WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
DECEMBER 6, 2019
FAYETTEVILLE, NC AT CROWN COLISEUM
AIRED LIVE ON FOX NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-The show opened with a recap of the return of the Yes Movement, and The Fiend’s subsequent attack on Daniel Bryan.
-The Miz’s music played as Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show, sponsored by Progressive. Cole went over the “disturbing scene” to close last week’s show, and confirmed that no one has seen Daniel Bryan since.
The Miz said he planned to start the show with Daniel Bryan as a special guest on MizTV. He said that isn’t going to happen, because Bryan has disappeared. Miz said he’s never seen eye to eye with Bryan and probably never will, but that he knows how much he means to Smackdown and to the fans.
Miz said we saw the real Daniel Bryan for the first time in a long time last week. “The Fiend quickly ripped that away,” Miz said. Miz said though he’s never liked Bryan, he cares, and intends to get to the bottom of the mystery. He was interrupted by the title card of Firefly Fun House.
Bray Wyatt hung a picture of Daniel Bryan on his wall. Bryan’s eyes were crossed out. Bray laughed at the idea of Miz solving the mystery. “You don’t wanna know what happened to Daniel Bryan, I’m not sure I wanna know,” Bray said. He said he could be with “him.” Bray said he may not be done with Daniel.
Bray looked sad. He said Bryan was supposed to come play with him at TLC, but he’s worried he won’t be there. He invited Miz to take Bryan’s place. Miz said it’s not about him. Bray said it makes him sad when people don’t want to play with him. Ramblin’ Rabbit popped up and told Miz to run while he still can.
Bray said “family” is the word of the day. He spelled it out. Images of the Wyatt Family flashed on the screen. Bray said he used to have a family, and now he has a chance at a new one. He held up a picture of Miz, Maryse, and their two daughters. “Do you want to come play with me now?” Miz dropped the mic and left the ring, heading to the back as Firefly Fun House came to a close.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Interesting way to start the show, and a really intriguing role for Miz. This makes sense – Miz is clear in saying he still dislikes Bryan, but as a babyface, he feels a responsibility to help find him. Given he and Bryan’s history and Miz’s respect for Bryan, this is more or less the perfect role for him to fill in this angle. I’m intrigued to see where this goes.)
-The Miz was on the phone with Maryse backstage when the show returned from break. She was upset about the photo Bray showed. Miz told her to lock the doors. He said he has to do something about this. He promised to pack his bags and hop on a flight home immediately.
-Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville headed to the ring. Cole said Rose was looking for revenge against Alexa Bliss, who made her return last week. Bliss headed to the ring next with Nikki Cross.
(1) MANDY ROSE (w/ Sonya Deville) vs. ALEXA BLISS (w/ Nikki Cross)
Corey Graves congratulated Jessika Carr, first full time main roster female referee. Rose and Bliss locked up. Rose pushed away and told Bliss not to touch her face. Alexa quickly took Mandy down with a drop toe hold. Mandy left the ring to regroup. Bliss slid to the outside and got caught with a big bicycle kick from Mandy Rose.
Rose bounced Bliss’ face off the ring apron then threw her back in the ring, covering her for a two count. Mandy Rose ripped at Bliss’ hair and then plucked her fake eyelashes. Bliss returned to her feet, but Rose dropped her with a dropkick. Rose went for a cover, but her legs were under the bottom rope.
Bliss caught Rose with a roll up for a quick two count. Mandy took her down again and began shoving her face. Bliss fought back and grabbed Rose by the throat, slamming her down to the mat. Rose bounced up and Alexa took her down with a basement dropkick. Bliss caught Rose with double knees to the midsection. She went for a standing moonsault, but caught herself at the last moment to go after Sonya Deville, who had hopped onto the apron. Nikki Cross came around the ring and took out Deville.
Bliss dropped Rose again and headed to the top rope. She connected with Twisted Bliss for a three count.
WINNER: Alexa Bliss in 4:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Not much to this one. Rose ripping out Alexa’s eyelashes was an interesting touch, I suppose. Pretty typical match for Mandy Rose, who continues to struggle really putting it together. Rose and Deville get plenty of TV time but I can’t recall the last time they won or even looked to be in a position to win. Good to see Bliss sin her first match as an official babyface. Her athleticism lends itself far more to to this role and I hope to see her in ring work improve because of it.)
-Dana Brooke was shown in catering backstage. Drake Maverick approached her. He said he heard Dana is going on a date with Batista. Dana confirmed and said she’s excited. Drake said he felt rejected. He asked what Batista had that he doesn’t. Elias wandered onto screen. He played a song. Dana danced along again. The lyrical highlights included calling Batista rich and tall, and insinuating that he’d slept with Drake’s wife. Dana asked Elias if he’d really slept with Drake’s wife. Elias said no, but something is going to happen to Drake.
-Drake Maverick was in the ring with a microphone when the show returned from break. He said everyone thinks this is funny and his life is some big joke. The crowd cheered. He called out Elias, saying no one insults him, his marriage, or his wife. Elias came to the ring with Dana Brooke.
Maverick charged at Elias. Elias caught him at arm’s length and threw him to the mat. Maverick tried to punch Elias, but Elias stepped out of the way then dropped Drake to the mat. He bend him over his knee and repeatedly slapped his butt. Dana laughed. Elias kicked Maverick out of the ring. Drake backed away from Elias. He backed into Dana, who tossed him back in the ring. Elias hit him with Drift Away.
Dana stepped in the ring and covered Drake with a boot. Elias counted to three. Elias and Dana celebrated together.
(LeClair’s Analysis: What’s the point of this? Is this an official face turn for Elias? Is this all they think they can do with Dana Brooke? Maverick is an entertaining, dynamic personality and I understand wanting to get him on television, but they have to be able to come up with something better than this.)
-The Miz was shown walking quickly down a hallway backstage with his suitcase. He stumbled upon a room glowing red with its door slightly ajar. Miz kicked the door in and the camera angle switched to inside the room. In it, there was a framed photo on a table. It was Miz’s family photo, but he’d been replaced by Bray Wyatt.
“Say Cheese,” Bray said off camera. He grabbed Miz and gave him a Sister Abigail. He put the photo on Miz’s chest and sang “There’s no place like home for the holidays.”
(LeClair’s Analysis: Ridiculous camera placement aside, I like this thread they’re weaving throughout the show tonight. I believe this is also the first time we’ve seen Bray Wyatt appear outside of Firefly Fun House since adopting the Fiend character as well. I wonder if this is meant to mark a shift or development in the character, or if they simply felt this is what needed to happen to tell this story. Either way, I’m intrigued but skeptical, as I like the idea that Bray Wyatt is a somewhat innocent, apologetic personality in contrast to his diabolical and dangerous alter ego, The Fiend.)
-A referee was helping Miz to his feet when the show returned from break. Miz asked where Bray was. He asked for the photo. The referee said he didn’t know, but that Miz needed some help.
-At the announcers desk, Cole and Graves shifted gears to Tribute to the Troops. They threw to a collection of tweets from wrestlers speaking about the event.
-Big E’s voice filled the arena and New Day headed to the ring. Kofi tossed out pancakes as Cole said they’d be at ringside for a four way number one contender tag match, with the winning team facing New Day at TLC. Cole congratulated New Day on their new, number one podcast.
New Day shared their thoughts on each of the teams competing in the match as they made their entrances. The Revival jawed with them at ringside.
(2) MUSTAFA ALI & SHORTY G vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado, w/ Kalisto) vs. THE REVIVAL vs. HEAVY MACHINERY – #1 Contenders match for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles
Shorty G and Gran Metalik began the match. They chain wrestled for a few moments. G caught Metalik with a drop toe hold and transitioned into an arm lock. He tagged in Ali. Mustafa worked over Metalik’s arm. Ali and Metalik shared an athletic exchange before Ali attempted a hurricanrana. Metalik flipped through it. Both men reset. Metalik tagged in Lince Dorado. Ali tagged in Tucker Knight.
Knight and Dorado traded dropkicks and slapped hands. The Revival rushed the ring. Tucker and Dorado took them down. Tucker scooped Dorado up and used his body to knock Ali, Shorty G, and Revival off the apron. Dorado then caught Knight with a stunner. Tucker wandered back to his corner and tagged in Otis.
All the competitors in the match wandered toward the same area outside. Metalik and Dorado flew over the ropes in stereo and took everyone out. Metalik and Otis returned to the ring. Otis scooped up Metalik, tagged in Tucker, and together, they hit the Compactor for a three count to eliminate Lucha House Party at the 3:00 mark. Cole sent the show to commercial.
Shorty G and had Tucker Knight on the mat when the show returned from break. Graves threw to a clip of The Revival attacking Otis on the outside during the break. Live in the ring, Dash Wilder was tagged in. He took down Knight. Knight fought him off and Shorty G tagged himself back in.
Shorty G wound up in The Revival’s corner. Scott Dawson tagged himself in. In the mean time, Tucker tagged in Otis, who had returned to the apron. He took down Dawson and ripped off his shirt. “I love when he disrobes,” yelled Big E. Dawson tried to attack Otis, but Otis continued to “hulk” up. He caught Dawson with an overhead capture suplex, then a body check in the corner. Dash Wilder tagged himself in.
Otis set up for the caterpillar on Dawson, who was still down in the ring. Wilder flipped into the ring for a sunset bomb on Otis. Otis wouldn’t go down. Dawson caught him with a kick to the jaw, allowing Wilder to get the pin and three count to eliminate Heavy Machinery in 9:00.
The Revival celebrated as Shorty G and Mustafa Ali returned to the ring. All four men came to blows in the center of the ring. The fight spilled to the outside, where The Revival took control. They jawed with New Day again. The Revival tried to toss G and Ali back in the ring, but they countered it, sending The Revival crashing into the table and New Day. All three teams got in each other’s faces/ The show went to commercial.
Dawson had Shorty G in a back stretch when the show returned from break. G fought out and rolled up Dawson for a two count. Both men were down in the center. Dawson tagged in Wilder and cut off Shorty G. The Revival tried to double team him, but G caught them both with German suplexes and made a tag into Ali.
Ali got a near fall on Wilder, but Dawson broke it up. Dawson and Shorty G spilled to the outside. Ali caught Wilder with a kick and went for a tornado DDT, but Wilder countered it with a spinning power slam for a two count. Ali rolled up Wilder for a two count, then hit the tornado DDT. He climbed to the top rope for the 450. Dawson pulled Wilder out of the ring. Ali landed on his feet and tagged in Shorty G.
Ali dove through the ropes at the Revival, but they caught him and threw him over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area. Shorty G flew off the apron, taking out both members of the Revival. Back in the ring, G went for a moonsault on Wilder. Wilder got his boot up, but G grabbed it and locked in the ankle lock. Wilder rolled through the lock, sending G flying toward the ropes. Dawson caught him with a big uppercut from the outside.
Wilder tagged in Dawson. The Revival hit Shorty G with Shatter Machine for the three count. “You hate to see it,” Big E said.
WINNERS: The Revival in 18:00
Graves asked New Day how they felt about defending their titles against The Revival. New Day said they can’t wait to beat them again. The Revival grabbed microphones as New Day walked up the ramp. They said the time for fun and games is over. They said New Day will no longer be able to disgrace the tag team titles. “It is a new day, no more,” Wilder said. He said they plan to “take it back to the old days.” They promised to beat New Day with old school tag team wrestling. Scott Dawson said they can go back to their podcast and complain about what it’s like to be beat by the best tag team in the company.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Fun match clearly meant to highlight The Revival, and it worked. They looked great here, as they typically do when given time to shine. They’ve had some excellent matches with New Day and the one at TLC should be no different. I thought the Revival’s post match promo was particularly strong as well, and I like the fact that they didn’t have New Day counter with jokes.)
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton welcomed Roman Reigns. She asked if he plans to handle Dolph Ziggler the same way he took out Robert Roode. He said he approaches his fights the same way, and said if his opponents can’t handle it, it’s on them. Kayla said King Corbin has vowed to humiliate Reigns. Roman said they can’t get the job done. He said he doesn’t know why Corbin needs guys at his side. He said Corbin is bigger and stronger than him, but he plans to embarrass Corbin at TLC.
-After the break, Sheamus was shown in blacked out room, lit by a faint red light. He said Smackdown has become weak and lazy. In his absence, Sheamus claimed there’s been no real competition. “They say you can’t go home again, I disagree,’ Sheamus said after stepping into the light. He said he disagrees, because he’s back, and he’s ready.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Pretty much the same promo as last week. I like Sheamus as a tag wrestler and an upper mid-card hand, but rarely find him effective as a main event star. It’ll be interesting to see where he’s slotted and whether or not he comes in as a babyface or heel.)
-In the arena, Lacey Evans headed to the ring. Cole and Graves threw to clips of last week’s Smackdown, when Evans got in a confrontation with Sasha Banks and Bayley.
(3) LACEY EVANS vs. HALEY JONES
Haley Jones was already in the ring, being quickly identified by a name card on the screen. Jones and Lacey Evans locked up. Evans took her down with a pair of arm drags. Evans worked over Jones’ arm, then dropped he to the mat. Lacey backed Jones into the corner. Haley Jones kicked Lacey in the stomach. Evans recovered quickly and pushed Jones into the ropes. Jones bounced back and Lacey caught her with the Woman’s Right for a three count.
WINNER: Lacey Evans in 1:00
Sasha Banks’ music hit She stepped onto the stage Sasha said she and Lacey have business to take care of. Cole sent the show to an abrupt commercial break.
Sasha had made her way to the apron when the show returned. She said she’s the blueprint and the leader of the women’s division. She called Lacey pathetic and said she’s a Mary Poppins wannabe. Banks said Evans is a terribly role model to her six year old. Lacey told Banks to never speak of her daughter again.
Evans said she’s a mother and a U.S. Marine. She said she’s tired of Sasha and Bayley talk down to everyone and make excuses for their failures. Evans said the Marine Corp instilled leadership in her, and the fact that Banks and Bayley refer to themselves as leaders in pathetic. She said if Banks wants to run her mouth, she’ll drop her where she stands.
Sasha got in the ring and got in Lacey’s face. Evans faked a Woman’s Right, and Banks dropped to the mat in fear. Lacey stepped around Sasha and left to her music. Bayley attacked her from behind at the top of the ramp. Banks made her way up the ramp and kicked Evans in the stomach. Banks and Bayley stood over Lacey Evans as the crowd booed.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Lacey is clunky in the ring and on the microphone and that was on display even in this squash match and brief back and forth with Sasha. She had a few misses on the microphone, but when she did hit, she garnered another strong reaction. I’m unsure about this program as a whole and I don’t think Evans is quite up to the level of being a lead female babyface, but the crowd response is enough to give me pause and see how it plays out.)
-At the announcers desk, Cole and Graves reset to recap what has happened between Bray Wyatt and The Miz on tonight’s show. They confirmed that Bray Wyatt will face The Miz at TLC.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Curious that they specifically said Bray Wyatt will face The Miz, not the Fiend. No mention of the Universal title was made, and they did not announce whether or not the The Fiend’s match against Daniel Bryan is still scheduled, or if it has simply been replaced in Bryan’s absence.)
-Back from the break, Cole and Graves threw to a video package showing clips and photos from today’s Tribute to the Troops taping.
-Roman Reigns headed to the ring for the main event. Cole said “no one has been a bigger supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces.” Dolph Ziggler followed, sporting a full beard. Cole and Graves threw to clips of last week’s show, recapping Reigns’ post match beat down of Robert Roode.
(4) ROMAN REIGNS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Reigns and Ziggler felt out a test of strength, but Dolph wound up backing himself into the corner. Ziggler tried to shoot the half. Reigns backed him into the ropes. Ziggler kicked Reigns in the knee and dropped him with a neck breaker for a quick two count.
Ziggler put Reigns in a headlock on the mat. Roman battled to his feet slowly. Dolph slammed Reigns to the mat. Ziggler charged at Reigns, who was recovering in the corner. Roman caught him with an uppercut. Dolph rolled to the outside to regroup. Reigns followed him and went for the drive-by. Ziggler side-stepped him and sent him crashing into the ring steps. Cole sent the show to commercial.
Ziggler had Reigns grounded after the break. Reigns rolled him over into a cover for a quick two count. Dolph got a roll up of his own for a two count. Ziggler pounded the mat and slapped Roman’s head. Reigns blocked a punch from Ziggler with a pair of right hands. Dolph shoved Reigns into the turnbuckle. Roman clutched at his nose.
Reigns rolled to the outside. Ziggler tossed him into the ringside barricade. “This is a lesson,” he yelled. Ziggler rolled Roman back in the ring and covered him for a two count. Ziggler applied another sleeper hold in the center of the ring. Ziggler drove his bodyweight into Reigns and repeatedly told the referee to “ask him!”
Reigns slowly rolled to a seated position and returned to his feet. Ziggler turned him over for a neck breaker, but Reigns pushed him away and caught Dolph with a clothesline. He dumped Ziggler to the outside, followed him to the floor, and went for a running Superman punch off the stairs. Ziggler caught him with a super kick out of nowhere.
King Corbin’s music played and he was walked down the ramp atop his throne. Cole sent the show to another break.
Reigns was set up for the Superman punch when the show returned. Ziggler ducked it and caught Reigns with a DDT for a two count. King Corbin was shown watching from his throne on the ramp. Ziggler called for Reigns to stand. He went for the ZigZag, but Reigns fought him off. Reigns went for a spear, but Ziggler ducked. Reigns caught Dolph with a Superman punch for a near fall.
Reigns set up for a spear. Ziggler cut him off with a knee to the face, then tossed him into the ring post. Reigns stumbled back and Ziggler dropped him with a ZigZag for a near fall. Corbin left his throne and hopped up on the apron. Reigns and Ziggler remained down on the mat. Reigns recovered and dropped Corbin with a Superman punch. Ziggler rolled up Roman for a two count. Reigns rolled through and hit Ziggler with a spear for a three.
WINNER: Roman Reigns in 18:00
After the match, Reigns hopped to the outside and dropped Corbin with a drive-by. Corbin’s throne carriers attacked Reigns. He fought them off. Corbin recovered and attacked Reigns from behind. He drove him into the ring post. Reigns fought back. Someone grabbed Roman’s leg from under the ring. Reigns broke free and tossed Corbin over the announcers desk.
Reigns cleared the announcers desk. He set Corbin up for a power bomb, but Ziggler returned and caught him with a super kick. Ziggler grabbed handcuffs from underneath the ring. He tried to cuff Reigns to the ropes. Reigns fought Ziggler off, but was overcome by Corbin and his security staff. They cuffed Reigns’ hands together and wrapped them around the ring post.
Ziggler retrieved cans of wet dog food from under the ring. They poured it on Roman’s head and smeared it all over his face and body. Corbin hit Reigns with the scepter. Corbin and Ziggler walked away to a chorus of boos as the show went off the air.
(LeClair’s Analysis: I expected a bit more out of this one, and actually preferred Roman’s match with Robert Roode last week. This wasn’t bad by any means, it just seemed to drag in spots near the middle and it felt like they needed to fill extra time.
The post match segment was downright strange. Someone wearing a pair of jeans grabbed at Roman’s leg from underneath the ring and Cole clearly acknowledged it on commentary, but then the person never came out. They could be seen again when Ziggler went under the apron to retrieve the hand cuffs. No additional mention was made, and no one came out. If it was Robert Roode, why wouldn’t he come out? If it was one of Corbin’s security detail, why wasn’t he dressed in black? It was odd.
As for the content of the post match attack, it got heat, so I guess it accomplished its goal, but where in the world are the babyfaces? Reigns was chummy with Shorty G and Mustafa Ali just a couple of weeks ago, but now they don’t want to help him out? It’s stupid. I don’t see Baron Corbin as a viable main event heel, and I don’t view this feud as a legitimate headlining angle. I have little to no interest in seeing these two face each other, especially in a TLC match.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another mixed bag for Smackdown. I liked the developments in the tag team division and The Revival’s promo. I thought The Miz’s mission to help find Daniel Bryan is noble for his character and a fitting role for him to play in this story. I thought the women’s segments tonight were largely forgettable, and found the main event to be a tad bit disappointing. Though I appreciate that this show was largely focused on finally building toward TLC, the fact remains that this is an abnormally weak card and a virtual afterthought for WWE. There’s very little, if anything, to get excited about on on the show, and I think their level of enthusiasm about it reflects that fact.