Date: December 9, 2022
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
We’re coming up on the end of the year and that means the Royal Rumble is still pretty far away. This time around we have a Tag Team Title match as the Brawling Brutes challenge the Usos, which should be a good fight. Other than that, it’s time to get ready for next week’s Intercontinental Title match so let’s get to it.
Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Brawling Brutes
The Brutes (Sheamus/Butch with Ridge Holland) are challenging while Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa are here with the champs. Sheamus headlock takeovers Jimmy down to start and then blasts him with a clothesline. Butch comes in and gets taken into the corner for a throat first drop across the top as we take a break.
Back with Butch still in trouble but managing a German suplex off the ropes. That’s enough for the tag off to Sheamus for the house cleaning. We get the stereo multiple forearms to the chest, with Butch even outlasting Sheamus to make it worse. Super White Noise drops Jey for two and we take another break.
Back again with Butch knocking Jey off the top as Jimmy kicks Sheamus on the apron. That earns Jimmy White Noise on the apron but Jey dives onto Sheamus. Butch moonsaults onto the champs, setting up a powerbomb out of the corner for two on Jimmy back inside. Sheamus Razor’s Edges Jimmy into a neckbreaker for two more with Jey making the save. Holland cuts off an interfering Sheamus but Sikoa sends Holland into the timekeeper’s area. Butch comes back in and forearms Jey but Jimmy makes the blind tag, setting up the 1D to retain at 19:38.
Rating: B. Good fight here, though there is still not a ton of drama to the Usos’ title defenses. After such an epic reign, there is no reason to believe that they are going to lose in a spot like this. The match was good as Sheamus and Butch work well together, but Sheamus/Drew McIntyre would have felt that much better.
Braun Strowman runs into Kurt Angle (the birthday boy) in the back and Gable Steveson. Strowman wants Steveson on Smackdown and offers him these hands. Steveson says Strowman will be the first person he comes to see, though everyone is perfectly cool.
Here is LA Knight for a chat. He knows that he has struck a nerve in Bray Wyatt (with an insult to the crowd for popping for Wyatt’s name) and doesn’t buy Wyatt denying that he attacked Knight. We see some clips of Knight being attacked in recent weeks, with small images of Bray’s mask visible. The video is hacked, with Bray’s voice saying do it, because “he deserves to be punished”. We see some clips of Knight in pain, Uncle Howdy, and the old rocking chair. With Howdy’s face on screen, someone says the door is closed to wrap it up. Knight says that is all the evidence you need so he’ll go do something about it right now.
Legado del Fantasma were being interfered in the parking lot (uh oh) when Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey showed up to slam Shotzi’s hand in a car door. So they’re the Enforcers and Shotzi is Barry Windham. Got it.
Rousey and Baszler say to call the China shop because the bulls are coming. Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox come in to call them out but Rousey and Baszler have no idea what they’re talking about.
Legado del Fantasma vs. Viking Raiders
The rest of Legado and Valhalla are here with Zelina Vega joining commentary. Erik runs Wilde over to start and it’s off to Ivar for a shoulder in the corner. Cue Hit Row’s music, with B Fab showing up on the stage. Hit Row comes in through the crowd and jumps Legado for the DQ at 1:47.
Post match Hit Row wrecks the Vikings as well (with Hit Row not exactly looking smooth in the process).
LA Knight goes looking for Bray Wyatt and finds his shirt. Then the lights go out and we see the mask.
Kurt Angle is having his birthday party in the back….and gets a birthday card from Jason Jordan for a nice reunion.
It’s time for the contract signing between Gunther and Ricochet. Cue the New Day (in Tommy from Power Rangers tribute gear) to say we know how this is going. Adam Pearce: “You don’t think that’s how this is going to go do you?” Woods: “Have you ever watched wrestling?” Pearce: “Good point.” Gunther is sick of these jokes and says he’s a wrestler rather than a performer. Ricochet: “Did you just say you have a problem performing?” The fight is teased so Pearce makes a six man.
Imperium vs. New Day/Ricochet
Imperium is sent outside to start and the triple dives take them down again before the bell. We settle down (and start) with Kaiser being taken down and splashed by Woods but Vinci sends him outside. Back from a break with Vinci catching Woods in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and handing it off to Gunther.
That means a big boot to knock Ricochet off the apron and a seated senton for two on Woods. Kaiser gets in a few more shots, only to have Woods slip away to make the hot tag off to Kofi. A high crossbody gives Kofi two but Kaiser trips him from the floor. Kofi gets sent over the announcers’ table and we take another break.
Back again with Gunther and Ricochet coming in, with the former blasting him with a chop. Ricochet is back up with a kick to the head, earning himself another hard kick. A Code Red gives Ricochet two and it’s back to Kofi. Vinci’s powerbomb is countered into a hurricanrana and Ricochet gets to clean house again. Woods dives onto Vinci and Gunther on the floor, leaving Kofi to Trouble in Paradise Kaiser. Ricochet’s shooting star press finishes Kaiser at 18:45.
Rating: B-. This match did exactly what it needed to as you have New Day and Ricochet both coming up on title shots within the next week. Gunther has minions like Kaiser for just such an occasion so it isn’t like anything important was lost. Other than that, it was solid action for a long time as New Day still wrestle a rather entertaining match when they cut out the shenanigans.
Post match Ricochet and Gunther have a staredown.
The Alpha Academy can’t get into Kurt Angle’s party but the Street Profits can. Why the Olympian and his enforcer are stopped by one guy in a suit guarding the entrance isn’t clear.
The Bloodline celebrates their win, with Solo Sikoa not looking thrilled. They’re off to get some food but Jey Uso holds Sami Zayn back. Jey suggests that Sami trim his hair and beard for next week when Roman Reigns is back. It might be a big night for him.
John Cena is back for the December 30 Smackdown.
Rey Mysterio is rehabbing his knee when Karrion Kross and Scarlett come in. The trainer calls for security as Kross sits down. He’s not here to fight, but rather to talk about how Dominik Mysterio has treated his dad. Kross mentions that Scarlet is from Romania, where things can be very rough.
When she was a kid, her family had a champion thoroughbred horse. Then one day it stopped running as fast so they made it a work horse. Then one day it couldn’t even do that, making the horse totally worthless. One day you have to put a horse out of its misery. Security comes in, with Kross telling Rey to look at the time before leaving. This worked.
Video on Tegan Nox and all of the obstacles she has overcome.
Lacey Evans continues to train with the Marines.
Liv Morgan/Tegan Nox vs. Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler
Nox takes Baszler down in the corner to start but gets hit in the face. Rousey comes in to drop Nox again and mocks Morgan on the apron. The ankle lock is broken up rather quickly and Nox gets over to Morgan. Baszler comes in to run Morgan over as Raquel Rodriguez comes out, despite referees and agents holding her back. Morgan jawbreaks her way out of the Kirifuda Clutch, setting up the Shiniest Wizard from Nox for the pin at 4:08.
Rating: C. This didn’t have time to go anywhere and the distraction finish wasn’t the best. The good thing here though was having Nox get a win to reestablish herself on the main roster. Baszler losing is a little weird, but Rousey vs. Rodriguez II should be a great match on a major Smackdown or even at the Royal Rumble.
Here is hometown boy Kurt Angle for his birthday celebration….and the Alpha Academy interrupts almost immediately. They don’t think much of Angle, who leaves without having a fight. Otis tries some cake, with Angle saying they’ll need a lot of milk. Cue the milk truck (with Gable Steveson hanging out of the door) so Angle and Steveson can throw milk at the Academy. Kurt even busts out the hose (Cole: “ANGLE MILKING THIS FOR ALL IT’S WORTH!”) for a recreation of a recreation to end the show. Cole:” This was an utter failure!” Dang it why do I have to love lame puns so much?
Overall Rating: B. The wrestling was quite good here and it set some stuff up for the next few weeks, but the ending left something to be desired. It felt like a moment where they could do a little something with Angle and instead it was just redoing something from 20+ years ago (which was a knockoff even back then). It felt very much like an “uh, ok then” ending and didn’t exactly do much for anyone outside of the live crowd, with Gable Steveson just kind of hanging out with Angle for the sake of an appearance. That was just a minor thing at the end though, leaving this as a nice show, even if it was there to set stuff up.
Usos b. Brawling Brutes – 1D to Butch
Legado del Fantasma b. Viking Raiders via DQ when Hit Row interfered
New Day/Ricochet b. Imperium – Shooting star press to Kaiser
Liv Morgan/Tegan Nox b. Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler – Shiniest Wizard to Baszler
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