SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Recap: The show opened with Paige in the ring. She introduced Charlotte, Asuka, and Becky for a contract signing. Becky said that unlike the other two “dopes,” she would do anything it took to win.
Charlotte then took the mic. She said that Becky is always telling the same story, about her being handed her opportunities. She said she destroyed Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series and reminded Becky of how Nia broke her face. Becky tried to respond, but Charlotte said told her to shut her mouth. Becky said she’d own Charlotte.
Asuka then chimed in. Asuka reminded Charlotte that Becky already beat her. She told Becky she chose wrong in choosing Charlotte to replace her at Survivor Series, as she would’ve beaten Ronda Rousey. She vowed to beat Becky at TLC. Charlotte reminded Asuka that she beat her at Wrestlemania. Becky said neither of them could win, signed the contract, and left.
Asuka and Charlotte argued in the ring. Asuka challenged Charlotte to a match tonight.
Mandy Rose then came down the ramp with Sonya DeVille, asking what would happen in Asuka and Charlotte didn’t make it to TLC. As a result, Paige set a tag match with Asuka and Charlotte facing Mandy and Sonya. During the match, Charlotte accidentally kicked Asuka. Asuka retaliated with a dropkick, allowing Sonya to pin Charlotte.
Evaluation: I liked the opening promo. All three women came across as faces, and all three came across as tough. They all were cheered (although Becky was cheered the most). Charlotte’s character has been re-energized over the past few weeks.
I was also glad to see Asuka elevated to Becky and Charlotte’s level after languishing for months.
The match itself was pretty good. The angle where the faces have a miscommunication is overdone, but it was appropriate here.
Forecast: I’m really looking forward to this match. Either Becky or Charlotte winning works for the booking, but as a fan I’m rooting for Becky.
THE NEW DANIEL BRYAN…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Daniel Bryan came out for a MizTV segment. Miz noted that Bryan has been ignoring the fans. He pointed out that he was right when he told Bryan about doing anything to win.
Bryan said he came to the realization that he doesn’t care about the people, and that his dreams had taken over. He said that the fans weren’t his intellectual peers, and that he looked to great minds like Alexander Hamilton. The fans gave him the “what” chant, but he chastised them for using a twenty year old gimmick.
When Miz mentioned Bryan’s low blow against AJ Styles, Bryan said it was a small sin compared to the consumerism of the fans. He then went on a radical environmentalist rant, berating the fans for eating meat and using plastic.
Bryan pointed out he kicked AJ Styles low to win the title but that was one person. He yelled that the people are destroying the earth. The fans booed. He went on rant about how they’re destroying the planet and future generations.
Miz again asked Bryan if he was champion because he listened to Miz’s advice. Bryan said “yes” to cheers, but then said “no,” and then that it didn’t matter. He said the old Daniel Bryan is dead and The Yes Movement is dead. He said being WWE Champion is all that matters.
AJ Styles ran out but Bryan pushed Miz into him. Miz caught AJ with a Skull Crushing finale before he could get to Bryan. A match was set between Miz and AJ.
In the main event between Miz and AJ, Bryan came out for commentary. At one point when asked about his prior low blow to AJ, he ranted that he hoped his daughter would someday kick thousands of men in the groin, perhaps every may who used plastic. He called Byron Saxton a horrible person for his lifestyle.
AJ won the match with a calf crusher. After the match, Bryan attacked AJ, wrapping his leg around the post. The beatdown continued and went into a heel hook as the show went off the air.
Evaluation: Nothing is more heelish than quoting Alexander Hamilton, who saddled this nation with a legacy of central banking.
In seriousness, Bryan was great tonight. He came across as an evil genius type heel, and was totally believable in the role. The fans booed him, so it’s working.
Forecast: This heel character is hot, so I see Bryan retaining the title.
JOE GOES THERE…
Recap: During a match between Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe appeared on screen from a bar. Jeff was distracted, leading to an Orton win.
Joe then said he was there to warn everyone of the dangers of excess and benefits of moderation. He said a couple beers with friends was fine, but if you have 14 of them you may wake up in jail or not at all. He said the choice is clear; drink responsibly.
Evaluation: Ragging on Jeff’s substance abuse issues is a way to get heat, but this feud feels uninspired.
Forecast: I can’t see the fans caring about the outcome of this match one way or the other.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 11/27: Becky Returns, AJ Responds, 20 Years of Jeff Hardy