Complete Report Card and Predictions Following WWE SmackDown for December 20

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2013

Complete Report Card and Predictions Following WWE SmackDown for December 20

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    Every week here on Bleacher Report, I will take an in-depth look at SmackDown, recapping all of the action, offering analysis and grading the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show, as well as provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.

    This week we got a pretty full card with eight matches. Some of them were a little on the short side, but a couple came off very well.

    A lot of WWE Superstars are in multiple programs at the moment, so there were plenty of Superstars who appeared in multiple segments with different adversaries.

    WWE did not play up Christmas too much, so expect the company to go overboard on Monday.

    Let's get right into the action with the opening segment featuring Randy Orton, John Cena and Daniel Bryan.


John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton

1 of 10

    The opening segment featured Randy Orton, John Cena and Daniel Bryan doing their song and dance about who deserves to be the face of the WWE.

    The exchange was good. It kept a decent flow, and all three men were believable and entertaining. It's hard to say why so many people hate seeing John Cena and Randy Orton feud when it's been so long since their last feud, and they're so damn good together.

    Adding Daniel Bryan to the mix keeps things fresh and allows WWE to pull the viewer in several directions to keep them guessing.

    This didn't tread any new ground, but we got a main event of John Cena, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk vs. The Shield out of it, and that is nothing to complain about.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the segment:

    • I think Randy Orton may have accidentally said he won on Monday and John Cena saved him by reminding him that he actually lost by DQ to Bryan.
    • WWE censored Cena saying something offensive with the word "coward."

Big E Langston vs. Jack Swagger

2 of 10

    These are two men with great wrestling ability, ridiculous power and explosive speed. The match was not that long, but it was performed very proficiently by Jack Swagger and Big E Langston, leading it to be pretty entertaining.

    Langston is going to explode in 2014. This kid has everything single thing Vince McMahon could want in a wrestler. He has the bodybuilder physique and power, the charisma, the look, incredible speed, wrestling chops and the ability to carry a promo. He's literally the ideal WWE Superstar.

    Jack Swagger's chances at being a true top Superstar may have come and gone, but he has improved drastically while in a team with Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Colter. His in-ring style is quicker and more versatile, and he seems much more comfortable in the ring than he did a year ago.

    I like this feud, and I hope the matches continue to be as entertaining as this one. Langston picked up the win with the Big Ending.

    Grade: B+

    Some notes from the match:

    • Big E Langston's leap frog is awesome. The guy has such great vertical jumping ability for someone who is so bulky, and it looks picture perfect. Kofi should take notes.
    • Zeb Colter being on commentary led to the team barely even talking about the actual match in the ring. They focused on Zeb's "Deport Santa" sign. I think the sign was kind of funny, to be truthful.
    • I was surprised to hear Michael Cole call Santa a mythical character. I would have assumed WWE would keep the Santa myth alive since little kids watch this show.


Tamina vs. Brie Bella

3 of 10

    This was another short but decent encounter. Brie and Tamina had some hard hits, and they kept a good, quick pace throughout the match.

    Brie picked up the win after getting her knees up during the Superfly Splash, and then she shoved AJ back into her announcer's chair afterwards.

    Brie has really improved in recent months, and Tamina has always been a solid hand. This match was what the average Divas match should be, but unfortunately, there are still some Divas who don't have the skills to match up.

    Grade: B-

    Some notes from the match:

    • Tamina was three feet from AJ, and she missed Brie with the leather jacket when she tried to throw it at her. Brie didn't even have to move to avoid it.
    • From now on I will refer to AJ and Tamina as HBAJ and Big Lady Cool, or maybe Shiesel. The comparisons have been made since the start, but no good nicknames have caught on.
    • Tamina might have the best Superkick at this moment in WWE. It always looks so stiff.

Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre

4 of 10

    This match was about as good as it could have been for the time they were given. Sin Cara picked up the win over Drew McIntyre with a Senton Bomb to get the pin.

    This was another match where the quick pace made it seem like there was more happening than there really was. It was enough to keep the crowd entertained for a couple of minutes.

    Grad: C+

    Some notes from the match:

    • Where's Heath Slater?
    • I wonder: Has JBL been instructed to say Sin Cara has improved as a jab at the original Sin Cara to tell him he didn't live up to his potential?
    • The grade could have been much higher had they had even two more minutes.

Tensai vs. Brodus Clay

5 of 10

    WWE was very quick to book a singles match between Brodus Clay and Tensai after their breakup. This feud will probably be over very fast.

    Tensai went right after Clay with a flurry of offense to open the match, but Clay eventually took control of the match with his size advantage.

    The Funkadactyls and Xavier Woods came out on the ramp to Clay's music and danced to provide a distraction, so Sweet T could roll him up for the pin and the win.

    I hope WWE gives these guys another match with more time. There was some real potential shown in the short amount of time they were given.

    Grade: C+

    Some notes from the match:

    • Did both guys come out to the same entrance music?
    • Was I the only one who laughed really hard when they showed The Funkadactyls split to reveal Xavier Woods? The look on his face was hilarious for some reason.
    • So who gets to keep Somebody Call My Mama?

Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

6 of 10

    This was a very entertaining bout and another example of Cody Rhodes and Goldust not being able to have a bad match.

    Cody and Goldust almost elevate whoever they are in the ring with just by being there. They know how to sell, they know how to get the crowd pumped up if they start to wane and, most importantly, they know how to wrestle circles around just about anybody.

    But that doesn't mean anyone should take any credit away from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. These are two big brawlers with a lot to offer, and they contributed just as much to the quality of this match.

    Harper and Rowan ended up picking up the win with a little help from Bray Wyatt on the outside, which probably means we have our next contenders for the Tag titles decided.

    Daniel Bryan came out with a steel chair to make the save after The Wyatt Family tried to attack Goldust and Cody after the match was over.

    These two teams could have a great feud. The only people in WWE who can be creepier than Goldust are The Wyatt Family, and that will make for some interesting television.

    Grade: A

    Some notes from the match:

    • Goldust had no face paint at all by the end of the match.
    • The little detail of Rowan not budging an inch when Goldust taunted him really drove home how demented these characters are supposed to be. Everyone flinches when Goldust gets in their face, but Rowan didn't move a muscle.
    • I love that Cody Rhodes and Goldust bring a lot of chants out of the crowd. Their popularity is a testament to the crowd's appreciation for real talent.
    • Will any weapon ever be as iconic in wrestling as the steel folding chair?

Damien Sandow vs. Miz

7 of 10

    This was WWE's Christmas reference for the night. Damien Sandow delivered a promo before the match where he said none of us deserve Christmas.

    Sandow said he is going to cancel Christmas on Monday. Miz came out and gave a babyface promo about celebrating the Holidays.

    The match itself was way too short. I was pretty entertained until Sandow won in less than two minutes. Miz got a pop when he locked in the Figure Four, but that was about the only highlight.

    Grade: D

    Some notes from the match:

    • Miz has the most uneven tan I have ever seen.
    • Is Miz babyface, heel or an ever-rotating tweener?
    • It was really weird to hear Undertaker's real voice during the promo for the DVD set The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment.

Kofi Kingston vs. Fandango

8 of 10

    Fandango picked up a quick win with a Flying Leg Drop in a pretty average match. This is another one that could have been pretty good had it been given more time.

    Not sure what else to say about this one.

    Grade: D+

    Some notes from the match:

    • Fandango and Kofi Kingston can be seen bowling together on the YouTube show Chris Hardwick's All-Star Celebrity Bowling.
    • The designs on Kofi's tights were visually disorienting.
    • The segment after the match where we saw The Wyatt Family attack Daniel Bryan backstage was really violent. They threw Daniel Bryan off a loading dock right onto his back. They didn't show the hit, but the implied violence was a bit surprising.
    • It was a little funny that Renee Young just slowly backed away at the sight of The Wyatt Family.

The Shield vs. John Cena and CM Punk

9 of 10

    The attack on Daniel Bryan left CM Punk and John Cena short a man in the main event. The match was pretty entertaining, but it might not have matched up to the match featuring The Wyatt Family and The Rhodes Brothers.

    The Shield got disqualified after it started triple teaming up on CM Punk by stomping him into the mat. The Shield was able to fend off Cena when he tried to make the save, and the trio ended things with their signature Triple Powerbomb.

    He may have been a little late to the party, but eventually, Big E Langston came out and cleared the ring of The Shield.

    Reigns and Langston had a staredown, but Rollins and Ambrose pulled him out before a fight could happen. Despite the lame DQ finish, the match and post-match fight was a solid ending to a decent episode of SmackDown.

    Grade: A-

    Some notes from the match:

    • I love the way Roman Reigns sets up for and then hits the Superman punch.
    • Rollins and Ambrose have had skills since day one, but being able to watch the evolution of Roman reigns over the past year has been awesome. He has gotten noticeably better on the mic and in the ring, and his Spear is thing of beauty.
    • Langston and Reigns will probably have a great match when it eventually happens.

Final Thoughts and Predictions

10 of 10

    This was an above average episode of SmackDown, but just barely. There were eight matches packed into the two-hour show, which led to a couple of them being really short.

    A lot of different feuds were covered in the span of the show, and the majority of the matches were sufficiently entertaining, so there isn't too much to complain about.

    The match of the night probably goes to Cody and Goldust vs. Harper and Rowan. The main event could have come close had they not had a DQ finish, but these days it's hard for anyone to match the level Cody and Goldust have been on.

    Having several Superstars involved in more than one feud gives WWE a lot of options for The Royal Rumble. This year's Rumble will be very hard to predict as many Superstars would make logical winners, and seeing if Orton is able to hold onto the title all the way until WrestleMania will be interesting.


    • Big E Langston and Dean Ambrose will have a champion vs. champion match. Not for the titles, but the match will happen sooner than later.
    • Roman Reigns will likely challenge Langston for the IC title judging from the little encounter we saw on this show.
    • Brodus Clay will eventually come out on top in his feud against Sweet T.
    • Tensai and The Funkadactyls will part ways after his feud with Clay is over.
    • WWE will unify the IC and U.S. titles within two years. The company merged the Tag titles in 2009 and the two women's titles in 2010. 2013 saw the unification of the WWE and World titles. It makes sense to assume that the midcard titles are next.

    That's it for this week. What did you think of the show, and who is your early prediction to win the Royal Rumble?


    Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.