KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JANUARY 29, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-They opened with a lengthy three minute video recap of Becky Lynch winning the Royal Rumble and confronting Ronda Rousey on Raw the next night.
-Phillips introduced the show as Becky limped her way to the ring. They showed the announcers on camera. Byron acknowledged that when she lost to Asuka, it seemed her night was done, but the whirlwind of emotions turned around
“and now we’re talking about Becky Lynch headlining WrestleMania! What a turnaround!” Phillips said Becky is full speed ahead (given her gingerly walking to the ring, maybe not the best choice of words) toward the match “that frankly the whole WWE Universe has been clamoring for.”
Fans chanted “Becky!” when her music stopped. “What a couple of days, huh?” she said. She said she couldn’t resist showing up on Raw and peering into “Ronnie’s angry little eyes again.” She said in doing so, it took her two seconds to confirm how different they are from one another. She said the beginning of the Royal Rumble event didn’t go her way, “but unlike Ronda Rousey, I don’t crumble when I lose.” She said she went back out there and won the Rumble on one good leg. Fans chanted “Becky!” again. She called Ronda “an arrogant dope” when she talks about how she was working her way up while Ronda was main eventing in MMA “as if I have something to be ashamed of.” She said she is proud of having come up from nothing. She said she’s proud of all the heads she slapped to get to where she is today. She said she’s most proud of working her way “from the pre-show of WrestleMania last year to this year’s main event.” She said nobody handed her anything. “You deserve it!” chanted the crowd. She said the main thing she saw when she looked into Rousey’s eyes was something she herself doesn’t have any more: “Doubt.” She said she’s going to break her arm in front of the entire world. She said if Rousey doesn’t walk into WrestleMania believing it, she’ll walk out knowing it.
(Keller’s Analysis: Great promo that covered every talking point from the prior two days.)
Charlotte walked out wearing heavier make-up than usual. She mock-applauded and over-smiled toward Becky on her way to the ring. “Congratulations, Becks. You made it off the Kickoff Show.” (This is making wrestlers on the Kickoff show feel pretty bad right now!) She said it just feel good. She told the fans she’s proud of her too. (Charlotte was channeling Stephanie McMahon’s heel act here.) She said she managed to will herself into the Rumble and won. She said she learned lessons from The Queen. She took credit for bringing Becky to the main event. She pointed at the crowd and the WrestleMania sign and said she is so happy she was able to do this for Becky. “You’re welcome,” she said. Becky punched her in the face and walked out. Fans chanted “Becky!” Her music played as Charlotte checked her mouth for blood. Charlotte then charged at Becky and attacked her from behind. Lynch fought back. Charlotte threw Becky into the ringside barricade. Phillips said she was going after her injured leg. Charlotte tackled Becky. Referees and officials separated them. Becky broke free and went after Charlotte. They were separated again and Becky’s music played as Charlotte stood on the ring steps and looked down at Becky gloating.
-Graves said Daniel Bryan plans to change the climate tonight. Phillips said Shane McMahon has promised Miz a celebration that is must-see. Saxton said Shinsuke Nakamura is celebrating being new U.S. Champion, but it might not last long because R-Truth has been awarded a U.S. Title match next. [c]
-R-Truth and Carmella sang their way to the ring. The announcers recapped that R-Truth was taken out of the Rumble due to an attack by Nia Jax from behind. Phillips said Nia became the first wrestler to ever eliminate men and women in two Royal Rumble matches on the same night. Truth talked about Jax costing him a chance to be in the Rumble. Carmella said she and Truth worked hard to earn that no. 30 slot. Truth said one second he was rapping, the next second he was napping. He said he would have won the Rumble if Nia hadn’t attacked him. “You know it, I know it, and thankfully the McMahons know it,” he said. “That’s why they granted me this United States Title match against Shinsuke Nakamura right now.” Graves was upset that Truth got a consolation prize “for losing the Royal Rumble match.” Phillips said the U.S. Title match isn’t a consolation prize.
(1) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. R-TRUTH (w/Carmella) – U.S. Title match
Nakamura connected with a flying sidekick to Truth at the bell. He hit a reverse exploder and went for an early Kinshasa, but Truth countered and knocked Nakamura to the floor. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen with Shinsuke taking over during the break. Nakamura gave Truth a running knee in the corner and scored a two count. Nakamura picked up Truth on his shoulders for a Landslide, but Truth countered with a small package and scored a three count. The bell rang as Truth went for a wheel kick. Graves said Truth didn’t even know he won. Truth was shocked. Nakamura protested to the ref. Graves said the U.S. economy is going to crash because of this.
WINNER: Truth in 7:00 to capture the U.S. Title.
-Carmella happily strapped the title belt around Truth’s waist. Rusev and Lana walked out. Rusev said this is not right, “none of this is right.” He said he took the U.S. Title from Nakamura because that title deserved better. He said if that title deserved better than Nakamura, then for sure it deserves better than Truth. Fans booed. (So this is the week everyone who was turned babyface by fans is turned back heel?) Rusev challenged Truth to a match right now to prove he deserves that title. Lana and Carmella argued. Rusev shoved Truth. Truth shoved back. Rusev knocked Truth down. Truth agreed to it. [c]
(2) R-TRUTH (w/Carmella) vs. RUSEV (w/Carmella) – U.S. Title match
Graves said Rusev is about to become champion again and Truth will go down as the most ignorant champion of all time. Graves was really backing Rusev, which played up Rusev as the heel here. A minute in, Truth rolled up Rusev and scored a leverage pin.
WINNER: Truth in 3:00, give or take, to regain the U.S. Title.
-As Carmella and Truth celebrated at ringside, Nakamura attacked Truth from behind. Rusev and Nakamura double-teamed Truth as fans pelted them with scattered boos.
(Keller’s Analysis: No more “Rusev Day,” it seems. That’s so 2018. Some of the things being done with characters this week gives off the vibe of decades ago when there’d be a new booker and he’d want to put his stamp on things and change some of the character into alignment with his vision. I think this is just Vince shaking things up and re-aligning things in his vision after giving in to some fan reactions late last year, but it resembles a booking change. What that says about Vince these days, I don’t know.)
-The announcers commented on a recap of the Becky-Charlotte angle earlier. Then they went to Kayla Braxton who approached Becky as she got into her black SUV. Kayla asked why she wouldn’t let the medical staff evaluate her. Becky said she doesn’t want to spend any more time on the shelf. Graves said he thinks that means Becky is more injured than she is letting on.
-Rey Mysterio made his way to the ring. [c]
-Zelina Vega came out onto the stage and said Andrade is head and shoulders above everybody else in WWE, especially him. Then Andrade attacked Rey from behind. He was in a suit. Graves called it brilliant. Rey escapade an Andrade suplex and delivered a quick 619, but Andrade blocked it with his elbow and then beat down Rey some more including a hammerlock DDT.
-Backstage Rusev was approached by Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. Anderson asked what that was all about. Rusev said he lost. Anderson said Truth just “dog walked” them through two victories and he didn’t deserve to get beat down. Rusev told them to mind their business and go back to catering. Anderson said Rusev and Nakamura deserve each other. He challenged them to face them. Rusev raised his eyebrows. Nakamura walked in and assessed the situation and said, “Challenge accepted!” Rusev told Nakamura, “I will team with you one time; do not screw me over.”
-Backstage Miz and Shane McMahon strutted with their newly won Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Miz said being champions is reward enough. Shane said he’s got something special anyway planned. [c]
-A long segment aired on Paige’s movie with The Rock about her life.
-Miz and Shane came out to the ring. Shane asked, “What’s up, Phoenix?” Fans chanted “Shane-0-Mac.” Shane said they don’t need champaign or confetti or streamers. He said he has bigger plans. He said Miz helped a childhood dream of his come true. Shane said he wanted to show his appreciation and then it hit him what to do. He said after tonight’s moment, he will never forget it the rest of his life. Miz seemed intrigued and excited.
Shane presented a three minute video package on Miz and Shane together. Shane said he was trepidatious at first about Miz’s intensions, but it became clear to him the was sincere. Shane said there’s one motivational force that has been consistent in his life, the one thing that drives Mike Mizanin day after day. Shane then introduced George Mizanin. Miz looked nervous when his dad didn’t walk out at first, but then he did and Miz looked relieved. George walked out in a “Miz & Mac” t-shirt. Graves said Smackdown has become Dr. Phil. Fans chanted “Mr. Miz!” Graves made fun of his hair. Miz said he was supposed to be on a flight this morning. Shane said he asked him to stay around. He said his dad has something to say to Shane. He said, “Mike, I love you and I am very proud of you.” They hugged. Shane threw his arms up the air excitedly and it appeared for a second he was about to forearm both of them, but instead he danced around them excitedly. Graves said they could have done this backstage. He said he’s not sure why they’re celebrating George when he’s been “a crappy dad for 35 years.” He added, “I’m going to stop telling my kids I love them so I can be a champion.” Shane said it’s one thing to become tag team champions, but another to defend them. He said they are about to find out who the top contender is in a four-team elimination match.
(Keller’s Analysis: We keep waiting for the breakup, yet this is a feel-good fun storyline and I’m not sure it has to end or should end anytime soon.)
-The Usos began their ring entrance as Phillips announced the participating teams. [c]
-Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville officially declared themselves for the Elimination Chamber qualifier match. Deville said this is their time to put their hair up and square up and make history. Mandy said this may come as a surprise to many people, but it’s not always easy being her when you look like she does. She said people try to knock them down any chance they get including Naomi. Kayla asked why she’s been going after her lately. Then footage aired from 2015 Tough Enough. Naomi said she’s not sure that the contestants have what it takes. They showed Naomi targeting Rose one day. Deville said Naomi was cruel and jealous and angry after the cameras stopped rolling. She said she made Mandy cry. Mandy admitted she cried until she had a complex so bad her boyfriend couldn’t take it anymore and dumped her. Rose said her obsession with Naomi will never end, but her mind is becoming tag champions with Sonya first.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a cool callback to Tough Enough.)
(3) THE USOS vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E w/Xavier Woods) vs. HEAVY MACHINERY – Tag Team Contendership Four-way
Everyone but Heavy Machinery were in the ring. HM made their ring entrance. HM dominated against New Day before they cut to an early break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen. Lots of tags. They showed Shane and Miz watching backstage.
FIRST ELIMINATION: New Day when Heavy Machinery finished Kofi with the Trash Compactor.
After another minute of action, they cut to another break. [c]
SECOND ELIMINATION: Heavy Machinery when Cesaro nailed Tucker with an uppercut and Sheamus connected with a Brogue Kick.
THIRD ELIMINATION: The Bar after Jey Uso landed a splash shortly after HM were eliminated.
WINNERS: The Usos in 16:00 to earn a tag title shot at Elimination Chamber against Shane & Miz.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good action. Typical for this type of match with a lot of wrestlers involved tagging in and out. Two commercial breaks broke up some of the flow. Machinery were treated as a serious act despite their bombastic personalities. Well, Otiz’s.)
-They cut to Shane and Miz who were lounging backstage on a couch watching on a monitor in the corner. (It was the most natural viewing situation WWE has ever shown. It looked natural.)
-They showed Daniel Bryan backstage. He saw a guy about to bite into a fast food burger and he knocked it out of his hands. [c]
-Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance. He was wearing a white shirt with the words: “No Violence. No Homophobia. No Sexism. No Racism. Freedom, Peace, Love.” Such a heel. The announcers recapped his victory over A.J. Styles at the Rumble with help from Erick Rowan. Bryan asked who won on Sunday. Fans chanted “Becky!” He said no, their children and grandchildren won because he won, and he is The Planet’s Champion. He said the fans might not appreciate or understand him or even what winning feels like, but he found someone who does understand “the greatest good.” He introduced Rowan. (Erick is no more.) He walked out to his old music. Bryan asked fans to give it up for him. Bryan said you might see the dirt under his fingernails and assume things about him, but he’s an enlightened man who reads the greats and is his intellectual peer. “And that’s how he is able to see through the façade of all of you and A.J. Styles.” Bryan said Styles accused him of being a hypocrite and Styles was right. He said he is a hypocrite for carrying around this – pointing at the WWE Title belt.
Rowan grabbed a big plastic trash bin from ringside. Bryan threw the belt into it. He said it’s a symbol of excellent, but also a symbol of excess. He said it’s gaudy, made from cheap labor, and worst of all it’s bound to the skin of a cow whose life was taken from her. He said he likes to give that cow a name. He said her name, in his mind, is Daisy. He said Daisy had the ability to feel immense joy. Fans chanted “Daisy!” He said Daisy didn’t get to experience much of it, though. She also had the ability to feel pain and suffering, which she did feel. “She was forced to give her life for this symbol.” He said the symbol is the very thing he and Rowan reject. “This is trash!” he said. Fans chanted, “Good bye Daisy!” Bryan said to change the world, they need new symbols. Rowan then revealed from his knapsack the new title belt. It was a hemp and wood carved title belt with blue and white pebbles. “This is the new symbol of excellence. This is your new WWE Championship.” Some fans booed. Bryan called the fans ignorant. He said it’s made from 100 percent sustainable organic hemp. They cut to a fan with a sign that said, “Evil Vegan.” He said it was carved from a naturally fallen oak.
Styles walked out. He asked Bryan if he smoked the belt or something like that, connecting hemp to marijuana I think. He was interrupted by Randy Orton. They cut to a break. [c]
After the break, Jef Hardy was in the ring. Mustafa Ali walked out and said he sees a group gathering talking about the WWE Title and what it means. Orton interrupted and asked if he got tossed out of the Rumble “by a girl.” Samoa Joe then came out. Joe said he didn’t come out to ask for permission, he came out to put a champion to sleep. He said when he puts the Viper to sleep, it won’t come out of nowhere. He took shots at everyone in the ring. Bryan and Rowan left the ring as Joe entered it. Joe fast-talked as time might have been running short. He stood between the other four wrestlers and took turns talking at them. He asked Styles how Wendy was doing. They all fought. Bryan stood on the announce table and said none of them are getting an opportunity at this new belt because he’ll be champion forever. Triple H interrupted on the big screen. He said he just wanted to confirm for him and the world that he won’t be taking on any one of them, but rather he will defend the WWE Title against all of them at Elimination Chamber. Bryan started yelling “No!” Fans fired back “Yes!” The wrestlers in the ring went back to brawling as the show ended.