- Air Date: February 25, 2016 (Feb 24 in Canada)
- Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN
- The Big News:
Unless Chris Jericho is swerving us, he and AJ Styles appear to be headed for a tag title match at WrestleMania. Also, Triple H had some words for Roman Reigns.
- Show Recap:
Triple H came out wearing a suit, holding the WWE Title, to plenty of fake booing. The ring was covered in black carpet and there was a podium for WWE Title so the champion doesn’t have to hold the belt for too long. He quoted the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil,” saying he stole many a man’s soul. (Don’t give me any credit for picking up on the song - he proudly told us the reference.)
Triple H called his beat down of Roman Reigns retribution for Reigns’ attack months ago, and they replayed the video from Raw. He mentioned Reigns’ surgery and showed the “post-surgery” photo on the screen. Triple H called himself the law and rambled on about bowing to authority.
He said he had to step over a lot of people to get where he is, spilling a lot of blood, sweat and tears. He said Reigns has the sweat part of that down, because he does work hard. Triple H then pulled out his wrist tape which was covered in Roman’s blood, so he’s got the blood part down too. Finally, he said he would get Reigns’ tears at WrestleMania, because he’s the king of kings, game of games, etc.
This was pretty boring and the crowd didn’t seem to care. He’s also forgetting that we’ve seen Roman’s tears before. More than once. Mauro Ranallo said there was no timetable for Reigns’ recovery. For a busted nose?
8-Man Tag Match: League of Nations beat Lucha Dragons, Neville & Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
This was only about 8 minutes and was almost all action. Neville really shined here, but Sheamus hit him with a Brogue kick for the win. Wade Barrett finally worked and looked fine.
Renee Young had Kevin Owens backstage because he asked for the time to speak. Owens told her to stop rambling so he could talk. Owens was inspired by Dean Ambrose on Raw and wanted to give Ambrose his rematch for the Intercontinental title. Renee told Owens that Ambrose wasn’t there.
Owens acted surprised, but figured he has the night off since Ambrose is the only one who deserves a title shot since he’s defeated everyone else. Big Show appeared and said Owens hasn’t beaten him. Owens said he’s on the road to KO-Mania, but Show was on the road to retirement. Show grabbed Owens and said maybe he would “K.O. K.O.” (knockout Kevin Owens). This was good.
D-Von Dudley (w/Bubba Ray Dudley) beat Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) via pinfall
Bubba repeated, again, that the Dudleys are not a nostalgia act. D-Von said they’re the best tag-team ever, and Bubba told the fans to shove it. Jimmy Uso hit a superkick almost immediately and went to the top rope. Bubba grabbed a table so Jey chased after him. As the referee stopped Jey, Bubba tripped Jimmy off the top rope. D-Von clumsily picked Jimmy up to his feet just so he could pull him back down with a school boy for the very quick win. This was lame.
They aired a video package for the Shane McMahon angle, and announced the return of Undertaker to Raw in Nashville.
Backstage, Chris Jericho (wearing an Usos t-shirt) told AJ Styles, again, that he didn’t like him at first, but he does now, and they even became a team on Raw. Jericho said he’s been WWE Tag-Team champion five times with five different guys. He called the New Day clowns and said beating them tonight could get them a title shot and lead to a WrestleMania moment for Styles.
Styles said that’s why he came here, to be in a meaningless match the best. Styles said they needed a partner tonight for the six-man. Jericho asked if he got Funaki’s number while he was in Japan. Mark Henry showed up and thought WSM should join Y2AJ. That’s what he said.
Henry doesn’t like New Day either and firmly shook Jericho’s hand. Jericho was in pain and comically asked him to lighten up on the handshake. Henry didn’t like Jericho joking around like New Day. Jericho got in his face and said it would be an honour to have a former world champion on their team. Henry agreed, let go of Jericho’s hand, smacked Styles on the chest, and left. The stuff with Jericho and Henry was good, but Styles felt a little out of place.
Non-title: I.C. Champion Kevin Owens beat Big Show via countout
Owens looked small next to Big Show, which was quite a visual. Owens got some offense but it didn’t have much of an effect on Show, who followed with a chokeslam. Show tried to do a chokeslam off the top, but Owens slipped out and crotched him on the rope. Show fell to the outside and referee Mike Chioda did the fastest 10-count ever for the countout. The match was only 4 minutes long. Regardless of how Owens won, this should eliminate Show from title contention. (It won’t.)
Becky Lynch NC Natalya
Ranallo and Byron Saxton talked about Natalya and Lynch, but Jerry Lawler wanted to talk about Charlotte, to which Ranallo responded, “She’s not involved in the match, King. I like to focus on the action in the ring.” After about 2 minutes, Natalya hit a German suplex, sending Lynch to the outside. At this point, Naomi and Tamina ran out and attacked Natalya for the DQ/no contest.
Sasha Banks made the save, and she cleared the ring with help from Lynch. Charlotte came out and announced that the Lynch vs. Banks match for the number one contendership will be this Monday, and she will be at ringside. Natalya disappeared and was totally forgotten about. This sucked.
R-Truth beat Heath Slater (w/Social Outcasts) via pinfall
Truth came out alone, but Goldust came out as soon as the bell rang. He told Truth he just wanted to watch from ringside, and fans chanted “Golden Truth.” The Social Outcasts tried to interfere, but the distraction allowed Goldust to smack Slater, allowing Truth to use a backslide for the win. Truth was pleased and was smiling until Goldust winked at him. This was... fine, but it was another crap finish and another short match.
They aired a long video package for the Brock Lesnar/Dean Ambrose stuff from Raw, and officially announced their No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania.
New Day came out. Big E questioned Mark Henry’s claim as world's strongest man, and Kofi Kingston wondered how he can still call himself that. They cackled like hyenas. And then they kept cackling. Kingston said there was someone in the ring who was stronger than Henry - Xavier Woods.
Woods said Jericho and Styles aren’t a real team. New Day travel together, they eat together, they take baths together. Big E and Kingston acted alarmed, and then they quickly chanted New Day rocks. Like most New Day segments, there was some funny stuff in here, but a lot of unfunny stuff too.
6-Man Tag Match: AJ Styles, Chris Jericho & Mark Henry beat The New Day via submission
Mark Henry came out last, if that sort of thing matters to you. The good guys sent New Day to the outside, so Mark Henry did Big E’s hip swivel dance. Jericho decided to join him and did a dance of his own... and so did AJ Styles. Yes, Styles danced. It was something else.
After a break, New Day gained the heat on Jericho. There was a nice spot where Kingston hit a seated Jericho with a kick, Woods followed with a low dropkick, then he and Big E hit a combination leg drop and splash. Jericho came back with an enziguri and made the hot tag to Styles, who hit Woods with a clothesline, forearm and springboard moonsault inverted DDT.
Kingston took out Mark Henry with a Trouble in Paradise. He almost got Styles with one too, but Jericho pushed Styles out of the way and ate Kingston’s kick instead. Styles clotheslined Kingston and applied the Calf Crusher on Woods, who tapped out immediately. Good match. The announcers played up Jericho saving Styles from Kingston’s kick.
- Final Thoughts:
Despite a fun opener and main event, this was probably the worst Smackdown since they switched networks. The Triple H promo was terribly uninteresting, and the middle of the show was pretty dreadful, full of short matches and bad finishes. Sometimes when they shoot a big angle on Raw, they seem to have no immediate plan beyond that show, and Smackdown tends to suffer as a result.