Date: January 15, 2015
Location: Baton Rouge River Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Smackdown is back on Thursday nights in its original time slot, which might mean WWE will put a fresh focus on it instead of just using it as a dumping ground for whatever they can’t fit on Raw. The big story tonight is Daniel Bryan’s return to the ring for the first time since his neck surgery in May. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Daniel Bryan (with a fresh set of name graphics) for an in ring chat. Daniel says he should be in good spirits because he’s back home where he belongs, in front of these great people, wearing his gear and ready to fight. Saxton shows him a clip of Kane tombstoning Bryan on everything he could find and Bryan looks a bit shaken. He talks about being Kane’s partner and brother, but then Kane stabbed everyone in the back by trading in the mask for a suit.

Doctor after doctor has told him that he would never wrestle again but now he’s ready. Of course he’s worried about his neck but tonight he’s going to prove himself by fighting Kane, winning the Royal Rumble and then getting his title back at Wrestlemania. Now some people think that’s just a pipe dream, but YES he thinks he can do it. This brings out the Authority who actually doesn’t have anything to say before the match starts.

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

Bryan charges right at him to start but Kane takes him down with a single forearm to the back. They head to the corner where Bryan smartens up and goes after the knee.  Kane pops right up though and takes Daniel down with a pair of neckbreakers. A cravate doesn’t last long so Kane kicks him in the head for two. A neck crank has Bryan in even more trouble but he’s able to kick Kane to the floor.  Kane is staggered up against the barricade but not staggered enough to let Bryan hit a flying knee from the apron as he punches Daniel out of the air.

Back from a break with Kane holding a chinlock, followed by a running DDT for two. Off to the chinlock as the Authority plays cheerleader. Kane loads up a superplex but gets shoved down and dropkicked for two. The kicks to the chest get the same but the Stooges come in to break up the YES Lock for the DQ at 11:41.

Result: Daniel Bryan b. Kane via DQ when Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble interfered (11:41)

Bryan fights back and finally runs away from the numbers advantage. The Authority stays after him but Reigns and Ambrose come out to stand next to them. HHH makes a six man with those three against Kane, Big Show and Rollins later tonight.

Randy Savage Hall of Fame video.

Bray Wyatt is not a human being but for thousands of years, society has labeled people like him a threat. At some point, his poison starts to seep out of the cracks. All those people over the years have been right, and it’s going to be too late to run after he wins the Royal Rumble.

Usos/Naomi vs. Damien Mizdow/Miz/Alicia Fox

Miz/Mizdow vs. Usos for the titles is official for the Rumble. Mizdow gets a huge ovation as he’s on the apron and watching Miz start with Jimmy. The brothers elbow Miz down for the double team elbow, followed by a nice suicide dive from Jey. Mizdow finally gets the tag but Fox tags herself in. That’s fine with Naomi, who goes off on Fox for taking her spot on Total Divas.  A cross body gets two on Fox and it’s already back to Miz vs. Jimmy.

The Reality Check is broken up and a double clothesline puts both guys down. The ice cold tag brings in Jey for a Samoan drop, followed by a Whisper in the Wind. Fox makes the save, only to have Jimmy throw Naomi at her so Naomi can hammer away. Mizdow tries to come in but takes a superkick to the hands (clearly didn’t get close to his face). The distraction works though, allowing Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin on Jimmy at 4:50.

Result: Damien Mizdow/Miz/Alicia Fox b. Usos/Naomi – Skull Crushing Finale to Jimmy (4:50)

Roman Reigns is with Renee Young (who has chopped off a lot of her hair) and says his partners would be in big trouble if this was the Royal Rumble. However, Dean is his boy and he has no issue with Bryan. On the other hand, he has a problem with the Authority and their giant crybaby Big Show. When it comes to the Royal Rumble, it’s one vs. all. Dean and Bryan are part of the all, and that leaves him as the one.

Here’s a ticked off Heyman with something to say. We look back at Rollins laying out Lesnar to end Raw and standing tall over the champion. Heyman says he’s afraid for the first time because there’s a threat to Lesnar. Brock has conquered everyone and everything because he can. When he beat up the Undertaker and broke the Streak or suplexed John Cena 16 times, it was all because he could and felt like doing it because he didn’t have anything else to do on a Sunday night.

Now his purpose is to F5 the future of the WWE back into the past, but here are Rollins and the Stooges to interrupt. Seth is sick and tired of hearing about how awesome Brock Lesnar is and accusing him of hiding behind the Authority. He isn’t afraid of Brock Lesnar and is going to cash in right now. Let’s give the fans a treat for the show being back on Thursdays and have Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins right now….but Brock isn’t here.

Rollins isn’t cool with that and threatens to curb stomp Heyman if he can’t curb stomp Lesnar. Heyman tells Rollins to be original because everyone threatens to beat him up when Lesnar isn’t around. Seth is right in his face and says he’s going to curb stomp Heyman and take away Lesnar’s greatest asset. Then at the Royal Rumble, it’s Rollins vs. all brawn and no brains, leaving Brock as nothing more than a 300lb mass of muscle that he can run circles around.

The facts are that he’s curb stomped Lesnar twice now and he’s going to do it again at the Royal Rumble, so why shouldn’t he knock Heyman out right now? Paul says the Authority has been removed from power once so what makes Rollins think they can’t be removed again by hook, crook, or by Vince McMahon’s whims?

He’s gained power every single day since he returned to the WWE and been by Brock Lesnar’s side. Brock Lesnar has a death grip on the WWE Championship and he will control it as long as he likes. He can control that title by either defending the title or protecting the new champion when Heyman decides that the future is now. Paul drops the mic and leaves Rollins with a lot to think about.

Natalya vs. Nikki Bella

Non-title and Paige is here to counteract Brie. Natalya goes for the leg to start but gets taken down by a flying armbar. She stays on the arm instead of yelling at the crowd but Natalya lifts Nikki into the air to break up a short arm scissors. Back up and Natalya steps onto Nikki’s back before to drive her face first into the mat, followed by a running dropkick to the face.  Brie gets on the apron for a distraction, accidentally allowing Paige to slap Nikki. The Sharpshooter makes Nikki tap at 2:40.

Result: Natalya b. Nikki Bella – Sharpshooter (2:40)

Big Show cuts Renee off and brags about knocking out Cena and Reigns this past Monday. Tonight he’ll knock out all three but more importantly he’s entering the Royal Rumble. That’s where he dominates because no one can throw him over the top. Kane comes up and says he’s in the Rumble as well.

Intercontinental Title: Sin Cara vs. Bad News Barrett

Rematch after last week where Sin Cara beat Barrett in a non-title match. Cara gets two off a rollup just after the bell and hits an enziguri from the apron to stagger Bad News. Barrett has had enough of that though and hammers Cara down before whipping him hard into the corner for two.

We hit the chinlock for a few moments before Cara hits a springboard spinning cross body for two. The announcers actually bring up Barrett’s past troubles against Cara for some context. The Winds of Change lays Cara out but the Bull Hammer is countered into a rollup into a powerbomb. Cara misses the Swanton though and the Bull Hammer retains the title at 2:51.

Result: Bad News Barrett b. Sin Cara – Bull Hammer (2:51)

The announcers plug the WWE Network launching in the UK, which went live a few days earlier than planned.

Dean Ambrose is in a dimly lit room and says he was the one you avoided on the playground. His report card always said he was disruptive in class, but that works really well for him in the Royal Rumble. The winner of the match isn’t going to care about friendships or their own well being. Don’t count him out, because you should be counting him in. His partners tonight have one big thing in common: they all detest the Authority.

Kane/Big Show/Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose

Seth and Dean get things going with Ambrose slamming him face first into the buckle. He rips at Seth’s hair and stomps at the ribs before bringing in Reigns for a nice suplex. Roman starts working on the arm but lets Rollins go for a tag to Kane. Reigns throws the big bald around for a bit before tagging Bryan in for the rapid fire kicks in the corner. A big uppercut finally puts Bryan down but Ambrose is right there to stop the Stooges from getting involved.

Everything breaks down in a fight on the floor and the good guys stand tall in the ring as we take a break. Back with Ambrose stomping Rollins in the corner and hitting his dropkick up against the ropes for two. Seth finally sends him into the corner and ties Dean in the Tree of Woe to work on the injured knee.  Off to Big Show for something like an ankle lock but pushing forward on the shin instead of the foot. Rollins gets two off a running forearm in the corner and we hit the chinlock. Back to Big Show as the Authority keeps things slow, hopefully leading to the hot tag to Bryan.

Show hooks that same leg lock before Kane comes in and keeps up his good psychology by cranking on the knee. Seth comes back in and talks a lot of trash, earning him a slap in the face. The rebound clothesline finally puts Kane down but Rollins breaks up another tag. Dean sends him to the floor but everything breaks down on the floor. With everyone else fighting, Ambrose dives over for the hot tag to Bryan. Daniel cleans house and hits the Flying Goat on Kane and a top rope hurricanrana for two on Seth.

Kane comes back in with a chokeslam for two with Reigns having to make the save. Show loads up the announcers’ table but Reigns jumps him to put both guys down. The YES Lock goes on Kane but Rollins makes a save. Dean’s standing elbow takes out Rollins and the Stooges on the floor, leaving Bryan to escape the tombstone and hit the running knee for the pin on Kane at 17:48.

Result: Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose b. Kane/Big Show/Seth Rollins – Running knee to Kane (17:48)

Post match HHH comes out and says Bryan’s luck is running out. Next week on Smackdown, Kane is getting a rematch against Bryan and if Kane wins, Daniel is out of the Rumble.


Daniel Bryan b. Kane via DQ when Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury interfered
Miz/Damien Mizdow/Alicia Fox b. Usos/Naomi – Skull Crushing Finale to Jimmy
Natalya b. Nikki Bella – Sharpshooter
Bad News Barrett b. Sin Cara – Bull Hammer
Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose b. Kane/Big Show/Seth Rollins – Running knee to Kane

Make sure to join us tomorrow night at 9pm EST for Impact Wrestling.

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