- Air Date: January 28, 2016 (Jan 27 in Canada)
- Location: Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL
The Big News:
A.J. Styles made his Smackdown debut and yet another main event had a crap finish. Oh, and Big Show is a babyface again.
They aired a video package recapping the finish to the Royal Rumble match and Stephanie McMahon’s announcement of the Fastlane main event. The final shot was of Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns staring at each other. They announced a Highlight Reel for tonight with those two men, as well as Kalisto defending his U.S. title against Neville. (I checked WWE.com earlier today and this match was listed as an I.C. title match. It has since been corrected.)
The New Day came out and Mauro Ranallo pretended to forget Byron Saxton’s name. This was a segue to show The Rock’s interaction with New Day and the Usos on Raw. After all the replays and plugs, Smackdown was about 8 minutes old by the time New Day spoke.
They said Rock should feel shame, and despite all of his accomplishments, he doesn’t have gold like they do. Big E could smell what the Rock was cooking - doodoo. That’s what he said. They were interrupted by the Miz, who could feel their pain. Miz said he never gets upstaged, which brought out the Usos. They laughed at Miz for wearing a dress.
Xavier Woods told them not to disrespect Miz because he main evented WrestleMania and has the best mouth in the business. New Day pointed out their numbers advantage, but the Usos were somehow ready for this and brought out Titus O’Neil and Dolph Ziggler to even up the odds. This wasn’t good, and because of the guys involved, just wasn’t that interesting.
The Usos, Titus O’Neil & Dolph Ziggler beat New Day & The Miz via pinfall
They showed a video of O’Neil giving 150 tickets to young students and their families for tonight’s show. Jerry Lawler said Rock embarrassed a lot of people on Raw, including the terrible things he said to Lana.
O’Neil had the match won after a powerslam to Miz, but Kingston and Big E broke up the cover. Usos took them out with superkicks and dives to the outside. Ziggler gave Woods a Zig Zag, superkicked Miz, and O’Neil finished Miz off with Clash of the Titus for the win. The match was about 11 minutes and it was fine. O’Neil went into the crowd and danced with all the families he gave tickets to, which was nice.
They showed a graphic claiming that Raw was the number one show “socially” on Monday. Ok.
U.S. Championship: Kalisto beat Neville via pinfall
They explained on commentary that Alberto Del Rio is owed a title rematch, but Kalisto wants to be a fighting champion and will give Del Rio his rematch whenever he’s ready. Lawler said a luchador being U.S. champion doesn’t sit well with him. Ranallo called him on that statement and Lawler didn’t really have an explanation. Ranallo compared Neville and Kalisto to Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask.
These two could very obviously have a great match, but they weren’t given the time as this match was only about 8 minutes long. They did do some impressive stuff, including Kalisto doing a super hurricanrana. Kalisto won after reversing a German suplex into a Salida Del Sol. I was disappointed this didn’t get more time, and there’s no reason why it didn’t, especially since it was a title match.
That stupid graphic they showed earlier about being the number one show “socially” on Monday? They showed it again. Two segments later.
Chris Jericho came out for the Highlight Reel. He called the Rumble one of the greatest of all time, and even though he lasted 52 minutes, Triple H still came out on top. He also put over his match with A.J. Styles on Raw. He plugged the main event of Fastlane and brought out Ambrose and Reigns (separately). Ambrose brought flowers. Lawler killed Reigns for not being able to win the big one.
Ambrose said Jericho’s set could use some jazzing up which is why he brought flowers. Reigns found a stool to put them on. Jericho was excited for the flowers and said he used to have a much nicer set. This was amusing.
Jericho asked if Fastlane would create any animosity between the two of them. They basically said no. Jericho asked what would happen when the bell rings, and Ambrose said he’ll punch Reigns in the face. They made some light-hearted cracks about what they would do to each other. Jericho moved on and asked about Brock Lesnar.
Ambrose called Lesnar the most destructible force in WWE, but Ambrose called himself indestructible and has no reason to be scared of him. Reigns warned Ambrose about Lesnar, recalling how he got thrown around at Mania. He called Lesnar a beast. Ambrose said he doesn’t have to beat Lesnar, he can just beat Reigns. The crowd gasped. Reigns said it would be the first time, because he’s never done it before. More gasps.
The Wyatts interrupted and talked about putting down Lesnar. Bray ranted and Reigns said they don’t know what he’s talking about. Reigns challenged him to a fight but Bray laughed. Bray instead challenged the three good guys to a 6-man match. He had some reasoning but, you know, it doesn’t matter.
This segment was what it needed to be. Ambrose and Reigns very slightly teased dissension, but with a smirk. The Wyatts interrupting means we’ll have to wait to see more, and that’s fine.
They plugged that A.J. Styles would make his debut next. Perhaps they should’ve mentioned this earlier. After a break, the Social Outcasts said they should’ve been trending after Raw but everyone is talking about Styles. Curtis Axel is mad that Styles finally eliminated him from the Rumble by tossing him out from behind. Axel called him down so the Ax-man can rip him apart. That seems unlikely.
A.J. Styles beat Curtis Axel (w/Social Outcasts) via pinfall
Ranallo put over Styles’ accomplishments but Lawler said what he did before WWE doesn’t matter. The Social Outcasts tried to interfere so Styles knocked Adam Rose off the apron and took out the other two with a dive. Styles sold his back after the dive. Axel went for a Perfect Plex, but Styles countered with a Pele kick and Styles Clash for the pinfall win. Crowd wasn’t exactly hot for this but they did chant for A.J.
Non-title: Divas Champion Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) beat Natalya via submission
Charlotte won in barely 2 minutes. Natalya did an inset promo saying there’s nothing worse than being injured, but you can’t keep down a Hart, and the Queen of Harts was back. Charlotte used a big boot and chops, but Natalya countered with a discus clothesline and German suplex. Natalya had to toss Charlotte back in the ring, so Flair wooed in her face. This gave Charlotte enough time to recover, hit a chop block and apply Figure Eight for the tapout win. Charlotte put the hold on again but Becky Lynch ran out to make the save.
They showed R-Truth in a park, stretching to get ready for a run. Just when you thought they were about to treat Truth like a serious athlete, Goldust showed up in his wrestling gear, with neon green women’s running attire over top. They weren’t even trying to be subtle with Goldust’s comedy. For example, he strained his groin while stretching and told Truth, “I think my groin needs a massage.” Truth left.
Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns beat Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper (w/Braun Strowman) via DQ
Jericho and Ambrose did not get entrances. Wyatts worked over Jericho, including Harper using a Michinoku Driver. He booted Reigns off the apron, but Jericho hit a Codebreaker and made the hot tag to Ambrose. (You knew this meant Reigns was getting a second hot tag later.)
Ambrose used two separate dives on Bray and Rowan, but Rowan was able to knock him down with a heel kick. Ambrose came back with a rebound clothesline and made a second hot tag to Reigns.
Reigns hit clotheslines on Harper, and a big boot of his own. Rowan broke up the cover so Ambrose knocked him to the outside, and Jericho dropkicked Bray to the floor. Ambrose and Jericho followed with springboard dives. Reigns hit a superman punch on Harper but Strowman pulled him out of the ring and the referee called for a DQ.
Strowman tossed around all three babyfaces, and the Wyatts ganged up on Reigns in the ring. They were about to do bad things but Big Show ran out. He slammed Rowan and clotheslined Harper. He faced off with Strowman in the ring but was mauled by Harper and Rowan.
Reigns tried to make the save but was caught by Strowman, so again Show had to save Reigns by tossing Strowman to the outside. Reigns gave Bray a superman punch, Jericho and Ambrose tossed out Rowan, and Reigns speared Harper. They played Reigns’ music as he posed with his old friend the Big Show (and Ambrose and Jericho).
Like last week, I mostly enjoyed this show until the finish. This main event was obviously much better than last week, but yet another crap DQ basically neutered the whole thing. I will say, additions like A.J. Styles, Chris Jericho and Mauro Ranallo make the show feel more important.
Here’s how Smackdown main events have ended the last five weeks:
Jan 28: DQ (Wrestler gets pulled out of the ring by a non-participant)
Jan 21: DQ (Wrestler attacked by opponent who was not the legal man)
Jan 14: DQ (Wrestler attacked by opponent with light piece of cardboard)
Jan 7: Double Count Out (Opponents fight outside and don’t bother returning to the ring)
Dec 31: DQ (Wrestler slams opponent into ring post)