SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
DECEMBER 4, 2018
AUSTIN, TX. AT THE FRANK ERWIN CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00 P.M. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Arena & Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown returns to the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX. for the first time since August of 2016. The arena has been open since 1977 and has hosted WWE events including Superstars of Wrestling as far back as 1990. Previous shows such as Velocity, Jakked, Saturday Morning Slam, Heat, and Shotgun Saturday Night just to name a few have originated from here.
WWE.com is advertising the following items for tonight.
- Contract signing for Smackdown Women’s Championship match at TLC
- WWE Champion Daniel Bryan to appear on a “must-see” MizTV
- Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
- Woods, Uso, and Cesaro in a triple threat match
Tribute to the Troops
Tribute to the Troops is being recorded today in Fort Hood, Tex. and will air on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2018 according to WWE.com. Here’s the announcement on Twitter:
The 16th annual WWE @TributeToTroops celebration will air Thursday, December 20 at 9/8c on USA Network, featuring a special appearance by Jon Stewart! https://t.co/Ca7HBgP6nK #Troops pic.twitter.com/XNAZ1PgwS4
— WWE (@WWE) December 4, 2018
Tribute to the Troops has been a WWE tradition since 2003. WWE supporter Jon Stewart will be in attendance and rising country music star Morgan Wallen will perform. Wallen was in attendance at Raw last night.
TLC Smackdown Women’s Championship Contract Signing: Charlotte Flair, Asuka, and Champion Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch will defend the Smackdown Women’s Championship at TLC in a triple threat TLC match against Charlotte Flair and Asuka.
In the opening segment last week Becky returned to television following her being knocked out by Nia Jax just before Survivor Series. She talked about being the hottest act in the industry (accurately so) when Charlotte came out. They went back and forth highlighted by Becky saying if it was her against Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series, she wouldn’t be standing the next day. Becky also claimed Charlotte was channeling her to take it to Ronda when Charlotte retorted claiming she was just being herself and was genetically superior. The insults continued when Becky said Charlotte went from copying her “old man” to copying The Man (Becky). Ultimately G.M. Paige got between the two women and announced they would have a TLC match at the aforementioned upcoming PPV for the title.
Words don’t truly do the promo justice, and thus here’s the YouTube clip:
The heels and babyfaces of Smackdown came out separately all laying claim to want to be champion. Mandy Rose claimed Paige only gave opportunities to her old PCB friends (referring to Charlotte and Becky). Ultimately Paige decided all remaining women would compete in a battle royal to determine a third participant for the TLC match. Asuka won the match eliminating Sonya Deville.
As usual, Becky has not been at a loss for words on Twitter:
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 1, 2018
You can call yourself a queen, or a boss, or even a goddess – but if you want to see narrow minds explode, call yourself The Man. pic.twitter.com/YEtqDBZuqL
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 2, 2018
Hey Ronnie?! My division is on fire over here. Everyone thinks they’re a badass all of a sudden. How’s the division that I let you run going? pic.twitter.com/8ts34cm8T3
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 3, 2018
Hey, hey. You know that time I got sucker punched? When I stood up I was out on my feet. That means I LITERALLY beat you in my sleep. https://t.co/nzjFiNX7ZE
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 4, 2018
Frank’s Analysis: This is why I wish Hell in a Cell and TLC were removed as PPVs. The calendar dictates when to have these matches and not the feuds themselves. Nonetheless Asuka was added to bide time until they’re ready to do a proper blow-off to the Charlotte-Becky feud, if in fact that’s on their radar. There truly wasn’t a need for a third person in this match. Charlotte vs. Becky one-on-one could be potentially taking place at the Royal Rumble. Asuka is likely to take the loss to protect the other women. It will be interesting to see how things are handled in the build as you have essentially babyfaces in all women. Granted Charlotte acted heelish last week, but she hasn’t actually turned. In my view the way to get her fully entrenched as a heel would be to attack Becky. I’m not sure how Asuka figures into the dialogue. You would hope they don’t try to manufacture tension between her and Becky. There is history with Charlotte as she ended Asuka’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania this year. One thing to note is you can tell Asuka is still popular amongst the fans given last week and the night Becky was choosing her replacement opponent for Survivor Series.
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan to Appear On a “Must-See” MizTV
“Welcome everyone to the most must-see talk show in television. Welcome to….” You know the rest. I couldn’t resist. At any rate, WWE Champion will appear on MizTV tonight in advance of his title defense at TLC against former champion A.J. Styles.
A.J. discussed the upcoming match last week and expressed his disappointment at how he lost the championship and the beating he took after the match. While he held the title for over a year, his time not being champion felt longer. He wanted to fight Bryan right then and there, but said Bryan wasn’t in the building nor at house shows over the weekend. He said he must be taking lessons from Raw about how they do things, taking a shot at Brock Lesnar. Here’s the promo from last week:
Bryan has displayed a new attitude as of late (heel turn). He will appear on MizTV tonight opposite the Miz, a man with whom he had an intense feud after a long history.
Frank’s Analysis: If you told me back in August that Bryan would be the top heel and WWE Champion, I would have told you to pass me what you’re drinking. I would have expected Miz or Samoa Joe for that matter to be in this position. Nonetheless it’s always interesting when previous rivals get together in this setting where one of the participants has turned heel. I’m sure Miz will try to get Bryan to further explain his recent actions and elicit their history and recent feud. Miz string of losing lately and his odd-couple pairing with “Best in the World” Shane McMahon (eye roll) could be an indication of a change in direction for his character, meaning a babyface turn. Considering the lack of babyfaces you could foresee in the WWE Championship picture, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. After A.J., you have Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, and Rusev. I don’t see big things for Rusev. Hardy and Mysterio are not totally out of the picture, but it’s hard to envision them being in the main event scene for any extended period of time. That’s why Miz turning face isn’t crazy, but this is just me speculating. Here’s Miz talking to Shane after his loss to old rival Kofi Kingston:
Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
Speaking of Jeff Hardy, tonight he revisits his feud with Randy Orton. These two had a very intense rivalry through the summer that culminated in Orton defeated Hardy at Hell in a Cell this past September.
Last week, Hardy celebrated his “20th anniversary” in WWE only to have the “party” crashed by Samoa Joe. He said he didn’t believe in second chances (so why did you get more than one WWE Championship match…sorry) and cited how many chances Hardy got through the years. It made him sick to see Hardy put himself on a pedestal. Hardy wanted to go right then and there. Joe appeared to be ready to oblige, but then walked backstage. Here’s the clip if you missed it:
Frank’s Analysis: It felt like a retirement speech out of the gate, considering everyone was on stage and there were pictures of Hardy in the ring through the years. Nonetheless, I didn’t think it was appropriate for Joe to cite Hardy’s issues with alcohol. I understand it’s a wrestling storyline, but it doesn’t make it OK anymore than it was for Dean Ambrose to talk about Roman Reigns’ leukemia. As far as the match tonight, remember that Orton is in a program with Rey Mysterio and Hardy apparently is getting into one with Joe. It’ll be like WWE to turn this into a tag match if Joe and Mysterio get involved.
Triple Threat Match: Xavier Woods vs. Cesaro vs. Jey Uso
As I talked about in yesterday’s Raw primer and as was announced by WWE, the Bar will defend the Smackdown Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match at TLC against the Usos and New Day.
Last week, the Usos defeated the Bar in a non-title match. Kofi Kingston defeated the Miz after New Day made fun of the Miz in the back, watching him and “Best in the World” Shane McMahon lose the previous week.
Tonight, Xavier Woods of New Day, Cesaro of the Bar, and Jey of the Usos go at it in a triple threat.
Frank’s Analysis: It will be interesting to see the reaction New Day gets and in particular, Xavier Woods. As many of you may know, Xavier recently commented that anybody complaining about wrestling are “entitled infants.” He went on to say there’s a lot of wrestling, and it’s all good and awesome. They put their bodies on the line every night. He brought up several other talking points.
He can voice his opinion about people complaining about wrestling but calling them entitled infants is unfair. At the end of the day, wrestling is a performance. As a consumer of the product, you have the right to complain about it. We all want to the product to be as good as it can be. I’m a Mets and Knicks fan. I’ve been complaining about both franchises for years because of poor performances. Go look up their records and see that the numbers don’t lie. My N.Y. Giants have stunk for the most part since they won the Super Bowl in 2012. It doesn’t mean I’m not a fan nor do I lack appreciation for what they do. If Xavier is going to be that thin-skinned about things, perhaps he shouldn’t be in the business of performing publicly.
U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura was to have a non-title match against Rusev. He attacked Rusev before the match could start, and this it was ruled a no-contest. Look for this feud to continue.
Randy Orton discusses his recent attack on Rey Mysterio as well as taking his mask. He said he didn’t care about the history of the mask and wanted to take Rey off the pedestal on which fans have put him. Rey came out with a different mask and the two of them went at it. It ended with Orton kicking Rey in the head while it was lodged in a chair.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena website shows a start time of 6:30 p.m but doesn’t specify when doors are opening. They advertise a triple threat match featuring A.J. Styles, The Miz, and WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. They don’t say whether or not the championship is on the line.
They also show New Day, Charlotte Flair, Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, and Randy Orton appearing.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!