12/30 WWE in Los Angeles, Calif.: Fiend vs. Bryan vs. Miz for Universal Title, Reigns vs. Corbin, New Day & Braun vs. Sami & Nakamura & Cesaro, Shorty G vs. Ziggler, Revival vs. Lucha, more


The Fiend (photo Wade Keller © PWTorch)

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WWE LIVE EVENT
DECEMBER 30, 2019
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. AT STAPLES CENTER
REPORT BY CHARLIE UNGER, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT

Nice sized crowd for the Smackdown brand at Staples Center, especially for a Monday night even though we are in the holidays. Maybe 10,000 to 11,000 people including folks sitting in some of the highest seats. Not quite a Lakers crowd size-wise, but at least as enthusiastic.

(1) Lacey Evans & Dana Brooke beat Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross and Sasha Banks & Bayley. The evening started with a  team women’s tag match. First out was Sasha Banks who received a baby face welcome until she was later able to turn the crowd against her along With her partner reformed hugger Bayley who came out next. They were followed by Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans and then by Alexa Bliss, The Goddess herself, along with the always energetic Nikki Cross. I think Lacey Evans needs to change her attire. She is an attractive woman But her outfit displays upper back and shoulder muscles that most men would never dream of achieving Those muscles don’t quite work with the southern belle approach. This was a great match to start the night as all of the ladies worked very hard. Lacey brought the victory to her team with the woman’s right. Nice to see Dana Brooke getting perhaps the push of her career.

(2) The Revival beat Lucha House Party (Kalisto & Gran Metalik). That was my cue to go get some food and my friend told me I didn’t miss much. The Revival came out on top.

-Next came the first bit of mic work of the night with Dolph Zigler indicating he would beat whomever came out from the back. He boasted about everything he does well including his ability as a talker (did he mean shouter?) although he left out taking bumps/selling, which of course is his greatest skill. I thought they were setting us up for an opponent such as Braun Strowman, but instead out came Shorty G.

(3) Shorty G beat Dolph Ziggler. The diminutive Mr. G recovered from a Zip Zag and got Dolph to tap out on his second attempt at The ankle lock Kurt Angle would have been proud.

(4) The Fiend beat Daniel Bryan and The Miz to retain the Universal Title when Fiend pinned Miz after Sister Abigail. The last match before intermission perhaps should’ve been the main event as the Universal Championship was on the line. First out was Bryan who got the biggest pop of the night. He sure knows how to work the crowd. He was followed by the Miz and then The Fiend. The Miz was wearing a nice “Los Angeles is Awesome“ shirt which I had never seen before, although I later realized why he was wearing it as it was available for a cool $35 a pop. He would’ve had to pull off the upset of the year and win the title on this non-televised house show for me to have made that purchase. The Fiend got almost as big a pop as did our Daniel and he was of course victorious in the end with The Miz falling victim to Sister Abigail. There was no way Daniel Bryan was going to take the pin in this match. The Fiend is so over right now. The fans are certainly “letting him in.“

-Intermission

(5) Carmella beat Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville). Mandy played full heel without the calming presence of Otis. She got a lot of outside help from her partner Sonja Deville, but it was not enough to overcome Carmella who not only moonwalked during her entrance but treated us to an encore moonwalk during the match.

(6) The New Day & Braun Strowman beat Sami Zayn & Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura. New Day got their usual big pop. Sami did some mic work. Sami had to suffer through the indignity of having pancakes thrown at him during his promo. The babyface team won, of course, so we would be treated to Braun Strowman dancing again as we did on Friday Night Smackdown. I want to give Sami Zayn extra props for his heel work. He worked the crowd from his opening promo through the match. He was also aware of what was coming next as he moved one of the security men out of the way about 30 seconds before it was time for Braun Strowman to do his running around the ring move. After Braun danced, all of the babyfaces threw pancakes into the crowd.

(7) Roman Reigns beat King Corbin in a Los Angeles Street Fight. I was was wondering how this might be different from any other street fight. Would kendo sticks be made out of wood from palm trees, perhaps? King Corbin did his usual fine job of getting the crowd to loathe him throughout. Unfortunately, this match – the main event – dragged a bit with a lot of stalling and rest spots. As expected, the crowd was “sent home happy” as, while Roman took a chairshot early in the match, he delivered by putting the King through a table and then pinning him for the win. I was slightly disappointed that the King actually had to walk to the ring. Where was the Kings Court to carry him out?

FINAL THOUGHTS: I want to give credit to all of the babyfaces for their crowd interaction. On the way down they all slapped hands with the fans and on the way back up they all posed for selfies and signed whatever there was to sign. At the age of 64, I might’ve been the oldest fan there. Sitting to my left was an adorable four-year-old boy. I wondered about his parents taking him to see The Fiend. However, he was not intimidated and knew everyone in every match. He’s probably still chanting “New Day Rocks.”

About me: I began my wrestling fandom at the age of six watching Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden. I am a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles who has represented a number of notable folks including the rapper “The Game.“ During law school I was the voice of WPGU in Champaign Urbana and covered Illinois basketball, football, had a daily sports report and a weekend call in show with guests. My interviews included Magic Johnson when he was still at Michigan State and went by Earvin and the chair-throwing Bobby Knight.


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