By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on Syfy Live Review
Taped Tuesday in Jacksonville, Florida
[Q1] Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and The Usos made their way to the ring through the crowd to open the show. The Main Event of Sheamus vs. Reigns was plugged for TLC, followed by Alberto Del Rio leading the League of Nations to the ring. Footage was shown of Del Rio’s chair fight with Jack Swagger from Monday that set up their chairs match on Sunday for the US Championship.
1. Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio: Reigns hit a shoulder block to start the match, and Del Rio quickly retreated to the apron to regroup. He and Reigns battled for control of the offense in a corner, with Reigns hitting some mounted punches to win the sequence. Reigns hit a clothesline, but Del Rio quickly recovered and took control with a chin lock. Roman fought back to his feet and hit a vertical suplex for a two count.
Del Rio threw Reigns hard into the ring post and mocked him by cocking his arm like Reigns does for the Superman Punch. Reigns avoided a clothesline and sent Del Rio out to the floor. On the outside, The League of Nations distracted Roman, which allowed Del Rio to push him into the stairs…[c]
[Q2] Del Rio hit a double axe handle from the top and covered for a near fall. Reigns got back into the match with some big right hands, and placed Del Rio on the top rope in the corner. Del Rio grabbed Del Rio’s arm and applied a Cross Armbreaker over the top rope. Reigns eventually powered out, and knocked Del Rio down to the floor. Alberto charged back into the ring, and both men traded haymakers until Reigns hit a big clothesline off an Irish Whip. He hit more clotheslines in the corner, and then fired up for a Superman Punch.
Del Rio avoided the punch and hit a backstabber for a near fall. Del Rio signaled again for the armbreaker, but Reigns avoided it and hit a powerbomb for a near fall. Reigns set up for a spear, but Sheamus jumped up on the apron and distracted him. Del Rio went for a rollup, but Reigns kicked out. Del Rio missed a kick on a kneeling Reigns, who then popped up and hit a Superman Punch. The League of Nations pulled Del Rio to the outside, which prompted a brawl and a DQ.
The match ended in a no contest at 14:00.
The babyfaces drove off the heels and stood tall in the ring to close the segment.
Ziggler vs. Breeze is advertised for next…[c]
My Take: I couldn’t be more apathetic about that match. We had just seen this match recently, and the timing in the ring was off just enough that it didn’t really approach the quality of their Survivor Series match. The predictable finish didn’t do anything for me either. I generally don’t mind when a longer match opens the show, but this one didn’t check off the boxes for an exciting opener.
Tyler Breeze was already in the ring, with Summer Rae at ringside. Dolph Ziggler then made his entrance.
[Q3] 2. Dolph Ziggler vs. Summer Rae: The match went back and forth without much action. Breeze dominated the offense by using mat techniques to isolate Ziggler’s leg. The, suddenly, Breeze springboarded into a superkick and Dolph pinned him.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Tyler Breeze at 5:34.
Video highlights were shown of Lana and Rusev’s appearance on MizTV, and the ongoing feud with Ryback…[c]
My Take: What WWE is doing with Breeze right now is downright criminal. Trading wins with Ziggler has set a ceiling for his success at midcard for life. There are already too many guys in that same position.
New Day made their entrance, with Kofi wearing his Unicorn Horn. The announce team put over the Triple Threat Ladder match for the Tag Team Championships at TLC.
Kofi asked the crowd if they heard what happened to Lebron James. He said he had just signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike. He said it was the largest such deal in the entire world. Xavier asked where their deal was, and said they could sell kicks powered by positivity. They claimed rather than endorsement deals, they were given an unfair ladder match against two teams at TLC. Big E said no matter what, the Lucha Booties and the Uso’s would go back to the kids table where they belong so we could all experience the greatness. The Lucha Dragons made their entrance after the promo.
[Q4] 3. New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons: Kalisto and Kofi started the match and traded acrobatics without actually making contact with one another. Sin Cara and Xavier Woods tagged in, and both Woods and Kofi tossed Sin Cara to the outside…[c]
New Day stomped on Sin Cara in their corner. Woods covered and got a two count. Kofi tagged back in and continue the assault, and several times cut off the ring to prevent a tag. He then climbed up to the second rope, but Sin Cara was ready and turned it into a Powerbomb. Both men made tags and Kalisto entered to take on Xavier Woods. He hit a Spike Rana, which got a very close near fall. He then tossed Kofi out towards the announce table, and Sin Cara splashed them on the outside. Kalisto hit a kick on Woods and Salida Del Sol to get the upset victory.
Lucha Dragons defeated New Day at 8:25.
Post match the Dragons celebrated while New Day recovered in the ring. The announce team gave the edge on Sunday to the Lucha Dragons, and called them the hottest team in WWE. They then cut to footage of Dean Ambrose punking Kevin Owens on Monday. They then plugged the IC Championship contract signing for next…[c]
My Take: A long commercial break in the middle of this match made the televised portion feel pretty short. I can’t say what we saw was particularly thrilling, though it is always fun to watch Kalisto work. The sudden urge to make the Lucha Dragons appear to have a lot of momentum feels far too little, far too late.
[Q5] Michael Cole was in the ring and first introduced Dean Ambrose. There was an attorney in the ring named Matthew Douglas who was representing Kevin Owens. Cole read a legal brief from Owen’s attorneys expressing their legal ability to sign the contract on behalf of Owens. Ambrose said he feels a little under dressed and underprepared. He expected to come out and flip the table over and brawl with Owens after he insulted him for a while. Ambrose said he doesn’t read legalese, so he’s going to just go ahead and sign it.
Owens snuck into the ring from behind Ambrose, but Dean saw him coming anyway. They brawled around ringside until Owens got shoved into the steps. Ambrose gave chase into the ring, but Owens shoved his Lawyer at Ambrose and made his escape. Ambrose then gave the attorney Dirty Deeds, and then finally signed the contract. Ryback was shown walking towards the arena from backstage…[c]
My Take: That was underwhelming. I was hoping we’d finally get a verbal segment between these two, but instead we got more Owens trickery and then he ran away again. Maybe just let them script their own segment? Please?
Rusev and Lana joined on commentary while The Ascension were finishing their entrance. The Ascension would take on Ryback in a two on one handicap match. Ryback then made his entrance. It was announced that Ryback would take on Rusev at TLC.
4. Ryback vs. The Ascension: The Ascension have to tag in and out, but this is a handicap match. Viktor got hit early with a fallaway slam. Konnor then entered the ring and hit a shoulder block, but Ryback quickly fired back with a shoulder tackle and spinebuster. Ryback hit Shellshock on Viktor and got the win.
Ryback defeated The Ascension in 3:12.
[Q6] The announce team showed some footage of the Wyatt’s vs. ECW Originals feud. They then plugged the 8-Man Elimination Tables Match for Sunday. The Leagues of Nations vs. Roman Reigns and Friends was plugged for the main event…[c]
My Take: Another TLC match that nobody cares about. I know these guys bust their ass on every PPV but December’s creative has been completely mailed in.
Becky Lynch made her entrance, followed by Paige. Footage was shown of Charlotte and Paige’s segment from Monday that saw Paige slap Ric in the face.
5. Becky Lynch vs. Paige: We got some back and forth to start until Becky charged into a kick in the face. Paige followed up with knee to the face and a chin lock. Becky fired back with an exploder suplex and a clothesline that laid both women out. Both women were laid out, at which point Charlotte made her entrance and joined at ringside. Shortly after, Becky applied the disarmer and forced Paige to tap out.
Becky Lynch defeated Paige at 3:40.
Becky celebrated after the match. She appeared to have bloodied a lip or bit her tongue, as she had blood on her teeth. The main event for TLC was plugged again…[c]
My Take: A needed win for Becky, and they gave Paige the excuse of the distraction for getting caught with the Disarmer. The sooner they can move on to a different feud for Charlotte the better. Paige is not the right opponent for her at this point with her current character.
[Q7] We got a lengthy video package for Reigns vs. Sheamus, which seems impossible but they found a way. We then got Roman Reigns making his way through the crowd for the main event…[c]
The League of Nations made their way to the ring for the Main Event.
[Q8] 6. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos vs. The League of Nations: Del Rio and Jimmy Uso started the match. They went back and forth a bit with Jimmy taking control with a knee lift . Del Rio managed to tag out to Rusev, who came in and took over for his team. He used the ropes to choke Jimmy and then sent him to the floor. Del Rio grabbed him and tossed him into the wall near the timekeepers area.
Sheamus was in control of the match and hit a back elbow on Jimmy Uso. He then went for a his clubs to the chest, but Roman Reigns made the save and things nearly broke down. Ambrose and Rusev tagged in. Wade Barrett grabbed Ambrose’s legs and tripped him up. Rusev then took over on offense, and the heels worked over Ambrose in their corner. Sheamus choked Ambrose in the corner and then hit a vertical suplex. He applied a chinlock and tagged in Rusev, who eventually got hit with a neckbreaker. Del Rio entered the match and got hit with a tornado DDT, and went searching for a desperate tag.
Reigns tagged in and cleaned house. He hit 10 clotheslines in the corner on Rusev and then hit a big running clothesline. He taunted to fire up the crowd and hit a Superman Punch. He covered Rusev and Sheamus broke up the pin. The match broke down at this point with both Usos doing suicide dives. Rusev took a spear from Reigns and that was it.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Rusev at 13:41
The closing moments of the match were replayed as the final hype from the announcers for TLC was barked out.
My Take: A formulaic multi-man match. I don’t know what you could have expected. Reigns looks downright unstoppable heading into TLC, which means he will most likely find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The rest of the show dragged to me. There weren’t enough flashes of brilliance to keep your eyes peeled on the show, and the creative output was par for the course for this poor month. There are no revelations aside from the Ryback vs. Rusev announcement that are required viewing from this show.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...