9 Ups & 3 Downs From Last Night's WWE SmackDown (Dec 11)

Mustafa Ali moonlights and Daniel Bryan rages on a stellar TLC pay-per-view go-home show.

Daniel Bryan Crazy

WWE's most consistent weekly brand rolled into Las Vegas with a wonderful TLC 2018 go-home show last night, delivering only the usual handful of lulls in the process.

News that 205 Live's Mustafa Ali would wrestle WWE Champion Daniel Bryan on the show sent ripples of excitement through workrate-focused fans hours before SmackDown hit the airwaves. Their in-ring confrontation bled into the advertised bout, kicking things off in red-hot fashion, with the champ going all-in on his new holier-than-thou gimmick, and Ali relishing the opportunity to shine on a bigger stage.

Elsewhere, we got major developments in the women's division as Asuka faced Charlotte Flair in a big WrestleMania 34 rematch, with Becky Lynch watching on from ringside. The New Day hosted a rap battle between The Bar and The Usos, Jeff Hardy and Rusev teamed to face their respective rivals (Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura), Rey Mysterio sought revenge on Randy Orton, and the Shane McMahon/Miz storyline continued. Oh, Andrade 'Cien' Almas is still missing in action as well.

Muddied only by a handful of minor, minor complaints, SD hit the mark. Again.

(Note: Owing to the Christmas holidays, this will be your writer's last Ups & Downs of 2018, though the column will continue throughout the festive period. See you again in January!)


A caffeine-dependent life-form from the frozen wastes of north east Scotland. He once tried to start a revolution but didn't print enough pamphlets, so hardly anyone turned up. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.