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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
DECEMBER 27, 2019
DETROIT, MICH. AT LITTLE CAESARS ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON FOX NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-They went right to mid-ring where Elias sang and played his guitar, trying to get the fans to sing “Yes We Do!” when he sang “We Need Elias.” He said 2019 has certain regrets such as Bayley’s haircut and Shane McMahon. He said they are thankful they don’t have the Bobby Lashley-Lana wedding. He sang a preview of the show without any rhythm or rhyming. He got polite applause at the end.
-The Smackdown opening theme played. Then they went to the stage where pyro blasted. Cole said it’s “a big fight night tonight.” Graves talked about the Triple Threat to determine who would face The Fiend at the Royal Rumble.
-Daniel Bryan’s full ring entrance took place first. Then King Corbin was carried out on his throne. He said while Bryan and Miz have been world champions who headlined WrestleMania before, it’s “an absolute disgrace” that he has to even wrestle for the title match tonight because he beat Roman Reigns twice. He said Bryan is a nice guy, but not championship material. He said Miz plays an action hero in movies, but isn’t an actual action hero. He said he is the only one able to beat Bryan. Suddenly Roman Reigns’s music played. A startled Corbin fell off his platform. Cole said he fell off his platform, but Graves said his incompetent servants dropped him. Reigns then went after Corbin with a barrage of punches at ringside. Graves said this is wrong of Reigns. Cole asked Graves if he forgot what Corbin and Dolph Ziggler did to Reigns, smearing dog food all over him. Reigns let out a big roar and then chased Corbin through the crowd. Producers Sonjay Dutt and Adam Pearce came out to try to restore order. [c]
-They replayed what happened. Graves called it “a brazen, unprovoked attack” on King Corbin who had been preparing for “his biggest match in recent memory.”
-Backstage, Corbin was yelling at Pearce that they have to postpone the match. Pearce said he understands his frustration. “Do your job!” he said. “This is ridiculous. Who is running shop around here? Not you, huh?”
-They went to the announcers at ringside who discussed whether the match should be postponed. Graves said it should be postponed because Corbin had been preparing for days “so he could fearlessly lead Smackdown as the Universal Champion some day.”
(1) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) & BRAUN STROWMAN vs. SAMI ZAYN & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO
Cesaro began against Big E. Cole said they were still awaiting word on whether they would have a match to determine who would become the no. 1 contender at the Royal Rumble to face The Fiend. Cole talked up the year Kofi Kingston had. Graves said his career was on fire in 2019. Graves kept calling Sami Zayn a great liberator. (It’d be nice if Cole would occasionally push back against Graves and note that the term “liberator” means “a person who liberates a person or place from imprisonment or oppression,” and that doesn’t not in any legitimate way describe Sami’s role with Nakamura and Cesaro. Cole pushes back as the voice of reason on other outlandish things Graves says, such as calling Sami “brave,” but there’s never any pushback against Sami being portrayed as a “liberator.”) They cut to a break after Cesaro elbowed Kofi over the announce table. [c]
Nakamura dominated Kofi after the break, and taunted Big E on the ring apron before knocking him off the ring apron. Kofi surprised Nakamura with an S.O.S. after that. Both were down and slow to get up. Kofi crawled toward Braun, but Cesaro cut him off. Braun blocked a punch by Cesaro. Sami lured Braun to ringside, then Cesaro slidekicked Braun. Cole said no one was left for Kofi to tag. Big E saved Kofi a minute later from being pinned. Nakamura gave Big E a tornado kick to knock him out of the ring, then charged with a Kinshasa attempt, but Kofi blocked it. Both went down. This time Kofi did hot-tag Braun. The crowd popped. Braun took it to Nakamura with a hard clothesline in the corner. Braun charged Nakamura at ringside and checked him down hard. Same to Cesaro. Sami ran, Braun pursued, and Nakamura caught him turning the corner with a flying boot to the face. Back in the ring, Braun took over, but Cesaro yanked Nakamura off of Braun’s shoulders. Big E threw Cesaro over the barricade at ringside. Nakamura was going to hit Braun with the pancake platter, but Kofi yanked it away and hit Nakamura with it. Braun then powerslammed Nakamura for the three count.
WINNER: Strowman & New Day in 13:00.
-After the match, as Braun’s music played, Kofi said he wanted “that scary music” turned off. Kofi said people may know that Braun is a monster among men, but what they may not know is that he has a great set of hips on him. “It’s time the world saw what those hips can do.” Big E and Kofi tried to get Braun to dance. He shoved them away gently, then stood mid-ring as fans chanted “Get… these hips!” Braun then danced. Fans loved it. Graves said he will never be able to unsee that. Braun bowed and roared.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure that “delightful” TV moment is worth the degradation to the image of his badass wrestling character. It’s a choice they make, but it doesn’t come without consequences to how people see him. )
-Graves plugged Lacey & Dana Brooke vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks. They showed Kayla Braxton talking with Pearce backstage. Cole said Braxton would have an update after the break regarding the status of the triple threat match. [c]
-They replayed what happened with Reigns and Corbin earlier. Graves said it was sour grapes by Reigns.
-Braxton said Corbin is refusing to compete tonight, but WWE officials are saying the match is not cancelled, so Miz will face Bryan one-on-one tonight.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Graves was outraged. They replayed the dog food incident from three weeks ago.
-Backstage Sonya Deville was signing a picture. Mandy Rose asked her to come with her to the ring. Sonya said she can’t really expect her to have her back when she wasn’t in her corner last week. Rose said she had Otis’s sweat all over her and couldn’t go out there. Sonya said she had to sign more programs, and then she’d join her. Otis walked up to Rose with half a fruitcake for her. He apologized for sweating on her last week. She said it’s okay because sweat happens. Otis shook his head as if he was hoping to make more progress redeeming himself.
-Carmella made her ring entrance. An inset interview aired with her saying tonight she’s going to remind Rose that she is the first-ever Miss Money in the Bank who also made Sonya tap out last week. She said “God’s greatest creation” just made a huge mistake, and she’s going to remind her “why Mela is money.” [c]
-A commercial for Fox’s New Year’s Eve bash will feature “a surprise match featuring WWE’s Roman Reigns.”
(2) CARMELLA vs. MANDY ROSE
Cole said it’ll be Reigns vs. Ziggler. Cole asked if Graves will be in a dog house working New Year’s Eve. Graves said he’s been in the dog house his whole life. Graves said this match is what he calls a conundrum. Cole said if Otis asks out Rose, then they can go on a double-date. Graves said he just threw up a little in his mouth. Graves said that kiss from Rose was the greatest moment of his life because he doesn’t have a lot of life experience in that way. Rose scored an early two count after a running knee. She grounded Carmella. Graves said Carmella needs to get back to being more ruthless because she once wasn’t afraid to take shortcuts. Carmella kicked Rose in the chin for the win. Cole said Carmella is on a mini-winning streak.
WINNER: Carmella in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to that, but it serves the story Sonya not being there for Mandy.) [c]
-A Sheamus vignette aired. Cole plugged WWE Backstage next Tuesday on FS1 where they’d count down the top five matches of 2019.
(3) DANIEL BRYAN vs. THE MIZ – Winner Faces Fiend at Royal Rumble
They engaged in a test of strength early. Miz backdropped Bryan over the top rope, slipped to the floor and yanked Bryan to the floor. Back in the ring Miz ducked a Bryan kick and then they collided mid-ring with crossbody blocks. Both were down and slow to get up. Corbin’s cronies ran to the ring and attacked both Miz and Bryan. Cole said it’ll be a DDQ because of this. Graves tried to claim the men acted on their own, not on Corbin’s orders.
WINNER: DDQ in 3:00.
-Kayla asked Corbin what that was. Corbin said it was justice because that match shouldn’t have been happening without him. Corbin said there’s a rabid dog running around making this an unsafe working environment. Kayla said Reigns was asked to leave the arena. Corbin said if that’s true, he’ll enter himself back into the Triple Threat match. Bryan and Miz were shown running out of the ring. They soon arrived backstage and attacked Corbin and some of his cronies. They cut to a break as Cole said chaos broke out on Smackdown. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Detroit.
-The announcers said all is well that ends well, because they are back where they began, as the Triple Threat is back on for tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: The Smackdown roster isn’t particularly deep with stars that WWE is confident can hold viewership, so they sure are finding creative ways to stretch out the main event wrestlers, such as they are, to fill several segments. I’m glad the match is back on, because it was advertised so heavily all week.)
-A Moment of Bliss: Alexa Bliss walked out with “her best friend” Nikki Cross. She introduced Lacey Evans as her guest. Bliss asked about Sasha Banks taunting her six year old daughter last week. Lacey said Sasha crossed a line you do not cross. She said her daughter means everything to her. She said she snapped because the last thing you do is mess with a child. She said Mama Bear Mode came out. She said there is nothing she would not do to stop anybody who gets between her and her baby, and Sasha put herself there. She said if they didn’t pull her off of Sasha last week, Sasha wouldn’t have walked out of the arena. Lacey said she won’t turn her back and allow herself to be attacked from behind by “two nasty things” who lack of the ability to be role models for anyone, especially her child. She said she’s going to excuse herself from the set on the stage and head to the ring because she’s ready for a fight. “I am done with this nonsense,” she said.
As Dana made her way out, Sasha and Bayley attacked her. Sasha said Lacey might be a good mother, but she’s a terrible tag team partner. Lacey ran up the ramp to make the save. They brawled on the stage. Referees separated them. Cole said they’d try to restore order and get the match under way. [c]
(4) LACEY EVANS & DANA BROOKE vs. SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY
The match was in progress after the break. Graves called Dana “very capable.” That confirmed Dana would be taking the loss here. Sasha and Bayley isolated Dana for a few minutes. She eventually hot-tagged Lacey. Cole called Lacey “much-improved.” Lacey landed a moonsault on Bayley for a near fall, broken up by Sasha. Lacey chased Sasha around the ring and back into the ring. Bayley then caught Lacey with a Bayley-to-Belly, but Dana broke up the cover. Dana blind-tagged herself in, then surprised Sasha with a roll-up. Banks kicked out and then applied a Bank Statement for the quick tapout win.
WINNERS: Sasha & Bayley in about 6:00.
-They cut backstage to Mandy sticking her finger in the frosting of the fruit cake and licking her fingers. Ziggler walked up to her and said she must have exciting plans for New Year’s Eve. She said she doesn’t. Ziggler said that’s hard to believe. Ziggler said the cake was a wonderful gift for him. “You shouldn’t have!” he said, with a smile. Rose said it was from Otis. Ziggler said Otis gave one to everyone in the locker room, so she shouldn’t be too excited about it. Ziggler said he found out someone found a roach in their cake. He set it on the ground. Ziggler told Rose, “What would Otis know about what a woman like her would want anyway.” He smooshed the cake with his boot. He then hit on her about New Year’s Eve. Corbin ran up to him and said he needed to talk to him right now. Ziggler was annoyed as Corbin dragged him away. [c]
-A video package aired on Mustafa Ali who said 2019 has been filled with plenty of dark times, but he refuses to stand-in the dark. He said he stands in the light and he has done so this entire year, traveling all over the world, shattering stereotypes and changing the way people think about someone who looks like him. He said he will keep bringing that change as he continues that chase to becoming a champion.
-Backstage Otis was walking around with his belly hanging out of his way too small t-shirt. He noticed the smooshed cake and looked sad and then angry and then dejected, perhaps assuming Rose didn’t like the gift.
(5) KING CORBIN vs. DANIEL BRYAN vs. THE MIZ – Winner Gets Universal Title match at the Royal Rumble
Miz and Bryan took it to Corbin at the start. Corbin rolled to the floor. Miz and Bryan then went after each other. They fought to ringside where Bryan threw Miz into the ringpost and then landed a flying knee to Miz’s shoulder. Corbin threw Bryan over the barricade into the time keeper’s area. Corbin threw Miz into the barricade next, then stood on his head. Corbin beat up Miz for a few minutes. When Bryan re-entered, Corbin went after his knee. Eventually Miz and Bryan came back with a barrage of offense against Corbin. Corbin surprised Miz with a Deep Six, but Bryan leaped off the top rope with a dropkick. All three were down. [c]
Back live, Miz rallied against Corbin and applied a figure-four. Bryan leaped off the top rope at Corbin with a headbutt and went for the pin, but Corbin powered out. Bryan applied a LeBell Lock, which reversed Miz’s figure-four. Miz let go and broke up the LeBell Lock. Again all three were slow to get up. Miz and Bryan got up and exchanged chops. Bryan rolled to the floor. Corbin went after Miz, but Miz went for a Skull Crushing Finale. Corbin blocked it and hit an End of Days. Bryan broke up the cover. Corbin grabbed Bryan by the throat and shoved him in the corner, but Bryan came back with a running high knee. With Corbin down, Ziggler ran out and superkicked Bryan. He rolled Corbin onto Bryan. Cole noted it’s a no DQ match. Reigns yanked Corbin off of Bryan and then gave him a Superman Punch at ringside. He knocked him over the barricade and they cut to a break. [c]
After the break, Cole said Reigns and Corbin brawled to the back, so the match would continue without him. Miz and Bryan fought back and forth fiercely. Late in the match Bryan applied the LeBell, but Miz bit his way free. He applied Cattle Mutilation and Miz tapped out.
WINNER: Bryan in 12:00.
-Cole said the stage is now set with Bryan going to the Rumble to face The Fiend for the Universal Title. Bryan celebrated as his music played. Graves said this is what Bryan has wanted. The Firefly Funhouse jingle then played. “Yowie Wowie, you did it!” Bray Wyatt said. “Seriously, looking good, kid.” He said he’s about to have so much fun, but I don’t know if “he” is quite done with him just yet. He said “he” remembers everything. He asked if he’s willing to do whatever it takes and “let him in.” The Fiend images flashes on the screen. Bryan nodded and looked around at the crowd, then started a “Yes!” chant. His music played again as Cole said, “That was an emphatic yes.”