Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Smackdown Live Review for this week as we continue on the road to the Royal Rumble on January 27. Here’s what is advertised for this week’s show: Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade, Sonya Deville vs. Carmella (the match was advertised and did not happen) and The Miz is hosting “The Best Birthday Bash in the World” for 49-year-old rich guy Shane McMahon.
Live from Birmingham, Alabama, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1013. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you want to support us at TJRWrestling, here’s a Donate Link for our Paypal where anything you send will go towards building the site. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The show began with Becky Lynch driving up to the arena. She walked towards the arena and had no luggage with her. Kayla Braxton asked her if she’s ready for Asuka and Becky said she’ll answer that in the ring. Becky tossed Kayla her keys, but Kayla dropped them.
The New Day were shown in the parking lot with their pancakes while Otis of Heavy Machinery drank some eggs milkshake and Becky Lynch took a sip of it while everybody was impressed by her. Lynch walked to the ring.
Analysis: They even put Becky over in backstage segments with the dudes. She is booked strong these days.
Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch walked out to the ring to a big ovation and the fans chanting “Becky” for her.
Lynch said that in two weeks at Royal Rumble, she gets the chance to win back the Smackdown Women’s Title. She noted that she made that title matter and where is it now? Becky claimed that some people think it’s easy to connect with the crowd and main event while everybody is trying to be badass ever since she broke through. Lynch said that there are those that try to discredit her by saying she is hype, yet she delivers on everything that she says every single time. Lynch said that if you really want to talk about hype, Asuka walked into last year’s WrestleMania undefeated and unbeatable and yet, she lost. Lynch noted that the loss shook her to her core and she fell off the radar. Lynch said that the invincible Asuka couldn’t beat Charlotte Flair once (Lynch didn’t say Charlotte’s name but that’s who she was referring to), yet Lynch has beaten Charlotte all over the world for the last five months. Asuka’s music interrupted the promo.
Asuka made her entrance with the Smackdown Women’s Championship around her waist. She got a nice ovation from the crowd, but not as loud as Lynch. Asuka told Lynch she likes to talk and she likes hype. Asuka said that after Royal Rumble, Becky will not be in Charlotte’s shadow because she will be in Asuka’s shadow.
The Iiconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay made their entrance with microphones in hand. They haven’t been used on Smackdown for several weeks. Kay mocked Asuka for her scary faces and her threats. Royce called Becky a bully for treating Kayla like a valet. Kay said it was typical behavior from a man. Royce said that this nonsense is temporary because they are going to win the women’s Royal Rumble match and then they will be the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. They screamed while the fans booed. After that, they will make WrestleMania iconic.
Lynch asked one of them to step in the ring with her right now and she said she’ll make an example out of one of them. That led to a break.
Analysis: It was fine for an opening show promo. Lynch is still very popular with the crowd, so they gave her a big reaction for everything she did. I think they could have done a bit more to build the tension between Lynch and Asuka. Some of the Asuka dialogue was hard to understand, but they kept it short and simple for her. The Iiconics are often put in spots like this to get beat by the faces of Smackdown, which has happened for most of their run on the main roster.
The match began after the break. The story is that Lynch wasn’t ready for the match, but she wanted to fight after what the Iiconics said to her.
Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay)
Lynch was wrestling in jeans and her “The Man” t-shirt along with shoes that are not her usual wrestling shoes. Asuka looked on from ringside. Lynch kicked Royce out of the ring. Back in the ring, Becky hit a leaping kick on Royce followed by an armbar and Lacey Evans was shown watching the match on a TV backstage. Lynch left the ring to attack again, then when they went back in, Royce took control with punches to the back. Lynch with a knee to the ribs followed by forearms to the face, but Royce came back with a corner clothesline. Royce slapped on a chinlock. Lynch broke free with a boot to the face followed by a forearm shot to the face. They went to the floor again with Royce hitting a clothesline to take control and they went to break there.
The match returned with Royce holding Lynch in a headlock while Evans was shown watching the match with a drink in her hand. I would like to drink while I type, but I really need both hands to get the details for you wonderful people. That’s why I like commercial breaks. Anyway, Lynch took down Royce with a weak looking Thesz Press followed by a Bexploder Suplex across the ring. Lynch with a kick to the chest and Royce came back with a kick to the face for a two count. Lynch countered a suplex and slapped on the Dis-Arm-Her submission for the victory after nine minutes.
Winner by submission: Becky Lynch
Analysis: *1/2 It was a below average match with some sloppy moments in there. I thought it went a few minutes too long with Royce getting in more offense than I would have expected from her. I think five minutes total for the match without a commercial break would have been better.
Post math, Asuka went into the ring for some yelling in Japanese. Asuka yelled at Billie Kay to go into the ring so that they could have a match. Kay wanted to leave, so Asuka brought her into the ring.
Asuka vs. Billie Kay
Asuka with a running hip attack and a sliding knee to the face. Asuka with an armbar submission and Kay got a rollup for two. Asuka slapped on the Asuka Lock leading to Kay tapping out to end the match in about one minute.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: No point in rating that. Squash win for Asuka.
Becky and Asuka had a staredown in the ring. Nothing happened with them as AJ Styles’ music hit as the former WWE Champion made his way down to the ring and the ladies went to the back.
Styles walked around the ring, then he jumped the barricade and walked up the steps. The show went to break with the announcers wondering what he was doing.
AJ Styles was shown in the concession stand area and he did a promo like Daniel Bryan last week. Fans were chanting his name while Styles tried to talk to the camera, but they were so loud that he had to yell just to be heard. Styles said that people can do what they want, eat what they want and have a good time. Styles said that these people are no different than the fans in Phoenix when he kicks Daniel Bryan’s ass at the Royal Rumble. Styles threw some of his AJ Styles t-shirts into the crowd. Daniel Bryan showed up to attack Bryan in the concourse area of the arena. Styles picked up Bryan and slammed Bryan through a table full of food. Bryan’s clothes were full of mustard from the hot dogs. Security showed up to pull Styles off Bryan.
Analysis: Good brawl. It makes me think that the Bryan/Styles match at Royal Rumble will have a stipulation like a Street Fight or Falls Count Anywhere, but that’s just a guess at this point. I think it would be smart to differentiate it from their other matches.
The Usos were backstage doing a photo shoot. Some guy showed up with a red box. Jimmy thought it was an anniversary gift form his wife. Jey read it and it was a note from Mandy along with a Rose. There was also a hotel room key in the box. Jimmy just looked on confused about the situation and not knowing what to do.
Analysis: I think most males watching the show are very jealous of Jimmy Uso right about now.
Samoa Joe was shown walking backstage when EC3 was back there posing in front of a mirror. Joe just shook his head and kept walking because he’s in action up next.
Analysis: It would be nice if EC3 had something meaningful, but for now it’s just a cameo appearance.
There was a plug for R-Truth and Carmella having a “vacation” at WWE Headquarters in Stanford, CT. There were images shown from their trip. There are videos on WWE.com and Youtube as well. The announce team is Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.
Andrade and Zelina Vega were interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the interview area. Andrade said that Rey is his idol, but Andrade is the future. Vega said that it’s time to focus on the future while noting that Andrade is going to win the Royal Rumble and WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
Analysis: They have officially shortened Andrade’s name by removing the “Cien” Almas part. It doesn’t bother me, but I liked the full name. We get used to it with everybody they do it for like Rusev, Cesaro, Harper, Rowan, Neville and plenty of others in the past.
Samoa Joe entered first for the next match. Mustafa Ali was up next with a plug for 205 Live moving back to Tuesday night after Smackdown on WWE Network.
Joe attacked Ali before the bell rang while Ali was posing by the turnbuckle. Joe hit a jumping kick to the face. Joe went after Ali on the floor and he whipped him into the steel ring post. The referee told Joe to leave, so the match never started. Joe teased leaving, but then he hit Ali with headbutts. Joe yelled “do you understand” and then whipped Ali hard into the steel ring post. That was a great sell by Ali as he flipped as he took the bump and landed hard on the floor.
There were replays shown of Joe’s attack on Ali. Joe went back down to ringside and he teased giving Ali a Powerbomb into the announce table, but he changed his mind. Joe whipped Ali into the barricade at ringside. Joe left with a serious look while Ali was down and getting checked on by referees as well as a doctor.
Analysis: No match. Just an angle to put over Joe as a cheap heel while Ali sold everything really well. This should build to another match between them down the road as well as put over Joe as a threat in the Royal Rumble. They did a similar angle about a month ago with Nakamura attacking Rusev before a match, so clearly somebody on WWE’s creative team likes doing this an angle to get some heat on a heel. It was fine for what it was.
There was a shot of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose in the locker room. Sonya wasn’t sure about Mandy giving him her hotel room key. Mandy said she wanted to make Naomi’s life miserable, so she wants to break up Naomi’s marriage. That’s why she invited Jimmy to her hotel room and she left Sonya by saying she had a date.
Still to come: The Miz has a birthday party for Shane McMahon.
Rey Mysterio was shown walking backstage with Nikki Cross behind a cage saying we should let Nikki play. Mysterio vs. Andrade is next.
A commercial aired for the Royal Rumble on January 27th in Phoenix.
A replay aired of Samoa Joe attacking Mustafa Ali before the bell rang to start their match. Those bumps by Ali off the ring post were impressive.
Samoa Joe was shown walking backstage and Kayla Braxton asked about the attack on Ali. Joe said that was a statement. Joe said he’s going to win the Royal Rumble match and he claimed that any man that declares himself a champion is a target and Joe will hunt him down.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance. Rey greeted fans at ringside while Phillips plugged Temptation Island on USA Network. Andrade entered with Zelina Vega.
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega)
They started off with Mysterio hitting an impressive arm drag to send Andrade into the corner. They did some quick takedowns leading to one counts because they are so fast. Mysterio slapped on a side headlock. Andrade broke free and kicked Mysterio down. Andrade had a hammerlock on the left arm of Mysterio. Almas whipped Mysterio left arm first into the turnbuckle. Mysterio broke free with a headscissors off the ropes followed by another headscissors. Mysterio sent Andrade into the ropes, Rey went for the 619, Andrade avoided it and they each got two counts. Andrade went for a dropkick, Mysterio held the ropes and Mysterio hit a hurricanrana over the top to the floor, but Andrade held onto Mysterio and gave Mysterio a Powerbomb on the floor. Ouch. They went to break there.
It was about ten minutes into the match with Andrade missing a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Mysterio came back with a seated senton off the top followed by a headscissors. Andrade picked up Mysterio, but Mysterio came back with an impressive DDT for a two count. Andrade with an elbow to the head, he avoided a kick from Rey and a hip toss by Andrade sent Mysterio into the turnbuckle. Andrade with the double knee attack against the turnbuckle for a two count. Mysterio sent Andrade face first into the middle turnbuckle. Mysterio went up top, but Andrade tripped him up by the turnbuckle leading to the double foot stomp spot from Andrade by the ropes, but Mysterio escaped and sent Andrade to the apron. Mysterio up top and he hit a hurricanrana off the apron to the floor. Wow, that was incredible! Mysterio followed that up with an attack on Andrade on the floor leading to a second break.
The match returned with Mysterio hitting a sunset flip Powerbomb for a two count. A clip aired from during the break with Andrade hitting a dropkick to counter Rey’s attack off the top. Andrade got a rollup for two, Mysterio with an enziguri kick an Andrade hit a back elbow to the head. Mysterio went for the Canadian Destroyer like last week, but Andrade hit a spinebuster to get out of it. Andrade up top, moonsault, Rey moved and Andrade hit another moonsault on Mysterio for a two count. The fans did the “this is awesome” chant and it should have been louder because this has been awesome. Mysterio was sent into the ropes and he hit the Canadian Destroyer that ends in a piledriver and it got a two count. That’s insane. It looked so smooth. Mysterio went for the 619, Andrade caught him and Mysterio hit a Crucifix Bomb for a two count. Mysterio sent Andrade into the ropes followed by the 619 kick to the face. Zelina went on the apron to distract and Andrade tripped up Mysterio on the top rope. Andrade wit ha Hammerlock DDT off the top rope for the pinfall win after 21 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade
Analysis: ****1/4 That was an excellent, PPV quality style of match. There was a slow pace early in the match and then they really picked it up with an exciting conclusion. The right guy went over with Andrade getting the win thanks to Vega’s distraction and he’s the younger guy, so that’s the right way to book it. I was so impressed by Mysterio, who at 44 years old is moving around very well. Earlier this decade he looked past his prime in WWE, but in the last few years he dropped weight and got in great shape. It’s showing in his performances. Andrade continues to impress and I’m glad he was able to have such a long match on the main roster because he’s an outstanding in-ring performer that just needs opportunities to show what he can do. I love that the crowd was into the match and that they appreciated the good action. It’s rare to get a match over four stars on TV, but that’s what we got here. I recommend you check it out if you didn’t see it.
Man, I LOVED Andrade vs. Mysterio.
The pacing, story, athleticism, execution – everything was on point. They created genuine excitement. I hope to tear it up with these both these guys at some point.
— Sami Zayn (@SamiZayn) January 16, 2019
There was a recap of Jimmy Uso getting a hotel room invitation from Mandy Rose. That led to Mandy telling her best friend Sonya Deville that she wants to make Naomi’s life miserable by breaking up her marriage to Jimmy.
There was a shot of Jimmy walking down a hotel room lobby. He took out the hotel room key and the show went to a break there.
Jimmy Uso was apparently in the hallway for three minutes and he knocked on the door. Jimmy went into the room. A camera was already in the hotel room. Mandy Rose was sitting in a chair in a robe with her legs crossed and she was barefoot. She took off her robe to reveal some black lingerie. Mandy asked what he thinks and what will his wife think. Jimmy said that they can’t do this. She said that they can do this. A photographer showed up to take pictures (then he left quickly) and then she said that this isn’t about him. She said that this is about his wife. Mandy complained about Naomi while noting that she will never be as hot as Mandy. Mandy said that Jimmy knows it, Naomi knows it, Mandy knows it and everybody knows it. Mandy said when Naomi gets a look at those photos, they will ruin her entire life. Jimmy left the room and Naomi showed up. Naomi attacked Mandy and they went brawling onto the bed in the room. The women exchanged punches. Naomi won that battle until Mandy tossed her over a chair. Mandy ran out of the room barefoot as Jimmy went back in to check on his wife Naomi.
Analysis: That was unique and different from what we usually get. Mandy looked great in the lingerie and that’s something we don’t see that often in today’s WWE, but clearly, they are trying to be a bit edgier after the Alexa Bliss topless (with her hands covering up) segment on Raw. Why would they need a guy to take pictures when there’s a camera guy in the room and it’s being broadcast on a worldwide television show? I know that in WWE they don’t acknowledge the cameras, but in this case, it is pretty lame to ignore them. Anyway, it was a decent way to continue the Mandy feud with Naomi. The fight in the hotel room looked weak at times, but I get that they didn’t want to break anything in the room either, so that’s why it was pretty tame. The other story is that Jimmy didn’t go alone, he brought wife Naomi with him and that continued the storyline between the women. Mandy looked great. That’s not a bold statement by me.
There was a clip from Raw with the revealing of the Women’s Tag Team Titles along with media outlets covering the news.
The announcers mentioned the Royal Rumble and some of the matches while noting that Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the US Title has been added to the lineup.
The Miz entered for the Shane McMahon birthday bash and that’s up next after a break.
The Best Birthday Bash in the World hosted by The Miz
The Miz was in the ring with birthday gifts on the table, balloons, cake, the Best in the World trophy and other stuff in the ring. Miz introduced his buddy and tag team partner Shane. It is really Shane’s birthday and he is 49 years old today.
Shane entered the ring where he thanked Miz for the birthday wishes and thanked Birmingham as the fans chanted “Happy Birthday” for him. Shane said he’s usually uncomfortable with birthday parties. Miz said this is not an average birthday because this is an arena full of Shane’s fans. Miz called Shane’s favorite bakery and they shipped Shane two specialty cakes with one of them being vanilla while the other is chocolate. There’s a picture of Shane/Miz on the vanilla cake along with the Best in the World trophy.
Miz gave Shane a present with Miz noting it’s hard to buy a gift for Shane leading to an “open it” chant. Shane opened the box and it was Jordan 33 shoes with Shane excited about it. Shane thanked him for it.
A video package aired showing some Shane McMahon career highlights including all the many highspots in his career including his “Best in the World” win at Crown Jewel. They also showed the clips of Miz convincing Shane to team with him over the last few months. It was a nice video.
Shane thanked Miz for the video. Shane said that ever since he was a kid and he’s been going to WWE events since he was that high. Shane said when he was a kid his first partner was going to be Andre the Giant, but he has to say that he’s excited about walking into the Royal Rumble (he said this Sunday, so he misspoke there because it’s two Sundays away) with Miz as his partner. They hugged. Miz said that at the Royal Rumble, Shane’s dream will come true when they capture the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Miz said it’s time for everybody to sing Happy Birthday. Miz led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Shane, but before they could finish the song, The Bar duo of Sheamus and Cesaro showed up to interrupt. They are the Royal Rumble opponents of Miz and Shane.
Sheamus said that was embarrassing. Cesaro noted that they didn’t invite Vince McMahon and Sheamus said that Vince didn’t want to come because he didn’t give a damn about Shane. Sheamus said that he’ll care less after Sheamus and Cesaro beat them at Royal Rumble. Shane said that Sheamus thinks he is a tough guy after he hit a Brogue Kick on Miz last week. Shane wanted Sheamus to have a match with Miz right now. Miz said that he’s not dressed to compete since he’s in a suit. Shane said he wasn’t dressed to compete when he won best in the world and Miz said if that’s what you want then they’ll do it.
Analysis: It was fine as a time killing segment to show that Shane had come around to accepting Miz as his partner, but a lot of it was filler and just took up too much time. The match setup is okay although there’s not that much time left in the show for it.
There’s only about six minutes left in the show as the match began.
The Miz (w/Shane McMahon) vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro)
The Miz was wrestling in a dress shirt and dress pants. It looked like he had his wrestling boots on, so he was ready in that way. The table with a cake was moved to out of the ring. Sheamus was in control with a running knee attack against the turnbuckle. Sheamus took off the Miz dress shirt followed by forearms to the chest. Miz got back into the ring and got a rollup, but Sheamus came back with a knee to the gut. Sheamus slapped on a side headlock. Miz got back into it when Sheamus missed a turnbuckle attack and Miz hit two running dropkicks. Sheamus came back with a forearm to the face of Miz. Cesaro got in a cheap shot on Miz while on the apron. Shane went after Cesaro and sent him through the table at ringside, which had cake on it, so Cesaro went crashing through cake. Sheamus was distracted by that, so Miz got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: * It was a quick match with Sheamus in control for most of it and Miz only winning because of Sheamus getting distracted after Shane put Cesaro through the table. It was basic stuff here. The dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again.
After the match, Sheamus attacked Miz, so Shane saved his partner with a back elbow. Miz got back up and hit Sheamus with a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz set up Shane against the turnbuckle and Shane went up top for the Coast to Coast dropkick. Miz grabbed a small cake, put it in the face of Sheamus and Shane hit a Coast to Coast dropkick into the cake into the face of Sheamus.
Shane grabbed the Best in the World trophy and he held the trophy in the ring with Miz. Shane’s music played as the duo celebrated to end the show.
Analysis: I’m not sure if this is going to lead to Miz being a face, but they might be doing that. It still feels like Miz is going to turn on Shane when they lose a big match. The story at this point is about Shane accepting Miz as his partner and going along with the idea that they can win the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at Royal Rumble. I will pick them to win the titles.
Three Stars of the Show
- Rey Mysterio
- Becky Lynch
5 out of 10
Last week: 8
2019 Average: 6.67
Last 5 Weeks: 8, 7, 6.5, 7, 7
2019 High: 8 (January 8)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 5 out of 10.
The highlight of this week’s show was the Almas/Mysterio match, which was one of the best TV matches in WWE in a long time. I absolutely loved it and look forward to watching it again.
The rest of the show was poor with a four-minute main event match along with a boring Shane McMahon birthday segment. The women’s segment and two matches in the first 30 minutes were not that interesting. The Mandy/Naomi/Jimmy was furthered with Mandy looking really good, but it was weak in the end. It was a below average Smackdown this week.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 27 in Phoenix. Here’s what we know so far.
30 Man Royal Rumble Match (John Cena, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Elias, Jinder Mahal, Jeff Hardy, Bobby Lashley, Andrade, Rey Mysterio, Mustafa Ali, R-Truth at #30)
30 Woman Royal Rumble Match (Natalya, Naomi, Bayley, Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Alicia Fox, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Zelina Vega, Mickie James, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Carmella at #30)
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bar – Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami
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