Smackdown – January 17, 2020

Date: January 17, 2020
Location: Greensboro Coliseum Greensboro, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

We’re nine days away from the Royal Rumble and everything is pretty much set. We still have some time to set things up though and that includes a tables match between Roman Reigns and Robert Roode, with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for Reigns vs. King Corbin at the Rumble. That’s the brilliant “stipulation begets stipulation” booking, which makes so much sense. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Kane to open things up. It’s his favorite time of the year because we’re coming up on the Royal Rumble. The match gives wrestlers a chance to go through h*** to get to immortality and Kane is proud of having eliminated more than anyone ever before. It was a lot of fun….and here’s the Firefly Fun House.

Bray is glad to see Kane but doesn’t like someone bragging at someone else’s misfortune. He gives Kane a chance to say he’s sorry but nothing happens. Oh and before we move on: Ramblin Rabbit is alive and well (complete with an IV of carrot juice). Anyway, winning the Royal Rumble isn’t the best deal in the world because it means you get to challenge for the Universal Title at Wrestlemania. Kane’s picture is on the wall though because he and the Fiend got it on.

Bray says he’ll never forget Kane and we see a clip of their match at Summerslam 2013 (Bray’s in-ring debut). Neither will he, and there go the lights. The red lights come on and Kane is on the floor as Fiend crawls through the ring. Kane: “WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?” Cue Daniel Bryan with the running knee to the Fiend and a bunch of right hands to send Fiend into the hole. The smokes comes up as Fiend disappears….and Bryan pulls out some of Fiend’s hair. The lights come back up and Kane and Bryan do the YES pose. Good segment.

Post break Bryan says the Fiend is best at disappearing, so let’s make the Rumble match a strap match. Bryan is done with the mind games and the running so Fiend isn’t running down the hole anymore. At the Rumble, Bryan is changing the Fiend.

Big E. vs. John Morrison

Kofi Kingston (with blond hair) and Miz are the seconds and yes the slow motion is back. Morrison starts fast by kicking Big in the head a few times and hammering away, setting up a neckbreaker off the apron as we take a break. Back with Big E. fighting out of the chinlock but getting kicked back down. Morrison’s spinning splash gets two but Big E. powers him up.

Morrison kicks him in the head and springboards into a flip over Big E., only to get caught in the belly to belly suplexes. The Warrior Splash connects but Morrison cuts him off with the Moonlight Drive. Kofi and Miz get into it on the floor and Morrison flip dives off the top onto Kofi (with his knee getting dangerously close to Kofi’s head). Back in and Morrison kicks Big E. in the head again, setting up Starship Pain (which still looks bad) for the pin at 8:02.

Rating: C. Morrison is back and it’s still really hard to not want to make him a face. He looks great, he has the flips and a high flying finisher. The problem is he hasn’t exactly done well as a face before so I get why they don’t go there, but the temptation must be strong. I could certainly go for Miz and Morrison taking the titles from New Day as singles runs might be the way to go for Kofi and Big E. for the time being.

Video on Roode vs. Reigns.

Reigns and the Usos are in some dark place and they’re ready to go tonight.

Usos vs. Revival

Scott and Jey run the ropes to start until Dawson gets knocked down. Jimmy comes in but it’s a cheap shot from Dash to put him in trouble in a hurry. We hit the chinlock for a bit but Jimmy fights up and hits the spinning enziguri for the break. Wilder comes in and cuts off the hot tag, only to give it up seconds later. Double superkicks put Dash down and the Superfly Splash from Jimmy (as Jey dives onto Dawson) finishes Wilder at 5:00.

Rating: C-. This was rather underwhelming as there was little drama and they went through the formula in a hurry. It wasn’t a bad match but you expect a lot more from these teams. I can go with getting the Usos back on track, but it would have been nice to see this get a little more time and energy.

Post break Revival says they’re frustrated and a change needs to be made. Hold on though as we hear a fight and pan over to see Bayley and Lacey Evans brawling as Sasha Banks is down and holding her ankle. Referees break it up.

We look back at Mandy Rose giving Otis the cake last week and Otis….staring at her for lack of a better term, while eating it.

Mandy is ready for Sonya Deville’s match tonight but Sonya asks her if Otis can be at ringside tonight. She won’t say why but if Mandy asks, Sonya will do it.

Sasha is icing her ankle while she and Bayley rant about Lacey. Adam Pearce comes in and says Bayley is facing Lacey instead, albeit in a non-title match.

Bayley vs. Lacey Evans

Non-title. Bayley starts forearming away to start so Lacey snaps off a headscissors to sent her outside. Back in and Lacey small packages her for two but Bayley’s rollup with feet on the ropes doesn’t get anything. Bayley grabs the hair to snap the back of Lacey’s neck across the rope and we hit the armbar (Wouldn’t a chinlock make more sense after you started on the neck?).

Lacey fights up and kicks her in the ribs, followed by the running clotheslines. Another kick to the chest puts Bayley in the corner for the slingshot Bronco Buster but the double jump moonsault hits knees (looked great otherwise though). Lacey gets sent outside for a whip into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Bayley being sent back inside again but she snaps off a belly to back for two. A middle rope back elbow to the face gets two for Bayley but she misses a high crossbody. The Woman’s Right finishes Bayley at 11:25.

Rating: D+. This was a weird one as I like both of them but there were parts here that felt like they didn’t know what they were doing. It felt like some of this was a bunch of stuff instead of something that flowed from the beginning to the end. Lacey saluting time after time didn’t help either as it’s as pandering as you can get. It also didn’t help when this whole thing was filling time until we could get to one of WWE’s favorite booking tropes. At least there is a bit of an explanation this time as Bayley wasn’t ready, but it’s still more of the same.

Shorty G doesn’t like Sheamus coming back and talking down to everyone so he’s willing to teach him a lesson. Sheamus comes in to ask if anyone has seen Shorty G. After finding him, Sheamus pats Shorty on the head and gets double legged for some right hands to the face. Referees break it up and Sheamus is furious.

Braun Strowman wants an Intercontinental Title shot anytime. For now though, he’ll settle for entering the Royal Rumble.

Here’s Elias for a song, though he makes it clear that he needs our help. The song is about walking in Greensboro but here are Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn and Cesaro to interrupt. Sami is sorry to interrupt the sing song, but they have to deal with Braun Strowman to deal with right now. Strowman isn’t getting any Intercontinental Title show because he’s in no position to demand anything. Sami calls the shots around here and reminds everyone that Nakamura has won the Royal Rumble. Elias sings a song about how Sami needs to shut up so the fight is on. Strowman runs in for the save and cleans house.

Video on Rocky Johnson, who passed away earlier this week. It’s quite the tribute actually and Johnson was a lot of fun to watch in the little I’ve seen of him.

Alexa Bliss vs. Sonya Deville

Mandy Rose, Nikki Cross and Heavy Machinery are at ringside. Sonya knees her in the chest and ribs for two to start and we’re in the chinlock less than thirty seconds in. Bliss fights up and slugs her down so Mandy gets on the apron, only to get knocked into Otis’ arms. The distraction lets Bliss grab a rollup for the pin at 1:48. This is feeling more and more like the days of women’s divisions past every week.

King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler give Robert Roode a pep talk before the main event.

Shorty G. vs. Sheamus and Lacey Evans vs. Bayley for the title have been added to the Rumble card.

Roman Reigns vs. Robert Roode

Tables match and the winner gets to pick the stipulation for Corbin vs. Reigns at the Rumble. Roode jumps him from behind to start but Reigns punches his way out of trouble and loads up the announcers’ table. That earns him a whip into the steps but Reigns fights up again, only to miss a VERY hard spear through the barricade. Cue King Corbin on the throne and we take a break.

Back with Reigns slipping out of a superplex attempt but not being able to powerbomb Roode through a table. Instead Roode is sent outside as Reigns sets up a table in the corner. Corbin runs down and offers a distraction, allowing Dolph Ziggler to run in with a superkick (or Sweet Chin Music according to Cole). Reigns is sat on the announcers’ table but the Usos run in for the save. Ziggler is splashed through the table and Reigns spears Roode through the table for the pin at 11:45.

Rating: C. This was just a way to get to the stipulation at the end and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like Roode was any serious threat to Reigns and they advanced the story a bit by having the Usos there to make things even, which allows Reigns to be the better man even against adversity. I really hope they blow off Reigns vs. Corbin on Sunday though because egads I don’t think I can take much more of it.

Post match Reigns picks Falls Count Anywhere.

Overall Rating: C. The point of this show was to set up the Royal Rumble and they did that rather well on a lot of fronts. At the same time though, it was a rather uninteresting show on its own, with none of the matches being worth seeing and almost everything just coming and going with little impact tonight. It’s a watchable show, but something that you would be better off recapping rather than watching.


John Morrison b. Big E. – Starship Pain

Usos b. Revival – Superfly Splash to Wilder

Lacey Evans b. Bayley – Woman’ Right

Alexa Bliss b. Sonya Deville – Rollup

Roman Reigns b. Robert Roode – Spear through a table

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