Date: January 3, 2020
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
It’s the first Smackdown of the new year and we are on the road to the Royal Rumble. That could mean a lot of things but one of them is likely to be more build towards Daniel Bryan vs. the Fiend II. I’m curious to see where things go, though King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler are in the main event to temper my interest. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Bryan becoming #1 contender last week.
Miz comes up to Bryan and tells him to defeat the Fiend for everyone.
Here are Bayley and Sasha Banks for a chat. Bayley talks about everyone working on their new year’s resolution and the two of them are no different. Look at them now: Bayley is Women’s Champion and Sasha is the standard bearer. Then you have someone like Lacey Evans…and here is Lacey, plus Dana Brooke, who will be facing Bayley and Sasha. Lacey doesn’t like Bayley talking about her daughter when Lacey has worked to give her family a better life. This brings out Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the (scheduled) triple threat.
Sasha Banks/Bayley vs. Lacey Evans/Dana Brooke vs. Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross
Banks messes with Lacey’s mind to start before bringing Nikki in instead. That means Brooke gets to come in for one off a slam and everything breaks down for a bit. Lacey is sent outside and Bliss dropkicks Banks. Bayley pulls Bliss off the ropes though and the Meteora in the corner gives Banks two. Banks chokes her a bit but everything breaks down again and they wind up on the floor as we take a break.
Back with Brooke cleaning house, including a snap suplex for two on Banks. Everything breaks down again until it’s Bayley stomping on Brooke some more. Brooke fights out of the corner so Banks knees her in the face to set up Bayley’s belly to back suplex for two. An enziguri finally gets Brooke out of trouble and it’s back to Lacey for the standing moonsault on Bayley.
The slingshot Bronco Buster looks to set up the springboard moonsault but Banks pulls Bayley away. That’s only good for two as everyone makes the save so Lacey has to slip out of a double powerbomb. The Woman’s Right hits Banks and Dana adds the Swanton (with a thud) for the pin at 13:17.
Rating: D+. This was a near mess with the match just going and going until someone got the fall. The match didn’t have much of a flow or structure to it and Dana getting the win was rather surprising. In theory this gives Dana and Lacey a Tag Team Title shot but Lacey seems in line to face Bayley so it could be some combination of both.
We recap Dolph Ziggler crushing Otis’ fruitcake.
Mandy Rose comes up to Otis, who didn’t see the fruitcake get destroyed. His mama did though and she’s not happy. Tucker comes up to say they have a match so the two of them leave, with Mandy actually looking sad.
Miz runs into New Day but isn’t in the mood to celebrate the new year. Big E.: “I watched the balls drop.” Kofi: “There’s only one ball. What were you watching?” Big E: “I don’t know!” Kofi tries to make Miz feel better by saying Miz won the most titles in the 2010s, though Big E. points out that Miz was tied with Kofi himself. That’s not enough for Miz, because Fiend violated his family’s home. The pancakes are turned over and a match seems to be made for later.
Here’s Elias for a song. This one is about how many things need to change in 2020, like Shane McMahon going to Raw and Revival being harder to watch than Dolph Ziggler’s comedy act. He also implies that he’ll be in the Royal Rumble.
We look at Revival getting beaten up in the Miracle on 34th Street Fight.
Revival doesn’t like being made to look like bad jokes. They want respect in the new year but here’s Chad Gable to say embrace who you are. Revival makes fun of Gable for being short, but Gable says they don’t bother him anymore. His new motto is Rise Over Size (egads) and the result is Dash vs. Gable tonight.
Shorty G. vs. Dash Wilder
Scott Dawson is on commentary for more short jokes as Wilder gets two off a suplex. Gable is back with a high crossbody for two before grabbing the ankle lock. That’s reversed into a rollup for two, with Cole calling Gable inspirational. Dawson: “He’s inspirational because he’s short???” Another ankle lock makes Wilder tap at 2:52.
Post match Dawson comes in for the beatdown and the Shatter Machine connects. Sheamus makes his return for the save…and then Brogue Kicks Gable.
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
Kofi sweeps the leg and hits a quick splash for two, setting up the monkey flip to frustrate Miz even more. A back elbow to the jaw drops Miz again and it’s time for a breather on the floor. Back in and Miz kicks away at the ribs in the corner, setting up a running knee for a bonus. Miz charges into a kick to the head though and Kofi adds a top rope chop to the head. Miz’s reverse DDT is blocked but so is the SOS. The Skull Crushing Finale doesn’t work either and Kofi rolls him up for the pin at 3:54.
Rating: C-. These two are always good for a passable enough match and it seems Miz is a heel all over again. To be fair that fits him better, as it’s pretty hard to cheer for him when he failed against Wyatt at the pay per view. Just let him be a heel again because neither face run has worked for the most part.
Post match Miz jumps Kofi to end the face experiment again. Miz shouts that he’s given the fans everything.
Daniel Bryan says he’s winning the title at the Rumble, so Roman Reigns enters the Rumble. That would make Bryan vs. Reigns at Wrestlemania so Bryan says bring it on. They’re ready for their tag match tonight.
Post break Cathy Kelly knocks on Miz’s door but John Morrison answers, saying Miz has nothing left to say tonight.
Otis vs. Drew Gulak
Before the match, Gulak says that he is an expert in matters of the heart, which means he knows Mandy would never date Otis. We have a POWER POINT PRESENTATION but Otis jumps him to start in a hurry. A suplex sends Gulak flying and another drops him in a hurry. There’s a gorilla press but hang on as Dolph Ziggler is hitting on Mandy in the back. Otis throws Gulak down and hits the Caterpillar, setting up a Vader Bomb for the pin at 2:27.
Braun Strowman vs. Cesaro
Cesaro has Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura with him. They do the power lockup to start with Cesaro getting launched into the corner. Strowman cleans house and chases the other two off of the apron as we take a break. Back with Cesaro diving into a choke but reversing into a quick sleeper.
That’s broken up in a hurry so Cesaro hits a running uppercut in the corner. Another misses though and Strowman heads to the floor for the train of shoulders. Sami comes in for a distraction so Cesaro can send Braun into the post. The Neuralizer is countered into the running powerslam to finish Cesaro at 8:12.
Rating: D+. Just a match here with the break eating up a good chunk of it. Strowman is pretty obviously getting the Intercontinental Title shot at the Rumble and he might as well win the thing. It’s not like it matters who wins it at this point so trading it to someone more popular might be an improvement over what we have at the moment.
Post match Nakamura hits Strowman with Kinshasa so the trio can leave.
We recap Roman Reigns attacking King Corbin last week.
Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin/Dolph Ziggler
Corbin jumps Reigns at the bell and gets punched in the face for his efforts. It’s off to Ziggler, whose neckbreaker is easily broken up so Reigns can hit a big boot. Bryan comes in and kicks away….but we have the Fiend laughing and lights flickering. Back from a break with Reigns kicking Corbin in the face but running into Deep Six for two. Corbin sends him into the steps and Ziggler begs Reigns to do something.
The Superman Punch finally gets Reigns out of trouble and it’s back to Bryan to pick up the pace. Bryan elbows Ziggler down and hits the YES Kicks, only to miss the big one. Ziggler’s rollup is reversed into the LeBell Lock with Corbin making the save. Reigns spears Corbin and Bryan knees Ziggler….as the lights go out. The Fiend is here so Bryan hits him with a suicide dive.
Fiend gets posted but is right back with the Mandible Claw to send Bryan through the barricade. The Claw goes on again and there go the lights, meaning the Fiend is gone. Ziggler and Corbin jump Reigns as he goes to check on Bryan, meaning it’s time for the handcuffs and dog food. Cue the returning Usos for the save though, which is pretty long overdue. We’ll say the match ended at about 10:00.
Rating: C-. This was all just a means to get to the end of the match and that’s fine as it didn’t exactly overstay its welcome. That being said, this didn’t help hide the fact that Ziggler and Corbin aren’t exactly as interesting as a lot of the other people on the show, including the three other people involved in the match. Not a bad match or anything, but a means to an end more than anything on its own.
Overall Rating: C. While the wrestling wasn’t great, this show felt like it had stuff happening. There were four returns (only one of which we knew was coming) and you can see where the stories are going. Compare that to Raw where it feels like the stories either have no direction or are having twists thrown into them to keep things going. This may not be the most thrilling show, but it’s a structured show and doesn’t leave you wondering what you just watched. Unfortunately it doesn’t leave you overly entertained, but I’ll take that over Raw almost every day.
Lacey Evans/Dana Brooke b. Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross and Sasha Banks/Bayley – Swanton to Banks
Shorty G. b. Dash Wilder – Ankle lock
Kofi Kingston b. The Miz – Rollup
Otis b. Drew Gulak – Vader Bomb
Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns b. Dolph Ziggler/King Corbin via DQ when the Fiend interfered
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