Date: January 8, 2019
Location: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
We’re getting closer to the Royal Rumble and that means a few more matches need to be announced. One of those is the Smackdown Women’s Title match, which will be set tonight. This week will see Charlotte, Carmella and Becky Lynch facing off in a triple threat match with the winner getting the shot at Asuka later this month. Let’s get to it.
We open in the concourse with Daniel Bryan taking us on an educational journey. He’s not happy about the food and drinks being served at the concession stand because the only concessions are to your health. You eat this garbage because you’re filling a void and your lives are so empty.
Bryan takes a hot dog and a soda from fans and throws them on said fans after ranting about how much they’re hurting the environment. Next up is the merchandise stand, where there are no YES Movement shirts because the YES Movement is dead. There are however all kinds of AJ Styles stuff because the fans are still trying to fill that void.
Bryan comes into the arena and says he needs the people here to change. AJ fills the void for about thirty seconds, but Bryan can fill the void with something meaningful and valuable. As he gets to ringside, R-Truth dives off the steps to take Bryan down and their scheduled match is starting now. See, this worked better due to a combination of the delivery (for me, Bryan is a better talker as a heel than as a face, which is saying a lot) and the format, as it actually felt different for a change. It was more unique and stood out from all the other stand and talk interviews. Do that more often and see how much better things get.
Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth
Non-title and joined in progress with Truth kicking him in the face for two. Bryan is right back up with the kicks in the corner and a bit of yelling. Truth starts his comeback and tries to speed things up, only to get caught with the running knee for the pin at 2:45. Now can we please stop trying to make Truth someone serious just because he’s #30 in the Rumble?
Bryan goes to leave but AJ runs out and jumps him, knocking Bryan into the set.
Rey Mysterio/Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe/Andrade Cien Almas
Ali goes right after Joe to start and hits a running forearm to the head, earning himself a hard glare. Joe misses a charge in the corner though and gets dropkicked a few times. Ali still can’t take him down but a double dropkick with Rey’s assistance gets it done. Almas comes in and gets snapmared down, followed by a spinning headscissors to keep Almas in trouble. Almas’ head fake into a spinning back elbow gets two but it’s already back to Ali for a running hurricanrana.
Ali gets sent outside though and Joe tosses him over the announcers’ table as we take a break. Back with Ali sitting up in the corner to avoid an Alberto double stomp from Almas. Mysterio comes in and hits a Canadian Destroyer of all things on Almas, setting up the 619 on Joe. Ali adds a 450 and Ali hits a big running flip dive to take Joe out. Almas blocks another 619 and it’s a gutbuster into the hammerlock DDT to finish Mysterio at 11:57.
Rating: C+. That ending is the right choice as you can only have Almas lose time and time again before it stops meaning anything. He’s the kind of guy who could be a major star and having him get a clean pin over Mysterio is a good idea. Almas isn’t going to win the Royal Rumble but there’s more to the wrestling year than just that. See where he can go and give him some momentum to get there.
Carmella is serious tonight and says it’s time to prove that she’s more than just the fun one. She was Smackdown Women’s Champion for a long time and that can happen again. This would be the same Carmella who has done nothing over the last few months other than dance breaks, so getting me to take her seriously in one promo isn’t going to happen.
The Usos are ready to beat the Bar and get a title shot.
Miz comes in to see Shane McMahon and wants him to give them a Tag Team Title shot. Shane isn’t up for that though, because they have to earn it. They don’t agree on their outfits either. I could agree with this storyline going anywhere, like into the abyss, anytime soon.
Here’s a somber Rusev with something to say. Last week week Lana was injured by Shinsuke Nakamura. Lana is home tonight, but Rusev is here as a husband and a man. He wants Nakamura out here right now so he can break every bone in Nakamura’s body. Nakamura pops up on screen from the control truck and promises to prove that last week was Rusev’s fault. We see Rusev kicking Nakamura down, knocking Lana a full three feet down with no one landing on her. Rusev storms to the back to go after Nakamura but gets attacked by an anvil case on the way. A bonus Kinshasa knocks Rusev cold.
Becky Lynch is ready for the Rumble, where Asuka is going to have to do a lot more than climb a ladder.
We see the Gene Okerlund tribute video from last night.
The Bar vs. Usos
Non-title. Jimmy goes after Sheamus’ arm to start but gets punched in the face. A clothesline puts Sheamus on the floor so it’s off to Cesaro for a running shoulder to Jimmy. That just earns him a running hurricanrana but the running Umaga attack launches a bit too early. Back in and Sheamus unloads on Jey in the corner before Sheamus hits some hard clotheslines to take over as we go to a break.
We come back with Jey not being able to get to Jimmy and Cesaro slamming him down for two instead. Sheamus’ ten forearms to the chest have Jey in even more trouble but he scores with an enziguri to get a much needed breather. That’s enough for the hot tag to Jimmy with a Samoan drop on Sheamus. The running Umaga attack gets two on Cesaro as everything breaks down. Jimmy hits a high crossbody for two more and a superkick to Sheamus gets the same.
We actually take a second break and come back with Cesaro swinging Jey into the Sharpshooter. That’s broken up so Sheamus knees Jey in the back to give Cesaro two of his own. Cesaro dives into a superkick though and….here’s Mandy Rose in a towel. She asks if Jimmy can help her because she might have left her gold shorts and gold top in her hotel room. That’s enough of a distraction for Cesaro to Neutralize Jey for the pin at 18:07.
Rating: B+. These guys were rocking, as is almost always the case. I know I complain about these two teams and the New Day being on top for way too long (and they are) but dang these matches are awesome. Maybe it’s because of how often they’ve worked together, but my goodness they know how to put together an awesome match and get the fans into things. The ending hurts it, but otherwise this was awesome.
Post match here’s the Miz to congratulate the Bar on their victory. Miz wants a title shot for himself and Shane. Cesaro isn’t wild on it and says he’ll talk to Sheamus. That means a Brogue Kick to Miz and Cesaro says they accept.
In the back, Mandy drops her towel to reveal the shorts and shirt in question. Naomi jumps her but can’t fight off both Mandy and Sonya Deville. Jimmy runs in for the save.
Charlotte says Becky is the hottest thing right now and Carmella was the hottest thing last year. She’s the hottest thing for the last four years though and now she’s here for herself.
Bryan says AJ is freaking out because he’s not WWE Champion anymore. He starts shouting about how he’ll show AJ what vicious really is at the Royal Rumble because Styles won’t take the title.
Upcoming NXT talents video.
Shane isn’t happy with Miz for going after the Bar like that but Miz says it’s what Shane would do. It’s still not how Shane wanted it to happen but he’s up for the match.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella
The winner gets Asuka at the Rumble. The fans are behind Becky, which isn’t the biggest surprise in the world. Charlotte decks Becky to start and a shoulder to the ribs puts her on the floor. That doesn’t last long and it’s Becky coming back in for kicks to both sets of ribs. A clothesline has Charlotte in trouble on the floor and we take a break.
Back with Becky kicking Carmella again but getting her throat snapped across the top rope. Becky is fine enough to slam Charlotte onto Carmella for two but Charlotte is back up to slug it out. Carmella breaks that up and hits a Flatliner on Becky, followed by the Code of Silence to Charlotte. That’s broken up without much effort and Becky missile dropkicks Carmella down. Becky gets suplexed into the corner though and a big boot drops Carmella again.
Charlotte moonsaults onto both of them for a pair of twos and we go to another breaker. Back again with Carmella getting two off a hurricanrana out of the corner and frustration setting in. A suicide dive takes out Becky and Charlotte’s moonsault misses. Becky is back up to suplex Carmella on the floor and they’re all down.
Back in and Charlotte hits a top rope Natural Selection on Becky but has to break up Carmella’s attempt at stealing the pin. The Figure Eight goes on until Becky breaks it up with the top rope legdrop. Carmella has to break up the Disarm-Her to Charlotte and it’s a spear to Becky. A superkick drops Charlotte but Carmella gets pulled into the Disarm-Her for the tap at 19:23.
Rating: B. Carmella was holding up her end well enough here and the ending is the right call. Even if Becky doesn’t win at the Rumble, there’s a very real chance of her jumping into the Rumble itself or winning the title shot at Elimination Chamber. This was what the fans wanted to see and that made for a rather entertaining match, along with good action from all three.
Asuka comes out for the staredown to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. Well let’s see. Three matches with all but the short one being very good to excellent, storyline advancement, nothing that felt like filler, and title matches being set for the pay per view. This show was everything that Raw wasn’t last night and that makes it one of the best main roster shows in a LONG time. I had a great time with this one and it made me want to see some stuff at the pay per view. Not so much Shane somehow getting a title shot on pay per view, but some of the other stuff is looking great. Awesome show here and worth checking out if you want to see WWE knowing how to do it.
Daniel Bryan b. R-Truth – Running knee
Andrade Cien Almas/Samoa Joe b. Rey Mysterio/Mustafa Ali – Hammerlock DDT to Mysterio
The Bar b. Usos – Neutralizer to Jey
Becky Lynch b. Charlotte and Carmella – Disarm-Her to Carmella
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