After the go-home edition of Monday Night Raw got the thumbs up from your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer, it was the turn of SmackDown to step up to the plate.
Could the blue brand follow suit and match its sister show in quality, or would the final one before the Royal Rumble suffer a second rope DDT to put it out of commission?
Well, there’s only one way to find out, let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring.
6 Man Tag Team Match: The Usos and Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin, Robert Roode, and Dolph Ziggler
I can’t remember the last time that the WWE didn’t open a show with a boring, rambling, 20 minute promo where nothing really gets said and we all fall asleep.
So, you can imagine my utter delight when the show kicked off with a match, and not only a match but my Fight of the Night.
It started out simply enough as a standard 6 man tag-team match, but a kayfabe injury to Jimmy Uso soon saw his brother and The Big Dog in a 3 on 2 Handicap Match.
The following beat down of the two by King Corbin and his cronies was epic, with both Roman and Jey taking the kind of kicking you’d normally only see outside of Millwall’s ground on a Saturday afternoon.
In amongst all this carnage, there was a moment that reminded me why Dolph Ziggler is underrated by WWE fans.
After laying the boots to Jey, he threw him over the commentator’s table and flipped the SmackDown cover onto him so nonchalantly that I couldn’t help but laugh.
Don’t ever change, Showoff.
3 on 2 became 3 one 1, as both Reigns and the surviving Uso took turns in being the odd man out while Corbin, Ziggler, and Roode continued their rampage, but have no fear, Super Jimmy is here, and when all seemed lost, the limping Uso returned to make the tag.
Reigns and Corbin would disappear out of the venue as Roman took to slapping the snot out of the King through the crowd, allowing Jimmy to hit the Uso Splash and pick up the pin for his family.
The whole thing went the best part of 30 minutes, but didn’t feel like it at all and was such a welcome change to the usual gubbins we have to sit through that you have to wonder why they don’t start every program across every brand like this?
Winners: Roman Reigns And The Usos
Vince McMahon Bull-Honky Alert
The next 10 to 15 minutes of SmackDown was so full of Bull-Honky that I’ll be smelling it for weeks.
First up was the interview that Michael Cole did with Lacey Evans.
On the surface, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with it. They let The Southern Belle talk about how she hates bullies, how her upbringing was terrible, and how her father lost his life to addiction.
It would take someone with little to no heart to pick fault with that and even though I might be a bastard, I’m not a f*cking bastard.
What did set off my Vinnie Mac Senses was how this is all being done so she can pick up the win and the Smackdown Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble.
I’ve gone on record as stating that I don’t think Evans should be anywhere near the title picture and the fact that I am 100% convinced they’re going to stick the belt around her waist Sunday makes me wonder what the point was in taking the SmackDown strap off of Becky Lynch in the first place?
But worse was yet to come.
Bayley attacked out of nowhere, which was to be expected, yet this would carry on backstage and then out to the ring during what was set to be the following tag team match between Fire and Desire and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross.
Now, admittedly, this did stop the ongoing story between Mandy Rose and Otis, and everyone else unfortunate enough to get caught up in this crap, for at least seven days, but what was the point?
The tag-team bout never got underway as Evans and Bayley brawled to the ring and it became a free for all, yet it’s not like anyone involved in this segment came out of it looking strong by tossing the other women over the top rope ahead of the Royal Rumble.
I can just imagine Big Vinnie in the Gorilla Position, rubbing his sweaty hands together in glee, as he gave the fans the kind of women’s wrestling they truly want, damn it!
Tag Team Match: Elias and Braun Strowman vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
What proceeded this match almost got dropped into the Vince McMahon Bull-Honky Alert, as if having to sit through an Elias concert wasn’t enough to make me want to burst my eardrums with pencils then the threat of a Braun Strowman duet saw me sharping the lead.
Thankfully, Cesaro, Nakamura, and Sami Zayn interrupted and a wrestling match broke out.
This was pretty decent overall and continues on with the feud that surely has to see The Monster Among Men take the Intercontinental Title sooner, rather than later, but what was more enjoyable was to see Elias back in combat for the first time since the ice age.
There was obvious ring rust there, his timing was off somewhat and he missed a few spots bad enough that you’d noticed, but it was good to see The Drifter in action.
He finished the match by picking up the pin after landing an elbow that Randy Savage would’ve been proud of and even though he won’t win the Royal Rumble, hopefully, we’ll see more of Elias wrestling and less of him singing from here on out.
Winners: Elias And Braun Strowman
Kofi Kingston vs. John Morrison
I’m pretty sure that this bout has set in stone the reformation of The Miz and Morrison tag-team.
I’m also pretty sure it’s started a feud that will end up with The New Day losing the belts to them, maybe on next week’s SmackDown, that will see the two battle back and forth all the way to Wrestlemania, which is just fine by me.
After picking up the win against Big E last week, Morrison would repeat the trick here and get one over Kofi in a very good match.
If you’ve been following The Shaman Of Sexy these past eight years you’ll know that he’s still as agile and dangerous in the air as anyone on the planet, and if you haven’t then his last two performances should have you convinced, but what was a nice change of pace was to see Kingston in the ring with someone who can perform the same jaw-dropping moves as he has in his repertoire
This was as high flying as it gets, with both wrestlers pulling off some beautiful moments, such as Kofi’s double knee to Morrison and the latter getting this week’s Starship Pain spot on for the 1-2-3.
If the past two singles matches are anything to go on, then the upcoming tag-team program between them should be money in the bank.
Winner: John Morrison
As go-home shows, er, go, this wasn’t that bad.
I wouldn’t rate it on a par with this week’s RAW but there was enough on offer here to make me reasonably optimistic for this week’s Royal Rumble.
I’m not happy about the Vince McMahon Bull-Honky that I had to sit through, and neither am I amused that Lacey Evans is a shoo-in for the SmackDown Women’s Title, but there is enough intrigue going into this Sunday that I’m hoping for a pretty decent kick-off to the Road To Wrestlemania.
I will say that if they take the SmackDown Universal Title off of Bray Wyatt before the Show of Shows that I very well might riot, all by myself.
The contract signing that closed out this week’s episode between The Fiend and Daniel Bryan was perfectly handled, with Wyatt laying a world of hurt on D-Bry, including whipping him with the strap they’re going to be tied to at the Royal Rumble, before signing the document with his own blood.
What’s not to like here???
Here’s praying that the powers that be see the enormous money-making potential that they still have with The Fiend and let him hang onto the belt for as long as possible.
With only 24 hours to go, I’d like to remind you that here at 25YL Wrestling, we’re going to be trying our hand at calling the winner of each match in our first ever Prediction Showdown. And if you think you know better than us, then feel free to let us know who you think will win each bout and the big one itself, either in the comments here or you can find me over on Twitter @TerrorCarnival.
This is your chance to show your stuff and if you win, you’ll get a shout out from me as well as bragging rights over everyone who’s knowledge of Pro-Wrestling pales in comparison to yours.
Think of the glory.
Think of the fame.
Think of being able to tell the wrestling staff of 25YL that they have no idea what they’re talking about and having the score to back it up.
So tell me, are you Tough Enough?