- Air Date: January 14, 2016 (Jan 13 in Canada)
- Location: Canjundome in Lafayette, LA
The Big News:
Alberto Del Rio regained the U.S. Championship after defeating Kalisto in a really good match. Also, Dean Ambrose will defend his Intercontinental Championship in a Last Man Standing Match at the Royal Rumble against Kevin Owens.
The announcers plugged all three “main events” to start the show. Renee Young was standing outside the arena awaiting Dean Ambrose, who showed up in the passenger seat of a pickup truck. Ambrose had a statement for Kevin Owens but wanted to announce it to his face in the ring.
Ambrose came to the ring, asked for a drumroll and was surprised when he actually got one. Ambrose wanted Owens out there before making the announcement, but he didn’t show up. He asked for the drumroll again and said he was challenging Owens to a Last Man Standing match at the Rumble. (There was a funny flub when Ambrose talked into the IC Title on his shoulder instead of the mic and we couldn’t hear what he was saying for a moment.)
Sheamus came out and said Ambrose was acting like a child (he was) but the adults were tired of him. Sheamus said Roman Reigns stole the title from him and now he has to win it back in the Rumble match. He wanted to finish the brawl they didn’t finish on Raw and was pissed about the forehead scar Ambrose gave him. Ambrose was ready for a fight but Kevin Owens interrupted.
Owens accepted the challenge and said Ambrose wouldn’t be able to walk out of the Rumble. Sheamus and Owens attacked him but Neville ran out to make the save and the heels bailed. This was not a good segment and crowd was quiet. They made Ambrose do comedy to announce a Last Man Standing match and it died. Also, there was no explanation for why Ambrose didn’t come out to save Reigns on Raw.
Tables Match: The Dudley Boyz beat Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Braun Strowman)
The lights went out after the Dudleys made their entrance and the Wyatts magically appeared to attack them from behind. I guess the referee thought this was fair so he started the match. The Dudleys set up a table but Harper hit D-Von with a superkick. There was a mixup between Bubba and Harper/Rowan where they just awkwardly stood around until Rowan kicked Bubba and they went to commercial.
Strowman got his team a kendo stick but Bubba grabbed it and used it to knock Rowan out of the ring. Strowman went after him but Bubba moved and Strowman went shoulder-first into the post. Eventually, Bubba and Harper had a struggle on the steps, ending with Bubba pushing Harper through a table on the floor for the surprising Dudleys win.
Afterwards, Strowman knocked down both Dudleys from behind. Strowman tossed D-Von into two different tables positioned in the corners. Then, standing on the announce table, Harper and Rowan gave Bubba a double chokeslam through two tables on the floor. Strowman was directing them a la Bray Wyatt, who was not there. The post-match was a good heat angle for the Wyatts, but I’m not sure why they didn’t just win.
Backstage, Kalisto told Jo-Jo he didn’t have much hope to get to WWE, but guys like Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio gave him hope. All he needed was one opportunity and now he’s U.S. Champion and plans for it to stay that way.
8-Man Tag: Social Outcasts beat Damien Sandow, Goldust, Jack Swagger & Zack Ryder via pinfall
Nobody got an introduction. Bo Dallas won with a Bo-dog on Ryder. As Dallas did the Bo-dog, he accidentally kicked Slater off the ring apron for comedy. The action here was totally fine, but this felt like a waste of time, and in particular, a waste of Goldust and Jack Swagger. Also, this was Sandow’s first match on Raw or Smackdown since May of 2015 when, funny enough, he teamed with Axel to beat Slater and Rose. Welcome back.
They aired a video package from Raw. Jerry Lawler again sided with the McMahons and said Reigns deserved what he got.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio told Renee he doesn’t care what the fans think and would bring them back to reality when he regains the U.S. Championship.
U.S. Championship: Alberto Del Rio beat Kalisto via submission
Lawler started by saying there’s no way Del Rio could take Kalisto seriously. Mauro Ranallo mentioned that Del Rio main evented an MMA show he called 12 years ago. Del Rio hit a great-looking armbreaker off the ropes. Kalisto rolled to the outside trying to regroup, but Del Rio went after him, slamming his arm against the steel steps. The crowd started to get behind Kalisto after that.
After a break, Wade Barrett was at ringside. This felt like a video game where your ally just randomly shows up at ringside. Del Rio set up for the double foot stomp but Kalisto countered into a headscissors. He followed with a springboard seated senton but Del Rio sidestepped another springboard move and hit a side kick for a near fall. Kalisto made his comeback and got a couple of near falls.
Barrett distracted Kalisto allowing Del Rio to apply the armbar. Kalisto managed to make it to the ropes after a long struggle. Del Rio fell to the outside and Kalisto went for a dive, but Barrett pulled Del Rio out of the way and Kalisto crashed on to the mats. Del Rio reapplied the armbar back in the ring and Kalisto tapped out immediately.
This match was really good and Kalisto came off as well as he could here in the loss. Slight nitpick is that they moved on from this segment too quickly after Del Rio won. Also, Barrett’s involvement was pretty lame.
They played the Sting Hall of Fame video.
Backstage, Becky Lynch told Renee that Charlotte attacking her really got her down. Renee said Lynch doesn’t stay down, and they showed a replay of Lynch attacking Charlotte on Raw. Lynch said she would stay fired up until she beats Charlotte for the title and challenged her to a match at the Rumble. Lynch said Charlotte could bring the whole Flair clan and she would be ready.
Becky Lynch beat Brie Bella (w/Alicia Fox) via submission
Lynch won relatively quickly with the Disarmer. (I wrote that before the match started.)
Neville & IC Champion Dean Ambrose beat Sheamus & Kevin Owens via DQ
They went to commercial a minute into the match. After the break, they had the heat on Ambrose. Neville tagged in and ran wild but was attacked from behind by Owens and they got the heat on him. Owens called Ranallo “Four eyes” and told him to pay attention because he might learn something.
Owens went for a cannonball but Neville moved and hit a German suplex and made the hot tag to Ambrose. Ambrose ran wild on Sheamus, hitting a tornado DDT and flying elbow drop. Owens broke up the cover so Ambrose knocked him out of the ring. Ambrose went for the rebound clothesline on Sheamus, but Owens kicked him right in the head and Sheamus hit White Noise for a near fall.
Owens tagged in but Ambrose countered a powerbomb and hit a rebound clothesline followed by a suicide dive. Sheamus drove him repeatedly into the ring steps, returning the favour from Raw. Owens hit Ambrose with the light piece of cardboard that covers the announce table and that was a DQ.
The heels cleared the table but Neville took them out with a dive. Ambrose gave Owens Dirty Deeds and Neville finished him off with Red Arrow. The babyfaces posed and Sheamus seethed at them.
This would’ve been every Smackdown show ever if not for the Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio title match, which I really liked. Maybe I wouldn’t have put the title back on Del Rio right away, but Kalisto looked strong so I’ll let this one play out.
They really need to stop booking “big” matches that they don’t know how to get out of. Tonight’s main event with Dean Ambrose ended in a DQ, after his match with Sheamus on Raw ended in a double count out. Last week’s Smackdown main event with Ambrose also ended in a double count out, and his tag match that main evented Smackdown the week before that ended in a DQ.
Also, this was their second week on a new network, and the second week with no Roman Reigns (among others). I know he was overseas or whatever, but it’s not like they inform the viewers of this.