By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Los Angeles, California at Staples Center
The show opened with footage of Charlotte and Ronda from Survivor Series, and the beatdown angle that ended the match. In the arena, Charlotte made her entrance to more cheers than boos. The announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton questioned Charlotte’s behavior and wondered if she was set off by the possibility that she couldn’t beat Ronda Rousey.
Charlotte smiled and said she put the baddest beating on the so called baddest woman on the planet, and she was proud of it. She asked Ronda if she was walking around a little gingerly today, and told her she wasn’t going to issue an apology. Charlotte shouted that she enjoyed every moment of beating her. She said what she did on Sunday was for the girls in the back, and for the champ. She said that she took what Becky said to heart, and went out and gave her the beating that she would have wanted. Charlotte smiled again, and said she made Ronda bow down to the queen.
Paige walked out and said she didn’t have anything to apologize for, because everyone enjoyed the beating she gave Ronda. She then told Charlotte that Ronda said that yesterday Ronda said she wanted to finish what they started. Charlotte spoke about TLC being the next PPV, and if Ronda got in her way again, she’d put her head back inside of a chair and stomp on it over and over again. Paige then said one thing she couldn’t abide is Charlotte attacking five referees, and finded her $100k kayfabe dollars.
The Iconics walked out and made some jokes that went nowhere about them being Charlotte’s favorites, and letting the cat out of the bag about being a bit of a psycho. Charlotte snapped at them and asked which one would be the next Ronda Rousey, and the announce team said that match would be next…[c]
My Take: Charlotte didn’t go after the fans here, which makes me question why she did on Twitter after her match on Sunday. Have they already reconsidered the direction they seemed to be going on that show? Is Charlotte just going to be an unhinged crazy person? Her praising Becky Lynch was also somewhat unexpected, but maybe they are doing that just to avoid the crowd being forced to side between them at this point in time.
2. Charlotte vs. Billie Kay: Charlotte was aggressive early on, putting some stank on a headlock and some knee strikes. Peyton Royce looked very concerned on the outside. Billie got back in the match with some kicks, and then tossed Charlotte onto the middle turnbuckle. There was a ref distraction, and that allowed Peyton to land a few shots from the apron. Charlotte recovered an hit a fallaway slam, followed by Natural Selection for the win.
Charlotte defeated Billie Kay at 3:32
Charlotte demanded a microphone and then asked Peyton Royce if she wanted a fight. Peyton initially balked, but they began the match during the picture in picture commercial.
2. Peyton Royce vs. Charlotte: As expected, Charlotte dominated the early going. She chopped Peyton on the outside and ran off Billie Kay. The distraction allowed Peyton to pull Charlotte down to the floor by her hair, and then they worked double team distractions to remain in control in the ring. Peyton went for a roundhouse kick, but Charlotte caught her. Billie then ran in and they both began to beat down Charlotte in a double team beatdown. The bell never rang, but it was a wonky no contest.
The match ended in a no contest at 4:12
On the outside, the Iconics went to grab a chair, but were stopped by someone in the timekeepers area. Charlotte recovered and speared them both, and then dribbled both of their heads off the timekeepers table. Charlotte then tossed Billie into the barricade and kneed her in the face. Peyton was thrown into the ring steps. She then tossed both women over the announce table. She then stood on the announce table and posed.
Backstage, Rey Mysterio was shown and said he’s known good and bad people in his lifetime, but no one more dangerous than Randy Orton. He said they go back over a decade, but he’s never been more sadistic than he is now, and gave the example of what he did to Jeff Hardy. Orton and Mysterio will go one on one tonight. The announce team then threw to footage of Daniel Bryan turning heel and defeating AJ Styles last week. Bryan will appear live later on. The Miz is up next with Shane McMahon…[c]
My Take: Well, Charlotte is picking up where Becky left off, and I’m not sure what that means for Becky when she returns. These weren’t particularly good matches, but they did effectively get across the point that Charlotte is aggressive and isn’t afraid to bend or break the rules to get the outcome she wants. I’m still not seeing the big picture of what they plan for Charlotte and Becky, but hopefully we get some clarity soon.
Miz got a spirited hometown welcome. He said it was an honor to fight alongside his guest. He called him an inspiration to anyone who has ever had the guts to step in the WWE ring. He then called him the best in the world, and introduced Shane McMahon. Miz wanted Shane to give the crowd the shuffle, and he couldn’t, so Miz did it for him. Miz continued to fall at Shane McMahon’s feet and compliment him. He said they fought to the bitter end at both Crown Jewel and Survivor Series. He talked about “we” crashing through the announce table, and going coast to coast.
Shane objected to all the “we” talk, and asked Miz if he had any questions as the host. Miz called them co-besties again, and pointed out how beautiful the world cup tournament, and eventually broke down and asked him if they wanted to be a team. Miz said he had already gone to Paige and talked to her about it, but Shane looked at MIz like he was insane. Miz said this was the opposite reaction of what he was expected, but if Shane is the McMahon he thinks he is, he’ll like this. Miz introduced The Bryant Brothers, two local talents. Shane could barely get out of the ring onto the apron, and he was in street clothes.
3. Miz and Shane McMahon vs. The Bryant Brothers: Miz hit some strikes and a DDT, and then wanted to tag Shane, but he waved him off. Miz then got rolled up and pinned in a surprise loss.
The Bryant Brothers defeated The Miz and Shane McMahon at 1:31
Miz was upset and Shane was incredulous on the apron. The announce team put over Starrcade as a one hour live event this weekend on Sunday Night. Backstage, New Day were in Pilgrim Outfits, and R-Truth was dressed like a Turkey. Their food fight is next…[c]
My Take: I honestly expected Shane to be fired up tonight, but he was pretty much the same as he was last week. They have yet to adequately explain the lunacy of Crown Jewel, and maybe they will just stuff it down the memory hole. I think Smackdown would be much more interesting if they shook things up given the events of Survivor Series, but I guess they aren’t doing it this week.
There was thanksgiving food spread around the ring and ringside area as The New Day prepared for their Thanksgiving Feast Fight. Woods had a 6-1 printed on his shirt, and Kofi led the crowd in a chant for Turkey Day. Then started talking about what they were thankful for, and they mentioned their victory at Survivor Series. Woods said he was thankful for his 2TB Hard Drive, so he didn’t have to delete Spider-Man to play Red Dead 2. Big E said he was thankful for the beautfiul breasts in front of him. He then said he meant Turkey Breasts, and started licking the turkey in front of him.
The Bar walked out and started complaining about the Thanksgiving Feast, and said this was a joke and they were the tag team champions. They said Shane and Paige didn’t come up with this idea, so this was their stupid idea. New Day mocked them for losing their match at Survivor Series, and Sheamus said they would continue their winning streak against them. The Bar did their catch phrase…[c]
My Take: A weird segment, but these Holiday Week shows are usually good for a couple of them.
4. The Bar & Big Show vs. The New Day: Woods got chopped by Big Show several times to start the match. All the foot was out at ringside, and this was a traditional match, at least to start. Sheamus continued the assault on Woods, and they isolated him on the heel side of the ring. Kofi made a hot tag after Woods made his escape, and did some flying chops to get his team back in the match. He then hit a boom drop and played to the crowd.
He tried for Trouble in Paradise, but Sheamus avoided it. He then hit a top rope splash, and Cesaro broke up the pinfall. Big E then entered and took down Cesaro, and then knocked Big Show into the table full of food. Sheamus kicked Big E out of the ring, and then grabbed a turkey from ringside. He then went to hit Kofi with it, but he ducked. Kofi sent Sheamus to ringside, and then hit a diving attack with the turkey, and knocked Sheamus into some mashed potatoes at ringside. Big E then put hit hand up the backside of the turkey, and smashed Sheamus with it. He then covered him for the win.
New Day defeated The Bar and Big Show at 7:34
After the match, New Day painted Cesaro with about 8 kinds of Thanksgiving Food, and then couldn’t escape the ringside area because they kept slipping on food. Backstage, Randy Orton held Rey Mysterio’s mask and said that some believe this mask means culture and strength, but to him it means nothing. He said he would destroy it and the man who wears it, and promised to show Mysterio that the most destructive letters in the WWE are RKO. Their match will be the main event. Asuka and Naomi are set for next…[c]
My Take: About what you’d expect. I’m not surprised we’re getting more New Day vs. the Bar, but I can’t say I’m thrilled with the idea.
We got some footage of Mandy eliminating Sonya from the Evolution Battle Royal. They were already in the ring. Asuka and Naomi made their entrances.
6. Asuka and Naomi vs. Sonya and Mandy: Mandy and Sonya got dumped to the floor early, and Naomi and Asuka pumped up the crowd in the ring…[c]
Mandy and Sonya controlled the action during and coming out of the break. The match broke down when Sonya tagged herself in and Mandy took exception to it. They argued and Sonya shoved Mandy out of the way of an Asuka strike and took the hit herself. Asuka then applied the Asuka lock for the win.
Asuka and Naomi defeated Sonya and Mandy at 6:33
After the match, we got some video of Randy Orton RKO’ing Rey Mysterio several times over the past few weeks. Daniel Bryan is up next…[c]
My Take: WWE may as well introduce Women’s Tag Titles, since they run these useless tag matches with no stakes every week.
Daniel Bryan made his way out to the ring, and it was announced that AJ Styles would get his rematch at TLC. Bryan said he doesn’t expect these people to understand, so this explanation is for you. Bryan said he had committed an act of betrayal, but that betrayal wasn’t made last week, it was made 3 years ago when he retired from wrestling. He kept referring to himself in the third person. Bryan said that unlike these fans, he doesn’t accept failure. So he began to fight. He spend 3 hours every single day inside of a hyperbaric chamber, and it was supposed to help heal him, but it did so much more. It gave him the silence and clarity he needed to adopt his new mantra “Fight for your dreams so your dreams will fight for you”.
He said he fought and he made his return, and it was a great moment that got him the loudest Yes Chants he had ever received. But for the fans, it was only a moment. They didn’t have to fight with his family, the doctors, and the psychiatrist about his obsession. They didn’t have to listen to all those people just telling him to let it go and move on. Bryan said the only people that moved on were the fans, and as the yes chants got quieter every week, he stopped fighting. But his dreams never stopped fighting, and when the ref was down, his dreams took over and kicked AJ Styles in the balls.
His dreams made him realize that he didn’t need the people for anything. He then said that his dreams refused to stop fighting, they began purging the weakness from him. His dreams convinced him that Daniel Bryan didn’t need to beat Brock Lesnar on Sunday to win, he just had to let Brock Lesnar beat the weakness out of him and there would be a new emergence after that match, and there has been. He said the old Daniel Bryan that the people loved is dead, and the yes movement is dead. He then stared at the WWE Championship and talked to it, telling it repeatedly that he would never give up on his dreams.
He then went to ringside and told the announcer to call him the New Daniel Bryan. He did, and Bryan stood on top of the announce table to celebrate.
My Take: This was a very Gollum/Smeagol type of character introduction. Bryan continued to refer to Daniel Bryan as a different person than he is now, and then went on to pronounce that person dead. It’s an interesting angle psychologically, because it allows a pretty complete divorce from his old persona, and the possibility of resurrecting it at some point in the future if that personality were to take over again. Bryan’s delivery was excellent and this has been the only really compelling segment on this show so far.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance, followed by Randy Orton.
6. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio: Randy had to avoid a 619 early on, but Rey splashed him at ringside. Randy recovered and tripped up Rey on the top rope, and unsuccessfully tried to remove his Lucha mask. Randy then put him in the tree of woe…[c]
Rey landed strikes to Orton’s midsection, but Orton quickly floored him with a clothesline. He then placed Rey on the top rope and went after the mask again. He tore one of the eye sockets, but Rey eventually fought him off. Orton came back and pulled him off the top rope. Rey landed a kick to drop Randy to a knee, and followed up with dropkick. Rey then hit a springboard seated senton, and a bulldog. He then hit a springboard leg drop, but only got a near fall. Rey went for the 619, buy Randy caught him.
Randy went for a draping DDT, but Rey escaped and hit a 619 a moment later. Orton rolled to the outside. Rey went to hit a splash underneath the ropes, but Orton caught him and hit an RKO in a sweet looking spot. Orton placed Rey back in the ring and pulled Rey to his feet. He hit another RKO and covered him for the win.
Randy Orton defeated Rey Mysterio at 9:33
After the match, Randy placed a chair over Rey’s head and tossed him into the post. He then pulled off Rey’s mask and held it up like a puppet. Rey was bleeding from the elbow, and medical personnel placed towels over his face to protect a face reveal. The show ended with Orton getting boos and he held up the mask.
My Take: Easily the best match of the night, and that RKO spot was great. I assume this is leading to a stipulation match at TLC, but what will be at stake? Will Rey or Orton capture the US Title between now and then?