WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
DECEMBER 25, 2018
FRESNO, CA. AT THE SAVE MART CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00PM EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Arena, Smackdown TLC Results, and Items Advertised by WWE
The Christmas Day edition of Smackdown was pre-recorded following last week’s Smackdown episode in the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA. The following are the items announced by WWE.com for tonight’s episode:
- Shane McMahon to appear on MizTV
- U.S. Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (champ) vs. Rusev
- Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
- Will Sanity continue to sow chaos?
There are spoilers out for tonight. I will not offer any predictions on matches in the interest of integrity.
Shane McMahon on Miz TV
In recent weeks, the Miz has been pleading his case to Shane McMahon to be his tag team partner (in my head I still hear Todd Martin criticizing Wade Keller for not calling him “Best in the World” Shane McMahon). Last week, Miz went so far as to ask Shane’s father Vince for his blessing to be Shane’s partner, which Vince rejected. He counter-offered Miz and said he should prove himself by winning a tag team match with a mystery partner. Here’s the segment in case you so desire to watch:
Miz’s mystery partner turned out to be Mandy Rose, and their opponents were Mixed Match Challenge Season Two Champions R-Truth and Carmella. Miz and Rose won the match in about two minutes.
Tonight, Shane appears on MizTV.
Frank’s Analysis: I have no idea where this is going. It could lead to a Miz vs. Shane McMahon match at WrestleMania or an odd-couple partnership. Outside of those scenarios, both of which have zero appeal, I have no idea. This falls under the comedy that’s not funny and has been problematic on WWE television. It’s great to see that things are changing!
U.S. Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (champ) vs. Rusev
For weeks now Rusev and U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura have had their issues. The latest was a back and forth last week where Rusev made fun of Nakamura saying he looks like Sonic the Hedgehog (who had that game for Sega Genesis anyway?). Nakamura countered with a cut and paste video showing Rusev as a “Total Diva,” with clips of his appearing on the show Total Divas with his wife Lana.
Rusev pinned Nakamura in a tag team match a few weeks where he and Jeff Hardy defeated Nakamura and Samoa Joe. Tonight, he gets a championship opportunity. Rusev previously held the title from late 2014-2015 when he defeated Sheamus and then lost to John Cena at that year’s WrestleMania. He regained the title in 2016 from Kalisto and proceeded a few months later to drop it to Roman Reigns.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s good to see Shinsuke having an opponent for the U.S. Championship considering how quiet things have been on that front lately. The feud doesn’t light the world on fire for me, but I don’t hate it either. I just wish everything didn’t end in a catchphrase. It’s seems like Rusev can’t end a promo without saying “Rusev Day” anymore.
Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has been calling out Jeff Hardy on his past demons, especially with alcohol. Last week, Jeff said his past was his past, and this is now. He called out Joe and wanted a face-to-face in the ring and wanted an apology. Joe obliged, but not in the way Jeff wanted as was to be expected. He apologized that this wasn’t going to be an apology but rather an intervention. He cited how this time of year can bring out one’s demons, but Jeff said he’s never going back to that place again. As Joe was leaving the ring, he went to attack Jeff which he saw coming and gave him a twist of fate. Here’s the segment in case you missed it:
Tonight, Jeff and Joe go at it one-on-one.
Frank’s Analysis: Jeff there’s one problem with you saying that was then and this is now. You got a DWI earlier this year. You don’t have to acknowledge that on TV but stuff like that takes us out of the moment and it’s insulting. This is why I’m against bringing these real-life situations into storylines. If it’s done right, it’s fine but in this situation that’s not the case. As far as this feud it’s one that could work and perhaps re-establish Joe as a top heel following his putting over A.J. Styles in recent months. Jeff does not get hurt putting Joe over.
Sanity to Continue Chaos?
The Good Brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, returned last week as the Usos were calling out Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Bar. They said being one of the best teams of the last decade, they were tired of sitting on the sidelines and that ends tonight. They proceeded to have a match with the Usos, which ended in a no contest (non-finishes on WWE television? Nawwwww!).
The no-contest was due to the Bar coming out followed by Sanity, who attacked the Good Brothers on the outside of the ring. After Sanity was done, The Bar went after Gallows and Anderson.
Frank’s Analysis: There’s nothing special here with the Good Brothers or Sanity returning. The Good Brothers complaining about being on the sidelines is old hat. Several wrestlers have pulled that recently (Apollo Crews, and Mojo Rawley come to mind) and it usually goes nowhere. As far as Sanity I have little to no expectation for what they may do as I feel about the Good Brothers. WWE has shown no propensity to push either team into a prominent role.
Other Items from Last Week
Asuka retained her newly won Smackdown Women’s Championship in an impromptu match over Naomi. Charlotte and Becky Lynch were making their cases to have rematches for the championship in light of Ronda Rousey’s interference. The match was approved by Vince McMahon in furtherance of the rematch clause being antiquated and Naomi interrupting the conversation. (Hey if that’s what it takes to get a title match everyone should do it).
As I talked about in the Raw primer, Paige was apparently relieved of her general manager duties. We learned this at the outset of the show where Shane was rallying his Smackdown wrestlers to put on a good product (because that’s their responsibility. It’s not to try and best each and become champions and be the best wrestler possible. I got it. I’m so glad there’s change). They booed at the mention of Raw (so the Smackdown vs. Raw dynamic continues). Here’s the YouTube clip so you can view the ridiculousness of this speech:
We learned that Mustafa Ali would now be a full-time wrestler on the Smackdown roster. We learned this during the main event in which he teamed with A.J. Styles to take on WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and Andrade “Cien” Almas in a match not advertised by WWE. Ali and Styles picked up the win when Ali pinned Bryan. Prior to the match, Bryan continued his ripping of crowds and tore into the local people of Fresno.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
This section is not applicable as the episode was pre-recorded last week.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!