SmackDown on Fox Episode #16
SmackDown Episode # 1,065
Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum
We get our opening video and pyro and then the announcers hype the matches we are going to see tonight.
Kane comes to the ring and it’s clear that he hasn’t turned down many meals since we last saw him as he has now has a quite a gut on him. Kane talks about his history in the Royal Rumble and how important it is to win it. Bray Wyatt shows up on the video screen he first informs us that Ramblin’ Rabbit and the camera pans over to Ramblin’ all bandaged up and has an IV in him that is filling him with carrot juice. Wyatt calls Kane a bully and says that neither he nor The Fiend would forget Kane. The lights go off and when they come back on Kane is outside the ring while The Fiend pops up behind him from a hole in the ring, but before anything can happen Bryan appears and hits the running knee on The Fiend and then starts punching him only for The Fiend to go back down in the hole he made in the ring and when Bryan reaches into the hole he pulls out a handful of The Fiend’s dreadlocks. Bryan and Kane do the Yes Chants as we go to commercial.
We come back from commercial to Kayla Braxton interviewing Bryan where Bryan cuts a passionate promo on The Fiend and how he is tired of The Fiend running when he gets the best of him, so at Rumble he is going to make sure that doesn’t happen as their match will now be a strap match. Bryan says he understands the danger but he is tired of the mind games from The Fiend and he says The Fiend changed him but at Rumble he is going to change The Fiend and win the Universal Championship.
I was not a fan of the opening segment for several reasons, first off I don’t need to see Kane back in the ring or even teasing a match especially in the shape he is currently in. I don’t know why we need a Kane vs Bray match every few years as none of them have been any good, but I could definitely see that being a match on the next Saudi show in February. I’m so over the entering the ring through a hole in the mat as it is so overdone and hasn’t felt special in over ten years. I did like the promo Bryan cut. out of all the gimmick matches I definitely wouldn’t have expected them to be in a strap match. It’s a toss up of whether this or a Baron Corbin promo would be the worst way to open an episode of SmackDown.
Match #1: Big E w/ Kofi Kingston vs John Morrison w/ The Miz
As Big E comes to the ring we see that Kingston has blonde dreads.
We don’t even get a lock up as Morrison starts the match with some lunging forearm smashes and then sends Big E into the ropes, but he reverses and hits Morrison with a shoulder block. Morrison gets to his feet and then delivers a series of kicks on Big E. Morrison hits Big E with some mounted forearm shots and then hits a neckbreaker that sends Big E crashing from the ring apron down to the floor as we go to commercial.
As we come back from break Morrison has Big E grounded with a one armed straight jacket. Big E gets to his feet and throws Morrison across the ring, but Morrison lands on his feet and then hits Big E with a running calf kick. Morrison hits the standing shooting star press, but only gets a 2 count when Big E sits up and then uses his power roll back and get to his feet all while still holding onto Morrison. Big E attempts a slam, but Morrison slides out the back and sends Big E into the corner. Big E charges at Morrison in the opposite corner, but Morrison dodges by going to the apron and then slides under the legs of Big E and right back out to the apron where he delivers a kick to the head of Big E. Morrison tries for a springboard but Big E moves and Morrison rolls through and runs right into a couple of belly to belly suplexes and then Big E attempts a side belly to belly but Morrison pokes him in the eye. Big E backdrops Morrison who ends up landing on his face.
Big E hits Morrison with the big splash and signals for the Big Ending, but Morrison elbows Big E in the back of the head and then hits the Moonlight Drive for a 2 count. The Miz gets up on the apron but Kingston pulls him down and as they have words on the outside Morrison hits a side flip dive to the outside onto Kingston. Morrison gloats while on the apron and this gets the attention of Big E who goes for his spear through the ropes, but before he could Miz pushes Morrison out of the way. Morrison hits Big E with another kick to the head. Morrison hits a running knee to a seated Big E and then hits the Starship Pain which finishes Big E off.
Winner: John Morrison via Pinfall Match Rating: **3/4
This was a near perfect return match for the “Shaman of Sexy” and the only thing that kept it from being perfect was the fact that the Starship Pain barely hit Big E. I really feel like Morrison should go back to using the Moonlight Drive as his finisher or perhaps get a whole new finisher to make his return to WWE even more special.
After the match the announcers tells us that in tonight’s main event if Roman Reigns wins he gets to pick the stipulation for his match against Corbin at Royal Rumble, but if Roode wins Corbin gets to pick the stipulation.
We get a backstage promo with Roman Reigns and The Usos where they talk about their respective matches tonight and The Usos try to get Reigns to reveal what the stipulation will be if he wins tonight, but Reigns says they will find out when everyone else does as we go to commercial.
Match #2: The Usos vs The Revival
Dawson and Jimmy start the match with a lock up and Dawson shoves Jimmy in the corner and then we get a drop down and leap frog spot that ends with Dawson receiving a big chop to the chest. Dawson reverses an Irish whip into the corner, but Jimmy is able to stop himself before hitting the turnbuckle and then hits an uppercut on Dawson. Jey is tagged in and we get a double team move where Dawson gets hit with a flying forearm in the corner. Jey tries to work on the arm but Dawson pulls his air in order to get him to back up so that Wilder can make a blind tag. Jey gets a hit in on Wilder, but Dawson hits Jey with a slingshot suplex and then Wilder slingshots over the top rope with a body press that gets a 2 count. The Revival work over Jey in their corner and Wilder tags in Dawson.
Dawson lifts Jey up by his beard and then delivers an elbow to the top of his head. Dawson then quickly hits a series of moves before going for a cover which only gets him a 2 count. Dawson pulls on Jey’s beard some more before locking in a chin lock. Jey gets to his feet and throws Dawson off of him, but Dawson comes back and tries for a suplex only for Jey to get out of it and then hit Dawson with an enziguri. We get tags on both ends and Jimmy comes in with clotheslines and then hits Wilder with a right hand followed by a Samoan drop. Jimmy goes for the running hip smash in the corner, but Wilder gets to his feet in time and backdrops Jimmy out to the apron only for Jimmy to come off the top with a crossbody for a 2 count. Jimmy goes for a superkick, but Wilder counters only for Jimmy to attempt an O’Connor roll, but Dawson gets on the apron and grabs Wilder so he won’t go back into a pin position. Dawson catches Jimmy’s leg on a superkick attempt which allows Wilder to hook him in a small package, but Jimmy kicks out.
Wilder attempts a tornado DDT, but as he does Jey makes a blind tag and also Jimmy throws Wilder off of him. The Usos hit both members of The Revival with superkicks and then Jimmy tags Jey in and he hits Wilder with the Uso splash to pick up the win.
Winners: The Usos via Pinfall Match Rating: ***
This was a nice little taste of how great these two teams are and if given more time they could blow the roof off any arena they are in. Not much to say on this match other than it was really good.
We come back from commercial with The Revival looking dejected after losing again. Kayla Braxton comes up and interviews them and they talk about how frustrated they are and how bad the tag division in general is treated, all of a sudden we hear some loud screams and we see that Lacey Evans has gotten into a brawl with Bayley & Sasha Banks which has to be broken up by officials, we also see that it seems like Sasha messed up her ankle during the brawl.
We get a recap of what happened last week when Otis helped Mandy win her match against Alexa Bliss.
Sonya Deville is backstage getting ready for her match when Mandy walks up and is hyping up how this is going to be the year of Fire & Desire. Sonya asks Mandy if she could ask Otis to be in her corner tonight, Mandy is confused and asks why Sonya needs Otis when she will be in her corner. Sonya says she was confused about the whole Otis thing at first but she gets it now. Mandy is still confused but says she will ask him but she doesn’t know if he will say yes, but Sonya says that if Mandy asks she is sure Otis will say OK.
For a second here I was thinking they were making Sonya straight and that she had a crush on Otis, but thankfully I was wrong and she just wanted him out there to help her win her match like he did for Mandy last week.
We go over to the trainers room where Sasha and Bayley are pissed about what just happened with Lacey and Sasha says Lacey doesn’t deserve to face her while Bayley says she will break every bone in Lacey’s body the next time she sees her. Adam Pearce enters the room and tells them that they have promoted this match for two weeks and the match is happening tonight, except Bayley will take Sasha’s place and when Bayley complains Pearce reminds her that she just said she would break every bone in Lacey’s body and then Pearce tells her the match is next.
Match #3: Bayley vs Lacey Evans
Bayley slides out of the ring right when the bell rings and Lacey chases after her which ends up being the wrong move as Bayley is able to take advantage of Lacey sliding in the ring after her. Bayley puts the boots to Lacey and then hits her with a few forearm shots. Bayley sends Lacey into the corner, but she comes right back out with a clothesline on Bayley followed by a flying head scissors that takes Bayley out of the ring. Lacey hits a baseball slide on Bayley before throwing her back into the ring. When Lacey gets back up on the apron Bayley tries to hit her with a shoulder to the gut, but Lacey moves and kicks Bayley in the chest. Lacey jumps over Bayley into the ring and rolls her up with a school boy for a 2 count. Bayley takes Lacey down with a single leg take down and then tries to pin Lacey with her foot on the ropes for leverage, but the referee sees it and stops his count.
Lacey charges toward Bayley, but Bayley grabs her and pulls her down throat first across the middle rope. Bayley hits some nice forearms on Lacey and then grounds her with an armbar. Lacey eventually gets to her feet and fights out of Bayley’s grasp only to run to the ropes and be taken right back down with a back elbow for a 2 count. Bayley then jumps on Lacey’s back a couple of times and then gets rolled up out of nowhere for a 2 count. Bayley sends Lacey out to the apron and tries for the Twist of Fate across the middle rope, but Lacey pushes away and then slams Bayley’s head into the turnbuckle. Lacey is still on the apron and uses her long legs to kick Bayley who is in the corner. Lacey jumps over the top rope and delivers some clotheslines on Bayley and then biels her across the ring. Lacey hits a big running kick followed by the rope assisted elevated bronco buster. Lacey goes for the moonsault, but Bayley gets her knees up and this sends Lacey out of the ring to catch her breath. Bayley goes out and hits Lacey with a big running knee into the barricade as we go to commercial.
Bayley is in full control as we come back to the action as she is stomping a mudhole into Lacey’s chest and then picks her up to hit some shoulder attacks. Bayley rolls back and goes for her running back elbow in the corner, but as she charges in Lacey catches her with a drop toe hold into the middle turnbuckle. Lacey goes for another bronco buster, but Bayley rolls out of the ring and grabs Lacey’s leg but Lacey kicks her away. Lacey goes out and throws Bayley back in and as she goes to get back in Bayley successfully hits the middle rope Twist of Fate and goes for a cover but it only gets her a 2 count. Bayley hits a Saito suplex but once again Lacey kicks out at 2. Bayley sends Lacey into the corner and hits the running back elbow followed by a flying back elbow off the middle rope for yet another 2 count. Bayley goes up top and tries for a crossbody, but Lacey moves and sends Bayley crashing down to the mat. Lacey charges at Bayley in the corner only to get flap jacked across the top turnbuckle, Bayley runs off the ropes and when she comes back Lacey decks her with a sweet Women’s Right that is enough to finish Bayley off.
Winner: Lacey Evans via Pinfall Match Rating: **1/2
I enjoyed everything about the women’s title picture on this episode, I thought the brawl was really good and although I still have a problem with the backward booking of Lacey having to go through the champion first in order to get to Sasha instead of the other way around I do think Sasha is playing a perfect heel as the way she refused to wrestle Lacey kinda pissed me off for all the right reasons. I love they used Adam Pearce as an unofficial authority figure who played it straight and didn’t put up with any BS, I especially loved how he stopped Bayley’s whining by using what she just said about Lacey against her. I though the match was really good and to see how far Lacey has come in a year is amazing as I re-watched the 2019 Rumble where nothing she did in that match looked good to today where she put on a good match against the Women’s Champion. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win the title from Bayley and that sets up Sasha vs Lacey for WrestleMania.
After the match we go backstage where we have a new backstage interviewer who interviews Shorty G about Sheamus hitting him with a Brogue Kick a couple of weeks ago. Shorty says Sheamus is projecting his own insecurities on to him and he’s not going to fall for Sheamus’s mind games. Sheamus walks up and does the where is Shorty joke when he is standing right next to him. Sheamus tries to intimidate Shorty, but Shorty double legs him and starts wailing away with punches until they are broken up, this would piss off Sheamus who flips over a table as we go to break.
I liked this segment just for the reason that for the first time Shorty didn’t just sit there and listen to someone crack jokes at his expense as he showed that a short guy can still kick Sheamus’s big Irish ass.
Back from break and we get an interview with Braun Strowman who says he will be in the Rumble match, but before that he wants an Intercontinental Title match with Shinsuke Nakamura and says he has already pinned Nakamura twice so he deserves it.
We cut to the ring where Elias goes to sing a song about Greensboro until he is cut off by Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, & Cesaro. Zayn says Nakamura doesn’t back down from a challenge but rejects Strowman’s request for a title match. Zayn says he calls the shots and says nothing will be happening with the Rumble only nine days away. Zayn tells Elias he can pick back up where he left off, but Elias says he has written a new song called “Sami Zayn Needs To Shut His Damn Mouth!” this gets under Zayn’s skin and he sends Cesaro down to deal with Elias. Elias gets some shots in on Cesaro before Nakamura and Zayn come in and all three men beat down Elias, that is until Braun Strowman comes out and cleans house by throwing the heels over the top because we have to be reminded multiple times each year how the Royal Rumble works.
Nothing to say about this segment as it was what it was.
We are shown a tribute video to the late Rocky Johnson who passed away on Thursday.
Match #4: Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville & Heavy Machinery vs Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross
Mandy gets on the apron at the start of the match and as Alexa goes to hit her she jumps down and as Alexa turns around to face Sonya she gets hit with a kick and then Sonya hits a series of knee strikes followed by a running knee for a 2 count. Sonya locks a reverse chin lock in on Alexa and rag dolls her around. Alexa is able to get to her feet and elbow out of Sonya’s grasp, Sonya charges at Alexa but gets taken down with a drop toe hold and then Alexa blocks a punch and hits Sonya with a slap followed by a right hand and then a dropkick. Alexa stomps a mudhole into Sonya and then goes for the DDT, but Mandy gets up on the turnbuckle only to get knocked off by Nikki, thankfully though Otis is there to catch his beloved peach and Mandy actually smiles at him. The distraction by Mandy and Otis allows Alexa to roll Sonya up and get the win.
Winner: Alexa Bliss via Pinfall Match Rating: *½
This was fun for what it was which was the advance the Mandy, Sonya, & Otis story. I really am curious what this leads to with Mandy and Otis as I could see it going a few different ways, but one thing’s for sure I’m definitely interested.
We are told that Sheamus vs Shorty G and Bayley vs Lacey Evans for the SmackDown Women’s Championship have been added to the Royal Rumble card and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sheamus vs Shorty G match ends up on the pre-show.
We go to the back where Corbin, Ziggler, and Roode talk about the tables match and Corbin says he will pick a stipulation that will humiliate Reigns and take him out of the Rumble.
We go to break and we come back it’s main event time.
Match #5: Roman Reigns vs Robert Roode (Tables Match)
Roode jumps Reigns from behind as he makes his way to the ring and then puts the boots to him at ringside. Roode throws Reigns into the ring, but Reigns comes back with a couple of uppercuts and a jumping clothesline. Reigns goes over to pick up Roode, but Roode grabs him by the waist and throws him out of the ring. Roode reaches out to grab Reigns, but receives a big uppercut that Roode does a great sell for as he falls out of the ring.
Reigns tries to set up a table at ringside, but before he can Roode goes back on the attack and sends Reigns face-first into the steps. Roode tries to send Reigns into the steps again, but Reigns blocks and sends Roode face-first into the steps. Reigns clears the announce table but before he can do anything Roode rakes his eyes and then whips him into the steel steps. Roode grabs a table from under the ring and slides it into the ring, but before he can get in the ring to set it up he is hit by the Drive By from Reigns. Reigns runs around the ring looking to Spear Roode through the barricade, but Roode sees it coming and moves out of the way sending Reigns crashing through the barricade, with Reigns down, this is the perfect time for King Corbin to come out to the ring on his sedan as we go to commercial.
As we come back Roode has Reigns up top and a table set up in the ring, Roode tries for a superplex but Reigns fights him off and then tries to for a powerbomb, but Roode fights out of it. Roode then tries for a suplex, but Reigns blocks and tries for a Samoan drop only to get elbowed in the head repeatedly. Roode knocks over the table as he doesn’t want to risk getting put through it again. Reigns sends Roode shoulder first into the ring post as King Corbin looks on from the ramp. Reigns sets up a table in the corner and then hits Roode with a Superman Punch on the outside. Reigns sends Roode back into the ring and then looks to Spear him through the table in the corner, but right as Roode gets to his feet Corbin runs up onto the apron and this distraction is enough to allow Ziggler to run in and when Reigns turns around he gets hit with a superkick. Ziggler and Corbin put Reigns on the announce table and it looks like Roode is going to come off the top and drive Reigns through the table, but The Usos run down and when Roode tries to dive off the top onto them in the ring he is hit with a double superkick. The Usos then hit superkicks on both Corbin and Ziggler and then hits the Uso Crazy on both of them. The Usos then put Ziggler on the announce table and they both get on the barricade and drive Ziggler through it with a double Uso Splash, back in the ring Reigns hits a Spear on Roode through the table which gives him the win and the right to pick the stipulation for Royal Rumble.
Winner: Roman Reigns via Spear through Table Match Rating: ***
After the match Reigns says that since the Royal Rumble is being held in a baseball stadium there are going to be tons of places where he can kick Corbin’s ass as their match will be Falls Count Anywhere and we close the show with Reigns and The Usos staring down Corbin, Roode, & Ziggler.
This was a better match than I expected it to be as I’m not the biggest fan of one-on-one tables matches as they always feel very anticlimactic to me. As I said in the match recap I loved the sell by Roode of one of those uppercuts from Reigns as he just falls out of the ring, it was something small but it made me lol a bit. I think a falls count anywhere match is the best way to get the most out of another Reigns vs Corbin match as these two need a lot of smoke and mirrors in order to have a match worth getting interested in especially on a card where there are plenty of other matches that the fans are more interested in seeing.
Outside of the opening segment which I didn’t care for this was a good episode of SmackDown that did a lot to build up the Royal Rumble card as we got two new matches as well as stipulations added to two matches. I thought the women’s title feud segments with Lacey, Bayley, and Sasha was the best thing on this episode. It’s interesting that we only have one week of TV left and there have only been four women confirmed for their Rumble match, but the least we know the better because Rumble matches are always fun because they are full of surprises.
That’s all for this week I’ll be back next week with the go home show to my favorite PPV of the year the Royal Rumble.
SmackDown on Fox Episode #16