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Smackdown - January 3, 2014

Date: January 3, 2014
Location: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're coming up on the Rumble and there are two major stories coming out of Monday: the return of Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatts. The main reaction seems to be that Bryan joining is a slap in the fans' face and I'm not sure where this idea is coming from. The first thing I thought when he agreed to join was that it was a plan by Bryan to infiltrate the Family and take them apart from the inside. I can't imagine this doesn't end with anything other than Bryan doing something to cost the Wyatts big, setting up a showdown between Bray and Daniel, perhaps in the Rumble? Let's get to it.

We open with a recap of the end of Raw with Bryan turning his back on the fans and joining the Family.

Here's the Shield in the ring to open the show. Ambrose says they've heard all the stories about the Shield crumbling from within and that some egos (with an arm around Reigns) are out of control. All of those rumors are dead wrong and if CM Punk thinks he can take down the Shield he's in for a surprise. Reigns thinks the weak link in the team is obvious (with a look over at Ambrose): there isn't a weak link. Rollins says the setbacks are temporary because the Shield will come together and dominate WWE.

Shield vs. Usos

Ambrose is the odd man out and sits in on commentary. Reigns gets things going with Jimmy and headbutts him in the corner. Jimmy gets taken down to the mat and stomped by Roman before it's off to Seth who walks into a clothesline. Off to Jey for the first time and a back elbow to the jaw for two. The Usos get two more off a double elbow drop as Ambrose talks about taking over the WWE and closing down every bar and saloon from Dallas to Singapore. I miss wrestlers implying that they associate with each other off television.

Jimmy gets two off a backdrop before it's back to Jey for an armdrag into an armbar. An uppercut stops Seth's comeback and a clothesline puts him on the floor. The Usos hit stereo kicks to Reigns' ribs to send him outside before backdropping Rollins on top of him. We take a break and come back with Jey holding Rollins in a chickenwing before Seth takes him into the corner for a tag to Reigns.

Roman takes Jey down with an elbow to the jaw as Shield takes over. Seth comes back in off the top with a right hand to the ribs. The announcers actually talk about unifying the midcard titles, meaning it might be a real possibility at the moment. Cole asks Ambrose if he'd like to face Langston. Ambrose, partially in song no less, says no and asks Cole to stop bullying him and “BE A STAR.” Can we just get Punk and Ambrose to do commentary on random matches? I'd buy the Network for that alone.

Off to a cobra clutch by Rollins before Reigns comes back in to bend Jey's arm around the rope. Ambrose keeps spinning around in his chair at commentary. Reigns misses a charge and falls out to the floor. Seth can't make a diving save so Jey makes the hot tag off to Jimmy. Everything breaks down and Rollins gets Samoan dropped but rolls to the floor before the Umaga attack can connect. Reigns is sent outside as well but Ambrose runs in for the DQ at 9:03 shown of 12:03.

Rating: C+. These teams are reaching the point where they could have good matches in their sleep. The Usos are becoming the Kofi Kingstons of the tag division as you're guaranteed a good match but they're never going to go anywhere beyond where they are now. Hopefully they can break that mold and eventually get the titles that they're long overdue to win.

Before Shield can get far in their triple team, CM Punk comes out for the save.

Throughout the night we're going to get New Year's Resolutions from Superstars. Up first are the Prime Time Players who want to use their talents to do more good and.....get a macaroni recipe?

Vickie, six man tag, etc.

Fandango vs. R-Truth

Xavier gets in on commentary as Fandango pounds Truth into the corner. Truth does his backflip to the middle of the ring and hiptosses Fandango down. Woods brags about getting a PHD and being the only man in history to be a doctor and work for WWE. JBL: “What about Dr. Jerry Graham and Dr. Tom Pritchard?”

Woods sums up the connection between he and Truth: they're friends and Truth got him into wrestling. Works for me. Fandango comes back with a quick spinwheel kick to the jaw for two and we hit the reverse chinlock. Truth fires off right hands but runs into a boot. Woods calls out the Funkadactyls and gets on the table (wearing JBL's hat) to dance. The distraction lets Truth hit Little Jimmy for the pin at 2:52. Have we reached the point where the distraction is someone's official set up move? Also shouldn't that be considered a heel move?

Dancing ensues.

Video on Tribute to the Troops.

Big E. Langston talks about Brock destroying his friend on Monday and says he wouldn't want to be Brock Lesnar right now. Curtis Axel comes in and says he's sorry for what happened to Mark but he'll be laughing all the way to the bank after beating Langston tonight. Big E. says no one will be laughing after the match.

Video on Bryan joining the Wyatts on Monday.

Tag Titles: Goldust/Cody Rhodes vs. Wyatt Family

Cody and Goldust are defending but there's no Bray and/or Bryan. Goldust and Harper get things going with Luke driving him into the corner. The crowd is very quiet tonight for some reason. Harper is taken into the corner and a double suplex gets a one count for Luke. Back to Goldust who gets fingers in his eyes before it's off to Rowan. The monsters make some quick tags to take over on Goldust but he comes back with right hands in the corner.

Rowan is knocked to the apron but Luke clotheslines Goldust down and puts on a chinlock. Goldust fights up and gets a quick two off a sunset flip. The hot tag (kind of as the crowd is still barely responding at all) brings in Cody for a knee lift and the Disaster Kick to send Harper to the floor. Cody follows him out but gets sent into the barricade and steps as we take a break.

Back with Rowan firing off more right hands put Cody down as we look at the empty rocking chair. Back to Harper for a running elbow in the corner to knock Cody down again. There's the Gator Roll followed by another chinlock but Harper lets go of the hold to knock Goldust off the apron.

Rowan comes back in but gets sent to the floor, only to have Harper knock Goldust down again. A BIG sitout powerbomb gets two on Cody as Goldust makes the save. Everything breaks down and Harper kicks Cody in the face to knock him silly. Cody breaks up what looks like a belly to back superplex and hits the moonsault to a standing Harper. Goldust makes a blind tag and grabs an O'Connor roll for the pin on Rowan at 12:25.

Rating: B. I'm more and more impressed by Goldust and Cody every time they go out there. There's that natural chemistry that you get with brothers that you just can't teach and it's taking these guys to another level. The Wyatts get better in the ring with every match they have as well with Rowan more than holding up his end of the team.

Miz's resolution is to be awesome.

Nikki Bella vs. Aksana

This is fallout from Aksana pinning Nikki on Monday in the ten Diva tag. They shove each other to start until Nikki hiptosses her down and drives shoulders in the corner. Aksana rolls outside and grabs Nikki's arm to slam it into the post. The announcers are comparing Aksana to Hannibal Lecter for some reason as she gets two off a side slam. Off to an arm lock on Nikki but she fights back with clotheslines and dropkicks. Aksana comes back with a kick to the ribs and forearms in the corner, only to get Racked. Nikki drops to her knees (that move HAS to be a rib somehow) into a backbreaker for the pin at 4:00.

Rating: D. The girls both look good in tight outfits but they have no business in the ring. If nothing else this makes Brie look that much better as she's miles ahead of Nikki as far as wrestling skills go. Aksana is there as eye candy, which makes me wonder why they had get the pin on Monday.

We get the video package on Orton's career from Raw.

Big E. Langston vs. Curtis Axel

Non-title. Axel gets in some right hands to start but gets his head taken off by a clothesline. Big E. charges into a boot in the corner but knocks Axel out of the air with a shoulder block for two. Curtis comes back with some right hands and knee drops before hooking an armbar. Langston pops up and hits a quick belly to belly followed by the Warrior Splash. Axel escapes the Big Ending and snaps Langston's throat across the top rope but walks into the Big Ending for the pin at 3:55.

Rating: D+. This was just a step above a squash for Langston and there's nothing wrong with that. He needs to keep racking up wins like this to make him feel like an unstoppable force before someone knocks him off for the title so Big E. can move to the main event. It worked for Warrior and it can work for Langston.

The Raw ReBound looks at Lesnar destroying Mark Henry.

We get a sitdown interview with Heyman who says Brock is back because there's one WWE Champion. Brock wants to be the one and only champion and it doesn't matter who comes out of the Rumble with the title. Heyman says Brock is looking to do something Old School next week, meaning he'll be on Raw.

Time for Bad News Barrett with his nifty rising podium. The bad news tonight: no one is going to keep their new year's resolutions so this time next year, everyone will be just as fat, unhealthy and unproductive as they are now.

CM Punk/Usos vs. Shield

Ambrose and Punk get us going with CM being driven into the corner, only to have Punk whip him over to the other Shield members. Off to Rollins who grabs a hammerlock but Punk counters into a headlock so he can loudly shout spots in Rollins' ear. A neckbreaker puts Seth down for two and it's off to Jey for a running headbutt. He puts Seth in a Boston crab as the now legal Jimmy drops a leg on the back of Seth's head.

A leg lariat puts Seth down and it's back to Jey for a superkick to the chest. Ambrose is sent to the floor but Reigns blocks a big dive from Jey as we take a break. Back with Reigns driving a headbutt into Jimmy's chest and getting two off the Superman Punch. Rollins comes in with a backsplash for two and we hit the neck crank. Seth goes up but gets crotched down, only to have Ambrose come in to break up the hot tag attempt.

Jimmy breaks a chinlock with a jawbreaker and elbows his way out of a belly to back superplex attempt. Reigns comes in with Jimmy still on the top and gets taken down by a top rope cross body. Rollins knocks Jey off the apron but can't stop the tag to Punk. CM comes in with a springboard clothesline and the running knee in the corner. Ambrose distracts Punk from dropping the Macho Elbow and Rollins crotches him on the top.

Punk rolls through a crossbody to put Rollins in the Anaconda Vice but Reigns makes the save. Another Superman Punch puts Jey down and we get down to the legal Punk vs. Rollins. Seth crawls over and tags in Dean who hits a butterfly superplex on Punk for two. Punk comes back with a GTS attempt but drops him before Reigns can launch the spear. A double superkick drops Roman and Seth gets backdropped to the floor. The twins hit stereo dives and the GTS ends Ambrose at 12:42.

Rating: B-. Good stuff here as you would expect, even with Ambrose taking the fall again. I'm assuming they're building up to Reigns calling Ambrose out for all of the losses but get the title off of him if that's where they're going. If nothing else Shield hasn't turned into a joke and they're potentially splitting while still having awesome matches.

A video from Bray Wyatt talking about Bryan needing the Family to be his home ends the show.

Overall Rating: C. They focused on the tag stuff again tonight but the taping schedule messed a few things up. It's annoying that we have to wait for Monday for anything on Bryan but it's better to do it on a big Raw than on a regular Smackdown anyway. This is another show that you didn't need to see but it was a fine enough way to spend two hours.

Usos b. Shield via DQ when Dean Ambrose interfered
R-Truth b. Fandango – Little Jimmy
Goldust/Cody Rhodes b. Wyatt Family – O'Connor roll to Rowan
Nikki Bella b. Aksana – Torture rack backbreaker
Big E. Langston b. Curtis Axel – Big Ending
CM Punk/Usos b. Shield – GTS to Ambrose

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  1. If the live thread was any indication, no one in america watched this show.

  2. Woods
    sums up the connection between he and Truth: they're black and the writers are lazy


  3. Why are the shield soaken wet? They don't even come from the back. Are they wetting themselves down in the public men's room?

  4. You don't think it's weird to walk into the men's room and seeing Rollins, reigns and deany splashing toilet water on each other?

  5. Why does Xavier Woods come off as a bigger heel than the guy that is turning heel?

  6. I did, but yeah, that thread looked dead.

  7. Because....WWE logic.

  8. I don't know why, but Aksana is getting more and more attractive with each viewing.

  9. And what happened to Broadus Clay? Weren't they supposed to be feuding or something? I'm just really confused over the entire Xavier Woods character.

  10. Smackdown isn't a bad show; it's just boring. Almost everyone works hard but it's the same stuff every week with no character or story development.

  11. What's the story with Aksana's character? (That's me being optimistic and assuming they've put some thought into giving her a character and not just a name.) I've only become familiar with her this year, but I've never heard her talk or seen her involved in an actual storyline. Is the crawling around the ring supposed to be sexy, or is she supposed to be slightly crazy? Is she just Random Sultry European Woman?

  12. What they should do is keep Broadus off TV until the Rumble, when he comes back repackaged and draws the number after Xavier Woods. Since Woods will take up the whole 2 minutes between entrants dancing with the Funkadactyls, Broadus comes out and destroys Woods (and the girls? Do they still let guys hit girls?), then goes on a Rikishi/Kane-style run of destruction mid-Rumble to establish him as a legit monster heel. After the Rumble, put Broadus in a program with a high mid-card face, somebody like Ziggler or Henry who can make him look good.

  13. Woods is so awful in every way

  14. I really don't think they have plans for him. They jobbed him twice after his turn and now he's disappeared from tv. For some reason, I see him ending up on the post wrestlemania future endeavored list.

  15. Ambrose's commentary was pretty awesome. His speaking style is just so creepy and odd and different, he sure gets into character.

  16. When NXT was a "competition" show, she was a participant on the divas season, along with AJ and Naomi. She had blonde curly hair at the time and was paired up with Goldust as her pro. As the season went on, the 2 became a part of a romantic relationship, where they eventually had a wedding on the show. At the wedding she slapped him and took his million dollar championship and left ( Goldust had the title because he stole it from Ted Dibiase jr., who revived it earlier that year). Goldust eventually took the title back, and then once the NXT season was over, she disappeared from TV. Late 2010 was a crazy time.
    She then returned in the fall of 11 with basically that gimmick you put in your last sentence. She would show up backstage on Smackdown and try to get a some sort of rise out of Teddy Long, if you know what I mean. They too then became a couple. Once Long lost his GM power at WM 28, however, she moved on to the new talent, Antonio Cesaro. Once he got the US title, he dumped her after he thought she costed him a match.
    She has been in this default position ever since.

  17. I liked how he was like, "Why you bullying me Cole? Be a star."

  18. At this point, I probably watch more Smackdown than Raw, honestly. I'd rather spend two hours watching good wrestling and catching up on the relevant stuff from Raw than 3 hours of crappier wrestling and mostly boring sports entertainment.

  19. I hear you, but for me there has to be some personal investment involved for me to care. I'm not asking a lot, just develop the characters a little bit every week and I'm happy.

  20. Yeah, he was great. He's one of those guys who has to be a heel his whole career because he's perfect for the role. Just like the Usos should only ever be babyfaces.

  21. I remember reading that the whole reason they split up Tons of Funk was that they had big plans for Clay. It seems like they like him, but I'm basing that on the fact that I see him in commercials and I see his action figures in stores more than some of the higher-on-the-card wrestlers.

  22. They probably had big plans for him at the time. He probably did something silly to get buried, like forgetting to shake someone's hand.

  23. It'd be a little weird that one of my dreams was happening in real life, yeah.

  24. I liked evil hip-hop Usos...

    And I think if babyface Jake the Snake can work, babyface Dean can work. Though he used it to play a crazy heel, his evil son of a crackwhore gimmick in the indies was kinda sympathetic.


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