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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JANUARY 15, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Check out the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show covering Smackdown with guest cohost Jake Barnett of ProWrestling.net
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-Becky Lynch drove up in an XL SUV (not Daniel Bryan approved). Kayla Braxton approached her and said she’s been waiting for her to arrive. She said everyone is wondering if Becky believes she is “ready for Asuka.” Becky asked if she really waited around to ask her that, then said she’ll answer it in the ring. As she walked away, she tossed her key fob to Kayla, who dropped it. Becky said, “Good catch.”
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a dumb question. This isn’t some hungry rookie taking on an opponent unlike anyone they’ve ever faced before. Turning a catch phrase into a serious question presented by an interviewer makes everything feel inauthentic at best and makes the interviewer look incompetent at worst.)
-As Becky headed toward the ring backstage, she crossed paths with Heavy Machinery who were making a smoothie as New Day observed. The smoothie included a mega-dose of protein powder, raw eggs with shells, tuna, and pancakes. Otis took a swig and loved it. New Day recoiled. Otis offered a sip to Becky. Becky happily accepted as Xavier said, “No, don’t do it.” Becky took a swig, swished it around her mouth, and said, “It’s a little weak.” She walked away.
-As Becky entered the ring, the announcers hyped Smackdown including Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade Cien Almas and Miz throwing a birthday bash for his bestie Shane McMahon. Becky said in two weeks she has the opportunity to take back her Smackdown Women’s Championship. She said it’s the same title she got the whole world talking about, “but where is it now?” She shrugged her shoulders. She said the whole roster thinks what she’s doing – getting the world to listen, connecting with the people, creating a buzz, getting the world talking – is easy until they try it. “And boy are they all trying,” she said. “Men and women alike, Raw and Smackdown, all trying to find that extra gear, trying to be a badass since I broke through.” She said Asuka is finding out how hard leading this division really is.
Becky said people try to discredit her, but she delivers on what she says every time. She brought up Asuka walking into WrestleMania last year undefeated and unbeatable, but she lost. “Not only did she lose, but it shook her to her core and she fell off the radar.” (But enough about Ronda Rousey.) She said Asuka couldn’t beat the women she’s beaten the last five months, yet Asuka asks if she’s ready for her? Asuka’s music interrupted.
Asuka strutted out down the ramp and entered the ring. Fans chanted “Becky! Becky!” Asuka acknowledged it, and then said Becky likes “talk” and “hype.” She said she’s like a bee without a sting. She said after the Rumble, she will not be in Charlotte’s shadow, she will be in her shadow. She let out a yell. Graves translated for those who didn’t understand what she said. The IIconics walked out.
Billie Kaye said a proper champion shouldn’t behave like Asuka with silly faces and threats. She asked where her dignity and class is. Peyton Royce said Becky treated Kayla like a valet. “That’s typical behavior from a man,” she said. She said all of the nonsense is temporary because whoever wins between Becky and Asuka, they – the IIconics – will win the Rumble and become the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. They let out an excited scream. Then they said they’d make WrestleMania IIconic and struck a pose.
Becky no-sold them and turned to Asuka. She said she’ll show Asuka why she is the talk of the industry. She turned to The IIconics and asked which of them wants to face her so she can make an example out of them.
(Keller’s Analysis: Overall, a strong opening segment for Becky. She really seems sure-footed as to who she is and exudes that earned and unwavering confidence that attracts fans.) [c]
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. PEYTON ROYCE (w/Billy Kaye)
A couple minutes in, they showed Lacey watching backstage while sipping iced tea. Graves said she is thinking of classing up the joint. Asuka remained at ringside to watch. Becky slidekicked Peyton and barely reached her. Graves called it a “glancing blow.” Peyton took control back in the ring for a while. When Becky made a comeback, Peyton went to ringside. Becky chased after her, but after yanking Kaye out of her path, Peyton clotheslined her. [c]
Peyton dominated during the break; they showed the action on split-screen. After the break, Becky made a comeback and finished Peyton with a Disarm Her.
WINNER: Becky in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They haven’t built up Royce enough for it to seem impressive Becky had an even-steven match with her and eked out a win.)
-Afterward Asuka entered the ring and yelled at Becky in Japanese. She turned and ranted toward the IIconics. Asuka grabbed Billy Kaye and threw her into the ring.
(2) ASUKA vs. BILLY KAYE
The ref oddly rang the bell and the announcers acted like that was totally normal. (Is that how it works in WWE? A wrestler yanks another into the ring and it means a match is on? Stupid. I get wanting to tell a certain story, but they could have done a better job making the ref and therefore also the announcers look more rationale.) Asuka dominated and won with an Asuka lock.
WINNER: Asuka in 1:00.
-Afterward, Asuka and Becky had a stare down. Then A.J. Styles’s music played and he made his way to the ring. Styles took a detour into the stands. The announcers wondered where he was going. He walked up the steps. Graves said they hope to find out what Styles is up to after the break. [c]
-Styles hung out with fans in the concourse. They cheered and chanted. He said they paid their hard-earned money to be there, so let them do what they want and eat what they want. He threw them some free t-shirts. Daniel Bryan showed up and attacked Styles. They fought as security backed fans away. Styles lifted and slammed Bryan hard onto the table. Bryan almost went head-first off the table onto the concrete floor. He was covered in junk food and condiments.
-The Usos were backstage for a photo shoot, posing and smiling. A stagehand walked up and presented Jimmy a red gift box. He told Jey to read him his card. “Dear Jimmy, I’ve been a naughty girl and I need you to lock me up in the Uso Penitentiary.” Jey’s expression changed to concern as he realized it wasn’t signed “Love, Naomi,” but it was signed “Love, Mandy.” Jey said there’s a key to a hotel room in the box. “Whatcha donna do?” he asked. Jimmy said he’s not sure.
(Keller’s Analysis: I assume Jimmy acting like he isn’t sure what to do means he isn’t sure how to stop Mandy, not whether he’s going to accept the hotel room invite. I suspect he’ll go to the hotel room to set Mandy straight and it will lead to a big misunderstanding that upsets Naomi.)
-They showed a stern Samoa Joe backstage. He walked past EC3 who was posing and admiring himself in a mirror. [c]
-They aired a slideshow of Carmella and R-Truth visiting WWE Headquarters and dancing with workers. Graves said it’s quite an honor and not many people get the experience to visit Triple H and Vince McMahon.
-They showed fans who were received upgrade seats from a pizza sponsor.
-Kayla interviewed Andrade and Zelina Vega. Andrade said Rey was his idol growing up, but now he is the future. Zelina said it’s time to focus on the future, and the near future includes Andrade beating Rey tonight, then he’ll win the Rumble, and then win the WWE Championship in the main event at WrestleMania.
-Mustafa Ali’s ring entrance took place. Phillips noted that 205 Live returns to Tuesday nights starting tonight. Joe attacked Ali before the bell, knocking him off the ropes and kicking him to the floor. He yanked off his glasses and threw him hard into the ringpost. Graves said Ali is out cold. Joe was huffing and puffing and frothing. The ref ordered him to back away. Joe smiled and began to leave, but then returned and punched and headbutted Ali over and over. He threw Ali at the ringpost again and Ali took another tremendous bump. Joe began to leave, then went back and teased a powerbomb at ringside, but instead threw Ali into the barricade. The announcers wondered if Ali will make it to the Rumble. Graves said Joe is a major threat to 29 others in the Rumble match.
-Sonya Deville told Mandy Rose she is stressing out. She asked if she really wants to give out her hotel room key. Mandy said she just can’t stand Naomi and she wants to make her life more miserable. She said the best way to do that is to break up her marriage. Deville shook her head as if she wasn’t approving.
-They showed Rey Mysterio backstage. Nikki Cross was standing behind a fence and yanking on it and yelling at Rey like she was in a Halloween haunted house. [c]
-The announcers commented on a video recap of what Joe did to Ali.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is a chance for WWE to let Ali bond with fans and expand his character by reacting with a spirited babyface promo this week or next week. And don’t limit it to being only online.)
-Kayla interviewed Joe and he yelled and asked if everyone understands that he will treat anyone in the Rumble with the same respect he just showed Ali. He said he anyone who is a champion is a target whom he will hunt down and put to sleep.
(3) REY MYSTERIO vs. ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega)
Rey Mysterio made his full ring entrance. Then Andrade and Vega made their way to the ring. Slow tentative exchanges early on. The announcers talked about Rey not wanting red carpet rolled out for him on his Smackdown return and being eager to prove himself all over again against opponents like Andrade. They said Rey likes the chip on Andrade’s shoulder.
Rey leaped onto Andrade’s shoulders and then dove over the top rope and yanked Andrade with him. On the floor, though, Andrade turned it into a sitout powerbomb of Rey on the floor. Cool sequence. [c]
Back from the break, Rey was in control for a while. When Andrade took over, Rey shoved him off the top rope and then leaped off the top rope with a head scissors that sent Andrade hard to the floor. “This is insanity!” yelled Graves, who said the arena came to their feet. “This is awesome!” chanted fans. They cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen and both wrestlers were slow to get up and reenter the ring. Andrade dropkicked Rey out of mid-air as Rey went for a to rope move. Andrade connected with a back elbow. The action really picked up. Andrade went for a moonsault. Rey moved. Andrade moonsaulted a second time after landing on his feet and scored a two count. Graves said this is two Superstars who simply want to outdo one another. Zelina threw a fit at the kick-out. Rey landed a Canadian Destroyer for a believable near fall in a great spot. Graves said he watched highlights of that move a thousand times from last week and he can’t get enough of it. Rey went for a 619, but Andrade blocked him. Rey then landed a crucifix bomb for a near fall. Graves said they each have counters for moves he’s never seen before. Rey landed a 619 and got a big pop. Zelina stood on the ring apron and distracted the ref. Andrade yanked Rey off balance and he took a spill off the top rope. Andrade then delivered a hammer lock DDT for the win. Saxton called it a controversial win, but this gives Andrade momentum heading into the Rumble.
WINNER: Andrade in 18:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Excellent TV showcase for Andrade, plus Rey established firmly that he is still good for a standout match. The announcers did a good job setting the stage for the dynamic between these two and what was at stake.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Phillips robotically said that was simply outstanding. Then he threw to a clip of the Usos segment earlier and the Mandy revealing her plans in front of a camera to Royce.
-They went to Jimmy who approached the hotel room door as he was filmed by a nearby camera. They cut to a break as he contemplated his plan. [c]
-When Jimmy went into the hotel room, there was already a camera inside. Jimmy ignored the camera. There was yet another camera filming Mandy sitting on a chair and dressed seductively. (This would have felt so much more real if a handheld camera followed Jimmy in.) Mandy said the time to play hard to get is over. She took off her robe and revealed her lingerie. She asked Jimmy what he thinks and asked what his wife will think. Jimmy said, “Look, we can’t do this. We can’t do this. This needs to stop.” Mandy said they can do this. A man with a camera ran in and took pictures. Jimmy asked what was up with all of that. Mandy put her robe back on and said she didn’t really want him, this is about his wife. She said she despises his wife because she runs around like she owns the place. “She will never be as hot as me,” she said. “You know it, I know it, and more importantly she knows it.” Mandy said when she sees all of the pictures of him in his hotel room, that will destroy her entire life. (EXCEPT THIS IS ALL ON LIVE TV SO EVERYONE SAW THIS REGARDLESS OF THE CAMERAMAN BEING HIRED UNLESS WE’RE TO BELIEVE NAOMI CAN’T WATCH TV OR TALK TO ANYONE WHO SEES THIS SHOW. IDIOTICALLY STUPID.) Jimmy said, “Oh, my wife?” Then he turned and left. Then suddenly out of the closet or bathroom lunged Naomi. She jumped Mandy. They wrestled on a bed.
(Keller’s Analysis: Vince McMahon’s clear idea to revive ratings is to have more women in states of undress and soap opera stuff like this with women rolling around on a bed. We’ll see. The narrative structure on this was as ridiculous as when there was a camera inside the limo when Shane went head first through the window. It’s astounding they either don’t realize this or don’t think it completely undercuts the credibility of this and distracts because it’s so fake.)
-The announcers threw to a clip of Alexa Bliss announcing on Raw the WWE Tag Team Titles and revealing the belts. Then they showed a ton of web online headlines from various outlets announcing the new tag belts. The announcers hyped the announced Rumble line-up so far.
-Miz made a full ring entrance. The ring was decked out like a kids birthday party. [c]
-Miz said, “It’s someone’s birthday!” He welcomed viewers to “the best birthday bash in the world.” He said, “It can’t be a bash without the birthday boy.” He introduced Shane McMahon. Shane danced and pounded his fist to his heart. Miz said on behalf of everyone in attendance and all of the WWE Universe, happy birthday. He thanked Birmingham. (Cheap pop.) Fans chanted “Happy Birthday!” Shane thanked them, but told Miz he’s not usually comfortable with birthday parties. You won’t believe what Miz got Shane. Shane unwrapped the box which was Jordan 33s. Shane listed key talking points about their features like its as paid product placement. Miz pointed Shane to the big screen for his next gift. A video aired of Shane over the years dancing around and battling actual wrestlers who sold for him and hitting big spots. Shane said he was speechless and went on to talk about it, proving he wasn’t speechless.
Shane said he wanted to open up to Miz about something. He said he always dreamt of being tag team champions. He said as a kid, he dreamed of teaming with Andre the Giant. He said he is proud to be walking into the Rumble with Miz as his partner. They hugged. Miz told Shane that at the Rumble, his dream is going to come true because they are going to capture the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Miz asked the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to Shane. Shane tried to stop them. Miz sang it and the crowd joined in. Sheamus and Cesaro then walked out and called it embarrassing. Cesaro said they didn’t invite Vince McMahon. Sheamus said Vince was invited, but he didn’t come because he couldn’t give a damn about Shane. Sheamus vowed to destroy them at the Rumble. Shane pointed out that Sheamus delivered Brogue kick to Shane when he wasn’t looking, so he if he thinks he’s so tough, how about he battle Miz tonight face to face. Miz said he’s not really dressed for a fight. Shane said he wasn’t dressed when he won the Best in the World Tournament. Shane gave Miz a pep talk and touted all of his credentials. “You can do this!” said Shane. Miz said if that’s his birthday wish, he’s got it. “Let’s go!” [c]
(4) MIZ (w/Shane McMahon) vs. SHEAMUS (w/Cesaro)
Sheamus beat up Miz for several minutes. Cesaro took some cheap shots to interfere. Shane yanked Cesaro off the ring apron and onto a table full of cake. Miz rolled up Sheamus and scored a leverage three count. That led Phillips to conclude Miz and Shane have a chance to beat The Bar at the Rumble.
WINNER: Miz in 3:00.
-Shane beat up Sheamus in the ring. Miz delivered a Scull Crushing Finale. Shane then did the Coast to Coast into a cake against Sheamus in the corner. Shane looked like he broke his hip, but he managed to stand and throw his arm in the air in celebration. Shane and Miz held up a trophy. Miz then shoved a small piece of cake into Shane’s face. Shane smiled.
Check out the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show covering Smackdown with guest cohost Jake Barnett of ProWrestling.net
OR SEARCH “WADE KELLER” TO SUBSCRIBE ON ANY PODCAST APP