LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 1/17: Alt perspective, on-going coverage of Reigns vs. Roode in a tables match, Big E vs. Morrison, more

LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 1/17: Alt perspective, on-going coverage of Reigns vs. Roode in a tables match, Big E vs

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JANUARY 17, 2020

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

-The show began with the standard Smackdown video package and a display of pyro. The camera switched to a wide shot of the Greensboro Coliseum as Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the show. Corey Graves previewed the Roman Reigns vs. Robert Roode tables match for later in the night. Cole talked up John Morrison’s return to action against Big E. They also mentioned that Lacey Evans is scheduled to face Sasha Banks again.

-The arena fell into a red glow and fire burst from the stage as Kane’s music played and he walked to the ring. His appearance was teased on WWE social media earlier in the day. Cole and Graves talked up Kane’s accolades, specifically as they relate to the Royal Rumble match.

Kane discussed the Royal Rumble match, saying that the competitors go through hell but have a chance at immortality. Kane said he understands how important the match is, holding the record for most eliminations in match history. Kane said WrestleMania dreams turn into nightmares because of him. “It was a lot of fun,” Kane laughed.

He was interrupted by the title card for Firefly Fun House. Bray Wyatt appeared on the tron. “You haven’t changed a bit!” he said of Kane. Bray said it’s not nice to find joy in another person’s misery. He referred to Kane as “big red bully.” He joked about Kane making a trip up from “h-e-double hockey sticks.”

Bray provided an update on Ramblin’ Rabbit, saying he’s recovering nicely. The rabbit was hooked up to oxygen. Bray held up the Universal title. He said winning the Royal Rumble is foolish if it means challenging him for the title at WrestleMania. He turned his attention to Kane’s picture on his wall of friends. Bray said he’ll never forgive Kane. Clips of Kane facing off against the Wyatt Family flashed on the screen. Bray said “he” wouldn’t forgive either.

Back in the arena, the lights cut out as the electrical noises played over the speakers. The Fiend’s screeching played. Kane was standing outside the ring, staring toward the entrance. The Fiend popped up from underneath the ring, climbing out of his hole. Kane spun around to see The Fiend.

Daniel Bryan appeared out of nowhere and attacked The Fiend in the ring. The Fiend grabbed him and tried to pull him back underneath the ring, but Bryan fought him off. Bryan emerged from the hole with The Fiend’s dreadlocks in hand. Bryan began a “yes” chant with the dreadlocks. The lights returned to normal. Kane climbed back in the ring.

Kane engaged in the “yes” chant with Bryan. Bryan’s music played and the two old friends circled the ring together. Kane gave Bryan a smirk as Bryan stared at The Fiend’s dreadlocks.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Kane’s appearance didn’t really feel like it served much purpose outside of promoting the Royal Rumble, but truthfully, that’s what a character of his caliber should be used for at this point. Kane is long past the point of being taken seriously, but giving him the occasional random appearance isn’t necessarily a bad thing and the crowd seemed to enjoy seeing him. Seeing he and Bryan in the ring together again, even if their history wasn’t expressly acknowledged, was a nice little call back. Speaking of which, Bryan’s pulling of The Fiend’s dreads seemed a little hokey, but served as a decent call back to The Fiend’s attack on Daniel weeks ago. This feud remains interesting, albeit still flawed in its approach.)

-When the show returned from break, Daniel Bryan and Kane were walking together, arguing like the old days. Kayla Braxton approached. She asked about The Fiend. Bryan said The Fiend is best at running away and disappearing when he’s in trouble. He contemplated how you beat someone who does that. Bryan said he has an idea, and it may not be a good one. He challenged The Fiend to a strap match. Bryan said he understands it’s dangerous. “I am done with the mind games, I am done with The Fiend disappearing down that damn hole every time I get him in trouble.” Bryan said the Fiend changed him, and at Royal Rumble, he’s going to change The Fiend and win the Universal Championship.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Great, fiery babyface promo from Bryan. He knows when to turn up the intensity and when to sit back, contemplatively. He’s been the MVP of Smackdown for the last couple of months, and he continues to shine, even when dealt less than stellar situations to work from.)

-Big E’s voice filled the arena and he and Kofi Kingston headed to the ring. Kofi was sporting newly dyed blonde dreads. John Morrison headed to the ring next with The Miz.

(1) BIG E (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/ The Miz)

Big E and John Morrison circled the ring when the bell rang. Morrison caught E with an elbow and shot him off the ropes. Big E countered with a shoulder tackle, then gyrated in Morrison’s face. Back on his feet, Morrison delivered a swift kick to the leg and took Big E down, mounting him for a series of punches.

Morrison slid Big E underneath the bottom rope and beat him down, rolling to the outside. He hooked onto Big E’s neck and hit a neckbreaker that dropped Big E to the floor. Cole sent the show to commercial.

Morrison had Big E in a grounded headlock when the show returned from break. Kofi got the fans going to encourage Big E, who slowly rose to his feet and broke free of the hold. Morrison quickly regained control, dropping Big E and connecting with a standing shooting star for a two count. Big E recovered quickly, scooping Morrison up for the mat and trying to transition into the Big Ending. Morrison slid free.

Morrison caught Bg E with a quick head kick then tried to springboard onto Big E. Big E caught him and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Big E tried for a second one, but Morrison poked him in the eye. After a quick counter, Big E dropped Morrison again and hit a running splash.

Big E got the crowd behind him. Morrison returned to his feet, kicked Big E, and hit a spinning neckbreaker. The Miz tried to get involved. Kofi Kingston circled the ring and pulled him off the apron. John Morrison launched himself off the top rope onto Kofi Kingston on the outside.

Meanwhile, Big E recovered. Morrison returned to the apron. Big E charged, but Miz pushed Morrison out of the way. Morrison took Big E down, quickly climbed to the top rope and hit Starship Pain for the three count.

WINNER: John Morrison in 8:00

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match. Morrison dominated most of this and still got a relatively clean win, minus some mild interference from The Miz. Morrison’s offense has always looked a little choreographed, but it’s actually aged well given how much the WWE style has progressed. This should be a great tag team feud.)

-At the announcers desk, Cole and Graves confirmed that if Roman Reigns beats Robert Roode tonight, he’ll decide the stipulation for his match against King Corbin at Royal Rumble. If Roode wins, Corbin will pick the stipulation. They threw to clips of Reigns taking out Roode a month ago, and Roode’s eventual return and payback on Reigns last week.

-Backstage, The Usos stood in a smokey room with Roman Reigns. They asked what he’d pick for a stipulation. Reigns said they’d find out with everyone else. He asked if The Usos were ready. Jimmy and Jey called out The Revival, saying “Welcome…” They walked off screen. The camera zoomed in on Reigns. “…To the Uso Penitentiary,” he finished. The show went to break.

-The Usos headed to the ring as Michael Cole talked up the show’s primary sponsor, Progressive Insurance. The Revival followed.

(2) THE USOS (Jimmy & Jey) vs. THE REVIVAL (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)

Jimmy Uso began the match with Scott Dawson. They circled the ring and locked up. Dawson backed Jimmy into the corner and gave him a couple of slaps. Jimmy came out for another lock up. Dawson shot him off the ropes and dropped him with a shoulder tackle. Jimmy jumped to his feet and the two traded counters. Jimmy tagged in his brother Jey.

Jimmy and Jey doubled teamed Dawson out of the corner. Scott regained control over Jey, drove him to his corner and tagged in Dash Wilder. Dawson hit Jey with a suplex. Wilder followed immediately with a jumping elbow from the apron. The Revival isolated Jey Uso in the corner and traded tags. Scott Dawson delivered several leg drops and elbows to a downed Jey Uso before covering him for a two count.

Dawson slapped Jey in a grounded headlock. Cole talked up The Revival’s in-ring strategy. Jey Uso fought to his feet and rolled through Dawson’s headlock. Jey caught Dawson with a spinning enziguri. Both men tagged in their partners. Jimmy took down both members of the Revival with running clotheslines. He hit Wilder with a Samoan drop then called out to the crowd. He charged at Wilder, but Dash tossed him onto the apron.

Jimmy recovered, jumping to the top rope and hitting a diving cross body for a near fall. Jimmy went for a super kick, but Wilder shoved Jimmy away. Wilder almost knocked Dawson off the apron in the process, but they caught each other. Jimmy took Wilder down and tagged in Jey. They hit double super kicks on Dash and Dawson. Jey tagged back out. He dove to the outside onto Dawson, who’d rolled outside to recover. In the ring, Jimmy hit a splash on Wilder for the three count.

WINNERS: The Usos in 4:00

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match, albeit very short. The Revival continue to slide down the card, losing a match to The Usos in short order. The Usos, coming back from months away and with deep ties to Roman Reigns were clearly the correct choice to go over here, but The Revival appear to be in a clear downswing. The one bright side for them, if there is one, is that commentary is acknowledging it. One would hope this means this is part of a larger story WWE is trying to tell, though it’s hard to have that kind of faith in creative.)

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