Smackdown – January 24, 2020

Smackdown
Date: January 24, 2020
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and that means we need the final push towards Houston. The men’s Royal Rumble is probably as set as we are going to get in advance but there are only give names announced for the women’s match. It’s hard to imagine not getting some names announced tonight and that is long overdue. Let’s get to it.

Usos/Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin/Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler

At least they’re getting it out of the way early. The Usos elbow Ziggler down and drop more elbows for a bonus, meaning it’s already off to Roode. Everything breaks down with Roode backdropping Jimmy to the floor and Ziggler sending him hard into the steps. It’s a knee injury and that means we’re going to be having a handicap match. Back with Jey coming in and being dragged into the wrong corner.

Jey slugs away on Corbin but walks into a heck of a Deep Six for two. Roode’s neckbreaker is good for the same and Ziggler gets in his big jumping elbow. The spinning enziguri drops Roode but Corbin pulls Reigns to the floor to break up the hot tag attempt. To make it even worse, Reigns is sent into the barricade a few times and we take a second break. Back with Jey still in trouble until he sends Corbin hard into the post.

The hot tag brings in Reigns to beat up Ziggler with the raw power as everyone else is knocked to the floor. Roode offers a distraction though and Corbin breaks up the spear, allowing Ziggler to hit a superkick for two. Reigns gets sent outside for the stomping and Ziggler drops another elbow for two more. Corbin comes back in and hammers away with right hands but the Glorious DDT (you knew that’s what it was going for as Roode shouted GLORIOUS and tried a DDT) is countered with a slam.

Ziggler pulls Jey off the apron though and sends him into the barricade, just like they did to Reigns earlier. The superkick is broken up with a Superman punch and here’s Jimmy back to ringside to get the hot tag. The knee is fine enough for the fired up comeback, including a high crossbody for two on Roode with Corbin making the save. Corbin gets Superman punched and Reigns throws him into the crowd. Jey dives onto Ziggler and Jimmy hits the Superfly Splash for the pin at 25:01.

Rating: C. I’d love for WWE to explain what they see in this feud to give it twenty five minutes to open the show, especially when Corbin vs. Reigns is likely to get nearly that much time on Sunday. The feud isn’t that interesting and odds are we’ll be seeing Roode/Ziggler vs. Usos added to Sunday as well. WAY too long here and they really could have cut ten minutes out and had a better match.

Video on Bayley vs. Lacey Evans.

Here’s Lacey for a chat. She has fought back against Bayley and Sasha Banks because she doesn’t put up with bullies. Her upbringing wasn’t all that great and her father lost his battle with addiction. Lacey wants to use her platform to show that you play the hand you’re dealt and you can make it. She’s worked hard to be a mom and a Marine and we see a clip of Banks mocking Lacey’s family. It’s hard to be a mother when your daughter is scared by two bullies….and here’s Bayley to jump her from behind. Bayley: “WHERE’S YOUR DAUGHTER NOW???”

Carmella and Dana Brooke are ready to win the Royal Rumble. We pan over to Lacey throwing Bayley into things so Dana and Carmella run over in a failed attempt to break it up.

Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire

Sonya and Mandy are in the Rumble too. They seemed to make up earlier in the day. Lacey Evans and Bayley brawl to the ring and it’s a double DQ at 21 seconds.

The fight continues…and we don’t have time for that because we need to go backstage.

Elias is strumming his guitar when Braun Strowman comes in to say they need to go to work.

Here’s Elias to sing his new song, Texas Dream, which is a short one about the Rumble and a way to introduce Strowman. Before we get to the match, Elias asks the fans if they want to see Strowman sing with him. They start things up but here’s the interruption for, you know, some wrestling.

Elias/Braun Strowman vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro

Sami Zayn is out with Nakamura and Cesaro. Elias gets uppercutted to start but he sends Cesaro face first into the turnbuckle to get out of trouble. A Nakamura distraction gets Elias in trouble but Strowman runs people over as we take a break. Back with Elias in trouble but Kinshasa is broken up with a jumping knee to the face.

That’s enough for the hot tag to Strowman so house can be cleaned, including the big forearm to Nakamura’s chest. Nakamura comes back with the middle rope knee to the chest and Strowman is sent shoulder first into the post. Cesaro comes in but Sami’s distraction doesn’t work. The running powerslam plants Cesaro and Elias’ top rope elbow gets the pin at 8:31.

Rating: D+. Just a quick match here, almost in the vein of a house show actually. I’m a little surprised, as well as a bit relieved, that Strowman didn’t pin Nakamura again. They still haven’t announced the title match for Sunday so maybe they’ll wait a little longer before setting that up. Nakamura has held the title for a long time now and I’m curious to see how long he can keep going as champion.

We look back at Daniel Bryan challenging the Fiend to a strap match at the Rumble.

Big E. is VERY oiled up, which is his strategy to avoid being eliminated from the Royal Rumble. Kofi Kingston comes in and is ready for John Morrison tonight. They’re ready to go on to Houston for the Royal Rumble and this year it’s for Xavier Woods.

We look back at the opening match.

Corbin doesn’t like being asked questions.

Rumble By The Numbers time!

1070 total competitors

6,596 feet in height

1:16:06 Bryan lasted in 2018

56:01 Natalya lasted in 2019

1 second for Santino Marella

2003 Royal Rumble won by Brock Lesnar

7 people have won two Royal Rumbles

3 Royal Rumbles won by Steve Austin

2 others have won from #1

64,000,000 views of Royal Rumble videos since the Network launched

3 brands

2 Royal Rumbles

1 night

Note that they mentioned this being the 33rd Royal Rumble, though they now included the Greatest Royal Rumble in the record books.

Sheamus is ready for Shorty G.

Kofi Kingston vs. John Morrison

Before the match, Miz talks about how he’s the same person who lets you into his home every week on Miz and Mrs. Oh and he and Morrison are now in the Royal Rumble. They’re not exactly leaving many spots left. Morrison dodges away from Kofi to start so Kofi lands on his feet out of a monkey flip. Kofi’s monkey flip sends Morrison face first onto the mat and Morrison misses a dive over the top to crash on the floor. Kofi adds a flip dive so Miz is right over there for some applause.

Back from a break with Kofi kicking Morrison in the face and sliding through the legs, only to get kneed hard. Kofi is right back with a faceplant for two but Trouble In Paradise is kicked out of the air. The referee gets distracted for a bit so it’s a poke to the eye, setting up a middle rope Spanish Fly for a close two on Kofi. The SOS gives Kofi his own two but Big E. and Miz get into it on the floor. Kofi kicks Miz off the apron but gets knocked down, setting up Starship Pain (best one Morrison has hit in forever, and this time he jumped up instead of pulling himself up) for the pin on Kofi at 9:55.

Rating: C+. There was some good action in here and the ending should set up a Tag Team Title shot, in case they hadn’t done enough to get that ready yet. I’m not sure when they’ll do that match as the Rumble card is already loaded, but that has never stopped them before. Miz and Morrison still work well together though and that’s what matters.

It’s time for the contract signing for the strap match. Bray’s music hits but he comes up on screen instead, trying to fax in the contract from the Firefly Fun House. That might be better for everyone though because there is no reason to tie yourself to the Fiend. Bray tries to call customer service (Bray: “Yes. English or ancient Sumerian please.”) but Bryan wants him out here right now.

That isn’t happening due to Bray’s lawyer (Mercy the Buzzard) advising against it, so Bryan says he’s seeing through Bray. Bray hears Bryan mention a mistake and that is the Word of the Day. This is all about Bryan’s big mistake when he betrayed Wyatt and now it is time to pay. Since Bryan isn’t competing against Bray on Sunday, it’s only fitting that He sign the contract.

Cole bails as the lights go out and the Fiend is in the ring, holding the strap. Bryan goes after him and is Mandible Clawed in a hurry. Sister Abigail plants Bryan and Fiend rips off Bryan’s shirt for a whipping with the strap. Fiend sits down at the table and grabs the pen, which he stabs into his own hand. He rubs the blood over the contract and throws it at Bryan, which counts as signing (I don’t think evil monsters are that well versed in law). The lights go out and Fiend disappears to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. Pretty meh show overall but it did a decent enough job of setting up Sunday. If nothing else it was nice to nearly double the amount of names in the women’s Royal Rumble. The wrestling was pretty lacking but that’s not usually the point on a show like this. Sunday is all that matters anyway and no one is going to remember this one after that anyway. Not much to see this week, but it’s one of the least important shows of the year anyway.

Results

Usos/Roman Reigns b. King Corbin/Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode – Superfly Splash to Roode

Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire went to a double DQ when Bayley and Lacey Evans interfered

Braun Strowman/Elias b. Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura – Top rope elbow

John Morrison b. Kofi Kingston – Starship Pain

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