PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
DECEMBER 13, 2019
MILWAUKEE, WI AT FIRSERV FORUM
AIRED LIVE ON FOX NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-The show opened with a recap of last week’s main event and dog food angle.
-The camera panned around the floor and lower bowl of the arena as Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show, broadcasting live from Milwaukee. King Corbin’s music played and he was hauled to the ring atop his throne.
Dolph Ziggler stood in the ring, clapping for Corbin. Security surrounded the ring. Cole said they were there to protect Corbin and Dolph Ziggler from the “unchained” Roman Reigns. Cole and Graves talked up TLC.
Corbin looked around as the crowd booed. He thanked the crowd for a warm welcome. Corbin asked Dolph if he could smell the stink at ringside. They wondered whether it was the crowd, or the dog food they dumped on Roman Reigns. Ziggler laughed maniacally. Corbin said he could only take so much.
He said he came out just to tell everyone what an incredible 2019 he’s had. He recounted retiring Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania, winning the King of the Ring tournament, and humiliating Roman Reigns. He said he’d used everything at his disposal to make Roman Reigns “bow down to his king.” Ziggler laughed some more
Corbin said he’d be the sole leader of Smackdown after TLC. He said he’s heard the promos claiming Roman Reigns will be on Smackdown “unchained.” He said Reigns is just a scared dog who will run away. Corbin said he’s got every window and door in the arena covered, and if Reigns show up, it’ll be to a far worse fate than last week.
The crowd pelted Corbin with a “you look stupid” chant. Ziggler said the crowd doesn’t get it. Corbin said members of the locker room respect him for what he did. He introduced Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler said Corbin put Reigns down. Corbin said anyone who steps in his way will be forced to bow down.
Ziggler said everyone came to see the king. He asked the crowd to join him in hailing King Corbin. The crowd booed loudly. Big E’s voice interrupted Ziggler. Kofi Kingston and Big E danced onto the stage. Big E said he and Kofi were backstage watching Greek Freak highlights when they happened to see a buffoon wearing a Burger King crowd and talking about a fake kingdom.
Corbin made fun of Kingston for losing the title to Brock Lesnar in seven seconds. Kofi said it was eight seconds. He said he’s still a champion of the people. Kofi agreed that Corbin had a great year, but reminded him that he won the WWE title at Wrestlemania. He said he beat everyone who stepped to him for six months, including Corbin’s “court jester,” Dolph Ziggler.
Kofi said he didn’t whine and cry after losing the title. He picked himself up and kept marching forward. Kofi and Big E slid into the ring. Kofi said Corbin isn’t a true king. He said what Corbin did to Roman Reigns was disrespectful. Corbin brushed Kofi off. He said Kingston has had one lucky day in his career. Kofi slapped Corbin in the face.
“I bet you hear me now,” Kofi said. Corbin said he’d humiliate Kofi Kingston just like he did to Roman Reigns. Corbin threw his mic down and left the ring with Ziggler.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Corbin is essentially cutting the same promo every week and it’s immensely tiresome. I loathe the “king” gimmick on anyone, and to say it’s already run its course with Corbin would be an immense understatement. Ziggler was mildly entertaining here, acting like Corbin’s overbearing, loudmouth lackey. The segment picked up when New Day came out. I liked that they finally addressed Kofi’s title loss head on, though it was, at this point, two months too late.)
-Michael Cole quickly recapped The Miz’s confrontation with The Miz on last week’s show, and said Renee Young will interview The Miz at his L.A. home later tonight. The show went to commercial.
-Back from the break, Corey Graves confirmed Kofi Kingston would face King Corbin later in the show.
-Backstage, King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler happened upon a downed security guard near their locker room entrance. They went inside to find several more security guards down and out, and the locker room trashed. Corbin and Ziggler acted like they didn’t know what was going on. Cole feigned surprise as well.
-In the ring, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville awaited opponents. The Progressive Match Flo recapped the events between Rose, Deville, Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Cross.
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton stood in gorilla position with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Bliss said she doesn’t know why Rose and Deville took things to a personal level and called them bullies. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville came through the curtain and attacked them from behind. They dragged them through the curtain and out onto the stage.
The four women traded shots on the ramp. Referees got in between them. Bliss and Cross headed to the ring. Deville and Rose followed.
(1) SONYA DEVILLE & MANDY ROSE vs. ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS
All four women started the match in the ring, trading punches. Cross tossed Deville to the outside. She and Bliss hit Rose with a double team suplex. Alexa Bliss headed to the apron. Mandy Rose tagged in Sonya Deville.
Deville quickly took down Cross, then knocked Bliss off the apron. She covered Nikki for a quick two count. Deville tagged in Mandy Rose. The two took Cross down. Rose followed up with a running knee to the face of Cross for a two count. She and Deville traded tags again, working over Nikki’s midsection.
Rose and Deville set up Nikki Cross for a double team suplex. Alexa Bliss grabbed at Rose’s leg and pulled her under the ropes to the outside. Cross hit Deville with a move off screen, then covered her for a three count.
WINNERS: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross in 2:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: This isn’t much of a “feud” if the matches are this short and one sided. A replay revealed that Cross hit Deville with a neck breaker for the finish. Nothing to the match, and the one viable moment was completely missed by the live camera. On a positive note, I liked the idea of Rose and Deville going back through the curtain and attacking Bliss and Cross in gorilla. That’s not something WWE does very often, if at all. It’s nice to see little stylistic wrinkles like that one.)
-Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage, humming to himself. Heavy Machinery stumbled into frame. Otis was carrying a present. Tucker said they drew Zayn in Secret Santa. Zayn ripped open the package. It was a large ham. Zayn said it was the worst gift he’s ever gotten. “First of all, I’m a vegan,” Zayn said. He chastised Heavy Machinery and called it an insult. Otis apologized. Zayn asked Tucker how he deals with Otis. He called him a dumb oaf.
Otis grew angry. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura joined Zayn. Zayn said Nakamura and Cesaro would take care of Heavy Machinery tonight. Cesaro took he ham from Otis and threw it on the ground.
-Shorty G and Mustafa Ali headed to the ring for tag team action. The show went to commercial.
The Revival headed to the ring after the break. Dash Wilder tripped over the entrance stage and fell down. He, Gable, and Ali were all laughing uncontrollably.
(2) SHORTY G & MUSTAFA ALI vs. THE REVIVAL (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Dash Wilder and Shorty G began the match. They locked up and traded some chain wrestling holds. G gave Wilder a drop toe hold and transitioned into a headlock. G backed Wilder into the ropes and Dawson tagged himself in. He pulled down the bottom rope and sent Shorty G tumbling to the outside.
Dawson and Wilder took down Ali on the outside, then bounced G off the announcers desk. Dawson slid G back in the ring and covered him for a two count. He raked at the eyes and face of Gable, then locked in a chin lock. G broke free, but Dawson tagged in Wilder. G hit Dawson with a backdrop. Wilder knocked Ali off the apron. Shorty G rolled Wilder up for a two count.
Shorty G and Dash Wilder traded punches and uppercuts. Wilder caught G with a backbreaker and tagged in Dawson. Wilder hoisted G onto his shoulders in the electric chair. Dawson flew off the top and collided awkwardly with G. Graves wondered if it was a counter of sorts. Ali ran in and dumped Wilder over the top rope to the floor. Cole sent the show to commercial.
Ali and G flew off the ring simultaneously onto The Revival when the show returned from break. Shorty G tossed Scott Dawson back into the ring. He went for a moonsault, but Dawson rolled out of the way. G landed on his feet. Dawson scooped up G, but G countered and tagged in Ali. Ali hit a double stomp onto Dawson for a near fall.
Mustafa tagged G back in. Wilder returned to rid the ring of Ali. Scott Dawson connected with a double underhook sit out power bomb on Shorty G for a near fall. Dawson positioned G on the top rope. G elbowed Dawson away and slid to the mat. He caught Dawson with a bridging German suplex. Dash Wilder broke up the pin with a splash from the top rope. Ali immediately hit a 450 onto Wilder in response. All four men were down in the ring.
Shorty G tagged in Mustafa Ali. He went for a tornado DDT on Dawson. Dawson shoved him off and tagged in Dash Wilder. Ali hopped onto the ropes and tried to kick both Dawson and Wilder, but they caught him mid-air and connected with the Shatter Machine for a three count.
WINNERS: The Revival in 9:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Really good match. Cole and Graves were oddly pre-occupied with describing the rules of a ladder match, which The Revival will compete in on Sunday for the tag titles. Great action, though, as to be expected with these four. Lots of cool spots and a great finish.)
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton welcomed Bayley. Kayla said Lacey Evans has called Bayley out for her lack of leadership. Bayley said she doesn’t care what people think. She wasted years doing what they want, and she’s in it for herself now. She said the title speaks for herself. She said Evans picked a fight with the wrong people. She was interrupted by the strumming of Elias’ guitar.
The camera panned, revealing Elias talking with Dana Brooke. Bayley stormed over to him, accusing him of interrupting the champion. Elias told her to relax. Bayley told him to relax and let her do her job. Elias said he picked Bayley for Secret Santa and he wrote her a song as her gift.
Elias’ lyrical highlights included turning down a threesome with Bayley and Sasha Banks, and saying her haircut makes her look like a dude. Dana Brooke laughed. Bayley challenged her to a match. Dana accepted.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Though I dislike the Elias gimmick, and think this…thing with Dana Brooke comes off incredibly forced and unnatural, I like this way of setting up a match between she and Bayley. One thing logically led to another, the heel challenged the babyface in frustration, the babyface accepted. Makes sense. More of that logic.)
-Dana Brooke was already in the ring when the show returned from break. Bayley headed to the ring. Cole and Graves threw to a clip of Bayley and Sasha’s confrontation with Lacey Evans on last week’s show.
(3) DANA BROOKE vs. BAYLEY
Bayley immediately slapped Dana Brooke as the bell rang. Brooke shoved Bayley into the corner, knocked her to the mat, and stomped her repeatedly. Bayley rolled to the outside. Dana followed her out and shoved her into the barricade, then tossed her back in the ring.
Back inside, Bayley quickly took Dana down and threw a series of punches. She slapped on a headlock. Brooke quickly fought free. Bayley backed Brook into the corner and hoisted her onto the turnbuckle. She set Brooke up for a superplex, but Brooke countered into a power bomb. She covered Bayley for a near fall.
Brooke caught Bayley in two additional roll ups for two counts. Bayley slid to the ropes, then kicked Brooke in the knee. She hit her new Rose Plant finisher for a quick three count.
WINNER: Bayley in 2:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: I actually expected slightly more competitiveness here, but putting Bayley over strong isn’t a bad idea given how she’s often booked. This was fine for what it was. Brooke got in a couple of nice looking moves, Bayley made up for the embarrassment she suffered at the hands of Elias backstage. Simple, but moderately effective. Surprised that they opted not to have Lacey Evans appear.)
-Michael Cole threw to a recap package of the developing story between Bray Wyatt and The Miz. They then showed Renee Young and The Miz preparing for their sit down interview. Cole said it would happen after the break.
-Sheamus’ dark room vignette aired. He basically said the exact same thing he’s said the last couple of weeks. He said he’s bring a hungry heart back to Smackdown.
-Michael Cole threw to Renee Young’s interview with The Miz, shot earlier today. Renee thanked Miz for welcoming her into his home. She asked if Miz knew anything about the whereabouts of Daniel Bryan. Miz said he didn’t. Renee asked why Miz has taken a sudden interest in Daniel Bryan. She threw to the infamous promo between the two of them on Talking Smack.
“Why the change of heart?” Renee asked. Miz said he didn’t have a perfect answer, but said they bring out the best and worse in each other. Miz reiterated understanding how important Bryan is to Smackdown. He said he doesn’t like Bryan, but respects him. “It’s finally time for The Miz to do the right thing,” he said.
Renee asked Miz to explain what happened last week. Miz said Bray Wyatt likes to play mind games, and that he crossed a line. He said he can’t get the the photo Bray doctored out of his head. Miz said he’s a changed man. He said he needs to ensure his family’s safety, and that’s why he’s at home and not in Milwaukee. He said he doesn’t know what Bray Wyatt is capable of.
Renee asked Miz if he’s afraid. Maryse hollered for Miz from the other room. He ran to her. They watched their baby monitor, where their daughter, Monroe was playing with Rambling Rabbit. Bray Wyatt cut in. “Let me in,” he said. The feed cut back to their daughter’s crib, where she was surrounded by all the puppets. Miz and Maryse raced up the stairs to Monroe’s room.
The puppets were gone, but there was a doll in the crib adorned in The Fiend’s face paint. Miz asked repeatedly where she got it. Miz and Maryse yelled for the camera crew to leave. The segment cut out.
Back at the announcers desk, Cole and Graves briefly lamented what they saw before they were interrupted by the Firefly Fun House title card.
Bray stood next to Monroe’s Fiend doll. He said he was just trying to be nice because it’s the holiday season. He said he can see how much Miz loves his family, and that’s why this is going to be so hard. Bray said Miz was so focused on exposing what happened to Daniel Bryan, that he wound up exposing himself. Bray said Daniel Bryan is still with “him.” Bray said Miz is still with him.
“I was sick at one point, but I fixed myself,” Bray said. Bray said you can train yourself not to feel pain, or love, or anything at all. He said he could teach Miz. “All you have to do is let me in.” Bray said Marine 5 was “fire” and pledged to see him at TLC.
(LeClair’s Analysis: There was a certain level of ridiculousness to the baby monitor portion of the Miz interview, but it was sufficiently creepy, and I think it taps into fears that many parents have. Miz was believably rattled, and he and Maryse’s reactions seemed appropriate given the circumstances. Say what you will about them choosing to involve their daughters, but it certainly serves its purpose of elevating the seriousness of the angle. I also liked Bray’s Firefly Fun House, where he gave a potential logical explanation for his no selling, saying that he’s taught himself to feel no pain. It’s a small detail, and I doubt anything will ever come of it, but it’s a nice little tidbit for those who like the dig a little deeper with this character.)
-Heavy Machinery headed to the ring. Cole sent the show to commercial.
-When the show returned, King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler were shown walking down a hallway. They found more of their security guards “mysteriously” beaten up, and Corbin’s throne trashed. They continued to act surprised. Graves changed his tune, now saying they think they can safely assume who is behind these attacks.
-Heavy Machinery were still in the ring, awaiting their opponents. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura headed to the ring with Sami Zayn.
(4) HEAVY MACHINERY (Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic) vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO (w/ Sami Zayn)
Tucker Knight and Cesaro began the match. They locked up. Cesaro backed Tucker into the ropes then hit him with a pair of uppercuts. Off the ropes, Tucker hit Cesaro with a big dropkick, then a flying cross body off the second rope. He tagged in Otis Dozovic. Cesaro tagged in Shinsuke Nakamura.
Otis and Shinsuke locked up. Nakamura grabbed a waist lock. Otis easily broke it. Nakamura stomped on Otis’ feet. Otis shrugged it off and tackled Nakamura, then elbowed him to the mat for a two count. Otis went for a body slam. Nakamura slid down the back and hit him with a roundhouse kick. He tagged in Cesaro. Otis tagged in Tucker. He hit a barrel roll off the top rope onto both Cesaro and Nakamura.
Otis and Tucker tossed Cesaro over the top rope after sandwiching his head between their stomachs. Cole sent the show to commercial.
Cesaro had Tucker grounded when the show returned from commercial. Tucker slowly rose to his feet and shook off Cesaro by slamming him into the turnbuckle. Cesaro quickly recovered and caught Tucker with an uppercut. He tagged in Nakamura, who hit a running knee to the midsection for a two count.
Nakamura continued to knee Tucker in the stomach. The crowd chanted for Otis. Otis fought to his feet and caught Nakamura with a boot to the face, then a press. He made a tag to Otis. Nakamura tagged Cesaro. Otis immediately knocked Cesaro to the outside, then caught Nakamura too. Cesaro returned and kicked Otis in the midsection. Otis was unphased.
Otis rubbed his belly and gave Cesaro a headbutt. He hit a capture suplex then set up for the Caterpillar. Nakamura cut him off with a kick to the side of the head. Cesaro hit an uppercut. Nakamura hit another knee for a near fall, but Tucker broke it up. Nakamura kicked Tucker to the outside. He set up for the Kinshasa. Otis caught him and scooped him up. Tucker tagged himself in. Otis and Tucker went for the Compactor, but Cesaro pulled Nakamura to his feet. Tucker hit Cesaro with a pump kick. Otis tossed Shinsuke to the outside.
Otis went for the Caterpillar on Cesaro, but Sami Zayn hopped onto the apron to distract him. Cesaro dumped Otis over the top rope. Tucker dumped Cesaro over the top rope. Tucker turned around and got caught with a Kinshasa from Shinsuke for a three count.
WINNERS: Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro in 8:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match. It’s crazy how good Tucker and Otis are in competitive matches, given their size and relative inexperience on the main roster. They continue to deliver in situations like this. I’m continuously impressed by the pairing of Nakamura and Cesaro with Sami Zayn, and to me, it feels like Nakamura has been much more motivated as of late.)
-Backstage, King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler were shown briefing their security detail. Cole pondered how Corbin would get to the ring without his throne and sedan. The show went to commercial.
-After the break, Cole and Graves talked about the first two Hall of Fame induction announcements – Batista and the N.W.O.
-Kofi Kingston headed to the ring for the main event with Big E at his side. Cole and Graves talked up the ladder match between New Day and The Revival at TLC. King Corbin headed to the ring with Dolph Ziggler and part of his security detail. Cole and Graves showed the dog food assault from last week.
(5) KOFI KINGSTON (w/ Big E) vs. KING CORBIN (w/ Dolph Ziggler)
Kofi grabbed a waist lock on King Corbin, who quickly broke free. He dropped Kingston and taunted the crowd. Kofi gave him a quick dropkick. Corbin fell awkwardly into the ropes. Kofi caught him with a trio of kicks to the midsection. Corbin shot Kofi off the ropes and hit him with a shoulder tackle. Kofi bounced back and dumped Corbin to the outside. He climbed to the top rope and trust fell onto Corbin on the outside. Cole sent the show to commercial.
Corbin head Kofi seated on the top turnbuckle when the show returned from break. Corbin shoved Kofi to the outside. Corbin went outside to retrieve him. He slammed Kofi into the ringside barrier. Corbin tossed Kingston into the barricade in front of the time keeper’s area. He slammed Kofi’s head off the ring post, then slid him back into the ring for a quick two count.
Kofi caught Corbin with a kick out of the corner. He went to springboard back in the ring, but Corbin cut him off with a big right hand. Corbin taunted the crowd some more. Corbin dropped Kofi with another big right and taunted Big E. Kofi returned to his feet and tried to fight back, but Corbin cut him off with an elbow. Corbin continued to dominate Kingston at a snail’s pace.
Eventually, Kingston caught Corbin with a pair of kicks and an SOS for a near fall. Corbin tried to fight back with a choke slam, but Kofi countered into a hurricanrana. He followed up with a Boom Drop. Kofi set up for Trouble in Paradise. Ziggler grabbed Kofi’s leg. The referee saw the interference and tossed Ziggler from ringside.
Corbin rolled to the outside to recover. Ziggler had left, but ran back to ringside to attack Big E from behind. Corbin got involved, which led Kofi into the fray. The referee called for the bell.
WINNER: No contest in 11:00
Officials spilled from the back to break up the mayhem. Big E took down Ziggler with a big clothesline. He asked for a microphone. He challenged Corbin and Ziggler to a tag team match. Corbin accepted. The show went to commercial.
(6) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. KING CORBIN & DOLPH ZIGGLER
Big E was downed in the heel corner when the show returned from break. Corbin tagged in Ziggler. Big E battled back with gut punches. Ziggler countered with the famous-er for a near fall. Ziggler locked up Big E’s leg and tagged in Corbin. Corbin whipped Big E into the corner. He hung Big E up in the ropes and raked his elbow over Big E’s neck and back. Big E fought back and hit a belly to belly on Corbin.
Corbin tagged in Ziggler. Big E tagged in Kofi Kingston. Kofi hit Ziggler with a clothesline off the top, then followed up with a big dropkick. He dumped Ziggler over the top rope. Corbin dropped Kofi with a clothesline. Ziggler hit Big E with a super kick on the outside. Corbin began pummeling Kofi in the ring.
Ziggler retrieved handcuffs from underneath the ring. He gave them Corbin, who put them on Kofi Kingston. The referee called for the bell.
WINNERS: The New Day in 3:00 (presumably, no announcement made.)
Kofi tried to defend himself in handcuffs. Corbin and Ziggler strung him up on the ring post, the same way they did Reigns last week. Corbin hit Kingston with the scepter. He retrieved a can of dog food from underneath the ring.
Big E tried to rescue Kofi, but The Revival appeared and delivered a Shatter Machine. Roman Reigns’ music hit. Reigns marched methodically to the ring. Security met him on the ramp. He disposed of them easily.
Reigns attacked The Revival first. He easily fought off more security and tossed them into the crowd. The Revival double teamed Reigns and sent him into the ring. Reigns hit Dawson with a Superman punch. Ziggler jumped on to the apron, Reigns him him with a Superman punch as well. Corbin attacked Roman from behind.
Corbin tried to hit Reigns with the scepter, but Reigns caught him with a Superman punch. Reigns stalked Corbin to the outside, scepter in hand. Ziggler blindsided Reigns with a super kick. The Revival tossed Reigns onto the announcers desk. Dolph Ziggler set up a ladder and climbed.
Big E returned to his feet and took down The Revival. Reigns shot up and climbed the ladder, grabbing Ziggler by the throat. He gave Ziggler a choke slam off the ladder, through the announcers desk. Corbin escaped up the ramp in shock. Reigns unhooked Kofi and checked on him. Reigns music played as Cole hyped TLC and the show went off the air.
(LeClair’s Analysis: These two matches felt like long, drawn out, groan inducing house show segments designed solely to waste time leading into the inevitable Roman Reigns appearance. I expected Reigns to get a massive reaction upon arrival, but the crowd seemed rather timid. Honestly, I blame Reigns very little for this, but rather, exactly what I mentioned above. This entire show was built around this very moment and the thirty minutes prior to this moment just felt like a time filler to get to Reigns. I have grown immensely tired of long King Corbin segments anchoring these shows. It’s weighing the product down, and this was no exception. It’s also worth noting how revealing this segment was with regard to Kofi Kingston’s status. Kofi was involved in countless main events during his WWE title run, and, if I remember correctly, never lost on Smackdown and was generally the most protected wrestler on the roster. Now, he’s going 30/70 against Corbin, at best, and is largely an afterthought. It’s jarring, and this is the first time it’s really been on blatant display.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: To me, the most striking think about this show was just how thin Smackdown is right now. King Corbin is involved in nearly half of the shows run time on a weekly basis, and this is unquestionably too much. He’s being overexposed, and while occasionally effective, he simply isn’t good enough to justify this much television time. What minimal additional build they did for TLC tonight was fine, but this comes off as a completely forgettable, throwaway Pay-Per-View. We did, however, get a couple of really solid tag team matches tonight, and that’s a plus. The tag team division on Smackdown has been a lot of fun, and truthfully, is the only part of the show that feels engaging right now.