Universal Champion Bray Wyatt Interrupted The Miz on Miz TV
The big question coming into this show was what happened to Daniel Bryan at the end of last week's episode. Well, we never got an answer to that, and I assume we won't see him again until after TLC is over or possibly at the event itself. Either way, WWE has quickly transitioned into a Miz vs. Wyatt feud at the pay-per-view instead, which I can't complain about. That isn't to say their match will be a barn burner, but it's clearly filler before Bryan returns and at least it's something different. This was a solid segment and I liked how they immediately established bad blood between the two by having Wyatt tease targeting Miz's wife and kids.
Alexa Bliss def. Mandy Rose
As a match, this was basically what you would expect from these two. It was far from amazing, yet not completely terrible, either. It just sort of existed so Bliss could return to the ring successfully after two months away. I will say, however, that spot with Rose ripping out Bliss' eyelashes was insanely stupid, or at least the commentators' reaction was. They put over how painful that must have felt, and while I'm not a female, I don't think it hurts as much as they made it sound. Humiliating, maybe, but definitely not painful.
Elias and Dana Brooke Embarrassed Drake Maverick
What in the blue hell was this crap? We were told for months on Raw that Maverick is married (as he could never consummate his marriage due to not being able to hold the 24/7 Championship long enough), so why is he hitting on Brooke? Speaking of Brooke, she mentioned she has as dinner date coming up with Batista (seriously), so why is she associating herself with Elias? And speaking of Elias, what prompted him to turn face out of nowhere? None of this made any sense in the slightest. This segment jumped the shark once Elias started spanking Maverick in the middle of the ring. What a waste of time.
The REvival def. Mustafa Ali & Shorty G, Heavy Machinery and The Lucha House Party in a SmackDown Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Elimination Match
I'd say this was the best thing on the entire episode, but that just goes to show how weak almost everything else was (except for the stuff with Wyatt and Miz). Lucha House Party were eliminated fairly quickly and I appreciated that Heavy Machinery had some time to shine before they were beaten. The closing stretch with The Revival and Ali and Shorty G was great and the crowd was into it. With the win, The Revival will face The New Day for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship (again) at TLC next Sunday. The rivalry has run its course, but their chemistry has never not been strong, so there's that.
Lacey Evans def. Hayley Jones
Similar to Elias, Evans never really technically turned aside from laying out Sasha Banks last week. I guess it works with Tribute to the Troops coming up soon since she's a former Marine, but it would nice to know why fans should cheer for her now. She made short work of Jones and feigned punching Banks afterward only to get ambushed from behind by Bayley on the stage. It's a fresh feud, but it will take a while to get used to Evans in her new babyface role.
Roman Reigns def. Dolph Ziggler
I can't believe this lasted almost 20 minutes. Look, I'm all for matches getting more time, but this was the same song and dance we've seen before from Reigns and Ziggler. It was a well wrestled affair, but Reigns winning was painfully predictable, and everything that preceded the finish was formulaic and beyond boring. The post-match angle with King Corbin and Ziggler pouring dog food on Reigns was even worse. On the bright side, Reigns and Corbin won't be fighting in the rumored Dog Collar match at TLC, but with nothing on the line, it shouldn't be a TLC match, either. A Chairs matchup would suffice, but either way, it's bound to be awful.
There were some fun shows during Survivor Series season, but SmackDown has largely fallen off a cliff since the move to FOX two months ago. There were rumblings for a while that the program would be more "sports-based" on the network, but between the dog food garbage and the unfunny Maverick/Brooke/Elias angle, I fail to see how SmackDown is anything more than "sports entertainment" at its worst. I can't honestly recommend going out your way to watch anything from this show. The two hours felt fall and phoned in. WWE finally realized there's a pay-per-view next weekend and began building up some matches for the event, so I suppose that was a plus, but on paper, TLC looks totally missable, much like this show. Nothing to see here, folks.
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