By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Roman Reigns def. United States Champion Alberto Del Rio by Disqualification (Non-title)
Reigns and Del Rio produced a better bout than I thought they would, but it wasn't on the same level as their entertaining opener from Survivor Series. That might have been because there was more at stake in that match and this was another boring chapter in the ongoing Reigns vs. Sheamus feud. Given that Del Rio is a champion, the non-finish wasn't surprising, but it didn't at all have me looking forward to seeing them face off again in a multi-man main event. Also, Jack Swagger was mentioned early on, but was nowhere to be seen during this match despite his current rivalry with Del Rio.
Dolph Ziggler def. Tyler Breeze
Ugh, I hate to say it, but WWE has made me hate this feud. I was happy Breeze get promoted to the main roster in late October and immediately jump into a feud with the established Ziggler, but as I've said time and time again, the 50/50 booking has killed these guys (and that's implying Ziggler wasn't already dead in the water before this program began). They contested a decent match, but Ziggler winning clean yet again does absolutely nothing for Breeze. He's been called up for a mere month and he is already doomed.
The Lucha Dragons def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Non-title)
This was on par with their encounter from Raw for the most part, but it was a pretty fun bout, regardless. The two teams have enjoyable chemistry together and it's nice that The Lucha Dragons are finally getting the spotlight they deserve. It's a shame it's come several months late, though. I assumed the point of this match would be to give The New Day their win back from Raw, so I was pleasantly surprised when The Lucha Dragons pulled out yet another victory. Then again, I guess I should have seen that coming since Xavier Woods was wrestling and not Big E.
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose Brawled
Needless to say, contract signings are such a tired troupe in wrestling that I roll my eyes whenever one is announced, but I held out hope this one was going to be different given who was involved. Sadly, all we got was a brawl and not the hot back-and-forth on the mic I was expecting. On the bright side, the feud could very well extend past TLC and we could get it at a later point. Plus, this segment was infinitely better than what we saw from them on Monday night.
Ryback def. The Ascension in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Did this bring back memories of Ryback's early days on the main roster when he squashed multiple men at a time for anyone else? The sad thing is that I don't think there's much of a difference between local athletes and The Ascension, who have been booked horrendously all year long. And I can't believe WWE honestly expects us to care about a match between Ryback and Rusev at TLC. Unreal.
Becky Lynch def. Paige
Paige and Lynch worked well together in the small time they were allotted, but the bout was too brief to be anything of note. Charlotte distracting Paige gave her an out for losing to Lynch, but now I'm even more confused than I was during Raw. Wasn't Lynch mad at Charlotte for cheating to win last week? And if Lynch just beat the challenger Paige, why isn't she in the Divas Championship match at the pay-per-view? My head hurts.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos def. League of Nations
It's crazy to think that this was the third match Reigns wrestled in one week between two shows. As a result, I couldn't have cared less about it. Admittedly, the in-ring action was relatively solid, but none of these guys are feuding with each other aside from Reigns and Sheamus, so it had next to nothing to do with TLC. The League of Nations being defeated in clean fashion yet again establishes them as glorified losers this early into their run.
After such a lousy build for TLC, WWE limped to the finish line with this go-home edition of SmackDown. I enjoyed The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons, but everything else was either asinine or pointless. If I wasn't going to be attending TLC, I don't think I'd be excited for this event at all. The card has potential to exceed expectations, but the last three weeks have done nothing to make me think Sunday will be a turning point.
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