Well well well. Look at you Mr. Blue. I’m back in the seat. When I first embarked on reviewing wrestling in the written form, my first task was reviewing SmackDown for Phoenix Plex Review. Now, it’s nearly a year later, tons of things have changed; and I’m back where I used to be (hopefully a better, more improved writer). It’s never been a more fitting time for me to step in the car and get in the driver’s seat. This is a rare live SD, which is typically better than all those pre-taped events; as live TV for one just makes things better. Also, there are already two title matches announced for the show (hence the title), as New Day defend vs. The Lucha Dragons, and Kevin Owens looks for revenge in a triple threat vs. Dolph Ziggler & Dean Ambrose; in a triple threat for the Intercontinental Championship. This show definitely has potential. Let’s get to the live~! matches.
Aired: December 22, 2015
Wells Fargo Arena
Des Moines, IA
We’re live from Des Moines, as the Christmas theme continues. The stage is decorated with presents, trees, and such.
Tag titles first. New Day vent their frustration regarding the Slammy snub. They’re not going to let it ruin their holiday. We’re about to get the biggest present of all. It’s the gift of wrapping up LUCHA BOOTY’s and sending them home with all kinds of coal, and retaining their tag titles in the process. They shift gears to promote their Christmas album!
This was a nice and long opener. It went many ways but still kept its pace and made use of a multi-segment build. There was a lot of craziness, including one of the biggest botched dives I’ve ever seen in my life from Sin Cara. Cole also mistook Kalisto for Sin Cara. Lots of accidents, but none the less; the match was still damn good. Lucha Dragons brought out all the double team offense possible, and overcame some heel tricks to keep the match going, which misses from a lot of tags. Face in peril was played to a tee by Cara, ya know, by kind of just getting worked over so the best hot tag in the WWE could come in. Even if New Day either dominated or at least tried, the pacing and timing of the match helped in thinking Luchas could get an upset. The match worked its way towards the finish, whilst I was thinking New Day were finally dropping the titles. After the Dragons still managed to overcome the numbers game, and Xavier was knocked off the apron, Cara went for about the 5th springboard moonsault of the night but was caught on E’s shoulder for the Big Ending. Really cool finish to a back and forth battle with some ugly spots.
Santino is still here. He’s in his little sweater and brings out cobra. A star was placed on a tree. BUT, Stardust grabs it off.
Renee interviews Dean Ambrose. Dean talks about the cage match last night and the IC title match tonight. Him and Kevin Owens have been beating each other “in all shapes and sizes.” He used a metaphor regarding that quote — cookie cutters…and awkward silence was imposed and a Gordon Ramsay joke was thrown at his S/O. More food stuff was thrown in, driving this to the edge of a coked up Warrior promo. He’s defending his title tonight and that’s a fact.
Jesus. My first reaction when this popped up. Jesus. My reaction when this match spanned over 3 segments. This match wasn’t necessarily ‘bad’, but it was very forgetful. Some highlights included a 7/10 on the Cedric Scale Michinoku Driver from Harper on Ryback, Kane taking out Strowman (not the first interaction where Strowman snapped like a beginner Tough Enough contestant), and Bray doing his thing which is generally a nice in-ring style to enjoy. The Dudleys bumped around a lot (especially D-Von who took an absolutely nasty superkick flop on the floor). After 3 segments of holds, missed wrestling cause of commercials, and glimpses of good stuff, Bray gave Bubba the Sister Abigail for the win. The only benefit of seeing 3 segment’s worth of rest holds was Rowan’s two fist crusher; which is awesome and would fit in 80’s WWF matches perfectly.
Santino is back. The tree is thrown over and Stardust & The Ascension take credit for such. Christmas has been welcomed…to the wasteland. Neville is here with an elf hat. Lol. Bet Vince called that. Titus now shows up, and I’m sure this is turning into some kind of tag. Titus/Neville is actually a really cool looking tag on screen. They’re going to have to “take Christmas back” by beating The Ascension. This is quite doable.
The League of Nations have been booked very well as of late, and this match stems off of the fact that The Usos were attacked backstage on RAW last night before the Steel Cage main event. This is completely skippable. No substance was injected into this match, as it was mostly lifeless. We got a few cool spots such as ADR slipping through the ropes because of The Usos staying alert, and oh…wait, I think that’s all I remember. The rest was L.O.N. working over either/or of the pair, and other times where they’d fire back up to get the crowd going with those chants you all know (and meh). Barrett caused a distraction for the finish where ADR could follow through on the absolute WORST finisher in wrestling; the top rope stomp to an opponent waiting for him to do so. ADR vs. Cena on RAW should be quite the spectacle.
After the match Sheamus was about to give a Brogue Kick to an Uce with a title wrapped around his head, but Reigns came in for the save of his family; and single handedly took the stable out like he did on RAW. A superkick/Superman Punch combo was hit on Rusev as Barrett & Sheamus retreated.
This Superstars/WWE Live Event match got promoted to the Super SD platform. There’s a terribly awkward vibe to The Ascension being involved in comedy. The match didn’t last long at all none the less, with Neville being worked over for a quick portion with the Titus hoss hot tag. Santino brought out the cobra when trapped in a corner with the three guys on his tail. Then, a Red Arrow was delivered to Konnor. The narrative building up to the match was the best part about this itself. Filler at its finest(?)
Renee Young interviews Dolph Ziggler. Let’s hope it goes better than the first time around with Dean. For weeks he’s been in the IC title scene. He feels like he’s gone about this all wrong. Interference has flanked him from all sides and he’s been stuck in the middle of this triangle. He puts over the potential win and a potential Year of Ziggler (2016).
I thought the main event was up but I was mistaken. Becky is on commentary for this one. I’m so ready for the puns. Yet another extremely short match which serves as something that had to be done for filler. I’m going to need to get used to these types of matches as I’m doing SD all the time. Becky on commentary the best thing about this, with her contemplating answering things one way or the other, such as how she values her friendship with Charlotte compared to a win; as well as putting over her respectful winning ways compared to Charlotte’s cheat to win philosophy. Charlotte did a nice move for once (swinging neckbreaker transitioned off of Brie sitting on the second rope). Near the end of the match, Team B.A.D. came out to Sasha’s music (yay!), with Sasha in a onesie and the other two dressed up in the spirit as well. Naomi poured eggnog on Becky’s head and ended up getting speared. Charlotte locked in the Figure 8 to cap everything off.
Renee Young interviews the last man left, Kevin Owens. He proclaims that the match is for HIS title. Much like how Neville won HIS Slammy award. “You can shake your head all you want,” Owens says in the incredible promo tone he excels at. Renee reminds him that Dean isn’t the only one in the match, and Owens responds by downplaying that as he’s bombarded Ziggler with deadly actions over the last few weeks. Tonight, he’s turning SmackDown into the Kevin Owens Show, and is walking out IC Champ. He also tells Renee she looks ridiculous. Best promo of the night as per usual, and Kev always nails the little things that make up such.
A highly questionable and mediocre main event. It’s very hard to nail the triple threat stipulation down, especially on TV where you have to jump through hoops via segments and all that. This was a spotty, which was fine, but it got bumped down because of the presentation of the genre. There were multiple times where guys bumped on their knees, and everything felt low-impact except for a few chucks into Christmas themed objects and a deadly KO suplex on Ambrose (which was replayed about 7 times). There was nothing else of note other than a cool spot regarding the finish in which Ambrose had Owens in the Dirty Deeds and got Zig-Zagged. Other than that, a very awkward vibe was transmitted through each man’s performance (Owens being fine but rusted an ugly tint because of others’ work with him). Ambrose playing face in peril didn’t work, the Ambrose/Ziggler confrontations were flat-out missable, and the cluster use of moves and superkicks (which were more noticeable in the match because they were used as impact moves on Zigglers part) made this not live up to its potential. Speaking of superkicks, Ziggler did just that to Owens who was in-between the ropes, but got caught in a Dirty Deeds as Dean retains his Intercontinental Championship.
Ambrose celebrates to end the show.
As most WWE holiday shows tend to be, this is one in the same as it’s skippable, but if you can, be sure to check out the opener and only the opener as it was a ***1/2 affair; best of the night. However, if you don’t want to see Sin Cara nearly break his neck, skip the show altogether and wait for Mauro to save the blue brand.