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WWE SmackDown Recap & Reactions (Dec. 31, 2015): Happy New Year

This episode of SmackDown comes from Washington, DC and will be both the final episode of 2015 and the last showing on the SyFy Network.  The WWE is building towards the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) next month.  For full results and the live blog, click here.


A New Day Year

The World Famous two time WWE Tag Team Champions, the New Day, started the show in a festive mood.  Xavier Woods stated that New Year's Day is a special new day.  New Day does not need any resolutions for the new year because they are perfect.  It is the WWE Universe that needs to change.  The New Day in 2015 was greatness personified yet somehow did not win the Slammy award for Tag Team of the Year.  Next year, nothing will change unless the fans learn to appreciate greatness.  New Day has resolutions for the fans to follow, including being required to wear glasses and hearing aids in order to see and hear the greatness of New Day better.  We also must keep a New Day journal in order to write down every great moment the group has.  And the final resolution is to have a spring in your booty and the "New Day Rocks" song in your heart.  It's not that hard, folks, you can do it.

The Lucha Booties Dragons interrupted New Day and said words.  Even though Sin Cara was injured, the Dragons challenged all three men to a match.  Woods thought that this would mean Kalisto would take on all three alone but Kalisto informed that the Dudley Boyz would join them, making it a proper six man tag match.  The Dudleys brought a table with HAPPY NEW YEAR written over it, presumably to continue terrorizing poor Xavier Woods.

The match that ensued saw the Dudleys and Kalisto dominate early.  The luchadore even got to do his partners' infamous "Wassup!" top rope spot.  New Day took over once they used the numbers game on Kalisto, going after his shoulder.  With the help of the Dudleys, Kalisto was able to turn the tide and hit SDS on Kingston to win for his team.   After the match, Woods did, in fact, get put through that table.  Not a good ending on the year for New Day.


The Ambreigns Show

The WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns (and yes, it does feel good to be able to type that), and the WWE Intercontinental Champion, Dean Ambrose, faced the men they defeated for those titles, Sheamus and Kevin Owens, respectively, in the main event.  Sheamus and Reigns started the match. Sheamus gained a small advantage until Reigns turned the tide and sent Sheamus outside of the ring. Ambrose tagged in and hit a suicide dive on Sheamus before KO tagged in.  Ambrose brought the fight to his rival on the outside, going to powerbomb KO on the announce table as KO did to him Monday but KO fought out of that predicament and grounded Ambrose.

KO brought Ambrose into the ring and proceeded to punish him with strikes and submissions.  He kept Ambrose in his corner and tagged in Sheamus, who continued the punishment.  Deansel-in-distress was in full form tonight, with Reigns encouraging him on the apron.  Ambrose fought out of the rival corner, hitting a rebound clothesline on KO before tagging in Reigns, who came in and wrecked shop, as usual.  Reigns was going for a Spear when KO cheap shotted him on the ring post, causing a disqualification.  KO and Sheamus sent Reigns into the steel steps and sent him over the announce table.  Ambrose went to fight for his buddy but was downed with a superkick.

KO went to put Ambrose through the announce table again while Sheamus forced Reigns to watch. Reigns broke free and ran across the announce table and Superman Punched KO, downing him.  Ambrose sent Sheamus into the ring post then Reigns Speared Sheamus out of his boots.  The WWE WHC and the IC Champ ended the show literally standing tall on the announce table.  Nice way to end The Ambreigns show SmackDown for the year.

*Small note: Someone reading this please tell Roman Reigns to stop holding the WWE WHC upside down!


All The Rest

  • Goldust versus Tyler Breeze: Breeze picked up the win. After the match, Summer Rae and Breeze announced they were breaking up.
  • Bo Dallas/Curtis Axel/Dolph Ziggler segment: Wait, Axel still works for the WWE?  Good to know.
  • The Usos versus The Wyatts: The Wyatts win after Strowman choked out Jimmy Uso.
  • Team BAD versus Team Bella: The groups went to battle without their respective leaders, Sasha Banks and Nikki Bella, which saw Team Bella pick up the victory.  BRIE MOOOOOODE!
  • Dolph Ziggler versus Bo Dallas: Van Ziggler wins it with a superkick.


This is usually where I sum up my feelings on the episode but I am admittedly a little buzzed at the moment so I'll just say HAPPY NEW YEAR, CAGESIDERS!  I look forward to doing reviews for all you good people in 2016.

Rating: C-

Since this is the last review of the year, I would like to list my favorite moments from SmackDown in 2015.

Honorable Mentions/ Bottom Five

  • Boo Dallas: On the Halloween edition of SmackDown, Bo Dallas dressed in a cheap ghost costume and went around backstage, attempting to scare his fellow WWE Superstars.  Well, he did, in fact, scare the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry, and immediately got knocked out for his troubles.
  • Neville's second rope Phoenix Splash on Sheamus: This happened on the 4/16 episode and it . . . was . . . awesome!
  • The Beard Returns to SmackDown: Daniel Bryan made his return to the blue show on the 1/15 episode just as the show switched from Friday to Thursday.  As Michael Cole would say, "The Magic (was) back!"
  • SmackDown as the Ambreigns: Friendship is Magic show: Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have been in more main events on this show than anyone else all year, usually in a tag match together.  Fun fact: Roman Reigns was in the main event of the first and last show of this year.  Even more fun fact: Ambreigns reunited on the second show of the year.  The WWE gave a lot of us former Shield fans the friendship this year we had been BEGGING to see since the group split up.  Better late than never, huh?
  • Kevin Owens; commentary master: KO has done commentary a few times on the show and every single time he knocks it out of the park.  I really hope he gives strong consideration to being a commentator once his in-ring career is done.

Top Five SmackDown moments of 2015 (at least to me)

5. Xavier Woods pins El Torito: On the 8/20 episode, Los Matadores and El Torito faced New Day in a six man tag match.  Woods pinned El Torito and had an epic celebration with Big E and Kingston, including Woods being presented with flowers for securing the victory for his team.

4. Payback Contract signing for the Fatal 4 Way WWE WHC match: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, and Seth Rollins headlined the 5/7 episode with a contract signing.  Rollins was in full Architect mode and gave the burn on the year (in my opinion) when he stated that listening to Ambrose's lame jokes was better than listening to Reigns attempt to make sentences.  Also, Ambrose claiming the table before the customary brawl and teasing issues with Ambrose and Reigns made this segment great.

3. Nikki Bella's Championship Reign Celebration: Nikki Bella became the longest reigning Diva's Champion on September 14, 2015.  On the 9/17 episode, Nikki planned a big celebration with lots of famous guests.  Only problem is, no one showed up.  In a year that saw the better Bella flip flop alignments, Nikki was in perfect delusional heel form here.

2. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns versus Seth Rollins and Luke Harper: On the 4/23 episode, the four FCW alums tore the house down in the main event.  If you have not seen this match, please give it a look.  It is one of the best tag matches in the WWE for 2015.

1. Tag Team Turmoil: This year at Fastlane, Daniel Bryan faced Roman Reigns for the right to face the WWE WHC at WrestleMania 31. Leading up their match, the two men had to be partners in a tag team turmoil match on the 2/12 episode against Miz/Mizdow, the Usos, Heath Slater/Titus O'Neil, the Ascension, Los Matadores, and Big Show/Kane.  The idea of the match was that two teams start and once a team is eliminated, another comes out to compete.  In the end, the team that survives is the winner.  This match went nearly an hour long and had some of the best in-match storytelling the WWE has done all year.  Bryan and Reigns played off of each other extremely well, being competitive with one another in the beginning then going through real conflict once Bryan got too aggressive with the Usos to finally being able to trust each other enough to survive and win.  Still one of my favorite moments from WWE overall all year.

These are all good moments but my absolute favorite part about SmackDown this year was the lack of part time and "big name" performers: No Cena, no Authority, no Undertaker, no Lesnar.  Even without being given much to work with, the roster definitely made this show more enjoyable than RAW for me, especially Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and Ambreigns.  Here's to hoping someone in WWE does not realize this is the case and "fixes" the problem in 2016.

That's all for this week, Cagesiders! What are your thoughts on the show or my favorite SmackDown moments of the year?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

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