MATCH RATINGS: WWE Smackdown Live 12/18/18, Podcast Notes From Sean Ross Sapp Of Fightful.com

Early Backstage Crappenings

  • Shane McMahon has a meeting and mentions on Raw (BOOOOOOS) that things were going to change.
  • "We listen to the audience".... "Paige isn't GM anymore." Those two statements don't jive. Paige has been one of the most consistent characters on WWE TV since WrestleMania.
  • Big cheers for Paige backstage. Okay.

Becky & Charlotte

  • Becky Lynch doesn't care who is running the show tonight, she wants Ronda Rousey delivered to her.
  • Lynch cuts a really good promo about how she fought Ronda Rousey to her face, and Rousey didn't have the balls to do the same to her.
  • Lynch calls Rousey a Roddy Piper cosplayer.
  • Charlotte comes out and thinks she's the one who had her title stolen. Lynch said "speaking of cosplayers."
  • Asuka gets cheers when she comes down and says she's the champion now. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair call her a paper champion.
  • Vince McMahon comes out and says Charlotte and Becky are whining and he wants to give out an opportunity. Naomi comes out and says "me" and gets the title shot.

Smackdown Women's Championship
Asuka (c) defeated Naomi
5/10

  • Both women go for a dropkick and square off.
  • Naomi lands a kick to the spine and shows no sense of urgency to finish a title match. She has her booty headscissors spot countered with a kick.
  • Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch are watching on.
  • Asuka lands a nice armbar in the ropes, but Naomi side Russian Leg Sweeps her off the ropes!
  • My problem with Naomi in this match is how plodding she is. She's nonchalant. This is really on display as she waits to get dropkicked in the back.
  • At least Naomi hits a good Disaster Kick off the barricade.
  • Naomi gets knees on a split legged moonsault and is put in the Asuka Lock. Naomi gets out and lands the Rear View.
  • Asuka gets the tap.
  • There were some really cool spots in this match, but it looked like it was sleepwalked through, to the point to where I didn't like it. The innovative moves would have brought it up to recommended viewing had there been some semblance of urgency.

Backstage Crappenings

  • Rusev is being interviewed and says he hopes that the McMahon family is paying attention to how handsome he is, and makes fun of Shinsuke Nakamura looking like Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Nakamura throws to Total Divas footage of Rusev. Showing Rusev's Total Divas footage is a great idea and a good way to show his personality. Nakamura says he's not scared of Rusev.
  • New Day plug their pancake spectacular. I'm ready for the breakfast gimmick to end.

Intervention

  • Jeff Hardy unprompted on a mic is not something I'm big on.
  • Samoa Joe comes out and says that it's a matter of time before Hardy relapses
  • This is straight out of daytime soaps.
  • Jeff Hardy says Joe is trying to attack others to make up his insecurities -- like not winning any championships in two years.
  • Joe tries to attack and eats a Twist of Fate

Miz & Mandy Rose defeated Carmella & R-Truth
N/A

  • The Miz knocks on the McMahon dressing room and Vince says that Shane can't come out to play. They question the manliness. The Miz asking for Vince McMahon's blessing to be Shane's partner.
  • Vince says he'll find a partner for Miz and a team that he can face to prove his worth tonight.
  • The partner is Mandy. The opponents are Carmella and R-Truth.Truth confuses Mandy for Maryse.
  • The babyfaces are in control early and we get a DANCE BREAK.
  • Superkick to Mandy Rose, but Miz sneaks in and gets a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
  • Corey Graves' obsession with Mandy Rose is great.

The Usos vs. The Good Brothers
5.75/10

  • The Usos come out and say they weren't pinned Sunday and want the Bar.
  • The Good Brothers aren't happy. They've been off Smackdown since August. They're ready to be back in the fold.
  • Good Brothers control throughout the break, but Jey Uso gets tagged in and takes over.
  • Uso's ass meets a turnbuckle, and then his face meets a HI-YA kick! A neckbreaker connects, too.
  • Luke Gallows gets a Baldo Bomb, but Anderson is taken out. The Usos clothesline Gallows out of the ring.
  • Anderson makes a blind tag and cuts off an Uso Crazy, leaving Jimmy tied up in the ropes.
  • We come back to see a Superkick Party, but The Bar's music hits. After an Uso Splash, Sanity breaks up the pin.
  • Killian Dain destroys Jey Uso, and both teams are taken out by Sanity.
  • The Bar picks the bones.

Mustafa Ali & AJ Styles defeated Daniel Bryan & Andrade Cien Almas (w/ Zelina Vega)
6/10

  • Daniel Bryan is one of the only "you people" promos that works. Maybe the first since Straight Edge Society for me. He breaks down terrible Fresno pollution stats.
  • Almas gets a great spinning back elbow on Styles, but walks into a big dropkick.
  • Almas and Ali have a great arm ringer exchange before Bryan tags in. Four ring stallions.
  • I'm still not sure why Ali always needs to roll through a facebuster. Ali dropkicks Almas out of a Tranquilo, and AJ helps throw him over Zelina to the outside for a tope con hillo.
  • Back from commercial, Almas gets a springboard splash on Ali, and Bryan is in to dish out punishment.
  • It's a welcome change in this title reign to see Bryan working with people he can actually do things with.
  • Bryan applies a FILTHY Dragon Sleeper. Ali gets cut off by a big Almas clothesline, but gets his knees up on the double moonsault.
  • AJ gets a hot tag and applies the Calf Crusher on Bryan, but Almas breaks it up.
  • A moonsault reverse DDT hits for Styles on Bryan.
  • Mustafa Ali cracked Bryan in the face on the 054. Could be heard checking on Bryan. Ali gets the win.
  • Wouldn't be surprised if Ali has to get a new finish now.

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.

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