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WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, reactions (Dec. 25, 2018): Merry Rusev Day!

I know I keep talking about this so-called new era in my reviews lately, but it’s the scope that WWE has given us with which to judge them, right? And with that in mind, if the new era allows for a myriad of performers to wrestle for 30 minutes in the main event? Sign me the hell up.

That the strength of WWE, by my estimation. Their talent – their sheer depth of talent – is unprecedented. Everyone from AJ Styles to Alexander Wolfe to Tyler Breeze could go out there and rock a 30-minute match. So let them, you know?

On this show, we got Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura duking it out for the United States Championship and I don’t know how many cheers and chants were added in post=production, but the crowd was loud and gave some great energy to this bout.

There’s really not much to say, you know? It’s an excellent match. Click on the video above and watch the highlights. I thought the commentary was particularly excellent in this fight by questioning Rusev’s gumption and adding some urgency when the fight spilled outside.

In the end, we have a new champ! Rusev’s holding the United States Championship once more as we head into the Royal Rumble. I’m excited to see who his next challenger will be.

Do it for Dad

Ah, Christmas. It’s a time for us to all come together and unite over daddy issues.

Can you freaking believe where this Shane McMahon/The Miz chicanery went? The Miz has been hounding Shane for weeks now, going so far as to ask Vince McMahon for his blessing to court his son. And all of that done...because Miz’s dad never said he’s proud of him.

Holy freaking cow.

Let me say this first as a huge compliment to the Miz: How many WWE Superstars do you think could have pulled what Miz pulled off tonight? It’s a short list, right? Miz had to spin a short, succinct yarn about his father that would generate sympathy and compassion from the crowd. I sat here rolling my eyes but smiling as Miz rattled off all his accomplishments and talked about how he sought his father’s approval. And daddy? Well, daddy wasn’t there.

It’s the perfect story for a guy like Shane, too. He’s got plenty of history with his own father, and he was moved enough by Miz’s story to grudgingly give the guy a shot. It’s a Christmas miracle, folks!

The Rest

Can we talk about that Vince and AJ segment? - Holy cow, I’m so here for this sort of stuff. Vince met AJ backstage to close the show and basically accused Styles of being complacent and not living up to his myriad of nicknames. If this is your house, man, how are you not competing? How are you letting Bryan run around, doing whatever he wants? Vince capped it off by hitting Styles and Styles retaliated by punching his boss and screaming in his face.

Vince can be an incredible tool for storytelling, and they showed that with this segment. Keep this blueprint and go back to it, WWE.

Mustafa Ali def. Andrade “Cien” Almas – The ending to this match was nuts, man. Almas countered a powerbomb, Ali countered Almas’ trademark knees to the corner, and then Ali slid back in the ring to deliver an acrobatic DDT to set up the 054. Give me more of these two forever, thanks.

Usos and The Club def. The Bar and Sanity – New Day was on commentary and bluntly I couldn’t pay attention to anything other than Big E’s big, floppy Santa belt and him baby oiling his pectorals. Never change, Big E. Can we get those guys to commentate a PPV match in its entirety someday?

Anyway, how do you settle a tag team division that’s all vying for attention? A tag team match, playa! The Club entered Club Dub by pinning Cesaro.

Daniel Bryan’s an evil, evil man – He basically called Santa awful for being a symbol of consumerism and blamed us all for the fact that Santa Claus won’t exist in 20 years because the polar ice caps are melting. And then he beat the ever-loving tar out of R-Truth who was dressed as Santa. So mean!

The champ wasn’t done either. Backstage, Ali was getting love from the Crusierweights and Shelton Benjamin on his success...only for Bryan to come and attack Ali for pinning him last week.

Samoa Joe def. Jeff Hardy via DQ – I’m still not feeling this feud. I thought their match on this show was good, but pretty par for the course these days. The roster rocks, man. “Good” is the average now. Joe claimed on this show that he’s Jeff’s new addiction and Jeff pretty much proved him right by getting himself disqualified.

Jimmy Uso and Naomi meet under the mistletoe – How freaking adorable was this?

I feel like WWE pulled from NXT’s playbook a bit with this show. They didn’t overexpose their main guys and gals and instead opted to give the midcard and tag teams a chance to shine.

I love that! That’s the way to keep things fresh and avoid too many rematches. It caused an unfortunate coincidence that we had not women’s matches tonight, but I’m not too concerned if shows in the future will flip the other way at times.

This was a very solid show, y’all. Catch it if you can.

Grade: R for RUSEV DAY!!!!

Cena’s back next week! Can we get an Ali vs. Cena match real quick, Cageside?

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