Welcome everyone to the sixteenth edition of Spandex and Suplexes: A Wresting Review. I cover a week that saw NJPW’s two day Wrestle Kingdom 14 event, multiple championships on the line, and the start of the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Let’s get started.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14:
1. Toa Henare, Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors, and Alex Coughlin defeated Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma), Yota Tsuji, and Yuya Uemura
2. Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) defeated Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi
3. Naoki Sano, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Jushin Thunder Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, The Great Sasuke, and Tiger Mask
4. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and El Desperado) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada, Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi) by submission
5. Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Yoshi-Hashi) defeated Bullet Club (Kenta, Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens)
6. FinJuice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (c) to become the new IWGP Tag Team Champions
7. Jon Moxley defeated Lance Archer (c) by knockout in a Texas Deathmatch to become the new IWGP United States Champion
8. Hiromu Takahashi defeated Will Ospreay (c) to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
9. Tetsuya Naito defeated Jay White (c) to become the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion
10. Kazuchika Okada (c) defeated Kota Ibushi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Thoughts: I was happy to see Juice Robinson and David Finlay win the IWGP Tag Team Championships. They have been working as a tag team for over four years. They started off together in New Japan Pro Wrestling as Young Lions training in the New Japan Dojo where they became close friends. After being out with an injury, Finlay made his return this past October and the two men reformed their tag team, FinJuice, to enter the 2019 World Tag League. They ended up winning the whole thing by defeating the previous two years’ winners, Evil and Sanada, in the finals to earn a match against the Guerrillas of Destiny for the tag titles at Wrestle Kingdom. With this championship victory, all of that hard work as a tag team has finally paid off. Congrats to the new champs.
The Texas Deathmatch between Jon Moxley and Lance Archer was just as violent as it was awesome. Moxley was stripped of the IWGP United States Championship back in October due to not being able to make a scheduled title match because of Typhoon Hagibis and was ready to regain his championship. The two of them tore the house down, but in the end it would be Moxley picking up the win and reclaiming the championship he never officially lost. Moxley has had a career renaissance since leaving WWE and has dominated both in New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling. He has picked up gold in Japan once again, but will he also be picking up gold in AEW soon as well? We shall see. However, Moxley’s troubles in New Japan are not over yet as we will see in night two.
The Takahashi/Ospreay match was amazing as two of the very best Junior Heavyweights in the world battled it out for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Hiromu’s comeback has been miraculous as he managed to return from what many thought could of been a career ending injury when he broke his neck during a match with Dragon Lee in July 2018. That injury caused him to have to relinquish the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. However, not only did the Ticking Time Bomb make it back to the ring, he managed to win the title he never lost on this night to become the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion for the third time. Congrats, Hiromu. You earned it.
The last two matches of the night saw Tetsuya Naito challenge Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and the G1 Climax 29 winner Kota Ibushi challenge Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The winner of these matches would move on to night two in a title for title match where the winner would become the first person to hold both of these championships simultaneously. Both matches were absolutely spectacular with all four men giving it their all. In the end, Naito and Okada won their respective matches to move on to night two in what would be Naito’s third chance to defeat Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. Did he finally do it and walk out with both titles? We will see in night two.
Overall, this was a fantastic show with the biggest highlights being the last three matches with Okada/Ibushi being the match of the night. The show got going and really started to feel like Wrestle Kingdom with the IWGP Tag Team Championship match. The previous matches, while fine in their own right, felt like they were just filler with no real importance to them with the exception of Jushin Thunder Liger’s match due to it being his second to last match.
1. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi) defeated The Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe and Toru Yano) and Ryusuke Taguchi (c), Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi, and Robbie Eagles), Suzuki-gun (Taichi, El Desperado, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru), and Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens) in a Gauntlet match to become the new NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions
2. Hiromu Takahashi and Dragon Lee defeated Jushin Thunder Liger and Naoki Sano in Jushin Thunder Liger’s Retirement match
3. Roppongi 3K (Yoh and Sho) defeated Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo) (c) to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
4. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) defeated Sanada to retain the RPW British Heavyweight Championship
5. Jon Moxley (c) defeated Juice Robinson to retain the IWGP United States Championship
6. Hirooki Goto defeated Kenta (c) to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion
7. Jay White defeated Kota Ibushi after interference by Gedo
8. Chris Jericho defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi by submission
9. Tetsuya Naito (c) defeated Kazuchika Okada (c) in a Double Gold Dash match to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Thoughts: It was very emotional watching Jushin Thunder Liger’s final match. Liger has been a fixture in the world of professional wrestling my entire life, but now the legendary career of Jushin Thunder Liger has come to an end. I consider myself extremely lucky that I had the opportunity to see Liger perform live in person before his retirement back in 2018 at the CEO⨯NJPW: When Worlds Collide event. I want to take the time here to give my personal gratitude to Jushin Thunder Liger for all he has done to entertain us wrestling fans around the world over the past 35 years. Enjoy your retirement, Liger. Your legend has been cemented for all time.
After Moxley’s victory over Robinson, his celebration was interrupted by one of the most dangerous men in professional wrestling, Minoru Suzuki. Moxley and Suzuki got into each other’s face before a brawl broke out between the two hard hitting competitors. Suzuki would get the upper hand and laid out The Death Rider with a Gotch-Style Piledriver. Jon Moxley vs. Minoru Suzuki is a bona fide dream match that I have been wanting to see ever since Moxley left WWE. It was later announced that Moxley and Suzuki will go one on one for the U.S Title at The New Beginning in Osaka PPV on February 9th. I can’t wait to see these two maniacs go at it.
In the main event, Tetsuya Naito’s seven year journey came to a head. After failing at both Wrestle Kingdom 8 and Wrestle Kingdom 12, Naito finally defeated Kazuchika Okada in the Tokyo Dome to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and in the process made history by becoming the first man to hold both the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship simultaneously. Naito is my favorite wrestler in all of New Japan Pro Wrestling and my second favorite Japanese wrestler of all time after Shinsuke Nakamura, so I was of course ecstatic when Naito got the three count on Okada and finally accomplished his goal. The match itself was phenomenal and is easily my Match of the Week and is an early contender for my match of the year along with Okada/Ibushi from night one.
While giving his victory promo to the crowd, Naito was jumped from behind by Kenta. Kenta mercilessly beat down the new double champion before he finished off Naito with the GTS. Naito’s Los Ingobernables de Japon stablemate, Bushi, finally arrived causing Kenta to finally retreat. Bushi help Naito up as crowd rained down boos on Kenta.
I had mixed feelings about how they decided to close the show. On one hand, I feel that Naito should have been allowed to have his moment and end the night with him standing in victory. On the other hand, this attack has now made Kenta the most hated man in all of New Japan and makes their feud red hot right off the bat. It was later announced that Naito and Kenta will face off for both the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at The New Beginning in Osaka PPV on February 9th in what should be a hell of a match.
Overall, this was an awesome second night of wrestling action with the biggest highlights being the Jericho/Tanahashi match and the main event. As always, Wrestle Kingdom delivered and if you are not watching New Japan then you are missing the best wrestling on the planet.
1. Andrade (c) defeated Rey Mysterio after interference by Zelina Vega to retain the WWE United States Championship
2. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) (c) defeated The O.C. (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) and The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) in a Triple Threat Tag Team match to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships
3. Erick Rowen defeated KJ Orso
4. AJ Styles defeated Akira Tozawa
5. Drew McIntyre defeated No Way Jose
6. Aleister Black defeated Shelton Benjamin
7. Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and The Big Show defeated Seth Rollins and The AOP (Akam and Rezar) by DQ
Thoughts: Raw opened up with the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Heyman announced that at Royal Rumble, Lesnar will make history by entering the Royal Rumble match at #1 and go on to win the entire thing. This was an interesting announcement by Heyman and was certainly not what I expected Lesnar to be doing at Royal Rumble. However, I don’t see how this is “making history” as it doesn’t seem much different than when Triple H forced Roman Reigns to defend the WWE Championship in the Royal Rumble match in 2016 where Roman also entered at #1. The only difference I see here is that Lesnar apparently won’t be defending the WWE Championship in the match so I don’t see how Brock has anything to lose.
It does bring up the question of what would happen should The Beast actually win the match. Would he be able to challenge for either the WWE Universal Championship or NXT Championship at WrestleMania? Would he be able to pick his own challenger for his title at the Showcase of the Immortals like how the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan can do if they win the G1 Climax? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Bobby Lashley and Lana marched down to the ring where the priest from last week was waiting. Lana and Lashley had the priest quickly officially marry them. Lashley then ran down Rusev who appeared on the big screen to interrupt. Rusev poked fun at the duo by sharing a “wedding photo album” that was just still images from the chaotic wedding the week before. Lana screamed at Rusev that she hated him over and over until Lashley told her to shut up.
Lashley challenged Rusev to a match for next week which Rusev accepted and said it will not be the happy go lucky Rusev that will be facing Lashley. Instead it will be The Bulgarian Brute and that Lana can have whatever of Lashley is left. Later on backstage, Liv Morgan said she would be in Rusev’s corner next week to counter Lana. Lashley telling Lana to shut up was very interesting as it is the first crack in their alliance. Rusev getting serious at the end really sold the match and I hope next week will finally be the end of this feud.
Earlier backstage, Samoa Joe made a challenge to Seth Rollins and The AOP to face himself, Kevin Owens, and a mystery opponent chosen by Joe in the main event which was later made official. In the main event, Owens and Joe’s mystery partner was revealed to be the returning Big Show in his first match in over a year. The match ended when Rollins hit Big Show with a steel chair, causing a DQ.
Rollins tried to hit Show with The Stomp, but his leg was held back by Joe. The self-proclaimed Monday Night Messiah pulled his leg free only to walk right into a WMD Knockout Punch by The World’s Largest Athlete. Rollins and The AOP retreated up the ramp as a rematch between the two teams was announced for next week in the first ever “Fist Fight” match, though they didn’t explain what the rules for that kind of match were.
Big Show being the mystery partner was a nice surprise that I didn’t even consider due to how long he has been away from the ring. Other matches announced for next week were AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton in a rematch and, due to Murphy’s attack on Black after his match, Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy in their third confrontation. More names were revealed for the men’s Royal Rumble match with AJ Styles, Erick Rowan, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, and Drew McIntyre joining the already announced Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.
Overall, this was a good episode of Raw with the two championship matches being the highlights.
1. Zicky Dice defeated Caleb Konley in a NWA Television Championship Tournament qualifying match
2. Thunder Rosa defeated ODB
3. Nick Aldis vs. Ricky Starks went to a time limit draw
4. James Storm and Eli Drake defeated Mr. Anderson and Colt Cabana by DQ
Thoughts: Tim Storm opened up the show and gave a really good promo about how Nick Aldis weaseled his way out their scheduled match against each other last week and said that Aldis should apologize to the fans for not showing up for the match as the fans deserved to see it. He was interrupted by Aldis’ fellow Strictly Business member, Kamille, who got up in his face, but said nothing. When Storm asked her if Aldis really was a coward, Kamille slapped him. She then smiled and walked away. This was a really good promo by Storm who has become one the best pure babyface characters in American wrestling today.
After the Aldis/Starks match went to a time limit draw, Ricky Morton came out and and said that the crowd wanted to see five more minutes so that there could be a winner. Starks also asked for five more minutes, but Aldis refused. When Morton asked why Aldis wasn’t going to give Starks the match of his life, Aldis responded that he already did and that he was going to win anyway so there was no point. The crowd chanted “coward” at the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Morton then said that “Since you aren’t going to give the kid five more minutes, how about you give me five more minutes?”, but Aldis refused again and left. The crowd booed “The real World’s Champ” out of the building. Nick Aldis is very good on the mic and is a really great heel champion.
Later on in the show, Nick Aldis came out called out The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson). Aldis then said that the only way this was going to be settled was with some physicality, so he proposed a six-man tag match with teams chosen by Aldis and Morton to represent them. If Team Morton wins, Morton will get a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Morton accepted with Aldis presuming that Robert Gibson will be part of Team Morton. The National Treasure then revealed that his team would be The Wild Cards (Thomas Latimer and Royce Isaacs) with the third man being Scott Steiner! Steiner’s music played and he appeared at the top of the stands to close the show.
Scott Steiner showing up in the NWA was a total surprise and an awesome one at that. This, along with Marty Scurll’s surprise appearance at Into the Fire really gives the feeling that truly anyone could show up at any time which adds a lot of excitement to the NWA product. Speaking of Scurll, there was no sign or mention of him yet again this week. I guess he is going to continue to be MIA until Aldis’ feud with Tim Storm and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is over with the culmination of the feud presumably taking place at the NWA’s next PPV, Hard Times, on January 24th.
In other news from the show, the last two NWA Television Championship Tournament qualifying matches were announced with Zane Dawson set to take on his brother, Dave Dawson, next week and Trevor Murdoch scheduled to take on Thomas Latimer soon after.
Overall, this was a good episode of NWA Power that moved forward the story of Aldis’ Strictly Business faction’s feud with Tim Storm and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.
1. Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, and Candice LeRae defeated Kay Lee Ray, Io Shirai, and Bianca Belair
2. Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel) defeated The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match
3. Austin Theory defeated Joaquin Wilde
4. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) defeated Gallus (Wolfgang and Mark Coffey) after interference by Adam Cole and Roderick Strong in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match
5. Mia Yim defeated Kayden Carter
6. Keith Lee defeated Cameron Grimes, Dominik Dijakovic, and Damian Priest in a Fatal Four Way #1 Contender match to earn a shot at the NXT North American Championship
Thoughts: The show started off with Toni Storm interrupting Rhea Ripley to challenge her for a NXT Women’s Championship match at the upcoming NXT vs. NXT UK show, Worlds Collide. Storm then said she will be leaving Worlds Collide a double champion as she will regain the NXT UK Women’s Championship this Sunday at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II. The current NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray took exception to this and made her own championship challenge to Ripley. Io Shirai and Bianca Belair both made their way to the ring with both of them declaring that they deserved the next title shot. Candice LeRae then came out to put her name in the mix. Ripley then decided to start a brawl with the heels. This lead to a six-woman tag match where Ripley, Storm, and LeRae defeated Ray, Shirai, and Belair.
It was later announced that next week there will be a Battle Royal featuring Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Chelsea Green, Dakota Kai, Vanessa Borne, Kayden Carter, Mia Yim, Santana Garrett, Io Shirai, Shotzi Blackheart, and Xia Li with the winner becoming Rhea’s next championship challenger. This segment really showed that NXT’s women’s division is stacked with talented performers. I believe that the winner of the battle royal will most likely be one of the women who participated in that six-woman tag with Dakota Kai also having a good shot.
After an in ring promo by Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor interrupted and challenged Gargano to a match at NXT TakeOver: Portland. This is the match that everyone has been waiting for since Balor turned heel when he attacked Johnny Wrestling and put him out of action for several weeks. This should a stellar match with two of WWE’s best going at it.
As a result of his victory in the main event, Keith Lee became the #1 Contender to the NXT North American Championship and will face Roderick Strong for the title on the January 22nd edition of NXT. Lee has been on a roll since the build up to Survivor Series and I believe it is time to capitalize on his momentum with a championship victory. With the NXT Championship scene being busy with Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa for the foreseeable future, the NXT North American Championship picture is a great place to continue to showcase Lee until they are ready to move him back into NXT Championship contention.
Also on the show, the final two Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round matches were announced for next week. The first match will be The BroserWeights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne) vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster. The second match will see Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) taking on Kushida and his surprise tag team partner, and former Time Splitters teammate, Alex Shelley!
NXT bringing in Alex Shelley to reform The Time Splitters with Kushida for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic was a brilliant move and they are now my pick for who should win the entire tournament. It is my hope that WWE bringing in Shelly is not just a one-time deal and that WWE keeps him around as The Time Splitters would be an excellent team to bolster NXT tag team division. They would prove to be legitimate threats to The Undisputed Era’s NXT Tag Team Championships.
Overall, this was a good episode of NXT with the main event four way match being the highlight.
1. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page defeated Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen)
2. Riho (c) defeated Kris Statlander after interference by Awesome Kong to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship
3. Sammy Guevara defeated Christopher Daniels after interference by Pentagon Jr.
4. The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes) defeated The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. and Fenix)
5. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt) defeated Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) and Orange Cassidy
Thoughts: The AEW Women’s World Championship match was an absolute mess. It was overbooked and really showcased that the women’s division is currently the weakest part of AEW’s product due to a lack of definition, direction, and poor writing. This is something AEW needs to work on in 2020.
After Christopher Daniels’ loss to Sammy Guevara, The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver) came down to the ring. Uno touted Daniels’ reputation and claimed that the fans don’t respect him anymore. The leader of The Dark Order then offered The Fallen Angel a Dark Order mask and asked Daniels to join them. Daniels rejected the offer and was beaten down by Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver. Scorpio Sky, Frankie Kazarian and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) ran down to the ring to make the save and took out the three Dark Order members as Uno retreated.
There have been rumors that The Dark Order has a secret leader or “higher power”. The higher power being an established wrestler would do a lot of good to make The Dark Order feel like a legitimate threat as right now the fans are just not connecting with the cultish group. Even though he rejected Uno’s offer on this night, I have a theory that this was a ruse and that Daniels is the higher power. I believe that this role would suit him well due to his past Fallen Angel gimmick where he played a similar role as the leader of The Prophecy in Ring of Honor. This would also be an appropriate reveal as Daniels was actually one of the leading contenders to be revealed as “The Higher Power” of The Corporate Ministry during The Attitude Era in WWE before the role was given to Vince McMahon.
After Cody Rhodes’ victory, Cody was asked if would accept MJF’s conditions in order to have a match against each other at the upcoming AEW Revolution PPV. Cody’s coach and adviser, Arn Anderson, spoke on his behalf and said they would discuss MJF’s stipulations and give him an answer next week. In the next segment, MJF marched down to the ring with Wardlow and referred to Cody as “a little b—h” for not giving him an answer to his challenge that night.
He was then interrupted by Diamond Dallas Page who revealed a desire to come out of retirement for one more match. MJF then called down The Butcher and The Blade to take out DDP, but both men ate a couple of Diamond Cutters instead. A distraction from The Bunny and Wardlow allowed MJF to hit DDP with a low blow. Before they could beat down The Master of the Diamond Cutter, QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes hit the ring to make the save and chased off MJF and his crew. It was later announced that next week, DDP, QT Marshall, and Dustin Rhodes will take on MJF, The Butcher, and The Blade.
In the final segment, Jon Moxley gave his answer to Chris Jericho’s offer to join The Inner Circle. To the surprise of everyone, Moxley said “Yes” and celebrated with Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager with a little bit of the bubbly. As Jericho popped open a bottle, Moxley gave the camera a low-key wink. As Guevara and Hager exited the ring, the current IWGP United States Champion grabbed the microphone and told Le Champion that he was “just kidding.” “I would never join The Inner Circle. It’s a stupid group and you have nothing that I want. Except that,” Moxley said, motioning toward the AEW World Championship. The Death Rider blasted Jericho with a bottle of the bubbly and then hit him with the Paradigm Shift before heading off through the audience as the show went off the air.
This was a brilliant segment and really showcased the amazing storytelling talent that both Jericho and Moxley have. Moxley’s matter of fact way of telling Jericho he was just kidding was hilarious. I expect Jericho vs. Moxley to be the main event of AEW Revolution and I feel that event would be the perfect place for Jericho to drop the title to Moxley who is arguably the most popular face on the roster right now.
Overall, this was a good show with a great ending. The only real blunder on the show was the Women’s World Championship match, but the Brotherhood/Lucha Bros. match and the Moxley/Jericho segment made up for it.
With AEW resetting their win/loss records for 2020, I have decided to do the same for my personal Wednesday Night Wars score. The final score from 2019 was NXT – 8 and AEW – 4 with NXT coming out the winner for 2019. We now start the 2020 scores with AEW pulling out the victory this week thanks to that awesome Moxley/Jericho segment and the Brotherhood vs. Lucha Bros. match. This brings my personal 2020 WNW score to: NXT – 0 and AEW – 1.
1. The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston after interference by John Morrison
2. Mandy Rose defeated Alexa Bliss after interference by Otis
3. Braun Strowman defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
4. Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler defeated The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) by DQ after interference by Roman Reigns
Thoughts: The Miz’s heel turn was cemented on his talk show, Miz TV, in the opening segment of the show where he officially reformed his alliance with his former WWE Tag Team Championship partner, John Morrison. Morrison’s attack on Big E during Miz and Kofi Kingston’s match provided the distraction for Miz to hit Kofi with The Skull Crushing Finale for the victory. With this win, it is now very likely that Miz and Morrison will be the next team to challenge The New Day for their WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
During the main event, The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) attempted to interfere and help their ally Corbin. Roman Reigns then came out and prevented them from getting involved by hitting both of them with a Superman Punch. Later on by ringside, Reigns hit Corbin with a spear, causing a disqualification. Before Roman could continue to beat down his rival, Robert Roode made his return and attacked The Big Dog. Corbin, Ziggler, and Roode continued to beat down Reigns and The Usos. Roode picked up Roman and hit him with a spinebuster on the commentary table. Ziggler finished him off with an elbow drop that put Reigns through the table. The heels celebrated as the show went off the air.
Just when Roman though he would finally get the upper hand on Corbin and his crew with the help of his cousins, The Usos, Corbin’s team turned the tide with Roode’s surprise return. This gang warfare could come to a head at Royal Rumble with Roman and The Usos possibly taking on Corbin, Ziggler, and Roode in six-man tag action.
Overall, this was a good episode of SmackDown with many of the stories being advanced. The highlights were the Strowman/Nakamura match and Robert Roode’s return and beat down of Roman Reigns and The Usos. During the show, more names were revealed for both the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches with the men’s match adding Elias, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Otis, and Tucker and the women’s match adding Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross.
That’s it for this week’s Spandex and Suplexes. I am looking forward to NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II tomorrow as well as the reunion of The Time Splitters on NXT this Wednesday. On a final note, if you are in the Orlando area on January 18th, I will be attending Evolve 144 at Orlando Live Events in Fern Park, FL. If you plan to go and happen to see me there, feel free to say hello. Until next time, I’ll see you at ringside!