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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (1/2/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable; Usos wins and retain the SmackDown Tag team Championships.
  • Breezango VS The Bludgeon Brothers; no contest.
  • WWE United States Championship Tournament: Xavier Woods VS Aiden English; Woods wins and advances to face Jinder Mahal in the semifinals.
  • Six Woman Tag: The Welcoming Committee w/ Lana VS The Riott Squad; The Riott Squad wins.
  • AJ Styles VS Sami Zayn w/ Kevin Owen, Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon ringside; Zayn wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Phenomenal One finds himself tangled in Kevin’s & Sami’s #YEPMovement.

SmackDown ended 2017 with a big match between the WWE Champion and the Prizefighter, with the Guardian Angel hanging around ringside. However, it wouldn’t be Sami who cost Styles the match, but SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon! A distraction at ringside led to Kevin getting a win, will he be getting a world title shot in 2018!?

 

AJ Styles heads to the ring.

The Champ that Runs the Camp wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Welcome to SmackDown, the House that AJ Styles Built. Fans give Styles a standing ovation and chant before he continues. New Year, new beginnings, and new resolutions, like the Men’s Royal Rumble. Styles has resolutions, too. First: take the title all the way to Wrestlemania and keep it through to the end. That seems less likely with others getting involved in his matches, though. So his second resolution is to beat Sami Zayn tonight. Styles questions the fact that a certain someone is allowing Sami Zayn to have Kevin Owens in his corner, same as last week. And with that, Styles allows SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan, to come out. The fans join Bryan in the “YES! YES!” chant as always. But before Bryan can speak, Shane McMahon comes out!

The fans cheer for Shane O’Mac, too, then more for Bryan. Shane then speaks and explains that he had the best intentions last week. He wanted Sami Zayn ejected in last week’s main event. Everyone can agree a match-up should be determined by abilities in ring, not outside distractions. Shane admits to being part of the distraction, he apologizes. Styles accepts, and Shane continues to bring up the accusations of a personal vendetta against Kevin & Sami. Bryan thinks that, for one. Shane may dislike Sami & Kevin, but claims Bryan has a biased in favor of Kevin & Sami. Why else would Bryan allow Sami to hang around at ringside? Better yet, is Bryan changing his YES Movement into the YEP Movement?

Shane finishes by saying Bryan probably won’t keep Kevin form being ringside. In which case, Shane volunteers to be ringside, too! Bryan figures that if Kevin and Shane are going to be present, then why not have Bryan ringside? 2018 starts off with a bang, “YES! YES!”

 

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable!

 

Jimmy & Jey left 2017 with the tag team division #OnLock, but will the New Year bring new champions? The Usos know it’s Gable’s & Benjamin’s New Year’s resolution. But the “soon to be Three Time Tag Team of the Year”, and Five Time Tag Team Champions, vow to keep the Uso Penitentiary open through 2018.

The bell rings, Benjamin starts against Jimmy, but he gives a cheap shot to Jey. Jimmy fights back and fights out of the Benjamin-Gable corner. He climbs up, Benjamin leaps up to throw him off! Gable moonsaults down, Jey breaks the pin.

The teams regroup while we go picture in picture.

Gable brings Jimmy into a neutral corner and wrenches the leg against the ropes. Gable then uses a dragon screw to throw jimmy down, and taunts Jey before yanking on Jimmy’s leg. Cover, TWO, Jimmy rolls away from Gable. Gable tags Benjamin, they keep on the leg. Benjamin brings Jimmy back up to go after the leg in the ropes again but Jimmy fights back. Benjamin gives him stiff shots to keep him down, then runs to ram his knee into Jimmy’s leg. Jimmy writhes in pain, Benjamin puts him in a Half-Crab. Jimmy reaches for Jey and vice-versa, but Benjamin drags Jimmy away and tags Gable. Gable takes the hand off and wrenches Jimmy’s knee again and again. Jimmy endures, and uses his free leg to fight back. Gable tackles Jimmy to deny the tag, then tags Benjamin back in. They double knee, kick and knee strike Jimmy down. Cover, TWO, tag back to Gable. Gable wrenches Jimmy’s knee again, keeping Jimmy grounded on the mat. Jimmy again fights with his free leg, but Gable keeps him anchored as we go back to single picture.

Gable manages to keep Jimmy back, but Jimmy still hits the dragon whip kick! Fans rally, the two crawl, hot tags to Jey and Benjamin! Jey rallies on Benjamin by dumping him out and FLYING! Air Uso takes out Benjamin, Jey returns to throw Gable out and FLY AGAIN! The Usos regroup, they both build speed, but Benjamin trips up Jey and throws him into barriers! Jimmy throws Gable out, but runs into Benjamin’s knee! Gable climbs up while Benjamin lifts Jimmy, DOOMSDAY! Gable & Benjamin are the NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions!! Did they just shut down the Uso Penitentiary? Wait, a secondary official appears and they sort out which Uso was legal. The instant replay shows us that…

Yes, Jey is legal, but Benjamin-Gable covered Jimmy! The match shouldn’t actually be over. Even fans call for them to “Restart the match!” We’re continuing, after break!

After SmackDown returns…

Benjamin & Gable are still upset they aren’t champions, but the Usos don’t give them time to argue. They blindside them off the apron and then throw them against barriers. Benjamin and Jey are back in the ring, SUPERKICK and uppercuts from Jey. Samoan Drop and then running hip attack corner to corner, but Gable saves Benjamin just in time. Gable hits Jimmy with a rolling kick, Jey hits Gable with an uppercut. Benjamin rolls Jey, TWO, SPINEBUSTER! Benjamin vows to finish it this time, Gable climbs up again, but Jimmy returns to SUPERKICK Gable out of teh sky! Jey fights his way out, SUPERKICK for Benjamin and Jimmy tags in. Double SUPERKICK, tag back to Jey, Uso Splash! The Usos win! They’re the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, the Uso Penitentiary stays standing.

 

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn are in a good mood.

However, how do they feel having Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan at ringside? Renee is asking if tonight will be any different. Kevin’s had different breakfasts, that’s different. #Yep. They’re in different cities. #YEP. But the main event result won’t be any different, Styles will still lose. #YEP! Shane has the “audacity” to accuse Bryan of favoritism? Bryan is being a good general manager. Fine, let Shane and Bryan be out there, it won’t change the reality. This is the Sami & Kevin Show! Kevin’s Best Friend will prove it when he destroys the House that AJ Styles Built brick by brick. #Yep.

 

Breezango VS The Bludgeon Brothers!

The Fashion Police barely survived their previous encounter with Harper & Rowan, but their “friends” Konnor & Viktor have faith in them. Can Fandango & Tyler Breeze finally put this case to rest?

Harper & Rowan don’t wait for a bell, they blindside the Fashion Police and go corner to corner on each of them. Harper feeds Fandango to Rowan’s body check, the Fashion Police roll out of the ring again. The Ascension hit the ring to make the save again, but it backfires! Konnor gets knocked down, Viktor is alone in the ring. The Bludgeon Brothers give Viktor the double crucifix bomb! No match, no mercy, is there no stopping Harper & Rowan?

 

Xavier Woods is backstage, swinging away.

Big E stops him, they didn’t get him a pinata. The New Day got Woods a New Year gift. Is it the DVD box set of Golden Girls? No. Is it equipment for UpUpDownDown? No. Is it a pancake cut-out of the numbers “2018” with whip cream and a candle? Yes! Wait, he can see through the blindfold…

This is great, but remember: When Woods Becomes US Champion, THE NEW DAY becomes W! W! E! United! States! Champion~! Woods goes to blow out the candle, but Rusev & Aiden English appear. Do they want to know his New Year’s wish? No. He tells them anyway. English wants every day of 2018 to be… Rusev Day~! And that what will happen when English wins to move on in the tournament. Look at the New Day acting like children and blowing out candles to make wishes. Rusev blows out the candle himself!

He stole Woods’ wish! But can Woods still keep the New Day’s US Championship dream alive?

Mojo Rawley speaks on The United States Championship Tournament.

Mojo vows that he’ll defeat Zack Ryder and put him “back in the past where he belongs. Woo woo woo, you know it.”

 

WWE United States Championship Tournament: Xavier Woods VS Aiden English!

The Bulgarian Brute will sing for The Drama King. “Take your calendar and mark the dates, this is your new champion of the Untied States! He’s so tall~, he’ll make Woods pay. For Aiden English brings a victory to the RUSEV DAY~!”

The bell rings, Woods and English circle. They tie up, English gets the headlock, Woods powers out. English runs Woods over, fans want pancakes, Woods jumps up and over to elbow English back. Woods then runs, for a wheelbarrow but English powers out. Woods runs again, roaring elbow knocks English down! Cover, TWO, Rusev coaches English back into the match. Woods throws English out, then slingshots over, but has to roll out. He still hits English with a mule kick, The New Dy keeps Rusev back. Woods goes for the Honor Roll, English sends that into the steel steps! Big E tries to revive Woods with pancakes, but it has no effect. English brings Woods into the ring for a cover, TWO. Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers watch backstage as English knees and kicks Woods then rains down rights.

The fans cheers Woods on, but English snapmares Woods and puts on a chinlock. Rusev coaches English to squeeze the life from Woods, but fans are rallying. Woods feeds off the energy and gets to his feet to then arm-drag English off. English runs in, into a SUPERKICK! Both men fall, Rusev trash talks Woods while fans rally. Woods and English stir, stand up, Woods gives body shots and sharp chops. He whips English but English reverses into a mule kick. English runs, Woods gets around, torture rack into a backbreaker!

TWO! Rusev is relieved, but the New Day is fired up. Woods takes aim at English in a corner and runs in, English boots him away. Woods turns things around, roll up but roll-up counter, TWO. English lifts Woods, fireman’s carry powerbomb! TWO! English is shocked, Rusev is furious. Fans continue to rally while English brings Woods over to a corner. English climbs up, has Woods in position, but Woods resists the dangerous move to shovel English up and over for a SUPER Body drop! English writhes on the ground while Woods turns himself around. Woods climbs up to the very top, tight rope walk, elbow drop! Woods wins and advances! There will not be a Year of Rusev Day, will there be a star-spangled Free Bird rule New Day?

 

Backstage interview with The Welcoming Committee.

All four women, from Natalya to Carmella to Lana to Tamina, have declared for the 30 Women Royal Rumble match. Tonight, they team up against The Riott Squad. Natty sent the Riott Squad running like scared little rats, so they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. Natty’s said it once and will say it again: Before the Squad was the Welcoming Committee. Ruby and her friends had their fun, but the party is over. The saying is “Only fools rush in,” and that describes The Riott Squad perfectly. TO wrap this up, the Welcoming Committee will remind the Squad that “there is no substitute for the real thing.” Which faction of the SmackDown Women’s Division will come out ahead on the Road to the Royal Rumble?

 

Six Woman Tag: The Welcoming Committee w/ Lana VS The Riott Squad!

The bell rings, Liv Morgan and Natalya start for their teams. They circle, tie up, Natty gives Liv the headlock takeover but Liv gets the headscissors. Natty pops out, LIv takes a swing and they return the takeover and headscissors. Liv is very confident as she ties up with Natty again. Natty gets an arm wrench and wristlock, Liv rolls and reverses the hold. Liv whips then goes Matrix to duck one lariat, but gets hit by the discus lariat, cover, TWO. Liv scrambles to get away from the Sharpshooter like it was going to kill her. We go picture in picture while the Squad regroups.

Natty grins as she watches the Squad calm Liv down. Liv returns into the ring, but Natty is right on her at the ropes. The ref backs ehr down but she has Liv’s hair, so Liv decks Natty and drags Natty over. Tag ot Ruby, double hair yank throws Natty down. Ruby drags Natty up, Natty carries her to the Welcoming Committee’s corner. Tag to Carmella, the FABULOUS Ms. Money in the Bank gives her a mule kick. Carmella taunts Ruby, dodges her attack and moonwalks back. They speed up, flying headscissors and a dropkick drop Ruby. Carmella whips but Ruby reverses, Carmella elbows Ruby away but has to fight off Sarah. This allows Ruby to hit the standing STO! Tag to Sarah Logan, #KentuckyStrong puts Carmella in a half-straitjacket. Carmella endures while we go back to single picture.

The fans build to a rally for Carmella, she gets to her feet but Sarah yanks her back down. Carmella endures, the Committee and fans rally again. She stands up, jawbreaker to Sarah breaks the hold. Sarah intercepts by going after Natty and tamina, Carmella rolls her up, TWO, tag to Tamina! The Daughter of Superfly rallies on The Squad, SUPERKICK for Ruby! The fans fire up with her, she gives Sarah the Samoan Drop! Sarah is done in position, Lana fires the fans up more while Tamina climbs. Ruby and Liv return, Ruby distracts the ref while Liv shoves Tamina down! Sarah pounces, cartwheel knee drop! The Riott Squad wins!

Ruby grabs a mic to talk.

“I bet everybody here in Orlando believes in magic, right?” Well, magic isn’t real! It’s just like the WWE Universe: phony. Day in and day out, the fans “pretend” their way through their lives. THey pretend to be happy but they’re actually miserable. The WWE Universe needs a dose of reality, so take a look at The Riott Squad. They’re real, their dominance is real, their success is real. That’s why Liv, Sarah and Ruby are all entering the Women’s Royal Rumble! “All those other women”– Well, here’s THE Woman, Charlotte Flair!

The Queen congratulates the Squad on their win and Ruby on her speech. But she must disagree: even Charlotte is a dreamer. And like the WWE Universe, Charlotte believes in the magic of her dreams. You find your passion, and your world will change. Ruby said she believes in “reality”, so here’s Ruby’s dose of reality: “actions have consequences.” And someone is back to teach them that lesson. Orlando’s own Glow, Naomi, comes out! Oh, that’s not all. There’s someone who wants to make the Squad pay for what they did: BECKY LYNCH!

The Lass Kicker has returned from the beating the Squad gave her, now her and her squad take the fight to them! Charlotte boots down Sarah, Naomi springboards to roundhouse Liv, and Becky gives Ruby the Becksploder! Then one for Liv!

The Riott Squad runs away, will there be any running from revenge on the Road to the Royal Rumble?

 

Baron Corbin speaks.

There is no fight better suited to him than the Royal Rumble. The Lone Wolf “can’t wait” to get into the Royal Rumble and throw 29 other men over the top rope. He vows to win and main event Wrestlemania!

 

AJ Styles VS Sami Zayn w/ Kevin Owens!

With SmackDown GM and Commissioner ringside, will there be more “Shane-nanigans” like last week? Or can The Phenomenal One keep from being swept by the Kevin & Sami Show?

The bell rings, Styles goes right at Sami! He puts Sami in a corner and rams in shoulders, then bumps him off the buckle. Fans cheer Styles on as he suplexes Sami, cover, TWO. Kevin tells the ref to keep Styles back, Sami sucker punches Styles and clubs him down. Styles fights back with chops, then runs but into a body drop! Cover, TWO, so Sami keeps on Styles with chops and jabs. They brawl now, back and forth, Sami elbows Styles in the back of the head to bring him down. Kevin wants Sami to stay on him, fans cheer Styles on. Sami runs, Styles goes up and over, dropkick drops Sami! Sami bails out to regroup with his best friend, Styles goes out to fetch him. Shane keeps Kevin back, Bryan keeps the peace.

Things are tense as Styles puts Sami in the ring. Sami kicks Styles on reentry, Fisherman Buster! Cover, TWO, Sami and Kevin can’t believe it. Even so, they’re in control as we go to break.

SmackDown returns, Sami has Styles in a chinlock. Fans rally, Styles pries his way out of the hole by biting fingers. Sami switches to keep the chinlock on, fans duel, “Let’s go Styles!” “Sami Zayn!” Styles gets up, they brawl, Styles unloads the Phenomenal Blitz! He then runs, sliding forearm! Kevin coaches Sami up while both men are down. Sami crawls to a corner, Styles kip-ups! He hits Sami with a big corner clothesline and pumphandle gutbuster, TWO! Styles is surprised, Kevin is adamant. Styles drags Sami up, fireman’s carry but Sami resists. Sami slips out to the apron, Styles walks over, hotshot snaps Styles back. Sami grins while he climbs up top, but Styles revives to trip him up. Now Styles goes to drag Sami off the top, fireman’s carry to Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO! Styles grits his teeth as he puts Sami in Clash position, but Sami resists. Styles keeps trying, Sami slips out and gets the Blue Thunder Bomb!

TWO! Kevin is shocked enough for him and Sami. Fans continue dueling with their chants, Shane watches with his full attention. Sami takes aim at Styles, runs corner to corner but into a Calf Crusher! Styles wrenches it deep and hard, Kevin tells Sami to endure! Sami reaches, Styles rolls him away from the ropes. Styles keeps pulling on that leg, Sami drags himself back to ropes, and gets the ropebreak! Kevin is relieved, Shane is disappointed. Styles gets up, drags Sami back up on one leg, but Sami fights back. They brawl back and forth with forearms, PELE from Styles! Styles runs in, Sami puts him on the apron but Styles hits him away. The fans fire up as Styles takes aim, springboard but Sami gets under, Styles gets around behind, the referee gets knocked out of the ring! Crucifix pin, Kevin “helps” the referee not get in the ring. The referee finally gets in and counts, TWO! The ref argues with Kevin, as does Shane and Styles. Shane shoves Kevin over! Kevin asks Bryan what’s even going on, the referee ejects Kevin! Bryan says Shane should go with him?!

Styles takes care of Kevin, Sami hits a HELLUVA KICK! Sami wins!! Once again, the best friends get an “assist” from Shane! Styles is pissed. “Is that the way it’s gonna be?” Kevin & Sami can’t win without each other? Styles doesn’t know whose side Bryan is on, but he and Shane need to “stop bickering like children.” Styles is the WWE Champion, he fights to entertain the WWE Universe. He’ll even take a handicap match against Sami & Kevin! Bryan likes that idea! The Royal Rumble will see a WWE Championship match, Styles VS Kevin AND Sami in a Handicap match! The fans cheer “YES! YES!” with Bryan, but is this really okay?

 

My Thoughts:

The first SmackDown of 2018 was a touch better than the first Raw of 2018. The main thing was that it ended better. Styles finds himself as the new proxy in the Sami-Kevin-Bryan-Shane story, and it’s working out pretty well. Styles has history with both Shane and Kevin, so it works that he has frustrations after the main event. Bryan taking his venting and making it an actual match is rather telling, too. Shane may be becoming a tyrant but Bryan is also favoring Kevin & Sami a bit, but again, Bryan can’t be the Heel in the end because fans love him too much to ever boo. Shane will need to up his animosity to make himself the true Heel in the story or it just won’t work.

As for the rest of the show, the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match was great. The ending can be seen as both good and bad. It was a great bit of detailed booking to have Jimmy take the pin when he wasn’t legal, but using instant replay flies in the face of the usual “referee’s decision is final” rule in pro-wrestling. Especially when you consider this was just so the Usos could still win in the end. It can definitely extend the story between Usos & Benjamin-Gable, but it seemed an odd thing to do. I was hoping the United States Championship Tournament would wrap the first round up tonight but oh well. Woods-English was great, and I’m glad Woods went over because that means The New Day can start something with Mahal & The Singh Brothers going into the semifinals. Those six could make for a great 3v3 feud, regardless of who wins the US Championship. I was also personally hoping WWE would wait to bring Becky Lynch back until next week, but fans still loved seeing her return tonight and her running the Riott Squad off was still fun. This will clearly lead to one more Six Woman Tag, Riott Squad VS “Royal Glow Fire”, which can be a good match, and could go either way.

My Score: 8/10


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