Date: February 6, 2018
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
As is often becoming the case around here, it’s a big night with some major matches set for the show. This week we have Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the #1 contendership to AJ Styles for the Smackdown World Title at Fastlane. In addition to that, US Champion Bobby Roode is defending against Rusev on Rusev Day. Let’s get to it.
Commissioner Shane McMahon is in the ring to open things up. Shane talks about Sami vs. Owens but doesn’t think either of them deserve a shot. Someone he does think something of is General Manager Daniel Bryan. Daniel comes out and Shane talks about how the two of them listen to the fans every week. Fans: “RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY!” Shane: “Duly noted.”
Shane asks why Bryan keeps giving Sami and Kevin these chances. Yes, Daniel has changed the WWE landscape with the YES Movement but the Yep Movement is a poor imitation. Shane knows that Bryan wants to be wrestling more than anything and he knows what Bryan is doing. Bryan doesn’t quite get it but Shane accuses him of living vicariously through Kevin and Sami.
Before anything of note can be said, cue AJ Styles, to say he’s traveled 10,000 miles since the new year began because that’s what a champion does. He’ll defend the title against anyone who gets a title shot and walk into Wrestlemania as WWE Champion. Simple and to the point here, but if they’re not going to put Bryan in the ring (which I don’t think they will), they’re treading on thin ice by even hinting at it.
Shinsuke Nakamura comes up to AJ in the back and says he’ll beat him at Wrestlemania.
Liv Morgan vs. Charlotte
Non-title. Charlotte stomps her to the floor and we hit the break less than thirty seconds in. Back with Morgan in control but getting chopped down for her efforts. Morgan’s low superkick gets two but Charlotte scores with a neckbreaker and spear. Sarah Logan offers a distraction but just gets herself and Ruby ejected. Charlotte kicks Liv in the face and the Figure Eight makes Morgan tap at 7:59.
Rating: D+. Acceptable match here as Charlotte gets to score a little revenge on the Squad, because that team can keep absorbing losses like this. Charlotte looks dominant but I’m not sure who her next challenger is. Assuming they’re setting up the match with Asuka at Wrestlemania, I guess we’ll be seeing Charlotte vs. Ruby at Fastlane. That’s not exactly big though as Ruby hasn’t won much of anything since debuting.
Charlotte says that’s one down and two to go.
Video on Roman Reigns at the National Civil Rights Museum for Black History Month.
Kevin Owens says he’ll win.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. ???/???
Harper runs over Jobber #1 to start and #2 bails straight away, only to be taken down by Rowan. The double spinebuster ends #1 at 1:22.
Post match the Usos come out for the staredown but the Brothers walk past them. Back from a break, the Usos talk about a state of mind. They turn their mind into a prison, which they run. There are a lot of people out here starving but they’re not talking about people having cupcakes.
There are a lot of people out here looking thirsty but they’re not talking about lemonade or that purple stuff. They’re talking about the hunger and thirst for success. They went from “these guys are alright” to the match of the night. It used to be Uso Crazy but now it’s DAY ONE ISH! When you feel something creeping up on you, it’s not paranoia because it’s the Usos. I’m not sure what the heck was said here, but that was some awesome energy and I was digging the whole thing.
And now, the first Smackdown Top Ten List.
10. Tye Dillinger
9. Randy Orton
8. Becky Lynch
6. New Day
5. Bobby Roode
3. Shinsuke Nakamura
1. AJ Styles
Well that….was pointless.
Corey Graves has issues with the list, including New Day being above the Usos and the lack of Rusev.
New Day, answering fan questions tonight, gives Corey Graves a 6% chance in a street fight.
Aiden English says the ring being a canvas is appropriate because art will be happening tonight. Rusev is working out and shouts MACHKA.
Aiden sings Rusev’s entrance, complete with sing-a-long words on the screen and a bouncing Rusev head.
US Title: Rusev vs. Bobby Roode
Rusev is challenging. Feeling out process to start as they actually take it to the mat at a slow pace. Rusev takes him down again and we go to an early break. Back with Roode getting two off a Blockbuster but walking into a fall away slam. We hit the chinlock for a good while until a hard shot to the face wakes Roode up.
The running forearm and a clothesline have Rusev in trouble but English offers a distraction. A hard kick to the head gives Rusev two and we take a break. Back again with Roode hitting a spinebuster but going after English, allowing Rusev to get in the Machka Kick. The Accolade is broken up though so they trade rollups for two each. Another Accolade is reversed is reversed into the Glorious DDT to retain the title at 15:49.
Rating: B-. Good match here, though again I wonder why they’re refusing to do ANYTHING with Rusev out of the ordinary when he’s being cheered like no one else week to week. It’s not like the US Title is doing much for Roode and even a short reign would give the fans something extra to cheer for. I don’t get it, but that’s WWE logic for you.
Roode poses but an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE takes him down. English and Rusev get one each as well. That wasn’t a heel turn but rather Orton being Orton. Now just have Orton put one or two of them over and we might be getting somewhere.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable have their own bulletin board and wonder how this is what they have to work with in the tag team division. These on-screen graphics during the promos need to die in a fire already.
Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable vs. Ascension
Konnor wins an early slugout with Benjamin and Ascension clears the ring early on. A missed boot in the corner lets Gable start in on Konnor’s knee though with a variety of leglocks keeping him in trouble. Konnor grabs a flapjack though and the hot tag brings in Viktor to start cleaning house. That includes a middle rope knee to Chad’s face for two but Benjamin gets in a blind tag. Rolling Chaos Theory into the powerbomb/top rope clothesline puts Viktor away at 3:50.
Rating: D+. Just a quick win for Benjamin and Gable here to keep them hot, possibly for an upcoming match with the Bludgeon Brothers. Ascension was showing some fire here and that’s a good thing, as it’s not like they get a ton of ring time in the first place. Let them show what they can do and hopefully get another chance in the future.
New Day talks about who would be ranked highest if they were voted as individuals. This seems to go straight to Kofi, who wants the World Title this year. I could go for that.
Various wrestlers reacted to the Top Ten.
Sami wants his own moment on top of WWE.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
The winner gets AJ, on commentary, at Fastlane. They’re tentative to start until Owens runs him over, only to charge into some armdrags. Some right hands send Owens to the floor and he tells Sami to calm down. Owens gets knocked off the apron and we take a break. Back with Sami in trouble but still being able to block the Cannonball.
The exploder suplex into the corner is countered so Sami settles for a tornado DDT and two instead. Sami gets shoved off the top but is still able to get his knees up and block the Swanton. Kevin rolls to the floor and gets caught with a diving DDT to put both guys down on the outside.
Back in and a superkick sets up Owens’ frog splash for two more and he can’t believe the kickout. Sami is right back up with the Blue Thunder Bomb (which now has a chance to win as he got a pin out of it a few weeks back) for another near fall (ok maybe I’m overly optimistic). Owens stumbles out to the floor and it’s time for the argument with AJ, who beats both guys up (though he hit Sami first) for the no contest at 14:02.
Rating: C+. These two have great chemistry together and it’s very easy to have Sami slip back into face mode, even for one night only. He’s a natural face who is playing a good heel and it makes for an easy dynamic against a natural heel like Owens. They had a good match here, even if the ending was obvious from before the opening bell.
Cue Bryan to say it’s a triple threat at Fastlane, leaving AJ wanting a fight to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. I liked this one about as much as I could have as it didn’t really offer anything that bad and advanced enough stories. That being said, can we PLEASE get off this Shane vs. Bryan feud already? It feels like it’s been going on for the better part of ever now and I’m no closer to wanting to boo Bryan, even if that’s what WWE wants us to do. Not a great show, but it did its job well enough.
Charlotte b. Liv Morgan – Figure Eight
Bludgeon Brothers b. ???/??? – Double spinebuster
Bobby Roode b. Rusev – Glorious DDT
Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable b. Ascension – Powerbomb/top rope combination to Viktor
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens went to a no contest when AJ Styles interfered
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