Date: January 21, 2016
Location: Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and Roman Reigns is already in trouble tonight with a handicap match against the entire League of Nations. This show is almost destined to end with a big brawl between most of the different major factions in the Rumble and it wouldn’t feel right if things ended any differently. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Chris Jericho to open things up. It’s been fourteen months since he’s been on Smackdown but he wants to talk about three days from now, which will be the biggest Royal Rumble of all time. Jericho instructs the monkeys to show us what happened on Monday, which leads us into the three and a half minute recap of most of Monday’s events, including the Highlight Reel to end the show.
Back in the arena, Jericho says Brock may be the beast incarnate but Jericho is here to save the WWE. That’s Sunday thought because right now, he’s here to be interrupted by the New Day. Big E. wishes shame on Jericho for destroying Francesca and now making light of things while New Day is in mourning. Woods thinks there should be a documentary made about Christal (yes Christal) called Making a Brass Murderer.
Jericho is so cold blooded that he wouldn’t give a crippled crab a crutch. We get a moment of silence for Francesca but Jericho says this, along with the horns on New Day’s heads, are stupid. Jericho thinks they need better unicorn names, like Sparkles, Bartholomew, Rootie and Tootie. That’s enough to get them into the ring but Jericho says they already have a six man scheduled.
New Day vs. Usos/Dolph Ziggler
Maybe this will be a bit more entertaining than the rather boring Jericho vs. New Day segments. I know they sound great on paper but they’re really not working in practice. Dolph has some face paint of its own. Kofi and Jimmy get things going with Kingston taking over and telling the fans not to call them Rootie Tooties. It’s quickly off to Jey for two off a double back elbow. It’s off to Woods (or Tootie, giving me flashbacks to the Facts of Life, which is odd as I’ve never watched the show) who gets caught in a neckbreaker from Ziggler, followed by a big elbow drop for two.
Big E. comes in for a quick belly to belly and the Warrior Splash. As usual there is no reference to their history together because once something ends in WWE, it is never brought up again ever, or at least until they go back to that exact story. It’s back to Kofi for a chinlock but he tries to go up top and gets dropkicked out of the air.
The hot tag brings in Jimmy to clean house with dropkicks all around and a running Umaga Attack to Kofi. Big E. low bridges him though and we take a break. Back with Big E. holding Jimmy in the abdominal stretch and Woods shouting at the fans. Woods gets two off a faceplant as Ranallo mentions Xavier going for his fourth college degree. That’s just impressive.
Jimmy kicks Big E. away and scores with a Whisper in the Wind, allowing the real hot tag to Ziggler. Everything breaks down and Jey dropkicks everyone he can find. Well everyone not on his team and not wearing a referee shirt that is. A double dive takes out Kofi and Big E., leaving Woods to take a triple superkick for the pin at 14:44.
Rating: C. This was your standard Smackdown six man tag and there’s nothing wrong with that. New Day continues to be amusing as they’re actually going from one step to another with their comedy instead of doing the same stuff over and over for months and being surprised when the reactions die off. This is where the Usos excel though and these matches are always worth at least a quick look.
Ranallo refers to Reigns having to face all four members of the League of Nations as a “stiff test.” That’s rather subtle.
Rumble By the Numbers video.
Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox
Charlotte and Flair (kind of surprising to see him on Smackdown) are on commentary. Fox runs her over to start and takes Becky to the floor for a kick to the chest. For some reason (likely fallout from her being crazy) Alicia grabs a northern lights suplex on the floor and holds the bridge for a count that is never coming. Back in and Becky starts her clotheslines comeback until Fox knees her in the face. Not that it matters as Becky reverses a slam into the Disarm-Her for the tap at 2:59.
It’s time for MizTV with guests Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. Miz explains the rules of a Last Man Standing match until Ambrose comes out to cut him off. Dean says Sunday isn’t really even a match because it’s more of an amusement park. Miz asks Ambrose if he thinks he can do a better job hosting this show.
The fan reactions send Miz to sit in the corner and Dean gets back to the amusement park idea. He goes outside and points to the apron, which is the first ride he’s going to take Owens on. “Has anyone ever noticed that Owens kind of looks like a bear?” That’s why he calls the edge of the steps the bear trap because he can get Owens’ hand caught behind them and hit him with anything he wants, including the new Smackdown announcer. That leaves Dean with the announcers’ table, which he calls Memory Lane. He can’t wait to give Owens the kind of beating he deserves on this table but here’s Kevin to interrupt.
Owens says he’s more of a zoo enthusiast than an amusement park guy (amen brother) but more than that he’s obsessed with getting his Intercontinental Title back. That’s why on Sunday he’ll do whatever he has to do to get his title back and leave Dean laying. Ambrose wants to fight right now but Miz jumps Dean from behind at the mention of DeanTV. This brings Owens to the ring…..to lay out Miz with the Pop Up Powerbomb. Dean fights back on Kevin but can’t give him Dirty Deeds. Owens bails so Dean gives Miz the DDT instead before counting to ten (it wouldn’t be the build to a Last Man Standing match without one of those).
The Wyatts are here.
Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback
After a clip of the Wyatts laying Brock out on Raw, Ryback hits an early cross body and pounds away at Bray’s head. There’s the Thesz Press with Ryback ramming the back of the head into the mat. For some reason Ryback heads outside though, allowing Bray to Rock Bottom him onto the apron as we take a break.
Back with Ryback running Bray over and hitting a…..dang it he hit a superkick. You would think RYBACK would be immune from using that move but it really is spreading out of control. Bray avoids the top rope splash though and gets two off the backsplash. Ryback hits a quick spinebuster and Meathook but Harper offers a distraction, allowing Strowman to send Ryback into the steps. Sister Abigail puts Ryback away at 8:00.
Rating: C-. I feel sorry for Ryback at times. It’s clear that he’s trying to get better but there’s no room for someone like him to get anywhere because he’s one of those guys that is going to be stuck in the midcard loop until he leaves because that’s how WWE works. Bray is the same way but on a slightly higher loop.
Post match the Wyatts lay Ryback out again.
Stardust vs. Titus O’Neil
Yes again. Titus starts fast with the hard overhead chops but Stardust takes him to the floor and sends Titus into the barricade. Back in and we hit the crossface chickenwing for a bit before Titus comes back with a shoulder and clothesline. Such varied offense. Stardust gets two off a DDT but gets crotched on top, setting up the Clash of the Titus for the pin at 3:04.
Rating: D. I’m sick of seeing these two fight, especially when there’s really no reason for them to keep having matches. Are they really still after each other because Titus came into Stardust’s room or something for a few weeks in a row? If nothing else I do like this better than more dull Prime Time Players matches though.
Kalisto talks about Alberto being up there with Mil Mascaras, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero in Mexican wrestling, Sure Del Rio is bigger and stronger, but Kalisto has been fighting Goliaths his entire life. Del Rio comes in and says Kalisto’s wins were flukes. The League appears and beats Kalisto down.
Roman Reigns comes out for his match but says he’s not really surprised that the odds were stacked against him again. That just makes the fight bigger and he can’t wait to come back home with his WWE World Title. Simple and to the point here.
Roman Reigns vs. League of Nations
Sheamus starts for the team but can’t drag Reigns over to the corner. It’s off to Rusev instead but he’s low bridged to the floor and driven into the barricade. Back in and it’s quickly off to Sheamus for a hard knee to the ribs. That means it’s back to Rusev, who shouts at Reigns to tag his partner.
Sheamus puts on a chinlock with a knee in the back until Reigns sends him into the corner for a breather. Rusev comes in and misses a charge, allowing Reigns to come back with some clotheslines. The referee tells them to go home because they’ve got one minute, meaning it’s time for Del Rio and Barrett to come in and jump Reigns for the DQ at 4:57. Barrett and Del Rio never tagged in.
Rating: D. Why not just make this Rusev/Sheamus instead of all four? I mean, if Barrett and Del Rio can’t do anything (for whatever reason with Del Rio), why even list them? You could still do the same ending and the match might be a bit more interesting with less ridiculous odds for Roman to overcome.
Post match the League keeps up the beatdown until the Usos come in. This draws out the Wyatts for the long beatdown on Reigns to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. What a worthless show. I really don’t care any more about Sunday’s show than I did before and most of the matches were either too short to rate or bad. It’s really amazing how far this show has fallen in just two weeks after debuting on USA. Lame show here that you really could have skipped.
Usos/Dolph Ziggler b. New Day – Triple Superkick to Woods
Becky Lynch b. Alicia Fox – Disarm-Her
Bray Wyatt b. Ryback – Sister Abigail
Titus O’Neil b. Stardust – Clash of the Titus
Roman Reigns b. League of Nations via DQ when all four attacked Reigns
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