Sunday, December 3, 2023

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SmackDown 09/11/18: See you in Hell

Hola SmackDown fans and welcome to this week’s SmackDown Redux. Nick is on vacation so I’ll be covering the blue brand this week. Over the weekend, it was announced that this week’s SmackDown main event will feature a match-up between Brie Bella and Maryse, this coming ahead of the women’s Mixed Tag Team match at Sunday’s Hell in a Cell PPV. The women are truly taking over!

It was also announced that Charlotte Flair would take on Sonya Deville on this week’s SmackDown but with Flair booked to defend the SmackDown Women’s Title against Becky Lynch Sunday, you know the Lass Kicker is keeping a close eye!

Before any sort of action, the WWE pays tribute to the many lives lost on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Never forget.

Ahead of her first singles match in seven years, Maryse, with her husband The Miz by her side, is interviewed backstage and uses this moment to take a jab at the Yes! Couple.

Maryse notes that it took Daniel Bryan three years to return to the ring while it only took her five months after giving birth! You go Super Mom! Maryse is ready to make her family proud by bringing a fight to Brie.

We jump to another backstage interview, this time with Flair. The SmackDown Women’s Champion is a natural competitor and come Sunday, will teach Lynch that it’s easier to talk the talk than walk the walk.

Mandy Rose accompanies Deville for this match, that starts off with Flair sidestepping out the way of Deville’s attempt of low strikes. The two women ground to the mat and trade reversals in a battle for control. They re-center the middle of the ring where Deville takes Flair down for a pin cover but Flair escapes with a bridge. Flair tries to cover with a backslide but Deville counters, sending Flair to a corner instead.

From the corner, Deville strikes Flair in the midsection with kicks and follows up with a sliding knee strike for a near fall. Deville scoops Flair up but Flair quickly reverses with a Small Package for a near fall of her own. Flair takes control with a knee drop to the back of Deville’s neck and runs the ropes where Rose provides a small distraction. This allows for Deville to strike a punch but Flair responds with a running big boot that sends Deville to the outside.

When we return from a break, Deville is in control and has Flair trapped in an abdominal stretch. Flair fights out of it, ducks a clothesline and brings Deville down with a back suplex. Chops from Flair back Deville to a corner and lays her out with a reverse STO. Flair slowly climbs the top rope for a moonsault but Deville counters with the knees.

Deville slams Flair with a spine buster but it isn’t enough to keep Flair down for the three count. Deville lands knee strikes to the midsection and locks in a triangle submission but Flair uses her strength to turn the tables with a powerbomb, follows up with the Figure Eight that forces Deville to tap out.

Post-match, Flair salutes the crowd and spots a pair of young fans in the front row to take a selfie with. Suddenly a ‘fan’ attacks Flair from behind but in reality, it was Lynch wearing a clever disguise! Lynch continues her attack, going as far as locking Flair in the Dis-Arm-Her and later vowing to do the same come Sunday to recapture the SmackDown Women’s Title.

We move on to spy Carmella accompanying R-Truth for his match against Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, who of course has Zelina Vega in his corner. Almas ends up winning the quick match after Carmella yanked Vega off the ring apron during a tranquilo session, which distracted Truth to allow Almas to roll Truth up from behind.

Before we get to our main event, we check in with Asuka who made her return to SmackDown last week when she attacked the IIconics. Naomi joins in and asks why Asuka helped her out last week. Asuka explains that she is no fan of the mean girls in the IIconics. Naomi agrees and says that Asuka is definitely feeling the glow. The pair wanders off to some enjoy some teriyaki – which is probably in catering.

And finally, we turn to our main event of the week… which doesn’t exactly play out as a match.

As expected, Daniel Bryan and The Miz are at ringside for the respective wives but Maryse spends most of the match evading any sort of physical activity. When Brie grabs a mic to call her HIAC opponents cowards, the It Couple protest the match by walking off and head to the back.

Brie chases after Maryse and tosses her back in the ring. An interaction between Miz and Bryan distracts Brie, allowing Maryse to land a high kick. The match carries on for a little bit longer until Miz yanks Brie to the outside when she locks in the Yes Lock on Maryse causing the ref to call for a disqualification.

This leads to a brawl between Bryan and Miz but in the scuffle, Bryan accidentally crashes into his wife. Despite that little road bump, the Yes Couple were able to stand against their HIAC opponents by the end of the night.

Thoughts: The biggest match, men or women, that I’m looking forward to this Sunday is Lynch vs. Flair – this is my favorite feud currently in the WWE! We’ve seen the WWE try to sell Lynch as the heel in this feud since turning on Flair at SummerSlam but I just find myself rooting for her through all the valid reasons as to why she should be Women’s Champion again. It’s been two years damn it! The Lynch disguise in the audience was a fun last minute heel tactic as it was so unexpected, she looked like a real badass and it sure beats the typical run in beat down.

Having said all that, I feel like Flair will retain Sunday. Between HIAC, the already confirmed SD Women’s Title match at WWE’s Super Show-Down AND Evolution, this feud already feels like its being set up for a trilogy but come Evolution, Lynch’s time will come again.

Flair’s match with Deville was all right but I feel like pace got a little tangled towards the end sequence. If/when a rematch happens down the line, we’ll see an improved match-up.

So I’m assuming Carmella is a babyface through this new partnership with R-Truh? It’s been so long since we’ve seen Carmella as a babyface but I think it can work as things begin to shape for the return of the Mixed Match Challenge. These two will be so entertaining to watch and I’d love to see them well in the series and will likely continue to feud with Almas/Vega Speaking of the Mixed Match Challenge, it’s such a missed opportunity to NOT have included Almas/Vega in it!

Speaking of pairings, will we continue the partnership between Asuka and Naomi be a long term deal or just until their tag match with the IIcconics? While this may give a chance for all the women involved something to do on TV, I would be lying if I didn’t  say I’m a bit sad to see how the force of Asuka has fallen switching over to SmackDown. But at the same time, this gives us a chance to see a new side of Asuka.

And finally there’s the main event match or lack of? Props to both Brie and Maryse for making their WWE returns as mother and with the huge pressure under the spotlight of a SmackDown main event slot. When this match was first announced, I really didn’t think much of it and figured that there would be a lot shenanigans with the men at ringside being involved in most of the action. For the most part, that is exactly what happened but the crowd was so into it, Maryse and Brie landed some offense on one another and both husband/wife duos played their babyface/heel roles perfectly.

I’m a little worried on how the women will do Sunday in their Mixed Tag Team match given that they still have ring rust they need to shake off but here’s hoping for the best and that if a feud between Maryse and Brie does continue beyond HIAC, they’ll show a lot more than they did on SmackDown this week.

What did you think of this week’s SmackDown? Thoughts on the Asuka/Naomi partnership? What are your predictions for Hell in a Cell? Let us know in the comments below!

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