KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 1/16: U.S. Title Tournament semi-finals with Xavier vs. Jinder, Roode vs. Mojo, Shane-Bryan drama continues

By Wade Keller, editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c)


JANUARY 16, 2018

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!


-As New Day made their entrance, the announcers discussed the U.S. Title tournament brackets and previewed the semi-finals. Phillips noted that the finals of the tournament are now happening on Smackdown next week (as opposed to the Royal Rumble). The New Day did a bit about Jinder, including a long rolling-R in “Maharaja,” sounding like a group of motor boats. They talked about bringing the world together with pancakes. Xavier said a vote for him as U.S. Champion is a vote for three because the best things in life always come in threes, such as red, white, and blue. Big E said just like Home Alone 1, 2, and 3 but added not so much 3. Xavier said his opponent hates “Home Alone” and freedom. He asked the fans, who seemed hesitant to get fully behind New Day’s act, if they want a U.S. Champion who hates freedom. They went into gyrating and got almost no reaction at the crescendo of their promo.

(Keller’s Analysis: New Day were just dying out there, and for good reason. They’re just awful right now. Just self-indulgent overly-cute not-clever frivolity.)

Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers made their way to the ring.

(1) JINDER MAHAL (w/The Singh Brothers) vs. XAVIER WOODS (w/Kofi Kingston, Big E.) – U.S. Title Tournament semi-finals

Jinder nailed Xavier with a boot to the face in the opening second. Graves said a couple minutes into the match that Xavier looked overmatched, as Jinder was just swallowing him up. They cut to a break. [c]

Graves said if Xavier won, it’d be a mockery of the U.S. Title. He said New Day are doing jingoistic nationalism whereas Jinder is a champion of all the people around the globe. Big E and Kofi threw pancakes at the Singhs. Graves called it “breakfast assault.” A “We Want Pancakes” chant started.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure that chant should be considered a victory for anyone involved during a U.S. Title tournament match like this.)

Jinder continued a methodic ground attack that seemed inspired by Prime Time Wrestling mid-card house show matches from Maple Leaf Gardens back in the day. They cut to another break. [c]

Xavier eventually made his comeback. Jinder blocked a DDT attempt. Xavier landed an enzuigiri. He then hit a Shining Wizard for a near fall. The Singh Brothers leaped onto the ring apron. Big E and Kofi chased them to the back. Graves defended the Singh Brothers, saying they were just cheering on Jinder. Xavier leaped off the top rope with a flying elbow, but Jinder moved. Jinder tossed Xavier throat first into the bottom rope. Xavier stayed down for a while. Jinder eventually gave him his Khalas for the win. Graves said Jinder practically dominated from bell to bell.

WINNER: Jinder in 17:00 to move on to U.S. Title finals.

(Keller’s Analysis: When they showed Jinder’s finisher in slo-mo, you could see he dropped Xavier on the back of his head more than that move is supposed to instead of spreading it out on his back and shoulders, and worse, his knees hit the mat before his opponent landed, which takes all the give out of the mat before the opponent lands and makes it worse for the guy taking the bump. The mat actually was rebounding up by the time Xavier landed, making the bump more painful and dangerous.)

-A selfie video aired with Baron Corbin who said he is called The Lone Wolf because he was built for the Royal Rumble match. He said it’s every man for himself. “There’s no distractions, no Smackdown Live politics. All I see is a ring full of potential victims and life-changing opportunity hanging in the balance… Get on board or get out of my way because it my time to main event WrestleMania.” He snarled a bit at the end.

(Keller’s Analysis: Fine promo. It’ll take more than that to convince Smackdown viewers he has a chance to win the Rumble, but it makes sense to make the attempt.)

-A commercial hyping Mixed Match Challenge with promos from Shinsuke Nakamura & Natalya and Finn Balor & Sasha Banks was followed immediately by a commercial aired hyping the USA Network special right after Smackdown counting down Raw’s Top 25 Moments. Strange marketing. [c]

-Phillips talked about Goldberg entering the WWE Hall of Fame this year as headlines from various websites flashed on the screen. Byron said it’s arguably the greatest comeback story in the history of the industry.

-Renee Young interviewed A.J. Styles backstage. Renee noted that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens seem to be brimming with confidence headed into their two-on-one match at the Rumble. Styles said they should because it’s three-on-one. He said he counts KO as two people. He said the Yep Movement makes them sound like deranged muppets. “How about nope?” he said. He said he has a new name for them – Kami – from now on. Styles said he got to this point in his career overcoming obstacles and he’ll do everything in his power to make sure the made-up Yep Movement comes to an end. “This ain’t the Kamy show, this is Smackdown Live, the house that A.J. Styles built!”

-The announcers were shown reacting to the promo. Phillips said KO and Sami could become the first-ever co-WWE Champions.

(Keller’s Analysis: Why is the idea of co-champions being normalized, like it’s a thing that could happen? It’s preposterous.)

-A series of selfie-cam promos aired with Carmella, Natalya, Tamina, Lana, Naomi, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, and Becky Lynch.

-Bobby Roode made his ring entrance. [c]

(2) BOBBY ROODE vs. MOJO RAWLEY – U.S. Title Tournament semi-finals

Roode grounded Mojo with mat work early. Mojo came back with a shoulder tackle at 90 degrees off the ropes. He yelled at the ref almost getting in his way. He stomped away at Roode, but Roode fired back with a punch and a kick. Mojo knee lifted Roode in the ribs and then bashed him into the top turnbuckle. Roode rolled to the floor. Mojo chased after Roode and charged at him with a check into the boards. He pointed at the U.S. Title belt and told Roode that would be his. [c]

Mojo had Roode in an abdominal stretch after the break. Roode sold hurt ribs. Mojo asked him if he cracked his ribs. Mojo grounded Roode again and stretched his ribs. Roode avoided a Mojo Charge into the corner turnbuckle to turn the tide. Roode threw a couple of clotheslines, but kept clutching his ribs afterward. Then he landed a neckbreaker and a blockbuster for a two count. He again clutched his ribs in pain. Graves said Roode is a half step slower than usual. When he went for a Glorious DDT, Mojo lifted and dropped Roode before scoring a near fall. He poked Roode in the face and asked three times, “Glorious, huh?” That antagonizing triggered a Roode comeback leading to a Glorious DDT for the win.

WINNER: Roode in 14:00 to make the U.S. Title finals next week.

(Keller’s Analysis: A decent match. Mojo’s antagonistic taunting backfiring told a nice story.)

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!


-The Singh Brothers attacked Roode afterward and focused on his ribs. They administered a ten second beatdown and then scurried away. Jinder walked onto the stage and said next week he puts an end to his Glorious Parade and becomes U.S. Champion. He then struck his sinister smile. There was a small “Bobby!” chant. Roode then said they don’t have to wait until next week, so how about tonight. Jinder smiled, but shook his head no. Being an honorable man, he wanted Roode to have a full week to have his ribs recover, apparently. He said he’d do it on his time. He said he wanted Roode to have a full week to think about how badly he’ll beat him. He turned to leave, but Daniel Bryan was standing behind him. Bryan announced that they’d have the U.S. Title match tonight after all.

(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, that’s the most heelish move yet from Bryan. Yes, Roode wants it, but his ribs are hurt, and Bryan should realize that and look out for Roode. Even Graves said Roode should be careful what he wishes for because he’s not 100 percent.) [c]

-A selfie video aired with Randy Orton. He said some people prefer the calm before the storm and like silence to think more clearly. He said he is not one of those people. He said he likes the storm and prefers to be surrounded by chaos. He said that’s why the Royal Rumble is his match, with friends turning into enemies all for the most coveted prize in WWE. He said he’d win the Rumble for the third time and he’ll main event WrestleMania. He turned the selfie cam around and showed that he was standing in an empty ring.

(3) CHARLOTTE & BECKY LYNCH & NAOMI vs. THE RIOTT SQUAD (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)

Charlotte twisted and tangled Riott early in the match with a head scissors. Then she kicked her and held her off from tagging her partners. Becky tagged in next. She tagged out to Naomi next. Becky then tagged back and leaped off the ring apron onto Riott. They cut to a break. [c]

They stuck with the match on split screen, showing the heels take over. Naomi made a comeback and landed a springboard crossbody for a near fall, broken up by Logan. Charlotte tackled Logan out of the ring. Morgan tried to roll up Naomi, but Riott snuck in a kick. Morgan then dropped Naomi on her knees and scored the pin.

WINNERS: The Riott Squad in 8:00.

-Dasha Fuentes interviewed the Usos backstage. They talked about how Jason Jordan has had more success on Raw than Chad Gable is having on Smackdown. They joked around that nobody can tell them apart. As they closed out their interview with a signature phrase, Gable and Shelton Benjamin attacked them from behind. Gable said they know exactly who they are. They said together: “Former champions.”

-They went to the announcers at ringside. Byron switched on his “distressed mode” to express how he felt about the blindside attack. Phillips said, “There is a lot of excitement here in the building tonight” as he shifted to plugging the Mixed Match Challenge.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure there’s been a bigger lie in WWE history.)

-The announcers threw to a video package on the Styles vs KO & Sami build-up with Bryan and Shane McMahon.

-A selfie promo aired with Shinsuke. He said: “Thirty men and one destiny and one leader – me. Let’s Rumble.”

-Shane McMahon made his way to ringside as his music played. [c]

-Tyler Breeze was standing in a wig and a dress trying to interview Rusev and Aiden English. Rusev yanked off his wig. Fandango revealed they’d face The Ascension next week. The Ascension were off to the side reading “Gluten Free Magazine.”

(4) BOBBY ROODE vs. JINDER MAHAL – U.S. Title Tournament final

Byron said while Roode might have injured ribs, Jinder might be thrown off by the Singh Brothers being barred from ringside and having this match take place a week before he wanted it to. Jinder went after Roode’s ribs at the start. Roode came back with ten punches on a corner mount. He winced, though. Roode knocked Jinder to ringside and pursued him. Jinder shoved him into the ring apron and then ribs-first into the ringside stairs. Jinder dropped Roode over the ringside barricade. [c]

Roode cried in pain as Jinder wrapped him around the ringpost. He then took it to him in the ring with an abdominal stretch. Graves astutely pointed out that Roode only has himself to blame since he wanted this match on short notice while he was injured. Jinder thwarted Roode’s comeback and went back to focusing on his ribs. Roode made another comeback and landed a top rope crossbody block, but he overshot a bit and Jinder rolled through for a near fall. Roode came back with a Blockbuster for a near fall. Jinder blocked a Glorious DDT and sat down on it. Both were down and slow to get up. They collided with simultaneous clotheslines. Roode struck next with a spinebuster. Jinder schoolboyed Roode for a two count. Mahal then applied the Khallas, but Roode countered into a Glorious DDT for the win. They showed Shane and Bryan standing and applauding afterward. They entered the ring and presented Roode with is new U.S. Title belt as the show ended.

WINNER: Roode to capture the U.S. Title.

(Keller’s Analysis: Pretty blah episode of Smackdown, but at least Jinder didn’t win, right?)

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the #WKPWP taped tonight and available a few hours after Raw ends at Podcast One!

7 Comments on KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 1/16: U.S. Title Tournament semi-finals with Xavier vs. Jinder, Roode vs. Mojo, Shane-Bryan drama continues

    • Rod,

      I do agree with you that Roode is not overly exciting. I don’t like the whole Glorious gimmick. I think might work better for a heel? The whole tournament just seemed like random guys tossed together. What did Woods or Ryder do to deserve a title opportunity? You can ask that about Rawley and English too.

  1. If Jindar was an evil Russian or Iraqi, would there be the same amount of hatred and racism from the wrestling websites there is because he’s Indian? And actually he’s Canadian. Yes, a pair of good old Canucks fought for the US Title tonight.

    • I don’t see any hatred. That is why the angle didn’t get over. Do you really Indian people, Dbob? I doubt it. Neither do the fans. If Jindar the jobber is getting booed it is because he stinks. He has never been a good wrestling, in my opinion, nor do I think he cuts good promos. He did win a match on tv in how many years? He’s a three man baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand!

  2. First the US title is supposed to be contested at the rumble, then it gets moved to next Tuesday and then it happens last Tuesday. Who books this stuff? I see Mahal demanding a rematch and ending Roode’s US title reign after one week! Pathetic!!

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