LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/7: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of Goldberg’s challenge, Bryan’s return, 4-Way Women’s #1 contender match, more

By Brandon LeClair, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
FEBRUARY 7, 2019
SAN JOSE, CA AT SAP CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON FOX NETWORK

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

-The show opened with a video package hyping Goldberg’s return to Smackdown, followed by the standard Smackdown opening video package.

-Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the SAP Center in San Jose. Corey Graves teased Daniel Bryan’s appearance. Cole plugged a fatal 4 way match to determine Bayley’s next challenger.

-The Miz’s music played. He walked out onto the stage, then pointed back as John Morrison’s music cut his off. Morrison and Miz headed to the ring together for the return of the Dirt Sheet.

“Hi, I’m John Morrison and my shirt has buttons, but I don’t use them.” Morrison smiled widely. The Miz introduced himself as “the chick magnet,” and said it was more pertinent than ever given his wife and two daughters. Miz said they were kicking off the Dirt Sheet with a world premiere exclusive. Morrison said it was sure to win all the Slammy’s.

Miz introduced “Once Upon a Time on the Dirt Sheet.” It was a trailer in the style of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.” Miz and Morrison ran into various characters backstage, including Miz’s father, and Lance Storm. The trailer ended with “Coming soon at Super Showdown…New Tag Team Champions.” Morrison said just a few weeks ago, everyone was booing them, but now that they have a movie, everyone wants to hang out with the cool kids. The crowd booed. Morrison said their reaction would mean a lot more if it came from a group that mattered, like the Academy. Big E’s voice cut Morrison off.

Big E and Kofi Kingston danced onto the stage, carrying buckets of popcorn. Kofi said their trailer was amazing. Big E reached deep into the bucket of popcorn and pulled out a microphone. He said the trailer had it all. Kofi agreed, saying it had one of the most charismatic figures to ever grace a WWE screen – Mr. Miz. Kofi said he happens to be Mr. Miz’s favorite WWE Superstar.

Big E said the trailer had drama, but revealed he was actually watching BET uncut, not Miz and Morrison’s trailer. Miz and Morrison laughed at New Day. “You have no right to talk, we’ve dominated you two the last few weeks,” Miz said. He followed up by saying they’ve dominated every team Smackdown has to offer. He and Morrison mocked Big E and Kofi’s title dance. The Uso’s music played.

The Usos walked down the ramp, protesting Miz and Morrison’s declaration. They said they never beat The Usos. Dolph Ziggler’s music cut them off. Miz and Morrison attacked New Day from behind, spilling their popcorn all over the ring. The Usos ran into the ring to help New Day. Cole said The Usos would face Ziggler and Roode after the break.

(1) THE USOS (Jimmy & Jey) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & ROBERT ROODE

The bell rang as soon as the show returned from break. Ziggler locked up with Jimmy Uso and quickly took control. Ziggler shot Jimmy into the corner and tagged in Robert Roode, who continued the assault. Jimmy battled free with a pair of chops. Roode dropped him with a quick shoulder tackle. Jimmy quickly rebounded with a right hand. Ziggler hopped in the ring, but Jimmy took him down as well.

Jimmy tagged in Jey Uso. He shot off the ropes, but Ziggler caught his leg, allowing Roode to drop Jey with a big clothesline for a two count. Roode tagged in Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler hit a quick dropkick for a two count. Ziggler and Roode traded tags back and forth, working over Jey Uso with a variety of punches and holds. Jey fought free, but Roode cut him off from making a tag and dropped him with a front facing suplex. Roode tagged in Ziggler, who hit a quick famouser.

Jey was able to recovered enough to roll up Ziggler for a two count. Ziggler quickly regained control with the help of Robert Roode. They hit a spinebuster/Zig-Zag combination. Ziggler covered, but Jimmy saved the pin. The Usos took over, hitting Ziggler and Roode with super kicks.

Jey headed to the top rope for a splash, but Ziggler caused a distraction long enough for Roode to recover and send Jey flying to the outside. Cole sent the show to commercial.

Roode had Jey Uso down in the corner when the show returned from break. He stomped away at Jey. The referee eventually pushed him away. Ziggler clapped at ringside. Roode tagged him in. Ziggler went to work on Jey’s leg. He dragged him back to the corner and tagged in Roode again. Roode tried to corner Jey Uso, but Jey fought both Roode and Ziggler off. He dumped Roode to the outside and crawled to Jimmy.

Roode cut Jey off, but Jey slid through his legs and tagged in Jimmy. Jimmy hit a flying cross body onto Roode, then shot Ziggler to the outside. He caught Roode with a quick Samoan Drop, then hit Ziggler with one as well. Jimmy got caught with a spinning power slam from Robert Roode. Roode covered for a two count.

Roode set up for the Glorious DDT. Jimmy blocked it and gave Roode a backdrop. Roode tagged in Dolph Ziggler. Jimmy tried to tag in Jey, but Ziggler caught him with the Zig Zag for a near fall. Ziggler set ups or a super kick. Jimmy caught Ziggler with his own. Roode jumped in the ring but Jimmy caught him as well. Jimmy tagged in Jey.

Jey dove for a splash, but Ziggler got his knees up. He tagged in Roode. Jimmy returned to thwart a double team attack. Jimmy and Ziggler spilled to the outside. Jey hit a super kick on Roode, then tagged in Jimmy. Jimmy hit a splash from the top rope for a three count.

WINNERS: The Usos in 13:00

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match. Robert Roode seems especially motivated since returning from suspension. The Usos gave the Smackdown tag team division an excellent shot in the arm, and it’s always great to see them in standard tag action. This match was more entertaining than both of the six man tag matches they had with Corbin and Reigns involved in the weeks prior. I’m not entirely sure why it needed to tie in with the Dirt Sheet segment, given that they haven’t even gotten through that tag title match, but nonetheless.)

-Alexa Bliss was shown in her locker room putting on her gear. Nikki Cross walked in. She thanked Nikki for her studded gloves. She said she’s beaten Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s title before, right in San Jose. Nikki reminded her that she’d need to get through Carmella, Naomi, and Dana Brooke. Bliss said she’d do it.

-At ringside, Cole and Graves discussed last week’s main event and threw to footage of Reigns and The Usos covering Corbin in dog food. Cole and Graves contemplated how Corbin must be feeling.

On cue, the camera cut backstage to show King Corbin storming into the parking lot and into the production truck, demanding to know who aired the video. He found the culprit and slapped him around, eventually grabbing him by the collar and throwing him out of the truck, down a flight of stairs onto the concrete. WWE officials swarmed Corbin to get him away from the employee. Cole and Graves both displayed disgust at Corbin’s actions.

-Elias was in the ring, introduced by Greg Hamilton. He played a lick and then thanked San Jose for the applause. He said he had a fight with Cesaro and needs to know who in the crowd had his back. The crowd cheered in approval. He said before the match, he wants to perform a song he wrote. He said it’s called “Third Time’s A Charm.” Cesaro’s music cut him off at the first line.

Cesaro appeared on the stage with Sami Zayn at his side. Zayn apologized for interrupting. The crowd booed. Sami told them to shut up. “It doesn’t feel good to be interrupted, does it?” Sami asked, referencing last week. Elias said it’s a miracle if he doesn’t get interrupted. Sami said it doesn’t matter. “You tried to make a fool of me while we were dealing with a crisis,” Sami said. He said Shinsuke Nakamura was robbed of the Intercontinental title, and Elias tried to make a joke out of it. Sami said Elias is going to pay at the hands of Cesaro. “Everything that happens to you now, you brought on yourself.” Cesaro continued his walk to the ring. Cole said the match would happen next.

(2) ELIAS vs. CESARO (w/ Sami Zayn)

The match was already in progress when the show returned from break. Cesaro had Elias cornered. Elias quickly fought out. He dropped Cesaro with a backdrop, then a knee to the spine for a two count. Cole said Corey was having problems with his headset. He returned shortly after.

Cesaro recovered quickly and bounced Elias’ head off the turnbuckle, then kicked him to the outside. Sami got in Elias’ face, shouting at him while he was down. Cesaro dropped to the floor to give Sami a high five and retrieve Elias. He scooped him up and slammed him into the barrier. Cesaro sent Elias back in the ring and applied a grounded chin lock.

Elias fought out of the chin lock and returned to his feet, but Cesaro quickly fought off his comeback with a big gut wrench suplex for a quick two count. Cesaro distracted the referee, allowing Sami Zayn to catch Elias with a cheap shot. Cesaro applied another chin lock.

Elias slowly rose to his feet as the crowd got behind him. He dropped Cesaro with a backdrop, then used the ropes to pull himself up. Cesaro recovered and charged at him for an uppercut, but Elias caught him with a big boot and a running knee for a near fall. Elias climbed to the top rope, but Cesaro crotched him. He climbed up to meet Elias, trying for a superplex. Elias blocked it, then knocked Cesaro to the mat. He set up for an elbow, but Cesaro shot to his feet and caught Elias with an uppercut.

Cesaro balanced on the middle rope and hit a deadlift superplex for a near fall. Cesaro set up for the Neutralizer, but Elias countered into a jackknife cover for a two count. Cesaro quickly tossed Elias into the air and caught him with an uppercut for a near fall. Cesaro continued his attack with a barrage of uppercuts to a dazed Elias. Elias fought back with hard chops. Cesaro continued to deliver uppercuts. They traded fast flurries. Elias got Cesaro into the corner and had to pulled off by the referee.

Elias gave Cesaro a bodyslam and climbed to the top rope. He connected with an elbow from the top rope and covered Cesaro for a three count.

WINNER: Elias in 7:00 (partial)

(LeClair’s Analysis: I thought, perhaps, transitioning into a feud with Elias would allow Sami Zayn’s crew to get some wins, but alas, Elias gets the upper hand on Cesaro last week and gets the win tonight. Zayn and company have been consistently entertaining, but it’s hard to take them seriously with absolutely no wins under their belt. I still don’t see the appeal of Elias outside of the weak and admittedly cheap “Walk with Elias” catchphrase. The crowd didn’t react much to the match itself, nor Elias’ eventual win.)

-Goldberg was shown being mic’ed up for an interview. Cole said we’d find out “who’s next” after the break.

-King Corbin interrupted Cole and Graves at ringside when the show returned from break. He told the crowd to look at his crown. “This means I’m the King of the Ring, and I will not be silenced.” Corbin said everyone should bow down and listen to him. He called last week an “abomination.” He said Reigns should’ve lost, the same way the 49ers lost to “his” Kansas City Chiefs.

“Roman Reigns should’ve been the one covered in dog food,” Corbin said. He said The Usos are Roman Reigns’ lap dogs who continue to bail out dead weight. Corbin said Reigns should’ve fought him man to man, one on one at Royal Rumble. Corbin claimed had that been the case, he’d have won the match, and the Royal Rumble. “I’d be the one headlining WrestleMania.” Corbin said he deserves and demands one more match with Roman Reigns. He said the show will go no further until he gets Reigns in the middle of the ring. He argued with fans at ringside.

Corbin put his arm around a “fan” at ringside, then dumped a drink over his head. He threatened to do it again, but was cut off by Roman Reigns’ music. Reigns stepped onto the stage, then charged at Corbin and dropped him with a Superman punch. Reigns tossed Corbin into the ringside barrier, then bounced his head off the steel steps. He hit Corbin with a Driveby, then tossed him in the ring. Corbin quickly slid through the other side and retreated through the crowd.

Reigns asked for a microphone. He called to Corbin and called him a coward. Reigns said he’d give Corbin one more match. He said he wanted a steel cage match. Reigns dropped the mic and went and spoke with the person Corbin dumped the drink on. Cole and Graves discussed the idea of the cage match.

-Cole and Graves turned their attention back to Goldberg. They introduced him live via satellite. Cole said hello to Goldberg and asked him “who’s next?” Goldberg said watching the Royal Rumble gave him the itch to get back in the ring. Goldberg said his old pal Brock Lesnar has his hands full already, but wondered about the Universal Championship.

Goldberg said he likes to meet a challenge head on. He was quickly interrupted by a “Firefly Funhouse Breaking News” graphic. Bray Wyatt was shown sitting at a desk in the Firefly Funhouse, wearing a suit coat and a loose tie. He put on an exaggerated newscaster voice and said “word on the street is William Goldberg has issued a challenge for The Fiend and the Universal Championship, but that’s bad news for Bill because…” Bray changed his tone, “He accepts.”

Bray tossed to Mercy the Buzzard with weather. Mercy said it’ll be a cold day in hell before he loses the Universal Championship. Bray tossed back to Goldberg. Goldberg told Bray to save his energy. “The only thing I’m taking from you is the Universal Championship. Here’s your breaking news – you’re next!” Goldberg took off his earpiece and left the set.

Back in the Funhouse, Bray sat stoically. “Let me in,” he said. He broke into a laugh and waved at the camera, “see ya around, Bill!” The segment faded out.

(LeClair’s Analysis: I spent the majority of the week expecting Goldberg to be in the building. Perhaps that’s on me, as I didn’t pay terribly close attention to the advertising. I imagine, though, that some people in San Jose thought they were going to see Goldberg in person tonight. That aside, why does Goldberg simply get to issue a challenge for the title without any sort of qualification? The last time we saw him, we was absolutely stinking up the place with The Undertaker in Saudi Arabia, and now he suddenly earns himself a Universal title match. My instant concern is that Vince has grown tired of The Fiend experiment and is looking to move the title to Goldberg. I hope, however, this is a way to solidify The Fiend even more by getting a strong, defining win over Goldberg in dominant fashion.)

-Backstae, Daniel Bryan sad in his locker room, staring at a monitor. Heath Slater walked in, slapped Bryan on the back and sat down. He said Goldberg doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. He confused Bryan’s situation with The Fiend for The Miz. Bryan corrected him. Slater shrugged it off and said he was worried about Bryan. Slater said he’d never let a man whip him the way The Fiend whipped Bryan.

Slater kept talking as Bryan continued to get more and more frustrated. He asked Bryan if he’s okay. Bryan challenged Slater to a match right now. He got up and left. Slater looked worried. The show faded to break.

-After the break, Daniel Bryan headed to the ring for his impromptu match with Heath Slater, who was already in the ring. Cole threw to a video recap of Bryan’s match with The Fiend at Royal Rumble.

(3) HEATH SLATER vs. DANIEL BRYAN

Bryan charged at Slater as soon as the bell rang. He caught Slater with a running knee in the corner, then tossed him through the ropes to the floor below. Bryan quickly dove through the middle rope and onto Slater, who crashed into the announcers table. Bryan shot up and tossed Slater back in the ring, climbing to the top rope and hitting a missile dropkick.

Bryan stormed around the ring as Slater rose to his knees. Bryan began laying in the “yes” kicks. He hit the final wind up and dropped Slater, then backed into the corner to throw up his arms. The crowd chanted with him. Slater wandered to his feet. Bryan hit the running knee, but opted not the finish off Heath. He grabbed Slater’s arms and stomped at his head repeatedly, the rolled into the Labell Lock. The referee rang the bell immediately. Graves said Slater lost consciousness.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan in 2:00

(LeClair’s Analysis: Nice re-establishment win for Bryan to turn the page post Fiend. Cole and Graves were quick to point out that facing The Fiend “changes” people, lending explanation for Bryan’s aggressiveness against Slater. I thought this worked well. Slater was overbearing backstage and serves as easy fodder for an angry Bryan looking to bounce back. He gets a quick, decisive win as the vastly superior wrestler. Solid segment.)

-Progressive’s “Match Flo” recapped Braun Strowman’s Intercontinental title win as the show returned from commercial. Back live, Renee Young was in the ring. She introduced Braun Strowman. He headed to the ring.

Renee asked Braun how it felt the hold the Intercontinental title. Strowman smiled and looked around the crowd, who broke into a weak “you deserve it” chant. He said every time he thinks about it, he gets chills and called it the best achievement of his career. Strowman recounted some of his biggest moments, but said it took him a long time to hold a singles title. Shinsuke Nakamura’s music cut Braun off.

Nakamura appeared on the stage with Sami Zayn. Sami said Braun’s win was fraudulent. He demanded an “honorable Championship rematch.” Braun said he’ll defend his title any time, any place. “That’s including right now in San Jose!” Zayn said it’s not going to happen tonight. “Unlike you, we actually think before we act,” Zayn said. He said they plan to use every resource they have.

Suddenly, The Revival rushed the ring and attacked Strowman from behind. They cut him down from the back of the knees and stomped away at him. Nakamura and Zayn joined the ambush. Nakamura stuck his foot on Braun’s throat. Braun returned to his feet and dropped Nakamura, then took out The Revival. He turned his attention to Sami Zayn.

Zayn left the ring. Strowman gave chase, taking out the Revival again along the way. He caught him, but Sami broke free and slid in the ring. Braun followed. Nakamura caught Strowman with a knee to the face, then a Kinshasa to take him out. Nakamura and Zayn left the ring in a hurry as Strowman recovered.

(LeClair’s Analysis: I like the idea of The Revival joining Zayn’s squad, though at this point, it largely seems like a glorified JOB squad. At some point, someone from this collective is going to have to get a win, be it against Strowman or otherwise. Really, anyone at this point. To date, they’re hardly even able to be threatening given that they rarely even gain upper hands in situations where they have large man advantages. At least Nakamura was, in a way, able to outsmart Strowman tonight.)

-After the break, the camera showed Daniel Cormier at ringside. Cole and Graves threw to Otis’ preparation for his date with Mandy Rose.

Otis put a heart around the 14th on a custom calendar with pictures of Mandy. He told Tucker he needs to get ready. The screen cut to a montage of clips of Tucker “training” with Otis, helping him lift weights and eat pizza. He was shown trying in various outfits, all of which showed his stomach. Tucker ripped the sleeves off of a suit coat to perfect the outfit.

Tucker was then shown teaching Otis how to eat with class, encouraging him to use a fork and knife to cut and eat his steak. Otis flipped the table. Tucker told him he was ready. Otis agreed.

-Back in the arena, Sheamus headed to the ring. His opponent, Apollo Crews, was already in the ring.

(4) APOLLO CREWS vs. SHEAMUS

Sheamus attacked Crews as soon as the bell ring. Crews quickly fought back and caught Sheamus with a step up enziguri. Sheamus stumbled into the corner. Crews charged, but Sheamus side stepped, causing Crews to collide with the turnbuckle. Apollo wandered out of the corner and got caught with a Brogue Kick for Sheamus for a three count.

WINNER: Sheamus in 1:00

After the match, Sheamus set up to kick Crews again. He was instead attacked by Shorty G. G tried to take Sheamus down, but Sheamus fought him off and dropped him with a Brogue Kick.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Sheamus’ return has been anything but impressive thus far, and this doesn’t really make things any better. Taking out Apollo Crews, and Shorty G for a third time doesn’t exactly do anyone any favors. Chad Gable had a bit of momentum coming into this thing with Sheamus, but that has been completely cut off. I’m not sure what Sheamus’ gimmick is supposed to be, other than the big guy who beats up on smaller wrestlers.)

-After the break, Cole and Graves ran down the Super Showdown card, including The Fiend vs. Goldberg, Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a steel cage, and the Smackdown tag title match.

Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke and Carmella were already in the ring. Bayley was shown at ringside. Naomi headed to the ring next as Cole teased next week’s Smackdown from Vancouver.

(5) ALEXA BLISS vs. CARMELLA vs. NAOMI vs. DANA BROOKE – Winner gets a Smackdown Women’s title match

The women paired off in twos when the bell rang – Carmella attacking Alexa Bliss and Dana Brooke and Naomi going at it. They all traded quick roll ups that led to two counts. All four woman returned to their feet. Carmella moonwalked into Alexa Bliss. Bliss sent her into the corner.

Dana Brooke hit both women with a springboard elbow into the corner. The three women spilled to the outside. Naomi dove over the top rope onto all of them. Bayley stood above the women, holding up her title. Naomi stood up and got in Bayley’s face. She shoved the champion to the floor. Bayley popped up and attacked Naomi, driving her into the ring post. Cole sent the show to commercial.

Dana Brooke missed a senton onto Carmella when the show returned from break. Alexa Bliss immediately attacked Brooke, but was quickly dropped by Carmella. Cole and Graves reset the match, mentioning Naomi being taken out by Bayley. Bliss and Carmella returned to their feet. Naomi returned, hitting Brooke and Bliss with a crossbody. She followed up with a chin breaker to Dana Brooke, then a kick to the face for a two count broken up by Alexa Bliss.

Bliss tossed Naomi to the outside, then was rolled up by Carmella for a two count. Bliss dropped Carmella with a pair of slaps and a right hand. She hit the double knees to Carmellas midsection. Dana Brooke grabbed Bliss and hit her with a power bomb. Carmella broke up a pin attempt.

Bliss rolled to the outside. Carmella attacked Dana Brooke in the corner. She moonwalked backward, then hit Brooke with a bronco buster. Naomi returned, grabbing Carmella and giving her a bulldog into the middle turnbuckle, followed by a split legged moonsault for a two count, broken up by Dana Brooke.

Dana slapped Naomi and scooped her up. Naomi slid down the back and hit her with a stunner. Alexa Bliss returned, taking down Naomi from behind then tossing her into the corner. Back to a standing base, Naomi rolled up Bliss for a two count. She slammed Bliss then hit a leg drop for another two count. She hoisted Bliss onto the top rope and climbed with her. Bliss fought back with punches. They traded shots. Bliss pushed Naomi to the mat. Alexa hopped off the ropes and covered for a two count.

Bliss drove her forearm into Naomi’s back, then slapped her in the face after teasing a basement dropkick. Naomi fought back with an elbow to the jaw. Carmella and Dana Brooke returned to the ring. Naomi duplexed Brook into the ring from the apron. She hit a split leg drop on Brooke then tossed her back to the outside. Bliss tripped Naomi into the turnbuckle, then set up for Twisted Bliss. Naomi got her knees up. She quickly hit Bliss with the Rear View, then got dropped with a two super kicks from Carmella. Carmella covered her for a three count.

WINNER: Carmella in 12:00

Bayley attacked Carmella from behind as soon as the bell rang. She left the ring quickly, jawing at Carmella from the ramp. They stared each other down as the show faded out.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Naomi hit some cool spots in this one, and they certainly got a surprise finish, but this match felt overly choreographed and scripted to a fault. Each of these women struggle in their own ways as far as ring work goes, and most of those inconsistencies appeared at least once in this one. Naomi seemed like the obvious, telegraphed winner, but it appears as thought they’re going to put that off a bit longer, perhaps waiting until WrestleMania. If Naomi and Bliss weren’t the pick. I’m surprised they opted for Carmella over Dana Brooke. Brooke seems to have some genuine fan interest at times, and her power move set may be a bit more conducive to Bayley. We’ve seen Bayley and Carmella work with one another many times, and it doesn’t feel like there’s much intrigue there.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Smackdown continues to be the weak point of WWE’s weekly line-up, suffering from a thin roster, tired booking formulas, and a weak women’s division. Goldberg’s advertised appearance was disappointing, given that he didn’t actually appear in the arena, and I remain concerned that this may be a ploy to get the title on him. Daniel Bryan continues to be the show’s highlight, as many of the show’s characters seem to be underdeveloped or lacking direction, while Bryan continues to receive strong reactions and comes across as the most believable character the show has.

2 Comments on LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/7: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of Goldberg’s challenge, Bryan’s return, 4-Way Women’s #1 contender match, more

    • Agreed. There is talent on this show that should mean something, such as Nakamura, the Revival, Bliss, Cesaro, Fire and Desire, etc … The creative defines them down however with the booking, and stories. I mean even a guy like Roman, who normally gets a lot of love from creative, is caught in just an awful story. How’s anyone going to get over that way?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*