WWE SmackDown Results: The YES Movement Is Dead and Biggest Takeaways
Following the Survivor Series pay-per-view, the SmackDown brand turned its attention back to the rivalries and Superstars who will carry it through the rest of 2018 and well into the new year.
Who stood out and why? What effect may their actions have on the show as it embarks on the road to TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs on December 16?
Find out with this recap of the November 20 episode.
Would the Real Charlotte Flair Please Stand Up?
Charlotte Flair's heinous assault on Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series was addressed at the top of Tuesday night's episode of SmackDown, and strangely enough, she was treated as though she was a babyface.
Yes, despite grabbing a kendo stick from under the ring and relentlessly beating top women's star Rousey with it, then shoving her head in a chair and stepping on it, Flair was greeted with cheers and booked like a babyface as she vanquished The IIconics to kick off the show.
Flair explained her actions away, claiming she was only doing what Becky Lynch told her to: Give Rousey the beating she would have.
Still, the inconsistencies make it much more difficult for fans to recognize what Flair is supposed to be from a character standpoint, and it also creates the real likelihood that The Queen will continue to overshadow Rousey as the fan-favorite the next time they clash.
Given everything WWE is trying to accomplish with the UFC Hall of Famer, that feels counterproductive.
It is time WWE Creative figures out what it wants Flair to be: a legitimate heel or a cheap knockoff of the excellent, rebellious antihero Lynch had become prior to her injury. Only then will it be able to move forward with the story it is trying to tell and construct it in a way that benefits all involved.
Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville to Provide SmackDown with Midcard Women's Feud
The women's divisions on both Raw and SmackDown are oftentimes robbed of any real depth in storytelling. There is usually the featured story revolving around the women's championship but little else of any real consequence elsewhere on the show.
Recently, SmackDown has taken steps to change that.
At Evolution, Mandy Rose eliminated longtime tag team partner Sonya Deville from the Battle Royal, and since then, the tension between the two has grown. Tuesday night, they partnered together to battle the team of Asuka and Naomi, and once again, miscommunication and dissension cost them victory.
Rose came within inches of blasting her teammate with a running knee. Then, she ducked out of the way, allowing Asuka to level Deville with a stiff kick and ultimately tap her out to the Asuka Lock.
Rose and Deville have been teammates the entirety of their main roster career but were largely underutilized after being drafted to SmackDown in the most recent Superstar Shake-Up.
Their impending breakup not only frees them up to grow as individual performers, but it also gives SmackDown that much-needed second-level program it can utilize to help enhance the quality of its women's division.
For fans, it creates an opportunity to watch two promising young stars develop in real-time and hopefully be the type of performers WWE Creative can use as cornerstones of the division years from now.
Delusional Daniel Bryan Addressed His Shocking Actions in Interesting Fashion
A week after turning heel in his defeat of AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, a disheveled and delusional Daniel Bryan took to the squared circle to explain himself. He did so in the third person and credited a hyperbaric chamber for awakening in him the mindset to do what was necessary to win his title.
Bryan was dark, demented even, as he recalled his journey back to the title, even using the word "betrayal" to describe his relationship with the fans.
It was a weird promo, one straight out of a Marvel comic book and not at all what you would expect from today's WWE. Bryan used the science of the hyperbaric chamber, as well as his own emotional struggles, to explain his actions.
Weird is not always bad, though.
It is a departure from the norm and one that, in this case, has this writer far more interested to see what depths Bryan will descend to in order to retain his title against the best competition in the world.
If successful, it opens up opportunities for WWE Creative to expand its playbook and tell different stories than the same handful it has relied on for the last decade.
If not, it threatens the effectiveness of Bryan's run as the lead villain on Tuesday nights.
Randy Orton Humiliates Rey Mysterio, Intensifies Budding Rivalry
Randy Orton escalated his rivalry with Rey Mysterio this week. Not only did he beat him, but he also humiliated the future Hall of Famer.
He tore at his mask, bloodied his arm and wrapped a chair around his head before sending him face-first into the ring post. Then, he left the legendary luchador disgraced, taking his mask and leaving him lying to close out the broadcast.
Orton has been delightfully evil since turning heel and targeting the most beloved babyfaces. He has been relentless, despicable and calculating as he targeted the ear of Jeff Hardy, broke the hand of Tye Dillinger and humiliated The Master of the 619.
The question now is whether he brings out a side of Mysterio fans of WWE have never seen before.
The returning legend has had a strong few months, delivering performances that had fans remembering the all-time great who was responsible for so many classic matches and moments. But fans have yet to see a Mysterio with a purpose.
Programming him with Orton, who can pull it out of him, was the right move and one that will only serve to help the Mysterio character as he looks to re-establish his star in Vince McMahon's wrestling empire.