12/18 WWE Smackdown Results: Keller’s report on WWE TLC fallout, Asuka’s title victory, Bryan’s WWE Title reign continues, Becky responds to Ronda, Shane’s pep talk

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c) WWE.com

KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
DECEMBER 18, 2018
FRESNO, CALIF.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, David Otunga


Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jake Barnett from ProWrestling.net to break down the show with live callers, an on-site correspondent, and the mailbag.

STREAM LIVE HERE STARTING WITHIN 5 MINUTE AFTER SMACKDOWN
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•SEARCH “WADE KELLER” TO DOWNLOAD THE SHOW A FEW HOURS AFTER SMACKDOWN


[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with Shane McMahon backstage with the wrestlers assembled like schoolchildren calling for their attention. He said last night on Monday Night Raw, the McMahon family ushered in a new era – an era of change and progression, a fresh start for WWE and Smackdown Live. He said there would be new faces and new match-ups and new opportunities. He said they are listening. “I need all of you,” he said. He said they need to create the best possible product that there is for them and the greatest fanbase in the world. Wrestlers applauded. He said it started tonight. He said they need to grab the brass ring and rip it down. He asked them if they feel him. They yelled back “Yeah!” He said he wanted to thank their formal General Manager Paige. She stepped up onto the platform Shane was standing on. He said they all thank her for her enormous contributions. He said she’s not going anywhere, but her role has changed. He shook her hand and hugged her. The wrestlers applauded as Shane held her arm in the air.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s crazy how much Shane’s speech was just like what Paul Heyman did in the locker room during the original ECW days to inspire his crew. The thing is, he knew how stupid it would be to actually put it on TV as part of a TV show where it’s presented as “every wrestler for himself or herself.” Why would wrestlers care about “putting on a good product” so the McMahons can get richer? The narrative structure of WWE and any pro wrestling show is that wrestlers are trying to become champions and win matches, regardless of “how good the product is.” None of this makes sense and none of this affects fan enjoyment of the product. It’s so far off the corrective track, there’s no other way to describe it other than just plan stupid.)

-Becky Lynch stood mid-ring and said she doesn’t care who is running the show because The Man is in charge. She said the others are in the back listening to some corporate nonsense speech, but she doesn’t do meetings very well. She said she’s in the ring with the people because that’s where real business is done. She said all she wants from the McMahons is for them to deliver to her Ronda Rousey. She said when she stepped into her business, she faced her down and made her tap out in her own dressing room and left her lying in her own ring, whereas at TLC Ronda cost her the title and didn’t even have the decency to fight her. She told “Ronnie” she has worked too hard for too long to let some Rowdy Roddy Cosplayer take it all away from her.

Out walked Charlotte. She entered the ring and was all smiles. She told Becky to take a number, in particular number two “and stand behind The Queen.” She said Ronda stole her title at TLC. Becky said her days of standing behind her are long gone. Charlotte said the days of Becky looking up to her are “then, now, and forever.” She let out a “wooo!” She said the odds are had Ronda not been there, she’d have become an “eight-time women’s champion.” (They drop “women” from that. It’s apparent Charlotte’s a woman, so if she’s an eight-time champion, just say that. The men aren’t saying they’re a “men’s champion.”)

Asuka then walked out to her music. Graves said Asuka put her body through the same hell as the other two women to survive and capture the title. He said she earned her way into the TLC title match. (This came across damage control for the perception that Asuka didn’t earn the title because Rousey essentially gifted her the victory.) Asuka said to forget Ronda because she is the champion now. Charlotte and Becky took turns responding with some rapid-fire comments. Suddenly Vince McMahon’s music interrupted.

Vince marched out onto the stage and then walked to the ring. He wished everyone happy holidays. He asked why Becky is so angry, making excuses for herself. He said it’s the same thing with Charlotte. He said in a TLC match, anything goes which means anyone can be involved in it. He said Rousey did what she promised, and get over their excuses, and if they have a problem, take it up with Rousey. He asked Asuka if she’d like to defend her championship tonight. Fans began chanting “Yes!” He asked if anyone was ready for her. Naomi came out and Vince danced a little to the beat of her music. She took some digs at Charlotte and Becky. She said she wants it. He said it’s time to have the match right now, so go get ’em.

(Keller’s Analysis: Becky was good here. They still seem to be hedging on whether there’s a heel or a face in all of this, though. I’m not sure Vince was helpful here in what he said about Becky and Charlotte, seemingly taking sides with Rousey.)

-Phillips said this is a fresh start for Smackdown.

(Keller’s Analysis: There is absolutely nothing different about Smackdown other than everyone is saying how different everything is and what a fresh start it is. It just feels insulting that WWE is serving the same product as always and the official spokespeople on the show are all trying to push the false idea everything is different and fresh, as if fans are just dumb enough to think saying something is true makes it so.) [c]

(1) ASUKA vs. NAOMI – WWE Smackdown Title match

Phillips brought up no more automatic rematches when champions lose. Phillips said Naomi hasn’t had a one on one title match since September 2017, so this is an example of fresh opportunities.

(Keller’s Analysis: What did she do to get the title shot, though? She happened to be backstage ready to wrestle when Vince brought up Asuka defending the title, and she and no one else walked out to her music. WWE doesn’t understand that fans want more structure and explanations for why these seemingly arbitrary decisions are made so what happens on the show makes sense and doesn’t feel just arbitrarily thrown together.)

Naomi took Asuka off the ropes with a side Russian leg sweep. When they landed hard, they cut to a break. [c]

Naomi settled into a headlock during the break, which was shown on split screen. Back to full screen, Asuka was on offense at ringside by the time they came back live. Asuka climbed to the top rope seconds later and dropkicked Naomi from behind. Later, Naomi roundkicked Asuka. Asuka went down like she was shot, but then lifted her knees on a split-legged moonsault. (As usual with this spot, had the person on the bottom not lifted her knees, the moonsault would have landed on the targets ankles.) Asuka then went for an Asuka Lock, but Naomi fought it off. Asuka went for it again, but Naomi slipped free and rolled up Asuka for a two count. She followed up with a Rear View for a near fall. The crowd popped for the kickoff. (Imagine if Noami now and then won a squash match on TV where she won with that move in impressive fashion how much more over that move would be?) Naomi springboard at Asuka, but Asuka caught her mid-air and kneed her and scored a two count. She followed up with the Asuka Lock and Naomi tapped immediately.

WINNER: Asuka in 11:00 to retain the Smackdown Title.

-Miz knocked on the door labeled “McMahon Family.” He was impatient and knocked repeatedly. Vince answered and asked what kind of a knock was it. He asked if it was manly. Miz said he thinks it was. Miz asked if Shane was around. Vince said he can’t come out to play right now. Miz said he and Shane are going through a rough patch and it’s complicated, but he’s the most loyal roster member. He said can get carried away sometimes when he wants something, but that’s a positive. He said if he and Shane tagged together, they could be the Best Tag Team in the World. Vince asked Miz what he wanted. Miz said he’s a worthy partner for his son and wants his blessing. Vince said he’s never given anyone a blessing in his life and he doesn’t even believe in them. Vince said he doesn’t do that. He said what he will do is let Miz prove himself. He said Miz can prove what a great partner he can be later when he picks a partner for him. Vince slammed the door in Miz’s face as Miz tried telling him he’d make him proud.

(Keller’s Analysis: Amusing and not smooth at the same time. And a good hook for a mystery tag partner later.)

-The announcers hyped Daniel Bryan & Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. A.J. Styles & Mustafa Ali and also Samoa Joe’s “apology.” [c]

-The announcers hyped WWE Holiday Week line-up on USA Network.

-Kayla Braxton interviewed Rusev and Lana backstage. (She called Rusev “Rue-Siv.” That’s strange.) Rusev said he hopes the McMahon Family is paying attention because he is the definition of a WWE Superstar. He said he is a man of action plus he is handsome and a hunk and has big biceps and a handsome beard. He said could shave off his beard and sell it on eBay to make sweaters for babies. He said Shinsuke Nakamura looks like Sonic the Hedgehog. He said he will win the U.S. Title on the greatest day of them all, Rusev Day. Graves said it’d be disgusting to wear a sweater made of Rusev’s facial hair.

-Jeff Hardy made his way to the ring. Hardy said he heard Joe wants to apologize to him. Hardy said some of what Joe has said about his demons are true – that he’s been weak and made mistakes. He said that was then, and this is now. He said he wakes up every day and worships the fact that the is alive, well, and present. He told Joe to bring it on so he can hear his apology face-t0-face.  Joe came out to his music and said he is sorry. He said he is sorry because this is no actual apology. He said he called him to the ring because it’s time for something more important – an intervention. He told Hardy that he’s known him for a long time and everyone is worried about him. He said this time of year can be rough for someone with his past. He said his demons will return and control him. Hardy said the more Joe reminds him of his past, the more he reminds himself he is never going back there. He said he and his demons see right through him. He said he attacks people’s weaknesses to cover up for his own insecurities. He asked Joe which demons haunt him. He wondered if it was because Joe has been around for two years and hasn’t won a single championship. Joe turned and began to leave, but then turned back and went after Hardy. Hardy saw it coming and gave him a sudden Twist of Fate. Hardy’s music played as Phillips said that Hardy saw right through Joe and turned his psychological warfare right on its head. Graves said Joe won’t forget what just happened.

-Miz came out. After his music stopped, a small “C.M. Punk!” chant started. Then quickly Mandy Rose’s music played. Graves got excited. Then their opponents came out – R-Truth and Carmella. Truth said they won Mixed Match Challenge so they’ll be no. 30 in their respective Royal Rumble matches. He said they’re also going to WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Conn. Graves said it’s “a cultural epic-center.” Phillips corrected him: “Epicenter.” Truth said they are looking forward to this match against Miz and Maryse. Some laughter.

(3) MIZ & MANDY ROSE vs. R-TRUTH & CARMELLA

A minute in, after Truth knocked Miz to ringside, Truth and Carmella did a Seven Second Dance Break. They hugged. Rose charged in and tried to knee Carmella, but Carmella avoided it and super kicked her out of the ring. Miz then gave Truth a Skull Crushing Finale from behind for the quick win. Graves said that was must-see and then almost fainted when Rose looked at him. “She checked me out!” he said.

WINNERS: Miz & Rose in under 2:00.

-Phillips threw to a video package on the arrival of Mustafa Ali last week. [c]

[HOUR TWO]

-They went to the announcers at ringside who talked about the fresh start. Phillips said they are feeling it. Graves threw to a series of videos on new wrestlers arriving in WWE soon. It was the same six as shown on Raw the night before.

-The Usos came to the ring. Jey said no matter how things change, one thing stays the same – the Usos run Smackdown Live. Jimmy said they still have gold on their minds. They called The Bar to the ring. Instead, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson walked out. Phillips said they’ve been looking for an opportunity for a long time. Anderson said great teams have been having great matches on Smackdown, but last week he watched them have a freakin’ rap battle. He said they haven’t been on Smackdown since August. Gallows said that’s four months that one of the greatest tag teams of the last decade have been on the sidelines. He said no more, it’s time to clean the slate and clean house. Jey said it’s not their fault they fell through the cracks. Jimmy said to go ahead and step up because they’re not moving for anybody. They threw down the mic as Anderson and Gallows entered. A referee stepped into the ring. The ring announcer said the McMahon family have made this match official. [c]

(4) KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS vs. THE USOS

Non-stop action with frequent tags. They cut to a break a few minutes in after Anderson knocked Jey out of mid-air with a kick and he got tied up in the ropes as a result. [c]

They showed the action on split-screen during the break. Anderson and Gallows beat up Jimmy while Jey clutched his knee at ringside. Jimmy came back with a couple super kicks and then climbed to the top rope. The Bar then came out to create a distraction. Jimmy was distracted briefly, but then hit a top rope splash. Sanity then attacked the Usos and Gallows & Anderson. Not much crowd reaction. Otunga said, “With this fresh start, the field is wide open here.” Graves said everyone wants to lay their claim.

WINNERS: No contest in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: If Vince McMahon felt what was hurting ratings was too many clean finishes and not enough run-ins ending matches without decisions, he should expect ratings to rise.)

-After Sanity left, The Bar entered the ring and attacked Anderson and Gallows. Sanity watched and smiled from the aisle. Phillips said they are off to a fresh start and the competition has been kicked up a notch.

-A soundbite aired with Nakamura who said he doesn’t feel afraid of Rusev. They showed clips of Rusev and Lana on Total Divas with the bit being Rusev is always wanting to show off his legs and then dressing up like a clown and grilling naked and running naked at the beach. Nakamura then winced and said he’s no U.S. Championship contender. He said he’s a Total Diva.

-Backstage Styles and Ali were chatting. [c]

-A sponsored highlight package aired of the McMahon clan gathered last night on Raw.

-The announcers hyped that next week on Smackdown, Shane McMahon will be the guest on Miz TV. Also, Rusev challenges Nakamura for the U.S. Title. Plus Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy.

(Keller’s Analysis: When they tape one episode right after the live show, it’s amazing how much they know about what will be on next week’s show!)

-The New Day promoted their Pancake Power New Day Super Spectacular. They said they’d look back at 2018 biggest moments with John Cena, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Becky Lynch. It’s tomorrow night.

-Daniel Bryan came out to his music. He wore his WWE Title belt. (Disappointing he hasn’t replaced the leather belt with hemp yet.) Bryan said he destroyed the Yes Movement and at TLC he destroyed the House that A.J. Styles built. He said unlike them, he’s not about destruction, he’s about creation of something better. He said he’s going to create a brave new world. He said they fear change, which is the only way to explain their lives of vacuous consumption despite all of the evidence it is destroying the planet that gives them life. He said the people of Fresno, Calif. are the guiltiest of all. (What’s with all of these localized insults that doesn’t mean anything to TV viewers?) He said Fresno is the most polluted city in California. Fans were proud. Bryan yelled “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” at them. That prompted a “Game of Thrones” reference from Graves. Bryan said Isaac Asimov once wrote that self-education is the only kind of education there is. He said for people like Isaac and himself, that’s true, but the fans wouldn’t know wisdom if it was pumped full of GMOs and handed to them through a drive-thru window. He said fortunately they have someone who can teach them how to live. He held up his title belt and said it is him. Otunga said Bryan is a walking contradiction because he talked about self-education but then wanted to teach everyone. (So Otunga completely missed the entire point of what Bryan just said.) Otunga then said Asimov was in favor of nuclear energy despite how dangerous it is. (Apparently you can’t quote someone if you don’t agree with every point of view they ever expressed?) Graves said he saw Otunga put six-pack rings in a lake once. Otunga said he thought he was talking about his abs. Phillips said Ali is now officially a member of the Smackdown roster, so he must have impressed the McMahon family last week. [c]

(5) MUSTAFA ALI & A.J. STYLES vs. DANIEL BRYAN & ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS (w/Zelina Vega)

Graves said during the break, Bryan said Styles is a fan of fracking. The babyface duo rallied a few minutes in, with Styles launching Ali with a flip dive onto the heel duo at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]

Graves said the University of Oxford said cutting meat and dairy out of your diet can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73 percent. Phillips said he didn’t know that. Graves said he wants to live his best life by following Bryan’s advice. Ali raised his knees on an Almas splash. Both tagged out. Styles went to work on Bryan with a rapid-fire attack. Styles locked on the Calf Crusher. Almas attacked Styles to break it up. Bryan then kicked Styles in the head. Styles caught him with a boot when he charged, then landed a reverse DDT. Styles crawled over to tag Ali. No pop for Ali at all. He DDT’d Bryan and then climbed to the top rope. Almas interfered. Styles gave Almas a Phenomenal Forearm. Ali then landed an 054 for the win. Ali reacted like it was the biggest win of his career. Styles congratulated him.

WINNERS: Styles & Ali when Ali pinned Bryan in 17:00.


Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jake Barnett from ProWrestling.net to break down the show with live callers, an on-site correspondent, and the mailbag.

STREAM LIVE HERE STARTING WITHIN 5 MINUTE AFTER SMACKDOWN
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•SEARCH “WADE KELLER” TO DOWNLOAD THE SHOW A FEW HOURS AFTER SMACKDOWN


1 Comment on 12/18 WWE Smackdown Results: Keller’s report on WWE TLC fallout, Asuka’s title victory, Bryan’s WWE Title reign continues, Becky responds to Ronda, Shane’s pep talk

  1. It’s like I said on Keller’s Raw report. There will be no change. There is no listening to anyone. There will be only more of the same. And bringing up new faces from NXT won’t be any different; it’s like 49ers coach Bill Walsh used to say, that it didn’t matter who the Niners’ opponents were. They were nameless, faceless. That’s what talent in WWE is.

    The PC era, the scripting of promos, the lifting of all the good elements of pro wrestling — it’s finally happened. Congratulations to all the Vince McMahon apologists. Yes, we will get an occasional great match, an occasional good story. But for the most part, wrestling really is dead.

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