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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JANUARY 17, 2020
GREENSBORO, N.C. AT GREENSBORO COLISEUM
AIRED LIVE ON FOX
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-The Smackdown opening theme aired and then they went to a wide shot of the arena. Cole announced the city of Greensboro and the augmented reality scoreboard showed the city and state. Cole and Graves hyped the Tables Match between Roman Reigns and Robert Roode, plus John Morrison vs. Big E and Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks.
-Kane then made his return to Smackdown. As he walked to the ring, Cole and Graves talked about his history in the Royal Rumble. Kane said they’re nine days away from his favorite event of the year, the Royal Rumble. He said 30 souls will put their mind, body, and spirit on the line for the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to compete at WrestleMania and a chance at immortality. He talked about watching the eyes of his opponents as he tossed them over the top rope and their WrestleMania dreams turned into a nightmare “all because of me.” He laughed and said it was a lot of fun.
The Firefly Funhouse music played and Bray Wyatt showed up on the big screen. “Oh, Kane, look at you! You haven’t changed a bit.” He shamed him for feeling joy at other people’s misery. He called him a big red bully. He asked him to apologize. Kane just stared at him. Bray said he hopes he didn’t run into much traffic from “H-E-double-hockey-sticks.” He said Ramblin’ Rabbit is just fine. He showed him with an IV of carrot juice. He said the winner of the Rumble shouldn’t be foolish enough to challenge for his Universal Title at WrestleMania. He then pointed to a picture of Kane framed on the wall with his eyes blacked out. He said, “That means you and The Fiend got… it… on…” He then talked like The Fiend and said he’ll never forget him. Clips aired of Bray Wyatt vs. Kane in the past. “And neither will he.”
The lights started to go dark in the arena and the Fiend noises played. Kane looked around. When the red lights came on, Kane was standing at ringside. The Fiend came up from through the canvas behind Kane. Fans warned Kane. Kane turned around and stared at him. “What took you so long!” he asked The Fiend. Daniel Bryan then attacked The Fiend with a running knee. He stomped on him a few times. Fiend retreated into the hole in the ring. Bryan pounded away as fog came out from under the ring. Bryan came up with several of Fiend’s dreadlocks. Bryan nodded in satisfaction at getting revenge for Fiend yanking on his hair. He then began a “Yes!” chant. Cole said Bryan has flipped the script, but the question now is whether Bryan can beat The Fiend for the title at the Rumble. Kane then joined in the “Yes!” chants. Bryan’s music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was fun to see Kane interact with The Fiend.) [c]
-Backstage, Kane and Bryan were bickering about their time as tag champs. Kayla Braxton asked Bryan about having The Fiend on the run. Kane said he had to go, so Bryan talked to Braxton. Bryan asked how he can beat someone who disappears every time he’s in trouble. He said he has an idea. “It’s not a good idea, and it’s really not a smart idea,” he said. “I challenge The Fiend to a strap match at the Royal Rumble.” He explained how they’ll be tied to each other. “We’ll go to war until one man wins.” He said he’s done with the mind games and him disappearing every time he gets him in trouble. He said The Fiend changed him, but at the Rumble he’s going to change The Fiend and win the Universal Championship.
(Keller’s Analysis: The strap match rules would allow Bryan to win the Universal Title without The Fiend needing to be pinned or submit. Hmmm.)
-Cole and Graves reacted. Cole asked if Bryan is letting his emotions get the best of him. Graves said there’s a fine line between bravery and insanity.
-Big E interrupted Graves by introducing himself and Kofi Kingston. Cole plugged the podcasts that Big E and Graves each host. Morrison then made his ring entrance with Miz.
(1) JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz) vs. BIG E (w/Kofi Kingston)
Kofi is newly blond. Morrison took it to Big E at ringside early. They cut to a break a couple minutes in. [c]
Graves said Morrison’s offense is beautiful to watch, but painful to experience. Morrison poked Big E in the eyes to slow him, but Big E came right back with his running splash. He led the crowd in a “New… Day Rocks!” chant. Morrison, though, recovered during Big E’s lack of focus on winning and elbowed him in the head from behind. Then he delivered a neckbreaker and scored a two count. When Miz stepped onto the ring apron, Kofi yanked him down and shoved him into the ringside steps. Morrison climbed to the top rope and flipped onto Kofi at ringside instead of Big E in the ring. Graves said Morrison made it look effortless. Miz shoved Morrison out of Big E’s path to protect him. Morrison then took over on Big E with a knee to the face and then his Starship Pain for the win. (Morrison largely overshot it and barely made contact with Big E, unfortunately.) Cole said Morrison is no cruiserweight, but he moves like one.
WINNER: Morrison in 8:00.
-They went to Cole and Graves at ringside. Cole said Miz and Morrison appear to have the number of New Day. Cole said they received breaking news about the Roode-Reigns tables match tonight. If Reigns wins, he picks the stip for the Rumble match against King Corbin. If Roode wins, Corbin gets to pick the stip.
-Backstage the Usos suggested to Reigns he choose the stipulation that the loser eats dog food. Reigns said he’s going to make them wait like everyone else. The Usos then cut a brief promo about facing Dash & Dawson, but Reigns finished their catch phrase. [c]
-Cole and Graves congratulated their Fox Sports colleague, Jimmy Johnson, for being named for induction into the NFL Hall of Fame this weekend.
(2) THE USOS (w/Roman Reigns) vs. THE REVIVAL (Dash & Dawson)
Cole asked Graves what Revival need to do to get back on the winning track. Back and forth match, all action for several minutes. The Usos eventually took control. Jey dove through the ropes and tackled Dawson while Jimmy landed a frog splash on Dash mid-ring for the win.
WINNERS: The Usos in 6:00. [c]
-Dash and Dawson complained to Kayla about how the company doesn’t care about them, so they’ll have to make a change. (What does that have to do with them losing?) Suddenly there was a brawl in the background between Lacey and Bailey & Sasha. Referees separated them.
-A recap aired of Mandy Rose and Otis interacting. Then backstage Rose told Sonya Deville this will be the year of Fire & Desire. Deville asked if Rose would ask Otis if he’d be at ringside for her tonight. Rose said she’ll be at ringside, so why does she need him. Deville said she saw what she did for Otis last week and gets what’s going on. Rose didn’t quite get it, but she agreed to ask Otis for her. Deville said she’s sure if Rose asks Otis, Otis will say yes.
-Backstage Sasha told Bayley, “Screw Lacey Evans, she doesn’t deserve a match with me.” She said she’s working on her album and raising her stock, and she could use the rest. Bayley said she doesn’t care if she’s a mom or a Marine, if she sees her, she’s going to break every bone in her body. In walked WWE exec Adam Pearce. He told Sasha they’ve been delaying Sasha’s match too much, so a match is happening, but Bayley is taking her place. Pearce said the title isn’t on the line, but they’re fighting. Bayley looked upset. [c]
-Bayley made her ring entrance. Cole actually mentioned Adam Pearce by name when he recapped what happened before the break.
(3) LACEY EVANS vs. BAYLEY
Cole talked up Lacey becoming a corporal at the age of 22 and being top of her class with honors and was part of a special reactions SWAT team. Graves said Lacey is ready to fight and they’ll see more Marine than sassy Southern Belle tonight. Bayley stomped away at Lacey at the start. Cole noted that Lacey’s daughter, Summer, is in attendance tonight. Bayley tried to score a pin with her feet on the ropes. The ref caught her and yelled, “That’s illegal.” She snapped Lacey’s neck over the middle rope and continued to beat down on her. Cole said Bayley’s a veteran who knows every trick in the book. Lacey made a comeback a few minutes later. A roundkick sent Bayley hard into the corner of the ring. Later Bayley took it to Lacey at ringside and rammed her into the ringside barricade. They cut to a break. [c]
At 10:00 Bayley hit Lacey with a flying elbow to the chest for a two count. Despite eating a Snake Eyes seconds earlier, Lacey came back with a sudden Women’s Right for the win.
WINNER: Lacey in 11:00.
-Cole threw to “our latest broadcast colleague,” Alyse Ashton, who interviewed Shorty G. She asked why Sheamus singled him out. Shorty G said Sheamus was projecting his own insecurities at him. He said he attacked him when he already down, but his games won’t work on him. He said he’s learned that when you accept who are and embrace it, you’ve already won the hardest battle. He said he’ll teach Sheamus that lesson himself. He said he knows Sheamus is one of the most decorated athletes WWE has. In walked Sheamus pretending he couldn’t see Shorty G because he looked right over him. Shorty G grabbed him. Sheamus said something that I couldn’t make out and Shorty G had enough and attacked him. Then he fled. Sheamus threw a fit and knocked over some equipment, then huffed and puffed in anger. [c]
-Cole plugged that Becky Lynch would join Paige, Christian, and Renee Young on “WWE Backstage” next week.
-Braxton interviewed Braun Strowman backstage. She brought up the Rumble. Strowman said he’s excited for it and he’s declaring himself as a participant. He said first things first, though, is Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn. He said he’s pinned him twice and that should earn him an opportunity for the Intercontinental Title. He said he wants his opportunity this week in Greensboro or next week in Dallas or anytime and anyplace.
-Elias stood mid-ring with his guitar. He said he needs to be honest with everyone. He said over the last year, he’s learned a lot about himself. He said he can’t do everything on his own, even though he is the embodiment of WWE. “The truth is, I need you,” he said. He said he wrote a little song this morning called “Walkin’ in Greensboro.” As he strummed, fans clapped.
I was walkin’ in Greenboro
You’ll never guess what I saw…
Suddenly, he was interrupted by Nakamura’s music. Cole said that was just getting good. Sami told the fans who were clapping along to shut their mouths for a minute. He ranted about how Strowman wants a shot at the IC Title. He said Nakamura doesn’t back down from a fight, but the answer is absolutely not. He called Strowman an stupid oaf and said he’s in no position to demand anything. “We call the shots around here,” he said. “We dictate the terms around here.” He said with the Rumble match just nine days away, he is looking at a man who actually won the Rumble match once. He pointed at Nakamura. He said the entire WWE roster are all officially being put on notice.
Elias said he was multi-tasking while Sami was running his mouth – listening and writing a song at the same time. He said it’s called, “Sami Zayn needs to shut his damn mouth.” Fans cheered. Elias said the fans can help him with the chorus, “Shinsuke Sucks.” As Elias began strumming, Sami yelled for him to stop. “How dare you!” he said. They attacked Elias. Strowman made the save and cleared the ring of all three heels.
(Keller’s Analysis: Elias saying he realized he needs the fans counts as his official babyface turn, I suppose. I am genuinely curious if they stick to that by next week. He seemed likable enough, though. Sami was good, as always.)
-Cole threw to a video package on Rocky Johnson, who died earlier this week. They showed The Rock inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. The narrator called him “a true entertainer and trailblazer.” [c]
(4) SONYA DEVILLE (w/Mandy Rose) vs. ALEXA BLISS (w/Nikki Cross)
After the women made their ring entrance, Otis and Tucker came out. Cole said it appears Sonya got her wish. Mandy was all smiles as she looked over at a happy Sonya. Cole asked Graves if he read the Tweets that Otis sent to Rose. Graves said he was surprised Otis could write and read. Cole quoted Otis saying that he is fire, his one desire, believe me when I say, I want it that way. Graves said that’s a Backstreet Boys song. “I’m a little embarrassed that I know that,” he said. Graves said he’s happy that Deville believes Rose believes Otis has value. Cole said Rose believed Otis is a nice guy. Graves said she’s using him to his advantage. Bliss kicked away at Deville in the corner aggressively. Rose climbed onto the ring apron. Cross shoved her down right into the arms of Otis. Otis was very happy. Bliss then rolled up a distracted Deville for the three count. Cole said in a weird way, Otis being out there cost Deville the match. Rose consoled Deville about the loss.
WINNER: Bliss in 3:00.
-Backstage Roode was pulling on stretch bands as King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler walked in. Corbin said Reigns never saw him coming last week. Ziggler said after what Reigns did to him last week, he’s going to get him back tonight just like he did last week. Roode said tonight he’s putting The Big Dog through a table and give Corbin the chance to pick the stipulation at the Rumble. Corbin said he wants a match where he humiliates Reigns and takes him completely out of the Rumble match. He wants a match that forces Reigns to bow down to him. Corbin told Roode to put Reigns through the table. He said it’ll be absolutely glorious. [c]
-They replayed the Fiend-Kane-Bryan angle earlier in the night.
(5) ROMAN REIGNS vs. ROBERT ROODE – Tables Match
When Reigns got to ringside, Roode ran down the ramp and attacked him from behind. He threw him into the ring, but Reigns recovered quickly, blocked Roode’s punches, and then went on the attack. They battle at ringside back and forth for a couple minutes. Reigns knocked Roode down and charged with a spear, but Roode side-stepped him and Reigns crashed into the security barricade near the time keeper’s area. Suddenly Corbin was carried out on his throne as his music played. They cut to a break with both Roode and Reigns down and recovering. [c]
Back live, Roode and Reigns were battling on the second rope with a table set up below them in the ring. Reigns headbutted Roode and set up a powerbomb. The crowd cheered. Roode punched out of it. Reigns set up a table in the corner of the ring. He played to the crowd as he waited for Roode to stand so he could spear him through the table. Corbin then jumped onto the ring apron. Cole said there’s no DQ in this match. (Then what took the heel duo so long to interfere?) Ziggler gave Reigns a superkick. They triple-teamed Reigns. They put Reigns on the announce desk at ringside. Roode climbed to the top rope. The Usos ran out for the save. They superkicked Roode out of mid-air. Then they superkicked Ziggler and Corbin off the ring apron. Then they dove onto them, sending them into the ringside barricade. The Usos put Ziggler on the announce desk and then walked on the barricade and stereo splashed Ziggler through the table. Back in the ring, Reigns speared Roode through the table in the corner for the win. Cole exclaimed, “The Big Dog is picking the stip at the Royal Rumble!”
WINNER: Reigns in 13:00.
-Reigns said the Rumble is in a baseball stadium, so he’s going to whip his ass all over the place in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Corbin threw a fit, bashing his scepter on a table. Reigns smiled and celebrated with the Usos.