This week’s Smackdown had a firey opening (literally) as the Big Red Machine made a rare appearance on WWE television. Kane started off by promoting the Royal Rumble, as he is the man who holds the record for most eliminations.

Kane said that when he eliminates someone, he looks in their eyes and watches as their hope melts away. This prompts the Firefly Funhouse music to hit, and Bray Wyatt appears on the Tron. Wyatt tells Kane that it is never nice to brag and find joy in another person’s misery, and calls him a big red bully. He then asks Kane to apologize, but nothing happens.

Bray then says it may not be a good idea to win the Rumble, especially if the winner challenges The Fiend for the Universal Championship. Wyatt then realizes Kane’s picture is already on his wall, which means he and the Fiend already “got it on” before.

The lights then went down and that ominous music began to play. Kane jumped out of the ring to look for the Fiend, but behind him, the Fiend emerged from under the ring. Kane had no reaction, and calmly turned around and asked what took the Fiend so long?

Then out of nowhere, Daniel Bryan hits the running knee on the Fiend and sends him back where he came from. Bryan then looked in his hand and saw a piece of the Fiend’s hair, this was retribution for what happened to Bryan a number of weeks ago.

Later on in the night Bryan was interviewed and said he is tired of the Fiend running away, so he lays down the challenge of a strap match, nice touch!

Kane showing up was a bit random at first, but after seeing this segment play out it made sense why he would be involved as he already has ties to both members of this feud. It is nice when returns are not random and actually further a storyline.

John Morrison’s re-debut match:

After the Team Hell No reunion opened the show, we got to see John Morrison back in a WWE ring for the first time since November of 2011. Morrison came with a flurry of offensive moves early on, but Big E was able to withstand them and fight his way back into the match.

Morrison then cemented himself as a heel when he nailed Kofi on the outside with a corkscrew leg drop. Miz later saved Morrison by pulling him off the apron to avoid a spear from Big E. This led to Morrison hitting a running knee and then hitting Starship Pain for the win. Big win for Morrison out of the gate and big things look to be in store for John in the coming months.

Revival vs. Usos:

After last week’s interference by the Revival that nearly cost the Usos their match, these two teams once again were set to do battle.

This match did not last as long as I would think a good tag team match should. The Usos had most of the offense in this match and won the match when Jimmy went to the top rope and hit a massive dive to Dash Wilder for the win.

I am hoping this storyline with the Revival being unhappy actually leads somewhere. I mean, they are letting them voice frustrations on-air about the company, so there has to be an endgame, right?

Lacey Evans vs. Bayley:

There is clearly disdain between these women. Earlier backstage Evans got into with Bayley and Sahsa Banks, which resulted in Banks injuring her ankle. This forced Banks vs. Evans to be canceled again. But a man backstage informed Bayley that she would be taking the place of Banks and that match was tonight.

Interesting way to get these two competitors to face each other, but these are two of the top women on Smackdown and I am all for seeing them fight.  These women had a very solid match, and I especially like the move from Evans where she jumps from the middle rope to the top rope and lands a moonsault, even though it was blocked here by Bayley.

The ending of this match did impress me, as Bayley dropped Lacey on the top turnbuckle and ran across the ring to charge up but Evans came out of nowhere with the Women’s Right for a massive victory!

While I did like the ending of the match, I can already see where this feud is going. A title match was made for the Royal Rumble between these two, and after Evans picked up the win here, Bayley will likely win in some heelish way. Maybe even with the help of Banks. The predictability of this feud is a bit concerning, hopefully, there is a nice wrinkle thrown in at some point.

Braun Strowman saves the day: 

Elias was next up, who sung about Greensboro. But this song was cut short by the trio of Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Zayn was wild and loud on the mic, as usual, saying Braun Strowman is a big oaf and does not deserve a shot at the Intercontinental Championship.

While Sayn is cutting his promo, Elias lets the crowd know he has come up with another song and it is called “Sami Zayn Needs to Shut His Damn Mouth.” The trio throws a fit and Cesaro and Nakamura start to beat up Elias when Strowman comes down for the save.

Zayn does an excellent job of getting heat with the crowd, but the Intercontinental belt has completely lost its luster around the waist of Nakamura. I want to have hope for this trio, but the IC belt needs to be on someone who can elevate the belt. I believe Strowman can do that, he connects with the audience and is one of the top babyfaces on Smackdown.

Alexa Biss vs. Sonya Deville: 

The actual match was more in the background. Earlier in the night, Sonya asked Mandy if she could get Otis to be ringside for her match. So Otis and Tucker were ringside with Mandy, Sonya, Alexa, and Nikki Cross.

At one point in the match, Mandy got up on the apron to help provide a distraction, but Nikki knocks her off and right into the arms of Otis. But back in the ring, Alexa rolled up Sonya for the win. Not really sure what this match accomplished, but the bigger takeaway is the Otis/Mandy storyline getting furthered.

Tables Match:  

All throughout the night, this match was heavily advertised. The winner of the match would pick the stipulation of Roman’s match against Baron Corbin at the Rumble.

Despite this match being quite predictable (at least to me) it was still a solid bout. Roman and Roode started out one on one, but it was only a matter of time until Corbin and Ziggler made their way to the ring. Right before the break Roman whiffed on a spear outside and Corbin entered the arena on his throne.

Eventually, the three heels would swarm the ring and Ziggler would land a superkick on Roman. But right on time, the Usos would come out for the save, laying out all three members of Corbin’s squad with superkicks. The brothers then dragged Ziggler onto the announce table, where they then tightrope walked the barricade and planted Ziggler through the desk.

While Corbin retreated up the ramp, Roman speared Roode through the table and won the match. Post-match Roman looked at Corbin and told him he’s going beat him up all around Minute Maid Park because it will be a falls count anywhere match.

That is set up for there to be distractions all over, which leads me to believe Corbin walks away with the win. I hope I wrong.

Well, Smackdown was an overall solid show. The opening segment with Kane and Daniel outsmarting the Fiend was excellent, and both the Lacey/Bayley feud, as well as the Roman/Corbin feud, were furthered here. The overall wrestling was okay, but with only one more episode left before the Rumble, it was nice to see several storylines take shape.

The Morrison/Miz combo definitely has potential and the Usos being back in the tag division just takes it to the next level.

Overall, I give this week’s episode a 4 out of 5.



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