If I recall correctly, I questioned last week whether it was even worth booing Daniel Bryan anymore. Leave it to the champion to take his arrogance and superior attitude to an entirely different level.
Guys! They did the thing! They made an entirely new championship for Bryan made from organic materials! He’s got a hemp title belt!!!
Bryan came out to close the show congratulation the fans. At the Royal Rumble, they all won. Do you know why? Because Bryan won. Bryan’s win was a win for the fans, a win for their children, their children’s children, all sentient beings…because he’s the Planet’s Champion.
Good grief, man. Way to lay it on thick.
Bryan introduced his “intellectual peer” Erick Rowan – nice Alestrom shirt, Rowan! – and berated the crowd for not cheering more. According to Bryan, none of us can see past Rowan’s dirty fingernails and see the intellect inside. Because we’re fickle or whatever.
The crowd let him have it, too; when Bryan started telling a story about the WWE Championship and named the cow who died for its creation “Daisy,” the crowd did everything they could to throw him off. That’s a fantastic sign of Bryan’s detestability that a crowd would want to do that to him. And you could see just the barest flicker of annoyance on his face before five wrestlers interrupted him: AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, Mustafa Ali, and Samoa Joe.
Oh wow. Just the right amount for an Elimination Chamber match.
This was a great close to an okay episode of SmackDown. Shout out to Joe for the verbal torching he gave everyone as well.
So uh…who had R-Truth becoming United States Champion in the Cageside betting pool?
After defeating Rusev at the Royal Rumble, Shinsuke Nakamura was in our first match of the night – seemingly in a quick, resume-building match against R-Truth. It was a fairly ordinary match until Truth countered a move into a roll up…and won.
On a second look, it looked like an ordinary near fall in a match. Nakamura broke the pin attempt at 2, but apparently never got his shoulders off the ground. The referee counted three and we had a new champion.
And suddenly out came Rusev, and just like Elias on Raw, he abruptly turned heel. Apparently R-Truth wasn’t good enough to be US Champion. Rusev challenged Truth to a match – and he lost too! Incensed by their humiliation, Nakamura and Rusev, teamed up to beat up Truth after the bell. The Good Brothers came to confront Rusev in the locker room and told him off for treating Truth so badly. They challenged Rusev and Nakamura to a match which will probably happen next week.
It’s crazy how quickly WWE moved both of these guys out of the US Title picture. And do you know what? I don’t hate it. Suddenly, the US Title picture is wiped clean which could give someone like Samoa Joe or Mustafa Ali a first title run. Perhaps even a debuting EC3?
Adding Rusev and Nakamura to an already stacked tag team division should give us some more great matches as well. Besides…it wasn’t like they were tearing it up with their feud, were they?
In all, I’m cautiously optimistic. If nothing else, I think the US Title needed a reset.
The Rest of SmackDown Live:
Andrade mocks Eddie, pummels Rey Mysterio – I like that WWE’s willing to let Andrade get a bit edgy with the Eddie stuff, but this segment didn’t really hammer home as well as it could have. Andrade’s got all the arrogance in the world, but it needs to be presented in a more overtly annoying way, do you know what I mean?
Charlotte wants all the credit – Charlotte is salty as hell, you guys. Becky Lynch got one over on her again at the Rumble, and apparently Charlotte’s dealing with the disappointment by taking credit for Lynch’s success.
Lynch sucker punched her in response which led to a brawl, but the story here is Lynch’s leg’s severely messed up. She refused medical attention because she “can’t afford to be on the shelf again.”
Mandy Rose still hates Naomi – Man that sob story from Rose was uh…was something, wasn’t it? I’m still not sure if I liked it or hated it. She came off incredibly petty, at any rate, for taking a mild comment Naomi made four years on Tough Enough and using it as motivation to ruin Naomi’s life. I’d imagine Naomi finds a tag team partner for the Elimination Chamber match.
Miz and Shane McMahon celebrate – This came off really lame to me. I know that Miz made this whole thing about his father not being proud of him…but I didn’t really need to see it on television, you know? It’s also really weird to hear Shane announcing the #1 Contender’s match as if he booked it. Perhaps their title reign won’t be as fun as the chase.
The Usos def. Heavy Machinery, New Day, The Bar – This was a fun match, but nothing worth getting too emotionally invested in. The Usos are next up to fight Shane and Miz. I don’t expect them to win, but we’ll see.
You know, if it weren’t for the Daniel Bryan segment, I’d be giving this a poor grade. There wasn’t much wrestling on the show and nothing was particularly entertaining. Good thing Bryan’s a colossal goober and Samoa Joe can talk more trash than anybody else in the world.
And now, Cageside, a well-deserved few days off from WWE. What stuck out to you on this episode?