1/14 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown on USA Live Review: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto, Dudleys vs. Wyatt’s in a tables match, Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella, plus Dean Ambrose and more…

WWE Smackdown on USA
Taped on Tuesday in Laredo, Texas

[Q1] The announce team put over the Triple Main Event of The Dudleys vs. The Wyatts in a tables match, Kalisto vs. Del Rio, and Dean Ambrose and Neville vs. Kevin Owens and Sheamus.

Backstage, Renee Young awaited Dean Ambrose, who peeled up in a black pickup truck and got dropped off by….someone. Renee said he asked for time on Smackdown, and Ambrose replied that he said he was headed to the ring, and Kevin Owens better join him. Ambrose then made his ring entrance, and footage of Owens and Ambrose feud from the past week was shown. The announce team then got around to welcoming everyone to Smackdown.

Ambrose told everyone in the crowd to put the kids to bed and pop the champagne because he has an announcement. He called for a drumroll, and it came over the speakers in the building. Before he could make an announcement, he stopped himself and demanded Kevin Owens come down to the ring. Owens never showed, and Ambrose said he figured as much and it was no big deal. He then challenged Owens to a last man standing match at the Rumble, and dared him to do what no one else has been able to do, and put him down and keep him down.

Sheamus interrupted and said that he’s not Kevin Owens, because Owens has a better tan than he does. Sheamus accused Dean of living in a fantasy world, and said that this wasn’t a fantasy, it was reality. Ambrose told Sheamus that he made a League of Nations treehouse friends club, and it was him that lived in a fantasy world? Sheamus said he didn’t have time for Ambrose’s jokes, and said he was feeling unfulfilled by their unfinished brawl this past Monday. He said he was going to embarrass him in front of all those people here and leave a mark in his face that would last forever.

Ambrose responded to him and said he would beat on him and make him cry, and demanded he come on down. Kevin Owens interrupted and said it was now two on one. As far as the Rumble goes, not only would Ambrose walk out of the Rumble with his championship, he wouldn’t walk out at all. Owens and Sheamus then circled Ambrose and attacked, but Neville evened the odds and made the save.

The announce crew plugged the main event. They plugged the tables match for next…[c]

My Take: Ambrose is a little too cute for me at times, but like Owens here and their feud has been one of the bright spots in WWE as of recent. Sheamus and Neville felt tacked on here, but Sheamus is solid enough in the mic that it wasn’t a real bother.

[Q2] The Dudleys made their entrance. The Wyatt’s sounder hit and they appeared behind the Dudleys and jumped them.

1. The Dudleys vs Harper and Rowan: The Dudleys jumped off to a hot start and cleared Erick Rowan from the ring. They hit the Whasssup Headbutt on Harper and Devon grabbed a table outside the ring and brought it in. Harper got up and hit a superkick on Devon, and Rowan climbed back in the ring and hit a spinning heel kick on Bubba…[c]

Strowman stood over Bubba on the outside, while Rowan and Harper set up a table for Devon in the ring. Bubba moved the table out of the way while Harper and Rowan hit Devon with a double vertical suplex. Devon and Bubba took over at this point. They hit a neckbreaker back suplex combination on Erick Rowan, and sent Harper out to the floor. Devon pursued Harper and set him up on a table on the outside, but Strowman got in the way and that let Rowan take care of Devon.

Strowman got a Kendo Stick into the match, and Bubba got a hold of it and worked over Rowan. Strowman entered the ring and ran straight into the ring post. Bubba and Devon then isolated Harper and put him through a table for the win.

The Dudleys defeated The Wyatts at 13:28

[Q3] After the match, Strowman took out both Dudleys and Harper peeled apart the announce table to set one of them up to go through. Strowman put Devon through a table in the corner of the ring, and then Bubba went through the other. Rowan and Harper then dragged Bubba to the outside and a brawl ensued. The Wyatts set up two tables in front of the announce table, and then they stood on it. They then double chokeslammed Bubba through both tables.

Footage was shown from Raw of the Kalisto vs Del Rio match, and it was sold as one of the biggest upsets in Raw history. Jojo interviewed Kalisto backstage. He said he lost hope when he was a kid and wanted to be in the WWE because he didn’t think he could survive in the land of the giants. He said guys like Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero inspired him and made him believe that all he needed was an opportunity, and that’s why he’s the US Champion today…[c]

My Take: A somewhat clunky but enjoyable tables match. Strowman just looks awkward doing everything, and Rowan is somewhat in the same boat, but in spite of all that it worked. I liked the post match attack and I wouldn’t mind seeing this continue. It might even be more interesting to me without Bray Wyatt, as it doesn’t have to be weighted down by his promo work.

[Q3] 2. The Social Outcasts vs. Damien Sandow, Goldust, Zack Ryder, and Jack Swagger: The Social Outcasts tried to be motivation outside the ring early in the match, but they were chased back to their corner by the other team. The match got off to a pretty slow start, and didn’t pick up until Jack Swagger and Bo Dallas got the crowd into the match with some antics. Swagger applied the Patriot Lock, but Adam Rose broke it up. Zack Ryder tagged in and nearly put Dallas away with the Broski Boot, but only got a near fall. Bo came back and hit the BoDog and got the pin on Zack Ryder a moment later.

The Social Outcasts defeated Damien Sandow, Goldust, Zack Ryder and Jack Swagger at 3:39.

Footage of John Cena coming out of surgery was shown. The announce team said he was committed to coming back better than ever…[c]

My Take: The Social Outcasts get a victory. I’ll withhold judgement until I see what happens next. Honestly, any effort at this level of the card creatively is kind of remarkable at this point.

[Q4] Footage was shown of the Monday segment between Roman Reigns and the McMahons, the Reigns beat down, and Lesnar destroying everybody.

Alberto Del Rio was interviewed backstage by Renee Young. He was asked about Kalisto, and he said that he would squash that little fly and win back his championship, and he doesn’t care what the crowd has to say about it. Kalisto made his entrance in the arena…[c]

Alberto Del Rio made his ring entrance. The announce team talked about whether or not Alberto Del Rio was taking Kalisto seriously.

3. Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio: Del Rio quickly took control and hit mounted punches in the corner. Kalisto fired back with a few strikes, but Del Rio quickly caught him and hit a back suplex. Del Rio attempted to go after Kalisto’s mask, but was quickly rejected. Del Rio then climbed to the top rope and hit a diving axe handle smash.

[Q5] Kalisto hit a head scissors that sent Del Rio into the post. Del Rio recovered in time to catch Kalisto coming off the ropes and hit an armbreaker. Del Rio continued to work the arm and shoulder, and quickly Kalisto sold the arm as if it was dangling. Kalisto showed some flashes of offense, but Del Rio avoided a running Kalisto and sent him into the post in the corner…[c]

Del Rio set up Kalisto in the tree of woe and kicked the crap out of him. Wade Barrett was at ringside as Del Rio set up for a double stomp. Kalisto managed to reverse into a headscissors and send Del Rio into the middle of the ring. He then hit a springboard seated senton. He went for a corkscrew, but Del RIo avoided him and hit a superkick to the side of the head for a close near fall. Del Rio fired up for the cross armbreaker, but Kalisto hit a nice Hurricanrana for a near fall

Kalisto a managed to avoid Del Rio and escape the electric chair position and hit a kick to the head. Del Rio recovered and went for another shoulder breaker, and then applied the cross arm breaker. Kalisto barely made it to the ropes, and the crowd reacted well when he did. Del Rio set Kalisto on the second rope hit the ropes, and then flew to the outside when Kalisto got out of the way. Kalisto set up for a suicide dive, but Wade Barrett moved Del Rio out of the way. Del Rio then applied the Cross Arm Breaker in the ring for a tapout victory.

Alberto Del Rio defeated Kalisto to regain the US Championship at 18:39.

Sting’s Hall of Fame announcement video is set for next…[c]

My Take: There was some good psychology in this match. The arm was sold throughout and it didn’t magically disappear at some point when it was time for Kalisto to make a comeback. He was portrayed as the ultimate underdog throughout the entire match, and Del Rio needed help from Barrett to put him away. I can’t say the match quality blew my mind or anything, but it was watchable and there are good things ahead for Kalisto if he can find some opponents he has good chemistry with. You’d think Del Rio would be a natural fit, but after watching them a few times it doesn’t seem like they are ever 100% on the same page.

[Q6] Sting’s WWE HOF Video package was shown. Backstage, Becky Lynch was interviewed by Renee Young. Footage was shown of Charlotte’s attack on Becky after their match on Raw two weeks ago. Becky said she was shocked that her best friend would attack her after a match, because that wasn’t the Charlotte she knew. Footage was then shown of Becky returning the favor on Raw, and she said that she would stay fired up until she beats Charlotte for the Divas Championship. She then challenged Charlotte to a match at the Royal Rumble PPV. Becky told Charlotte that she can bring her whole clan if she wants to, because it would be a old fashioned Irish lass kicking…[c]

[Q7] Brie Bella made her entrance, followed by Becky Lynch.

4. Brie Bella vs. Becky Lynch: Brie Bella got off to a fast start with some strikes and a dropkick from the second rope. Brie hit numerous kicks to the ribs in the corner, but Becky caught the last one and sent her into the second rope. She then followed up with clotheslines and a dropkick. Becky hit a flying forearm and a springboard sidekick. She then hit an exploder suplex and covered for a near fall. Brie got to her feet and attempted a Facebuster, but Becky avoided it and maneuvered into The Disarmer for the tapout victory…[c]

Becky Lynch defeated Brie Bella at 2:41.

My Take: Another solid night for Becky. She performed well in the ring and her backstage promos continue to be well executed. Brie Bella got a nice reaction for her entrance but no reaction whatsoever when she was on offense.

Sheamus made his entrance, followed by Kevin Owens, Neville, and Dean Ambrose.

[Q8] 5. Dean Ambrose and Neville vs. Sheamus and Kevin Owens: Sheamus and Ambrose dumped to the outside early. Sheamus and Owens took potshots at Dean Ambrose as the ref held back Neville from interfering in the action…[c]

Owens worked over Ambrose and hit a soccer kick to the back. Ambrose took quite a bit of abuse before firing back with a swinging neckbreaker. He made a tag to Neville, who came into the ring with a springboard clothesline. Neville went to hit Owens with a German Suplex. Owens avoided it and tagged in Sheamus a moment later. Sheamus hit a double axehandle and hit a big knee left a moment later. Sheamus grabbed Kevin Owens and tagged him into the match. Owens beat on Neville until he was able to avoid a charging Owens and make a hot tag.

Ambrose tagged in and lit up both Sheamus and Owens. Things broke down after a bit of Ambrose offense, and the heels got themselves DQ’ed when they used the announce table to hit Ambrose with.

Neville and Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens and Sheamus via DQ.

After the match, Neville made the save for Ambrose by hit a splash on Owens and Sheamus. Ambrose and Neville brought Owens back in the ring and Neville hit a Red Arrow to close the show.

My Take: A lackluster end to the show. The match wasn’t bad per se, but they have overused this tag format to the point where it has lost all meaning to me. They have to really do something special in order to stand out, and this match just didn’t leave an impression. Overall, I’d say this episode of Smackdown was a bit of a step down from last week, if only slightly. I still like the announce team, and I think a lot of the feuds show some promise, but this episode didn’t quite grab me like last week’s did.


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