King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler Attack Daniel Bryan and The Miz
Bryan looks like he's turned back the hands of time with his new shaved look. It compliments his recent character change nicely, as he had long hair throughout his latest heel turn, so the buzz cut and shorter beard distinguish him as babyface. Both he and Miz made it clear that they want another crack at Bray Wyatt but were interrupted and ambushed by Corbin and Ziggler, effectively setting up the night's main event. This opening segment was pretty paint-by-numbers stuff, but it did its job just fine.
Heavy Machinery def. The Revival in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight
More often than not, I love the holiday-themed matches WWE holds every year, especially the ones for Halloween and Christmas. I can totally understand why most people would think they're terrible, but I'm entertained by them for what they are. This was no exception as Heavy Machinery were the perfect people to put in this type of match and The Revival were fun foils for them. In fact, this seemed to be the highlight of the night for most fans in attendance, as they ate this thing up from start to finish. Afterward, Elias came out to serenade The Revival for some strange reason. Perhaps the rumors of The Revival becoming a comedy team are accurate after all.
Carmella def. Sonya Deville
Well, this was random. I'm not sure what purpose this was supposed to serve unless Carmella is being built up for a match with Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship, but since Lacey Evans is clearly being groomed for that spot, I don't think that's the case. This was way too short to be anything out of the ordinary. Based off what we saw earlier with Mandy Rose and Otis, it's possible WWE is testing the waters for Fire and Desire as singles competitors seeing as how they've failed to become WWE Women's Tag Team Champions every chance they've had this year.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro (Non-Title)
We actually already saw this match a few weeks ago and that encounter was more meaningful because the SmackDown Tag Team Championship were on the line. That said, I can't complain about a quality contest. New Day are still insanely over with the audience five years removed from their debut and never cease to bring the goods in their matches. Plus, you can't go wrong with Nakamura and Cesaro, who are a fun tandem. They have a nice little stable going with Sami Zayn, but I'd prefer to see Nakamura receive more focus as Intercontinental Champion. Thankfully, it appears WWE is headed in that direction with a Nakamura vs. Braun Strowman (who officially returned on this show) feud.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley def. Dana Brooke (Non-Title)
This was another match we've seen before, as they faced off on last week's SmackDown. I have no idea why a rematch was necessary when Bayley beat her decisively the first time and the title wasn't on the line here, either (nor should it have been). I'm convinced it was designed to kill time before the impromptu match of Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks took place, but it would have been better if that matchup was given more time instead. This was perfectly serviceable for the time given but, again, hardly memorable.
Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks Ended in a Double Count-Out
As a first-time-ever encounter, I expected more from this match. It barely went a few minutes before the lame double count-out. That isn't to say it was bad, but as previously noted, I would have held off on this for when it would have meant more as opposed to giving it away with no prior hype. I will say, however, that Lacey's daughter mean-mugging Banks at ringside was amusing. Evans received a solid babyface reaction when she came out, so props to her for getting over as a fan favorite at the rate that she has.
Daniel Bryan and The Miz def. King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler
It's rare Bryan and Miz team up, but I thought they worked well together as partners. Nothing about this main event stood out as special, mind you, but there wasn't anything technically wrong with it, either. It could have happened on a house show and I wouldn't have been surprised, but they filled the time well. Next week, Bryan, Miz and Corbin will collide in a Triple Threat to determine who will face Wyatt for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. Speaking of whom, he came out post-match to terrorize all four of these guys and was the last man standing. Seeing his entrance was awesome live, though it apparently didn't make television.
I can guarantee you that I wouldn't have had as much fun watching this show from home as I did being there in attendance for it. On paper, this wasn't much more exciting than any other edition of SmackDown on FOX, but the wrestling was enjoyable overall and some storylines were furthered. It wasn't a must-see show by any means, but it flew by for me. On a side note, although 205 Live is usually taped after SmackDown, WWE kiboshed the Cruiserweight show this week in favor of taping matches for next Wednesday's Christmas episode of NXT including Keith Lee and Lio Rush vs. Damian Priest and Tony Nese, Dominik Dijakovic vs. Bronson Reed, and Isiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher. I'd say almost half of the arena emptied out during the NXT taping, but those who stayed were lively. I'm interested to see it how it comes across on TV.
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