SmackDown Report for 1/3/19

SmackDown on Fox Episode #14
SmackDown Episode # 1,063
Memphis, TN – FedEx Forum

The show opens with a video package showing what happened during the triple threat match last week. We then cut backstage where Bryan is getting ready for his tag match later in the night when The Miz walks up, Miz tells Bryan that he needs to get revenge on Bray Wyatt on what he did to his family and he is going to figure out what to do next. Miz then tells Bryan to beat The Fiend at Rumble.

We then go to the arena where Cole and Graves run down what is in store for the evening. 

The Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks make their way to the ring, they cut a short promo on New Year’s resolutions and how by the look of the crowd they aren’t looking to make any kind of positive change about themselves, but they said that they made some tough changes at the end of 2018 and now they are the leaders of the SmackDown locker room. This brings out Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke, Lacey doesn’t know why Bayley and Sasha get off on scaring children but she wants to set a good example for her child and it’s sick they use her child to try and get to her but they have succeeded. Lacey says her New Year resolution is to show everyone that the bad guys can be stopped no matter the cards stacked against you. Alexa and Nikki finally make their way out and Alexa questions why they are in the match if all the issues are between the other two teams, this leads to Nikki saying that they need to be in this match if they want to get the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships back which Alexa agrees with Nikki and says it’s time to start 2020 with a win. 

We go to break and when we come back, it will be time for the opening match.

Match #1: Bayley & Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs Lacey Evans & Dana Brooke
Lacey goes right after Sasha, but Sasha runs to the ropes to cause the referee to back Lacey up and then Sasha tags in Nikki. Right away Nikki gets a crucifix pin on Lacey for a 2 count and then Nikki goes for a roll-up of her own and also gets a 2 count. Lacey tries one more time with a small package but after Nikki kicks out again Lacey tags in Dana. Dana slams Nikki and gets a 1 count on a pin and then Nikki hits a chin breaker and then an avalanche in the corner before tagging in Alexa. Both women trade headlock takeovers and then Alexa catches Dana with a pinfall attempt after Dana had sent her to the ropes. Alexa reverses an Irish whip and Sasha makes a blind tag and as she does Bayley pulls Dana out of the ring. Alexa takes Bayley out with a baseball slide and then hits a dropkick on Sasha. Alexa charges at Sasha but Bayley makes the blind tag and as Alexa goes up to the second rope Bayley pushes her off sending her throat first into the top rope and this causes Alexa to bounce back and land in a sitting position in the corner where Sasha hits her with the double knees. 

Bayley chokes Alexa across the middle rope and then Sasha boots her in the head. Bayley tags in Sasha who grounds Alexa with a chin lock, but Alexa fights back with some elbows and an arm drag. Sasha knocks Nikki off the apron and then hits Alexa with a dropkick for a 2 count. Alexa hits her own chin breaker on Sasha and then sidesteps an interfering Bayley and sends her crashing into Dana Brooke and then Alexa hits a spinning headscissors which sends Sasha into Lacey and now everyone except for Alexa and Nikki are at ringside. Nikki climbs up to the top and hits a crossbody onto the women at ringside and then Sasha sends Nikki into the steps as we go to commercial.

We come back to see Sasha hitting a Meteora on Nikki and trying to get the win, but Dana breaks it up and then hits Sasha with a shoulder block. Dana sends Bayley into Sasha in the corner and hits them with the handspring back elbow and then hits each of them with a suplex and then hits a cartwheel splash on Sasha that gets a 2 count when Alexa breaks up the pin. Lacey takes Alexa down with a clothesline and then Nikki takes down Lacey with a neckbreaker. Bayley sends Nikki out of the ring and then Dana sends Bayley out, but Sasha distracts Dana long enough for Bayley to slam her to the mat by her hair. Sasha tags in Bayley and they send Dana hard into the corner. Dana reaches out to make a tag to Lacey, but Bayley cuts off the ring. Bayley beats Dana down in the corner and then Sasha leaps over the top rope and comes down with a knee strike, but this only gets a 2 count. Sasha tags Bayley back in and they work Dana over in the corner and Bayley knocks Lacey off the apron. Dana tries to tag in Nikki but Bayley grabs her arm and pulled her back into their corner where she tags in Sasha and then hits Dana with a belly to back suplex. Sasha gets a 2 count on a pin attempt while Bayley knocks Nikki and Alexa off the apron. Sasha sends Dana into the corner but this time she hits Bayley with a running forearm and catches an incoming Sasha with a boot. Dana hits Sasha with the tornado suplex out of the corner and just as she is about to make the tag Bayley grabs her leg, but Dana hits her with an enziguri and finally makes the tag to Lacey. 

Lacey hits Bayley with a couple of clotheslines followed by a standing moonsault. Lacey takes Bayley down with a snapmare and then takes a moment to wipe her brow. Lacey hits a running kick on Bayley and then hits the elevated bronco buster. Lacey goes for the top rope moonsault but Sasha pulls Bayley out of the way sending Lacey crashing into the mat, Bayley follows up with a Bayley to Belly that gets her a 2 count as Alexa and Dana break up the pin. Nikki hits a neckbreaker on Dana and sends her into Alexa who slams her to the mat. Sasha takes Alexa down with a kick and then Bayley and Sasha hit a double hip toss that turns into a pump handle drop (the same finisher that the Harris Boys used in WCW). Bayley tags in Sasha and they try the same move on her, but she flips out of it and goes for a roll-up on Sasha while Dana pulls Bayley out of the ring. Sasha tries for an O’Connor roll but Lacey hangs on to the rope and as she does this Dana makes a blind tag. Lacey hits Sasha with the Woman’s Right and then Dana hits the Swanton Bomb for the 1-2-3.
Winners: Lacey Evans & Dana Brooke via Pinfall  Match Rating: ***¼

I get that they wanted the big surprise return to close the show but if they wanted to close the show with a hot match they really should’ve chosen this match to close the show as this was a really good match and the best women’s match on SmackDown since November. So I guess this sets up Lacey and Dana to have a tag title shot sometime in the future which should be a fun match, it would be cool if they touch on the fact that Dana and Asuka have history from years back when Dana was still aligned with Emma. It would be announced later in the show that Lacey Evans will face Sasha Banks next week and I’m pretty sure that is when the Lacey vs Bayley match gets made for Rumble. 

We get a replay of last week where Dolph Ziggler smashed the cake that Otis gave Mandy Rose last week.. 

We cut to the back and see Otis working out when Mandy Rose walks up, Mandy asks Otis if his mom cooked anything good for New Years and he tells her to ask Ziggler. Mandy asks Otis if he saw that and he said that he didn’t but his mama did. Mandy tries to explain but Tucker walks up and calmly tells Otis to come with him as he didn’t want to see his little buddy hurt anymore. 

As we come back from commercial we go to the back where we see The Miz and he walks up to new Day who are celebrating the new year and Kofi tries to cheer Miz up by congratulating on winning the most titles in the 2010s and then wants to fist bump to more titles won in this decade. Miz doesn’t take well to this as he says this is about more than just titles as The Fiend violated the sanctity of his home. He then says if Kofi wants to start the year off right they can start it with a fight and then slams the tray of pancakes to the floor. Big E steps up but Kofi holds him back and agrees to the match before Miz tells them Happy New Year. 

Elias sings a song about the new year that insults all the major heels on SmackDown. 

I get that Elias is a babyface and his job is to run down the heels, but why does he continue to mention Shane when he was one of Shane’s henchmen last year, did they have some kind of kayfabe falling out that I’m not aware of or don’t remember, also is this all he is going to do for the next four weeks until the Royal Rumble?

We see a video from earlier in the day where The Revival is talking about not getting respect by having to compete in the Miracle on 34th Street Fight as well as having Elias insult them, Shorty G walks up and tells them that they shouldn’t worry about what Elias or anyone else says and just embrace who they are, just as he did. The Revival makes jokes at Shorty G’s expense and Shorty G just shrugs it off before revealing his new motto is “Rise Over Size”. Dash challenges Shorty G for a match and Shorty accepts.

Shorty G makes his way to the ring as we go to commercial.

Match #2: Dash Wilder w/ Scott Dawson vs Shorty G
The match starts with a lock up and Shorty goes for the arm but Wilder hits him in the gut and sends him into the corner, but Shorty is able to avoid him and then takes Wilder down with a head scissors followed by a bridging double underhook suplex for a 2 count. Shorty goes up to the top for an attempted moonsault but Wilder crotches him and then hits Shorty with a big back suplex off the top for a 2 count. Wilder grounds Shorty with a camel clutch, but Shorty is able to make a comeback as he lands on his feet off a back suplex attempt and then lands some strikes followed by an exploder. Shorty hits a running crossbody that takes both Wilder and himself out of the ring. 

Shorty rolls Wilder back into the ring and goes up top where he comes off with a crossbody, but Wilder is able to roll through it and turn it into a pinfall attempt that gets a 2 count. Shorty escapes an attempted overhead backbreaker and locks in the Ankle Lock, but Wilder rolls through it sending Shorty face-first into the middle turnbuckle and then tries to roll Shorty up for the win, but Shorty is able to escape before that can happen. Wilder sends Shorty into the corner and this time Shorty is able to twist his body and hit a sunset flip on Wilder that gets another 2 count. Wilder picks Shorty up in the electric chair position and drops him across the top rope and then tries for a German Suplex but Shorty rolls through and once again locks in the Ankle Lock and this time Wilder quickly taps out.

Winner: Shorty G via Submission  Match Rating: **3/4

After the match, The Revival beat down Shorty G until we get the return of Sheamus which causes The Revival to run off, but Sheamus delivers a Brogue Kick to Shorty G. 

While I still wish Chad Gable had a different gimmick that concentrated more on his amateur wrestling background rather than his height I will say that the gimmick has grown on me a tad bit, but that could just be because all my ire has been shifted to the horrible Corbin vs Reigns story and the Shorty G gimmick is not the hill that I feel I should die on. It’s always strange to me when I see a member of a well-established tag team compete in singles action, but with that said this was a good match. The big story everyone will remember from this match is the return of Sheamus and just as I had predicted in my head (and probably at some time should’ve actually mentioned in the SD report) he goes right after Shorty G as I had a feeling it was either going to be Shorty or Mustafa Ali as Sheamus’s return feud. I expect a good match with a highly predictable winner in the match between Shorty and Sheamus.

Match #3: Kofi Kingston w/ Big E vs The Miz
They lock up and Miz gets a hold of the arm but Kingston reverses and hits a splash on Miz for a 2 count. They go to lock up again and Kingston grabs a headlock but Miz shoots him off into the ropes where Kingston comes back with a jumping clothesline and then after a drop-down and leapfrog spot Kingston hits a monkey flip on Miz. Kingston laughs at Miz and tries to shake his hand but Miz swats it away and goes for an O’Connor roll but Kingston rolls through it into a pin attempt that gets 2. We get another drop-down and leapfrog spot that leads to Kingston hitting a jumping back elbow. Kingston charges at Miz, but Miz side steps and Kingston goes out of the ring to the floor. Miz tries for a wrecking ball dropkick but Kingston moves and slides back in the ring where he fakes out Miz as Miz thought he was fixing to dive out onto him. 

Miz gets back in the ring and hits Kingston with kicks and stomps before landing a series of elbows to the head and neck region of Kingston. Kingston evades a clothesline attempt and tries for Trouble in Paradise, but Miz swats him away and attempts a figure-four but Kingston pushes him off into the corner. Kingston goes up to the top and hits Miz with a diving ax handle. Kingston hits the Boom Drop and signals for the Trouble in Paradise, but Miz ducks and hits the backbreaker and looks to hit the neckbreaker, but Kingston catches him and attempts and S.O.S. but Miz counters and looks to hit the Skull Crushing Finale, but Kingston turns that into a roll-up and gets the win.
Winner: Kofi Kingston via Pinfall  Match Rating: ***

After the match Miz attacks Kofi until Big E runs in for the save. Miz lashes out at the fans booing him as he asks how they can do that after everything he has been through and everything he has done for them.

When we come back from commercial Cathy Kelley tries to get an interview with The Miz, but instead, we get the return of MiIz’s former tag partner John Morrison, Morrison tells Cathy that The Miz has nothing to say and closes the door. 

It looks like we are fixing to get The Miz back into his element of being a heel, except this time it seems like he is going to be an aggressive type of heel rather than the chicken shit heel we have seen from him for years. It’s good to finally see Morrison back as the rumors of his return to WWE have been around since the fall of last year and even better this time he won’t have Melina dragging him down with her and all the drama she would cause. I am completely cool with Miz and Morrison reuniting for another run (I mean after all they are the 30th best tag team in WWE history according to out Place to Be Nation family) as it doesn’t hurt to have more tag teams, at the same time I wouldn’t be disappointed if Miz turned on Morrison and we got a match between them at WrestleMania which is what we should’ve got way back at WrestleMania XXVII. 

Match #4: Otis w/ Tucker vs Drew Gulak
As Gulak makes his way to the ring he talks about how a guy that looks like Otis could never date a woman like Mandy Rose, he then says that since Otis is dumb he has prepared a PowerPoint presentation to show why Otis has no chance with Mandy, but Otis doesn’t take kindly to this and throws Gulak over the top rope and into the ring. 

Gulak gets a few shots in before Otis overpowers him and hits a rush of palm strikes that back Gulak into the corner and then Otis suplexes Gulak out of the corner and halfway across the ring. Gulak blocks a suplex attempt but then tries for a small package but he gets nowhere with that as Otis lifts him up and hits a vertical suplex. Otis charges at Gulak but Gulak sidesteps him and dropkicks Otis in the knee. Gulak starts talking trash to Otis saying that he has no chance with Mandy and at the same time keeps hitting Otis, but this fires up Otis as he slams Gulak a couple of times and then avalanches him in the corner. Otis hits the Caterpillar and then finishes Gulak off with a Vader Bomb for the win.

At certain times during the match, we would cut to the back where Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville are watching the match on a monitor and eventually Dolph Ziggler walks up and starts talking with Mandy and says he was nervous last week and made a mistake when he smashed the cake.
Winner: Otis via Pinfall  Match Rating: *¾

We didn’t get as much development on the Mandy and Otis story tonight like we did last week, but that’s ok as they don’t need to beat us over the head with it every week just as long as they acknowledge it in some way. I really wish the whole Gulak PowerPoint gimmick would get over on SmackDown like it did on 205 Live as I think it is a fun and unique gimmick and Gulak really goes out and tries his hardest to get a reaction for it, but sadly he only gets a smattering of claps.

We cut to the back to see Strowman making his way to the ring as he is in action after the break. 

Match #5: Braun Strowman vs Cesaro w/ Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura
We get multiple lock-ups to start off the match as both men try to gain control until Cesaro finally gets in a side headlock only to be sent into the ropes and hit with a shoulder block, but Cesaro doesn’t go down. Cesaro hits Strowman with some punches and then tries for a shoulder block of his own and this has no effect on Strowman who comes off the ropes and finally takes Cesaro down with a shoulder block. Strowman biels Cesaro out of one corner and then hits him with an avalanche in the opposite corner. Cesaro is able to roll out the apron and hang Strowman throat first across the top rope, only to get hit with a right hand and then shoulder blocked off the apron moments later. Zayn jumps on the apron to try and distract Strowman as we go to commercial.

As we come back from break we see Cesaro is on the back of Strowman and has a headlock locked in, but Strowman gets to his feet and drives Cesaro back into the turnbuckles to force a break. Cesaro dropkicks Strowman in the knee and then hangs him across the middle rope. Cesaro distracts the referee which allows Nakamura to hit Strowman with a kick to the face, but that only keeps Strowman down for a 2 count. Cesaro goes up top and comes off with an ax handle, but Strowman catches him by the throat and attempts to get Cesaro in the position for the Powerslam, but Cesaro locks in a sleeper hold while he is on Strowman’s back. Cesaro gets Strowman down to one near for a moment but Strowman stands back up and hits Cesaro with a side slam. Strowman hits Cesaro with a couple more shoulder blocks and another avalanche in the corner before knocking Nakamura off the apron with a big left hand. 

Cesaro hits Strowman with several European uppercuts but it has little effect as Strowman runs through Cesaro yet again with a shoulder block. Strowman looks to the crowd and then signals that it’s time for the Strowman Express as he runs around the ring and takes down both Cesaro and Nakamura, however, Sami Zayn has hidden under the ring to avoid the same fate happening to him. Strowman throws Cesaro back in and sets up Cesaro up once again for the Powerslam but Zayn runs in to distract him and he lets Cesaro go. Strowman tries for a third avalanche in the corner, but this time Cesaro is ready as he sidesteps him and sends Strowman shoulder first into the ring post. Cesaro looks like he is going for the Neutralizer, but Strowman powers him up once again into the Powerslam position and this time he is able to hit it and get the 3 count.
Winner: Braun Strowman via Pinfall   Match Rating: **3/4

After the match, Nakamura hits Strowman with the Kinshasa.

This was a good match between two of WWE’s powerhouses and I wouldn’t mind seeing them go at it on a PPV without all the interference and shenanigans as they have the potential to have an even greater match. Nakamura hits the Kinshasa after the match which was an easy and simple way to further the feud between him and Strowman. 

We get a recap of everything that happened last week during the triple threat match between Reigns, Corbin, Ziggler, & Bryan.

Reigns makes his way to the ring as we go to commercial.

We come back from commercial and it was announced that next week we will see Lacey Evans against Sasha Banks.

Match #6: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler & King Corbin
Corbin goes after Reigns right as the bell rings and stomps a mudhole in Reigns in the corner. Corbin taunts the crowd and then goes for a clothesline in the corner or Reigns, but he moves and then Reigns delivers the corner mounted punches until he is pushed off by Corbin only to hit Corbin with the Samoan drop moments later. Corbin rolls to the outside where he is hit by the Drive-By by Reigns. Ziggler distracts Reigns long enough for Corbin to get in the ring and nail Reigns with a knee to the gut, Corbin then tags Ziggler in. Ziggler goes for a neckbreaker, but Reigns pushes him off into the ropes and then introduces Ziggler’s face to his soles as he hits him with a big boot. Reigns makes a tag to Bryan who takes advantage of a Ziggler Irish whip reversal as he hits Corbin on the outside with a wrecking ball dropkick and then he backdrops Ziggler to the floor. Bryan starts a Yes! Chant and when he does we hear the laugh of Bray Wyatt and the lights start flickering as we go to commercial. 

We come back to see Reigns delivering his repeated corner clotheslines to Corbin and then he hits him with a running big boot. Reigns looks to the crowd for approval and then signals for the Superman Punch but before he does he delivers a right hand to Ziggler on the apron to prevent him from stopping what he is fixing to do. Corbin avoids the Superman Punch and instead is able to hit Reigns with the Deep Six for a 2 count. Corbin rolls Reigns out of the ring and then sends him into the steps. Corbin slams Reigns’ head on the announce table before throwing him back into the ring and tagging in Ziggler. Ziggler gets in Reigns’s face and starts talking trash until Reigns gets fed up with hearing it and delivers a big right hand. Ziggler kicks the knee of Reigns and then hits him with a neckbreaker. Ziggler tags in Corbin who sends Reigns shoulder first into the ring post and then taunts the crowd. Corbin sends Reigns into the ring post two more times and goes for a third, but Reigns moves so Corbin slides under the rope and when he slides back in he is met with a Superman Punch from Reigns.

We get a tag on both sides and Bryan fires away with punches on Ziggler and then backflips off the turnbuckle and hits the running clothesline. Bryan hits a running corner dropkick and then hits the corner kicks. Bryan sets Ziggler up top and hits him with the hurricanrana and then delivers the Yes! Kicks, but Ziggler ducks the last big kick and rolls up Bryan, but only gets a 2 count. Bryan goes for the Yes Lock but doesn’t have it fully applied and Corbin quickly breaks it up. Corbin goes for the chokeslam backbreaker on Bryan, but Bryan is able to jump to the side and when he does Reigns delivers a big Spear to Corbin only to be hit by Ziggler with a Superkick a second later. Ziggler goes for the ZigZag, but Bryan holds onto the ropes and then hits Ziggler with the running knee, but before he can cover Ziggler the lights start going out and it’s time for The Fiend. 

When the lights come back on and The Fiend is standing at ringside and Bryan dives out on him with a tope suicida, but it barely phases The Fiend as he sends Bryan back first into the ring post and then attempts to hit an avalanche as Bryan is against the ring post, but Bryan moves and The Fiend hits it instead. Bryan goes to dive off the apron but The Fiend catches him and locks in the Mandible Claw and then he sends Bryan through the barricade and locks in the Mandible Claw once again and then stands back up and the lights go back out and when they come back on The Fiend has vanished. The referees and agents check on Bryan as does Reigns, but as he is checking on Bryan he is attacked by Corbin and Ziggler and at this point, I believe the match has ended.
Winners: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan via DQ (I think)   Match Rating: **3/4

After the match Corbin and Ziggler continue to beat down Reigns and then handcuff him in the ring looking to once again pour dog food on him, but before they can we get the return of The Usos who hit double superkicks on both Corbin and Ziggler and then they uncuff Reigns. The Usos and Reigns pose to the crowd as the show comes to a close. 

Roman better thank God that The Usos are finally off their DUI punishment so they could come to rescue him from once again being covered in dog food because it was clear last time it happened that he has zero friends in the back that would want to help him, I mean Mustafa Ali is a terrible friend as first he doesn’t come to Shorty G’s aid when he is getting beat up by The Revival and now he fails to come to Reigns’s aid, what kind of superhero is he if he lets these kinds of atrocities happen on his watch. Speaking of people coming to help why did The Miz not come out if he is so dead set on getting his hands on The Fiend and more importantly why did Otis not come out and knock Dolph Ziggler’s teeth down his throat for flirting with his lady and smashing his mama’s fruitcake that she worked so hard on, either of those things would’ve added some nice continuity to the show. The match itself was decent but people are only going to remember from when The Fiend appeared until the end of the show. I did like how they were able to meld the two stories together into one match/segment. I have to say the SmackDown tag team division is looking promising over the next few months as we have New Day, Revival, Miz & Morrison, The Usos, Heavy Machinery, Cesaro/Nakamura, Roode/Ziggler, & Lucha House Party that is one hell of a tag division, now whether they take advantage of that or not is another story as we all know how WWE usually treat their tag teams. 

This was a pretty strong week for in-ring action as I had two matches rated 3+ stars. This was the week for WWE returns as we got three returns tonight in addition to Liv Morgan’s return on Raw this past Monday, which was the return I was most anticipating although the way in which she returned I didn’t expect at all, but that’s enough talk about Raw I’ll leave that to the Place to Be Nation’s nonexistent Raw reviewer. 

That’s all for this week but I will be back next week as we continue the road to the Royal Rumble. 

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