An impressive return to WWE for John Morrison and The Usos, a huge win for Lacey Evans, Kane reminds us that the Royal Rumble will always be HIS match and The Big Dog runs riot in his yard. Nothing new with the latter there! As we edge ever closer to the Royal Rumble PPV a week on Sunday, find out about what happened during this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX. Welcome to the most must-see VultureHound review in history; welcome to… the SmackDown Review.

Results:

– John Morrison defeated Big E.

– The Usos defeated The Revival in a tag team match.

– Lacey Evans defeated Bayley.

– Alexa Bliss defeated Sonya Deville.

– Roman Reigns defeated Robert Roode in a Tables match.

Bradley’s Best Bits:

Opening the show was the returning Mayor of Knox County, Kane. The Big Red Machine announced he will compete in the Royal Rumble match before he was interrupted by Bray Wyatt appearing from The Firefly Fun House. The once Eater of Worlds reminded Kane of what happened the last time their paths crossed and that he will and The Fiend will always remember him.

Just as The Fiend appeared to sneak up on Kane, the future Hall of Famer turned around and met the deranged Friend with a smile as Daniel Bryan then showed up to hit the demonic character with a running knee. As the Universal Champion attempted to retreat back under the ring, Bryan was able to pull out some of his hair just like what happened to himself before he returned as the leader of the Yes Movement.

Later on backstage, the Bryan made the challenged to Wyatt that their Universal Championship match should be a strap match in order for neither of them to escape each other’s grasps. Not quite as layered as we’ve seen previously from The Fiend but it was a good use of Kane’s history with the character as well as a nice nod to his former partnership with Daniel Bryan.

After Miz was able to score a win over Kofi Kingston through John Morrison’s help last week, the stage was set for a match between The Shaman of Sexy and Big E for this week. As we’ve come to expect from Morrison over the years, he wasted no time in pulling out fancy flips and hard-hitting moves that will be sure to win over any new WWE viewers who weren’t aware of him in his previous tenure.

Morrison eventually sealed the deal with his trademark Starship Pain. Two wins in a row in singles competition for Miz and Morrison could see the duo eventually challenge The New Day for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

It’s great to see The Usos firing on all cylinders so quickly upon their return. The brothers were in charge for much of their match with The Revival where they picked up the win with a fantastic Uso splash. After the match, The Revival went on record to say they need to make a change since WWE would not change for them. Could this be the end of their “No Flips, Just Fists” style of rasslin’? Probably not, but it’s an interesting development from the pair who have been looking into trademarks ahead of their contracts reportedly expiring this spring.

Despite a match being scheduled between Lacey Evans and Sasha Banks, this was changed to a non-title match between Evans and Bayley after the Sassy Southern Belle injured Banks’ ankle in a backstage brawl.

Bayley never particularly looks like a ruthless champion without Sasha at her side and last night was no exception. Even though the former Hugger continued to wind up Evans and control most of the match as the veteran of the two, it would be Evans that would claim a huge win after smashing the SmackDown Women’s Champion with the Woman’s Right outta nowhere. Following months of being pushed as a potential contender for the title, with this win now behind her could now be the time to give Evans her opportunity for the gold?

Plenty of interference was always going to be the case when Roman Reigns squared off with Robert Roode which seems to be setting up an eventual 6-man tag team match between The Bloodline of the Samoan cousins and The Kings Court.

The Glorious One went straight for Reigns before the bell and soon after picked up the support of King Corbin during the match. Dolph Ziggler joined the fray when he hit Reigns with a superkick. The trio began a beatdown on The Big Dog before attempted to send him through the announce table only for The Usos to even the teams and land a double splash on The Showoff through the table. This left Reigns one-on-one with Roode who was speared clean off his feet and through a table in the corner of the ring to win.

Whilst this feud has been ongoing for months now, and it has had some low moments, it still has plenty of legs in it with every new twist and turn that is introduced each week. Both Reigns and Corbin have been playing their roles perfectly as the locker room leader and the detestable wannabee King of the back respectively. With the introduction of The Usos, Reigns has the support he needs to finally take down the tyrannical King. Next up for these factions is a Falls Count Anywhere match between Reigns and Corbin.

For Fox Sake:

In another backstage segment, Braun Strowman demanded Intercontinental Championship match with Shinsuke Nakamura at the Royal Rumble. Not long after, Elias who was in the ring getting the crowd going but was interrupted by Sami Zayn who took the chance to deny The Monster Among Men his title opportunity. Of course, Elias made fun of Zayn and his posse until they stormed the ring to beat him down only to be saved by the big man Strowman.

The disappointing thing about this is that it potentially signifies the company no longer sees Strowman as a top guy and have shoehorned him into a picture with Cesaro and Nakamura who are letting Zayn take up any personality for them. This isn’t entirely a bad thing as the Swiss Cyborg and The Artist have never been great talkers and Zayn’s loud personality does distract from this. There’s still time for this to develop into a bigger story with Zayn, Cesaro and Nakamura all being Intercontinental title worthy material whilst Strowman chases his first singles title in WWE.

The current story of “will they, won’t they” between Mandy Rose and Otis is something of a mess in terms of the people finding themselves unintentionally involved whilst also not really having anything to do for themselves.

This week, at the suggestion of Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose invited Otis to ringside whilst she accompanied her in Deville’s match against Alexa Bliss. The match itself served only to further this story. Bliss picked up the win after God’s Greatest Creation fell from the turnbuckle which distracted Deville for The Goddess to win via a rollup.

There wasn’t much point in Tucker and Nikki Cross being there other than it’s their respective tag partners involved in the match and storyline. It’s also becoming more creepy every week with every thrust and weird face that Otis pulls towards Mandy Rose. At least they had some TV time, I guess!

All pics and videos courtesy of WWE.