Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JANUARY 17, 2020
GREENSBORO, N.C. AT THE GREENSBORO COLISEUM
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Arena, Top 10 Moments of Last Week’s Show
WWE Smackdown returns to the legendary Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. for the first time in nearly six years. WWE’s last televised appearance was for Raw in the summer of 2018 in the run-up to SummerSlam. The arena is rich in wrestling history with WWE, and Jim Crockett Promotions which of course became WCW. The first three Starrcade events took place in the building starting in 1983.
Here is the YouTube clip of the top 10 moments of last week’s show:
WWE is advertising the following matches and segments:
- John Morrison to return to the ring in battler with Big E
- Lacey Evans and Sasha Banks to finally meet in the ring
- Kane returns
- Roman Reigns faces Robert Roode in tables match.
Matches and Segments
John Morrison vs. Big E
John Morrison appeared on Miz TV last week, making his first in-ring WWE appearance in over eight years. He berated the fans in defense of his long-time friend and former tag team championship co-holder. He told them nobody works harder than the Miz and none of the fans appreciate him. Out came Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston). Morrison went at it mostly with Kofi, a frequent opponent back in his first tenure. He brought up Kofi’s losing the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar, making fun of his losing it in six seconds. Kofi said he lost it in eight.
Upon completion of the segment, Miz took on Kofi in a rematch from the previous week. Morrison was in Miz’s corner while Big E was expectedly by Kofi’s side. The match went about 12 minutes and featured Morrison getting involved with Big E. Miz pinned Kofi after hitting the Skull Crushing Finale.
Tonight, Morrison makes his return to in-ring action for the WWE as he takes on Big E. Here’s a WWE exclusive with Morrison and Miz:
Frank’s Analysis: This is just building towards New Day vs. Morrison and Miz for the tag titles at some point. Overall, Morrison and Miz back together feels like the right call right now. It’s just crazy that after all these years, Morrison is still quite awkward on the microphone. He was a little better in Impact when I followed that product. Maybe the scripting doesn’t work for him. Who knows, but it’s still rather amusing.
Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks
Last week on Smackdown, Lacey Evans was to take on Sasha Banks. Instead, as Sasha’s music was playing, her best friend and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley appeared on screen. She said she was obligated to be there because she was champion, but Sasha was in Los Angeles. Lacey challenged Bayley for the title and the two women brawled in the back as Lacey went after her.
WWE is saying the match that was advertised for last week, Lacey vs. Sasha, is taking place tonight. Here’s a little Twitter trash talk:
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) January 11, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: Who knows what really happened. Maybe watching New Japan now I expect differently. When they had a show recently where Jon Moxley couldn’t show up, they announced it before the show and what they were doing about it. It’s not a big deal to me, but some fans may have wanted to see that match. When you don’t put out what you advertise some people get frustrated and thumb their nose at the company. Don’t be surprised if they don’t have the match again tonight and again write it into the story.
Knoxville County, Tenn. mayor Glen Jacobs, better known to us WWE faithful as Kane, was a guest of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on his Broken Skull Sessions Show on the WWE Network. They talked a wide variety of topics including his time as Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. back in the mid-1990s.
Bad but memorable gimmicks, Kane set a record for eliminations in a Royal Rumble match with 11 in 2001, a Rumble won ironically by Stone Cold. That record stood for 13 years until Roman Reigns eliminated 12 in the 2014 edition, which was won by Batista. That stood until the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia in 2018 when Braun Strowman eliminated 13 enroute to winning that affair. (Are we counting that? That wasn’t the REAL Royal Rumble after all.) Kane does lead in all time eliminations with 44 and 19 Royal Rumbles entered.
We haven’t seen Kane since being attacked by Bray Wyatt, which was the same night he traded the 24/7 Championship with R-Truth. He returns tonight to a place he once called home in Smackdown.
Frank’s Analysis: I have a few ideas as to why he’s returning. One is to enter himself into the Royal Rumble. Another is to do something with Daniel Bryan sort of reuniting Team Hell No as Bryan gets ready for his match with Bray Wyatt. Perhaps doing something with Braun Strowman is a possibility as he’s involved with Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Cesaro at the moment. Beyond that you’re guess is as good as mine. Kane’s returned so many times it hardly feels special for me, but it’s still always good to see him.
Tables Match: Roman Reigns vs. Robert Roode with Royal Rumble Match Stipulation Implications
Last week, the Usos (Jimmy & Jey) returned to in-ring action as they took on King Corbin & Dolph Ziggler in the main event. They were accompanied by their cousin, Roman Reigns, who had come out to cut a promo talking about his 2019 which he called a “blessed year.” As we recall, he returned shortly before WrestleMania last year after relinquishing the Universal Championship on Raw in October of 2018 following his announcement that a relapse of his leukemia had happened. He proclaimed he would win the 2020 Royal Rumble and go on to main event this year’s WrestleMania. As King Numbnuts … I mean Corbin made his way out with Dolph Ziggler, Reigns challenged him to a match on the Royal Rumble card before the Rumble itself. Corbin accepted.
That said, Corbin & Ziggler defeated the Usos when Reigns got involved and speared Corbin. After the bell sounded, Reigns stayed on Corbin when Robert Roode returned (from his suspension). He gave Reigns a spine buster onto the announce table followed by Ziggler driving him through with an elbow. As announced by WWE earlier in the week, Roode takes on Reigns in a tables match tonight. Reigns and Roode are no strangers to each other as they faced each other one-on-one several weeks ago at the onset of this feud. It was announced this afternoon that the winner will choose the stipulation for the Reigns vs. Corbin match at the Royal Rumble:
— WWE (@WWE) January 17, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I thought they were going to do a six-man tag match with Reigns and the Usos against Ziggler & Roode & Corbin. I could see them saving that for the Royal Rumble go-home Smackdown show or crazier, them pulling double duty tonight. That wouldn’t be fair to Reigns and a Roode, but what can you do. That said, I could see Reigns winning and the loser at the Rumble has to eat dog food. (This may be TMI, but I may have to get up at the end of that because I may hurl. Wet dog food is just disgusting looking to me. That sequence with Reigns was tough to take.). I also don’t rule out a dog collar match.
Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week
Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan built towards their Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble. They showed another episode of the Firefly Funhouse and later on, Bryan was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. During the interview, Ramblin’ Rabbit interrupted and said that Bray has a secret on how to beat the “Fiend.” Later on, Bryan was given a gift box with a deformed bunny doll. Ramblin’ Rabbit will be back as he’s got like 20 lives or something.
Elias sang another song and trolled on many wrestlers including WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, whom he said he’d beat for the title. He also suggested a Lana-Lashley sex tape would be bad. That’s a matter of opinion Mr. Elias.
Mandy Rose gave Otis of Heavy Machinery a cake that said “I’m sorry” on it. I’ll tell you that thing looked real good. Later on he came out and interrupted Mandy’s match with Alexa Bliss, distracting Alexa and helping Mandy win. Here’s Mandy and Sonya Deville in a WWE exclusive:
Braun Strowman defeated Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match. Here’s Sami Zayn, Shinsuke, and Cesaro in an exclusive:
Sheamus cut a promo and said that size matters. Again, a matter of opinion Mr. Sheamus.
Smackdown is so obviously booked by Vince McMahon these days that it’s hard to get enthusiastic about the show going in. Last week wasn’t terrible, and I remain hopeful that tonight’s edition should be decent unless they pull nonsense like they pulled with Sasha Banks. Getting acts back as they have in the last few weeks should help in immediate future.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!