January 7, 2016
(taped January 5, 2016)
(first episode on USA)
City: Laredo, TX
Venue: Laredo Energy Arena
Commentary: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Eden Stiles
Recap of Reigns retaining the title on RAW and Vince’s announcement about the Rumble.
“Black and Blue” by CFO$
Jerry Lawler welcomes Mauro Ranallo to the announce team.
John Cena welcomes us to the first Smackdown of 2016. He’s excited about the title matches, but points out that the US Title isn’t on the line. He then introduces Alberto Del Rio.
Del Rio tells Cena that he doesn’t deserve another title shot. Cena pumps up the crowd for a US Title match. Del Rio refuses to budge. He won’t put the title up, but he says he will fight anyone. Anyone except Cena. Cena has an idea for an opponent. He introduces Kalisto.
Del Rio thinks it’s funny and won’t even look at Kalisto at first. Del Rio shoves Kalisto. Kalisto responds with a kick and a ref enters the ring.
Alberto Del Rio (US Champ) vs Kalisto
(John Cena at ringside; referee: Chad Patton)
Kalisto starts off quickly, but Del Rio backs him into a corner with strikes. Kalisto uses his speed to hit Del Rio with a handspring kick and a kneeling flying head scissors. Del Rio exits the ring.
Del Rio is in control. He kicks Kalisto in the ropes and then boots him from the floor. Del Rio continues the punishment in the ring. Del Rio misses a shoulder, hitting the ring post. Kalisto hits a stage dive and a springboard corkscrew cross body. Del Rio catches Kalisto and powerbombs him for a 2 count.
Del Rio hits some clotheslines in the corner and a DDT. Kalisto rolls to the outside. Del Rio mocks Cena. Cena takes his shirt off. Del Rio drives Kalisto into the barricade.
In the ring, Del Rio calls for the cross arm breaker. He takes too long and Kalisto performs a hurricanrana pin for the win.
Result: Kalisto wins via pinfall with a hurricanrana
Time: 5:36 (1 break)
A pretty good match. It made sense. Del Rio took Kalisto too lightly and Kalisto took advantage with bursts of speed and agility. A fun way to start a show and it helps build Kalisto without making Del Rio look bad.
Jojo asks Becky Lynch asks about Charlotte’s attack. Becky needs no explanation, she needs vindication.
The Miz hosts “Miz TV” and starts to talk about the Royal Rumble, but New Day interrupts. They need to talk about Jericho. They talk, but Ziggler interrupts.
Goldust interrupts. He wants to give out some golden globes. Neville interrupts. He wants Miz to never ever talk again.
R-Truth interrupts. Truth answers Del Rio’s US Title open challenge that doesn’t exist. After he’s told what they are actually talking about, Truth asks if there’s an entry fee for the Royal Rumble because he’d like to participate. Truth attacks Miz and a little brawl breaks out. The good guys gang up on New Day.
** R-Truth’s antics are becoming expected at this point, but I still find them amusing. The bit about the entry fee was pretty good. And this whole segment, though not completely original, was much better than the usual Rumble buildup from years past. **
The Miz & New Day (Tag Champs) vs R-Truth & Dolph Ziggler & Neville & Goldust
(referee: Darrick Moore)
The match is already underway as we return from a commercial break. R-Truth strikes Miz and takes him to the corner. Goldust tags in. Miz tags in Kofi, but Goldust tags Ziggler. Ziggler lands a dropkick for a quick cover. R-Truth tags back in. Kofi can’t get any kind of advantage.
Neville tags in and hits a standing shooting star on Kofi. Neville maintains his advantage until Woods trips him from the apron. Kofi sends Neville to the floor.
New Day is in the middle of a Unicorn Stampede as we return from the break. The Miz dances. New Day approves. Woods tags in but is sent to the floor by Neville. Woods tags Miz, but Neville tags Ziggler who controls the match. Ziggler drops an elbow on Miz for a 2 count. He hits a Famouser that Kofi has to break up.
The match starts to break down and everyone gets involved. Neville dives over the ropes onto New Day, and Miz is outnumbered three to one in the ring. Ziggler delivers a superkick for the win.
Result: Ziggler pins The Miz after a superkick
Time: 7:34 (1 break)
A good, fun multi-man tag match. Most everyone did a little something and the breakdown was fun. Ziggler probably looked the best out of everyone.
After the match Ziggler superkicks R-Truth. He sends Goldust to the floor and reminds everyone that the Rumble is every man for himself.
Jojo asks Charlotte about her title defense. Ric Flair says people want to leech off of Charlotte. Charlotte says she acts like a champ.
Divas Title Match
Charlotte (Divas Champ) w/ Ric Flair vs Becky Lynch
(referee: Jason Ayers)
They start off aggressively. Lynch is angry. They trade some holds and counters. Charlotte starts to work on Becky’s leg. They trade pin attempts and Becky comes out on top with a hammer lock. Becky starts to gain an advantage and controls Charlotte on the mat.
On their feet, Becky hits a springboard kick that sends Charlotte out to the floor. Becky follows Charlotte and sends her back in. Charlotte rolls back out. Becky follows but Flair gets in her way allowing Charlotte to deliver a big boot to Lynch.
Charlotte follows up aggressively in the ring with strikes and an exploder suplex. She continues to maintain control as we head to the break.
Charlotte has Lynch’s head scissored and is pounding her into the mat. Lynch stands up and drops Charlotte face first into the turnbuckle. Lynch builds momentum with strikes and an exploder of her own. Becky gets caught in the ropes and takes a hanging neckbreaker from Charlotte. Charlotte goes for a series of pin attempts.
Charlotte starts to chop, but Lynch gets out and hits a pumphandle suplex for 2 count. Becky goes for Disarm-Her but takes a spear. Lynch avoids the figure eight and applies a cross armbreaker. Charlotte escapes.
Becky applies Disarm-Her. Charlotte taps, but Flair had put her foot on the ropes. Becky argues allowing Charlotte to put her in a schoolboy. She puts her feet on the ropes to get the win.
Result: Charlotte wins via pinfall with a schoolboy with her feet on the ropes to retain the title
Time: 10:39 (1 break)
A very good match with some really good emotion. I was really pulling for Becky in this one. The heel tactics used by Charlotte were good and it didn’t feel like she was forcing too much of the Flair emulation like she tends to do sometimes. There were very good exchanges and counters in this, and some of the wrestling looked very real and emotional. I like this feud now.
Renee Young asks for a minute of Owens’ time. Owens says he is a world-class athlete and that he’s fine after being sent through a table by Ambrose. He’s also killed a lot of cockroaches.
RAW Rebound featuring a recap of Reigns retaining the title and Vince’s Rumble announcement.
Taped at RAW, Renee Young asks Reigns about Vince’s announcement. He says it just fires him up.
Renee Young asks Ambrose about his title defense. Ambrose says his face is well-adjusted.
Intercontinental Title Match
Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose (IC Champ)
(referee: Dan Engler)
Owens backs Ambrose into a corner. They shove each other and Ambrose goes to a side headlock. Ambrose looks for Dirty Deeds but Owens escapes and exits the ring. He takes a break.
Owens chops Ambrose, but Ambrose reverses and boots Owens. Ambrose ties up Owens and kicks him. They begin to trade punches, but Ambrose gets the better of Owens and drops an elbow for a 2 count.
Ambrose gets sent into the ropes and tries to bounce back, but Owens dumps him out to the floor. Owens follows Ambrose but gets sent into the barricade. Ambrose also hits a Russian leg sweep into the barricade and lands a lariat from the apron. Ambrose tries to get back in the ring but Owens catches him with a DDT off the ropes.
Owens has Ambrose in a rear chinlock. Ambrose fights out. Owens misses a running senton. Ambrose builds momentum with strikes and a bulldog. Ambrose looks for Dirty Deeds but gets pushed to the corner. Owens hits a release German suplex. Ambrose avoids a cannonball in the corner and hits a tornado DDT for a 2 count on Owens.
Ambrose takes a cannonball in the corner. 2 count for Owens. Ambrose counters the pop-up powerbomb with a hurricanrana. Ambrose hits a lariat off the ropes for a 2 count. They exchange strikes. Owens misses a charge and goes to the floor. Ambrose dives through the ropes, sending Owens over the announce table.
Owens sends Ambrose into the ring steps. Ambrose sends Owens into the crowd. Ambrose follows Owens and both men are counted out.
Result: The match ends in a double countout
Time: 10:31 (2 breaks)
A good match, but it was more of a means to continue the feud rather than any sort of ending or new development. They fought angry, and it got pretty loose and dirty as it went along, which makes perfect sense for the feud. It seems like they’ll have to end this with some sort of street fight or some other violent stipulation match the way it’s going. Which I’m cool with. One gripe I have it that there didn’t need to be two commercial breaks.
Owens and Ambrose continue to fight all over the arena floor. They use everything around them as weapons. Owens looks for a powerbomb on some travel cases but gets backdropped by Ambrose. Ambrose and Owens dive through a pair of tables to end the show.
I really liked the show. Only four matches, but they were given enough time to be good. The title matches felt important, and the other matches were at least fun. The Cena/Del Rio thing didn’t seem to make much progress, but the other title feuds on the show felt like they were built nicely if not significantly. Hopefully this show will start a nice trend of important feeling segments and they didn’t just do this because it’s the first Smackdown on USA.
Also, the new commentator Mauro Ranallo was fine. He called some moves that rarely get called, and even though he miscalled at least one move that I noticed, the effort is appreciated. I can do without the football references, but I guess that’s part of his thing. Sorry to see Booker T leave the table though.
Match of the Night
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte
This match felt like it was the most important of the night and had really good emotion and action. It did really well to further the story and was entertaining to watch on its own.