The Man’s ready.
We got a triple threat match in the main event of this show to crown a challenger for SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka at the Royal Rumble. All three women were given recorded backstage promos – and get this – and I thought all three were incredibly well done. Carmella framed her past by saying that all she’s ever needed was an opportunity. Becky Lynch griped about how ridiculous this whole situation is when she was never pinned to lose the championship. And Charlotte? Her two opponents are just the newest thing, but no one’s as good or has been as hot as the Queen for four years straight.
Grab your Celebrity Deathmatch gif and let’s get it on!
I really enjoyed this match and I thought Carmella in particular benefited from it. She looks like she can hang with the likes of Lynch and Charlotte on the biggest stage and I’m not sure I could have said that a year ago, so kudos to her for improving and for her part in an excellent match.
We got a lot of fun near falls at the end and what amused me the most was how angry each woman got that they had to break up a pin attempt. When Carmella tried to pin Lynch, Charlotte dove in screaming “I don’t think so!” Carmella had to do the same thing in reverse and Lynch broke up a Figure Eight attempt with a leg drop from the top rope just for some extra oomph.
And in the end, the Man prevailed with a nifty sprawl into a Dis-arm-her on Carmella.
SmackDown has been such a great program lately because multiple divisions are killing it. The women can main event one night when they have a huge program and tear the house down. The men can main event when Daniel Bryan’s got a particularly challenging opponent and tear the house down. Hell, even the tag teams can main event with all the talent in SmackDown’s tag division can do it – and more on them in just a second.
That’s the strength of SmackDown, in my opinion. The segments can change so wildly and different divisions can be the center of attention on any given week. It helps keep things fresh. And when you consider how good Lynch and Charlotte are? Man, they are absolutely invaluable.
After a brief consultation...
My goodness, the tag team match between the Usos and the Bar was a mishmash of chaos, awesome wrestling, and more chaos.
Let’s start with the wrestling, I guess. This isn’t a fresh matchup by any means, so you know what to expect from the Usos and the Bar. The one thing that struck me, however, was how much more the crowd cared about this match. They got cheers! They got boos! After Raw last night, I’d almost forgotten that was possible.
The Usos were lining up for a win which would have gotten themselves a title match at the Royal Rumble until that dastardly Mandy Rose interfered. She came onto the stage covered in a long towel and simpered after Jimmy Uso: “Jimmy, I think I left my small golden clothing in your hotel room!”
I usually hate this sort of stuff, but Rose is playing it perfectly, man. She’s putting on an act that doesn’t even sound genuine. Because it isn’t. Hell, she was seen backstage mere seconds later wearing the stuff she said she’d forgotten.
She’s just a spiteful, mean woman who’s got a problem with Naomi and is doing anything she can to make Naomi’s life worse simply because she feels like it. And man, Naomi is furious and has killed it in her role.
So the Usos lost, Naomi and Rose are about to kill each other...perfect time for the Miz to pop up. After the Bar won, Miz came strutting down the ramp doing his best to talk them into a title match at the Royal Rumble. He got it, too! I mean, he got a Brogue Kick and a patronizing “we accept” from Cesaro, but still!
All of this was good, honestly. No complaints at all.
The Rest of SmackDown Live
Daniel Bryan’s fighting for a cause – Everything Daniel Bryan’s doing right now is gold. Er...or perhaps a material less, um...materialistic?
This dude ranted on the poisons and pollutions we consume, threw food and drinks in fans’ faces, and called a guy impotent. And that’s all BEFORE he even entered the arena. R-Truth assaulted the WWE Champ because of what Bryan did to him a few weeks ago, but Bryan won the match without too much issue. AJ Styles attacked him afterwards though, sending Bryan scurrying away.
Bryan got interviewed before leaving and he quickly became red-faced and apoplectic. AJ Styles has no idea what he’s capable of because he’s fighting for something greater. And he’s gonna be champion forever, by the way, so get used to it.
Andrade “Cien” Almas and Samoa Joe def. Rey Mysterio and Mustafa Ali – We didn’t get much of an explanation for why this match was booked, but who even cares? These four guys are awesome.
I really, really dug the Mysterio vs. Almas bits of this match. Those two are magical together. That Canadian Destroyer, though! Almas picked up the win after taking most of the punishment and the story seems to be that he’s gaining momentum as we head towards the Royal Rumble. Shout out to Zelina Vega and Almas for the outfit coordination, too!
Rusev accuses Nakamura – I’ve got some mixed thoughts on this feud, but overall I feel fairly positive about it. Rusev came out to shout at Nakamura for hurting his wife last week and swore revenge. The takeaways? Rusev’s hysterical even when he’s angry (body of 1000 Hensworth brothers), Nakamura has a point since he didn’t land on Lana, and Rusev might be in over his head if anger’s going to cloud his judgement.
I feel like Rusev is in the wrong on the Lana accusation, though, so that hurts his babyface-dom, as it were. Maybe fix that by making Nakamura extra villainous next week?
Miz and Shane shenanigans – They’ve got amazing comedic timing. The also keep misunderstanding each other, but it’s hard not to enjoy Miz’s hustle. It’s what got him this successful career, after all.
There was a clear...difference with this show. I’m not sure how to describe it. WWE tried to transfer more quickly through segments. As AJ was being restrained after the opening segment, Rey Mysterio’s music was hitting. One video promo backstage melded into the next. I honestly enjoyed it; the less commentary prefacing the better, in my opinion. And when you combine that with a ton of fun wrestling and no bad segments, you get one hell of a show.
I really needed this after Raw. Got any thoughts, Cageside?