Note: This article contains full show match results and video highlights from WWE SmackDown Live, broadcast from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texason December 4, 2018.
While Monday Night Raw is still fumbling its way to TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2018, the path over on SmackDown Live is pretty well-built.
We’ve got our matches lined up for the WWE Championship and WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship, as well as the Blue Brand’s tag belts, though Shinsuke Nakamura and the US Title are still conspicuous by their absence.
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Read on for four things we learned as things started to heat up before the last PPV of the year.
1. The New Daniel Bryan really does mean business
Daniel Bryan took a shortcut to the WWE Championship with his low blow against AJ Styles in their impromptu title match before Survivor Series 2018.
And anyone thinking that it was a one-off moment of weakness will have been thoroughly disavowed of that notion in the past few weeks.
Instead, Daniel Bryan has comprehensively killed off the Yes! Movement and keeps pummelling the Old Daniel Bryan into dust at every opportunity.
D-Bry’s appearance on Miz TV raised eyebrows. Would The Miz finally be turning to the light side to keep up their rivalry? Or would the long-time foes join forces?
In the end that question was dodged. Instead, Bryan simply took advantage of Miz’s presence to get one over on AJ Styles.
Miz had the better of the exchanges with the Phenomenal One on Miz TV, but AJ picked up a win despite Bryan’s interference in a one-on-one match.
But The New Daniel Bryan wasn’t going to let that slide, getting involved after the bell to underline just how different he now is.
2. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville aren’t too far off the top
Former Tough Enough duo Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville had a solid run in NXT but really exploded when the arrived on the main roster as Absolution alongside Paige.
They stuttered badly when Paige was forced to retire as an in-ring performer, but they’ve scratched and clawed their way back into contention since.
While neither woman earned the right to face The Man at TLC (that honour goes to Charlotte and Asuka), they’ve shown time and again in recent weeks that they have to be in contention soon.
After interrupting the Charlotte/Becky/Asuka contract signing, the women ended up in a tag team match against Flair and Asuka.
And with repeated discord between The Queen and the Empress of Tomorrow, they picked up a very good win.
Becky Lynch will have been happy to see her upcoming TLC opponents take lumps out of each other while she just watched on, but she would also have been watching Mandy and Sonya with interest, too.
3. SmackDown Live’s tag scene is all about quality over novelty
The Usos. The Bar. The New Day. With the odd interruption (i.e. the now-injured Bludgeon Brothers), the tag team division on SmackDown Live is pretty much those three teams on a loop.
It feels really churlish to complain, because all three are of such quality and have such great chemistry together, but at some point there’ll need to be a change to keep things fresh.
As it stands, it looks like we’re getting a clutch of triple threat singles matches ahead of the tag triple threat at TLC.
Last night it was Jey Uso who came out on top against Xavier Woods and Cesaro, while everyone else looked on.
Again, it’s always high-quality stuff when these seven men are involved, but after the second bell goes at TLC, the likes of SAnitY and perhaps some newcomers will want to break up this triopoly, and the WWE Universe will likely welcome it.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura and the US Title are continuing to be neglected on SDLive
At two hours rather than three and with the safe pair of hands that is Paige running things, SmackDown Live has the edge over Monday Night Raw at the moment.
But its one major failing at the moment is its treatment of the United States Championship.
While every week features some sort of action around the WWE Championship (which is more than you can say for Raw and the Universal Title), you’d be forgiven for forgetting this belt even exists.
Shinsuke Nakamura didn’t have a single match on SDLive in November, and he didn’t have one yesterday either.
Last week, the champ had an altercation with Rusev, and this week Rusev cut a promo promising vengeance.
So it’s leading up to a (re)match between the two at TLC, but we’re getting precious little buildup or fanfare.
Taking up more time was Randy Orton vs Jeff Hardy. AGAIN. Even with Samoa Joe lurking in the shadows it felt like something we’ve seen far too often, far too recently.
Sure, Joe has his issues with Jeff, but there’s gold RIGHT THERE for the taking. That surely should catch the big guy’s eye before too long?
WWE SmackDown Live full show match results – Monday, December 4, 2018
- Charlotte Flair & Asuka vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
WINNERS: Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
- Cesaro vs Jey Uso vs. Xavier Woods [Triple Threat Match]
WINNER: Jey Uso
- Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton
WINNER: Randy Orton
- AJ Styles vs The Miz
WINNER: AJ Styles
What did you think of SmackDown Live? Let us know at @digitalspywwe.
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