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Smackdown: Paige GM, Iconic Debut, Carmella Cashes, Heel Nakamura

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The episode of Smackdown Live after Wrestlemania is always exciting, but this year’s edition of the Blue Brand post-Wrestlemania had fans cheering.

The episode kicked off with the announcement of Paige replacing Daniel Bryan as General Manager. It was only a day earlier she had announced her in-ring retirement due to injuries.

During the segment, she didn’t rule out a come back in the future and has recently thanked Bryan for giving her hope. Bryan was recently cleared to return to in-ring competition after a two-year brief retirement from competition due to concussion issues.

Having Paige become the Smackdown GM is a good day to have her appear in a prominent role on television. Fans love Paige and while they want to see her perform in the ring, people are happy to see her continue working in WWE.

While Raw had several NXT superstars make their debut, Smackdown Live had a couple of call-ups as well – specifically the Iconic Duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Now dubbed as the IIconics, Royce and Kay mocked Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair before proceeding to attack her.  

Royce’s and Kay’s call up to the main roster has been long overdue. The two have grown as performers and characters during their time in NXT.

WWE changing their team name from the Iconic Duo to IIconics is going to take some time to digest for fans. The name change is similar to how creative renamed Ruby Riott – or in some cases had superstars like Neville, Big E and Cesaro only use one name. While it was difficult for fans to like those names at first, now you can’t imagine them going by any other name.

After their attack on Flair, the IIconics put the women’s division on notice. It’s cool to see something like this from debuting talent – the IIconics aren’t just stopping with Flair, they’re going after everyone.

The IIconics’ attack on Flair set up the other big moment of the night when Carmella finally cashed in her Money in the Bank contract to pin the Queen and win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

Carmella held her Money in the Bank contract for 287, longer than any previous MITB briefcase. She had previously attempted to cash in her contract on a couple of occasions, but the matches never started.

Fans who have watched Carmella since her NXT days are no doubt excited to see her win her first championship and take the next step in her career. Although Carmella hasn’t been in the wrestling business for long, she has paid her dues in life – which she goes into detail about on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast.

Carmella is also good at generating heel heat with her cheating and antics – and that will be a good foil to Flair and other babyfaces in the women’s division.

Putting the title on Carmella, as well as having the Iconics debut also gives the Smackdown women’s division a new chapter.

And of course came the biggest blow of the night. While fans were salivating for the dream match between Bryan and A.J. Styles – Shinsuke Nakamura took matters into his own hands and denied the crowd the finish of the match. The King of Strong Style kneed Bryan in the back of the head and attack Styles.

Nakamura’s heel turn came at Wrestlemania after he lost to Styles at Wrestlemania. The heel turn came at the height of Nakamura being one of the top babyfaces on Smackdown Live. The question would be how to generate more heel heat for Namakura – have him ruin the dream match between Styles and Bryan.

The Smackdown after Wrestlemania wasn’t perfect, but the debuts and major announcements outshined the low and mediocre moments. It also opened the doors for some big things on Smackdown in the months ahead.

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WWE Network Adds Becky Lynch Documentary

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The hot streak that SmackDown superstar Becky Lynch has been on over the past several weeks continues on WWE Network.

A brand new documentary honoring Lynch, easily the WWE’s hottest superstar at this time, has been added to the WWE Network and is now available for subscribers.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? December 10, 2018

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The Good

For Raw, their main event was between Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin in a TLC match for the Intercontinental championship and it was a great match to end the show. It had some crazy spots and was intriguing from start to finish. To make things even more interesting, Heath Slater’s story of him being a referee played into this as well and questions what lies ahead with him too. Rollins ended up winning so the championship match with Dean Ambrose at TLC is still on.

For Smackdown, the opening match between Daniel Bryan and Mustafa Ali was as good as it sounds. Along with that, they had a promo before their match started in where Daniel Bryan picked on Ali and ended up slapping him right in the face. Bryan ended up winning after applying the heel hook,which may be his new finishing submission since he has been doing that the past few weeks. After the match, Bryan proceeded to attack Ali even more on the entrance ramp, giving him all the momentum in his title match against AJ Styles.

The Bad

For Raw, it seems a little crazy that they are trying to embrace that their ratings are at an all time low. To open the show, Seth Rollins had some things to get off his chest towards Baron Corbin. In his rant,he stated that the ratings were at an all time low and that the recent shows have been bad because of Corbin. While it is a good way for management to look bad, it still looks bad to address the bad numbers and try to think of a bailout reason to address why that is.

For Smackdown, the rap battle between the Bar and the Usos was bad and good at the same time. While it was pretty humorous to see the Bar try their best Vanilla Ice impersonation, the whole concept of having a rap battle is what made it bad. While it did help build up the tag team championship match at TLC, their could’ve been another route WWE could’ve gone.

The Final Verdict

With TLC being this Sunday, both brands needed to put on good shows to get fans prepared for the PPV. Both shows did give a lot of time building it up, but things feel a lot smoother on Smackdown compared to Raw. Smackdown has done a really good job of putting time into their championship matches along with things just meant for their show. A prime example of this is giving proper build up for the WWE Championship match while at the same time wanting fans to turn in every week to see where things go for the Miz and Shane McMahon as the Miz keeps trying to get Shane on his side. Due to this,Smackdown had the better show this week and overall had a really good build for all of their matches at TLC. In conclusion, the matches for Smackdown have all the momentum going into TLC.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? December 3, 2018

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The Good

For Raw, the segment and match featuring Drew McIntyre is the best thing going for this show right now. After Baron Corbin decided to honor McIntyre by giving him a medal, Dolph Ziggler interrupted the presentation to ask for some credit for Drew’s rise to the top. McIntyre stated that he used Ziggler, which irritated Ziggler and led to a match. The match was great too and Ziggler surprisingly won after getting an assist from Finn Balor. Overall, this was a good story told to help get some spotlight for the Balor vs. McIntyre match for TLC as well as solidify the split between Ziggler and McIntyre.

For Smackdown, they did a good job of putting a lot of time into building up the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles for TLC. First, they had Daniel Bryan guest star on Miz TV, which led to a brawl between Styles, Bryan, and the Miz too. This then led to a match between AJ Styles and the Miz in the main event of the show. The match was pretty good and ended when the Miz hit the skull crushing finale on Styles after a Bryan distraction. Then, after the match, Daniel Bryan beat up Styles even more and yelled at the crowd to end the show.

The Bad

For Raw, we had another repeat match between Lucha House Party and the Revival and it just felt like filler. This has been the 3rd week in a row they have had this match and it has been the same result every time. The same thing over and over again tends to get boring after almost a month.

For Smackdown, they honestly did not have anything bad on their show. They gave time to feature a rivalry for each championship they have going as well as rivalries that they have just been building up through their show.

The Final Verdict

Both shows did put a lot of effort into building up TLC this week. Smackdown’s stories have more intrigue than Raw’s though. With that said, Smackdown ended up having the better show this week. A lot of focus was on their championship matches going into the PPV and when a brand puts a lot of time into their championships, they have a bigger feel to them. While Raw, on the other hand, doesn’t even have competition for their tag team championships anymore and we still have the same problem with the Universal Championship that we had a year ago. In conclusion, Smackdown is still doing everything right going into TLC while Raw is just coasting by.

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