WWE SmackDown Live took place in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday, November 20. 2018
Match 1 & 2: Charlotte Flair vs. Billie Kay, Flair vs. Peyton Royce Promo: A fired-up Charlotte Flair said she is “damn proud” of her attack on Ronda Rousey, dedicating her actions to Becky Lynch and the rest of the SmackDown roster. Paige appeared and, although she had no issue with the Rousey attack, she informed Flair that she is being fined $100,000 for putting her hands on five officials. The IIconics then interrupted and mocked Flair’s change of attitude, setting up a match between “The Queen” and Billie Kay.
Match: Flair quickly defeated Kay with Natural Selection before challenging Peyton Royce to a match. When Flair looked set to win, Kay interfered and caused a disqualification. The IIconics tried to get a chair to use on Flair but the former champ hit the Aussies with a double-spear before throwing them over the announce desk.
Verdict: As much as I wanted this to be amazing, it felt like an underwhelming follow-up to Flair’s show-stealing attack on Rousey at Survivor Series. The promo from Flair was good at times but it came across like WWE had told her to ditch her “Queen” persona and act exactly like Becky Lynch instead.
Match 3: Shane McMahon & The Miz vs. The Bryant Brothers Summary: The Miz took credit for Shane McMahon’s Coast-to-Coast moves at Survivor Series during an edition of Miz TV. He then brought up their World Cup triumph at Crown Jewel and asked the SmackDown Commissioner to be his new tag partner. Although Shane was still limping from Sunday and not dressed to compete, Miz introduced two unknown opponents — Wayne and Dane, the Bryant Brothers — for them to face. Miz looked set to win the match for his team before he was suddenly rolled up for the 1-2-3 by Dane.
Verdict: This was way better than I expected it to be. Miz was absolute gold on the mic, as ever, and his impression of Shane’s dancing looked like it was legitimately cracking Shane up at times. This is a must-watch segment and match.
Match 4: The New Day vs. The Bar & The Big Show (Thanksgiving Food Fight match) Summary: One of the biggest moments came when The Big Show tried to cling on to the ring apron but he was knocked through a ringside table full of food by Big E. Kofi Kingston then used a turkey to put Sheamus through another ringside table, while Big E punched Sheamus in the face with a turkey to get the win. Following the match, The New Day threw food at Cesaro in the middle of the ring.
Verdict: What was THIS?? Tag-team wrestling had a huge resurgence in 2017 but WWE has treated its tag teams in 2018 how they treated the women’s division for over a decade. I understand why they do matches like this — kids probably enjoyed it — but oh my days…
Match 5: Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs. Asuka & NaomiSummary: This match was full of miscommunications from Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. In the end, Naomi took out Rose with the Rear View and Asuka made Deville submit to the Asuka Lock. Rose tried to explain herself as she walked to the back, while Asuka and Naomi celebrated in the middle of the ring
Verdict: This was a decent way to further the storyline between Rose and Deville whilst making Asuka and Naomi look like a good tag team at the same time. Deville has lost 13 televised matches in a row, so perhaps her luck will finally change if she splits from Rose!
Daniel Bryan explains his actions Summary: Referring to himself entirely in the third person, Daniel Bryan said he realised during his three-hour hyperbolic chamber sessions when he was retired that he needed to “fight for his dreams so his dreams would fight for him”. However, as the “Yes!” chants got quieter and fans began to chant louder for AJ Styles, Bryan said his “dreams took over” and that’s why he kicked Styles in the balls last week. He added that the Survivor Series result didn’t matter, as Brock Lesnar simply “beat the weakness out of him”. He then declared that “the Daniel Bryan that people loved” and “the Yes! Movement” are both dead.
Verdict: Heel turn explanations don’t get much better than this. Bryan — or “The New Daniel Bryan”, as he is requesting to be called — brilliantly described his range of emotions throughout his time out of WWE and explained in detail how he has felt towards fans since his return. This is a must-watch promo.
Match 6: Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio Summary: Much of this match revolved around Randy Orton trying to tear Rey Mysterio’s mask. He succeeded in doing so — partially, at least — when he tore a huge hole in the right eye of the high-flyer’s mask early on in the match. Orton then countered Mysterio’s baseball splash to the outside with a truly incredible RKO. He followed it up by throwing his opponent back into the ring before hitting another RKO to get the win. Following the match, he trapped Mysterio’s head in a chair and pushed him into the ring post before removing his mask.
Verdict: Orton is on a roll lately. If he’s not twisting Jeff Hardy’s earlobes, he’s snapping Tye Dillinger’s fingers… and now he has Mysterio’s mask! Orton and Hardy were involved in one of the best rivalries of 2018 so far and this Orton vs. Mysterio storyline is off to a great start. Seek out the first RKO if you haven’t seen it — it’ll be replayed for a very long time!
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