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SmackDown recap and reactions: It’s Rumble Time


Sami Zayn wasn’t supposed to be in Friday Night SmackDown This week in Laredo, Texas, but it showed up anyway. With The Usos arriving in the arena, Zayn Jey stopped by to give him a word, in person, for how much he had defended him during his trial on RAW XXX last Monday night.

Gee sent him, but of course it wasn’t the last we heard from him.

In fact, Jey calls him later on the show, asking him to come back again after kicking The Usos out of the building. The result of that call was, of course, Zayn interrupting the main event in their place, where Kevin Owens was battling Solo Sequa. KO was on the verge of winning the match when Zayn appeared to pull Solo out of the ring.

He ate a superkick for his troubles, as Owens avoided it and Solo put him in. Afterwards, KO uses a chair to completely knock out Sikoa. But when he turned to Zayn, who was still landing the superkick, Owens left him there, throwing the chair to him before leaving while vowing to take the title from Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble.

“I’ll see you tomorrow night, Sammy,” Owens paused to say before disappearing into the background.

“Where does Sami Zayn stand?!?” Michael Cole asked a little later.

There are only so many times they can use this thing but there was some obvious story building here and a lot of intrigue heading into the Rumble. Almost as interesting as what happens with Zayn is what it means to Jey.

eyes open

L.A. Knight came up with the old Bray Wyatt theme “Living in Fear” and I’d be damned if it didn’t make me really miss the whole Wyatt era. There was just something about that whole aesthetic that just worked.

Back when the slick tongue still hypnotized you.

Knight cut a sweet home announcement, saying he had no chance at RAW XXX because he was 2-on-1 with Undertaker there too, but when the lights go out at the Royal Rumble, he takes the “dull ass” from Wyatt.

This is a very good line.

Of course, Wyatt responded with a few words, but it wasn’t all that vague this time. It was finally just about selling the match. “Tomorrow evening, when the lights go out, you will see.”

Then, to spice up the intrigue, Uncle Howdy appears in the audience, looking on at the scene, waving his hand like a puppet master pulling at the strings.

I’m still not the craziest in this story, but I’ll be damned if they don’t comment on me at least a little bit in terms of wanting to see what happens in the match.

The only thing I miss in the pre-brand split era is the fact that you can count on seeing the biggest stars on any given WWE show. We don’t get that anymore.

Until it’s time for the Royal Rumble.

In fact, with everyone in town for the big event, it meant we got appearances from the likes of United States Champion Austin Theory, who was interrupted by NXT Tag Team Champions The New Day, only to end up verbally sparring with The Miz, Just watch Bobby Lashley hit the scene to run through everyone, only for Brock Lesnar to run into the crowd and knock Lashley out with an F-5.

If there’s one thing pro wrestling is great about, it’s anarchic scenes like this one. It doesn’t always have to mean more than others — sometimes it can just be great fun.

Here, it was both. Not only did we get some good mayhem, but we also got Lesnar announcing his intention to enter the Royal Rumble match, where he would inevitably run into Lashley again. You’re starting to feel like this is a feud that could go to WrestleMania.

Do we want that?

Let’s see how Rumble plays.

all the rest

  • Rey Mysterio scored a victory over Karrion Kross in the opening of this show. After building on this by making like Cross is coming to get Rey out to pasture, Mysterio winning like that made Cross look even worse but like Rey has a lot more in the tank. We’ll see what that means going forward, but he definitely has at least one big WrestleMania program left in him.
  • Lacey Evans finally returned and defeated Jazmine Alor in a squash match with a woman’s right and then a cobra bag. This is the submission with which they are now being paid. She got some promotional time after that and was booing at the crowd, who seemed to really enjoy her boos. There’s definitely still some potential here because it just isn’t as likable as you’d hope.
  • They found a way to get Drew McIntyre & Sheamus out of the SmackDown Tag Title Contender, willingly making them lose their spot so they could run into The Viking Raiders to attack them from behind. Ricochet and Braun Strowman took their place and immediately booked their ticket to the final, later joined by Imperium. The way they’ve pulled bait-and-switch here makes me care less about the end result, even if I understand why they’re doing it.
  • We got video footage of Sonya Deville crashing an interview with Charlotte Flair leading to her telling SmackDown Women’s Champion Adam Pearce that she wants to settle this once and for all next week, with the title on the line. So it’s official. There is not much to say about it, but the match should be solid.

Another good offer from the blue brand.

your thoughts?

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