Legit, Glorious Greatness and KAAANE~!
Sasha Banks returns to finally face Lacey Evans! Robert Roode returns to get even with Roman Reigns! John Morrison returns to the ring against Big E! And the Big Red Monster returns to bring back hellfire and brimstone!
- Big E w/ Kofi Kingston VS John Morrison w/ The Miz; Morrison wins.
- The Usos VS The Revival; The Usos win.
- Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Lacey Evans; changed to…
- Bayley VS Lacey Evans; Evans wins.
- Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose & Heavy Machinery VS Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross; Bliss wins.
- Tables Match: Roman Reigns VS Robert Roode; Reigns wins chooses Falls Count Anywhere for Reigns VS Corbin at the Royal Rumble PPV.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE and SmackDown mourn the loss of Rocky Johnson.
The Soul Man debuted in 1964, making an instant impact with physique and athleticism. He joined the WWE in 1982, and joined Tony Atlas as the “Soul Patrol” and became the first-ever African-American world tag team champions. Rocky would marry and have a son, Dwayne Johnson. Rocky trained his son and debuted Rocky Maivia as a tribute to both parts of his family’s heritage. And in the end, his sown would be the one to induct Rocky into the WWE Hall of Fame. Rocky proudly paved the way for wrestlers of all colors, and he will be celebrated for generations to come.
KAAANE~ is here!
The Big Red Machine and the Devil’s Favorite Demon is BACK! Kane holds Royal Rumble records so it would seem Royal Rumble season has brought him back to SmackDown. Kane grabs a mic to say that we are just 9 days away from his favorite event. “Thirty lost souls will put their minds, bodies and spirits on the line for the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to compete at WrestleMania! A match where you go through Hell, but the reward is a chance at immortality.” Kane holding the record for most career eliminations, he knows exactly how important this match is. He looks every opponent in the eyes as he throws them out of the ring, and watch hope fade away as their feet hit the ground, “a WrestleMania dream turned into a nightmare, all because of me.” And Kane must admit, it’s a lot of fun.
But wait, Firefly Fun House interrupts?! Bray Wyatt is excited to see Kane back! He hasn’t changed a bit! But it’s never nice to brag or find joy in another person’s misery. Shame, you Big Red Bully. Tell everyone you’re sorry. Time’s up. But Bray is still glad to see Kane. Hopefully the traffic up from H E double hockey sticks wasn’t too bad. But before Kane asks, Bray assures everyone that Ramblin’ Rabbit is alive, well, and recovering. Okay enough of him. Back to Kane. To play “Devil’s Advocate,” winning the Rumble isn’t a good idea. Especially if the winner is fool enough to challenge for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania! Oh wait a second. Kane’s on the Wall of Friends! So then, that means Kane and The Fiend “got it on!” Well of course, “I’ll never forget you, Kane. And neither will he.” The Wyatt Family struck first back in the day. And now, The Fiend strikes here!
The lights go out, then come back on, and there is red light! That’s usually Kane’s thing. As is coming out from under the ring floor! The Fiend slithers up behind Kane, but Kane is ready! “What took you so long?” The Fiend realizes there’s something wrong, and DANIEL BRYAN strikes! Knee Plus and Danielson Stomps! Bryan forces The Fiend to retreat down the hole in the mat! Smoke comes up and forces Bryan to back off, but he pulled some of The Fiend’s hair out! Fans chant “YES! YES!” as Team Hell No gets the better of Bray’s living nightmare. Will Bryan make both sides of the demented Wyatt pay?
Team Hell No still argues like the old days.
Kane and Bryan each insist they were the tag team champions by themselves, but Kayla Braxton comes over for an interview. Bryan has The Fiend on the run. That’s because while everyone thinks Bray is so great at mind games and double talk and victimizing, he’s the best at running away and disappearing. SO how do you beat someone who disappears when they’re in trouble? Bryan has an idea. Not a good one, nor is it smart. But Bryan wants to make their match a STRAP MATCH! They will be bound together by one big strap, and they will fight until one man wins! Bryan knows it is dangerous, that The Fiend will try to rip Bryan to pieces, but Bryan is done with mind games, running away and disappearing acts! “The Fiend, he changed me. And at the Royal Rumble, I’m going to change The Fiend and win the Universal Championship.”
Big E w/ Kofi Kingston VS John Morrison w/ The Miz!
The Guru of Greatness defended his good friend in the Hollywood A-Lister, but offended The New Day when he assaulted Big E during a match Miz and Kofi Kingston were having. Will Morrison’s in-ring return to the WWE be as great as his parkour skills?
The bell rings and Big E circles with Morrison. Morrison and Big E tie up, Morrison throws big forearms but Big E blocks the whip. Morrison knees low then whips but Big E reverses and bumps Morrison down! Big E swivels his hips at Morrison before the two circle again. Morrison kicks low then heel kicks, spin kicks and ROUNDHOUSES! Big E is rocked and Morrison rains down rights! Morrison bails out to drag Big E to the apron to club away on! And then sit him up for another kick, and a draping neckbreaker! Big E is down as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Morrison grinds Big E down in a chinlock. Kofi and fans rally with “New! Day Rocks!” and Big E fights his way up. Big E powers Morrison up and throws him off! Big E runs but Morrison follows to calf kick him down! Fans are divided as Morrison stands over Big E, for the standing shooting star! Cover, TWO and Big E holds Morrison in his arms! Big E rolls back and brings Morrison up, but Morrison slips out. Morrison gets to the apron, slides under Big E then goes around to roundhouse! Big E wobbles, Morrison springboards, but Big E gets clear! Morrison rolls through, but into a belly2belly! And then another! Big E is fired up, but Morrison pokes eyes! Morrison runs but into a back drop!
Big E runs to BIG SPLASH! Fans fire up with Big E as he claps. Morrison slowly stands, Big E goes at him but Morrison standing switches and clobbers Big E! Morrison kicks low, MOONLIGHT DRIVE! Cover, TWO!! Big E survives and Miz protests. Kofi goes over to yank Miz off the apron! Morrison climbs, Kofi shoves Miz into steel steps! Morrison decides to LEAP onto Kofi! The same somersault cannonball takes Kofi out like he did Big E last week! Morrison grins as he takes his time returning to the ring, but Big E builds speed! Miz gets Morrison to safety, and then Morrison KICKS Big E down! Big E wobbles, SHINING WIZARD! And then Morrison climbs, for STARSHIP PAIN! Cover, Morrison wins!
Winner: John Morrison, by pinfall
The Miz is pumped up as he celebrates his friend’s victorious return! Both Miz and Morrison have a win over the SmackDown Tag Team Champions individually, but will they get a win on them as a team?
The stakes are raised on tonight’s Table Match between Roman Reigns and Robert Roode! If The Big Dog wins, he chooses the stipulation for his match with Baron Corbin on Royal Rumble night. But on the flip side, if Roode wins, that means Corbin chooses the stipulation! Who wins the latest of grudge matches in this war for SmackDown supremacy?
The Usos speak with Roman.
“Big match, big night.” The winner chooses the stipulation for Roman VS Corbin. What’s it going to be? Loser Eats Dog Ish? Roman keeps it a secret. We’ll all learn at the same time. Roman wants to make sure the Usos are ready. Of course they’re ready! It’s #LOCKDOWN! Revival, welcome back to the Uso Penitentiary! Jimmy & Jey settle scores of their own, will they put the #TopGuys away again?
The Usos VS The Revival!
Jimmy & Jey have had history with Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder, and that all starts again in the New Year! Will history repeat itself or will a new story play out?
Dawson and Jimmy start and tie up, and Dawson puts Jimmy in a corner. The ref counts and Dawson backs off to dare Jimmy to bring it. Jimmy grins and ties up with Dawson again, but Dawson gets a headlock. jimmy powers out but Dawson runs him over. Things speed up, Jimmy hurdles and CHOPS Dawson down! Jimmy whips Dawson but Dawson reverses. Jimmy slides to a stop to uppercut Dawson down! Tag to Jey and the Usos have Dawson in the corner. Jey hits a big forearm smash then snapmares to a cover, ONE. Jey wrenches Dawson’s arm but Dawson pulls hair. Dash tags in and Dawson whips, but Jey wrecks Dash. Dawson suplexes Jey down, Dash slingshots to splash! Cover, TWO!
Dash stomps Jey around then brings him up to bump off buckles. Dash chops then tags, and The Revival mug Jey in the corner! Dawson stalks Jey as fans boo and jeer. Dawson drags Jey up by his beard and then jams an elbow in. Dawson drops a leg, and elbow and a headbutt! Cover, TWO! Dawson keeps hold of Jey by an ear, then pulls on the beard. The ref counts, Dawson lets up to wrap on a chinlock. Jey endures as Dawson leans on him. Fans rally up and Jey fights his way up. Jey reaches but Dawson keeps him away from Jimmy. Jey throws Dawson off, Dawson kicks low and suplexes, but Jey slips out. Jey kicks but Dawson blocks, to spin Jey for the Dragon Whip! Both men are down and fans rally up again. Dawson and Jey crawl, hot tags to Dash and Jimmy!
Jimmy rallies on The Revival! Big uppercuts and mule kicks, then break it down for another uppercut! Samoan Drop! Jimmy fires up with the fans as he runs corner to corner, but Dash puts him on the apron. Jimmy ROCKS Dash then climbs up top. Flying crossbody! Cover, TWO! Dash flounders and Jimmy keeps his focus, but Dash deflects the superkick! Jimmy standing switches with Dash but Dawson helps Dash buck Jimmy off. Jimmy runs in but Dawson blocks the kick and Dash rolls Jimmy! TWO, and Dash kicks low. Tornado denied, tag to Jey! DOUBLE SUPERKICKS! Dawson runs in, DOUBLE SUPERKICKS! Fans fire up again as Jey tags back to jimmy. Jimmy climbs up, Jey DIVES out onto Dawson! Jimmy USO SPLASH! Cover, Usos win!
Winners: The Usos, by pinfall
The Uso Penitentiary is officially back, and the #TopGuys just keep falling down. Will Dash & Dawson be able to turn things around? Are the Usos on the way to a lucky number 7 tag title reign?
Backstage interview with The Revival.
They must be frustrated, but that doesn’t even cover it. If the WWE doesn’t want to make a change, then they will! This company cares about them about as much as it cares about tag team wrestling. But before they can say more, there’s a brawl between Lacey Evans and Bayley! It seems Lacey already took Sasha Banks down and so now Lacey is after the champ! Referees and security get Lacey away, but what does this mean for their match tonight?
Mandy Rose is excited for Sonya VS Alexa.
Plus, Sonya was so right, this is going to be the year of Fire & Desire. That’s the spirit. But speaking of this year, do you think Otis would want to be ringside with them? Yeah but Mandy is. Sonya wasn’t sure about this “Otis thing,” but seeing him show up to support Mandy, Sonya “got it.” Otis thing? What Otis thing? Why Mandy is being nice to him. Well, he’s sweet, but- It doesn’t matter to Sonya, but she just wants Mandy to ask Otis to be ringside. Mandy will ask, but he might not say yes. If Mandy asks, he will. Is Sonya trying to help a friend out?
Bayley and Sasha Banks are furious!
“GI Jane” had the nerve to attack them backstage! Bayley will make Lacey a Stay-at-home Mom! Sasha is fine, but Lacey doesn’t deserve this match. Sasha has been working hard to raise her stock. Mom, Marine, it doesn’t matter, because Bayley will break Lacey’s legs! When Adam Pearce walks over, he brings up that Sasha hasn’t had her match with Lacey. It’s not her fault! It doesn’t matter. The match is happening, but with Bayley instead! Bayley just talked about wanting payback, so here’s her chance. It will be non-title, but it is happening, and next. Bayley and Sasha both complain, but will they feel even worse when Lacey wins?
Bayley VS Lacey Evans!
The bell rings, and Bayley bails out! Lacey pursues and Bayley eggs her on. They go back into the ring and Bayley stomps Lacey down! The ref backs Bayley off but for only a moment, and Bayley throws big forearms. Bayley whips but Lacey comes back with a lariat! And then builds speed to tilt-o-whirl headscissors! Bayley bails out again, but Lacey wrecks her with a dropkick! Lacey drags Bayley up to bump her off the apron, and then again. Lacey puts Bayley in but Bayley shoulders out, only to get a knee. Lacey slingshots up and over to roll Bayley, ONE! Lacey cradle counters, ONE! Bayley trips Lacey and high stacks, but feet on the ropes! The ref sees that and the count doesn’t count.
Lacey goes at Bayley but gets drop toehold’d onto ropes! Bayley clobbers Lacey back down, then again. Bayley is seething as she throws big forearms against the ropes. Bayley bumps Lacey off buckles then shouts at Lacey fans to shut up. Bayley pulls Lacey back against ropes using her hair, then lets go at 4 to throw Lacey down. Cover, ONE, but Bayley keeps close. Bayley armlocks and grinds Lacey down, but fans rally up. Lacey gets up, throws hands, then runs, only for Bayley to elbow her down! Cover, TWO! Bayley stalks up behind Lacey to knock her down. Fans rally for Lacey but Bayley knocks her down again. Bayley mocks the fans but Lacey rolls her up! TOW, and Bayley throws big knees into Lacey’s ribs. Bayley throws Lacey tot he apron then mocks the fans again, but Lacey shoves her away. Lacey blocks a punch to give a punch! And then bump Bayley off buckles!
Lacey kicks Bayley hard, then slingshots in to rally with clotheslines! Lacey wrings Bayley’s arm out, then whips her to a corner. Bayley reverses but Lacey goes up and over, to then hip toss Bayley away! Big kick puts Bayley in the corner! Fans fire up as Lacey runs and swings, for the bronco buster! Lacey positions Bayley in a drop zone, then climbs up. Lacey fixes her hair and salutes, for the Sassiest Moonsault EVER onto boots! Lacey flops out of the ring and Bayley goes out after her. Bayley glares as she lines up a shot, to KNEE Lacey into barriers! Bad Bad Bayley is back in control as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Bayley drags Lacey up and stomps a mudhole into her. The ref backs Bayley off but Bayley goes back for more by ramming her shoulder in. Bayley backs off again, to somersault and wacky waving mock, only for Lacey to send Bayley into buckles! Lacey swings again but Bayley sees that coming. Bayley gets out, grabs at feet but Lacey kicks Bayley away. Lacey puts Bayley back in but Bayley gets her with the hotshot! Cover, TWO! Bayley rains down angry rights on Lacey and then throws hands from all sides! Bayley gets up and drags Lacey to her feet, SAIDO SUPLEX! Cover, TWO! Lacey lives and Bayley grows frustrated. Bayley drags Lacey up to put her back in a corner and ram her shoulder in again. Then the somersault to the back elbow! Bayley pushes Lacey down and hops up, to leap for a flying uppercut! Cover, TWO!
Bayley glares as she loom over Lacey. Fans rally up but Bayley knees Lacey down hard! Bayley climbs, crossbody FLOPS! Lacey runs corner to corner but Bayley flapjacks her onto buckles! Bayley runs but into the WOMAN’S RIGHT! Cover, Lacey wins!!
Winner: Lacey Evans, by pinfall
She pins the SmackDown Women’s Champion! The Sassy Southern Belle has a shortcut to the title! Will Lacey become champion on the Road to WrestleMania?
Backstage interview with Chad Gable!
New correspondent Alyse Ashton asks Shorty G about Sheamus’ surprising and unprovoked attack. Why is Sheamus after Gable? Well Sheamus is projecting his insecurities. But he won’t get into Gable’s head with that spooky light and blindside attacks. Over the past few months, Gable learned that accepting yourself is already the hardest battle. Gable will teach Sheamus this personally. Sheamus is one of the most decorated athletes, and Sheamus comes by pulling the old “Where is the short guy” routine. Sheamus heard the squeaking but couldn’t see Gable until he was up close. “There’s an old Irish saying that goes, ‘Keep your breath to cool your porridge.'” Otherwise, Sheamus will Brogue kick Gable’s head off again. “Alright, lil’ fella?” That’s it! Gable tackles Sheamus right there!
Referees rush to break them up and Sheamus flounders to his feet. Sheamus vows vengeance on the “vermin” and flips a table. Will Sheamus exterminate Gable for that little scrap?
Backstage interview with Braun Strowman!
The Monster Among Men is excited for the Royal Rumble. It’s no surprise that he’s declaring for the match. But that’s in a week. He wants the Intercontinental Championship, and Shinsuke Nakamura’s “sidekick,” Sami Zayn, is keeping Braun from that title match. To be real, Braun has pinned Nakamura twice, so what else does he have to do? Whether it’s tonight, next week or at the Royal Rumble PPV, Braun wants his shot! Will Sami have no choice but to grant this request?
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
The Drifter returns and he needs to be honest. “Over the last year, I learned a lot about myself.” While he realized he is the embodiment of the WWE, he realized he can’t do it alone. Elias admits, he needs us. For Elias to reach where he has to go, there needs to be a truth that rings out from every voice across the world. And surely Greensboro knows it. WWE stands for, “WALK WITH ELIAS!” Elias is fired up and wrote a song for Greensboro. Please, clap along. The fans oblige and Elias plays his guitar.
“I was walkin’ in Greensboro. You’ll never guess what I saw.” Well we won’t get to know, because Shinsuke Nakamura makes his entrance, along with Sami and Cesaro! And Sami has a mic to say, “Please, please. Elias, I’m sorry to interrupt your little sing-song, but the Great Liberator” has something more important. So everyone wanting to sing along need to shut up! There is serious business, because Braun says he wants a shot at the Intercontinental Championship! Sami will tell us something about Shinsuke Nakamura. “This great man does not back down from a fight. Not from anyone, anytime, any place!” So Strowman won’t need to wait. The answer is, “Absolutely NOT!” Fans boo but Sami tells the “stupid oaf” that he is in no position to demand anything! Sami calls the shots for his team! Which means his team dictate the terms! And nothing is happening, certainly not with the Royal Rumble coming.
Because another thing, the Royal Rumble match itself, Shinsuke won the Rumble match. So this is a message to Strowman and everyone on the WWE roster! They are all on notice! Sami made his point, Elias can go back to whatever thing he does. Elias has something to say to Sami, actually. While Sami spat a bunch of nonsense, Elias was multitasking, and while he listened to Sami, he composed a new song. It’s called, “Sami Zayn Needs to Shut His Damn Mouth.” Everyone, if you want to sing the chorus, it’s “Shinsuke Sucks!” Elias plays his guitar and the fans clap but Sami interrupts with his shouting and protesting. Fans boo as Sami shouts, “How dare you!” They think this is funny, huh?! Cesaro, go show Elias what happens to funny guys. The Swiss Cyborg rushes the ring and brawls with Elias!
Elias holds his own so here comes Shinsuke! But Elias throws hands on him, too! Sami adds on and finally gets Elias down! But BRAUN appears for the save! Sami again runs away so Strowman just runs Cesaro and Shinsuke over! Strowman clotheslines Cesaro out then corner splashes Shinsuke, to throw him out! The Monster Among Men stands tall again, but will he #GetTheseHands on the title?
Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose VS Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross!
Well it seems the Golden Goddess couldn’t convince Dozer to hang out ringside. But she’ll still support the Gladiator Gal to take on the sassy Goddess, who has her crazy best friend by her side. With the Women’s Rumble coming, and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions still looking for contenders, will this go a long way towards momentum in both?
Oh wait! Heavy Machinery does head to ringside! Tucky and Otis are here to watch as the bell rings. Mandy rubs that in Alexa’s face but then gets away, and Sonya ROUNDHOUSES Alexa down! Sonya drags Alexa up to throw knees then runs to sliding knee Alexa down! Cover, TWO! Sonya keeps on Alexa with a thrashing chinlock. Alexa endures, fans rally up, and Alexa fights her way up. Alexa throws elbows and arm-drags Sonya away, but Sonya comes back, only to get a drop toehold! Sonya gets up and grabs Alexa’s hair. Alexa throws hands and SLAPS Sonya to then ROCK her with a right! And a dropkick!
Alexa stomps a mudhole into Sonya but backs off to kick and facelock. Mandy climbs up but Nikki knocks her down! Otis catches Mandy! Sonya is a bit shocked, but then Alexa rolls her up! Alexa wins!!
Winner: Alexa Bliss, by pinfall
Well that didn’t go the way Sonya hoped. She wanted Otis to be a distraction for her benefit, not Alexa’s! Otis feels a bit bad about that, but will he be able to make it up to Mandy?
Baron Corbin checks on Robert Roode.
The GLORIOUS “Knight in shining armor” came through for the King last week. Roman never saw that coming. And Roman putting Roode out for those six weeks, this revenge will be sweet! Roode puts Roman through a table and Corbin chooses the stipulation! Imagine the possibilities. Corbin wants a match to humiliate Roman and take him completely out of the Rumble! This will be a match where Roman will bow down. But that only happens if Roode wrecks Roman through a table. Then it will be absolutely… GLORIOUS.
Bryan’s request has been granted! He and The Fiend won’t be able to run and hide, their Universal Championship match is now a STRAP MATCH! Plus, Shorty G will have his grudge match with Sheamus, and Lacey Evans will have her title shot at Bayley! What history will be made on top of the 2020 Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble matches?
Tables Match: Roman Reigns VS Robert Roode!
The Big Dog is keeping his plans secret while the Wolf King is so excited by the possibilities, he hasn’t even made a decision yet. But who will get their way at the Rumble by breaking wood with their opponent’s body?
But before Roman even reaches the ring, Roode attacks from behind! The bell rings and Roode stomps Roman against the apron! Roode is seething as he drags Roman up to throw him in the ring. Roode throws hands but Roman counter punches! And uppercuts! Roman whips, Roode reverses but Roman leaping lariats! Roman drags Roode up but Roode throws him out of the ring. Roode grabs Roman’s hair but Roman uppercuts Roode down! Roode flops to the apron and then the ground, and fans fire up as Roman eyes one of the tables nearby. Roman brings it around and sets it up, but Roode attacks from behind! Roode bumps Roman off steel steps, then brings him around. Roman stops the next bump to bump Roode off the steel steps!
Roman decides that any table counts as a table, so he clears off the announce desk! Roman drags Roode up but Roode rakes the eyes! Roode whips Roman into the steel steps! Roode huffs and puffs as he pulls out a table from under the ring. Roode puts that in the ring, but Roman hits a Drive-By dropkick! Roman watches Roode go to the timekeeper’s area, and fans rally as Roman lets out the wary cry! Roman gains speed going around the ring, and comes around to SPEAR and miss! Roman wrecks himself through barriers!! And here comes King Corbin! Corbin rides his palanquin out to watch Roman flounder in the wreckage while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns once more and Roode has Roman up top. Roode climbs up with a table set up nearby. Corbin shouts at Roode to finish this, but Roman resists the superplex! Roman fights back with headbutts! Roode and Roman wobble but Roman headbutts again. Roman slips under and lifts Roode, but Roode fights out of the bomb. Roode kicks low then drags Roman over, but Roman blocks the suplex to fireman’s carry! Roode fights out and pushes his table over for his own safety. But Roman throws Roode into the post! Fans rally for Roman as Roode flops to the floor. Roman clears some space and brings the one table back up. Roman puts that table in a corner, and fans rally up. Roman goes out to fetch Roode, and he leaps off the steel steps to SUPERMAN PUNCH!
Fans fire up more as Roman puts Roode back in the ring. Roman has his shot lined up, Roode slowly rises, and Roman lets out another war cry. Corbin distracts, Ziggler SUPERKICKS! The King’s Court beats down Roman as fans boo. Corbin drags Roman up, Ziggler finishes clearing the desk. They drag Roman out and over to the desk, and Roode goes up top. But here come the USOS! Roode leaps at them, into SUPERKICKS! SUPERKICKS for Ziggler and Corbin! Then the Usos double DIVE! They take out King and court, and hurry to help Roman! Roman gets in the ring, Ziggler is on the desk, and the Usos climb the barriers! They tightrope over to each other, to DOUBLE UCE on Ziggler through the announce table!!
Roman roars, aims at Roode, and SPEARS Roode through the table! Roman wins!!
Winner: Roman Reigns
The King’s Court could not conquer the Bloodline! Roman gets to choose his stipulation! “The Royal Rumble is in a baseball stadium, and that thing is huge.” Roman will whoop ass all over it! Because it will be FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE! Corbin takes his anger out on an innocent table, but will it be a home run in Houston for the Big Dog?
This was a pretty good episode with some good progress towards the Royal Rumble. Morrison VS Big E made for a great opener, and Morrison’s leap onto Kofi was a pretty crazy spot. Obviously there was no rust on Morrison as he’d been wrestling all over, from Lucha Underground to Impact Wrestling. And of course he wins, so that he and Miz can more than likely get a SmackDown Tag Team Championship for the Royal Rumble, if not Elimination Chamber. Usos VS Revival was a good match, too, but I’m wondering if their promo about WWE needing to take tag team wrestling serious will spur something for Elimination Chamber. Just on the four teams of New Day, Usos, Revival and Miz-Morrison, that’s a great tag title match right there.
I’m a little confused as to why we’re not getting Lacey VS Sasha as a 1v1 match. Is Sasha actually hurt so they had to quickly write that into kayfabe? Or are they saving it for after the Rumble? The story is going mostly how I expected, though, as Lacey is getting her SmackDown Women’s Championship match. I could see Sasha finally having her match with Lacey for the title, and then winning to become the second Grand Slam Champion in WWE history. But Lacey beating Bayley twice would be quite a big deal for Lacey. Lacey’s already been in programs involving each of the Four Horsewomen, her beating one for the title would be huge. Meanwhile, the story of Mandy and Otis is taking interesting turns. Apparently Sonya thinks Mandy is just using Otis, but Mandy is doing her best to defend that she might actually like Otis. I say again that with Valentine’s Day being a Friday, that has to be where this moves into another phase.
I really liked the scrap between Gable and Sheamus, where Gable gets the better of Sheamus. It’s a bit soon to make their first match part of a PPV, but perhaps there’s bigger things planned for the go-home SmackDown next week. And I really liked that Kane’s return wasn’t even for him, but to set up The Fiend for Bryan’s sake. I could hear some fans booing when Bryan ran Bray off, and I can understand them not wanting the Fiend to look weak, but this is actually going to be better for both guys. That Strap Match is going to be a lot of fun, but I feel like The Fiend will still win, assuming a SmackDown superstar wins the Rumble match. Strowman and Elias both had good segments with Team Sami, and it’d make Royal Rumble Weekend so much bigger if Strowman and Shinsuke have an amazing match on next week’s go-home, or even as part of the PPV.
The Table match having stakes behind it was actually a pretty good move. I was fearing that when the Usos teased an “Eat Dog Crap/Food” match, Corbin was going to steal that idea and make that the match. But in a really great and chaotic match, Roman wins and chooses the much better Falls Count Anywhere option. A match like that in a huge baseball stadium really will be a great match, but I’m not sure what is the better outcome: Roman wins that, then has a really great showing in Rumble; or Corbin wins, beating Roman up real bad, but Roman still shows up to have a great showing in the Rumble. Either one makes Roman look like he’s back to those “Super Roman Wins LOL” days but I feel like the general audience reaction won’t be negative anymore. Maybe.
My Score: 8.3/10