Tonight on Smackdown, Kalisto defends his newly-won United States Championship against former champ Alberto Del Rio. In addition, The Dudley Boyz take on The Wyatt Family in a Tables Match. Also, Kevin Owens & Sheamus vs. Neville & Dean Ambrose.
WWE Smackdown review
January 14, 2016
Taped 1/12/16 in Lafayette, LA.
Aired on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Smackdown Open.
– Fireworks and Mauro Ranallo welcomed viewers to Smackdown. Byron Saxton previewed the Tables Match between The Dudleys and The Wyatt Family upcoming.
– Jerry “The King” Lawler chimed in by hyping the United States Title rematch, pitting new champion Kalisto against Alberto Del Rio.
– Ranallo closed out the hype train with tonight’s presumed main event, Neville & Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens & Sheamus.
– Renee Young was waiting at the entrance of the Cajundome, awaiting word from Dean Ambrose upon his arrival. A truck sped onto the scene and hit the brakes hard. Ambrose got out of the passenger’s side and Young asked him what statement he wanted to make. In the vein of the Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk, Ambrose said he’d go to the ring to make his statement, where he hoped Owens would join him. Ambrose did make his way to the ring. As he did, the announcers narrated highlights of last week’s Smackdown main event post-match brawl with Owens and Ambrose. Then, after Ambrose vs. Sheamus on Raw, Owens got himself another piece of Ambrose.
Ambrose asked for a drumroll for his announcement, and was surprised when he got one. But he stopped, saying something was missing. Owens. He called Owens to the ring. Owens didn’t come out. Ambrose asked for the drumroll again and challenged Owens to a Last Man Standing match at the Royal Rumble. Sheamus came out instead of Owens. He said he knows he’s not Owens…Owens is more tan. Ambrose had a hilarious reaction to that, bending all the way over at the waist as if to say “ugghhhh” at that one. Even if that wasn’t what he was reacting to, the juxtaposition made it pretty funny.
Sheamus said Ambrose lives in a fantasy world. Sheamus was upset that Ambrose’s friend, Roman Reigns, stole the title from him. Now, he said, he has to compete against 29 other wrestlers in a Royal Rumble match. On top of that, he and Ambrose didn’t get to finish their brawl on Monday night. Sheamus didn’t want to wait for the tag team match…he wanted to return the favor by leaving a mark on Ambrose’s forehead just as Ambrose did to him Monday. Ambrose, naturally, welcomed the fight. Before Sheamus could get to the ring, Owens came out to his music.
Owens noted the numbers game was in the advantage of him and Sheamus. Owens vowed that Ambrose would not walk out of the Royal Rumble. He formally accepted Ambrose’s Rumble challenge. Ambrose fought off Owens at first until Sheamus attacked him from behind. Neville came out to make the save, going after Owens at ringside. Ambrose clotheslined Sheamus over the top rope, leaving the babyfaces to stand tall in the ring. Sheamus had to hold Owens back from heading to the ring for more. Total paint-by-numbers booking here.
– Up next, for the first time in four years on Smackdown (according to Saxton), The Dudley Boyz face Erick Rowan & Luke Harper of the Wyatt Family.
– Apparently, lots of people, wrestlers included, are Tweeting about the Royal Rumble. We saw Tweets from Sheamus and Roman Reigns on the subject.
1 – THE DUDLEY BOYZ vs. ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER – TABLES MATCH
The lights went out and Rowan and Harper appeared in the ring behind the Dudleys for their entrance. The Wyatt Family got the upper-hand immediately on the Dudleys. Bubba gained control of Harper, leading to D-Von hitting the Whazzup Drop. Bubba requested the tables before the match even hit the two-minute mark. Before the table could be used, D-Von was superkicked down and Rowan landed a spin kick on Bubba. They cut to break at 2:30 of the match.
Back at 6:23 with the Wyatt Family still brawling with the Dudleys. Braun Strowman was ringside with Harper and Rowan, by the way. Harper and Rowan tried to suplex D-Von through a table, but Bubba moved it. Uranage by Bubba on Harper. D-Von rammed Harper’s head into the stairs, then into a table at ringside. As he went to come off the top onto Harper, Strowman positioned himself in the way. Strowman retrieved a kendo stick from under the ring. Before Rowan could pick it up, Bubba grabbed it and used it on Rowan. Strowman missed a charge at Bubba. Harper looked to suplex D-Von off the top through a table, but D-Von fought him off and pushed him off the turnbuckle and through the table.
WINNERS: The Dudleys, at 8:58. I’m not sure what that accomplished necessarily. Still, a chaotic brawl that was different than most tag matches you’ll see on Thursday nights, and there’s something to be said for that.
The end of the match was replayed. Strowman attacked the Dudleys after the match. Luke Harper undid the broadcast table. Harper stalked Ranallo around the table. D-Von was thrown into a table set up in the corner of the ring. Strowman did it again, tossing D-Von through a table on the opposite side. Harper and Rowan beat up Bubba near the announce table. Two tables were set up right next to the announce table (side-by-side, not stacked). Harper and Rowan, standing atop the announce table, chokeslammed Bubba through the two tables. Bray Wyatt’s voice came over the PA saying “follow the buzzards.”
– A replay aired of Kalisto beating Alberto Del Rio on Raw.
– JoJo was backstage with Kalisto. He looked a hair taller than JoJo, who is incredibly short. Kalisto said when he was training to be a WWE Superstar, he lost hope due to his size. He talked about being inspired by Eddy Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. He said he just needed on opportunity, and now he’s United States Champion, and he plans to stay that way.
– More Rumble Tweets! Stephanie McMahon and Dolph Ziggler’s were included.
2 – ZACK RYDER & GOLDUST & DAMIEN SANDOW & JACK SWAGGER vs. THE SOCIAL OUTCASTS
Eight-man tag and the Outcasts just had the end of their entrance shown. Damien Sandow wearing pink tights with purple kneepads tonight. The Outcasts did a lot of celebrating at ringside over nothing. Sandow got the better of Heath Slater, then tagged in Goldust. It was Curtis Axel who did some damage to Goldust, followed by Adam Rose. The babyfaces on the apron desperately tried to get the crowd into it. Swagger made the hot tag, I think, and ran over Bo Dallas. Swagger Bomb was turned into a Patriot Lock. Axel broke that up. Ryder low-bridged Axel out. Ryder became the legal man, with a second-rope dropkick on Dallas. Ryder cleaned house and delivered the Broski Boot. Cover for two. Slater gave Ryder a cheap-shot, and Bodog by Dallas closed it out.
WINNERS: The Social Outcasts, at 3:41. Another match to highlight mid-carders in advance of the Rumble match. At least the Outcasts have a gimmick to play into when they’re in the 30-man battle.
– The announcers discussed the injury to John Cena. Courtesy of WWE.com, some of the photos of Cena’s surgery and recovery were shown. Cena began his rehab the day after surgery.
– Coming up next, we’ll see how Mr. McMahon tried to stick it to Roman Reigns on Monday. “You gotta admit, he deserved it,” chimed in Lawler, sticking with his heel character from last week.
– New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees made some Tweet about being at Raw on Monday night. Let’s all go gaga over it.
– Back to the announcers on camera, as they discussed the Roman Reigns-Mr. McMahon situation. They threw it to a video package of Roman’s One vs. All challenge from Monday. Let’s see if they can make the match make sense in the retelling. Eh…not really.
– Renee Young was backstage with Alberto Del Rio. Young asked if he was affected by the WWE Universe’s thunderous response to Kalisto’s U.S. Title win on Monday. Del Rio scoffed at that question, saying he’d squash Kalisto tonight and take back what is his.
– Kalisto made his entrance for his U.S. Title match against Del Rio. It’s next.
– Hey, more people Tweeting about the Royal Rumble, including The Usos. Chris Jericho took to Instagram.
3 – KALISTO vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO – UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Del Rio went right after Kalisto as soon as the bell rang. Back suplex registered him barely a two-count. Ranallo dropped some Pride knowledge when talking about Del Rio’s history. Del Rio went after Kalisto’s mask to no avail. Missile dropkick off the top for two from Kalisto. Clothesline put the champion back down. Off the top with an axe-handle by Del Rio. Lawler said this match should be on the Food Network because Del Rio is “battering shrimp right now.” Kalisto with a desperation turn of the tide, as Del Rio ended up going shoulder-first into the ring post. Double-knee divorce court by Del Rio off the middle rope. Kalisto sold it well. He continued softening up that arm outside the ring, slamming Kalisto’s arm into the ring steps. Hard right hand by Del Rio to Kalisto. Kalisto tried a comeback, but it was short-lived, as Del Rio escorted him into the ring post, shoulder-first. Kalisto writhed in pain outside the ring as they went to break at 5:42 of the match.
Back at 8:48, Del Rio still getting the better of Kalisto. King Barrett appeared at ringside to cheer on his League of Nations partner. Kalisto, hung up in the Tree of Woe, somehow was able to headscissor Del Rio off the top and to the mat. Springboard seated senton by Kalisto. Corkscrew bodypress was side-stepped by Del Rio. Superkick by Del Rio for two. Hurricanrana into a pin by Kalisto for two. Both men were down with Kalisto still holding his injured arm/shoulder. Jaw-breaker by Kalisto as Del Rio was taunting him. Barrett provided a distraction, though it was incredibly minor and looked a little ill-timed, leading to Del Rio hooking in the cross arm-breaker. Kalisto got to the ropes to break the move. Del Rio was irate. Del Rio flew through the ropes and to ringside. Kalisto dove through the ropes, but Barrett pulled Del Rio out of the way. Crash landing, and a hard one, for Kalisto. Back in, cross arm-breaker for the win.
WINNER: Del Rio, via submission, at 14:38. This company sometimes, man. I don’t even know.
Replays of key moments in the match were shown.
– As part of what they’re advertising as the “Triple Main Event,” Neville and Dean Ambrose face Kevin Owens and Sheamus later on.
– Next: A look at the first Hall-of-Famer announced for 2016.
– The exterior of the Cajundome was shown.
– The video package on Sting, the first WWE Hall-of-Famer for 2016, was shown. The mainstream press the announcement garnered was shown, too.
– Backstage, Renee Young was joined by Becky Lynch. Renee intro’d a clip from two weeks ago of Lynch beating Charlotte despite Ric Flair’s interference. Charlotte then attacked Lynch post-match. Lynch said she was shocked by Charlotte’s actions. She said it really got her down. Young cued up a clip of Lynch attacking Charlotte prior to her match last Monday. Lynch said she’s going to stay fired up. She challenged Charlotte to a match at the Royal Rumble, and invited Charlotte to bring all of her family to that one.
4 – BRIE BELLA vs. BECKY LYNCH
Alicia Fox came to the ring with Brie. Brie slammed Becky’s head into the mat a number of times to start. Second-rope dropkick by Brie for a one-count. Potential submission hold locked in by Brie just :53 into the match. Brie played heel to the crowd, kicking Becky in the mid-section. Becky turned the tide by ramming Brie face-first into the buckle. Becky kicked away at Brie then dove at her with a forearm in the corner. Exploder suplex for a two-count. Inside cradle for one from Brie. Double-leg take-down by Becky into the Disarmer for the tap-out win.
WINNER: Lynch, via submission, at 2:34. Fine enhancement win to get Becky on a roll heading into the Rumble match with Charlotte.
– The tag-team main event match is next.
– A Real Fact brought to you by the Real Cost: Before entering WWE, Sheamus worked as personal security for U2’s Bono.
5 – SHEAMUS & KEVIN OWENS vs. NEVILLE & DEAN AMBROSE
As Owens came to the ring, they showed the trials and tribulations he has faced when dealing with Neville lately. Saxton announced that the I.C. Title Last Man Standing Match is now official for the Royal Rumble. Neville started quick with a headscissors take-over on Sheamus. Ambrose came in and Sheamus turned the tables. Dropkick to the solar plexus of Sheamus by Ambrose. However, the heels found themselves on top with Ambrose hurting at ringside and Owens cutting off a Neville save before they cut to break at 1:23.
Back at 5:18 with Owens laying in right hands to the mug of Ambrose. Owens slowed things down until Ambrose came back on offense with a swinging neckbreaker. Tag made to Neville, who connected on a springboard dropkick. Step-up enzugiri by Neville. Sheamus tagged in and walked into a superkick. Red Arrow time, but Sheamus moved. Neville rolled through all the way to the other side of the ring where Owens cheap-shotted him. Owens responding to the ref’s scolding by yelling a sarcastic, “I won’t do it again, ref,” was pretty funny. Owens took Neville down and yelled at “four eyes,” Ranallo, to watch him and learn something. The heels alternated tags, keeping each other fresh while keeping Neville on the mat. Owens missed a charge and Neville German suplexed him. Ambrose finally made the tag at 11:11. Chops and jabs were delivered to Sheamus. Tornado DDT found the mark. Owens interrupted a pin attempt. Ambrose tried the boomerang clothesline, but Owens wisely booted him in the face from the apron when Ambrose ducked between the ropes. White Noise from Sheamus, but Ambrose gave Owens a hurricanrana on a powerbomb attempt by Owens. Suicide dive onto Owens in front of the announce table. Sheamus rammed Ambrose into the ring steps. Twice, in fact. Owens used the top of the announce table to hit Ambrose, which drew the disqualification.
WINNERS: Neville and Ambrose, via DQ, at 13:21.
Just before Ambrose could be powerbombed through the announce table, Neville made the save by diving on the heels. Dirty Deeds by Ambrose on Owens. Ambrose set Owens up for Neville to hit the Red Arrow. The babyfaces stood tall to close the show.
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Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He is the host of “Moonlighting with Greg Parks,” a PWTorch VIP-exclusive audio show posted each weekend. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.