– Air Date: January 21, 2016 (Jan 20 in Canada)
– Location: Wright State University Nutter Center in Dayton, OH
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The Wyatt Family laid out Roman Reigns and again stood tall to end the show.
They opened Smackdown by plugging MizTV with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, as well as Roman Reigns vs. League of Nations.
Chris Jericho came out and welcomed everyone to Thursday Night Jericho, his first Smackdown in 14 months. He wore a light-up jacket with jeans and no shirt. Jericho plugged the Rumble and had the monkeys in the back play a Raw video package. He didn’t explain why he disappeared during the Highlight Reel. He started calling himself the saviour again when he was interrupted by New Day.
Big E said “Christof” was no saviour, and they’re still mad about him destroying the trombone. Xavier Woods said there should be a documentary about Jericho called “Making a Brass Murderer,” but they wouldn’t need to plant evidence because it’s all on video. They asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the trombone and the crowd booed.
Jericho called them stupid for mourning the trombone and said they look like jackasses with horns on their heads. He called them Rooty, Tooty, Booty and the crowd chanted along. New Day jumped in the ring and Jericho backed off. He said he’d love to kick their asses but they already have a 6-man match scheduled.
6-Man Tag Match: The Usos & Dolph Ziggler beat The New Day via pinfall
Ziggler wore face paint to match the Usos, as he did on their tour of India. They showed that The Usos’ cousin, The Rock, posted a picture of Ziggler and The Usos with their face paint, calling it bad ass.
Jerry Lawler was basically a full-fledged heel this week. He said Ziggler looked silly in face paint, got mad at an Uso for pulling hair and said Jericho should be charged criminally for breaking the trombone.
New Day worked over Jimmy Uso until he hit a corkscrew dive and hot-tagged Ziggler. Ziggler ran wild until Woods tossed him out, but Jey Uso tagged himself in and dropkicked Woods into the corner (like Finn Balor) and followed with a Samoan drop.
An Uso took out out Big E and Kingston with a dive. All three babyfaces hit a triple-superkick on Woods and an Uso pinned him for the win. Nice match. Although, Woods can thank constant camera switches for not looking completely out of place.
Commercial break. Royal Rumble By-The-Numbers video. Becky Lynch entrance. Commercial break.
Becky Lynch beat Alicia Fox via submission
Charlotte and Ric Flair joined commentary, and they replayed Lynch’s promo with Flair from Raw. The announcers said Lynch took a page out of Flair’s book, and Flair said Becky can’t even read his book. Charlotte said her look of surprise on Raw was because she couldn’t believe Lynch spoke the way she did to her father, not because he accepted the challenge.
Fox did a Northern Lights Suplex on the outside and held the bridge as if she could get a pinfall and Mauro Ranallo made sure to point this out. Lynch won shortly afterwards with the Disarmer.
The announcers congratulated The Rock on being the top box office draw of 2015.
The Miz hosted MizTV and explained the rules of a Last Man Standing match. As he talked about how dangerous the match is, Dean Ambrose interrupted. Ambrose talked over Miz, so Miz told him to shut his mouth. Ambrose threatened to shut Miz’s mouth by knocking him out. Miz asked the crowd if they thought Ambrose could do this better than him and they cheered. Miz gave up, welcomed everyone to DeanTV, sat silently in the corner, and the crowd chanted Yes.
Ambrose compared Last Man Standing to an amusement park and went on to explain the rides he’ll take Owens on, like snapping him in half over the ring apron. He said Owens looks like a bear, so he would use the steel steps as a bear trap and hit him with every object he can find, including a Kendo stick or the new Smackdown announcer. Ambrose would then put Owens through the table and will be the last man standing, as always.
Owens came out next but stayed on the stage and said he likes zoos more than amusement parks. He said the Intercontinental Title was his and his obsession with the title would prevail over Ambrose’s insanity. Owens continued, saying Ambrose’s insanity has taken him far but it would be his downfall because he won’t know when to stop, and Owens would stand over him as new champion.
Ambrose invited Owens down to the ring for DeanTV but Miz attacked him from behind. With Ambrose down, Owens sauntered to the ring. Owens actually attacked Miz and gave him the pop-up powerbomb. He then grabbed Ambrose and said Sunday would be the Kevin Owens Show. Owens went for the powerbomb but Ambrose countered and tried for Dirty Deeds, but Owens bailed. Ambrose gave Miz the Dirty Deeds instead and counted to ten as Owens looked on.
Ambrose comparing Last Man Standing to an amusement park was pretty dumb, but he did the best he could with it and overall I thought this was good.
Bray Wyatt (w/Wyatt Family) beat Ryback via pinfall
After hitting a powerbomb, Ryback did CM Punk’s running knee lift in the corner, followed by a superkick. That really happened. He tried a splash off the top, but Bray moved and hit a uranage and running senton for two. Ryback came back with a meat-hook clothesline but Luke Harper jumped on the apron, allowing Braun Strowman to toss Ryback into the steps. Bray pulled him back in the ring and hit Sister Abigail for the win. Afterwards, Bray ranted (not on a microphone) about slaying the beast on Raw and said the rest would be slaughtered at the Rumble. This was fine.
Titus O’Neil beat Stardust via pinfall
O’Neil lifted Stardust off the top rope into a Clash of the Titus for the win. Before the match, O’Neil compared being in the Rumble to being on the line of scrimmage with bodies flying everywhere, and this Sunday could be his national title. I wish they did more of these promos with different guys.
During the match, Lawler said Byron Saxton and O’Neil both attended University of Florida and asked if he could do the bark. Byron said, “I don’t have much bass in my voice” and Lawler responded, “Oh, we know that.” That was funny. The announcers also mentioned Stephen Amell during the match.
Backstage, they showed Kalisto getting ready for an interview as a stagehand showed him… the script, I think? She held up pieces of paper and he was reading it with her. Was it a script? Is wrestling fake? Not sure what this was.
After a break, Renee Young asked if Kalisto was ready for Sunday. Kalisto said, in Mexico, Alberto Del Rio’s name is up there with Mil Mascaras, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. Kalisto said he has beaten Del Rio twice and will do it one more time. Del Rio interrupted and called his victories flukes. Rusev, Wade Barrett and Sheamus grabbed him from behind. Del Rio attacked him and Sheamus gave him a Brogue Kick. This was a setup for the main event.
WWE Champion Roman Reigns beat League of Nations via DQ
Before the match, Reigns sarcastically said he didn’t see it coming when Vince McMahon made him the number one entrant. Reigns would still walk in and out of the Rumble match as champion and was ready to take on the League of Nations tonight.
Heels got the heat pretty easily after the League distracted Reigns allowing Rusev to hit a fallaway slam. Reigns sold it like he’d been taking a long beating. Rusev kicked Reigns in his heavily padded stomach and back and Reigns sold some more. He came back with a clothesline on Sheamus, who tagged Rusev back in.
Reigns hit him with a clothesline too, followed by ten more clotheslines in the corner and a jumping clothesline. He got ready for the superman punch but Barrett and Del Rio held him down. Sheamus attacked him and the referee called for a DQ. Ugh.
Rusev hit a superkick and was about to apply the Accolade but the Usos ran down. They each hit superkicks but the numbers game caught up to them too. Rusev hit an Uso with a superkick and Sheamus hit the other with a Brogue kick. Reigns then took out Rusev with a superman punch and Sheamus with a spear. (Barrett disappeared and never took a bump, so he’s still injured.)
The Wyatts appeared suddenly and surrounded the ring. Reigns tossed Harper and Rowan over the top. Strowman got in his face and actually tossed Reigns over the top, where he was taken out by Harper and Rowan. Strowman gave Reigns his [finishing move] and Bray finished him off with Sister Abigail.
I thought Smackdown was better than usual right until the main event. They announced tonight’s main event on Raw and plugged it throughout this show, just for it to end after 5 minutes on a DQ. I know the idea was to play up the numbers game against Reigns, but it was terribly deflating after all that build – and after we’ve seen Reigns beat these guys already. That being said, the post-match angle was fine. I’m not a fan of hot-shotting the Wyatts, but if that’s the direction, then this was the right way to follow-up the finish of Raw.