Smackdown – January 22, 2019

Date: January 22, 2019
Location: Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kansas
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and as luck would have it, we’re getting a 2/3 falls match between Rey Mysterio and Almas (still not liking the new name). There are still some spots available in the Royal Rumble matches so maybe we’ll fill some of those in tonight. Hopefully some are left open though, as the surprises are always nice. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Becky Lynch to open things up. She’s sick of hearing about everyone telling her about what the Man should be doing. The only thing the Man should be doing is main eventing Wrestlemania and slapping everyone on the way there. That includes Asuka, because Becky will do anything to get the title back. This brings out Asuka who shouts without a microphone but here’s Charlotte to interrupt as well. Charlotte says she’s winning the Rumble and coming for the title, allowing Asuka to jump Becky from behind. The fight is on with Becky throwing her over the announcers’ table, leaving Asuka screaming as Becky leaves.

Post break Becky and Asuka are being held apart in the back. Good angle advancement here as Asuka doesn’t get shaken too often.

Long recap of Naomi vs. Mandy Rose due to Mandy trying to steal Naomi’s husband Jimmy Uso.

Mandy Rose vs. Naomi

Naomi jumps her in the aisle to start and slaps Mandy straight out to the floor. We take a break less than thirty seconds into the match and come back with Naomi hammering away with forearms into a running hurricanrana. Sonya Deville offers a quick distraction though and Naomi gets posted for the pin at 5:58. Not enough shown to rate but this was nothing.

Rey Mysterio talks about winning the Royal Rumble for honor but tonight is about respect. Tonight, Zelina Vega is banned from ringside and it’s a fair fight.

The Miz vs. Cesaro

Cesaro starts with the power but Miz kicks the leg out and gets an early Figure Four. That’s broken up and they head outside for a staredown with the partners as we take a break. Back with Miz fighting out of a chinlock and hitting the running dropkicks/clothesline in the corner. Cesaro uppercuts him out of the air though and Sheamus gets in a cheap shot, setting up the Neutralizer for the pin at 5:50. Again not enough shown to rate, but it was didn’t go anywhere.

Post match the brawl is on with Shane getting in his usual shots that of course do damage to a multiple time World Champion. Sheamus shoves him off the top and into the barricade though and it’s a Brogue Kick to knock Shane silly. Miz covers him up and gets beaten down as well. The Bar lays Miz on the table and powerbombs Shane through both of them for a good visual. This was a nice beatdown segment, but it’s not enough to overcome my apathy every time Shane shows up on camera.

We look back at Samoa Joe beating up Mustafa Ali last week.

Ali is on the streets of Chicago and talks about patrolling them as a cop. One thing he learned in that time is that eyes don’t lie. When Samoa Joe was attacking him last week, Joe kept asking if Ali understood. Ali understood, but it was the eyes that told him that Joe thinks Ali is beneath him. Now Joe needs to look into his eyes and understand that Ali is telling the truth when he says he can beat Joe. More great stuff here, as Ali’s stuff stands out due to being very well put together and different.

Miz and Shane are still being helped up.

Here’s Vince McMahon to moderate a final discussion between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Daniel won’t get in the ring though and complains about last week’s attack that saw him covered in concessions. Bryan uses his power for good, though AJ thinks he uses it to be a jackass. That sends Bryan into a mini rant about AJ exciting the fans but Bryan makes them think.

Bryan is the planet’s champion, not the people’s champion. AJ talks about Bryan’s change of mindset, which he sees as fickle. Bryan starts to quote Carl Sagan but Vince tells him to get in the ring. He won’t though, instead going on a rant against Vince’s generation being the biggest parasites ever. Then the people bow to him for it and trade Instagram likes while Vince and his generation ruin the world.

Vince tells him to shut up and get in the ring but if Vince wants a face to face, AJ is willing to make that happen. The fight is on outside until AJ throws him inside with Bryan hiding behind Vince. That’s enough to set up the running knee so Bryan can escape. Good segment here, though it took some time to get going.

R-Truth and Carmella talk about using their Royal Rumble wins for World Title shots. There’s no chance that Truth is going to use his win to ace Brock Lesnar because he doesn’t want to be sent to Sioux Falls City. Carmella says he can’t challenge for the Cruiserweight Title because of the weight limit and Truth walks off. Carmella walks over to Charlotte and gives her some advice about the tornado that is the Rumble, especially with her waiting at #30. Charlotte says Carmella should be the worried one.

This was really, really bad at the whole “no one talks like this” aspect, with Carmella saying “what about the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar” sounding cringe worthy. Anyone who watches this show knows who Brock is, and there are better ways to have Truth get the point across. Like: “Are you crazy? I’m not facing a suplex machine like Brock Lesnar! I don’t want to go to Sioux Falls City!” They’re already assuming that you know what Suplex City is, meaning you know who Lesnar is. Stop making this sound so bad.

Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe

Joe throws him around to start and knocks Ali off the apron to send us to another early break. Back with Joe’s corner enziguri getting two and Ali not exactly making Joe nervous. We hit the neck crank for a bit until Ali fights up and nails Joe in the face for a double knockdown. They fight to the floor with Ali hammering away, followed by some superkicks back inside. The great tornado DDT gets two but the 054 is broken up and Ali grabs the Koquina Clutch. Ali taps at 8:02.

Rating: C+. Ali continues to have that Jeff Hardy underdog quality and that’s going to take him a long way. It’s not a bad thing to have him lose to a big, over star like Joe, who has to win something to keep him afloat these days. This was entertaining while it lasted, and the ending wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

Royal Rumble rundown.

New Day is preparing for the Rumble by watching some Kofi clips. They’re tired of being asked this question every year by every interview. Is Tony Chimmel going to ask them next? Here’s Tony Chimmel to ask them and get thrown out (Big E.: “Do you see Edge here???”). Kofi isn’t sure if he can figure out a big save this year but he has an idea. No hints though.

Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade

2/3 falls with Zelina Vega banned from ringside. Rey starts fast with a hurricanrana to the floor and we take an early break. Back with Rey hitting the springboard seated senton but Andrade dropkicks his springboard crossbody out of the air. Andrade sends him into the corner with the knee getting banged up, only to get caught up top. That’s fine with Andrade, who counters a hurricanrana into a super Batista Bomb for the first fall at 8:36.

Another big powerbomb gives Andrade two but Rey counters a third into a sick Canadian Destroyer (Andrade’s head hit hard) for the pin at 9:48. We’re tied up as we go to a break and come back with Rey sliding underneath the ropes into a powerbomb to send Andrade into the barricade. Back in and the West Coast Pop gives Rey two but the 619 is countered into an armbar over the ropes. Rey hurricanranas him to the floor but Almas moonsaults onto his feet, setting up a powerbomb into the post.

The hammerlock DDT connects for two back inside with Rey having to use the ropes for the break. A Fujiwara armbar has Rey in more trouble but Rey fights up and tries a springboard….I think into a rollup but they botch the landing with Rey going into a regular rollup instead. Rey gets two more off a reverse hurricanrana and the 619 takes Andrade down again. Cue Samoa Joe to break up another springboard with an apron powerbomb for the DQ at 23:15.

Rating: B. Oh man they were rolling there until the (slightly necessary) interference ending. I get that you don’t want either jobbing but my goodness they were on their way to something special. Andrade is getting somewhere with this new intensity, though having the matches be against Mysterio isn’t hurting things.

Post match Joe chokes Rey out and says that he’s doing the same thing to everyone on Sunday. As he’s talking, Randy Orton runs in for the surprise RKO (that always looks cool) and poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. This one is going to depend on how you looked at it. The wrestling and story advancement were good and as a regular show this was one of the better shows in a few months. However, as a go home show it has some flaws with the US Title match receiving no time and the Shane/Miz beatdown going on too long. What we got was very good though and it was a breeze to watch. The Rumble is looking good, especially if they space things out well enough.


Mandy Rose b. Naomi – Mandy sent her into the post

Cesaro b. The Miz – Neutralizer

Samoa Joe b. Mustafa Ali – Koquina Clutch

Rey Mysterio b. Andrade via DQ when Randy Orton interfered

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