By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Daniel Bryan promo: A fun explanation for his character shift. Bryan went super villain mode by painting the picture of coming up with his new attitude while lying in the solitude of his hyperbaric chamber for three hours each day. It’s clunky from a storytelling standpoint that it took him eight months to reveal this change, but it shouldn’t be an issue long term because Bryan is such a strong performer. He played the new persona well and it left me looking forward to seeing where takes it.
Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio: A minor Hit for the best match on a largely disappointing show. It was billed as the first time they’d met on Smackdown in over a decade and yet nothing about it felt new. Orton making a play for Mysterio’s mask had a feeling of been there and done that. The post match attack with the chair wrapped around Mysterio’s neck felt tame compared to what Charlotte did to Ronda Rousey on Sunday. It also didn’t help that we saw Rousey shake off the attack enough to win in dominant fashion on Raw, so why wouldn’t Rey just bounce right back too?
Asuka and Naomi vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville: More of an in the middle for the latest meaningless women’s tag match. And while tag belts would help explain why women form tag teams, I have zero hope that Vince McMahon would do a better job of booking the women’s tag division than he does the men’s tag division. In fact, if the Iiconcs entered this show as champions, Vince’s history suggests he still would have had Charlotte destroy them, perhaps even in a handicap match rather than in separate matches.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Charlotte Flair promo: A Miss in the now. I’m not big on Charlotte becoming Becky Lite. However, it’s possible this a temporary babyface run and that the company is simply waiting for Lynch to return before they have Charlotte turn on her. I hope that’s the plan because it would be silly to have Lynch and Charlotte working the same gimmick. An alternative is WWE shifting the no nonsense, ass kicker gimmick to Charlotte. It is the same company that temporarily shifted the “Yes” gimmick to Big Show, but hopefully that’s not what they have in mind. Lynch’s social media response to a fan asking if she was going to appear on Smackdown was interesting. “I think I already have,” Lynch wrote. Got fined 100,000 and beat the IIconics apparently.” Only time will tell whether Lynch was responding in character or venting. Putting that aside, it was bizarre that babyface general manager Paige would cheerlead Charlotte’s savage attack on Ronda Rousey simply because of a rivalry between the brands. It actually took away from the attack to have a babyface general manager condone it before fining her $100,000 for attacking referees. WWE has to know that wrestlers being fined means noting to fans regardless of the dollar amount because it doesn’t affect the fans in any way.
Miz TV with Shane McMahon: Normally, I would have gotten a kick out of Miz fawning over Shane, forming a team, and being pinned in a match against a couple of enhancement wrestlers. But this seemed like the night that Shane would have a meltdown over Smackdown being swept at Survivor Series. Instead, it was just business as usual. So why did Smackdown lose all six pay-per-view matches to Raw?
New Day vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, and Big Show in a Thanksgiving Feast Fight: Sports entertainment holiday silliness. You either love it or hate it. You can tell which category I fall into based on the section this is in. Feel differently? To each is own. Oh, and you’ll love the annual turkey suit match on Impact this week.
Overall show: I was looking forward to seeing what the fallout would be from Smackdown being swept at Survivor Series. Apparently, it meant nothing. Bryan’s promo was the only truly interesting part of this letdown of a show.
Check below for Monday’s ProWrestling.net Live with Jason Powell and Will Pruett taking calls and email questions coming out of WWE Survivor Series and NXT Takeover: WarGames.