WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 1/22: Rey vs. Andrade in two-out-of-three falls, Joe vs. Ali, Vince to moderate Bryan and A.J., Mandy Rose vs. Naomi, Miz vs. Cesaro

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

Rey Mysterio (art credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)


JANUARY 22, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves

Arena and Items Advertised by WWE 

Last night we wrapped up the Raw portion of the build to the Royal Rumble.  Tonight, we do the same for Smackdown.  WWE arrives at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, KS.  The arena opened for business in January of 2010, and last hosted Smackdown back in June of 2016.

Here’s what’s on the menu for tonight according to WWE.com

  • Rey Mysterio to face Andrade in a 2-out-of-three falls match
  • Vince McMahon to moderate a face-to-face with A.J. Styles and WWE Champion Daniel Bryan
  • After weeks of personal attacks, Naomi and Mandy Rose to square off
  • Miz with Shane to battle Cesaro with Sheamus

Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe was announced on Saturday via WWE’s Twitter feed, but it’s not in their preview.  I have looked and don’t see any indication that it’s been cancelled, but things are certainly subject to change.  I will preview it anyway in this report in the event it does take place.

Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade – Two out of Three Falls 

Last week, Andrade (just Andrade now, no more “Cien” Almas) defeated Rey Mysterio in their second encounter.  Rey had defeated Andrade in their first match back in November of 2018.  Two weeks ago, Andrade pinned Rey in a tag match featuring he and Samoa Joe with Mustafa Ali being Rey’s partner.

Twitter was abuzz about the match last week going into the show.  WWE acknowledged it prior to the match beginning.  When the contest started it did not disappoint.  Andrade ultimately defeated Rey by hitting his signature hammerlock DDT off the second rope.

Over the weekend, WWE.com announced these two would go at it in a 2-out-of-3 falls match.

Frank’s Analysis:  On one hand, you’d want to see this feud saved for a bigger stage.  On the other, you can’t go wrong with a feud between these two.  Despite them being in character in the ring, you can see the respect they have for one another especially from Andrade, who grew up idolizing Mysterio.  This could potentially be a long-term feud which despite being used on TV already, could lead to bigger matches at a PPV or dare I say WrestleMania.  While not ideal, a triple threat on the big stage is not out of the question for Rusev defending the U.S. Championship against these two.  Dare I say you throw in Shinsuke Nakamura for a fatal-four way?  I realize I’m jumping about five steps, but it is WrestleMania season and one can’t help but try to figure out where things are going.

Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe

Two weeks ago, as I mentioned earlier, Samoa Joe was on the winning end of a tag team match featuring he and Andrade (“Cien” Almas at the time ;o).  They defeated Mustafa Ali and Rey Mysterio.  Last week, Joe and Ali (typing that makes me think of Smokin’ Joe Frazier vs. Mohammed Ali) were to face off in a one-on-one match.

Before the bell could ring, Joe attacked Ali while he was making his ring entrance.  The attack was so brutal that the match never started, and Joe walked away with a sinister smile on his face.  Later on, Kayla Braxton interviewed Joe and he discussed the attack and his prospects of winning the Royal Rumble.

Over the weekend, WWE.com announced Ali and Joe would try it again tonight.  Here’s a little trash talk from Joe on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis:  Joe is good, plain and simple.  He knows how to be a heel and knows how to cut a heel promo.  You just wonder if WWE is going to get behind him and actually win something.  I’m not saying titles are the only way to define success, but his never winning the WWE Championship from A.J. Styles last year and not winning a big match recently certainly stands out.  I still say he’s a dark horse candidate to win the Royal Rumble.

One thing WWE needs to change is acknowledging better that matches will not take place.  Have the ring announcer say something like “due to Mustafa Ali’s condition, the referee has decided this match will not start.”  Let the fans have some anguish over that so that when the “rematch” takes place, it’s a bigger deal and they’ll be happy to see Joe “get his” if that’s how it’s booked.  This has been discussed recently on several Wade Keller podcasts here at PWTorch.  Matches not starting, segments ending abruptly, match finishes not acknowledged, and other issues of the like are not taken seriously by the announce team which makes such things feel less important. 

Vince McMahon Moderates a Face-to-Face with A.J. Styles and WWE Champion Daniel Bryan

A.J. Styles is set to challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.  He previously came up short at TLC in December but earned another match via winning a fatal-five way.

Last week, A.J. Styles went out into the concession stands and in a matter of speaking, countered what Daniel Bryan did a week earlier.  He stood in front of a table with hot dogs, popcorn, and soda and said everyone should have whatever they want (The hot dogs did look good though.  I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a dog with relish and mustard on a top-sliced bun.).  He then went towards a stand with a bunch of his shirts and started throwing them to the fans.  While throwing the shirts Daniel Bryan attacked A.J.

Tonight, Vince McMahon appears on Smackdown to moderate a face-to-face with both men.  It wouldn’t be the first time Vince has been involved with A.J. recently, as they had that segment a few weeks ago where he wanted A.J. to find the “animal inside of him.”

Daniel Bryan had something to say about hot dogs on Twitter.  Anybody else see a supermarket brawl like Stone Cold and Booker T from years ago?  Anyway:

Frank’s Analysis:  Look at WWE giving us more of what we want, and that’s Vince McMahon on TV again.  Yeah, that’s what makes programming better.  It’s uncomfortable watching Vince on TV and to be involved in this great feud between two top-end guys feels somewhat random.  Vince had the segment with A.J. recently where he wanted him to “find the animal” and perhaps that’s why he’s getting involved now, but that segment felt random and out of nowhere as well.  Given how A.J. and Bryan are not “typical Vince” guys, it’ll be interesting to see the dialogue between all parties, especially now with Bryan settled into his new character.

Naomi vs. Mandy Rose

This was a match that was supposed to happen a few times recently.  It has turned into a back-and-forth personal feud that lead to a brawl in a hotel room.

For weeks, Mandy Rose has been coming on to Naomi’s husband Jimmy Uso.  Last week, Jimmy received a gift while he was doing a photo shoot with his brother.  It turned out to be a hotel room key from Mandy Rose, and a seductive note.  Later on, in a perfectly produced segment, Jimmy was seen heading towards Mandy’s room.

When Jimmy entered the room to talk to Mandy, she took her robe off to reveal her in black lingerie.  Jimmy said they couldn’t do this, but Mandy disagreed.  A cameraman then showed up to take pictures of them, after which she revealed she wasn’t interested in him.  She just wanted to ruin Naomi’s life, something she had told Sonya Deville earlier in the evening.  As Jimmy left, it turns out Naomi was lurking and attacked Mandy.  They brawled on the bed.

Tonight, they go at it one-on-one.  Here’s a chat between Mandy and Sonya Deville on Twitter:


Frank’s Analysis:  I can’t spend too much on this, because it’s just not worth the effort.  Jimmy looked silly on a lot of levels, as did Mandy and Naomi as well.  The segment has been well-picked apart here at PWTorch, and thus I won’t pick it apart.  Here’s the ultimate question for me.  What is the payoff to this?  Other than this match, which doesn’t excite a lot of people, what’s the point?  Is Naomi turning on Jimmy or vice versa?  Is it just a way to keep the Usos occupied while they’re out of tag team championship picture?  It could lead to Naomi finding a partner to feud with Mandy and Sonya Deville, perhaps over the incoming women’s tag team championship.  Even that doesn’t seem like something that would excite a lot of people.  This falls under the “fill TV time” heading.

Miz (w/Shane McMahon) vs. Cesaro (w/Sheamus) 

Last week, the Miz threw his tag team partner, Shane McMahon, the “best birthday bash in the world.”  He did so by having cake, giving Shane new sneakers, and even had the crowd sing happy birthday.  Shane expressed his discomfort with celebrating his birthday, but genuinely seemed to appreciate what the Miz had done for him.  He also revealed that he had dreamed of being tag team champions with Andre the Giant and was proud to be Miz’s partner.

Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro), interrupted the celebration.  They said Vince was invited to the celebration but didn’t want to come because he didn’t care about Shane.  Sheamus challenged Miz to a match which he initially resisted, but Shane pushed him into having it.  Seeing as it was Shane’s birthday, Miz was willing to accommodate.  Miz went on to defeat Sheamus.  Shane delivered a coast-to-coast to Sheamus.

Yesterday, WWE tweeted this:

At the Royal Rumble, the Bar defends their Smackdown Tag Team Championship against Miz and Shane.

Frank’s Analysis:  People seem to be positive on Shane and Miz, but I’m not in that camp.  This is about Shane occupying a roster spot and fill TV time with entertainment.  I don’t need it in 2019.  The roster is deep enough and you can build up tag teams to have a formidable division.  Nonetheless I’ll be fair and say that things have been fairly well done between these two.  Ultimately, I wonder where this is headed.  Logically, you would thing Miz turns on Shane.  I lean more on the opposite happening or the partnership just fizzling out over time. 

Other Items from Last Week:

  • Carmella vs. Sonya Deville was announced for the show last week but did not take place, for those that care.  We did see pictures of her and R-Truth’s trip to WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT….also for those that care.
  • In the opening segment, Becky Lynch and Smackdown Women’s Champion Asuka discussed their match for the title at the Royal Rumble.  The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billy Kay) interrupted.  Becky went on to defeat Peyton followed by Asuka defeating Billy.
  • Lacey Evans appeared on TV watching the Becky-Peyton match.  Last night on Raw, she announced participation in this year’s Royal Rumble as did Alexa Bliss.  EC3 was shown posing, as he was last night on Raw before Dana Brooke approached him to ask questions.  Heavy Machinery made a smoothie with New Day.  They included pancakes, protein powder, raw eggs, and tuna.  Becky Lynch took a swig and said it was a little weak.  Heavy Machinery made their in-ring debut last night on Raw defeating the Ascension.  Nikki Cross did her “let Nikki play” bit while watching Rey Mysterio walk to the ring for his match.  Evans, EC3, Nikki, and Heavy Machinery will appear on both shows until their permanent “residences” are decided.

Start Time & Matches Advertised by the Arena Website

The arena website shows a start time of 6:45 p.m. with doors opening at 5:15 p.m.  It announces the following matches:

  • Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship:  Daniel Bryan (champ) vs. The Miz vs. A.J. Styles
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

This is what was advertised last week for the arena hosting Smackdown. 

Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani.  My e-mail is fpeteani@gmail.com.  Questions and discussion are welcome.  Thank you for reading!

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