Welcome to another WWE Smackdown review here on TJRWrestling for the last Smackdown in 2019 and the decade. I’ve had a busy week of family events for Christmas, but now I’m ready to get back to normal. I want to wish you all a safe and Happy New Year next week. Bring on 2020 this coming Wednesday.
Live from Detroit, Michigan, this is Smackdown for episode #1063. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The show began with Elias in the ring singing about the year that was in 2019. He sang about regrets like Bayley’s haircut, Shane McMahon and said that at least they don’t have the Lana/Lashley wedding. Elias sang about what’s to come on the show and said “it’s Friday Night Smackdown and it starts right now.”
Analysis: Elias has had a very uneventful year. I’m still waiting for him to do something memorable after two years on the main roster.
The Smackdown intro video played. The pyro went off in the arena and the fans in Detroit were ready to go. There’s a “Happy Holidays Smackdown” sign on the Titantron.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance for the triple threat match because they tried to tell us this was going to happen now, but I don’t think anybody thought that was happening. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.
King Corbin showed up on his sedan with six indy guys carrying him. Corbin said this is Smackdown where they do things his way because he’s the king. Corbin claimed the bottom feeders (the fans) are jealous of him. Corbin said that Bryan and The Miz are terrible fathers, they want to face Bray Wyatt and they are former World Champions who main evented WrestleMania. Corbin claimed if Bryan thinks he can beat Corbin then perhaps The Fiend ripped out some of his brain matter. Corbin said he earned his opportunity when he beat Roman Reigns twice and that’s something no other superstar has done since he returned. Corbin said that the WWE Universe should beg him to vanquish Bray Wyatt because he should be the Universal Champion. The guys carried Corbin down to the ring as Corbin told Bryan he is no longer championship material while saying that Miz plays an action hero in the movies, but is not really an action hero.
Roman Reigns’ music hit, the guys carrying the sedan tipped it over and Corbin went down. They were nervous about Reigns. That led to Reigns showing up at ringside and he punched Corbin. Reigns whipped Corbin into the barricade. Reigns jumped off the steel steps and connected with a Superman Punch. Corbin ran away through the crowd while referees and producers (hey Sonjay Dutt and Adam Pearce) kept Reigns at ringside.
Analysis: It was an angle to tease the match happening in the first segment, but it was unrealistic to expect it to take place this early in the show. It would be nice to go a week without listening to another boring Baron Corbin, yet there it was again. I guess this one was more effective because Reigns was there for the interruption and the fans loved that. I still say WWE should start the show with a match, so at least they tried to tease us by almost having a match.
There were replays of Reigns beating up Corbin from before the break.
King Corbin was in the trainer’s room yelling at Pearce about what happened with Pearce saying he doesn’t have the power to do anything about it. Corbin wanted him to postpone the match. Corbin claimed it was ridiculous and he wondered who could make a decision around here.
The New Day duo of Big E and Kofi Kingston made their entrance with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles while Cole noted it was the 1,024th day that Kofi has been a tag team champion. Braun Strowman entered as New Day’s partner. Strowman barely gets to wrestle on Smackdown. New Day did some air guitar playing during Strowman’s entrance.
The trio of Cesaro (with his Matrix-like entrance), Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn made their entrance as the opponents. It’s also rare to see Zayn in a match since he’s in more of a managerial role these days even though I think Zayn is an excellent wrestler. The story here is Strowman is going after Nakamura’s IC Title.
Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman and The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E)
Big E with a shoulder tackle on Cesaro and Kingston hit a splash where he jumped over Big E’s back onto Cesaro. Kingston with a jumping back elbow to Nakamura, then a clothesline over the top to the floor and Zayn grabbed Kingston’s foot. Nakamura with a backstabber on Kingston. Zayn worked over Kingston with punches, Kingston to the floor and Cesaro decked Kingston with a running forearm to the face.
The match returned with Kingston hitting a dropkick off the middle ropes on Cesaro to try to break free, but the heels managed to keep Kofi isolated from his team. Cesaro with a gutwrench suplex on Kingston. After a rollup from Kofi, Cesaro decked him with a running uppercut. Nakamura with a front suplex on Kingston followed by a headlock. Nakamura knocked Big E off the apron, so Kingston hit the SOS trip into a slam on Nakamura for a two count. Cesaro blocked Kingston from tagging in Strowman, then Zayn distracted and Cesaro hit a running dropkick that sent Strowman into the barricade. When Kingston got to his corner, both of his partners were down, so no tag. Cesaro with a running forearm on Kingston and Nakamura with a sliding German Suplex for two as Big E knocked Cesaro onto both guys to break up the pin. Big E tossed Cesaro out of the ring, then Nakamura kicked Big E out of the ring and Kingston with a double stomp to the chest of Nakamura. Strowman tagged in with shoulder tackles for Nakamura and a running splash against the turnbuckle. Strowman with a running shoulder tackle on Nakamura on the floor, a running shoulder tackle on Cesaro, Zayn ran away and Nakamura hit a jumping kick on Strowman on the floor. Nakamura charged, but Strowman decked him with a hard clothesline. Cesaro back in with an uppercut to Strowman. Big E pulled Cesaro out of the ring and sent him into the barricade at ringside. Zayn passed Nakamura with a platter from the pancakes, Kingston grabbed it from Nakamura while the referee was distraction and Kofi hit Shinsuke with it. The referee Jessika Carr never saw it and then Strowman hit the Running Powerslam on Nakamura for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Braun Strowman and The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E)
Analysis: *** A pretty good tag team match as you would expect with these guys. Any time Strowman is a babyface in a tag team match it’s going to lead to him getting the hot tag because that way it puts the focus on him. The crowd really got into it in the final few minutes, which shows the typical WWE tag team formula works very well. Strowman picking up the win on Nakamura makes sense since the next IC Title feud is Nakamura vs. Strowman. That’s the finish that I expected.
Post match, Zayn complained that the other team cheated (which was true) and Graves agreed with it.
Kofi Kingston did a promo saying that everybody knows Braun Strowman as the Monster Among Men, but what they don’t know is that monster has a great set of hips on him. Kofi said it was time that the world saw what those hips can do. Big E said that the good people of Detroit (cheap pop) are going to get this dance.
That led to Braun Strowman dancing in the ring while the New Day music played. The fans chanted “Get These Hips” for this. Cole laughed as Graves mentioned it. Strowman’s dancing routine was unique for a 350-pound man.
Analysis: It’s silly and it may not be something everybody wants to see, but when there’s a babyface big guy like him they are going to book him to do fun stuff. I’ve said it before that Strowman is like Big Show and Kane of this era. Those men both did goofy stuff like dancing in their careers too. I don’t mind it. I also think Strowman is poorly booked most of the time and they could always do more with him.
There was going to be an update on the King Corbin situation after the break.
This Monday on Raw: The wedding of Bobby Lashley and Lana.
There was another replay of Roman Reigns beating up King Corbin earlier in the night.
There was a backstage update from Kayla Braxton saying that the match will not be postponed like King Corbin wants, so it’s The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan.
A clip was shown of Smackdown three weeks ago when King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler smeared dog food on Roman Reigns.
In the backstage area, Sonya Deville was signing some programs. Mandy Rose went up to Deville telling her that they had to go because Mandy’s match with Carmella was up next. Deville wasn’t interested in that since Rose failed to accompany Deville last week. Rose said it was because her dress was full of Otis sweat last week when he hugged her. Deville told Rose she’ll deliver these programs, then she’ll see her out there. After Deville, Otis showed up with a plate of fruitcake saying that his mom made it after the ham got ruined last week. Otis apologized for sweating on her last week, she said no problem because sweat happens, he was about to say something else and she left because she had a match.
Analysis: The Rose/Otis story is interesting to potentially turn Rose into a face if she likes Otis or it could lead to Rose turning into more of a heel by turning the big man down. I like that at least they are trying to do an angle with them.
Carmella made her entrance. She also did a pre-match promo talking about how she beat Sonya Deville last night and saying she’ll remind Rose and the entire world why Mella is money.
A commercial aired for Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey on Tuesday. The announcers plugged the match is Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler. It was taped after Smackdown. If you think Ziggler won that match then you’ve never watched WWE before in your life.
Mandy Rose made her entrance alone because her friend Sonya Deville didn’t feel like joining her at ringside. I always enjoy Mandy’s entrance and that gold/black ring attire is terrific as well.
Carmella vs. Mandy Rose
Rose did a double leg takedown, then some punches and a running dropkick. Rose followed up with a running knee to the face for a two count. Rose grounded Carmella by pulling back on her arms followed by a hair whip. Rose trash talked Mella saying, “you will never look like me” and Carmella slapped her while saying she never wants to look like her. Carmella with a kick to the face, then a headscissors takedown and a running clothesline for two. Rose sent Carmella face first into the middle turnbuckle. Carmella hooked the arms for two count, Rose with two pin attempts of her own and Carmella got a rollup for two. Rose went for a rollup, Carmella held onto the ropes and she hit a superkick on Rose for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Carmella
Analysis: *1/2 They tried hard and it was fine for the most part, but there was nothing special about it. Carmella hasn’t had a meaningful thing to do for a long time while Rose keeps losing matches even though I think she has the potential to be a future champion if they book her well.
The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan is next.
Sheamus did a promo saying that nine months ago he left Smackdown and he closed the door behind him. Sheamus said that other men stepped in to fill the void, to take advantage of opportunities and they were men who were inferior that were not worthy of being a champion. Sheamus said they were not worthy of facing him. Sheamus said he left for nine months, but now he’s ready to break down the door for a new Smackdown.
Analysis: I assume Sheamus will be back in action in January. The first Smackdown of the year makes sense, but it was not announced here. I’m glad he’s going to be back. I’ve always been a fan of his.
Daniel Bryan was already in the ring. The Miz was up next as the opponent.
The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan was in control early with a lefty kick to the chest. Bryan wrenched on the left arm of Miz, then Miz avoided a move and tripped up Bryan on the apron to knock him down. Miz brought Bryan back in the ring, dropkick to the leg and then they ran the ropes leading to a double cross body block to knock them both down. Corbin’s security guys went into the ring to attack both guys, so the match was thrown out. It went about three minutes.
Match Result: No Contest (or Double Disqualification)
Analysis: 1/2* It was just an angle to further the story of the show.
Post match, Bryan and Miz easily beat up the security guys. Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale and Bryan hit a running knee attack.
King Corbin was interviewed in the Gorilla Position backstage by Kayla Braxton and there were Corbin security guys there too. Corbin complained that this match was happening. Corbin also complained about it being an “unsafe working environment” and Braxton informed him that Roman Reigns was told to leave. Corbin said that changes things, so now he wants back in in the match. Bryan and Miz went backstage to go after Corbin and his security, which led to a break.
Analysis: The show long storyline continued by teasing that the match was happening in the show open, then midway through the show and now they can put it in the main event spot. It’s a decent way to keep the story moving.
A Moment of Bliss Talk Show
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were on the stage for the Bliss talk show that hasn’t been around for a while, so Bliss said, “A Moment of Bliss is back.” Bliss and Cross had their coffee, so Cross introduced Lacey Evans.
Lacey Evans was in her wrestling gear because she’s in a tag team match later. Bliss mentioned that last week, Sasha Banks was taunting Lacey’s six-year-old daughter Summer. They showed a replay of that with Evans beating up Banks and Bayley while Dana Brooke was there to help Evans.
Evans said she’s proud of her kid, she’s brave and a fighter just like her momma. Evans said that Banks crossed a line that you do not cross. Evans said that she snapped, but she speaks for every parent and mother by saying the last thing you do is mess with a child. Evans had a good line about being a “mama bear” protecting her child. Evans said that if they didn’t pull her off Banks last week then Sasha wouldn’t walk out of this arena. Evans said that she knows what happens on this type of show, so she’s not going to get attacked from behind by two nasties. Evans said that she is going to get into the ring because she’s ready for a fight and she’s done with this nonsense.
Analysis: Good promo from Evans speaking as a mother that was defending her daughter last week. In the past, I have commented that it would be hard for them to book Lacey as a face after she was entertaining as a heel. By making it feel personal by utilizing Lacey’s daughter in the storyline, it has definitely helped the story. It’s a relatable storyline for the audience because fans can understand why Evans wants revenge for these “nasties” messing with her and her daughter.
Dana Brooke’s entrance music hit, but then Bayley and Sasha Banks showed up on the stage where they had a hold of Brooke. Banks said that Evans may be a good mother, but she’s a terrible mother. Evans went up the ramp, so the four women got into a brawl and officials showed up to break it up to begin the tag team match.
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke
Evans was in control of Bayley, then Brooke tagged in with a back elbow against the turnbuckle and then a splash on Bayley for a two count. Brooke hit a nice suplex off the middle ropes, but then Banks came back with a hair whip. Banks went over to Evans and slapped her in the face as the heels continued to isolate Brooke as the face in peril. Bayley and Banks sent Brooke back first into the turnbuckle. Banks back in with the double knee attack on Brooke to knock her down. Brooke knocked Bayley off the apron with a forearm and Brooke hit a step-up enziguri on Banks to knock her down. Evans got the hot tag with a neckbreaker on Bayley, she kicked Banks down and Evans jumped over the top with an elbow on Bayley. Evans with a sitting splash onto the chest of Bayley. Evans did a military salute followed by a leap up top and right into a moonsault for two as Banks made the save. Evans stared at Banks, chased her around the ring and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for two as Brooke made the save. Evans avoided a double suplex, Brooke tagged in, Evans decked Bayley with a Woman’s Right and Banks sent Evans into the ring post. Brooke got a rollup on Banks, but Banks came back with the Bank Statement submission move for the submission win after eight minutes.
Winners by submission: Bayley and Sasha Banks
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match. They worked hard. I like that we got to see all eight minutes of it and there wasn’t a commercial in the middle of it. Brooke did well while selling the heel offense and Evans did a decent job after the hot tag. That’s the right way to time it out. This felt like the kind of scenario where Evans would get the pin on Banks to have Evans build momentum, but instead, they went with the heel win. It will probably lead to Evans vs. Banks in a singles match, which can lead to an Evans win and then Evans challenging Bayley for the SD Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble.
It was back to the backstage area where Mandy Rose was still looking gorgeous in her ring gear as she looked at her fruitcake gift. Dolph Ziggler showed up to hit on Rose while wondering what she’s doing for New Year’s Eve, she said nothing and then Ziggler acted like the fruitcake is a gift. Ziggler said that he wouldn’t feel too special about this since Otis gave it to everybody in the locker room. Ziggler said he heard somebody found a roach in one of these. Ziggler asked what would Otis know about a woman like her anyway. Ziggler put the fruitcake down and stepped on it with his Jordan brand sneakers. Ziggler went back to trying to flirt with Rose when Corbin showed up to say he needed to talk to Ziggler now. Rose was left to look at the destroyed fruitcake on the floor.
Analysis: That’s the third different Mandy Rose segment on the show counting her match, so that’s perfectly fine with me. More Mandy on the show is a good thing. I'm not sure if Mandy was supposed to act more upset about the fruitcake being destroyed or if that's how they wanted it. She didn't react to Ziggler's actions much at all. Also, King Corbin is clearly a terrible wingman.
The triple threat main event is up next.
A video package aired about Mustafa Ali that showed how he got injured in February, lost Money in the Bank because of Brock Lesnar and then failed to win the IC Title. Ali said that 2019 had some dark times, but he refuses to stand in the dark and he stands in the light. Ali said that he’s changing the way people think about people about guys that look like him and in 2020 he’s going to become a champion.
Analysis: I think Mustafa Ali is an awesome all-around performer and if he gets some TV time, he’ll win over the fans even more than he has. He’s an easy guy to root for.
Otis was shown walking backstage where he walked up to the fruitcake that was crushed on the floor. Otis looked sad about it.
Analysis: I assume this will lead to Otis wanting to go after Dolph Ziggler for his heinous cake destroying actions. If they do something next week where Otis thinks Mandy Rose did that then it will make Otis look even dumber. Just watch the show, dude.
The three guys were in the ring for the main event with over 20 minutes left in the show.
#1 Contender to the Universal Championship Match: The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin
Miz and Bryan worked together against Corbin with chops and kicks. Corbin bailed to the floor, so Miz got a rollup. Bryan hit a suicide dive on Corbin, Miz tried a dropkick, Bryan avoided it and Bryan sent Miz into the ring post. Bryan with a running knee attack on Miz on the floor. Corbin tossed Bryan over the barricade at ringside and Corbin sent Miz into the barricade. Back in the ring, Miz with a jawbreaker, but then Corbin sent Miz shoulder first into the ring post and Corbin slid out of the ring with a clothesline on Bryan. Corbin with a Chokeslam backbreaker on Miz on the floor. Corbin worked over Bryan for a bit, Bryan fought him off and Miz hit his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo on Corbin. Bryan hit a corner dropkick on Corbin, Miz with a running knee, Bryan with another dropkick, Miz with another knee, Corbin with a Deep Six slam on Miz and Bryan went up top with a missile dropkick on Corbin, which led to a break.
The match returned with Bryan and Miz each getting nearfall pin attempts. Miz kicked Corbin to knock him down followed by Miz hitting a DDT on Bryan. Miz worked over Corbin with kicks to the chest followed by kicks to the leg against the ropes. Miz slapped on the Figure Four Leglock on Corbin and then Daniel Bryan broke that up with a headbutt to the shoulder of Corbin for a two count. Corbin turned the Figure Four Leglock, Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock and Miz managed to break that up. Bryan was sent out of the ring while Corbin hit the End of Days on Miz. Bryan broke up the pin attempt at two. Bryan countered a Corbin move, he landed on his feet and he hit a running knee on Corbin for two. Dolph Ziggler showed up, he hit Bryan with a superkick and there are no disqualifications in a WWE triple threat match, so it was legal. Ziggler put Corbin on top of Bryan, but Roman Reigns showed up to pull Corbin off Bryan. Reigns sent Corbin into the ring post and hit a Superman Punch on Ziggler. Reigns hit Corbin with a clothesline to send him over the barricade.
It was back to action with Miz hitting Bryan with a running clothesline against the turnbuckle. We were told by Cole that Reigns and Corbin went brawling out of the arena. Bryan hit a superplex on Miz while hooking himself to the middle ropes to keep him from also bumping to the mat. Miz tripped up Bryan on the middle ropes and Miz jumped off the ropes with a shinbreaker with Bryan selling the left knee injury. Miz worked over Bryan with the kicks to the chest, Bryan blocked another kick and Bryan decked Miz with a palm strike to the face. Bryan worked over Miz with more kicks to the chest and then Miz hit a double knee attack on Bryan’s left knee again. Miz wrenched on the left knee of Bryan, who kicked Miz to the apron and Bryan hit a suplex into an armbar on the left arm of Miz. Bryan went for the LeBell Lock, so Miz bit Bryan’s hand to break free and it worked. Bryan with a roundhouse kick to the head of Miz. Bryan went for the running knee, Miz avoided it and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for a two count. Miz turned it into a Figure Four Leglock, but Bryan managed to get out of it. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock, Miz tried to fight it, but then Miz tapped out to give Bryan the win after 21 minutes. I think we can go back to calling it the Yes Lock submission.
Winner by submission: Daniel Bryan
The win by Bryan means he will challenge “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble on January 26th.
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a great match with a lot of clever spots, plenty of action and it looked like it could end at different times. They got a lot of time, built up the story well and the right guy won with Daniel Bryan getting the victory. I’m also not surprised that Miz was the loser since Corbin is protected so much. The run-ins by Ziggler and Reigns were fine too since it fit into the story of the match with Reigns doing all he can to prevent Corbin from winning while Ziggler took a nice bump at ringside. This was the best Miz match in a very long time. It was not a great year for him for having memorable matches. As for Bryan, it’s the usual for him having an amazing match whenever he gets a lot of time.
Post match, Bray Wyatt was on the Firefly Fun House set with the Universal Title. Wyatt said that Bryan is about to have so much fun, but he’s not sure if “he” is quite done with Bryan just yet and said he remembers everything. Wyatt asked if you’re willing to do whatever it takes and let him in?
Bryan responded by leading the crowd in “yes” chants and that’s how Smackdown ended this week.
Analysis: I fully expect The Fiend to retain the Universal Title. I don’t think The Fiend will lose that title until WrestleMania, possibly to Roman Reigns. That makes sense to me.
Three Stars of the Show
- Daniel Bryan
- The Miz
- King Corbin
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
2019 Average: 6.56 (Raw is 5.89)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.75, 6, 4.75, 5.25, 6.5
2019 High: 9 (November 1)
2019 Low: 4.5 (October 25)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 6.5 out of 10.
I thought it was a pretty good show this week with some quality in-ring action. When the main event is awesome and they get 20 minutes that’s nice to see. The promo segments did well to accelerate some of the other storylines on Smackdown. It feels like they are doing a better job of incorporating some of the midcard wrestlers in the storylines whereas in the past, a lot of people had nothing to do. At least the backstage segments and promos felt like they had more of a purpose this week.
That’s all for Smackdown for this year.
The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on January 26th. Here’s what we know so far.
Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Thanks for reading. Go reigning NBA Champions Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.
Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook