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WWE Smackdown Live 1/16/2018

Tonight on Smackdown, a new WWE United States Champion is crowned!

World Wrestling Entertainment presents Smackdown
Date: 1/16/2018
From: Laredo, TX

The New Day opens the show coming to the ring and there is a podium in the ring. Kofi Kingston says that the freedom of the United States of America is at stake when Woods takes on Jinder Mahal. Woods talks about the principle of pancakes, which doesn’t get talked about enough. Big E says that the US is very similar to a pancake. Woods says that a vote for him as champion means that it is a vote for three. Woods says that Mahal despises the Home Alone movies and freedom. The fans don’t want a guy like Jinder Mahal as their champion. Woods asks the fans to support him as he tries to be the next WWE United States Champion.

Opening Contest: Xavier Woods vs. Jinder Mahal in a second round match in the WWE United States Title Tournament: Mahal starts the match with a quick kick to the head of Woods. Mahal continues his offense with a knee drop. Woods fights back with strikes but Mahal stops him with an elbow strike. Woods dropkicks Mahal in the corner but is met with another elbow. Mahal nearly wins following a fist drop as we go to commercial.

Woods stops Mahal with a jawbreaker but runs into a clothesline. Mahal chokes Woods over the middle rope. Mahal delivers several knee drops and chokes Woods some more to keep control of the match. Woods fights out of a headlock and is dropped over the top rope. It looked like Woods was supposed to be backdropped to the apron or floor. Mahal proceeds to choke Woods on the apron. Woods avoids being counted out by getting back into the ring at the count of nine. Woods is sent hard back first into the corner. Woods tries to fight out of a headlock and kicks Mahal in the corner. Mahal nails Woods with a high one to counter the Honor Roll. We go to another commercial. This time, it’s a split screen. Woods fights back with strikes and chops, but gets cut off by a clothesline from Mahal.

Woods gets out of an abdominal stretch but Mahal stops him with a jawbreaker. Mahal puts Woods on the top turnbuckle and looks for a superplex. Woods fights back with right hands and knocks Mahal off the middle rope with headbutts. Woods leaps off the top rope to hit a missile dropkick. Woods and Mahal begin to trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Woods forearms Mahal several times to knock him down. Woods ducks a clothesline and spin kicks Mahal. Woods hits a shining wizard for a near fall. Big E and Kofi chase the Singh Brothers to the backstage area. Woods drops Mahal with a back suplex. Woods heads to the top again but misses an elbow drop. Mahal sends Woods throat first into the bottom rope. Mahal finishes Woods off with the cobra clutch slam for the win. (*1/2. Mahal’s offense is incredibly boring and doesn’t entertain me in the slightest. The finisher was nicely performed, but the fifteen minutes or so prior to that just wasn’t good. Woods had a few moments to shine, however this was borderline an extended squash match.)

Backstage, Baron Corbin is using a cellphone to cut a promo like they do on Twitter and whatnot. Corbin says the Royal Rumble is built for him and he sees it full of victims. Corbin says either get on board or get out of his way. It’s his time to main event WrestleMania.

Backstage, WWE Champion AJ Styles is interviewed by Renee Young. Styles thinks that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn should be over confident. He considers Owens as two people so it’s a 3 on 1 handicap match. Styles calls them Kami and is going to call them that from now on. The thought of them being champion makes him want to vomit. He’s going to end the Yep Movement at the Royal Rumble.

Backstage, several women are also using cellphones, or well, probably just the camera, to cut promos about their chances in the Royal Rumble. Natalya, Carmella, Tamina, Lana, Naomi, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, and Becky Lynch all share their thoughts.

Second Contest: Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley in a second round match in the WWE United States Title Tournament: Rawley slams Roode face first onto the canvas and shoves him into the corner. Roode takes Rawley down to the mat and then taunts him. Roode works over Rawley with a running elbow strike for a one count. Rawley back elbows Roode to break free and runs the ropes to deliver the Pounce. It looked like Mojo get caught under the top rope but still hit the move. Mojo knocks Roode to the floor and continues to talk some smack. Mojo follows to the floor and shoulder tackles Roode into the guard railing. Mojo points to the title as we go to commercial.

Mojo has an abdominal stretch on Roode. Roode hip tosses Mojo but misses an elbow drop. Mojo comes off the ropes with a big boot for a two count. Moho works over Roode in the corner with shoulder rams and tosses Roode out of the corner. Mojo goes back to an abdominal stretch on the mat and delivers several strikes to the ribs. Mojo clotheslines Roode in the corner followed by a spear. Roode avoids Mojo and Rawley hits the ring post shoulder first. Roode continues to hammer away on Rawley. Roode ducks a clothesline and drops Rawley with a few clotheslines. Roode clotheslines Rawley and drops Mojo with a neckbreaker. Roode hits a middle rope blockbuster but Mojo kicks out at two. Rawley counters the DDT attempt and drives Roode gut first down to the mat for a near fall. Mojo drives Roode back first into the corner several times. Mojo is taunting Roode in the corner and runs into a double boot. Roode plants Mojo with a spinebuster. Roode plays to the crowd and hits the Glorious DDT for the win. (*3/4. This didn’t do much for me either. Mojo did better than Jinder, but this didn’t have any kind of suspense since it was rather clear who was going to the finals.) After the match, the Singh Brothers attack Roode. Mahal appears and says that next week he will put a glorious end to Roode’s charade. He will be the next WWE United States Champion. Roode gets a microphone and says they don’t have to wait until next week. Roode wants to fight Mahal tonight. Mahal declines and wants Roode to have one week to think about how bad he’s going to beat him. Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan comes out and announces the finals will take place tonight.

Backstage, more wrestlers are talking about the Royal Rumble with a cellphone feel. This time it’s Randy Orton talking about preferring to be surrounded by chaos. It turns out that Orton cut the promo at a live event in an empty arena.

Third Contest: Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan vs. WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte, Naomi & Becky Lynch: Charlotte and Morgan kick off the match. Charlotte shoves Morgan to the mat and yanks Liv down to the mat face first. Charlotte gets a two count after a takedown. Morgan kicks Charlotte followed by a strike but the champ comes back with a few chops and a German suplex. Liv quickly tags out to Riott but she doesn’t do any better. Charlotte has a head scissors on Riott and rolls around the ring to slam Riott to the mat. Lynch tags in and drops Riott with a leaping forearm. Naomi tags in and clotheslines a seated Riott. Lynch takes Riott out with a dive off the apron as the show goes to split screen commercials.

Lynch sends Riott to the floor and gets sent to the apron by Logan. Lynch kicks Morgan off the apron but is worked over by Logan with stomps in the corner. Logan nails Lynch with a shining wizard for a near fall. Riott tags back in and hits a senton splash with help from Logan. Riott tags out to Morgan who has Lynch rammed into her knees and hits a middle rope bulldog for a near fall. Morgan prevents Lynch from tagging out and tags in Logan to keep control of the match. Logan runs over Lynch with a shoulder block. Lynch sends Logan over the top to the floor and tries to tag out but Logan knocks Charlotte off the apron. Logan goes for a slam but Lynch breaks free and clotheslines Logan. Liv and Naomi get tagged in with Naomi cleaning house and hits Morgan with a springboard kick. Naomi dropkicks Morgan following several more kicks. Naomi kicks Liv from the apron and hits a springboard cross body for a two count. Charlotte spears Logan while Riott kicks Naomi from the apron. Liv hits a modified Codebreaker and pins Naomi. (**. The ladies don’t seem to be getting much of a crowd reaction, but the new girls need to get momentum and keep it for a little while. The 50/50 booking prevents any women from standing out from the pack. They worked hard and it was the most enjoyable match on the show thus far, I’d say.)

Backstage, Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Usos are interviewed regarding their title defense at the Royal Rumble. They talk about how Chad Gable went and got a rebound when Jason Jordan left to RAW. Usos joke about Gable and Benjamin not being able to tell them apart. They are about to say their catchphrase when they are jumped by Gable and Jordan! Gable says they know exactly who they are… “former champions”.

Backstage, Shinsuke Nakamura cut a cellphone style promo to promote his involvement in the Royal Rumble. He’s going to be the last man standing. I think that’s what he said.

Shane McMahon will be at ringside for the tournament final to crown a new WWE United States Champion. Daniel Bryan is also at ringside for the match.

Footage of the Fashion Files is shown. Aiden English and Rusev wanted a rematch against Tyler Breeze and Fandango, but Fandango instead says they’ll wrestle the Ascension instead.

Main Event: Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal in the finals of the WWE United States Title Tournament: Roode is selling his ribs from his earlier match. Mahal backs Roode into the corner and then yells at him. Roode blocks a boot and hammers away on Mahal with right hands. Mahal gets control of the match hammering away on Roode and chokes him in the corner. Roode blocks being sent into the turnbuckles and rams Mahal into the corner. Roode pummels Mahal with right hands. Mahal kicks Roode and is sent flying over the top to the floor. Roode follows to the floor to keep the advantage. Mahal drives Roode back first into the apron. Mahal also sends Roode into the ring steps. Mahal drops Roode gut first over the guard railing as we go to commercial.

Mahal is pulling Roode rib first into the ring post. Mahal slams Roode’s chest into the post, as well. Mahal comes off the ropes and knocks Roode off hitting the guard railing. Mahal gets an abdominal stretch on Roode. Roode comes off the ropes but a knee lift stops him. Mahal nearly wins after a dropkick to a seated Roode. Mahal delivers several knee drops to the ribs of Roode to keep control of the match. Roode comes off the ropes and is met with a high knee but Roode kicks out at two. Mahal stretches Roode out but isn’t able to get a submission. Roode fights back with right hands. Roode gets a sunset flip but Mahal kicks out. Mahal drops Roode with a superkick for a near fall. Mahal continues to beat on the ribs of Roode in the corner. Roode clotheslines Mahal over the top to the floor and follows up quickly. Roode leaps off the apron to clothesline Mahal on the floor. Roode goes to the top hitting a cross body but Mahal rolls through and nearly wins with a rollup. Roode knee lifts Mahal in the corner followed by a splash in the corner. Roode attempts a bulldog but has to settle with a boot in the corner. Roode hits a middle rope blockbusterr for a near fall. Mahal counters the Glorious DDT and nearly wins with a rollup. They collide when they try for stereo clotheslines. Mahal elbows Roode in the corner but Roode plants Mahal with a spinebuster. Mahal counters the DDT with a rollup. Mahal goes for the cobra clutch slam, but Roode counters with the Glorious DDT and pins Mahal. (**. The finish was nicely done, and I’m thrilled that Roode won the title. They went the usual route of the face overcoming all the odds, including an injury. I wasn’t very invested in the whole tournament or anything because Dolph Ziggler is just going to return and feud with Roode for the title now anyway. I hope this doesn’t lead to Roode/Mahal at the Rumble.) After the match, Roode celebrates with the championship.

Final Thoughts:
A complete filler week for Smackdown with the show not having any of the main stars appearing in front of the live crowd. If I had attended this show live, I would have been majorly disappointed. I sure hope theres a strong dark match, aside from the Mixed Match Challenge match. This episode was rather boring and didn’t advance much of anything, really.

Thanks for reading.

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