WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Breakthrough moment for Andrade, Becky Lynch shines
There was no standout angle on Tuesday's show, but it was solid from start to finish
With less than two weeks to go until the 2019 Royal Rumble, WWE put out a solid week of main roster television that included a fun two hours of SmackDown Live on Tuesday night. While there were not nearly as many headlines from SmackDown as there were from Raw on Monday, the show nevertheless delivered.
The two primary feuds were the first few segments on the show before neither being mentioned again over the final 90 minutes. Instead, WWE concentrated on some of its more minor storylines, injecting life into superstars like Samoa Joe, Andrade (more on that name later), Naomi, Mandy Rose and others. Keep reading on to see what went down Tuesday night on SmackDown, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast below for a full recap on the week in WWE on Wednesday.
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Momentum builds for Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
SmackDown opened with Lynch pulling into the arena in her SUV and ignoring an interviewer asking whether she was truly ready for Asuka. As Lynch began to walk through the backstage area on her way to the ring, she came across Heavy Machinery blending a disgusting smoothie with protein power, eggs, pancakes, fried chicken and chunk tuna from a pouch. Lynch took a sip, calling it "a little weak" as New Day watched on and both teams agreeing she is "The Man."
Lynch hit the ring and said everyone on SmackDown and Raw has been trying to find an extra gear to be a bad-ass like her. She then said Asuka lost to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34 and had her confidence completely shaken. This led Asuka out to tell Lynch that she does not have to worry about being in Flair's shadow because she will be in Asuka's after the Royal Rumble. The IIconics' music hit, and after trying to insult Lynch, they promised to win the Royal Rumble and then become the first women's tag team champions. Lynch decided to make an example out of one of them, making a challenge while dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.
Becky Lynch def. Peyton Royce via submission | Asuka def. Billie Kaye via submission: Lynch's match spanned a commercial break, but she was never in danger and easily won with Dis-Arm-Her. An enraged Asuka screamed on the mic in Japanese, grabbed Kaye as she was walking to the back, dragged her into the ring and submitted her with the Asuka Lock in under a minute. Lacey Evans was twice shown watching Lynch's match.
The cold open was perfection achieved, as was Lynch's promo once she hit the ring. From there, everything got a bit sloppy. Asuka can speak English well enough when she's not screaming, but that's all she's allowed to do in WWE. That made it tough to understand her. The IIconics' involvement and the end of the segment was obvious from the moment their music hit. It was a fine build to the Lynch-Asuka match, but nothing to write home about other than the first minute of the show. Grade: C+
Name change and a breakout win
The advertised match between Andrade -- who is now going by one name after dropping "Cien" Almas -- was set for the second half of the show, but the build began early in a backstage interview segment. Andrade got a chance on the mic and said that while Mysterio used to be his idol, he's the future. Zelina Vega promised Andrade would beat Mysterio, win the Royal Rumble and become the WWE champion at WrestleMania 35. Later, As Mysterio walked to the ring for the match, he passed by Nikki Cross, who was going crazy inside of a chain-link cage.
Andrade def. Rey Mysterio via pinfall: Wrestled in a true luchador style, Mysterio and Andrade had one hell of a match, including a tremendous spinning sit-down powerbomb outside the ring. Andrade countered a 619 attempt late and looked prepared to hit a move when Mysterio countered back and slammed Andrarde neck-first into the canvas in a pinning combination. Mysterio then hit a 619 and went to the top rope for a frog splash, giving Vega a chance to distract the referee. Andrade came to, knocked Mysterio's feet down and hit an elevated hammerlock DDT from the top rope for the 1-2-3.
This was a stellar bout and one of the best TV matches we have seen in quite some time. It would have been nice to see Andrade go over clean -- and keep his name, the best parts of which they have trashed -- but it was still a great match and victory for the former La Sombra. Andrade is one of the top five in-ring performers on the main roster today, he has a great manager in Vega and a fantastic look. He can be a main eventer for WWE who truly appeals to a broader market, and hopefully this is the start of a push for him that puts him in a title feud on the way to WrestleMania 35. Grade: A- (points only deducted for the stupid name change)
What else happened on SmackDown?
- AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan brawl among the fans: Immediately after the women's segment to open the show, Styles's music hit and he walked around the ring staring down Lynch and Asuka before making his way through the crowd and into the concourse. He cut a quick promo before throwing T-shirts to fans and telling them to eat a table lined with hot dogs, which led to Bryan attacking him from behind. Styles quickly got the upperhand and drove Bryan through the hot dog table before the two were restrained.
- Samoa Joe lays out Mustafa Ali: Backstage, Samoa Joe was shown preparing when he spotted EC3 checking himself out in a mirror. He shook his head and walked on. When Ali hit the ring for their scheduled match, Samoa Joe threw him down off the top rope, dragged him outside and drove him face first into the ring post. Walking away, Samoa Joe changed his mind and went back, headbutting Ali before sending him flying into another ring post. He walked away but again decided to turn back, threatening to put Ali through the announce table with a powerbomb; instead, he threw him into the ringside barrier. After the commercial break, Samoa Joe said backstage that he will treat everyone else in the Royal Rumble the same way he did Ali: with no respect. He also warned the champions on both rosters to watch out for him.
- Jimmy Uso meets Mandy Rose in a hotel: During a photo shoot with his brother earlier in the show, Uso had a package delivered with a naughty note that he thought was from his wife, Naomi; instead, Jey Uso read the note and said it was from Rose, who included her room key as Jimmy looked confused. Sonya Deville was shown later calling Rose scandalous for sending Jimmy her room key; Rose admitted she was right but said her goal was to ruin Naomi's life by breaking up her marriage. Near the end of the show, Uso entered Rose's hotel room as she sat with her legs crossed in a black silk robe.
Rose stood up and removed it to show tasteful lingerie, but as Uso stopped her advances, a paparazzi ran into the room to photograph them together. Rose said of course she never wanted him; it was all about Naomi, who she despise. Rose called Naomi "nobody" and said she could never compare to her hotness. "When she gets a look at all these photos of you in my hotel room, they will destroy her entire life." Uso then furrowed his brow and asked, "My wife?" before leaving the room. Naomi entered in a full neon jumpsuit and attacked Rose. The two rolled on the bed and then brawled on the floor before Rose threw Naomi over a chair and left the room. Uso consoled her afterward.
- Bestie Birthday Bash interrupted: Miz introduced Shane McMahon, who turned 49, to a ring filled with a kid's birthday sign, two "specialty" birthday cakes, the World Cup trophy and a number of presents. The first gift was a pair of Jordan 33s. The second was a montage of his greatest moments on the TitanTron. McMahon thanked Miz, shook his hand and said he's proud to be his partner. Miz then led the crowd in "Happy Birthday," which was broken up by The Bar, which called it embarrassing. As Sheamus insulted McMahon, he criticized him for attacking Miz from behind last week and suggested they go one-on-one. Miz was not into it as he was dressed in a suit, but McMahon reminded him that he won the World Cup in street clothes then fed into Miz's ego to get him ready for the match.
- The Miz def. Sheamus via pinfall: Sheamus took the upperhand late in the match when he distracted the referee and gave Cesaro an opening to punch Miz. This angered McMahon, who jumped up on the ring apron and threw Cesaro down through the table that held both cakes. Miz rolled up Sheamus from behind for the win. Sheamus attacked Miz after the match, but McMahon hit him with the flying elbow and gave Miz the opening for a Skull-Crushing Finale. They then laid Sheamus in the corner as McMahon climbed to the top rope and hit the Van Terminator (with a cake) to end the show.
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