By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox
Aired live on January 10, 2020 from Evansville, Indiana at Ford Center
The Smackdown video intro started the show, before transitioning to the arena. Michael Cole and Corey Graves joined in on commentary. The Miz made his entrance, as MizTV will begin the show. His guest will by John Morrison. The announce team recapped Miz unraveling as a result of his run in with Bray Wyatt. They introduced a video package that showed Miz boiling over with frustration from last week’s show.
Miz welcomed everyone to MizTV, and he said since last week people had accused him of changing. He said he had not changed, but instead had a bad day. He said his emotions got the best of him, and from the bottom of his heart, he apologized to Kofi Kingston. He said he had failed to take down Bray Wyatt, and failed to capture the Universal Championship, but there was one long bright spot. He said someone he considered a brother and a best friend came back into his life. Miz called him the Prince of Parkour and the Shaman of Sexy before calling for his entrance.
Morrison made his entrance with some pyro, and Miz looked genuinely excited look on his face. He grabbed a microphone before sitting down with The Miz. There was a welcome back chant that Miz encouraged to life. Miz called him the most important MizTV guest of all time, and said they were the most important WWE Tag Team of the 21st Century. Miz rattled off a list of Morrison’s accomplishments, and showed a video package of highlights.
Miz welcomed him back one again after the video, and Morrison said it felt good to be sitting under the lights with him. Morrison spoke about his journey, and how he had traveled the world and won championships, and how important it felt to come back and be there for a friend in need. He then changed subjects and said he was disappointed with the fans. Morrison said Miz had a bad day, fans were willing to ignore all of his hard work and how difficult it is to succeed in WWE. He said he had worked harder than anyone for 15 years, and become a WWE Champion and WrestleMania Main Eventer.
Morrison called out a few fans in the front row for not understanding what it means to work as hard as The Miz to earn his place in WWE. They were interrupted by New Day. They said they didn’t buy the sob story, or his apology. Big E said he wasn’t that good of an actor, and couldn’t get cast as the back end of a Human Centipede. Kofi said he wouldn’t have respected him if he had ended at having a bad day, but he had to keep going with his pouty face.
Miz said he respected Kofi holding the WWE Championship for 6 months, and also the 6 seconds it took him to lose it. Kofi said he could see that Miz was changing, he was changing from cool Miz to annoying Miz, and that he agreed with the people when they told him he sucked. We then got a graphic on screen that said a rematch between them was later, or maybe next. It wasn’t clear…[c]
My Take: Morrison’s return was a bit overshadowed by the Miz character turn and The New Day interference, but he was competent in delivering his lines and Miz and Morrison seem to be in for a reunion tour. The Tag Division gets a lot more interesting with them and The Usos making their return. That said, the segment ended abruptly, and the crowd wasn’t terribly invested even with Morrison’s return.
1. The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston: Big E and Morrison sat on commentary. Big E clowned on Michael Cole’s mannerisms while he was talking. Morrison continued to make his case that The Miz hadn’t changed, it was the fans. Kofi and Miz went back and forth in the ring without much happening. Big E chimed in on commentary to say that New Day had ran the last decade in WWE, and he needed to catch up. Kofi got a near fall on a roll up reversal, but Miz fired back with a knee lift.
Morrison accused Big E of not knowing what The Miz is going through because he doesn’t have a family. Morrison and Big E continued to bicker, with Morrison trying to drive a wedge between Kofi and Big E. Kofi sent Miz to the floor and splashed him. Miz fired back and shoved Kofi into Big E, which resulted in all four men getting face to face and jawing at one another…[c]
Morrison and Big E were now at ringside rather than commentary. Kofi hit a boom drop and then played to the crowd. He then hit a splash out of the corner and covered for a two count. Miz quickly recovered and hit a DDT, followed by Daniel Bryan kicks. Kofi turned the tables again with an SOS for a close near fall. Kofi sold his knee, and Miz targeted it. He then hit some splashes in the corner, but Kofi countered the third one with a wheelbarrow kick. Kofi jumped at Miz, but Miz avoided him and hip checked his knee.
Miz applied a figure four, but Kofi reached the ropes. Miz touched Big E, and E got in his face. Morrison entered the picture and took out Big E with some kind of twisting aerial maneuver. Miz took advantage of the distraction and landed a Skull Crushing Finale in the ring for the win.
The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston at 12:11
After the match, we saw Bray Wyatt appear on screen for the Firefly Funhouse. Wyatt told the Fireflies that he loved them. He said love is so special, but not everyone is worthy. He said he was speaking about Daniel Bryan, and whatever the opposite of love is what “he” feels about Daniel Bryan. Wyatt said he was in a heap of trouble at the Royal Rumble, because all he wanted was for him to remember. Video was shown of Daniel Bryan joining and leaving the Wyatt Family. Wyatt said since Bryan wants to take the Universal Championship, The Fiend wanted to hurt him…[c]
My Take: They wanted that to play out like a distraction finish, but Kofi was in position to see the whole thing, so it didn’t come off particularly well for him. I do like the prospect of these two teams feuding, though, and the banter between Morrison and Big E on commentary was very good. Hopefully they can continue to trade barbs and make this feud feel like a real grudge.
Backstage, Sonya and Mandy were in the locker room. Sonya said she was ready to focus on winning, and Mandy was clearly distracted. Sonya said she would be in her corner, and headed to the ring. Mandy then pulled out a box that looked to contain another cake.
In the ring, Elias asked the crowd to join him in a song about the road to The Rumble. He talked about all the declared entrants into the Royal Rumble. He spent some time on Roman Reigns, and compared whatever is in Erick Rowan’s cage to a Lashley and Lana sex tape. He then went after Brock Lesnar for never showing up. He said unlike Lesnar, he had a personality and wasn’t afraid to talk. He concluded by saying that he would defeat Brock Lesnar for the title, and would show him what WWE stands for.
Elsewhere backstage, Mandy apologized to Otis and gave him a cake that said I’m sorry. Tucker told him not to trust her, but Otis looked touched by the apology…[c]
My Take: That Elias song seemed like it would have worked better as just a promo. They barely tried to make the lyrics fit the structure of the song. It’s difficult to tell where they are going with Mandy and Sonya. I get the feeling they are headed for a split, and Sonya will be the heel upset with Mandy’s lack of focus on their team.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance with Nikki Cross. They were followed by Sonya and Mandy Rose.
2. Mandy Rose vs. Alexa Bliss: They talked some trash before getting into a shoving match. Mandy repeatedly pushed her, but Bliss fired back with a slap in the face. Mandy then took Alexa to the corner and hit some shoulder charges. Mandy dominated the offense and hit some punches on a grounded bliss before covering for two. She then tossed Alexa with a snap mare and applied a chin lock.
Bliss rallied and hit a clothesline and a big slap. Alexa hit her double knees combo, but Heavy Machinery interrupted. The distraction allowed for a distraction roll up finish.
Mandy Rose defeated Alexa Bliss at 4:04
After the match, Mandy celebrated and Otis ate cake in a creepy manner. Shinsuke vs. Strowman was plugged for later. Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks is next…[c]
My Take: Not much to that match. There effort was there, but ultimately the match was unsatisfying.
Lacey Evans made her entrance. Sasha Banks music hit, but she didn’t appear. Bayley appeared on the screen and said Sasha wasn’t there. She was in Los Angeles finishing her rap album. Bayley said she was only there because she was contractually obligated to be there. Lacey grabbed a mic and said this was a prime example of the difference between people like Sasha Banks and Lacey Evans. She said she was ready to fight anywhere, especially in the Heartland of America. Lacey then challenged Bayley to a match, since she showed up tonight.
Bayley said she can bark at her like an overbearing mother, but she’s not her snot nosed kid, and she does not have to listen to her. Evan backstage, where she was jumped immediately by Bayley outside the locker room. Bayley told her to put on her Mom jeans and go home. Bayley then tried to walk away, but Evans got to her feet and traded blows with her. She went for the Woman’s Right, but Bayley ducked and bailed. A ref kept Lacey from pursuing her.
The announce team then threw to a video package from the main event last week, and focused on The Fiend’s attack on Daniel Bryan.
Bryan was then interviewed backstage, and asked to respond to Wyatt. He said Wyatt wants a lot of things. Bryan said he remembered everything about the Wyatt Family, and that he outsmarted him. He said Wyatt did change him, but he did it for the better. And what Wyatt doesn’t want people to know is that he knows he can be hurt, and he knows he can be beated.
Rambling Rabbit then showed up on the screen behind them, and was about to reveal a secret about The Fiend when Wyatt stopped him and said snitches get stitches. In the arena, Braun Strowman then made his entrance in the arena for the next match…[c]
My Take: The most interesting thing about that segment was Rambling Rabbit nearly revealing that The Fiend has some kind of weakness. At least there’s some hope that the stranglehold Bray has on the Universal Championship will be loosened soon. It has created a very awkward situation in the main event on Smackdown that holds back the show. Lacey Evans getting USA chants while in a feud with another American is one of those wrestling tropes that needs to be bludgeoned to death.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance with Sami Zayn and Cesaro.
3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Braun Strowman: They went back and forth early. Nakamura was able to use his speed to avoid Strowman for the most part, but ended up getting hit by a Lariat that put Braun in control. He then hit a splash in the corner and dumped Nakamura to the floor. Braun pursued, but distractions from Zayn and Cesaro allowed Nakamura to hit a kick that sent Braun into the timekeepers area…[c]
Nakamura stomped Strowman in the corner, and then hit a sidekick and a second rope knee for a two count. He followed up with a wheel kick a moment later. Nak then climbed to the top, but jumped into a waiting Strowman for a big lariat and a clubbing blow to Nakamura’s chest for a near fall. Nakamura recovered and hit a running knee strike for a two count of his own.
Nakamura backed up for another charging attack, but Strowman picked him and hit a spinebuster. Zayn and Cesaro then tried to get involved with a chair, but the ref broke it up. Nakamura tried to hit Nakamura with the Intercontinental Championship, but Strowman ducked and hit a powerslam for the win.
Braun Strowman defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at 9:21
After the match, Strowman grabbed the Championship Belt and held it up for the crowd. Zayn snuck up and grabbed it before leaving up the ramp with Nakamura and Cesaro. Sheamus was shown talking in a dark room. He said Shorty G has been doing a lot of talking, but last week he didn’t say anything. Sheamus said small isn’t something to be embraced, it was something to be pursued, cornered, and disposed off. He said Shorty G said to embrace who you are, and he agrees, because he was ready to embrace chaos.
The main event of The Usos vs. Corbin and Ziggler is next…[c]
My Take: A passable match between Strowman and Nakamura, and the crowd reacted well when Strowman held up the Intercontinental Championship. It’s a bit of a mystery who he’d feud with once he gained the Championship, but Strowman continues to be well received by crowds.
In the locker room area, Daniel Bryan had a gift sitting on a stool near his locker. Inside the box was a dead and disfigured doll of Rambling Rabbit. Bryan looked disgusted and also sad as he placed it back in the box. Roman Reigns made his entrance in the arena. Footage was shown from last week with The Usos making the save last week.
I had a weather break in about the severe weather around Austin, TX at the moment. I rejoined the show with Roman Reigns during a promo. He said last week his family came back and helped him in a major way. He promised a Royal Rumble victory, and said he would go on to Main Event WrestleMania for the 5th time. Roman said he would do it with people by his side that had been there since day one, and that’s The Usos. They then made their own ring entrance. The Usos had microphones of their own.
Jey said it felt good to be back on the blue brand. He said they would turn Friday Night Smackdown into Friday Night Lockdown. Jimmy said sitting at home for the last few months, it was difficult to sit at home and watch Queen Corbin and his Queendom disrespect Roman. And when you disrespect Roman, you disrespect the whole family. Jey said Kings come and go, but blood is forever.
Corbin then interrupted. He was carried to the ring in a throne riding on the shoulders of four men, and said Roman was pawning off his beating onto his family. He accused Roman of fearing him, and said he would win the Royal Rumble match. Reigns said he’d love to kick his ass twice in the same night, and challenged him to a singles match along with the Royal Rumble Match. Corbin accepted, and said he wouldn’t have any family left after tonight, because he would take care of the Big Dog’s little bitches. The Usos then splashed Corbin and Ziggler at ringside…[c]
My Take: Roman and Family is a good look for him. He seems to thrive in group environments, and The Usos are great promos. The Corbin act is still brutal, but hopefully they toss this feud aside after The Rumble.
We got some footage of John Morrison and The Miz from earlier in the show. Big E will face off with Morrison next week. The Main Event competitors were all in the ring.
4. The Usos vs. Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison: Corbin hit a bossman lariat early on that gave the heels the advantage. Ziggler then tagged in and hit a dropkick and covered for a two count. Jimmy was able to make a tag and clear the heels from the ring, but The Revival made an appearance to cause a distraction. Ziggler took out Jey Uso on the outside. Roman Reigns came back out and took out both members of the Revival and walked down to the ringside area…[c]
Jey grabbed Ziggler and landed a Samoan Drop, and then hit Corbin with a superkick. Jimmy Uso dove over the top into Corbin, but he got caught and tossed into Roman Reigns. In the ring, Jey hit a big splash on Ziggler, but Corbin ran in and prevented a pin. Reigns recovered and hit a spear on Corbin on the floor, which caused a DQ.
Corbin and Ziggler defeated The Usos by DQ at 8:22
After the match, Reigns was going to powerbomb Corbin through the announce table, but Robert Roode returned and broke it up. He then hit a DDT on Reigns on the floor. Corbin hit Jimmy Uso with a deep six on the floor, and Ziggler hit Jey with a superkick. Roode then hit a big spinebuster on Reigns onto the announce table. Ziggler then broke the table with an elbow drop onto Reigns. The heels celebrated to close the show. Roode slapped his chest and said he’s back.
My Take: You had to figure the odds would even out at some point, and the fact that they explained Roode’s time away as an injury was a sign they had plans for him. I don’t think Roode returning had a giant impact, based on the crowd reaction, but at least they didn’t drag the dog food back out again. This was a very watchable show, but nothing really had any electricity. This show needs a big time feud at the top of the card in the worst way to breathe some life into it.