Main Event – December 22, 2017: Even Dana Brooke Can’t Help

Main Event
Date: December 21, 2017
Location: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph

We’re almost to the end of the year here and hopefully the show does well on the way to 2018. Thankfully we have a lot of clips from both shows this week, but Smackdown might not be the most thrilling option in the world. I think you can guess what’s going to get the focus from Raw though. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Kalisto vs. Ariya Daivari

Kalisto does a standing backflip to start and Daivari isn’t sure what to think. A standing hurricanrana and an armdrag out of the corner send Daivari outside for a flip dive. Back in and Daivari gets in a cheap shot to escape the Salida Del Sol and grabs a quickly broken chinlock. An abdominal stretch keeps Kalisto in trouble until he slips out and tries a sleeper. Daivari has had it with these holds and grabs a spinebuster for two instead. The frog splash misses though and the hurricanrana driver plants Daivari. Back up and Daivari talks trash, setting up the Salida Del Sol to give Kalisto the pin at 6:03.

Rating: C-. Daivari is fine in the ring but basically a black hole of charisma. There’s only so much you can do to overcome that and we’re nowhere near the point where Daivari is going to pull that trick off. Kalisto is still the same guy he’s been for a long time but that finisher is going to carry him as far as he needs to go.

From Raw.

Here’s Kurt Angle to get things going. He recaps last week’s main event as well (they really need to stop doing that just after we watched a video saying the same thing) and promises to solve the problem by the end of the night. Strowman comes out to say he should get the shot, followed by Kane to do the same. Before anything can happen, Paul Heyman comes out to say Lesnar needs to be involved in this. Brock hits the ring and Angle speeds through an announcement of the triple threat at the Rumble so he can get out. Lesnar cleans house and F5’s Kane.

From Smackdown.

Here’s Bryan to get things going. After mentioning the women’s Royal Rumble, he plugs tonight’s main event. Cue Shane and it’s time for the awkward conversation. They talk about Sunday’s match and Shane says the emotions got the better of him. When he was about to count the three, he thought of Owens beating his father up and the two of them screwing Smackdown at Survivor Series.

Bryan cheated too though, and Shane wants to know why. Daniel says he did it to protect Shane from himself, which Shane says he doesn’t need. What Bryan did on Sunday was to protect their idea: making this place the land of opportunity for everyone, not just the people Shane likes. Shane warns Bryan that Sami and Kevin will turn on him when they’ve gotten what they can out of him. Bryan accuses Shane of doing what’s best for business, and if that’s the case, fire him now because he doesn’t want to see Shane turn into Mr. McMahon. Shane teases firing him but says he’ll let Daniel run the show tonight.

And from later in the same night.

Randy Orton/Shinsuke Nakamura/AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn

Rematch from Tribute to the Troops. Orton and Mahal get things going but everything breaks down before anything happens. Everyone winds up on the floor with Orton bouncing Mahal off the announcers’ table. Back in where Nakamura is driven into the wrong corner so Sami can start in on the arm. Nakamura lays on Sami’s chest on the ropes and pulls his chest hair out for a rare bit of offense. Orton drapes Sami over the top rope for two and it’s back to Mahal. The referee tells him thirty seconds and about thirty seconds later we go to a break with Owens stomping on Orton.

Back with Orton fighting out of a chinlock and bringing AJ in to….get sent outside in short order. Sami gets in some right hands for two of his own as the villains start taking turns on Styles. AJ DDT’s his way to freedom and brings in Nakamura for the real house cleaning. A series of kicks and knees to the head rock Sami and that means Good Vibrations. More strikes look to set up the exploder but Nakamura settles for a cross armbreaker instead.

Owens is right there with the backsplash for the save but gets sent outside. Everything breaks down again with AJ slingshotting onto Owens with the forearm. The Singh Brothers break up the Kinshasa but only get ejected instead of drawing a DQ. Not that it matters as Mahal eats an RKO, drawing them back to ringside. That means a double draping DDT, a Phenomenal Forearm for Owens and Kinshasa for the pin on Sami at 15:21.

Rating: C+. Standard house show main event here and that’s fine enough. I like the idea of Nakamura getting some feature time for a change as he could become a big time player in the main event scene soon enough if need be. That being said, was there ANY reason for Sami to take the pin here instead of Mahal? Come on already.

Apollo Crews vs. Curt Hawkins

Crews armdrags him into an armbar to start as the announcers talk about the 145 match losing streak. I’d pay to see his performance evaluation. Back up and Crews flips over Hawkins, sending him out for a breather. For some reason Hawkins lays down for Crews, only to try to pull him in for a small package. Back in and Crews is sent shoulder first into the post and we take a break. Back with Crews getting two off a standing moonsault and putting Hawkins on top. That just means a sunset bomb for two, followed by the Toss Powerbomb to end Curt at 8:42.

Rating: D+. Can we please find someone else to beat Hawkins up? We’ve covered this one about as long as possible and it’s not getting any better. Even having Dana Brooke as the secretary/analyst on the floor didn’t help here as there’s only so much you can do with a pairing like this.

Video on Stephanie McMahon announcing the Women’s Royal Rumble, plus reactions to the announcement.

From Raw.

Seth Rollins vs. Jason Jordan

Joe is at ringside. Jordan wrestles him to the mat for a bit until Rollins superkicks him in the ribs. A clothesline knocks Jordan at Joe’s feet and we take a break. Back with Jordan working on the back off some Irish whips into the corner. It’s off to a chinlock with a knee in the back before the running shoulder in the corner gets two.

Jordan gets in another suplex and we take a break. Back again with Rollins getting in some offense of his own, including the springboard clothesline. Jordan clotheslines him down again but gets knocked outside for a suicide dive. The second springboard clothesline is countered into rolling northern lights suplexes for two more as this keeps going.

Jordan takes him up top but gets shoved down, setting up the frog splash for two more. They head outside with the Wind-Up Knee smashing into Jordan’s face. Seth throws Jordan into Joe before superkicking the Samoan down. Back in and the Wind-Up Knee finishes Jordan at 19:49.

Rating: B-. WAY longer than necessary here and another match that showcased the problem with Jordan: he can have good matches but he’s one of the most annoying, whiny characters around. The good thing is they seem primed to turn him heel (the right move) so it might get better, but for now he’s being rather annoying.

And from later in the show.

The Bar/Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose/Jason Jordan

Jordan tags himself in and gets to face Sheamus, who clotheslines his head off. The triple stomping sets up a Sheamus knee drop for two as Jordan is in trouble. Back from a break with Rollins in trouble this time, including a Demolition Decapitator for two. The Irish Curse keeps Seth down but a DDT gives him a little hope. Joe breaks up the hot tag attempt though and hits the corner enziguri.

Sheamus goes shoulder first into the post but Rollins still can’t make the tag. Everything breaks down with a big brawl on the floor with Ambrose cleaning house. Cesaro cuts off another hot tag attempt but Dean comes in anyway. A big suicide dive cuts everyone off but Dean is holding his elbow. The referee calls the doctor over and a very quick Brogue Kick ends Rollins at 13:30.

Rating: C. Well that’s not good. They went straight to the finish and while they did keep the camera on Dean longer than they usually would in an injury, that seemed a bit too realistic. Hopefully he’s not hurt and doesn’t have to miss any time, though given how things have gone for the Shield it wouldn’t surprise me.

Joe and the Bar attack Rollins and Ambrose, including crushing the bad arm with an anvil case.

Overall Rating: C-. The lack of Smackdown material is far from surprising as there just wasn’t enough going on Tuesday to warrant a spot here. The Women’s Royal Rumble is the biggest story of the week and that deserves a lot of attention on this show. Just having a little Smackdown stuff helped though and that’s what this show has been needing. Well, one of many things but it’s a start.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Volume VI: July – December 1999 in e-book or paperback. Check out the information here:

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