Date: January 30, 2018
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
It’s the final night of the Philadelphia Story and Smackdown is in a very different place than Raw. The blue show has the men’s Royal Rumble winner and as a result, the World Title match for Wrestlemania XXXIV is already set. There are a lot more details to get through though and that starts tonight. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura to open things up. He talks about kneeing everyone in the face and is ready to do it to AJ Styles at Wrestlemania. This brings out Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to interrupt with Sami ranting about the loss in their title shot. Owens was never tagged in so he couldn’t be pinned. Owens: “YEP!”
Therefore, they deserve the next shot at the title, which they’ll take at Wrestlemania. Nakamura calls them losers and here’s AJ Styles to interrupt as well. AJ agrees with the losers comment and suggests the dream match become a dream team against Sami and Kevin tonight. Kevin and Sami: “NOPE!”
Post break Daniel Bryan makes the tag match. Owens and Zayn are livid but Bryan gives them another chance. Next week, it’s Owens vs. Zayn in a #1 contender match with the winner getting a shot at Fastlane.
Kofi Kingston vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
The winner gets a US Title shot next week and champion Bobby Roode is on commentary. It’s a brawl to start with Kofi and Jinder trading rollups for two each. A knee to the head cuts Kofi off though and Ryder low bridges Mahal to the floor. After a brawl near the announcers’ table, everyone gets back in with a double Irish whip setting up Kofi’s dropkick to Rusev.
Back up and Kofi hits a big dive over the top onto Ryder and Mahal, meaning it’s time to throw pancakes. The Singh Brother cuts off Rusev’s dive (this is completely against Rusev Day tradition) so Aiden English shoves him into New Day, meaning the PANCAKES ARE DROPPED! All four seconds are ejected and we take a break. Back with Ryder hitting the Broski Boot on Rusev but Mahal throws him outside to take the near fall for himself. The SOS gives Kofi two but Rusev is right in to break things up. The Stackalade is broken up so Rusev settles for the regular version on Kofi for the tap out at 12:44.
Rating: C+. Nice energetic match here with the right choice for the winner. It’s a few weeks late for Rusev but it’s not late enough that it doesn’t work. Rusev is still hot and putting the US Title on him would be a great way to capitalize on him. They need to do something with him and hopefully this is the start of something good for him.
Ascension is helping Fashion Files answer some Twitter questions (including some about hair conditioner) when Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable come in to call it stupid. They turn over the table and we have a match set up for later.
Here are the Usos for a chat. They talk about cleaning out the tag division, including listing off each team, causing a jail graphic to come up on the screen. There’s no one left for them to face so of course here are the Bludgeon Brothers.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. ???/???
Jobber #1 is sent hard into the corner for a running charge in the corner from Harper. The jobbers are sent into each other and it’s a full nelson slam/powerbomb combination to #1. The double spinebuster ends #2 at 1:50.
Daniel Bryan announces a superstar ranking system which will be starting soon. This was announced earlier in the day.
Shane McMahon is in his office when Tye Dillinger comes in. He’d love to talk about the ranking system (there are ten names on it after all) but he’s not happy with what happened at the Rumble. Baron Corbin comes in to yell about not getting the title shot and questions Shane’s McMahonhood. Dillinger mocks Corbin for losing Money in the Bank (a bit behind the times there buddy) but Shane says they’ll settle this in the ring tonight.
Video on Ronda Rousey debuting.
Here’s Charlotte for a chat with Renee Young (in what looks like Danny Davis’ old ring jacket). Charlotte wanted to be in the ring on Sunday to see if she could come in at #3 and survive like this guy she knows. Then the moment happened that broke the internet and she was in the ring with Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Ronda Rousey. She’s walking into Wrestlemania as Smackdown Women’s Champion and wants to know who she’ll be facing.
This brings out the Riott Squad with Ruby saying Charlotte’s ego is as big as her father’s. Charlotte doesn’t seem to mind so Riott talks about how she’s met people like Charlotte throughout her career. If it’s up to Ruby, Charlotte won’t even make it to Wrestlemania. Charlotte holds off the attack for a bit but the numbers get the better of her. The parade of finishers ensues….AND HERE COMES CARMELLA! She hands the referee the briefcase but accidentally dropkicks him to the floor before the match is on. Charlotte is back up so Carmella changes her mind. So Carmella is now a klutz?
Styles goes to talk strategy with Nakamura but Shinsuke only wants to talk about the Wrestlemania match. They’ll be fine tonight if Styles listens to him, which doesn’t sit well with AJ.
Carmella wanted to remind Charlotte that the danger is real.
Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin
They fight outside at the bell with Corbin being sent into the barricade. Back in and Corbin unloads on Tye with right hands before throwing him outside as we take a break. We come back with Tye fighting out of a chinlock and getting in some right hands to the ribs. Corbin does his slide underneath the ropes but the clothesline misses. Instead Tye sends him shoulder first into the post, followed by a boot to the face. The Tyebreaker is broken up though and Corbin hits him in the back of the head. The chokebreaker sets up End of Days to give Baron the pin at 6:38.
Rating: D+. This was fine for a way to give Baron a little momentum, though he doesn’t have anything going on at the moment. Dillinger is in even worse shape though and needs to do something different if he wants to go anywhere. It could be worse, but at the moment there’s nothing there. That’s not exactly shocking either and I’m kind of surprised that he’s made it this far.
Aiden English sings about the upcoming Rusev Day title change.
Roode has Rusev Day marked on his calendar. He circles it, but turns the circle into the O in glorious. That was clever. I’m not wild on these handheld promos but I am a fan of promos being used to set up matches. It worked for years and I have no idea why it was decided that they can’t work again.
Sami and Kevin are in the back talking about how they’re ready for tonight. Kevin implies that he’ll win next week and Sami doesn’t seem pleased.
Wrestlers are speculating on who will be the 205 Live General Manager.
Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable vs. Breezango
Fandango chops away at Shelton to start but walks into a spinebuster. Chad comes in to start on the arm but makes sure to knock Breeze off the apron to keep control. Back up and Fandango gets something like a backbreaker, only to get caught with a rolling Liger kick for two. Breeze comes in off the hot tag as everything breaks down but it’s a quick powerbomb/top rope clothesline to put Tyler away at 3:40.
Rating: D. Much like Corbin, this was a quick win to get Benjamin and Gable back on track. There was no reason to expect anything of note and it’s not like Breezango was going to get anything important in anyway. The wrestling was short and to the point, though I’m not sure what Gable and Benjamin do now while the titles are busy.
Wrestlemania XXXIV ad.
AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens
AJ wastes no time in headscissoring Owens into the corner so it’s off to Sami to work on Nakamura’s arm. Styles comes back in for a few kicks before Nakamura is back in, only to be taken into the corner for the double stomping. Nakamura fights back with some shots to the head and we hit the front facelock. Sami gets thrown outside but Owens uses the distraction to shoulder Nakamura down.
That leaves Sami down on the floor so Owens yells at him, meaning it’s time for the big argument. That’s too much for Sami and he takes the walk up the ramp as we go to a break. Back with Owens holding Styles in a chinlock as Sami watches from the stage. AJ’s belly to back facebuster gets two as Sami runs back in for the save. Sami comes in for two off a backdrop and it’s quickly back to Owens for two off the backsplash. Owens chops Sami for a tag but that’s not cool with Zayn, who does the same to bring Owens right back in.
They get knocked into each other so Sami leaves again, leaving Kevin to break up the Phenomenal Forearm. A Vader Bomb elbow gets two but the Pop Up Powerbomb is thwarted. Instead it’s off to Nakamura for some kicks, only to have Owens bail before Kinshasa. AJ throws him right back in though and it’s a spinwheel kick to the head, followed by Kinshasa to give Nakamura the pin at 15:25.
Rating: C+. Pretty standard main event tag match here but it advanced the story of Sami vs. Kevin’s issues. AJ vs. Nakamura has a lot of time to build up and there’s no need to rush things. Let that take its time to be properly built and see where they can go instead of rushing through things and running out of steam with a month to go before Wrestlemania.
An unpleased Sami is watching in the back but says that’s not the end of their friendship. This is about Sami getting his chance because it’s his time to be champion.
Overall Rating: C+. Nice enough show here, especially after we’re coming out of the Rumble and heading into Fastlane. There’s a lot more to do here but this set the stage for the next few weeks, which is all you can do here. You can probably pencil in Owens vs. Zayn for Wrestlemania while Nakamura vs. Styles seems to be written in ink. This should be an interesting season and since I can’t imagine them messing with anything major at Fastlane, everything seems to be looking better. Throw in the lack of Bryan vs. Shane tonight and this was another nice show.
Rusev b. Kofi Kingston, Jinder Mahal and Zack Ryder – Accolade to Kingston
Bludgeon Brothers b. ???/??? – Double spinebuster
Baron Corbin b. Tye Dillinger – End of Days
Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable b. Breezango – Powerbomb/top rope clothesline combination to Breeze
AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura b. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn – Kinshasa to Owens
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