As SmackDown Live and the rest of WWE creeps closer to TLC on Sunday, the blue brand focused on Daniel Bryan furthering his character, a rap battle between the Usos and The Bar and the Empress versus the Queen.
It likely wasn't going to take much for SmackDown Live to be better than Raw, but did they do enough to sell fans on the idea of tuning in for the TLC pay-per-view on Sunday? The biggest match coming from Tuesday's will be Bryan vs AJ Styles and Becky Lynch defending her title against Charlotte and Asuka in a Triple Threat Match.
Here your winners and losers for SmackDown Live, December 11, 2018.
Winner: Mustafa Ali
Some might ask why exactly WWE chose to use Mustafa Ali as an opponent for Daniel Bryan leading into TLC? After all, the company is five days away from the pay-per-view and Ali has little to nothing to do with the main event, he's largely irrelevant in the big picture of WWE and nothing was going to come out of this that would help the match between Styles and Bryan.
The reason WWE chose Ali was simple. The company wanted to push Bryan's character, give him an opponent he could treat with disregard and defeat on his way to Sunday's show. It was simply a way to garner more boos from the audience while allowing for a better-than-average matchup.
Winner: Rap Battle
Normally, when WWE does these kinds of segments, they tend to fall flat. And, while this segment did little to promote whatever these teams have going on this Sunday, it was entertaining. The Bar was especially funny stepping out of their comfort zone and clearly having fun with the task of rapping something fans might enjoy.
The Usos were, of course, their ever-talented selves when it came to a battle like this showing just how underrated they are.
It was a different segment that had its pluses and minuses but more positives than negatives.
Loser: Miz and McMahon
There's something about the dynamic between The Miz and Shane McMahon that just doesn't feel right. Since winning the World Cup Tournament, there are so many ways WWE could have gone, but instead, The Miz is pawning over McMahon while trying to set him up in less-than-fruitful matches that allow him to take credit for things he's not a part of.
The angle is getting stale and that's rare for a guy who is as entertaining as The Miz has been over the last two years.
Loser: Tag Match
Rusev and Hardy versus Nakamura and Samoa Joe didn't do much other than get four competitors who will be a part of TLC on tv. This match didn't really further any angles or storylines and hardly built up momentum for their respective matches but it did remind fans the matches were still happening. A silver lining to take out of the segment if there ever was one.
Rusev did pick up a win here, so there is at least one winner here.
Winner: Asuka vs Flair
This was a strong main event that gives a little bit of momentum to Asuka heading into Sunday's TLC event. It was important that she look like a credible threat heading into the pay-per-view.
This was one of the few moments of the night where there was actual anticipation built towards one of the matches fans will watch on Sunday. For some reason, the company chose not to do so for most other bouts on the card.