About Last Night

WWE SmackDown 01/23/18: Back to the Future

After a Raw that was bogged down with the past, SmackDown actually looks toward Sunday

by Owen Douglass | January 24, 2018


About Last Night is a quick reflection on the matches and segments, or random observations, from a wrestling show that sticks out to us the morning after we watch them. If you would like to get your comments featured, chime in below in our comments section or tweet us. You can also help support us on Patreon.

About Actually Building to Sunday...

I needed an excuse to post this

This past Monday the WWE wasted three hours of television time on under-utilizing names and faces from the past the celebrate 25 years of Raw instead of putting on a go-home show for the second biggest pay-per-view of the year. Yes, it was one of the most-watched Raws in years, but it didn't give those viewers any reason to watch again in the coming weeks, so I'm not sure how much of a success you can claim it was. This week's SmackDown opened off on the perfect note, with Kevin Owens coming out and saying that unlike Raw the future was in the ring and they were going to build up to their title match on Sunday. The whole episode was a huge step up from Monday and even last week's SmackDown, which felt like a complete waste of time. It went by quickly, was full of entertaining matches and segments, and made me excited for the Royal Rumble. Mission accomplished.

About Chad Gable vs. Jey Uso...

I could watch Gable wrestle all night

Did you know Chad Gable is awesome as hell as wrestling? Did you know the Usos are also very good at the wrestling thing? This match was a fantastic back-and-forth bout that went through a commercial break and was a perfect preview of how fun the 2-out-of-3 Falls Match will be at the Royal Rumble. Outside of seeing Braun Strowman just throw a bunch of shit around, this is match I'm most excited about that isn't a Rumble. Chad Gable picking up the win isn't that big of a deal, since there's still going to be multiple falls in the title match. Hopefully it goes to three falls and it's given plenty of time.

About Randy Orton and His Bad Hair...

OUTTA NOWHERE

For some reason we needed to revisit the worst match of last year's Battleground (which is a huge achievement on such a bad show) as Shinsuke Nakamura took on Baron Corbin. The promo by Nakamura about kneeing people in the face was fun, but this match was still lousy. These two do not have good chemistry, but that wasn't the point. The match ended with a close-up of Nakamura setting up the Kinshasa, when suddenly Randy Orton hit an RKO legitimately out of nowhere! The was one of the best RKOs we've seen in a while, and it was effective because he first did it to his recent partner before going after Corbin. It set up that there are no alliances in the Rumble and Orton is a real threat.

But Orton's hair... what is going on there? It's a really weird length where it's just long enough that he can comb it back and it looks horrible. Please stick to the buzz cut or shaving, unless this is leading to a heel turn. I hear wrestlers with bad hair draw good heat.

About The Kevin and Sami Show...

Maybe AJ Styles is just a dick

The show kicked off with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn hyping up their WWE Championship match on Sunday, but were interrupted by AJ Styles who cut the same promo he always cuts about being an engineer and building a house. Styles then let his mouth cash checks for his ass by saying he can take Owens and Zayn on in back-to-back matches, interrupting Daniel Bryan who tried to defuse the situation. When the two matches took place at the end of the show, Styles took down Owens surprisingly fast with the Calf Crusher before continuing the assault after the bell rang until Zayn made the save. Sami Zayn ended up getting the victory with a distraction by Owens, but Styles caused it by attacking Owens again during the second match.

The story of this whole feud is Owens and Zayn using AJ Style's headstrong attitude to get himself into disadvantaged situations, and it's been working perfectly so far. But, with how fast the Owens match was and him having an injury angle, it leads to questions about if Owens is legit injured and they're going to limit his involvement in the title match. I honestly don't have a concrete answer, but I feel there is a good chance this could be the case.

About Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan...

Thinking emoji...

After last week having zero conflict between these two, we got a really juicy segment this week on SmackDown. After the opening bit with AJ Styles interrupting Daniel Bryan to get himself into two matches, we see him and and Shane McMahon backstage having a disagreement about how it was handled. Bryan claims he was going to not sanction the match before Styles forced the issue when question by Shane, and Shane being question about his trust in Styles' ability by Bryan but turning it back on him. It was just the right bit of brutal and awkward heading into the Royal Rumble that we needed to get our imaginations rolling on what we could see happen on Sunday.

Will Shane screw Owens and Zayn? Will Daniel Bryan fully turn and help crown the first co-WWE Champions? Or maybe Shane will do something, and then Bryan will enter himself into the Royal Rumble to take Styles out himself...

What did you think of this week's SmackDown? Let us know in the comments!


About Owen Douglass

Owen Douglass is a co-founder of ProWrestling.Cool and one of the hosts of the Heel Turn podcast. With over 20 years of wrestling experience, there isn't much that shocks him these days.

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