Smackdown – January 22, 2015

Smackdown
Date:
January 22, 2015
Location:
Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators:
Byron Saxton, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Much
like last week, this actually feels like a big show. The main event
for tonight is again Bryan vs. Kane, now in a No DQ match with
Bryan’s Rumble spot on the line. The show had a significantly bigger
audience last week compared to the normal audiences on Fridays, so
maybe we’re in for more big time shows. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of the end of Raw with Sting helping Cena win the
3-1 handicap match to save Cena’s spot in the Sunday’s title match
but more importantly getting Ziggler, Rowan and Ryback’s jobs back.
Opening
sequence.
Here’s
Daniel Bryan to get things going. He’s excited to get on the Road to
Wrestlemania and would love to talk about his No DQ match tonight and
how he won’t let anything stop him from winning the Royal Rumble. He
could talk about how obsessed he is with getting the WWE World
Heavyweight Championship back. Or he could talk about Sting’s first
ever appearance on Raw and how it ruined the Authority’s night.
However,
there’s something more important than that, and it’s what John Cena
accomplished on Raw. There are three people with something to say
about it, so here are Ryback, Rowan and Ziggler for their big
returns. Well as big as they can be after just getting a few weeks
off. It’s really hard to care about them being fired when they’re
back in just a few weeks.
The
fans chant FEED ME MORE at Ryback before he compares his firing to
Bryan’s injury. The Big Guy is back but doesn’t have much more to
say other than catchphrases. Rowan says being gone was sort of a
blessing because he had a lot of time to sit back and think. Believe
it or not, he used to be a different person. He was naive and
someone’s puppet, but these last few weeks have let them (as in he
and the sheep mask) know who he really is.
That
leaves us with Ziggler, who of course gets the biggest reaction of
the three. Ziggler set around eating stuffed crust pizza and watched
the HHH and Stephanie fitness DVDs. He’s joking of course and brings
up all the momentum he had before getting fired (because WWE loves to
build people up and then take them off TV). But the Authority tried
to take it away because they’re a threat. He would rather stay here
and take a beating like never before than going home sitting on his
couch and complaining on a podcast (it had been too long since the
last Punk cheap shot).
Cue
the Authority minus the actual authority with Rollins saying this is
a Survivor Series reunion with a garden gnome replacing Bryan.
Ziggler wants to beat Rollins up right now but Rollins has more
important things to do than deal with someone who sits on a couch
eating stuffed crust pizza. Oh and the fitness DVDs are AWESOME!
Ziggler says Rollins must enjoy them because he’s never seen anyone
run away from Lesnar that fast.
Kane
tells Bryan to calm down because he still has to survive tonight to
get into the Rumble. Bryan responds by showing a clip of Lesnar
destroying Kane and Big Show to close Raw. That’s not cool with Big
Show who promises to win the Rumble on Sunday because the four people
in the ring are all losers. Kane promises to go to depraved levels
to destroy Bryan but turns his attention to Ziggler. Since he’s a
new employee, Ziggler has to start back at the bottom of the ladder
and work his way back to the Intercontinental Title. However, Kane
is willing to give Ziggler a match against Barrett right now.
Royal
Rumble Qualifying Match: Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler
Non-title
and only Ziggler can qualify with a win. Barrett easily takes him
down to start but gets caught in a headlock. A nice dropkick gets
two for Dolph but a headscissors is countered with a kick to the
ribs. They head outside where Barrett sends him into the apron
before cranking on the arm back inside. This is the kind of stuff
I’d like to see more of: someone grabbing a body part and cranking on
it for the middle part of the match.
A
top wristlock has Ziggler in trouble but he avoids a charge in the
corner. The running DDT gets two for Dolph and we take a break.
Back with Barrett going back to the arm but Ziggler rolls through to
send Barrett shoulder first into the post. Dolph nails a big
superkick for two more and both guys are down. Back up and the champ
kicks him in the ribs but the Bull Hammer is blocked, setting up the
Zig Zag for the pin at 10:54.
Rating:
D+.
Barrett losing all the time is officially a running joke. I
mean, it has to be. There’s no way they can think this is the
logical way to book anything. The match was actually pretty dull
with neither guy going out of the ordinary. I’m
not sure what the solution is for Barrett, but this stuff is turning
him into more and more of a waste every week.
We
recap Ascension getting beaten down by the legends on Raw.
Reigns
looks at the footage of Big Show going after the legends from Raw and
knocking out Flair until Reigns made the save. Roman
doesn’t know if Renee Young has heard, but Big Show is a giant. If
you haven’t heard, just listen because it’s all he ever talks about.
Andre never had to do that because his actions did the talking.
Show
also always talks about Reigns wanting his spot, but Reigns wants his
own spot. In the Rumble, everyone is all over the place and his fist
is cocked, locked and ready to rock. He’s the one vs. all and he’s
the one standing at the end. Believe that. This was FAR better than
his usual stuff and felt much more natural.
Fandango
draws his Rumble number and seems very pleased. As
he dances with Rosa, Ambrose sneaks in and steals his number. The
referee monitoring the drawing has no issue with this.
Ryback
vs. Rusev
Non-title
again and only Ryback can qualify. Ryback
hits a hard shoulder but Rusev frantically rolls outside before the
cover. Back in and Ryback
hits a nice suplex, sending Rusev’s legs into the ropes in the
process. The champ bails to the floor again but is able to dropkick
a charging Ryback to take over. We
take a break and come back with Rusev
getting two off a DDT.
Rusev
wraps the leg around the post, hoping Ryback actually sells it unlike
he did in the Big Show match a few weeks back. Ryback
takes advantage of Rusev’s trash talking and hits a slingshot belly
to back suplex and a powerslam for two. A
Backpack Stunner gets two more and Ryback stops to hold his knee (to
be fair Rusev didn’t do much to the knee so it’s not as annoying this
time).
Ryback’s
powerbomb is countered into an Alabama Slam (Siberia Slam?) for two
but he just runs Rusev over.
For some reason Ryback goes up top, only to be quickly crotched down
for two. Rusev tells
himself to crush but Ryback fights out of the Accolade and loads up
the Meathook, sending Rusev running again. Ryback follows and
hammers away before beating the count at 13:47.
Rating:
C+. Who would have thought
these two would be better than Ziggler and Barrett? There was even a
bit of a story told with Rusev running a lot in the beginning and
then losing when he tried it once too often. Ryback
can do a decent power match and Rusev is finding ways to keep the
unpinned streak alive without looking stupid. I’ll call this a
pleasant surprise.
Rusev
goes after him again but gets dispatched one more time.
Brie
Bella vs. Naomi
Paige
and Natalya are on commentary. Thankfully
the BRIE MODE is gone. The
Bellas mock Natalya for loving cats and call Paige a vampire. Paige
corrects them by saying she’s a glampire
and a black heart. Naomi
kicks at Brie’s leg as Paige and Natalya debate if they’re friends or
not. Paige calls Tyson Kidd
an idiot as Naomi gets her throat snapped across the top rope for
two. Brie misses her
running knee but hits a jawbreaker on the knee, setting up the Bella
Buster for the pin at 2:20. So
much for Naomi meaning anything.
Luke
Harper says you can send anyone into the Royal Rumble, but don’t send
in anyone you want back. Rowan better not blink or the monsters will
get him. Are you scared yet?
Goldust
and Stardust draw their numbers and hiss at each other.
Erick
Rowan vs. Luke Harper
Only
Rowan can qualify. They
slug it out to start and Rowan runs him over with a shoulder for an
early two. Harper busts out a freaking hurricanrana to counter a
powerbomb. This guy is not normal. Rowan
just throws him into the corner and gets two more off a spin kick.
Luke bites the fingers to
block I think a full nelson but this time Rowan’s powerbomb connects
for two. Erick misses a top
rope splash though and a superkick and discus lariat gives Harper the
pin at 3:20.
Rating:
C. The more I see Harper the
more I wonder why he isn’t being pushed to the moon and back. On the
other hand, the more I see Rowan, the more I wonder why they even
bothered pushing him in the first place. He’s fine in the ring and I
like his potential, but he’s just a big jobber at this point and it
seems like that’s all he was ever meant to be.
Kane
borrows the Stooges for his match with Bryan.
Rumble
by the numbers video.
Miz
is annoyed at Mizdow for imitating X-Pac without his permission.
Mizdow says the fans liked it but Miz says no one cheers for him
because they’re all cheering for Miz. Miz also rejects the pumpkin
latte for having the wrong amount of foam. He leaves and the Usos
come up and tell Mizdow that he can get his hands on Miz in the
Rumble. The idea intrigues Mizdow but he still looks conflicted.
Kane
vs. Daniel Bryan
No
DQ with Bryan’s Rumble spot on the line and
the Stooges in Kane’s corner. A
cross body gets one on Kane but Bryan has to go after the Stooges,
allowing Kane to kick him down to the floor. He stays on the neck
with a neckbreaker on the floor before dropping him onto the
barricade. It’s kendo stick
time with Bryan getting cracked over the back a few times before they
head back inside.
Daniel
gets the cane to cane Kane before alternating between kicks and cane
shots to the back. A big kick to the head is only good for two and
Kane knocks him out of the air as we go to a break. Back
with Kane holding a chinlock (what
else would he be doing?) and
cracking Bryan in the back with a chair for two. The chair gets
wedged into the corner but Kane low bridges him to the floor. The
Flying Goat is countered with an uppercut and Kane takes over on the
floor. Bryan gets whipped into the steps and the Stooges load up the
announcers’ table. They’re
already more useful than Patterson and Brisco.
The
tomestone and chokeslam are both countered and Kane gets sent into
the post to give Daniel a breather. Back
in and a bad looking YES Lock has Kane in trouble but the Stooges
come in to break it up. Lawler and Cole are incensed but Saxton
correctly point out that they’re not breaking any rules. Bryan
fights them off but eats a chokeslam for two. Kane
is livid and gets another chair, only to be sent into the one he
wedged in the corner, setting up the running knee to send Bryan to
the Rumble at 12:18.
Rating:
B-. This was as good as you can
expect from Bryan vs. Kane, but the feud needs to end here. Kane as
the monster hunting Bryan is only going to get you so far and we
passed that point back in April.
Having Bryan overcome a
small set of odds is the right way to use him and getting the big win
off his finisher is the right way to go. I can more than live with
Kane in roles like this, with him getting pinned by a bigger star who
slays a monster. Why can’t we get there with Big Show?
Speaking
of Big Show, he drags Bryan back to the ring but Ziggler, Rowan and
Ryback come in for the save. The big Rumble brawl is on until
Ambrose and Reigns come out to make it serious. Roman cleans house,
even though most of the guys were already gone by the time he got in.
It gets down to all of the big heroes in the ring (minus Rowan.
They’re not even hiding it now) and Kane and Big Show on the apron to
end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B-. It’s still not a
great show, but the important part of this show is stuff happened.
Instead of spending a big
segment on Raw bringing back the three fired guys, it was saved for
here and we even saw two of them qualify for the Rumble. It’s not
exactly Lesnar and Rollins having a showdown, but I’ll take this over
the weekly big tag match every day. If
WWE can build up momentum for Smackdown, it might get even bigger in
the future. Good show this week that felt important.
Results
Dolph
Ziggler b. Bad News Barrett – Zig Zag
Ryback
b. Rusev via countout
Brie
Bella b. Naomi – Bella Buster
Luke
Harper b. Erick Rowan – Discus lariat
Daniel
Bryan b. Kane – Running knee
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