WWE SmackDown was broadcast last night (Jan. 28, 2016) from Tampa, Florida. It was like eight minutes deep until the recapping of Raw finally ended and the actual show began. A look back is fine but that's far too much time to dedicate to showing me a recap of something you already recapped DURING the Raw show you're recapping.
That confusing nonsense aside, this was actually a fun show that I'm going to ask you to just go with. Really, as soon as you just go with it, it catches.
Here's the link to the live blog, let's get to reacting.
Break the walls down
I almost feel guilty for liking this so much.
Chris Jericho is "lame dad" for as long as he's on WWE television from here on out because once you see him that way you cannot see him any other way. But it works when wacky Dean Ambrose brings a pot of flowers out to spruce up the Highlight Reel set, badly in need of a makeover, and Dad Jericho calls a ton of attention to it like he's suddenly an interior design expert, just way too impressed with it. I bet Jericho is the guy who takes the trash out and thinks that means he cleaned the house.
Of course he does, he's Dad Jericho.
Really, he was used perfectly here because he was acting as a facilitator for Ambrose and Roman Reigns and their pending issues at Fastlane, where they'll be involved in a triple threat match with a WWE world heavyweight title shot in the main event of WrestleMania 32 on the line. They played this beautifully, starting with Ambrose laying out his bat shit insane strategy for defeating Lesnar: Let Brock beat the brakes off him and hope he lasts long enough for the beast to get tired.
Essentially, he's stealing Lesnar's strategy for beating Shane Carwin at UFC 116 a few years back.
This set up Reigns perfectly putting over Lesnar by telling his partner "I'm a grown man and he threw me around." He basically told Dean "I know you're tough but this man will beat you to death" which was a great way to segue into Ambrose making clear "I don't even have to beat him, I just gotta beat you."
Reigns delivered arguably the line of his career when he responded, with a delivery I didn't know he had in him: "Well, it would be the first time because you never have before."
Ambrose smiled in response, like he was at least somewhat caught off guard by where they had taken it and wasn't sure of any other way to react. He knows the score and they've battled before, but the stakes have never been so high and they've never had a wildcard like Lesnar in the mix giving them that much more incentive to compete with each other. But if they go that route, it weakens their position as a collective because, again, Brock Lesnar is in the match.
The Wyatt Family suddenly showed up to add their two cents and just as soon as Bray started in on his usual spiel, Reigns cut him off with perfect body language:
He said, again with a delivery I didn't know he had in him, "You're doing it again. We don't know what you're talking about."
He stopped Bray Wyatt completely. Look at this man:
The dude with the smoothest tongue on the roster was speechless. He had no idea how to respond. Reigns bodied Wyatt IN A PROMO. I can't believe it.
It was wonderful.
All of this was wonderful.
The main event was a six-man tag set up from the segment we just talked about. Reigns bodied Wyatt in a promo, and they had enough to make a six-man so of course they made a six-man. It was what it was as far as matches go, a fun back-and-forth that was rendered a waste of time when the one member of The Wyatt Family who wasn't in the match, Braun Strowman, interrupted and caused a disqualification.
But even that was fine because of what came after it: ANOTHER Big Show turn.
We could sit here and criticize WWE for how often this man turns and how his character makes no sense but the reality is he's the most consistent character on the roster. This man has no idea who he is or what he believes in. Every word he says contradicts every other word he's ever said and because of that, he's doomed to this loop he is forever stuck in. Our issue is we've always tried to make sense of the words instead of accepting the loop and realizing the words themselves are essentially meaningless because of that loop.
It's just Show being Show.
Here, he's on the side of the good guys, bringing some extra beef for the battle with the beefiest crew in WWE. I implore you to take a second to stop thinking about smarky nonsense like "workrate" and "movesets" and drink in this delicious staredown right here:
That right there is a perennially confused giant staring down a monster who looks like a chubby baby who was just startled by a loud noise. I want these two to get in a ring and run at each other as fast as their legs can carry them until they collide and whatever arena they're in never recovers from the blast wave.
Beef on beef, baby, it's what's for dinner.
All the best to all the rest
New Day & Miz vs. Usos & Titus & Ziggler: This show opened with New Day telling The Rock to be ashamed of himself and it doesn't matter anyway because he and his family are allergic to gold. This was great because it put the focus back on the tag team titles. The Rock can run his mouth with his llama penis jokes but they're champs and none of his yapping is going to stop that. If that sounds like a great set up for The Usos, that's because it is, only they're unbearable when they're doing anything other than wrestling. They have nothing interesting to say ever. The Miz was added to this and his trying to fit in with New Day and failing was entertaining as all get out. Titus O'Neil and Dolph Ziggler also showed up and a match was had and it was fine.
Kalisto vs. Neville: A really enjoyable match that didn't come anywhere close to its potential but here's the thing: That's good! This is an episode of SmackDown, after all. They should be building here. Kalisto won with a few cool tricks and Neville was begrudgingly forced to accept his defeat. He did so with a handshake and respect before going off to reup for his next shot at the US title. He's learned his opponent and must make the necessary adjustments. Is that what they're telling here? Maybe not, but it's what you can get out of it if you're looking.
AJ Styles vs. Curtis Axel: I don't mind pairing Styles up with lower card guys early in his WWE run. In fact, I encourage it. What matters is how he looks in those matches and they booked him well here. He may have sold for Axel a bit too much but he ran right through him, hit his first Styles Clash, and ran circles entire every one of the Social Outcasts. Again, nothing too special but it'll do. Jerry Lawler did have a line discarding all his accomplishments outside of WWE but I didn't take it as a shot at AJ but more than likely a shot at TNA.
Golden Truth: These two are great together. Any issue here is a nitpick and it's hardly worth mentioning. It's fun. They're fun.
Charlotte vs. Natalya: More than anything, this match showed it might be time to move on from Ric Flair as he serves no real purpose at this point. He's simply a distraction. Use him to get Charlotte over, sure, but ditch him and let her stand on her own or fail because she couldn't. At least then they know and can adjust accordingly. It was notable that Becky Lynch made the save for Nattie in the post-match beatdown angle and Sasha Banks was nowhere to be found, her backstage segment with Naomia and Tamina having been cut from the show. That, in itself, is also interesting and we'll see where that goes.
This was a really fun show.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Your turn.
(We miss you, Tonya!)