It led to a cool stare down between the two heel teams. Hopefully they can continue this momentum in the new year.

Rusev vs. Nakamura next week – Rusev bragged about his gorgeous beard – and admittedly, it IS gorgeous – and said Shinsuke Nakamura looks like Sonic the Hedgehog. Nakamura retaliated by calling Rusev a Total Diva. It was funny, but nothing too special.

Samoa Joe “apologizes” - I thought this entire segment was weak. Joe staging an intervention has been done before and it just didn’t hammer home. The only bit that had any bite was when Hardy mocked Joe for his failures in winning any gold on the main roster.

The Miz and Mandy Rose def. R-Truth and Carmella - The Miz is still trying to tag with Shane and ran into Vince by mistake. He asked for Vince’s “blessing,” but instead got a mixed tag team match to try to win Shane’s love. The match was fine, I guess. Nothing too impressive.

...Did this show feel lifeless to anyone else? The main event notwithstanding, of course. I think some of it was the crowd, some of it was wrestling burnout, and some of it was simply looking for changes that aren’t coming yet.

With that said, the main event was very good. Everything else was just run of the mill for me.

Grade: C+

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