SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day Confronted King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler
Corbin boasted about his accomplishments this year while Ziggler served as his hype man. It was nice to hear them acknowledge Kofi Kingston's six-month WWE Championship run for a change, even though the line was solely used to set up the main event between Kingston and Corbin. For those who missed it, Robert Roode was suspended this past week for 30 days for violating WWE's Wellness Policy, which is why he was written out with an injury two weeks ago on the show.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross def. Fire and Desire
These two teams have been feuding for the past two weeks, though the matches haven't been anything special and this wasn't much different. I appreciated that Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville showed some fire by ambushing Bliss and Cross backstage beforehand, but the actual match lasted all of two minutes. I assume Bliss and Cross will be back in the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship picture before long, but it's unfortunate that Rose and Deville haven't won anything in over three months.
The Revival def. Mustafa Ali and Shorty G
The Revival are set to contend for New Day's SmackDown Tag Team Championship at TLC (which has since been made a Ladder match), so it would have made zero sense for them to lose here. It would have been easy for this be booked as a quick showcase for The Revival, but I loved that it was a competitive contest instead with the babyfaces scoring a ton offense before eating defeat. Ali and Shorty G can be an awesome tandem if the plan is for them to team regularly going forward.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley def. Dana Brooke (Non-Title)
Before I discuss the match itself, it's worth mentioning that Elias sang backstage about Bayley wanting a threesome with himself and Sasha Banks. I honestly couldn't believe that made the air. Sure, it was par for the course in the Attitude Era, but you don't hear stuff like that on WWE TV anymore because it's just not necessary. At any rate, this was a fine matchup that was thankfully kept short and sweet. For what it's worth, Lacey Evans was nowhere to be seen and it wasn't confirmed that she'll be fighting Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship at TLC.
Renee Young Hosted a Sit-Down Interviewed with The Miz
Everything about this was really well done. A lot of Superstars would benefit big time from getting a sit-down interview to establish who they are and what they're all about. It doesn't necessarily have to be in their home, but I loved that Miz finally explained his reasoning for turning babyface and made his match with Bray Wyatt coming up at TLC more meaningful. The shot of Miz and Maryse' daughter Monroe Sky playing with the Firefly Fun House puppets in her crib was perfect and the acting wasn't too shabby, either. Hey, they won't any awards, but they're much better than Lana, that's for sure.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro def. Heavy Machinery
The biggest takeaway from this match for me was just how popular Heavy Machinery (and specifically Otis) are. They couldn't stop chanting for him when he was on the apron waiting to be to tagged in. Despite that, it feels like Heavy Machinery lose far more often than they win. The in-ring action was entertaining and I don't mind the stable of Nakamura, Cesaro and Sami Zayn, but Nakamura has been a complete afterthought as Intercontinental Champion for a while now. It was rumored that Nakamura vs. Braun Strowman was slated to take place at TLC before Strowman got hurt and I can't I'm disappointed it didn't happen.
Kofi Kingston vs. King Corbin Ended in a No Contest; New Day def. Corbin and Dolph Ziggler by Disqualification
It was cool seeing Kingston back in the main event of SmackDown for the first time since he dropped the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar, but this match was mediocre at best. Nothing of what they did in the eight minutes they were allotted stood out as special, while the tag team matchup that followed was a waste. Both bouts were designed to kill time before Roman Reigns resurfaced and laid waste to Corbin and Ziggler as retribution for what went down last week.
As a go-home show for TLC, this edition of SmackDown failed to get me more excited for the event than I was previously on the whole. The angle with Miz and Wyatt was easily the highlight of the night (aside from Wilder's hilarious botch) and left me looking forward to their match, but the rest of the episode fell flat in my opinion. Of course, that's been the case with the last several SmackDown shows and this was more of the same. Revival vs. Ali and Shorty G as well as Heavy Machinery vs. Nakamura and Cesaro were enjoyable, but it's painfully apparent that the blue brand needs a major creative overhaul in the new year.
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