WWE Smackdown January 28, 2016: Results
Here’s a report on this week’s episode of WWE SmackDown in Tampa, Florida
After an announcement that Kalisto will defend his United States title against fellow high-flyer Neville, the show opens with the New Day. The tag team champions are joined by the Miz, and the four heels crack jokes about the Rock but are interrupted by the Usos.
The Usos/Dolph Ziggler/Titus O’Neil defeat New Day/The Miz
Smackdown has become something of a “faces’ paradise”, particularly in these thrown-together tag matches.
It will be interesting to see what direction everyone in this match will take heading into Fast Lane. The singles competitors – Ziggler, Titus and Miz – were all without a real storyline heading into the Royal Rumble, and the Usos and New Day have really had a one-sided feud when it comes to title matches.
Kalisto defeats Neville (United States Championship Match)
Kalisto’s second U.S. title reign survives its first Smackdown test, unlike his first run that ended unceremoniously on the same week it began.
The young Mexican fan favorite seems to be continuing what John Cena started in making the U.S. Title more like a television title. It’s a great distinction, and Kalisto is one of the company’s most exciting performers in the ring. As for the challenger, Neville needs something meaningful and long-term to occupy his talents through Fastlane and WrestleMania.
Up next, Roman Reigns and Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose appear on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel segment, but the interview is broken up by the Wyatt Family. That sets up the main event – Jericho, Reigns and Ambrose against the Wyatts.
This is a curious move, since the same matchup at Night of Champions was an absolute dud with Jericho coming off as a punk heel after entering as a surprise partner.
AJ Styles defeats Curtis Axel
Oddly enough, The Social Outcasts actually called Styles out, and this is a funny but entertaining choice for Styles. It’s good to see he’s going to work a full schedule and will really get mixed into the roster as well.
Also, fans of Styles’ work across the globe can rest easy now because he actually uses his Styles Clash finisher in this one. In the Royal Rumble match and Monday’s victory over Jericho, he teased the move but never pulled it off, leading some to speculate it might not be used in WWE action.
Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair) defeats Natalya
After the non-title victory, Charlotte heels it up with a beatdown on Natalya, which leads to a save by Becky Lynch.
The Divas division is still being fleshed out, and it could have a promising future. Sasha Banks is obviously going to be a big part of that, and the next segment is her indicating that she is parting ways with Team Bad members Naomi and Tamina Snuka. That’s an odd choice after all the “unity” talk, but could set up for some special title matches in the coming months involving the younger talent.
From there, we see a pre-recorded segment with Goldust again attempting to convince R-Truth to join him as tag team partner. R-Truth, even as he’s taken a lesser role in the ring action, has continued to entertain on the microphone.
Pairing him with the always entertaining Goldust would truly be a good move, and it would be a solid final run for the two of them to compete for or even win the tag titles. The promos with New Day would truly be something to behold.
Then again, the angle of Goldust looking for a partner could just be a set-up for a reunion with his brother, either as Stardust or in a teased return to the Cody Rhodes character.
Dean Ambrose/Chris Jericho/Roman Reigns defeats Bray Wyatt/Erick Rowan/Luke Harper (Disqualification)
The result comes when Braun Strowman quite predictably gets involved and sparks a beatdown on the faces. This is a solid continuation of the faction’s powerful booking of recent weeks, although it’s hard to believe that anyone would choose not to put Strowman in the first place.
The proceedings do not end with the faces on the receiving end, though, as Big Show comes out to make the save. While turns from heel to face and back again are far from a rare occurrence for Big Show, this one seems particularly spontaneous. Not that it couldn’t have occurred, but there has been no indication that he’s turned from his heel character, unless his emotional display during the Rock’s Raw segment counts.
As for the Wyatts, their story took an interesting turn at Wrestlemania that wil be intriguing in the coming weeks. Not only did they set up a rivalry with Brock Lesnar, but Bray quite clearly showed the world that he didn’t serve Triple H and the Authority like other heels do. Further, Lesnar is facing Reigns and Ambrose at Fastlane with a Wrestlemania title shot on the line, so booking the Wyatts’ involvement in that event should take some creative writing work.