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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
DECEMBER 11, 2018
LAS VEGAS, NEV. AT THE T-MOBILE ARENA
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00 P.M. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Arena & Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown makes its first appearance in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The arena opened for business in 2016 and has hosted WWE events before, including Money in the Bank the same year it opened. That night saw Dean Ambrose win the MITB contract and cash in the same night to defeat WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, who had just defeated Roman Reigns for the title. It was the famous night where all three members of the Shield held the championship. That was then and tonight, we’re talking Smackdown which will feature a WrestleMania rematch and rap contest.
WWE.com is advertising the following items for tonight.
- Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
- The Bar vs. The Usos in a rap battle hosted by New Day
- Jeff Hardy to address Samoa Joe’s public service announcement
- Naomi vs. Mandy Rose
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
As we know, 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, all three women signed the contract for the match. Following the contract signing, Charlotte and Asuka were put into a tag team match against Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
At one point when Charlotte was attempting to kick Mandy Rose, she accidentally kicked her partner Asuka. Sonya rolled up Charlotte to pick up the victory. Later on, Asuka would return the favor and attack Charlotte.
Tonight, these two women go one-on-one in a WrestleMania 34 rematch. That night, Charlotte handed Asuka her first defeat under the WWE umbrella as Asuka was challenging her for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Asuka won the first women’s Royal Rumble to earn the opportunity.
Frank’s Analysis: Charlotte certainly acted like a heel during the signing, as did Becky to a degree although she is universally loved so it seems no matter what she says she will be cheered (unless it’s trolling the fans which they’ve stopped. I want to throw something out there that nobody may be thinking about. Is it possible Asuka actually ends up being the heel in all of this? While Charlotte acted like a heel, she hasn’t officially committed a heel act. Asuka came off somewhat unlikable as well when talking to both Charlotte and Becky. Asuka was kicked by accident in the match, and I could understand her frustration. Returning the favor could be perceived as a heel-type act. I’m only suggesting this as Asuka has been ice cold and a heel turn could invigorate her run. Your top heel on Smackdown is Mandy Rose with Sonya Deville and the IIconics right behind her.
As far as Becky is concerned there were rumors that she may not be cleared for TLC. She dispelled those rumors on Twitter. It wouldn’t be a Smackdown primer without a Becky tweet:
I’m seeing reports that I “might not be cleared” for TLC. Let me say this as clearly as I can: nothing will keep me from fighting on Dec 16th. I’ve got heads to slap and a title to keep. The Man will come around. pic.twitter.com/bAPFtisIGo
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 7, 2018
Rap Battle: The Usos vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Bar, hosted by New Day
The Bar will defend the Smackdown Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match at TLC against the Usos and New Day.
Last week, Jey Uso defeated Xavier Woods and Cesaro in a triple threat match. Tonight, the Usos and the Bar go at it in a rap battle. The last rap battle ironically took place between New Day and the Usos back on July 4, 2017.
Rap battles have been a staple of Smackdown through the years. Who can forget one of the first battles that took place between John Cena and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle:
Frank’s Analysis: There’s not much to analyze here. This is another stop towards the championship match at TLC. These things are always entertaining, and you have three teams with plenty of history between them. I’m selfishly looking forward to seeing Cesaro and Sheamus in his setting as I think they will be sort of a guilty pleasure to watch.
Jeff Hardy to Address Samoa Joe
Last week, Jeff Hardy renewed his feud with Randy Orton. It was a series of matches that included Hell in a Cell and several cringeworthy moments that saw Orton tug on Hardy’s pierced ear with his fingers and at one point a screwdriver. Nonetheless, Hardy came up short last week as he fell victim to Orton’s signature RKO.
Orton had some help, as Samoa Joe popped up on the titantron acting as a bartender at I assume some local bar. Joe had a “public service announcement” in regard to drinking responsibly. He talked about having a few beers with your friends and calling it a night or having “14 of these” and waking up in jail (exploiting Hardy’s past problems with alcohol including a DWI arrest this year). Here’s the YouTube clip in case you missed it:
Joe continued to trash talk on Twitter the next day.
It’s amazing how all you virtue laden people will bludgeon your high horse in a instant to justify the actions of your so called hero’s . Yet your upset with me because I just want to bludgeon your hero directly. #SmackDownLIVE
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) December 5, 2018
Tonight, Hardy addresses Joe’s actions.
Frank’s Analysis: You’ll never get me to like exploiting real life issues for the purpose of furthering a wrestling angle, but it’s part of the business and thus I can accept it and put it into context. It doesn’t mean I nor anybody has to like it. Jeff Hardy has had his issues with drugs and alcohol through the years and to exploit that to me is just not good business. It wouldn’t get me to want to watch WWE again if I was on the outside. I didn’t like when they exploited Scott Hall’s issues with alcohol on WCW programming in the last 1990s. I didn’t care for CM Punk exploiting Paul Bearer’s death in 2013 in the run-up to his match with the Undertaker at WrestleMania. I didn’t like Ruby Riott exploiting Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart on Raw last night with Natalya. It is what it is, and let’s just hope the wrestling matches are worth the trouble.
Mandy Rose vs. Naomi
Mandy Rose has been stepping more into the forefront recently. As I talked about earlier, she and Sonya Deville defeated Charlotte Flair and Asuka in the opening match last week. When the TLC match for the women’s championship was being announced a few weeks ago, she came out with the other heels and spoke of how any one of them deserved a championship opportunity (I don’t know why, but I’ll play along).
She and Naomi have done a little trash talking on Twitter:
Tonight, Mandy and Naomi go one-on-one.
Frank’s Analysis: There’s not much here as it’s a match on the lower end of the card. It seems Mandy has been pushed a little more as of late, and thus you wonder if Vince is looking to see if she could be one of his top heels if not a top star. Let’s be honest, Mandy is certainly what Vince looks for in his women wrestlers. If Asuka or Charlotte don’t officially turn heel, and if you consider Becky Lynch a babyface as we all do, Mandy is your top heel on Smackdown.
- Rusev claimed he wanted to feast on U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura on Rusev Day. If TLC coincides with Rusev Day, does he get a U.S. Championship match?
- WWE Champion Daniel Bryan was a guest on MizTV. He talked about the fans being sinners while they eat factory farmed meat and drink from plastic water bottles. He quoted Alexander Hamilton saying giving power to the mindless masses is dangerous. He re-emphasized over and over how the fans are “fickle.” Ultimately A.J. Styles came out and went after Bryan. He was intercepted the Miz. Later in the main event, A.J. tapped out the Miz with a calf crusher. He would then be attacked by Bryan, who was on guest commentary. Here are highlights from the match:
- The Miz and “Best in the World” Shane McMahon had another odd exchange in front of the World Up trophy. Shane reiterated they were not tag team partners.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena website shows a start time of 4:30 p.m local with doors opening at 3:00 p.m.
The website is clearly not updated as they show the following.
WWE Champion AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio and Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton, The Miz and United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura! Charlotte Flair vs SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch! The New Day live!
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!