This is the second week of SmackDown on the USA Network, airing on Jan. 14 from Lafayette, La. The WWE is building towards its annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Jan. 24 in Orlando, Fla. For full results and the live blog, click here.
The Man that KO Forgot
The show started with Renee Young backstage waiting for the Intercontinental Champion, Dean Ambrose, who was escorted to the building in a pick up truck. He chose not to say what he had to say in a backstage interview, opting to go to the ring. Footage of the various brawls between the Champion and KO were highlighted before Ambrose began. He asked for a drumroll (which he actually got) and then called out KO so he could make his announcement to his face. KO refused to show so Ambrose cued up the drumroll again to say he is challenging KO to a Last Man Standing Match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and, yes, it is for the Intercontinental Championship.
Sheamus came out to ruin the good mood
and kill everyone's heat and told the Champion that he lives in a fantasy world but THIS is reality. He also name checked the World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns, and complained about having to compete in the Reigns Royal Rumble match in order to regain his championship. He said that he would come down to the ring and fight Ambrose, who was more than willing to oblige. This is when Kevin Owens arrived. He accepted Ambrose's challenge, saying that he would not be able to walk out of the show, let alone leave with the IC title. KO and Sheamus attacked Ambrose together when Neville ran out to help and the two ran the would be stable mates off.
The third and real main event of the night was a tag team match with Sheamus and KO versus Ambrose and Neville. Sheamus is here because of reasons. Anyway, Neville and Ambrose started the match in control of Sheamus but the Celtic Warrior took over on offense after Ambrose took his eye off of the ball to attack KO. KO and Sheamus worked over the IC champion for a while. Ambrose hit a neckbreaker on KO and got the tag to Neville.
The Man that Gravity Forgot overwhelmed the prizefighter before KO got some separation and tagged in Sheamus, who immediately ate a superkick. He recovered in time to dodge a high risk move from Neville, who hit hard on the mat. This allowed KO and Sheamus to take over and dominate Neville, who would not go down without a fight. Neville was able to make the tag after hitting a nice German suplex to KO. Ambrose came in against Sheamus and was full of fire as he beat down the former WWE WHC. KO breaks up a pin after Ambrose hits an flying elbow. Sheamus hits White Noise on the Champ but only gets a two count.
KO tagged in and, shortly after, chaos actually ensued. Ambrose does a suicide dive onto KO but Sheamus sends him into the steel steps. Just when it seems like Sheamus and KO are about to put Ambrose through the announce table, Neville flies in seemingly out of nowhere to take them both out. Ambrose and Neville take KO back into the ring and Dean hits Dirty Deeds on him. He drags KO's body into position so Neville can hit the Red Arrow on KO before they both celebrate in the ring as the show comes to a close.
Oh, Look, the Wyatts
As the first of three "main events" on the show, the Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) took on the Dudley Boyz in a Tables match. The match started after Harper and Rowan just appeared in the ring after the Dudleys' entrance and started their attack. They had control for a few minutes before Bubba Ray went on a tear, taking out both of the guys before D-Von assisted with their patented "Wassup" top rope attack. Bubba and D-Von got a table and set up it up in the ring but the Wyatts quickly took over on offense again. Jerry Lawler wondered if it counted if someone were to be put through the announce table. I am not sure but I feel like it should be.
The Wyatts were about put D-Von through a table, ending the match, when Bubba moved the table out of the way and the Dudleys took over for a while. Braun Strowman, who was at ringside the entire time, decided to wake up and finally get involved in this no disqualification match (like why wouldn't he from the start?). Chaos ensued (not really but it almost felt like some) and Bubba pushed Harper through a table for the win.
After the match, the Wyatts attacked the Dudleys, putting them both through tables. Papa Bray Wyatt could be heard laughing before the trio left the same way they arrived.
Hmm, let me check on something for a minute ...
Nope, still don't believe you, Wyatts. More people needed confirmed.
The Underdog We Deserve
Before defending his title against Alberto Del Rio in the second "main event' of the night, the new United States Champion, Kalisto, gave a backstage interview. He talked about how he became discouraged training to wrestle because of his size but legends like Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio helped him go for his dreams and now he is a champion, as they once were. Alberto Del Rio spoke about caring less who the people cheer for. He will bring the fans back to reality when he takes back the United States Championship and crush Kalisto like a bug.
And that is exactly what he did, ladies and gentlemen. Alberto Del Rio won the United States Championship from Kalisto on this show, filmed one day after Kalisto beat him for the title on RAW. In the WWE record books, I suppose, Kalisto will be a three day US Champion. Does it really matter? Instead of review the match, I just decided to state how I feel about this decision. Let's face it. Very few WWE fans care about Alberto Del Rio. He is a living, breathing reminder to me that the US Open Challenge could have helped make a star out of someone in WWE but it did not.
Kalisto is not "buried" or anything, so do not think I am saying that. I just feel as though it would have been better for Kalisto in the long run to have defeated Del Rio. An underdog does not necessarily have to mean someone who cannot win the big one or someone who got "lucky" or "survived" a better opponent. Kalisto could still fill the role they seem to want for him simply because of his size. Play up the fact that his opponents think he has no chance to win because he's a little guy but he is just so good at what he does that he does win . . . often. Someone Kalisto's size is much more believable as an underdog who always overcomes than you know who.
But, hey, I don't book the show. So what can I do other than complain to all my friends named Mark on the internet?
I was entertained by the match, though. I really hope the WWE does not forget about Kalisto in the long run or that his title reign here becomes the best highlight of his WWE career. He feels like he could be more than a little guy that does flippy sh*t.
All The Rest
- Social Outcasts versus Goldust, Damien Sandow, Jack Swagger, and Zack Ryder: Actually, either of these groups could be called social outcasts. It's good to see Damien Sandow is still employed. Oh, yeah, Social Outcasts won the match.
- Becky Lynch interview: All I know is Becky's taking Charlotte's arm. She challenged her to a match for the Diva's Championship at the Royal Rumble. Actually, I hope the Lass Kicker takes BOTH of Charlotte's arms! You can't stab your friends in the back if you don't have arms.
- Becky Lynch versus Brie Bella: Lynch defeated Lesser Bella on her voyage to take Charlotte's arms.
SmackDown continues to feature the Intercontinental Championship story as the main event, as KO and Ambrose bring the violence and chaos every time they interact with each other. A Last Man Standing match over the title seems fitting and throwing Neville in the mix due to his recent beef with KO is a nice touch. Sheamus is in full on lackey mode so he just can't help but get involved. Becky Lynch continues to prove why she is just plain better than the current Diva's Champion. And, while I'm not pleased with how the United States Championship is changing hands, I'm solidly behind Kalisto getting the last laugh in his battle over respect and the title with Del Rio, I just hope that's the story I'm being told.
That's all for this week, Cagesiders. What are your thoughts on the show? Give your opinion in the comment section!