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This is the last show before the WWE Royal Rumble, and you know what that means. Friday night SmackDown promised to create excitement on a fever pitch one to two days before one of the biggest nights of the year. This January 29 edition of the Blue brand was unexpected.
Only one match was promised before the night as Bianca Belair looked to Belle to avenge her loss. After The Role Model has done everything through it, it was EST’s opportunity to avenge the reception.
Roman Rains and Kevin Owens did not want to wait until Sunday to begin trash talks. SmackDown promises a war of words where Coo and The Head of the Table can speak their final piece before a final Last Man Standing match.
It was far from all that SmackDown fans would give days before the Rumble. However, the Blue brand was keeping it all wrapped up. Could the stars of Raw attack SmackDown to make a statement? Will new stars earn a spot in men’s or women’s rumble matches? Everyone wanted to build momentum.
The January 29 edition of SmackDown felt like a monumental occasion and a chance for WWE to truly bring the best to the table the night before that would begin to define Road to WrestleMania.
1 out of 6
Daniel Bryan opened the show to show what it meant for him to win the men’s Royal Rumble. He wanted to change his life one last time through the main event WrestleMania. He wasn’t sure how many more WrestleMania moments he had left.
They placed Chad Gable and Otis with Alpha Academy and shaped them for a long arduous climb to the top. AJ Styles interrupted as part of the quarterly brand-to-brand invitational, which later establishes the E Challenge by Champion of the Planet at night.
Styles pushed Bryan to the mat, and Omos the Planet’s got in the way of the champion and demanded vengeance. Bryan calls for Stiles to stand behind the big man.
Bryan is one of the best in the world, but every week his promos are getting tired. He continues to campaign for the Royal Rumble, spending a lot of time explaining how the match works. It would be best for him to achieve the previous WWE Royal Rumble.
The quarterly brand-to-brand invitation is a silly technical one that WWE likes to pull out at random times. However, bringing The Phenomenal One to SmackDown just before the Royal Rumble was a smart way to hype the event.
Styles vs. Brian is a pretty spectacular clash of top talent. Both men are considered the best wrestlers in the world, and every time they step into the ring, they steal the show.
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After a video package rolled out for last week’s obstacle course, Belle explained to Kayla Braxton in a pre-match interview why she was better than just EST and would win the women’s Royal Rumble.
The role model started the action early, defeating AST. Belle makes a mistake by taunting Belle with her Brad, she prompts EST to get physical. He landed a series of horses chased by an impressive standing canopy for a gig.
Belle tried to take advantage of Belair’s injured left elbow from last week, causing her to hit a glam slam. However, The EST clashed all along, hitting Bayle Lupi with a right hand, followed by KOD for the win.
Later, at the top of the ramp, Braxton asks Belair how much this win means to him, and EST casts Belle as The Role Model watched him from inside the ring.
Loss of confidence. Pinch it
Belle SmackDown is the perfect challenge to introduce Beller to the audience. Each section more and more shows why EST is not the future of WWE, but is already enough to challenge the best. This match was no different.
While Belair can rely on her athletic prowess just to shine, she has an entire game in the ring, telling her style the whole story. All he needs is time. She and Belle got a really good start. This was completely different from their first fight.
The main mistake WWE made was the post-match interview. Belor could cut a promo, but was eliminated after a long fight. He should not have put words together when he had to speak for his actions.
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Dominic Miserio attacked King Corbyn from behind while The King was outside the ring. It only seemed to anger Corbin, who won emphatically as soon as the match started. He physically defeated Dominic with right hands as Ray Mysterio watched the commentary.
Ray’s son did everything possible to stay in action, reversing the king’s dangerous efforts and injuring him. The two men moved to the steel post, and managed to convert the Dominic End of Days effort into a flanking DDT. However, she could not win and another End of Days effort tied the win.
Later, Corbin also tried to attack Ray, but the Master of 619 sent him out to the steel post.
Corbin Diff. By Dominic Pinfall.
Corbyn vs. Mysterios has hardly been an interesting rivalry. After Rey and Dominique disappear from television, the story comes to a halt, and their return makes Dominique more like a cheat rather than a young prodigy than Saith Rawlins, who plays the youngster again.
Dominic has good chemistry with The King, but each loss has cut down what Dominic already had. He is playing the role of the second Fidel with his father. The obvious focus is to produce another match between Corbin and Ray.
Ideally, this rivalry ends within the next month. However, with The Knights of the Lone Wolf on TV as well as Murphy, WWE will soon complicate things once those stars return.
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Kalisto attended The Boss Reginald after negotiating with Sasha Banks, who “gave him the perfect wine” to lose at the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Banks leaves a bottle of wine to return to Carmela.
WWE featured a video package for the entire history of Kevin Owens and Roman Rains. Michael Cole led a final interview between The Head of the Table and K.O. Owens explained that he would never stop winning on Sunday.
Paul Heyman initially forbade Reigns to waste his words on the KO, but the head of the Tables heard Owens speak for too long. He blames Owens’ father for unfairly raising him, believing that he can beat a better man. He called her and her entire family a fool.
With each painful word, Owens lost his cool and more, calling him a fake mob boss. KO sets off the screen for his side of the interview as KO sets the screen on fire. Owens appears ready to find the Reigns and start the fight early.
WWE called the interview of KO and Reigns the biggest moment of the night, and it was perfect. During the reign Owens found a way under his skin and exploited it. At the same time, however, KO apparently disappointed his opponent, never losing his confidence.
The head of the table promotes himself as a family man while Coe promotes himself as a family man. This interview clearly defined the dynamic between these two that has made this story so special. Without being able to defeat the Reigns, KO has just improved the WWE Universal Champion.
This match may be the best on the entire card. Even if it is not, these two will tell a special story together, as they have all the way to the WWE Royal Rumble.
5 out of 5
The Miz and John Morrison have a feud with Big E backstage, which will make a big impact in the men’s Royal Rumble match. Sami Zan tried to recruit Shinsuke Nakamura, but The Artist rejected him outright.
AJ Styles told Omos to stay behind for the match, proving that he can beat The Planet champions. Cesaro joins the commentary to explain why he has more speed than anyone in the ring.
After an impressive series to start the match, Bryan got the upper hand, which was interrupted by Sami Zan. The distraction allowed Phenomenal One to knock the planet’s champion off the top rope to the floor.
The master strategist refused to leave the show and kept quiet, so he spoke with his camera crew to comment. In the ring, Bryan struggles to get out of the ring, trapped in the calf crusher until he makes it to the bottom rope.
Bryan transfers his weight to Styles with a Butterfly Suplex that gets infected in the Yess lock until Phenomenal One makes it through the ropes. Big E arrives and clotheslines the master strategist, starting a feud between everyone.
Zayn accuses Bryan of disqualification, with Heels beating the faces until Shinsuke Nakamura faces the odds. Cesaro and Nakamura almost came with a bang, but Zayn joined and was dumped outside.
Defeated Brian. Styles by disqualification.
While the cheap end was expected and prevented the match from becoming truly special, Bryan vs. Styles was once again superb. The two had a great technical performance amidst the chaos at ringside, reminding everyone that the two of them still have a lot more great matches in store together.
The two got plenty of time to wrestle in the remaining hours, so there was always going to be something. With Rumble Sunday, it was time to create a variety of challengers. Bryan and Styles may be more likely to win in the match, but WWE needs to make a variety of choices.
The six-man tag team match was merely a promise of more action and a story that looks more appealing as the main event of the Royal Rumble Go-Home Show.
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Daniel Bryan was Heels’ first victim after catching The Planet Champion with a chop block by Sammy Zann. After a vigorous missile dropkick, Bryan finally rested his knee, giving Big E an impressive hot tag that couldn’t be stopped even after a European uppercase from Kesaro.
The Miz and John Morrison arrive at ringside to pick up Shinsuke Nakamura, then team up on Big E to force the referee to disqualify another. Otis arrived, seeing an opportunity for revenge in the end on The A-Lister and The Shaman of Sexy. He knocked both of them out of the ring.
The match was restarted by Sonya Devil as a five-four handicap match. Again, the heels alienated Bryan, who competed for over 30 minutes in various restart matches. It seemed that the heels had won the match after taking out the other faces, but Shimus even reached the odds.
Everyone commits impressive crime in a chaotic scene that leaves Zayn fighting a fresh Celtic warrior. Shimus hooked him up with a Brogue Kick to win. Braun Strowman arrived and took everyone out, hitting a running powerslam on Cesaro to end the night.
Defeated Big E, Brian and Nakamura. Cesaro, Styles and Zen by Disqualification; Defeated Shimus, Big E, Brian, Nakamura and Otis. By Cicero, Styles, Zayn, Miz, and Morrison Pinfall.
In the original six-man match the positive was seeing more great action. Cesaro and Nakamura gave an early preview of a great match to be held soon. Brian and Zayn return to the basics with a fun sequence. Big E appeared like a monster with his hot tag.
It was just a strange transition to an unnecessary big match as Miz and Morrison had to join. All the wrestling here was memorable, and everyone got a small chance to stand out. It was far too much chaos to enjoy.
Strowman finished the night as a big lay apart from the men’s Royal Rumble match, but everyone knew he would be in the competition without official word. While The Monster Beach Men should be seen as a favorite, the moment would have made him too strong to actually pull it out.