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WWE SmackDown Live results (Jan. 1, 2019): John Cena returns

WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 1, 2019) from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, featuring a taped show due to the holiday. Spoilers for this show are available here, but we’ll be doing a live blog for the show as usual, so please try to keep the thread spoiler free.

Advertised for tonight: John Cena returns, New Day celebrate the New Year, and more!

Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


The light resides in lines, offset in different times and I’m blinded by a sea of this strange memory. Frames change and I’m still lost. Scene stills lay still in this fog, and I try only to see straight into through you. Your eyes become so bare, an eager empty stare and I’m blinded by a sea of this strange memory. And I am...and I see.. it’s just me, liveblogging this here pro wrestling show for you, folks.

The show opens with commentary hyping tonight’s festivities, including the return of John Cena and a five-way to determine who will challenge WWE Champion Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble.

Big E does the deal and the New Day make their entrance, with E dressed as the Baby New Year, because y’all really needed to see him swivel his hips in a diaper to start 2019 off right.

Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston start off (dressed like adults, mind you) to usher in the new year and tell us your boys have a very important announcement to make-- they’re all three of them in the Royal Rumble! Big tells his freaks to put stacks on your boys because if you take their 33.3% chance of winning and subtract-- Woods cuts him off and asks why he’s doing Steiner Math and Kofi says his point was that it means they have a better chance of collectively winning, main eventing, and becoming WWE Champion!

Woods points out they could also challenge for the Universal Championship, but they’re not sure that guy would show up anyway! Kingston points out that he’s never been sick and he still can’t get a shot, but his pals calm him down and tell him they’ll get him a title shot. He then transitions to say they want to move onto resolutions. Xavier says they spoke to their doctors and have been told they can no longer eat pancakes.

He knows, but from now on they’ll be giving out lettuce with a nice balsamic-- Kofi yanks a pancake out of E’s mouth and Woods continues as Big sneaks another one out of his diaper, throwing extras to the crowd. E points out no one follows through on their resolutions anyway, but Kingston says he’s gonna try, and he wants to buy a new car, a yellow bug that he’ll become friends with and learn that it’s more than meets the eye.

Big points out that that’s the plot of Bumblebee, which is 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and Woods puts a blindfold on and talks about directing his children to safety, which E explains is the plot to Bird Box and segues to say the plot is thickening as they have a match to find out who’s going to be the last entrant in the five-way tonight.

It’ll be between Samoa Joe and... (owl gimmick) Jeff Hardy!

Hardy makes his entrance and we go to break ahead of the match.

Back from commercial in time for Joe’s entrance.

Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship #1 Contender’s Qualifying Match)

Collar and elbow, struggling in the ropes and referee Jason Ayers calls for the break but Joe goes dirty with a leg kick and punches until he’s warned off! Hamstring kicks, Hardy catches one but Samoa rolls him through into a kneebar! Jeff gets the ropes, Joe presses him with strikes in the corner, stomps on the mat, whip reversed and Hardy hits a jawbreaker for separation and rolls to the floor.

Pick Joe’s leg, slam his knee into the ringpost repeatedly, overhead elbows for variety and Samoa rolls away. Spinning toehold, Joe blocks the figure four and rolls to the floor. Delete! as Joe dismantles the announce table and we go to break.

Back from commercial and Joe is in control as Hardy crawls for the corner. Drawing him up, right hand to the face, jabs in the corner, overhead elbow, telling Jeff he started this but that just fires the Charismatic Enigma up. Chops, off hte ropes and Samoa decks him with a back elbow for a shockingly tight nearfall! Palm strikes in the corner, whip across but Hardy gets an elbow up and heads up top only to get crotched into the tree of woe!

Basement dropkick connects, Joe unhooks him into the cover, still only two! Standing neck crank applied, Jeff fights out with body blows, whip reversed and off the ropes with a lariat! Manhattan drop into the double leg drop to the midsection and the basement dropkick... NOPE! Twist of Fate connects, Hardy takes his shirt off and heads up top... SWANTON CONNECTS BUT JOE ROLLS TO THE FLOOR!

Samoa catches a slingshot dropkick... COQUINA CLUTCH ON THE FLOOR! Breaking as referee Jason Ayers gets to eight, he demands he resume counting, Hardy to his feet at eight and back in at nine! Joe’s right on him with the choke! IT’S OVER!

Samoa Joe wins by submission with the Coquina Clutch, qualifying for the WWE Championship #1 contender’s match in our main event.

Commentary tosses to a recap of the ending to last week’s show, with Mr. McMahon goading AJ Styles until the Phenomenal One snapped and decked him.

Vince and Shane McMahon are hanging out backstage and talking about the five-way tonight when there’s a knock at the door.

It’s AJ Styles, who asks if Vince is sure he wanted to see him before saying maybe he should apologize for last week, but he won’t, because McMahon intentionally provoked him. He wanted the real AJ? Watch what happens tonight, unless you wanna see him again right now. The McMahons rise to their feet but don’t provoke him further and Styles walks off.

A grin plays across Vince’s face and Shane tells him to be careful what he wishes for.

Commentary promises us a Rusev Day celebration after the break.

Back from commercial we go in the ring with Kayla Braxton.

She introduces Rusev, who makes his entrance with Lana at his side as always. He’s interviewed about last week’s show and soaks in the crowd atmosphere before declaring it the greatest Rusev Day of them all. He says his reign will be different than Shinsuke’s Nakamura because he takes pride in the title and he’ll have a long, luscious reign much like his beard and defend against anyone with courage, strength, honor, and his animal magnetism. (Solid pick for a Scorpions album, sir.)

And he’ll do it all while smelling like a delicious bacon-flavored cinnamon bun. He pledges allegiance (in short, not the full thing) and chants Rusev Day, USA! until Nakamura blindsides him! Punching in the corner, Lana climbs on his back and Shinsuke staggers right into a Machka Kick! Seeing the damage done his wife, Rusev rushes to check on her as Nakamura rises... KINSHASA!

Lying in wait... ANOTHER KINSHASA! Shinsuke picks up the title and drops it across the Bulgarian Lion’s unconscious form as referee Jason Ayers arrives to check on our babyfaces.

Commentary hypes John Cena’s return and tosses to a recap of Naomi and Jimmy Uso’s interaction with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville from last week.

Naomi makes her entrance, she’ll be in action against Mandy Rose after the break.

Back from commercial in time for Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville to make their entrance.

Mandy takes her shirt off to reveal a cut-up Usos shirt, setting Naomi off! The bell rings and Deville’s in the ring ready to go so it was a bait and switch!

Naomi vs. Sonya Deville

Naomi hot, in with kicks but she gets distracted and Sonya gets a schoolboy for two! Sliding slap, again distracted by Mandy and Deville slides in with a knee for two and follows with a reverse chinlock. Naomi to her feet, back elbows, off the ropes, duck the lariat, springboard roundhouse kick connects! Rose gets on the mic and tells her that earlier today when she was getting ready she was thinking of Jimmy Uso, Naomi’s husband, and she sent him a picture of herself completely covered up in a towel as if she just got out of the shower.

Sonya lands a kick, suplex lift...

Sonya Deville wins by pinfall with a vertical suplex dropped into a Rock Bottom, ala Hirooki Goto’s Shouten or Matt Morgan’s Hellevator.

Randy Orton gets a promo talking about the three most devastating letters in sports entertainment, which is followed by Rey Mysterio saying he proved to Orton he can’t be pushed around and tonight he’s going to show he came back to WWE to become champion once again, and then Mustafa Ali saying he used to be the heart of the cruiserweights, but now he wants to be the Heart of SmackDown.

A round of resolutions-- the Iconic Duo want to be tag champs, Karl Anderson wants to turn his eight-pack into a ten-pack and Luke Gallows wants to get rid of all the nerds, Shelton Benjamin calls resolutions a fraud that nobody’s going to stick to and he tears the set down!

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial, Samoa Joe gets a backstage promo.

He says he showed Jeff Hardy he was telling the truth all along and when he wins tonight he’s going to win the Royal Rumble and the WWE Championship and push men like Hardy deeper into madness and jealousy.

In the arena, John Cena makes his entrance.

He gets on the mic and chides the crowd for their mixed reaction before saying it’s good to feel the energy and he appreciates it. It’s been a hell of a year, he bought a ticket to WrestleMania, his personal life got played out in public, he wrote a children’s book, lived in China for six months and he still somehow thinks his new haircut was a good idea, but through it all he still feels like he can float like a butterfly and sting like a Bumblebee, geddit?

He’s here, we’re here, there’s energy in the building, but one question must be asked-- not what, nor who, but why? Why is he here? He asks who’s music is gonna hit...

Enter Becky Lynch! The Man gets in the ring and squares up with the ace of WWE and asks how it feels. He says it’s awesome to be back and she cuts him off asking how it felt to get The Man instead of a man. She says he says he’s back where he belongs, but it’s not that simple, no. She didn’t just want to overtake Charlotte Flair on the billboards, she wanted to surpass John, too.

He’s been on every marquee for sixteen years and personifies everything this company was, and it’s time for someone new to fill his shoes. There’s only one person for that job, and of course she says it’s her. And if Cena has a problem with that, well, Nikki Bella won’t be the only woman to drop him this year!

(El idolo!)

Enter Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega.

Vega hates to interrupt their little testosterone-fueled game, especially since they’re both former champions, key word “former.” A few weeks ago the McMahons promised a fresh start with new faces but all she sees is an older face in John Cena and in Becky Lynch a broken face. She introduces herself and her business partner to John and says 2019 will be the Year of Tranquilo.

Cena introduces himself and points out she may know him from Being John Cena and Lynch can probably kick her teeth down her throat, so c’mon down! He wants to find out what it’d be like to be in the ring with The Man and proposes a mixed tag!

Vega and Almas are in and we go to break before the bell can ring!

Back in time for the bell!

Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch & John Cena (Mixed Tag Team Match)

Lynch and Vega to start, circling, collar and elbow, Becky with a side headlock, shot off, shoulder block, dusting her shoulder off, off the ropes, drop down, dropkick, roll-through and Zelina backs off and makes the tag. The Man wants to fight Almas but referee Mike Chioda won’t allow it and Cena comes in. Shove off, tranquilo in the ropes! Feeling out, Cien with a side headlock, John reverses, shifts to a wristlock, reaching for the tag but Andrade decks him with a hard right!

Back to the side headlock, into a takeover, Cena to his feet and out but when he runs the ropes Vega is on the apron and he stops short, allowing Almas to capitalize. Into the corner for strikes, referee Mike Chioda occupied and Zelina lands a boot to the 16-time world champion! Cien stomping away, jawing with Lynch and the break allows John to come over and hit a straight suplex.

Andrade runs him over with a lariat, it’s only good for a nearfall and we head to break.

Back from commercial, Vega with a Tiger feint crucifix neck crank in the ropes on Cena while Chioda is again occupied! Almas putting boots to John in the corner, mounted punches, stepping on Cena’s neck at one point but when he goes for the running knees, nobody’s home! Tag to Lynch, she comes in hot and scoops Vega up for a spinebuster! Rolling solebutt, off the ropes with a flying forearm, Zelina backing off into the corner so The Man puts boots to her!

Uppercuts, exploder suplex, missile dropkick... NOPE! Wristlock, step over but Andrade makes the save! Cena in with the shoulder blocks, duck the lariat, falling Blue Thunder Driver, “You can’t see me!”, Five Knuckle Shuffle, Attitude Adjustment... LIGHTNING FIST! Becky dumps him out of her ring, Vega with a schoolboy, Lynch rolls her through...

Becky Lynch & John Cena win by submission with Dis-Arm-Her from Lynch on Zelina Vega.

Post-match, Cena offers a handshake but Becky ducks it and gives him his own “You can’t see me!” right back!

We get a recap of last week’s MizTV in which the Best Tag Team in the World was officially formed.

Shane McMahon is giving instructions to production staff backstage when Miz rolls up on him and says he just wanted to thank him for giving this a chance. He’s never opened up like he did last week and he hopes he didn’t embarrass Shane. McMahon said he sympathizes and he has so much going on... the A-Lister tells him he better not be backing out and Shane says he isn’t, at which point Miz runs and gets an easel with a presentation for them.

He says the best teams dress together and he reveals a picture of them in matching coats that his dad picked out. McMahon says it looks like something out of the Matrix and isn’t into it, so Miz takes it off and says he’s going to burn it and reveals the next picture, which is them both in his red studded coat and glasses outfit. Next slide, their gear underneath, which is matching except Shane is wearing sneakers for Miz’s boots and kickpads.

Shane says he wants him to really think about it and use his creativity and get back to him and walks off while Miz is lost in thought.

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial we get the video packages for the NXT superstars that are coming to the main roster soon.

Asuka is shown backstage with her title when Triple H rolls up to congratulate her.

He says since the Royal Rumble is coming up, he wants to know who she thinks deserves a shot at her. She says she’ll fight anyone and it doesn’t matter because no one’s ready for her. Triple loves it and we see Charlotte standing there. She says if it wasn’t for Ronda she’d be standing there and so she should have the opportunity.

Carmella rolls up and says she beat both of them twice so she deserves the opportunity, and Becky Lynch is next, saying there’s only one option for Asuka, her. Hunter says they all have good points and he’ll take it under advisement and let them know when they make a decision.

We get entrances for our main event but go to break before the bell.

Back from commercial in time for the bell!

AJ Styles vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship #1 Contender’s Match)

Ali in hot with forearm and punches for Joe but he gets droped and Styles picks up where he left off! Enzuigiri runs Samoa off, he grabs Mysterio and smashes him into the turnbuckles and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker off the ropes! Right hands back Orton into the corner, big chop, off the ropes and Mustafa trips AJ up only to get thrown into the steel post face-first!

Styles throws Ali back inside and gets knocked to the floor by the Viper! Randy stalks over to Mustafa and goes for the DDT but eats a roundhouse kick and the rolling thunder X-Factor... Joe breaks the pin up! We see Daniel Bryan watching backstage as Rey takes Samoa out with a seated senton! AJ whips him hard into the turnbuckles after! A second time, a third into the ropes but Mysterio has the back body drop scouted and hits a springboard Frankensteiner!

AJ on the floor, Rey off the ropes... ORTON SNAP SCOOP POWERSLAM! Ali with a dropkick, Joe hits a belly-to-belly suplex on him and charges into a back elbow and the moonsault inverted DDT from Styles... NOPE! AJ standing tall with everyone else on the floor, we go to break.

Back from commercial, Orton is in control, stomping away at Styles. Mysterio rolls up with right hands, backing the Viper into the corner only to get decked by a single uppercut! Styles Rush, low kick for Rey, clothesline sends Randy to the floor, baseball slide for Joe! Mysterio ducks under and AJ throws him to the floor! Ali in, whip reversed, back body drop to the apron, forearm from Styles!

Looking for the forearm, our heels team up and take him down, back suplex into the apron... URANAGE THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE! Joe and Orton square up... ALI WITH A TOPE CON GIRO ON SAMOA AND REY WITH A SEATED SENTON ON RANDY! Mustafa and Mysterio square up in the ring, Rey offers a handshake and Ali accepts but it was a ruse! Waistlock, off the ropes, tilt-a-whirl headscissors, Mustafa lands on his feet!

Whip, slide under, jockeying for position, headscissors takeover! Ali puts Rey to the apron, struggling in the corner, Mustafa backflips away and rushes back in... SPANISH FLY! Slow to capitalize... JOE BREAKS THE PIN UP! Wicked knee lifts from the Destroyer, hard whip, Ali sidesteps, springboard into the tornado DDT! Headed up top, thinking 054 but Samoa rolls away and locks the Coquina Clutch in!

Mustafa gets the ropes and Rey saves him with the 619! Mysterio calls for it... 619 for Ali as well but Orton yanks him off the apron before he can capitalize! RKO ON MUSTAFA... REY WITH THE DIVING LEG DROP TO BREAK THE PIN UP! Enzuigiri sets the Viper on the second rope... 619! Joe pulls Mysterio off the apron and eats a Frankensteiner on the floor, AJ springboards...

AJ Styles wins by pinfall with the springboard 450 splash on Randy Orton to become #1 contender to the WWE Championship.

Styles poses on the turnbuckles, Too Sweets in the air.

That’s the show, folks.

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