While Raw has been struggling to keep fans engaged for the last few weeks, SmackDown Live has had no such issue. TLC might be a secondary PPV taking place at a time of year when WWE angles are in a bit of a lull, but that hasn't stopped Team Blue from continuing to excel. The two most anticipated matches at TLC are SmackDown Live affairs. Daniel Bryan versus AJ Styles, and the first-ever women's TLC match. The build to both of those matches was finalized on this week's SmackDown Live.
RELATED: HUGE TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS WEEK'S RAW
If you happened to be scrolling through social media before SmackDown Live started this week, you may have stumbled upon an interesting announcement. That Daniel Bryan would be competing in a first-time ever match, and not one many would have expected. The WWE Champion faced Mustafa Ali, and the match opened SmackDown Live. Ali interrupted Bryan's self-righteous promo and after it became clear to the champ that he couldn't tempt him to the dark side, the match could begin. It wasn't as long as purist fans would have wanted it to be, but it was never going to be on a two-hour show. What's important is that it happened, and hopefully, it will one day happen again on a bigger stage.
We know that The New Day is WWE's resident comedy act, but does anyone really enjoy segments like the one we saw them in this week? Okay, we know that Vince McMahon enjoys them, but anyone other than that? New Day hosted and judged a rap battle between The Usos and The Bar. As you might have guessed, Sheamus and Cesaro didn't fair too well. The SmackDown Tag Team Champions came to the ring in questionable attire and proceeded to pay homage to Vanilla Ice. The segment thankfully ended with an altercation and that's where The Bar thrived. No rapping at TLC please, just wrestling.
The Miz is not giving up on his attempts to try and form a tag team with Shane McMahon. Ever since the two of them won the best in the world trophy at Crown Jewel, Miz has been convinced the two of them would make a formidable team. This week, Miz tricked a referee and told two local wrestlers that Paige would pay them so he and McMahon could have another impromptu match. This time Miz left Shane O Mac to do the fighting, and it worked. The commissioner fought off both opponents and won the match, but he was not happy about it.
Randy Orton has been on the main roster in WWE for an impressive 16 years. During that time, The Viper has had some iconic matches and rivalries. What he has proved time and time again is that he is at his very best when being vindictive and vicious. That's why Orton still gets strong reactions from the crowd to this day. In 2018, the 13-time World Champion has been systematically dismantling targets on SmackDown Live. The latest victim in his crosshairs has been Rey Mysterio. Orton has been using steel chairs to seriously hurt Mysterio time and time again. This week, the luchador got some payback. While Orton was bragging about what he's been up to, Mysterio surprised him and did a little damage of his own.
On what was already a jam-packed SmackDown Live, we still had a massive main event to come. A WrestleMania 34 rematch between Charlotte Flair and Asuka. Many fans believed it to be the best match from this year's show of shows. Many would have also been hoping The Empress got her win back. Technically she did, but not in the way we hoped. After a grueling back and forth between the two of them, Flair once again turned to her trusty kendo stick. It seems that when she knows she can't win, that's what she will do from now on. That plan backfired, and it was actually Asuka who wound up standing tall. The Queen got distracted by Becky Lynch at ringside and took that chance to beat down both of them with her own kendo stick. Just a reminder, Flair will not be able to get herself disqualified this Sunday at TLC.