SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE Smackdown TV News & Notes 1/7
– This was the first weekly edition of Thursday Night Smackdown on USA Network as part of the transition from Syfy to USA. But, not the “first-ever” Smackdown episode on USA, as WWE tried to hype during the broadcast, since Smackdown specials have aired several times on USA.
– John Cena made his last WWE TV appearance before having shoulder surgery that will keep him out for about six months. Cena kicked off Smackdown, which was taped Tuesday night, then gave away to Kalisto as a potential replacement in his feud against U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio.
– Dean Ambrose retained the Intercontinental Title via double count-out decision against Kevin Owens in the main event of the show. The match went nearly 20 minutes counting two mid-match commercial breaks.
– Charlotte retained the Divas Title against Becky Lynch using heel tactics in a match that went nearly 15 minutes.
– Combat fight announcer Mauro Ranallo made his WWE TV/Smackdown debut as lead announcer, joining Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton in the booth.