11 Ups & 2 Downs From Last Night's WWE SmackDown (Jan 8)

Asuka awaits as Becky Lynch conquers Charlotte and Carmella.

Becky Lynch Asuka

SmackDown is always a net positive these days, but while we've come to expect quality weekly output from WWE's blue brand, genuine excellence only comes around once every couple of months.

Last night's show hit that mark. It was about as strong as anyone can expect from this era of WWE television, and a compelling piece of evidence for the argument that SmackDown has now exceeded even NXT as the company's most consistent show.

Sure, these two hours had their flaws, but they were minor. The highs, meanwhile, were stunning, and it's great to see the writing team hitting such high levels this early in the year.

A women's Triple Threat took centre stage, as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Carmella collided for the right to challenge for Asuka's SmackDown Women's Championship. While they occupied the main event, WWE Champion Daniel Bryan was all over the show. He took his anti-consumerist stance to a new level in a couple of backstage segments, tussled with R-Truth in the opener, and fell afoul of his foil, 'the real AJ Styles.'

Elsewhere, we got a big Tag Team Title match as The Usos challenged The Bar, a follow-up on last week's Rusev/Shinsuke Nakamura shenanigans, and Andrade 'Cien' Almas scoring a rare pinfall victory. Rejoice!

What a show, what a night, and what a brand.


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.