Live from Everett, Washington, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1016. 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 a shot of the crowd and then Charlotte Flair’s music hit as the “Queen” entered the arena in street clothes looking nice in black with some dark lipstick. Flair refused to shake a fan’s hand at ringside, so that was heelish of her.
A clip aired from Raw showing that Stephanie McMahon suspended Becky Lynch due to Becky’s refusal of seeing a doctor for her injured (in the storyline) left knee. Becky attacked Stephanie, then she was pulled apart and Stephanie kicked Becky’s left knee in self-defense.
Let’s Hear from Charlotte Flair
Flair said that the only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. Flair said that Becky refused medical attention, she beat up Stephanie McMahon and her rogue behavior got her suspended. Flair said she hopes Becky sees the doctor, goes to rehab and hopes she is able to go to WrestleMania. When some fans chanted “Becky” at that moment, Flair mocked her. Flair said that she knows someone who is 100% healthy and would love to face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania…she pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Fans were booing. As Flair did that, Lynch appeared in the crowd conveniently in the same shot under the WrestleMania sign.
Becky Lynch walked down the steps as the spotlight was on her. Flair said this fan needs a ticket. Fans chanted “Becky” for her. Flair said it’s one thing to take her dad’s catchphrase and it’s another thing to steal Roman Reigns’ entrance. Lynch limped her way over the barricade and grabbed a microphone at ringside. Security guys showed up, but they did nothing. Good effort, guys.
Lynch said that Charlotte was boring people to death and Flair mocked Lynch for being in clown school. The women argued as referees entered the ring along with bald producer Adam Pearce. Triple H’s music hit.
Triple H, the suit wearing McMahon-in-law, walked down to the ring saying that Becky was suspended and she’s not supposed to be here. Triple H told Becky to see the doctor. Flair was mocking Lynch, so Hunter told her that it didn’t concern her and told her to get out of there.
Hunter told Becky she was suspended as of last night and said she should go home. Hunter said it’s simple, see the doctor, get cleared and it’s as simple as that. Lynch said that she doesn’t trust him or any of this in good faith. Hunter said that it is what it is and if she wants the suspension, see the doctor to become medically cleared to go to WrestleMania to face Ronda Rousey. Hunter said until then, go home. Hunter was about to leave when Becky said: “How’s Steph?” She asked if Steph was medically cleared after Becky punched her in the face. The fans chanted “Becky” for that.
Hunter went back into the ring. Hunter said he didn’t see it until now, but he sees it now. Hunter said he bought into the whole “I’m the man crap” just like they did. Hunter said she’s a self-destructor that’s afraid of failure. Hunter said that Lynch is looking to be a martyr and to find a way out of this whole thing. Hunter said that when Lynch got to the pinnacle of her career and got that Survivor Series match with Ronda Rousey, she was looking for a way out and she got that way out. Hunter said she knew that was a suicide mission, but she did it anyway. Hunter said that they blamed all of them and blamed the doctor for “medical prison” as she called it. Hunter said that was a convenient excuse, so that is why Becky is out there doing the exact same thing. The fans were chanting, so he told them to shut their mouths, which drew boos. Hunter said that here we are again with the convenient excuse looking for a way out when the truth is she is just afraid. Hunter claimed that she is afraid to go to the doctor and she’s scared of what the doctor might say. Hunter said he didn’t even think she was injured or is this just an act to find a way out. Hunter said that Lynch is scared of what the doctor will say because he might tell her that she can face Rousey. Hunter said that Becky is afraid because Ronda Rousey will expose her as the fraud that she is. Hunter said that with the whole world watching, she will prove to everyone that “Becky Lynch fears Ronda Rousey.”
Lynch responded to that with a slap to the face! The fans chanted “Becky” for that as Hunter stared her in the eyes. The fans chanted “one more time” for her to hit him again. Lynch smirked in his face and she left the ring. She could have left the ring a bit slower to sell the knee injury better. Lynch left over the barricade and went up the steps again while the spotlight was on her.
Analysis: That was a very good opening promo with Hunter and Flair each acting heelish, which only made the fans chant more for Lynch. Doing the injury angle plus the suspension story with Lynch really puts the spotlight on her even more than usual and the fact that she was in the opening segment of both shows this week shows how WWE is really treating Lynch like a big star. If Flair is really going to do the heel thing, she needs to heel it up even more with cheap attacks and acting heelish during matches as well. I think it’s a smart move to make Flair a heel going to WrestleMania assuming they are still going with the Rousey vs. Lynch vs. Flair plan. Triple H did an excellent job of being the guy that was out there doing what was best for Lynch, but then when she insulted his wife Stephanie, Hunter ripped on her by trying to get in her head saying that she was worried about facing Rousey. I thought it was handled very well. Once again, the positioning of Lynch in the opening segment of both Raw and Smackdown is a big thing. Maybe next week she can slap Vince and Shane McMahon too.
Coming up on Smackdown: Mustafa Ali vs. Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy and Rusev/Nakamura vs. Gallows/Anderson up next.
The team of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were already in the ring. The announce team for Smackdown is Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.
The heel team made their entrance with Shinsuke Nakamura up first. A replay aired of Nakamura and Rusev attacking R-Truth last week with the announcers claiming that he was at home recovering. Rusev entered with Lana, who had a boot on her left leg selling an ankle injury. Rusev turned heel last week on Smackdown in case you missed it.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev (w/Lana)
Nakamura hit a spin kick to the head of Anderson. Rusev tagged himself in, which led to Nakamura arguing about him because the story is they don’t get along. Anderson hit a forearm on Rusev. Anderson hit a slingshot dive over the top to take out both heels on the floor.
The match returned with Nakamura grounding Anderson with a headlock. Anderson broke free with an uppercut. Nakamura whipped Anderson into the turnbuckle, he missed a jumping kick and Nakamura hit a reverse exploder suplex. Anderson came back with a spinebuster. Gallows got the hot tag against Rusev with a kick to the head, running splash against the turnbuckle and a kick. Gallows hit a spinebuster on Nakamura. Rusev and Gallows hit a double clothesline and Lana told Nakamura to get up to help Rusev. Nakamura was slow in getting up, so Anderson tagged in and Nakamura got back into it with a Kinshasa on Gallows. Anderson hit a Rocket Kick on Nakamura and Rusev capitalized on that with a Machka Kick for the win at around eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid tag team match with the new team of Rusev and Nakamura getting the win. They might become a more permanent team because I think the story of them not getting along won’t last, so they’ll realize they are good together. It would be nice if Gallows and Anderson had bigger roles on Smackdown, but they have been poorly used for a while. If they remained on Raw, it may have been better for them in the last year. I thought the finish of the match was well done with some big moves leading to the finish.
After the match, Rusev helped Nakamura up and they posed together in the middle of the ring along with Lana.
The announcers talked about the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Title: Daniel Bryan defending vs. Mustafa Ali, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles.
Mustafa Ali did a backstage promo saying that what if the Viper strikes and he misses. Ali said what if he survives Elimination Chamber and what if he becomes WWE Champion? He said “what if” again. He held up his light mask that he wears for his entrance.
Paige appeared in a backstage segment to introduce a clip of the “Fighting with my Family” movie that comes out on February 22. It’s the same preview clip they showed on Raw and they’ve shown in before as well. Since WWE produced the movie along with The Rock, they are going to push it heavily.
Next week on Smackdown: McMiz TV hosted by Shane McMahon and their guests are The Usos.
The Usos did a promo saying at Elimination Chamber, they take on the tag team champs Shane and Miz. They summarized Miz and Shane trying to be best in the world like the Usos. Jey said that they are different, Jimmy said they know how to starve and they are their brother’s keeper. Jey said that McMiz TV is about to get locked down and they welcomed us to the Uso penitentiary.
Analysis: Good promo as usual from these guys. They are my favorite team in WWE. Whenever they are featured more, the tag team division is better for it.
Randy Orton made his entrance. Mustafa Ali was already in the ring, so his cool entrance was not shown. A pre-tape Orton promo was shown saying he didn’t bother to learn the face of his opponent and he was on his way to becoming WWE Champion again.
Mustafa Ali vs. Randy Orton
Orton sent Ali to the turnbuckle, so Ali chopped Orton in the chest. Orton came back with a clothesline followed by some stomps to the chest. Orton sent Ali out of the ring leading to Orton slamming Ali back first onto the announce table, but the table didn’t break as usual with that move. Back in the ring, Orton hit a powerslam. Orton and Ali battled by the turnbuckle, Ali up top, Orton tripped him up and Orton hit a superplex like his father Bob Orton Jr. used to do and that got a two count.
The match returned with Orton slapping on a chinlock. Orton whipped Ali into the ropes, Ali hit a dropkick and Orton bailed to the floor. Ali left the ring, Orton whipped him head first into the announce table and Ali avoided a slam leading to a dropkick that sent Orton over the announce table. Ali with a running tackle against the barricade followed by punches to Orton. Back in the ring, Ali with a kick to the chest and two superkicks. Ali charged in, Orton sent him to the apron, kick by Orton and Ali kicked Orton in the head. Ali rolled into the ring leading to an X-Factor that sent Orton face first into the mat. Ali’s left eye was swelling up from some shot to the head. Ali with a back elbow to the face. Ali teased a leaping attack off the ropes, Orton was ready with a RKO, Ali stopped and Ali hit a jumping DDT off the ropes for a two count. That was a great spot. Ali went up top again, Orton grabbed his legs and turned it into the RKO! Wow! What a great move! Orton covered for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with an excellent finish. That was a very creative RKO ending that felt new, which is nice to see considering how many teams Orton has hit that move over the last 15 years or so. I don’t think Ali is hurt by the loss because he put up a good fight. Orton controlled most of the match, Ali’s selling was great and his comeback was believable, but in the end, Orton managed to get the win with the RKO that was really out of nowhere. That spot to end the match was brilliant.
— WWE (@WWE) February 6, 2019
After the match, Samoa Joe showed up and slapped on the Coquina Clutch submission on Orton while taking him to the ground. Orton sold it like he was passed out. Joe with a running kick to knock Ali off the apron. Joe posed in the ring as his music played.
Analysis: It was Joe sending a message like he loves to do.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance in his ring gear along with the new WWE hemp Title around his waist. Rowan was with Bryan as Samoa Joe walked up to Bryan, so Joe walked around Rowan and went to the back.
Samoa Joe did a promo backstage saying that tonight we learned a lesson. He said that at Elimination Chamber, it will be about devastation and in the end, it will be him raising the WWE Championship in the air.
Let’s Hear From the “New” Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan held up his eco-friendly WWE Title in the ring with the big man Rowan by his side. Bryan was introduced as the “favorite son of Washington” since they were in his home state. The fans chanted “Daniel Bryan” before the WWE Champion could speak.
Bryan said that finally, he gets to be in front of people who understand what he’s trying to do. Bryan said that the people of Washington are intelligent people, they are smart people and they realize that we need change. Bryan said that unfortunately, as the WWE Champion, he speaks to a global audience and these people that he speaks to don’t understand that their selfish behavior kills the planet that we all live on. Bryan said that they fill their emptiness by filling their faces with deep fried carcasses. Bryan said that he’s fighting an uphill battle.
Bryan said that is why he has created this eco-friendly WWE Title. He called it a symbol for people to rally behind. Bryan said that the old WWE Title was a symbol of excellence, but also a symbol of excess. Bryan said that this is not just a symbol of excellence, but also a symbol for change. There were some “yes” chants. Bryan said that there are people that are threatened by that change. Rowan said that they are considered dangerous because of their ideas and Rowan said their ideas have good intentions, but that’s why people fear them and they especially fear Bryan. Rowan said that as long as Bryan is WWE Champion, they (the people) will try to silence him. The crowd was chanting “what” at Bryan so Bryan said ripped on the fans a bit and they booed.
Bryan said that he serves a greater power than corporate greed, money and fame because he is the Planet’s Champion. That led to cheers. Bryan said that the suits back there don’t like it while noting that they never wanted him to be their champion. Bryan complained about having to defend his WWE Title against five other men inside the Elimination Chamber. Bryan said that he’s been there before, he knows what it takes and it reinforces how dangerous this situation is. Bryan said take a look.
A video package aired showing highlights of Elimination Chamber matches from the past. I have written reviews of every Elimination Chamber match, so check that out if you want to see some Elimination Chamber matches from the past.
Bryan went over the names of his opponents: AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Mustafa Ali, Samoa Joe and the man he faces tonight, Jeff Hardy. Bryan said they will be locked in the Elimination Chamber with him and they want to take the WWE Championship to put it back in the past with a leather strap. Bryan said we need him as WWE Champion. Bryan said that the planet needs the new Daniel Bryan as the WWE Champion. His music played to end the promo.
Analysis: Bryan is so entertaining as the heel WWE Champion. I enjoy these promos every week. The surprising thing about this one was that he didn’t rip on the crowd as much as he has in the past, but they did boo him for some of it. The fans also cheered Bryan a lot because he’s in his home state. I was expecting an interruption, but that didn’t happen. It was just a chance for Bryan to continue to get heat while bragging about his new look WWE Title. It was an effective segment.
Jeff Hardy was shown watching on a TV backstage when Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview. Hardy said that as a former WWE Champion it makes him sick to see what Bryan is doing. Hardy said he still has scars from defending the WWE Title while adding that nobody has disrespected the WWE Title from Bryan. Hardy said that Bryan isn’t interested in a debate, so he’s going to make him shut up. AJ Styles showed up saying Jeff’s been there for a long time. Styles wondered if Hardy is really the guy to represent that WWE Title. Hardy criticized Styles for not winning the WWE Title back at Royal Rumble, Styles blamed Rowan for it and Hardy said after he shuts up Daniel Bryan, they’ll finish this inside the Elimination Chamber.
Carmella and Naomi made their entrance. They are the sixth and final team in the women’s Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Naomi and Carmella did a pre-tape promo with Naomi ripping on Mandy Rose for her ridiculous story last week. Carmella said that they have formed the most fabulous tag team in the women’s division. Naomi said they are called “Fabulous Glow” so that’s the unofficial name.
Analysis: It is lame that Raw teams had to qualify for the Women’s Tag Team Title match at Elimination Chamber while Smackdown teams are just placed in the match, but that’s what happens when Smackdown doesn’t have enough women to form teams.
The Iiconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay made their entrances. A pre-taped promo featuring the Iiconics saying that winning the titles would make the last 14 years worth it to them. The Women’s Tag Team Titles were at ringside.
The team of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose were interviewed by Kayley Braxton behind the curtain. They talked about how good they are as a team as Fire & Desire while Mandy noted that they are the ones that have been in an Elimination Chamber match. Mandy noted that Naomi has never pinned her. They entered to Mandy’s theme song.
Naomi and Carmella vs. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay
Two women are in the ring and the other four women are on the apron. There were some quick tags to start the match. Naomi hit a running clothesline on Kay as the match went to break.
The match returned with the Royce and Kay hitting a double team move on Carmella where they sent Carmella face first into Kay’s knee. Carmella hit a rollup on Royce followed by a kick. Kay tagged back in, Carmella kicked Kay into the turnbuckle and Rose tagged in leading to an abdominal stretch on Carmella. When Carmella broke free, Naomi tagged in, so did Deville and Naomi hit two kicks to the head of Deville followed by a springboard kick to the face of Deville. Naomi with a jawbreaker to Royce, who was legal. Naomi with a jumping kick that sent Kay over the top to the floor. Naomi tossed Royce into the turnbuckle leading to Rose tagging in. Naomi punched Mandy leading to cheers. Naomi hit a Rear View to Royce. Rose capitalized on that with a double underhook into a sitout slam. Rose covered Naomi for the pinfall win. It went about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Analysis: *3/4 It was a below average tag team match with some boring moments, but Naomi did great after the hot tag. Clever heel win by Mandy by capitalizing on Naomi losing her focus by going after Royce even though she was not the legal woman in the match. It made Mandy look smart by having her win the way she did.
After the match, Rose and Deville celebrated the win while Graves claimed that the win was just as big as Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at WrestleMania because of his Rose obsession. That was funny by Graves.
Andrade was in the locker room. Andrade said let’s talk about the legend of Rey Mysterio. Zelina Vega said that Mysterio is a folk tale – a fable and a myth. Vega said that last week, Andrade stamped out a legend because he needed to. Vega said that you can’t fight fate. Vega said that the legend of Andrade begins with Rey Mysterio’s end.
Analysis: It will probably lead to Andrade vs. Mysterio at Elimination Chamber since their last match, two out of three falls, had no finish.
A clip aired about Black History Month.
A clip aired from earlier tonight showing Becky Lynch standing up to Triple H leading to Becky slapping him and leaving. She is still suspended.
A video package aired about Smackdown Women’s Champion Asuka. She wasn’t on the show, so it was a way to remind people of her as the champion.
Analysis: I’m not sure what the plan is for Asuka going forward. It doesn’t look like she has a match for Elimination Chamber and I’m not sure what will happen at WrestleMania assuming it’s Rousey vs. Lynch vs. Flair for the Raw Women’s Title. It could be a multi-woman match for Asuka at WrestleMania as well.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance for the main event with his painted face. He greeted fans around the ringside area as the show went to break.
The end of Daniel Bryan’s entrance was shown. He had the WWE Title around his waist and his buddy Rowan at ringside.
Daniel Bryan (w/Rowan) vs. Jeff Hardy
This is not for Bryan’s WWE Title.
Bryan took control with a knee to the ribs followed by an uppercut. Hardy came back with a Slingblade-like takedown followed by a splash. Hardy with a back body drop on Bryan. Bryan came back with a whip into the corner followed by three corner dropkicks. Bryan slapped on the surfboard submission on Hardy with Hardy getting out of it easily. Hardy with a dropkick that sent Bryan out of the ring followed by a kick. When Hardy tried to attack, Bryan hid behind Rowan and then Bryan tripped up Hardy on the ring steps.
The match returned with Bryan grounding Hardy with an armbar on the left arm. Bryan wrenched on the left arm of Hardy. Bryan was on the move, Hardy with an inverted atomic drop and a low dropkick that got a two count. Hardy sent Bryan out of the ring with a back body drop and then Hardy followed up with a clothesline off the apron onto Bryan on the floor. Hardy sent Bryan back into the ring, he went up top and Bryan rolled out of the way. Bryan sent Hardy face first into the turnbuckle followed by a kick to the rope that went into Hardy’s face. Bryan worked over Hardy with kicks to the chest, Hardy avoided the head kick and hit a Twist of Fate. Hardy went up top and he hit a Swanton Bomb. Hardy was right in front of Rowan, so Rowan pulled him out of the ring and whipped Hardy into the steel steps. The referee called for the bell for the disqualification after about 12 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Jeff Hardy
Analysis: *** Good match with a cheap ending that reminded me of the Mysterio/Andrade match two weeks ago that ended with a Samoa Joe attack. That sort of thing is going to piss fans off because it’s tough to be invested in big matches when there’s no finish, but it’s something WWE likes doing in order to get heat on the heels whether it’s Bryan or Joe. I think they need to have more clean endings in main events. In terms of the storyline, they should push the idea that Bryan was unable to beat Bryan, so it makes Hardy a threat at Elimination Chamber.
After the match was over, Rowan sent Hardy back in the ring. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock on Hardy’s left arm/shoulder. Samoa Joe showed up at ringside, he shoved Rowan face first into the ring post and Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Bryan. Randy Orton ran down to the ring to go after Joe. Mustafa Ali and his black eye went down to the ring wit ha dropkick on Orton and Joe at the same time. Ali hit a dive on Joe on the floor. Ali tried a dive on Rowan, but Rowan caught him, palmed Ali by the forehead and slammed him onto the announce table, which did not break. That was an impressive looking move!
AJ Styles made his entrance as the last man that was part of the Elimination Chamber match. Hardy went down to the ring with a kick to the head of Orton. Styles hit a running knee on the apron that knocked down Joe. Styles was on the apron and he hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Hardy to put him. Bryan left up the ramp with Rowan, so Styles pointed at Bryan. Styles stood tall in the ring while Bryan went to the back.
Analysis: That was a nice exchange to set up the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Title. Styles standing tall was the right move since he hasn’t wrestled on Smackdown for a few weeks, so it’s a nice reminder of how great he is and how he’s a threat to become WWE Champion. I’ll pick Bryan to retain the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber because I think he’s doing a great job in the role.
Bryan was shown backstage in the Gorilla position behind the curtain with Rowan while Kayla Braxton was there to interview him. Bryan complained about just having a match, then he goes backstage and she’s there to try to talk to him. Bryan said that Rowan is his friend and intellectual peer. Bryan said that he is the best, he’s the greatest and that’s why he is the WWE Champion. Bryan said that Rowan doesn’t hang around to be his bodyguard, Bryan said they are intellectual peers and that’s why they hang out. Bryan complained about those guys interfering in his match. Bryan said that the new Daniel Bryan is going to be the WWE Champion because that’s what the planet needs. Bryan said nobody understands but him and Rowan.
Analysis: Great promo from Bryan again. A champion that comes off as crazy, yet intelligent at the same time is a hard act to pull off, but Bryan is doing it well.
There was a shot of Styles in the ring again as his music played with another plug for the WWE Title match at Elimination Chamber.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan – He continues to crush it on the microphone and in the ring.
2. Randy Orton
3. (tie) Mustafa Ali
3. (tie) Jeff Hardy
The Triple H promo on Becky Lynch was good too, so they were stars of the show as well.
7 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2019 Average: 6.83
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 7.5, 5, 8, 7, 6.5
2019 High: 8 (January 8)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 7 out of 10.
It was a pretty good show with strong storyline advancement starting off the night with “Stone Cold” Becky Lynch getting in Triple H’s face and the crowd was into the segment. If you’re shocked that a suspended wrestler was on the show then you haven’t watched enough WWE in your life. The Orton/Ali and Bryan/Hardy matches were entertaining and did get me more excited about the Elimination Chamber WWE Title match. Plus, the way Samoa Joe was booked was clever as well.
The build to the Women’s Tag Team Title match at Elimination Chamber isn’t that great on the Smackdown side. It’s not a major problem because there’s enough excitement over new titles that fans should be into the match when it happens in two weeks.
The finish to the Orton/Ali match was so great. I watched it a few times because they timed that RKO out of nowhere perfectly.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Elimination Chamber on February 17 in Houston. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Miz and Shane McMahon (c) vs. The Usos
Women’s Tag Team Titles Elimination Chamber Match: Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Carmella and Naomi
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
Other potential matches: Lashley vs. Balor for the IC Title, Strowman/Angle vs. Corbin/McIntyre, Mysterio vs. Andrade.
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