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WWE SmackDown results, recap, reactions (Jan. 24, 2019): Royal Rumble time

Oh, what a shock; the Bray Wyatt/Daniel Bryan feud provided yet another dope moment on this episode of SmackDown. This time, it came in during their contract signing that both called upon their history and reminded us that the Wyatt has issues and his Fiend is downright terrifying.

That callback to their history came when Bryan was in the ring as Wyatt appeared on the video tron. Wyatt was trying to print out the contract and fax it back when his printer broke. There was a great goof here where he tried to call customer service and asked for “English or ancient Sumerian, please” before giving it up to express his amazement/disbelief/hilarity that Bryan would ever willingly tie himself to the Fiend.

And this is where Wyatt reminded us of the history. He stated that Bryan had betrayed him in the past and that it would essentially never be forgiven. Add the Fiend and a strap to that situation and...yeah. Hope you live through this, Bryan.

Bryan, for his part, was bold and blunt about this whole thing. He called Wyatt “a sick man” and demanded him to come to the ring to sign the contract. Wyatt finally relented, but said that he’s not the one who’s fighting on Sunday; that would be the Fiend.

*Queue the lights blacking out*

And if I could complain about one (okay, two) things, I really hated Michael Cole during this moment. Cole was in the ring to officiate this whole signing process, but let me as you something, Cageside: What would YOU do if you were in the ring and the Fiend was on his way?

YOU RUN. LITERALLY RUN. Instead, Michael Cole leisurely strolled to the ropes to daintily walked down the stairs.C’mon, Cole.

The red lights have got to go as well. The Fiend quickly got the upper hand and started lashing Bryan with the strap, but you lose a lot of the damage when it’s all bathed in that red light. They zoomed in on the welts afterwards, but it’s just not the same.

But in the end, the Fiend sat down and grabbed the pen. And if the image of the Fiend composedly signing a contract seems weird to you, fear not; instead, the Fiend stabbed himself with the pen and smeared his blood on the contract. Yup, I think you’ve still got a stranglehold on that “most compelling wrestling character” award, Bray.

Lacey frames her fight

I was a pretty big fan of the Bayley/Lacey Evans feud this week, even if I could quibble at some of the acting and booking decisions.

Lacey was given an interview with Cole to essentially recount her issues with Sasha Banks and Bayley, but the interview quickly took an introspective turn. They talked about her “rough upbringing” where Evans revealed that her father dealt with addiction and depression during her childhood. She also said that he lost that battle, which is an extremely sobering thing to hear, to say the least. Evans said that’s why she fights so hard; knowing what the world is going through, she is motivated to show the proper example and prove that we can all overcome our own personal demons and obstacles.

I could nitpick a little bit with a promo like this. There are little things about it that I think could have been improved, but why would I want to? It gave a WWE character clear motivations for why they strive to be the best. Folks - this is what I want from every single babyface in WWE. I want to know why they fight, why being the best matters to them, and how they plan on getting to the top. Lacey Evans gave us that on this show. That’s awesome.

And what followed was pretty great as well. Bayley beat her up with a sneak attack, but Evans wasn’t willing to walk away and lick her wounds. Instead, she channeled all the emotions from her interview and fought like hell over a string of segments. A Dana Brooke/Carmella interview was derailed by this brawl, and so was a Fire & Desire/Bliss Cross Applesause match.

I thought this was all pretty great; I hope the match on Sunday lives up to the bad blood.

The Rest

Roman Reigns and the Usos def. Baron Corbin, Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler - This match literally took up the entire first quarter of the show. The story was that one of the Usos got hurt and removed from ringside, so Reigns and Jey had to fight a handicap match for quite a while. But in the end, Reigns drove off Corbin and Jimmy returned to help secure the win.

Big E is a global treasure - This man covered himself in baby oil, had some backstage hand try to pick him up, fail, and then hugged and kissed the guy on the forehead after declaring himself hard to eliminate from the Royal Rumble.

Absolute legend. Why is this dude not a world champion like 5 times over by now?

John Morrison def. Kofi Kingston - Man, that’s one hell of a reestablishing push for Morrison, eh?

Really athletic match. From the fast action to the Miz’s disgusting mustard-colored turtleneck, this whole segment was a good time.

Braun Strowman, Elias def. The Artists - Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura are picking up way too many losses for my liking.

Sonya Deville apologizes for trying to take advantage of Mandy Rose’s relationship with Otis - I liked this little moment. It didn’t amount to anything other than the production truck abysmally failing with Rose’s blur graphic, but it’s a needed moment to allow the story to progress.

Decent show! I wasn’t a fan of the Reigns/Corbin stuff or Strowman/Elias, but the rest of the show was pretty darn engaging.

Grade: B-

Your turn, folks!

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