SmackDown Recap 1/14: Setting The Stage For The Royal Rumble

Hey gang!  It's only two weeks and counting until one of WWE's biggest events of the year, the Royal Rumble, which also kicks off the road to Wrestlemania.  So with only three episodes of SmackDown left until the big event on January 29, they really need to make them count.  Will they though?  Well, that remains to be seen.  So far, the Women's Rumble Match is more built than the Men's, but at least the SmackDown main event match is set, as Universal Champion Roman Reigns will defend the title that he's now held for more than 500 days against his former stablemate and current Raw star Seth Rollins.  Let's take a look and see if they were able to move the ball down the field on the newest episode of SmackDown.

SmackDown Recap 1/15: Setting The Stage For The Royal Rumble
Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins confront one another on SmackDown, courtesy of WWE.

We kick things off with the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The Usos, hitting the ring.  On commentary, Michael Cole does confirm that Xavier Woods was injured in last week's match and will be out "indefinitely".

The Usos say they respect The New Day because they're the only team that can push them, but they're still the best.  They then introduce four teams that will now compete in a Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match to name the number one contenders for their titles: Los LothariosCesaroMansoorJinder MahalShanky, and The Viking Raiders.

Los Lotharios vs Cesaro & Mansoor vs Jinder Mahal & Shanky vs The Viking Raiders – Number One Contenders Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match

The Usos hop on commentary for this one.  The match is pretty much just an assembly line spot fest that doesn't make much use of the rules.  Eventually, the Vikings hit the Viking Experience for the pinfall to become the number one contenders for the SmackDown tag titles.

Winners: The Viking Raiders

We now head backstage where Naomi confronts Sonya Deville to keep maybe the weirdest and most nonsensical "rivalry" in WWE today going.

Sami Zayn now heads out, where he rants about Johnny Knoxville and announces he's officially entered the Royal Rumble match.

Zayn then says he's going to out-jackass Knoxville and promises the most spectacular stunt show ever, In-Zayn.  He then comes out being pushed in a shopping cart by two guys and says he's going to jump off of a ramp and fly over the ring.

After much hesitation and false starts, Zayn stops the stunt and says he has to check his surroundings to make sure it's safe for him.  Rick Boogs (rocking a new haircut) hops to the apron to distract Zayn, while Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura sneaks in the ring behind him and lays him out with a Kinshasa Kick.  Boogs then Military Presses Zayne over his head and throws him over the top rope to the outside.

We now go to a backstage interview with Aliyah ahead of her first SmackDown singles match, where she'll face Natalya.  She says how nervous she is, but is then interrupted by Natalya, who brags about some Guinness World Records that no one cares about.

Aliyah vs Natalya

Alright so, this thing is a whole idiotic cluster from the start.  Natalya jumps Aliyah before the bell and beats her down.  Why they didn't ring the bell and start the match is beyond me, as this happens all the time.  The ref separates them and then there's a whole back and forth situation where the ref wants to cancel the match, but Aliyah convinces him to let her compete, which he does.  They ring the bell and Aliyah immediately rolls up Natalya for the pinfall and they're saying this is the fastest win in history.

Winner: Aliyah

Michael Cole is in the ring to welcome back WWE Hall of Famer Lita, who is appearing on SmackDown for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Cole asks her why she's back to enter the Rumble match and Lita says she thinks she still has one run left in her.

She says she's going to win the Rumble match and head to Wrestlemania, which brings out SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, who says she's winning the Rumble and will end her comeback.  She then asks Lita how she's going to handle the humiliation of her ending her?  They have a sassy back and forth until Flair guarantees to retire Lita and Lita responds by hitting her with a Twist of Fate.

We now go to a backstage interview with Sheamus, who says he's taking on Ricochet tonight to get revenge for him injuring Ridge Holland at WWE Day 1.

Sheamus vs Ricochet

Here's your only legitimate match of the night and it's a pretty decent one, which isn't surprising considering who's in the ring here.

It gets better as it goes, as they hit each other with some fun offense and get some exciting reversals and near-falls in.

Ricochet tries a Handspring off of the ropes but eats a Brogue Kick from Sheamus on the other side of it for the pinfall and the win.

Winner: Sheamus

Naomi again confronts Sonya Deville again and Adam Pearce intervenes by allowing Naomi to face Charlotte Flair again next week.

Kofi Kingston hits the ring and reads a message from King Woods on a scroll, saying he was injured and will miss the Royal Rumble, but in his absence, Kingston will enter the match.

It's idiot time as Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss head out and announce they're entering the Rumble and Corbin says he's going to eliminate Kingston himself.  They then exchange some poop jokes back and forth (Vince McMahon is truly a brilliant writer) and start a match.

Kofi Kingston vs Madcap Moss

They have a silly short match (where yes, Kofi at one point pretends to take a dump on Moss' head) and Moss hits Kingston with The Punchline for the pinfall and the win.

Winner: Madcap Moss

Seth Rollins heads out now, apparently dressing like Michael Jackson tonight.

Roman Reigns follows and heads out next.

Rollins offers to do the old SHIELD fist bump with him, but Reigns says that's beneath him now.  They then have a back and forth over who's better, but Rollins points out that he earned his accomplishments by himself while Reigns has always needed help.

Reigns then mocks Rollins, saying his wife is a bigger star than he is.  The Usos then run in behind Rollins and try to jump him, but Rollins dodges the attack and takes them out before strutting off to end SmackDown.

And that's the show.  It wasn't much of a show, with very little wrestling and a lot of tire-spinning.  But at least Vince got his poop jokes in.  That's all he really cares about at the end of the day.

Till next time friends.

1/14 SmackDown

SmackDown Recap 1/15: Setting The Stage For The Royal Rumble
Review by Ryan Fassett

Sheamus vs Ricochet was pretty much the lone highlight of the show. It was two hours wasted and even the big face-off between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins was a big dud with a silly and abrupt ending that didn't help further the feud or add any anticipation to seeing them face each other at the Royal Rumble.

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Ryan FassettAbout Ryan Fassett

As a lifelong fan of movies, comics, wrestling, and collectibles, Ryan is excited to share his thoughts on all of it with you. He is also an active filmmaker and published comic book writer, along with being a connoisseur of soda.
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