SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE TV TAPING (for 1/1)
DECEMBER 29, 2018
REPORT BY CHRIS WHITE, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
If you attend a live event, please send results in the format of the following report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!Attendance: Est. 7-8,000 (with the entire upper bowl was empty)
205 Live Spoilers
(1) Kalisto defeated Lio Rush. A good opening match to start off the night. The crowd was into the “Lucha Lucha” chants. Rush and Kalisto worked a good solid back and forth match with Kalisto nailing his backflip finisher for the win.
(2) Akira Tozawa defeated Drew Gulak- This was a boring match to start. They seemed to lose the crowd for about half the match. A couple of people in my group mentioned that they felt that Gulak wasn’t doing what he needed to do to sell Tozawa’s offense. The second half of the match got better with some good counter wrestling between the two. In the end, Tozawa got the win after a flying senton splash off the top rope.
Both Tozawa and Kalisto have been added to a Fatal Four Way Match for the Cruiserweight Championship that will take place at the Royal Rumble. A fourth wrestler has yet to be named.
Smackdown Live Spoilers
– The New Day came out to celebrate New Year’s Day. Big E is dressed as a New Year’s Baby. (At least he wasn’t oiling himself like last week.) The New Day announce that they are in the Royal Rumble. They pulled out a reference to the Steiner Math promo from TNA. They announce their New Year’s Resolutions. Comedy promo here to get the crowd worked up.
They discuss the Fatal Five-Way announced for the end of the show between AJ Styles, Mustafa Ali, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, and the winner of the next match. The winner gets the WWF Championship shot at the Royal Rumble.
– Samoa Joe defeated Jeff Hardy to become final entrant in Fatal Five Way. A decent enough TV match in my opinion. Hardy hits the Swanton. But Joe rolls to the outside. Jeff dives out onto Joe, but he gets locked in the Clutch. Jeff almost gets counted out, but he rolls back in at 9. Clutch is immediately locked in. Jeff is knocked out for the win.
– Vince and Shane are in the back talking about how awesome that match should be. Enter AJ Styles. AJ doesn’t apologize for what he did to Vince. He tells Vince that he will win the Five Way and threatens to show Vince his “NEW” side tonight. Shane gets in AJ’s face, but nothing really happens.
– An in-ring celebration for Rusev’s United States Championship happens. Rusev Day USA chants from Rusev. Nakamura attacks Rusev from behind. Lana jumps on Nakamura to get him off Rusev. Rusev delivers a kick to Nakamura but ends up hurting Lana in the process (she was still on Nakamura at the time). Rusev goes to check on Lana and gets Kinshasa 2 times from Nakamura. Crowd was a bit silent at the end of this.
– Naomi vs. Mandy Rose was announced live in the arena was supposed to be next. But for some reason, Sonya Deville ended up working the match. Mandy Rose was working up the heel heat here by unveiling a Day One-Ish shirt. Later, she showed a picture that she sent to Naomi’s husband earlier today, revealing a picture of her in a towel. Sonya used this to her advantage and hit her finisher for the win. Too quick to be graded as a match, but they continue to build up the heat for the angle that started last week.
– John Cena was out next to a mixed reaction. Cena cuts a promo in the ring about being thankful for being back and the reaction of the crowd. He asks “WHY” is he there? He talks about Bumblebee and the crazy year he’s been. He mentions his breakup with Nikki Bella and ask who will be the man to interrupt him tonight on Smackdown.
Then, THE MAN interrupts him. Becky tells Cena that things have changed and that she now is The Man. John Cena needs to pay homage to The Man or she’ll drop him faster than Nikki Bella did. Enter Almas and Zelina who cut a promo putting down Cena and Lynch.
John Cena and Becky Lynch defeated Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega. Good match here with Lynch and Cena having difficulties as a team early on. Almas and Cena dominated most of the match with a LOT of chants for Becky. Becky gets the tag and works over Zelina. Almas gets The 6 Moves of Doom, including that ludicrous punch at the end. Becky THROWS out Cena from her ring. And then, Lynch makes Vega tap out to the Disarmer. After the match, Cena goes to shake hands with Lynch outside of the ring. She responds by just giving Cena his own “You Can’t See Me” hand gesture.
– We got some promos for the Fatal Five Way match from the backstage area. Rey’s promo seemed initially botched, and they had to cut it again a few seconds later.
– The Miz and Shane McMahon have a backstage segment where The Miz talks about their matching attire that they are going to have as a team. A lot of the designs include Miz’s ring coat and sunglasses. And creepingly enough, he includes a shot of both him and Shane in their tights, with Shane’s head put over Bill Goldberg’s body. Shane finds a way to sneak out of the area to end the segment.
– Triple H talks backstage with Asuka and asks her who she wants to defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against. She says no one is ready for her anyways. So, she doesn’t care. Carmella, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch all make claims to being rightful #1 Contenders. Triple H takes it under advisement.
– The main event for the TV show is a Fatal Five Way for the title shot against Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble. AJ Styles won the match which featured Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and Mustafa Ali. A really good Fatal Five Way match with all five have moments to shine. The New AJ Styles dominated the opening moments, but it broke down to a more even paced match afterwards. Keep a look out for a table spot with AJ taking some hard apron shots before Joe just drills AJ through a table. Also, there are some great sequences between Mustafa Ali and Rey Mysterio that I think people at home should enjoy. The finish sees AJ catch Randy Orton with a Springboard 450 after Orton had taken a 619 from Rey Mysterio beforehand. A very good match that was probably my favorite from a workrate perspective.
After the credits rolled on the Smackdown taping, Shane came out and announced a Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Bryan comes out and tells the crowd they can’t cheer “Yes!” anymore. He then points out two kids who have “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and “No! No! No!” signs. He asks which one is better. Trick question: Both kids are stupid because their signs were made from paper. And they condone the destruction of the environment with these signs. Eventually, AJ jumps Daniel outside the ring. A.J. throws him into the barricades around ringside and into the cage. They have a decent 8 minute Steel Cage match with a couple Top Rope move. The end… wait for it… is AJ Styles getting a low blow allowing Daniel Bryan to escape the cage. After the match, Daniel announces that he is “The Planet’s Champion” and pledges to destroy AJ Styles before the Royal Rumble. Bryan goes to attack AJ, but AJ low blows Bryan and hits the Styles Clash to send the crowd home happy.
The Advertised Dark Match: The advertised matches have taking some unique twists and turns over the previous weeks. At one point, it was Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles in a Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship. Then it became a six-man tag with A.J. Styles & Daniel Bryan & Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz & Samoa Joe & Shinsuke Nakamura. Then it became a Fatal Four-Way match between Styles, Bryan, Miz, and Joe. Finally, it settled on the Steel Cage Match between Styles and Bryan for the WWE Championship. This stayed consistent even after the transition from house show to TV taping was announced and the addition of a John Cena appearance. Other matches were announced and later pulled including a Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte match for the Women’s Championship and a Rey Mysterio/John Cena tag match. Since then, both matches were dropped, and The Miz had an advertised Miz TV with John Cena.
On the last Smackdown Live, John Cena’s appearance was confirmed along with a New Day New Year’s Day Celebration. But the advertisements have been a running joke among the group of us that were going because WWE kept advertising different matches almost on a biweekly basis. I’ve heard of “Card Subject to Change,” but this was almost booking by Gollum here.
That being said, they did keep the advertised main event of Bryan vs. A.J. Styles in a Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship. So, this wasn’t an example of false advertisement in terms of delivering what they were finally advertising.
Attendance: The show looked like it had a good crowd. It seemed like the upper deck above the hard camera was tarped off. And the area around the hard camera seemed to be black. But the rest of the arena was filled from what I can see. Good crowd.
Merchandise: As far as merchandise goes, the following were some examples of what they were selling:
– Becky Lynch
– Jeff Hardy
– John Cena
– Randy Orton
– The New Day
– AJ Styles
Foam Fingers- $5
Sting Masks- $5
Roman Reigns Gloves- $10
Naomi Sunglasses- $5
AJ Styles Gloves- $20
John Cena Bandana and Wristbands-$15
$350 WWE Championship (deluxe)
Money in the Bank Briefcase
There were other bits of merchandise being sold. But there was too many to keep a complete detailed analysis. It seemed like the tables were busy all night, even after the show had ended.
Value of the Tickets: The tickets each cost around $30. We were seated in Section 125 which was diagonal from the ring. We were towards the back of the section, but we had a good view of the LED board and ring. Given what happened on 205 Live, the SmackDown Live taping, and the dark match, I feel like I got more than my money’s worth.
(1) Becky Lynch
(2) AJ Styles/Jeff Hardy (tied)
(3) The New Day
Biggest Reaction (Heel)
(1) Daniel Bryan
(2) Samoa Joe
(3) Randy Orton
Overall Thoughts: It’s always great to see a wrestling show live and get a feel for the production. But this time, I went with my nephews, brother-in-law, father, and best friend. And it was nice getting their perspective on the event. They all seemed to dislike Drew Gulak’s performance tonight and what they felt was bad selling. However, Becky Lynch was very popular with all of them, regardless of age. Again, Becky had the best reaction of the night in general, and there seemed to be a lot of “The Man” shirts out in the crowd tonight. She’s definitely the hottest act on SmackDown Live, if not all WWE at the moment.
Thank you for allowing me to write and turn in this report. I write a blog if anyone wants to check in on any writings on wrestling: unwrest.blogspot.com.
If you attend a live event, please send results in the format of the following report to email@example.com. Thanks!