WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 4
SmackDown Live has set a complete focus on WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, a night that includes multiple huge matches for the blue brand. The December 4 edition was all about building up the huge pay-per-view.
Going into the show, a contract signing was set, with Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Asuka all expected to appear before they compete in the first-ever women's TLC match. Daniel Bryan was also booked to address AJ Styles directly by appearing on Miz TV.
Two big matches were also announced for the night: Randy Orton would fight once more against Jeff Hardy following The Viper's latest assault of Rey Mysterio, while Cesaro, Xavier Woods and Jey Uso would compete in a Triple Threat match to gain momentum for their title bout together.
While WWE Raw continues to flounder, its counterpart on Tuesday can seemingly do no wrong. The show always looks exciting, and the talent shines through.
All the December 4 edition of SmackDown had to do was keep the blue brand's momentum pushing forward.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch all came out to sign their contract, with general manager Paige keeping the peace.
The Irish Lass Kicker signed first and made clear she was ready for Sunday before walking out. The Queen and The Empress of Tomorrow got into an argument that almost turned into a match.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville interrupted to complain about who was in the title match at TLC. The GM decided to have Charlotte and Asuka team up against the former members of Absolution.
The Man returned during the contest to scout and mock her competition. The title contenders broke down late, with The Nature Girl hitting a big boot on The Empress, who retaliated with a running knee to set up Deville to pin Charlotte for the win.
Deville and Rose def. Charlotte and Asuka by pinfall
The opening segment and match that followed were both solid ways to open the show. More importantly, they did their job by continuing to build the lead stories in the women's division.
Lynch is driven by an indomitable will and refuses to believe anyone can stop her now that she is willing to do anything to win. The Queen's confidence has grown into arrogance, and Asuka feels she has been wildly overlooked and refuses to be ignored anymore.
The biggest story to get a boost from this segment, though, is Deville's quiet rise to relevance. The former MMA star has looked impressive in recent weeks, but a pinfall victory over Charlotte is easily the biggest moment of her young career.
Cesaro vs. Xavier Woods vs. Jey Uso
While Kofi Kingston and Big E watched at their own commentary table, Xavier Woods tried his best to stay in this physical contest against Jey Uso and Cesaro. Each man got close to the win in a fast and intense fight for momentum.
The Swiss Superman impressively hit the giant swing on Jey while keeping Woods in an airplane spin, but it was not enough to take the victory, as Jey caught Cesaro with a superkick for the win.
Jey def. Cesaro and Woods by pinfall
This was a fun sprint, with all three men pulling out impressive offense throughout. Cesaro especially continues to be a highlight-reel performer.
This could easily have been a preview for how good the Triple Threat championship match will be at TLC. These teams are all far too talented not to make a major impact, even while they tell fairly forgettable stories along the way.
Daniel Bryan and The Miz Almost Find Common Ground on Miz TV
Before Miz TV could start, Carmella and R-Truth interrupted for a surprise dance break. The A-Lister introduced Daniel Bryan and repeatedly attempted to get him to admit he became WWE champion by listening to Miz.
The Beard was not interested in answering, turning his ire on the fans for ruining the environment and being constantly fickle. AJ Styles finally stopped waiting and came out to take down his rival.
However, with the host stuck in the middle of the conflict, The Miz laid out The Phenomenal One with a Skull-Crushing Finale as the WWE champion managed to escape.
This was an unsurprisingly fantastic segment, as Bryan and Miz worked off each other again. The A-Lister helped to push The Beard to present more of who he is as a heel, with the champ loving every second as he threw confident digs at the crowd.
It was interesting to see Bryan take such an aggressive environmental approach to his promo, an angle that could get cheap heat easily. Still the top three male performers on SmackDown, it is impossible to go wrong with Miz, Styles and Bryan.
Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy tried to play Randy Orton's game early by getting physical, but The Viper did not slow down. He took back command of the match at every turn, even after The Charismatic Enigma managed to block multiple RKO attempts in a row.
The Daredevil caught The Apex Predator with a Twist of Fate, but Orton ducked outside. Hardy set up his longtime rival on the announce table and went for a Swanton Bomb, but Samoa Joe appeared on the TitanTron at a bar, and the distraction allowed The Viper to hit an RKO for the three-count.
The Samoan Submission Specialist then gave the WWE Universe a public service announcement about drinking responsibly.
Orton def. Hardy by pinfall
This match has been utilized too frequently in recent months to be interesting at this point. While the clash was perfectly fine, neither of these veterans varies up his offense enough to make another match between them exciting.
Joe's involvement was more interesting. Few men are better on the mic than him, and he can sell anything. This was silly, but it worked.
AJ Styles vs. The Miz
Before this match, Daniel Bryan announced backstage he was heading to commentary.
While AJ Styles and The Miz went to war, the champion railed on commentary, especially against Byron Saxton. Eventually, Bryan had had enough sitting back and distracted The Phenomenal One to set up a Skull-Crushing Finale near-fall.
Despite Bryan's help, The A-Lister still got rolled into the Calf Crusher and tapped out quickly. Afterward, The Beard caught Styles with a chop block and then trapped him in a heel hook.
Styles def. Miz by submission
It is no fluke that the first great match of Styles' WWE career and the contest that began the greatest run of Miz's career was the first time these two men wrestled. This was a top-notch match, with Bryan honestly distracting from the action.
This is fine, though, because there will always be time for these two to fight again. For now, it is important to establish Bryan and his impact on SmackDown. He's been great so far as the blue brand's new top heel.