Air Date: 14/1/16
The show opens with Renee backstage waiting for Dean Ambrose, he’s making his way to the ring to talk to Kevin Owens. He challenges Owens to a last man standing match at the rumble. Sheamus comes out, as does Kevin Owens and then Neville. This was your standard Smackdown tag match set up, playa.
The Dudley Boyz vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erik Rowan w/Braun Strowman) (Tables Match)
This was a hot match, I thought it was a bit odd to give a match of this type away on TV with no build but it was fun nonetheless. It went a little short and the finish came out of nowhere but what we got was a hoot. Dudley Boyz win by putting Harper through a table ***
Post-match Strowman and the rest of the Wyatts go after D-Von and Bubba in a great crazy brawl. Like really great.
Backstage Kalisto is with JoJo talking about his US title win and his rematch tonight. Kalisto seems like he could be an awesome underdog face if really given the chance.
The Social Outcasts vs. Goldust, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, and Zack Ryder
Everyone is already in the ring when this, the jobberiest of jobber matches starts. As I typed that Bo Dallas started leading the Outcasts on a victory lap and this became the greatest match ever. This was a surprisingly fast paced match with everyone getting at least a little time to look good, even Zack Ryder. Bo Dallas pins Zack Ryder with a Bo Dog ** ¾
After a recap of the main event angle from RAW we get a promo backstage from Alberto Del Rio about his title match next.
Kalisto (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio (WWE United States Championship)
Another awesome match in the series these guys have been having, this might have been my favourite. Del Rio was being much more aggressive in this one as he was clearly pissed off about losing his title and Kalisto was doing a lot more high flying with his new found confidence after having beaten Del Rio twice. Del Rio spent much of the match working over Kalisto’s arm which lead to Kalisto tapping to an armbar after a crazy dive to the outside that Alberto moved out of the way of. Let’s talk about the title change though, there’s no denying having Kalisto lose the title so soon after winning it hurts him tremendously. The only defence I can see for it is if the plan is to have Kalisto win back the title down the line in a bigger match much like KUSHIDA in New Japan with the Junior Title. My issue with that is that it’s not a given that Kalisto will stay over when he regains the title and it’s silly to have him even win the title in the first place if the goal isn’t to have him keep hold of it for a little while. All that said, this series of matches has made Kalisto a star in my eyes and I really hope he gets given a real chance soon. Alberto Del Rio regains the title with an arm bar *** ½
We once again see the mediocre Sting Hall of Fame promo and then see Becky Lynch talking about her feud with Charlotte backstage. She wants a match for the title at the Rumble in a short fun promo.
Brie Bella (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Becky Lynch
Nothing match here, felt like a women’s match from five years ago. Becky Lynch wins with the Dis-arm-her *
Sheamus and Kevin Owens vs. Neville and Dean Ambrose
This match was a real hoot with the heels just beating the shit out of the faces and Neville flipping all over the place. Owens and Sheamus eventually go after Ambrose on the outside which leads to the end of the match. Double Count Out ** ¾
Post-match Sheamus and Owens try to put Ambrose through the announce table only for Neville to make the save and the faces stand tall to end the show.
Another solid episode of Smackdown, Mauro Ranallo’s commentary was really good this week and helped make what was a pretty good Kalisto/Del Rio match feel like an instant classic. Other than the US title match there was nothing on this show that really stood out but nothing really stuck the place out either.