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On this edition of WWE Smackdown, A.J. Styles faces The Miz following their Miz TV dust-up on Raw. Also, Roman Reigns is in action as he takes on League of Nations member Rusev.
WWE Smackdown review
February 4, 2016
Taped 2/2/16 in Memphis, Tenn.
Aired on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Smackdown Open.
– The show began with the theme for Roman Reigns, which was followed by his descent through the crowd. And hey, it’s a match! But first, they showed Rusev splashing Reigns through a ringside table at the Royal Rumble. They also showed a graphic for the main event Triple Threat Match slated for Fastlane. Rusev was accompanied by King Barrett and Alberto Del Rio. I think we can all see how this one is going to end. As the heels came out, Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton, and Jerry “The King” Lawler were shown on commentary. Also two weeks ago: Dean Ambrose and Reigns powerbombed Rusev through a table on Raw.
1 – ROMAN REIGNS vs. RUSEV
The match went to ringside in the very early going, with Del Rio trying to distract Reigns. Rusev whipped Reigns shoulder-first into the ringside steps. Back in the ring, Rusev kicked away at Reigns. Rusev missed a charge, going shoulder-first into the ring post. Drive-By connected. Some weak clotheslines in the corner from Reigns. He set up for the Superman punch, but Barrett and Del Rio interfered.
WINNER: Reigns, via disqualification, at 3:02. No surprise here given its placement on the show. Even for three minutes, it had a “going through the motions” feel.
Dean Ambrose came out to make the save, though when coming off the apron, he missed and accidentally clotheslined Reigns. Del Rio took out Ambrose with a superkick. In the ring, Rusev applied the Accolade while the other Nation members posed on the ropes. Reigns chased them off with a steel chair.
– Tonight, A.J. Styles faces The Miz.
– Kalisto faces Kevin Owens next, and the two were walking toward the entrance in a split screen.
– Just announced: Tonight’s main event, Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio & Rusev. Not exactly inspired booking, but it’ll do.
– Renee Young caught up with Ambrose backstage. He said hitting Reigns was an accident. He said things are going a million miles an hour in his head. He said when he goes after Roman, Roman will know it. Young asked if he’d go after Reigns in their tag match. Ambrose said later tonight, he and Reigns will be hitting other people.
2 – KALISTO vs. KEVIN OWENS
Kalisto cut an inset interview where he said he’s fighting for himself, the legacy of the United States title, and for lucha. He’s facing Del Rio for the U.S. Title at Fastlane. Dolph Ziggler was at the announce table. The match got off to a quick start, thanks to Kalisto nailing Owens outside the ring with a tope con hilo. Back in, Owens suplexed Kalisto down. They went to break at 1:11 of the match.
Back at 5:04 with Owens punishing Kalisto. Ziggler said even though he doesn’t like Owens, he can back it up in the ring. Running senton by Owens for two. Next was a gut-buster, again for only two. Kalisto avoided another senton, and hit a springboard corkscrew splash. Spike headscissors for a near-fall by Kalisto. DDT by Kalisto and another two-count. Outside the ring, Owens picked up Kalisto in a fireman’s carry, ordered the cameraman out of the way, and dropped Kalisto gut-first across the top of the barricade. Owens readied to powerbomb Kalisto through the announce table, but instead, powerbombed him into a standing Ziggler. Owens then superkicked Ziggler. Ziggler got to his feet and Owens turned his attention to him, allowing Kalisto to roll him up for the win.
WINNER: Kalisto, at 9:07. Lame finish, but it was a cool image to see Kalisto go flying into Ziggler. Seems like Ziggler should’ve sold it more, actually (though it would negate most of what happened after).
Owens attacked Kalisto immediately after the match, but ran off when Ziggler made the save. The finishing sequence was then replayed.
– Some of Miz’s mic work on Miz TV was replayed, specifically, what led up to the attack on him by Styles.
– JoJo was joined by The Miz backstage. Miz said he didn’t interrupt Styles on Miz TV – he’s a pro and doesn’t interrupt anyone. This after he interrupted JoJo’s initial question. Miz again compared Styles to his former protégé, Daniel Bryan. Miz said it’ll take more than a Pele kick to keep him down.
– Ryback came out with a new look – no singlet, just black trunks. He faces Erick Rowan, next.
– WWE Celebrates Black History Month: A graphic showed a quote from Halle Berry.
3 – RYBACK vs. ERICK ROWAN
As Rowan and Braun Strowman came to the ring, they showed Big Show being attacked by the group on Raw. Ryback began throwing haymakers at Rowan. For whatever reason, the piped-in crowd noise seems more obvious during the entrances of and this particular match. Rowan put Ryback on his heels, then knocked him over with a charge. Ryback blocked a snap mare, but Rowan clubbed him in the back with a forearm. Head vice from Rowan. Rowan set Ryback across the top turnbuckle and pounded him in the chest. Ryback fired back with a dropkick off the second rope. Running knee in the corner, a la Ryback’s greatest rival, C.M. Punk. Strowman got on the apron and Ryback drove Rowan into him. Meat Hook clothesline for the win.
WINNER: Ryback, at 2:58. Rowan took most of the match in the loss. This was watchable – could’ve been worse. With his new black trunks, bald head, beard, and gloves, Ryback looks more than a little like…nah, never mind.
Strowman knocked Ryback out of the ring post-match, but the Big Guy didn’t seem worse for wear. The dropkick and finish were replayed.
– Ranallo thanked Will Roush for “Watch This,” the official theme to Fastlane.
– Among the Memphis Grizzlies taking in the game at ringside were Vince Carter and Matt Barnes.
– The announcers were shown at ringside talking about the Divas division. They sent it backstage to Renee Young and Becky Lynch. Young cued up footage of Sasha Banks having issues with the other members of Team BAD on Monday night. Young asked Lynch why she helped Banks. Before she could give much of an answer, Banks showed up and said she doesn’t have friends and she certainly wouldn’t help Becky. Becky said she would, and that’s the difference between the two of them. They argued like children about fending off Team BAD, and they seemed to agree to go it together.
– Chris Jericho came out. Saxton said Jericho wanted an up-close look at Styles vs. Miz. The Miz then made his entrance. Jericho said he wants to see if Styles can continue his hot streak in WWE. Miz vs. Styles is next.
– On Monday, Brock Lesnar will be live on Raw.
4 – THE MIZ vs. A.J. STYLES
When Styles came to the ring, they showed his win over Chris Jericho two weeks ago on Raw. Styles went after Miz aggressively to start. Snap suplex amid “A.J. Styles” chants. Miz rolled out of the ring to avoid A.J.’s fisticuffs. Instead, he played the role of the landing pad for Styles jumping over the top rope onto him. Miz turned the tide outside the ring and drove Styles into the barricade. Neck-breaker/back-breaker combo by Miz once back in the ring. Knee-lift from Miz, then a boot to the face for a two-count. Jericho equated Styles coming into WWE now to him coming over from WCW. Miz continued to get a surprising amount of offense before Styles made his comeback. Both men hit the ropes and nailed the other with a clothesline. They cut to break at 5:47 of the match.
Back at 8:18 with Styles back on offense. Short DDT by Miz for two. Styles set up for the Styles Clash, but Miz avoided it. Springboard forearm by Styles. Miz and Styles traded near-falls until Styles locked in the Calf Crusher (formerly the Calf Killer) for the tap-out win.
WINNER: Styles, at 10:17. Styles once again gets the cross-over segment. Jericho did well to put over Styles on commentary. Miz is a good opponent for Styles at this stage of his WWE run.
– Jericho took the mic after a few replays of the match. Jericho said he was impressed with Styles, which isn’t a surprise. He said everyone knows Styles is good…but is he “great”? Jericho asked if he had what it takes to become a WWE Champion, to be a guest on a JBL WWE Network special. With a mention here and in the Divas interview, they’re really pushing WWE Network programs within the context of this show. Jericho wanted a rematch next week on Smackdown. Styles shook on it and this time he drew Jericho in. He told Jericho he’s phenomenal, and that Jericho would find it out again. The two didn’t take their eyes off each other until Jericho slowly left the ring.
– Backstage, JoJo was with Roman Reigns. She asked him about the earlier miscommunication between him and Ambrose. Reigns said he and Ambrose are never on the same page, as Ambrose is crazy. But Reigns said he digs that about Ambrose. He said on the road to Wrestlemania, accidents happen. Tonight, he and Ambrose would ride together, fight together, and win together.
– New Day came out. They’ll take on the Social Outcasts in six-man tag action, next.
– New Day cut a promo in the ring, bragging about being tag champions. Kofi Kingston said their gold separates them from the pack. Are those belts even really gold-colored? Big E. even quoted Ricky Bobby…well not really as he then started singing “New Day Rocks.” The Social Outcasts then came out. Heath Slater said Brother Bo is still layin’ tracks in the studio, so he wasn’t with them. Adam Rose even pointed out their titles were bronze, not gold. Rose said they’d take the championships from around their waists. New Day had a real problem with the Social Outcasts touching their waists. Curtis Axel made fun of the New Day’s horns. He struggled to pronounce the plural of “rhinoceros.” Slater said New Day is about to become extinct.
5 – THE NEW DAY vs. THE SOCIAL OUTCASTS
Slater and Woods went tumbling over the top rope and they went to break with the two teams at a stand-off, a little less than 30 seconds into the match.
Back at 4:24 of the match with Slater attempting to pin Kingston with a roll-up, to no avail. Rose was in next, delivering a European uppercut. Big E. tagged in and belly-to-belly suplexed Rose. Lawler said Big E. is so strong, he eats steak with a spoon. Woods came in with a tornado DDT, but couldn’t keep Rose down. Woods let Rose up and Rose gave him a spinebuster. Axel made what I guess would be considered the hot tag. Woods and Axel exchanged counters and reversals until Axel finally landed a knee to the face. Things began to break down with everyone getting involved. Axel rolled Kofi up and used the ropes for leverage, though Woods pushed them off. After more extracurricular activity outside the ring, Kofi rolled Axel up and used the ropes himself to leverage the pin.
WINNERS: New Day, at 8:00. This was entertaining in certain ways, confusing in others.
– Tonight, Reigns & Ambrose vs. Del Rio & Rusev.
– Ric Flair and Charlotte were walking backstage. They’re out next.
– WWE Celebrates Black History Month: This time, a quote from Shonda Rhimes.
6 – ALICIA FOX vs. CHARLOTTE
Charlotte was just finishing her entrance out of break. Ric was with Charlotte, while Brie Bella was at ringside with Fox. Shoulder tackle by Fox. Charlotte came back with a neck-breaker in the corner, followed by a kip up. Fox was kicked out of the ring. Brie called Charlotte a loser outside the ring. Fox took advantage back in. Sunset flip for two. Charlotte locked Fox in a headscissors, then drove her face into the canvas. Double boot to the face. Fox built momentum with some single-leg dropkicks. Northern Lights suplex by Fox for two. Charlotte hit Fox with a chop block that barely connected. How do you whiff on that? Figure eight applied and Fox tapped.
WINNER: Charlotte, via submission, at 3:57. A few rough or mistimed spots here and there, though it got a little better toward the end.
As Charlotte and Ric headed to the back, Fox freaked out in the ring, pulling her hair (extensions) out as Brie tried to calm her down.
– More hijinks with R-Truth and Goldust, from earlier in the day. Truth was at the hotel front desk and took issue with some charages to his room. Goldust, dressed as a bellhop, asked if Truth needed a partner. He said they can help one another out. Goldust then volunteered to help Truth take his stuff to his car. They argued over Truth’s bag and it ended up opening, with Truth’s stuff flying everywhere. Truth called Goldust “Mr. Weirdo,” and said he doesn’t need him as a partner.
– Dean Ambrose came out for the main event. They showed, from earlier tonight, how this match came about. Roman Reigns made his full entrance as well. They face Rusev and Del Rio next.
7 – DEAN AMBROSE & ROMAN REIGNS vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO & RUSEV
Ambrose grinded the face of Rusev into the mat, an example of his trademark unorthodox offense. Reigns and Rusev traded right hands. Roundhouse kick found the side of the head of Reigns for a two-count. Short-arm clothesline from Rusev, who then knocked Ambrose off the apron. Samoan drop out of nowhere by Reigns and both men were down. Tag made to Ambrose at 4:42 of the match. Dropkick off the top by Ambrose. He chased Del Rio off the apron then low-bridged Rusev. Suicide dive onto Rusev. Rusev met Ambrose with a roundhouse kick, but Ambrose turned it into his slingshot clothesline. Reigns strained to make the tag (all the while not holding the tag rope) and finally did. Drive-By to Rusev. Superman punch followed. Del Rio kicked Reigns to break up the pin. Ambrose went to suicide dive onto Del Rio, but Del Rio moved and Ambrose hit Reigns. Luckily, Reigns caught him. Reigns didn’t seem happy about that mistake, but the babyfaces were able to stay on the same page to fend off the heels. In the ring, Reigns speared Rusev for the victory.
WINNERS: Reigns and Ambrose, at 7:46.
They replayed Reigns and Ambrose almost coming to blows mid-match, but they seemed to be more at ease after the match. Saxton hyped, with a graphic, the rematch of A.J. Styles and Chris Jericho, on Smackdown next week. The show signed off with Ambrose and Reigns still discussing things in the ring while Roman’s music played.
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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.