This week, the show kicks off with the return of Chris Jericho to Smackdown. I love Jericho, but I am less and less interested in him with every return. And from what I’ve seen, that’s not an uncommon feeling amongst fans. Jericho welcomes everyone to “Thursday Night Jericho”, and the return of Jericho after 14 months. But in 3 days, we have the biggest Royal Rumble in history. For the first time ever, the winner walks away the WWE World Champion. Actually, Chris, for the first time ever, the champion defends the belt in the match. However, in 1992, the title was vacant and awarded in the Rumble (won by Ric Flair). Therefore, this will be the second time the winner walks out as champion. Anyway, Jericho says on RAW, we had the biggest “Highlight Reel” in history. We go back to footage from RAW, where we found out Roman Reigns was the first entrant in the Rumble, followed by Brock Lesnar and Reigns brawling, along with the League of Nations and the Wyatt Family.
Back to the arena, Jericho says all hell broke loose, but what do you expect when you have the top 3 odds-on favorites to win the Rumble? Reigns may be the champion, Lesnar may be the “Beast Incarnate”, but Jericho is the savior of WWE, and he will become the new champion on Sunday.
Jericho is interrupted by the New Day, who get almost no reaction. Big E says Jericho is not the savior in his house. Last week, he had the gall to destroy their trombone, and now, he’s here yucking it up while they are in mourning. Kofi Kingston says someone should make a documentary about Jericho, and Xavier Woods says it should be called “Making a Brass Murderer”. God, I hate this gimmick. Have I mentioned that lately? Woods says the difference is they wouldn’t have to plant evidence, since they have it on tape. He’s guilty and should be ashamed of himself. E says he has no remorse. Woods says Jericho is cold as ice and cold-blooded. Kofi says there is good news: criminals can be reformed and contribute to society. Woods says this is his second chance. He then asks everyone to bow their heads and be silent to mourn the trombone. Jericho thinks this is ridiculous. He can’t be silent, because their horns are so stupid. Jericho then misquotes Confucius with a cheesy line about unicorns and jackasses. If the New Day want to be unicorns, fine, but they need better names. He lists off some names before calling Kofi “Rooty”, Woods can be “Tooty” and E can be “Booty”. This segment is making my head hurt. The New Day climb into the ring. Jericho says he’d like to kick their behinds over the rainbow, but he won’t, because they have a scheduled 6-man. And here are their opponents: the Usos and Dolph Ziggler.
MATCH 1: THE NEW DAY (WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS BIG E, KOFI KINGSTON AND XAVIER WOODS) VS. THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY) AND DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler has his face painted like the Usos. One of the Usos starts with Kofi as we are informed the Usos will face the New Day at the Rumble for the tag titles. This is apparently Jimmy. Jimmy applies an arm wringer, which Kofi reverses after some flips before yanking Jimmy down by the hair. Jimmy grabs a waistlock, then lets it go for a pair of chops. Kofi gets corner-whipped, reverses, then runs into an uppercut after Jimmy puts on the brakes. Jey tags in, and the Usos hit a double back elbow and a double elbow drop for 2. Kofi lands a quick punch and tags in Woods, who runs into an armdrag. Jey whips Woods down by the hair out of an armbar, then hits a bodyslam. Jey stomps Woods down in the corner, then applies an arm wringer before tagging in Ziggler for a dropkick for 2. Ziggler continues the attack on the arm with an armbar, then hits a neckbreaker. Ziggler hits the Shot to the Heart for 2 before getting backed into the heel corner. E tags in and nails Ziggler before hitting a belly-to-belly. E hits the Warrior Splash for 2, then tags in Kofi. Kofi stomps Ziggler down, then hits a European uppercut and a dropkick. Woods tags in for a dropkick for 2. Kofi back in, and the two hit a pair of kicks before Woods hits a basement clothesline for 2. Ziggler fights out of a side headlock before Kofi hits a kneelift. Kofi assaults Ziggler in the corner before missing a splash. He lands on the middle buckle and springs off for a cross-body, only to get caught with in mid-air with a dropkick. Jimmy tags in and hits a flying shoulder. He follows up with a corner splash and a corner seated dropkick. Jimmy connects with a hip attack in the corner, then knocks Woods off the apron with a clothesline. He catches Kofi with a European uppercut before Woods distracts the ref, allowing E to hiptoss Jimmy to the floor. Commercials.
Back from the break, E locks Jimmy in an abdominal stretch. E proceeds to slap Jimmy across the ass while in the hold before clubbing him in the ribs. The New Day start in with the Unicorn Stampede, ending with Woods being whipped in by Kofi for a seated dropkick. Woods nails a punch to the face, then hits a basement reverse STO for 2. Jimmy fights out of a headlock, then goes for a sunset flip. Woods tags out, rolls, through, then whips Jimmy into a clothesline by E for 2. E then knocks Jey off the apron before setting Jimmy on the middle rope. He clubs Jimmy across the back, then gets him up in an electric chair. Jimmy escapes by grabbing the ring post, kicks E away, then comes off the top with a corkscrew moonsault. Ziggler and Woods both tag in, with Ziggler hitting two clotheslines, a corner splash and a neckbreaker. Another Shot to the Heart connects for 2, and Ziggler follows up by connecting with a rocker dropper on the first try for the first time in who knows how long for 2. Ziggler then knocks an incoming Kofi off the apron. He charges at Woods in the opposite corner, where Jey makes a blind tag before Ziggler gets backdropped to the floor, appearing to smack his head on the ring steps on the way down. Jey comes off the top with a cross-body, then htis a superkick to the gut and an uppercut. He goes for a back suplex, but Woods lands on his feet. Jey dropkicks him to the corner and goes for the hip attack. He misses, but recovers enough to hit Woods with the Alley-Uce. Jimmy comes in and wipes E out with a superkick, then dodges Trouble in Paradise before knocking Kofi to the floor with a reverse Dragon Whip. Jimmy then wipes out Kofi and E on the floor with a suicide dive. Woods clubs Jey from behind and hits him with a European uppercut. Jey falls into the corner, where Ziggler makes the tag. Jey elbows Woods away before Ziggler comes in. Jimmy then climbs into the ring, and they hit a triple superkick with Jimmy getting the pin. Apparently, Ziggler tagged him in, and I didn’t see it.
WINNERS: THE USOS AND DOLPH ZIGGLER.
Later tonight, Roman Reigns will face the League of Nations in a 4-on-1 handicap match. Yes, again.
We get the annual “All About the Numbers” video for the Royal Rumble, this time narrated by Byron Saxton. They could have at least used Mauro Ranallo if they were going to record new audio.
MATCH 2: BECKY LYNCH VS. ALICIA FOX (W/BRIE BELLA)
Charlotte and Ric Flair are on commentary. Lynch applies a side headlock to start, with Fox rolling out of it. Fox hits a kneelift and sends Lynch to the corner. Lynch avoids contact, hits a drop toehold, a quick legdrop, a kick to the face, and another legdrop for 2. Fox rolls to the floor, looking like a less-talented Grace Jones tonight. Lynch goes after her, but gets hit with a kick and a northern lights suplex. Fox bridges for a pin, because she’s a dumbass. Fox then remembers the rules and rolls Lynch back in and throws her to the corner before hitting a bodyslam for 1. Fox tries for a surfboard, but Lynch whips her off before rolling Fox up in a schoolgirl for 2. Lynch hits a couple European uppercuts and some clotheslines before sending her to the corner. Lynch hits a running forearm and a kick off the middle rope before connecting with an exploder for 2. Fox pulls herself up in the corner, where she meets Lynch with a boot. She goes for another bodyslam, but Lynch reverses into the Disarmer for the submission win.
WINNER: BECKY LYNCH.
“MizTV” is up next. Because of course it is.
We are back with the aforementioned Miz garbage. His guests tonight are Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, who are fighting for the IC title in a last man standing match at the Rumble. Miz then explains the rules of the match, probably more for his own benefit, because when was the last time he was in one? Ambrose thankfully interrupts him. Ambrose says he’ll take it from here and starts to talk about the match, but Miz cuts him off. Ambrose is ignoring him and just keeps talking. Miz tries to shut him up, and Ambrose tells him when his fist hits Miz’s face, his mouth goes shut. Miz asks if Ambrose can host better than him. Ambrose says he can. Miz then asks the crowd the same question, so of course they agree with Ambrose. Miz is sick of being interrupted and disrespected. He’s going to sit in the corner while everyone watches “DeanTV”. A “YES” chant breaks out. Ambrose compares this match to an amusement park, the kind where you puke. It’s not always pretty, but always fun. He plans on taking Owens on as many rides as possible. The first ride he calls “Living on the Edge”. He pats the apron and says he’ll give Owens a taste of his own medicine and snap his back right on the apron. Ambrose then moves to another corner and says Owens looks a bit like a bear. He calls the next ride (the steps) “The Bear Trap”. He needs to get one paw caught in the trap, and Owens is all his. He then moves onto his favorite ride (the announce desk), which he calls “Memory Lane”. It wasn’t all that long ago Owens put Ambrose through the table with a powerbomb, all part of a plan to drive Ambrose crazy. Nice try. Ambrose is busting at the seems at the thought of getting his hands on Owens. He’s going to bring things full circle and put Owens through the table. Then, like always, he’ll be the last man standing.
It’s now time for Owens to come out. He stops on the stage and says Ambrose has put a lot of thought into this, but it means nothing to him. He’s more of a zoo enthusiast. Ambrose may be insane, but Owens is obsessed with the IC title. That title is his, and on Sunday, he will stop at nothing to get it back. Ambrose’s insanity will help him get back up, but Owens’ obsession will knock him right back down until Ambrose can no longer stand. His insanity will be his downfall. On Sunday, Ambrose won’t know when the fight is over, because Owens will knock him unconscious and stand over him as the new IC Champion. Ambrose says they don’t have to wait until Sunday. They can do it right now on “DeanTV”.
Miz then attacks Ambrose from behind before hitting a running boot to the face. He then waves for Owens to come down to the ring before stomping Ambrose some more. Owens enters the ring, stares down at Ambrose, then boots Miz and hits him with the pop-up powerbomb. Ambrose grabs Ambrose, screams at him and goes for another powerbomb. Ambrose counters with a cross-body off the ropes and pelts Owens with fists. He goes for Dirty Deeds, but Owens escapes to the floor. Ambrose then grabs Miz and plants him with it before counting down to 10.
As Jerry Lawler hypes the next match between Ryback and Bray Wyatt, the screen goes black. Cut to the Wyatt Family. The camera pans across the faces of Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman and Luke Harper before Wyatt enters into frame. They’re here.
MATCH 3: RYBACK VS. BRAY WYATT (W/LUKE HARPER, ERICK ROWAN AND BRAUN STROWMAN)
The two lock up, but Wyatt shoves Ryback away and falls into the ropes. Ryback hits a boot, ducks a couple shots and hits a cross-body off the ropes. Ryback connects with a shoulder before Wyatt responds with an uppercut. He forearms Ryback in the face, then headbutts him down. Wyatt hits a straight shot before Ryback catches a Thesz press off the ropes. He slams Wyatt’s head into the mat a couple times before Wyatt slides to the floor. Ryback follows, only to have Wyatt hit him with a standing uranage into the apron. Commercials.
Back from the break, Wyatt hits an avalanche, then mounts the buckles to taunt the crowd. Ryback recovers a bit and powerbombs him off the middle buckle. Ryback hits a kneelift in the corner, then connects with a superkick and a standing splash for 2. Great. Now RYBACK is using the superkick, too. Just ban this move already. Practically the entire damn roster is using it. It’s not special anymore. Ryback heads up top, missing a big splash. Wyatt hits him with another standing uranage, then connects with a running senton for 2. Wyatt stomps Ryback, then signals for Sister Abigail in the corner. He charges at Ryback, only to run into a spinebuster for 2. Ryback connects with the Meat Hook, then calls for Shell Shocked. Harper jumps on the apron to distract the ref, which allows Rowan to pull Wyatt out of the move. Wyatt then shoves Ryback to the floor, where Strowman shoves him into the ring steps. Wyatt pulls Ryback back in and hits Sister Abigail for 3.
WINNER: BRAY WYATT.
MATCH 4: STARDUST VS. TITUS O’NEIL
We get an inset promo from Titus, comparing the Rumble to football, then says this will be his Superbowl. Sure it will.
Stardust immediately goes to the floor, then quickly comes back in. He avoids a lock-up before getting thrown to the corner. Titus hits a big forearm to the chest. He then slaps Stardust across the chest before tossing him across the ring. Titus then blocks a kick in the opposite corner before hitting another chop. Stardust heads to the floor, where he suckers Titus into a ram into the ring post. Titus tries to get back in, but gets knocked to the floor. Stardust then sends him into the barricade with a knee to the back. Stardust clubs Titus a couple more times before rolling Titus in for 1. Stardust locks in a modified crossface chickenwing, which Titus quickly frees himself of. He elbows Stardust in the gut, then shoulders him off the ropes. Titus hits another shoulder, then a clothesline. Stardust comes back with a kick off the ropes, then runs right into a big boot. Titus hits an avalanche, then goes for a slam. His back is still hurting, so he can’t pick Stardust all the way up, which allows Stardust to plant him with a DDT for 2. Stardust heads up top, only to have Titus kick the ropes and crotch him. Titus then hits a Clash of the Titus off the buckles for 3.
WINNER: TITUS O’NEIL.
We see Kalisto going over some paperwork with a stagehand.
After some commercials, Renee Young has joined Kalisto. She brings up his rematch with Alberto Del Rio at the Rumble and asks if he’s ready. Kalisto says in Mexico, ADR is up there with Mil Mascara, Rey Mysterio and Eddy Guerrero. He’s accomplished a lot and is someone to look up to. He’s bigger and stronger, but Kalisto has been David his entire life, facing Goliaths. He’s beaten ADR twice. This Sunday, he’ll beat him one more time. ADR then interrupts and says those victories were flukes, little man. As far as the US title is concerned, Kalisto is a little mosquito. ADR shoves him, right into the other members of the League of Nations, who are now right behind him. The four then proceed to assault Kalisto before Sheamus wipes him out with a Brogue Kick.
Roman Reigns comes out for his match, but before that, he points out Vince McMahon drew him as the #1 entrant in the Rumble. He was absolutely SHOCKED by that and never saw it coming *sarcasm*. Why would Vince do that to him? Because he’s trying to stack the odds like he does every week. But Reigns still thinks he’s walking in and out as champ. People think he’s crazy, but he’s not; he just believe in the big fight. When you’re taking on 29 competitors in the Rumble, that is the BIGGEST fight. It’s one versus all, but that’s Sunday. Tonight, it’s one versus the League of Nations. He likes his odds more tonight, so let’s get it on right now.
MATCH 5-4-ON-1 HANDICAP MATCH: WWE WORLD CHAMPION ROMAN REIGNS VS. THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS (KING BARRETT, WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPION ALBERTO DEL RIO, RUSEV AND SHEAMUS)
Sheamus starts for the LoN and locks up with Reigns. Reigns shoves him away. Sheamus grabs a front chancery, but Reigns escapes again. Rusev tags in and grabs a headlock before hitting a shoulder off the ropes. Rusev charges and gets low-bridged to the floor. Reigns heads out and rams Rusev into the barricade, then rolls him back in. Reigns prevents a tag, backs Rusev into the corner and hits a corner clothesline. Sheamus tries to intervene, but gets clotheslined as well. Reigns goes after ADR and Barrett, but they both drop to the floor. Barrett grabs Reigns’ foot, allowing Rusev to splash Reigns from behind. He follows up with an avalanche and a fall-away slam for 2. Sheamus tags in and hits a European uppercut, then snaps off a suplex for 2. Rusev tags back in and kicks Reigns in the chest. He stomps Reigns down, then kicks him in the side. Rusev foot-chokes over the bottom rope, then distracts the ref so ADR can choke Reigns some more. Sheamus back in, and he drives an elbow into Reigns’ back before applying a rear chinlock with his knee in Reigns’ back. Reigns fights out of the hold and goes for a corner whip. Sheamus reverses and follows up with a shoulder thrust. He goes to the ropes for the kneelift, but Reigns surprises him with a clothesline. Reigns pulls himself up as Rusev tags in. He misses an avalanche and gets hit with two clotheslines. Reigns follows up with ten clotheslines in the corner, then a jumping one off the ropes. Once again, Barrett has not even been in this match legally. As Reigns sets up the Superman Punch, Barrett and ADR run around to the other side of the ring, grab his feet and hold him in place for Sheamus to stomp him down. The referee calls for the bell.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: ROMAN REIGNS.
The LoN continue the assault and three of them hold Reigns up for a superkick from Rusev. Rusev goes for the Accolade, but the Usos run down before that can happen. They brawl with Rusev and Sheamus before Rusev drops Jey with another superkick and Sheamus plants Jimmy with a Brogue Kick. Reigns recovers and hits Rusev with a Superman Punch before hitting Sheamus with a spear.
The Wyatts appear, surrounding Reigns in the ring. Reigns stands up, surveys the ring and begins throwing punches at everyone. He throws Luke Harper to the floor, then does the same to Erick Rowan. He turns around, and Braun Strowman is in the ring. Reigns begins nailing him before Strowman goozles him and launches over the top and to the floor. Outside, Harper nails an uppercut, while Rowan follows up with a roundhouse. They roll Reigns back in, where Strowman plants him with a Yokosuka Cutter. Bray Wyatt then orders the Family to lift Reigns back up, allowing him to plant Reigns with Sister Abigail as Lawler calls Wyatt the odds-on favorite to win the Rumble. Yeah, that’ll happen.
END OF SHOW.