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The SmackDown Live Review – January 9th, 2018

The Blue Boat is rowing his way to Royal Rumble at a very strange pace. AJ Styles gave to Daniel Bryan the stick to be beaten when he asked for a Handicap Match against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. The United States Championship tournament is in progress, the third qualification match is set for tonight. Every woman on the roster is focused on the Royal Rumble match. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin won and lost the Tag Team titles the same night last week. The Yep Movement is standing still while the relation between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan is more and more fragile. The Blue Boat is not the Love Boat anymore… 

Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review brought to you this week by your French Enygma, Steph.

Renee opened the show by welcoming her guest, WWE Champion AJ Styles. She asked if the Handicap Match at the Royal Rumble was a fair decision. Styles answered if he was being sarcastic when he mentioned the Handicap Match last week, he couldn’t take back what he said, like the match that SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan made. Even if Styles was aware of the fact he may lose the title at Royal Rumble, his strategy for the match is simple, hit them fast and hit them hard. AJ said Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are professionals and logic tells him that the longer the match goes, the better chance they have because they can tag in a fresh man. Renee asked AJ again if he thought the decision was fair. He finally said it was not. He didn’t know what Bryan’s deal was and if he tried not getting in Bryan’s business, it seemed like Bryan was pushing him into it. When asked about Commissioner Shane McMahon, Styles refused to get into it.

Styles continued with Zayn and Owens, claiming he would not allow “those 2 idiots” to take his title from him, so he had to retain. Out came Owens and Sami. Owens mocked AJ, saying he had no chance of walking out of Royal Rumble with the WWE Title (Yep?). So Owens and Zayn will become the first-ever co-WWE Champions (Yep?!) and take the house that AJ Styles built into the Kevin & Sami Show (Yep…). Out came now Shane McMahon. He said he also thinks it’s not fair that Styles had to defend the title in a Handicap match and he didn’t understand why Daniel Bryan made this match and gave the “Yep Clowns” a chance. If he backed Bryan’s decision, for now, he came to talk about another Handicap match. Shane announced Zayn and Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton and AJ Styles as the main event of the night. Backstage Shane approached Bryan who told he made a hell of a main event for tonight. They shook hands but eyes don’t lie, Shane was not believing a word of what Bryan had just told him…

HERE ARE THE OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED:

– Becky Lynch, with Charlotte Flair and Naomi, defeated Ruby Riott, with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. The West Side Story match of the night, the good girls vs. the bad girls. Sarah Logan tried to interfere early in the match but Ruby Riott did a great job trying to keep Becky to the ground with nice submission holds. But The Lass Kicker rallied and unloaded suplexes and a running kick, before putting Riott in The Disarm Her for the win.

– The Bludgeon Brothers defeated The Ascension. When a match lasts 45 seconds, I call that a destruction. RIP Konnor and Viktor.

Mojo Rawley defeated Zack Ryder to advance to the semi-finals of the WWE United States Title Tournament Match. This match was personal in some ways, but Bobby Roode was at ringside to witness who’s going to be his opponent in the second round of the tournament. Mojo talked trash many times and pummeled Ryder with knee strikes and thrusts in the corner. Ryder hit a neck breaker, went for the Broski Boot. Rawley rolled to the floor, hit an atomic drop and the big running right hand for the win. Bobby Roode entered the ring to taunt Mojo.

– Backstage, Jinder Mahal, with the Singh Brothers, reminded us of his fantastic 2017 and said was now eyeing on the WWE United States Championship. He will face Xavier Woods next week in the second round of the tournament. He added The Modern Day Maharaja is forever when The New Day is a fad.

#FreeTheTagTitles, Gable and Benjamin demand justice

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, after their controversial loss last week, asked fans if any of them knew what it takes it to be a winner, hours of training, neglecting family and friends all to chase down one goal. Gable talked about how they won last week and set the titles free from The Usos Penitentiary until the second referee came down to overturn their victory. Gable said the referee was a thief when Benjamin claimed: “he’s a snitch and snitches get stitches”. As a crime was committed, Gable and Benjamin demanded justice. Daniel Bryan understood how their euphoria turned into anger. He asked them to respect the referee’s decision as they, in fact, didn’t win last week. Gable said they did everything they had to do and asked if they have to beat them twice in one night. Bryan booked them in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match at Royal Rumble against the Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team belts.

– Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) defeated Rusev Day (Aiden English and Rusev). Surprising win for a surprisingly good match. Very interesting teamwork from both teams. Fandango was in control most of the match, answering every offence from English and Rusev. Some chaos at the end of the match was of benefit to Breezango, but nice bout anyway.

– Backstage, Shane approached Daniel Bryan who was watching the match. Bryan praised Breezango for connecting with fans and gave props to the tag team division. Shane said he and Bryan were not on the same page right now, about the Handicap match and the Tag Team titles match. Shane said Bryan is coming off as unstable. Bryan replied he could say the same thing. Shane added they will just agree to disagree. SmackDown Live is now run by Statler and Waldorf (the grumpy old men from The Muppet Show).

2-on-3 Handicap Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura

Orton took control quickly, slammed Owens into a barrier. Sami was tagged in and took over on Orton. Until Nakamura was tagged in and took over on Zayn with his arsenal of kicks, boots and knees. Sami avoided a Styles Clash from AJ and he and Owens decided to leave the ring. The referee counted them both out. The match was done, until Shane McMahon came and restarted the match, turning it into a No Counts Out match.

2-on-3 No Count Outs Handicap Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura 

Styles and Orton ran up the ramp to attack Sami and Owens. Back from break, Zayn was in control of Styles, Owens then after. Orton finally got the tag and unloaded clotheslines, a powerslam and a second-rope DDT on Zayn. Orton went for the RKO but Owens hit in with a chair. The referee called for the bell. Owens continued to deliver chair shots until he and Sami backed up the ramp to get out. Here came Shane again, who restarted the match again, this time adding the No Disqualification, Anything Goes stipulation.

2-on-3 No Count Outs, No Disqualification, Anything Goes Handicap Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura 

AJ ran up the ramp to deliver some chair shots on Owens, the action went backstage while Orton and Nakamura were busy with Zayn at ringside. They sent him into the ring post, smashed Zayn into the steel steps, tossed him over the announce table before slamming him on top of the announce table. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa in the ring, Orton hit the RKO, this time the match was over. Styles, Orton and Nakamura got the win the controversial way, Shane again stuck his nose into the match and feud.

Flat and boring. I couldn’t say any better of what I watched yesterday. The Blue Boat is about to sink and the current feuds are doing nothing to help save it… 

All pics and screencaps courtesy of WWE.com