SmackDown General Manager Paige Announced a SmackDown Women's Championship TLC Match for WWE TLC
It was unknown how long Becky Lynch would be out of action for when she got hurt a few weeks ago, so it's cool that she'll be back in the ring at TLC to defend her SmackDown Women's Championship in the first-ever women's TLC match next month. I like that she and Charlotte Flair aren't on the same page despite seemingly "making up" the last time we saw them together. All of their matches up to this point have been outstanding and I have no doubt they'll steal the show yet again come TLC. I'm also in favor of adding a third woman to the mix so it isn't Lynch vs. Charlotte one-on-one for the umpteenth time.
The Usos def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar (Non-title)
Before the bout, it was revealed via a backstage segment from earlier in the evening that The Bar parted ways with Big Show. I'm not complaining, but why bother putting him with them in the first place? We've seen so much of The Bar vs. The New Day this year that I almost forgot there were other tandems in the SmackDown Live tag team division, including The Usos. They have largely been flying under the radar since dropping the straps back at WrestleMania 34, not to mention they've only had one match with The Bar in 2018 that I could remember. That said, this felt fresh and both teams unsurprisingly worked well against each other. It was an entertaining encounter and The Usos winning sets them up for a future title shot.
AJ Styles Addressed WWE champion Daniel Bryan
I love that Styles has been kept off WWE TV since losing the WWE Championship to Bryan two weeks ago (aside from Starrcade, of course) because it made his appearance on this show mean that much more. He said pretty much everything you would expect him to, but I thought it was a well-delivered promo and did an effective promo of furthering his feud with Bryan and hyping up their upcoming rematch.
United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev Went to a No Contest (Non-title)
Nakamura is on SmackDown so infrequently that it's incredibly difficult to care about him nowadays, despite how he has gold around his waist. By the way, that title is no more prestigious than the replica belts fans can buy from WWE Shop because of how little it's defended. Nakamura hasn't been involved in a real rivalry since the summer, which is super sad. I had no desire to see him face Rusev anyway following their latest encounter at Crown Jewel, so I can't say I was distraught over the match not happening due to Nakamura attacking Rusev before the bell could ring.
Samoa Joe Crashed Jeff Hardy's Celebration
It's crazy to think it's been two decades since Hardy signed with WWE. He hasn't spent all of that time in the company (TNA, anyone?), but it's a special milestone, nonetheless. The video package highlighting his iconic career was wonderful and the crowd reacted to Hardy like a hero. I was wondering what was next for Joe after he recently wrapped up his rivalry with Styles and it looks like he's setting his sights on Hardy. Yes, we've seen them do battle a few times lately, but both of their bouts were a treat and I have no problem with them feuding going forward.
Kofi Kingston def. The Miz
This came about after New Day mocked Miz's loss to The Bryant Brothers last week on SmackDown. I doubt this will turn into anything substantial, nor should it. This match merely existed to plug The Marine 6. It was fine while it lasted but consisted of too much comedy and felt like filler. I can't believe there was a time I thought Miz could be next in line for a run with the WWE Championship. I suppose that could still happen if he's built back up, but having him lose to a member of New Day doesn't do him any favors.
Randy Orton Attacked Rey Mysterio
There is absolutely nothing redeeming about Orton as a heel, which is why he's so exceptional in the role. His promos are also way more compelling as a heel and this was a prime example of that. He didn't speak long before being interrupted by Mysterio, who wasted no time in brawling with Orton, much to the delight of the audience in attendance. However, Orton eventually got the better of Mysterio and did one of his vintage vicious assaults where he took great pleasure in inflicting pain and punishment on the masked luchador. This was an excellent angle and I've been digging this storyline so far.
Asuka Won a Battle Royal to Earn Entry Into the SmackDown Women's Championship TLC Match at WWE TLC
I figured this wouldn't be anything special considering it started so close to the end of the episode, in addition to how a majority of these women mean nothing at the moment. The eliminations were predictably rushed, but at least the final few minutes with Asuka and Sonya Deville were fun. Asuka was the obvious choice to come out on top, so I was glad she did. Lynch vs. Flair vs. Asuka should be a banger at TLC and I could see a scenario where Asuka walks out with the title in order to free up Flair and Lynch for potential programs with Ronda Rousey heading into Royal Rumble/WrestleMania season.
Needless to say, this was a way better show than Monday's Raw. Then again, anything would be better than that atrocity, so that is hardly praise. In all seriousness, this was a solid show. There was way more talking than wrestling, mind you, but at least there was an ample amount of build for the TLC pay-per-view and the I enjoyed the stuff with the women, the Hardy celebration, Styles' promo, Orton's brutal beatdown on Mysterio, and The Bar vs. The Usos. The rest was inoffensive yet pointless.
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