Matt’s Smackdown Recap 1/31/14

Dig this Spear on Mr. Mysterio. That'll teach him to be #30 in the Royal Rumble! [Photo courtesy of]
Dig this Spear on Mr. Mysterio. That’ll teach him to be #30 in the Royal Rumble! [Photo courtesy of]
WWE: Smackdown
January 31, 2014
Toledo, OH
Huntington Center

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton (12/15/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E Langston (11/18/2013)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dean Ambrose (5/19/2013)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (1/26/2014)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL.

We start the show with the Shield coming out to vent their frustrations over the Wyatt family screwing them out of the Elimination Chamber match this past week on Raw. For more details on what transpired, check out Scott’s Raw Recap. Ambrose and Reigns argue over what happened at the Royal Rumble when Ambrose tried to dump Reigns over the top rope. Always being the voice of reason, Rollins gets them back on track. Ambrose sends out a challenge to the Wyatt family. Well, Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero appears, and then gets sent to the back because the COOHHH is here. He understands their plight, but sees nothing to “profit” from facing the Wyatt family. Reigns gets up in Triple H’s face (!) and says they weren’t looking for HHH’s approval. Big “Roman” chant. With that said, COOHHH grants them the match and hopes they know what they’re doing.

Elimination Chamber Qualifier: Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Dolph Ziggler

So one of these two men will join WWE Champion Randy Orton, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Sheamus in the Elimination Chamber on February 23. Early on, both men try for the quick pin. Ziggler nearly gets the win after a Famouser. Should he still be doing that move now that Billy Gunn is around? Cesaro takes over with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and follows up with a butterfly suplex. Ziggler gets floored to take us into commercial. When we come back, he fights out of a chinlock and levels Cesaro with a dropkick. He grabs a sleeper, but Cesaro escapes with a gutwrench suplex. Cesaro looks to finish with the Very European Uppercut, but Ziggler counters with a nice DDT for 1-2-NO! Zig Zag fails as it always seems to these days. Cesaro Swing and the Neutralizer sends Cesaro to the Elimination Chamber. (5:30 shown) Now of course he won’t win, but it’s good to see Cesaro getting some deserved – albeit temporary – main event attention. **

Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Xavier Woods (w/the Funkadactyls)

Xavier shaved off his mustache! I actually thought he looked different in a good way with a mustache. R-Truth joins us for some intelligent commentary. Xavier controls to start, but Fandango shuts him down by blocking a wheelbarrow move and brings him back over with a suplex. Dean Malenko used to do it all the time to guys like Guerrero and Mysterio back in the day. Cole mentions that Woods wants to go after the U.S. title. Xavier fights away a chinlock and hits that wheelbarrow faceslam he wanted earlier. Comeback from Woods leads to a somersault plancha. Meanwhile, the always lovely Summer Rae breaks up Emma from NXT’s sign. Good for her. Of course, the lunatic brought another sign with her. Screw her. Meanwhile, Fandango wins with a Falcon Arrow. (3:15) Hey, he NEEDED a win after getting eliminated by EL FREAKING TORITO at the Royal Rumble. Fandango tries to get in some extracurricular activities, but R-Truth makes the save. When Xavier’s day is going this bad, all he can do is dance it out with his pals. *

Ryback & Curtis Axel vs. The Prime Time Players

Axel and Ryback DESTROY Darren Young for the entire 90 seconds. Axel finishes him off with his Turning Heads finisher. (1:30) O’Neil doesn’t even try to make the save and looks pretty disappointed. Now bleeding from the mouth, Young backs up to the ropes and tries to keep Titus from walking out on him calling O’Neil “family”. Titus says he feels like a loser for the first time in his life being associated with Young, so he sheds the dead weight with a big boot and a vicious beatdown. HA! I never liked Darren Young anyway. ¼*

The next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame is the VERY deserving Jake Roberts. In my mind, it’s not even a question. The man exemplifies wrestling psychology. Some induction ceremonies I haven’t really cared to watch, but this one along with the Ultimate Warrior should be interesting to say the least.

Hype video for Alexander Rusev and his blond Russian chick manager Lana. Is it a bad sign that they used the same style of direction for this video for the debut of Brakkus? I mean, that guy’s time in the WWF didn’t turn out too well.

Elimination Chamber Qualifier: Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Christian

We’ve got another Prime Time Players situation here where Cesaro is a winner and Swagger is a loser. Colter explains on commentary that he slapped Swagger this past week on Raw to get his talent to be “inspired”. OH! This is Christian’s 138th return to Smackdown after his most recent injury. Holy crap, Swagger THROWS Christian over the top rope straight to the floor in a brutal spot. Welcome back, Christian! Hope you’re not injured again. Back inside, Swagger works the ribs with a bearhug and hits the Pump Splash for two. Christian fights off a superplex and delivers a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Bossman uppercut leads to a missile dropkick from Christian. Flashpoint by Christian leads to the Killswitch, but Swagger counters and hits the Gutwrench Powerbomb for 1-2-NO! He tries another Pump Splash, but Christian brings the feet up and sunset flips Swagger for two. Swagger launches Christian into the air off a charge and applies the Patriot Lock. Christian reverses into an inside cradle for two. Christian avoids a corner charge and kicks Swagger back. He shoves off a pop-up superplex and hits the Frog Splash to advance to the Elimination Chamber! (6:00) Some fun back and forth stuff here. We now have our Elimination Chamber main event set in place. **

After the break, Renee Young stops Christian backstage for a word. He feels the window of opportunity of winning the WWE title and main eventing WrestleMania is getting smaller and smaller. No kidding. He vows to be “the most dangerous Christian” we’ve ever seen.

Damien Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston

Cole and JBL discuss Sandow’s huge slump as of late while singing the praises of Kofi Kingston. Sandow does just fine until he gets caught with the S.O.S. (2:00) Does everybody have to lose to it now because Orton did? ½*

On the “no longer” exclusive interview with COOHHH, he announces that the Rhodes brothers will face the New Age Outlaws in a steel cage match on this coming Monday Night Raw for the WWE tag titles.

Cody Rhodes (w/Goldust) vs. Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn)

Cody has his left arm wrapped up and Road Dogg takes advantage of it for the entire heat segment. Of course once it’s time for Cody’s comeback, he’s done selling the arm altogether and starts hitting his moves like nothing was ever wrong with his arm. Ahh, I hate it. On the floor, Billy Gunn blasts Goldust with a clothesline, and then eats a Disaster Kick. Not too long after that, Road Dogg receives the same treatment and Cody picks up the win. (4:00) Afterwards, Cody and Goldust clean house on the Old Age Outlaws. My guess is Goldust turns on Cody this Monday night. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! *

We get a sneak peek of the WWE Network coming on February 24! CM Punk doesn’t think zapping Goldberg with a cattle prod was a good idea? How interesting.

The Shield vs. Sheamus, Daniel Bryan & Rey Mysterio

After the Shield make their entrance, the Wyatt family appears on the TitanTron. In their own way, they accept the six-man tag challenge. I believe Luke Harper speaks for the first time. Erick Rowan just tells the Shield to “run”. In his return to Smackdown, Sheamus starts off with Seth Rollins. He shoulderblocks Rollins away and decides this is a job that calls for Reigns. He shoulderblocks down Sheamus, but can’t get the hiptoss. Sheamus clotheslines him down and hits a clothesline. The Shield try and contain Sheamus in their corner like usual, but he fights off Ambrose and beats his chest on the apron. Commercials! When we return, Bryan has Rollins stuck in the surfboard. Tag to Rey, he’s totally headscissoring Rollins around. As Rey sets him up for the 619, Ambrose blind tags his partner and blocks a headscissors with a faceslam. Reigns gets a tag and throws Rey all around. Rollins comes in and puts the bad mouth on Rey, but pays for it with a headscissors that sends him face first into the middle buckle. HOT TAG TO BRYAN! Yes Kicks, backflip out of the corner, duck under, clothesline, hulk up, and more Yes Kicks. Reigns ducks the Buzzsaw Kick, but misses a charge and tumbles out to the floor for a suicide dive. Bryan runs back inside and suicide dives all over Ambrose on the other side of the ring! Sheamus hits Rollins with the Irish Curse backbreaker, Reigns nails Sheamus with the Superman Punch, and Bryan delivers a missile dropkick on Reigns for two. YES Lock, but Ambrose makes the save. Sheamus pulls out Ambrose and gets shoved shoulder-first into the post, but then turns around and nails Ambrose with a Brogue Kick. Bryan tags in Rey and looks for the 619 on Reigns. Rollins distracts Rey from the floor, but gets wiped out by a flying knee off the apron by Bryan. Meanwhile, Rey puts Reigns back into the 619 position, but comes off the ropes STRAIGHT into a Spear. That’s right, don’t you take that bullcrap. Reigns then scores the academic pinfall. (10:00 shown) Fun match with a great finish. Look out, Wyatt family. ***¼

Final Thoughts: Check out the main event. The Elimination Chamber qualifiers are decent, but nothing to write home about. No Wyatt family (to speak of), no John Cena, no AJ Lee, and of course no CM Punk. If you’re one of the four people who are REALLY into the Prime Time Players, you may want to check out the split-up angle. That’s really all I can recommend for you this week.