We’re only a couple of days away from the Royal Rumble this Sunday! With Daniel Bryan and The Fiend set to square off in a strap match and competitors gearing up for both the Men and Women’s Rumble matches, let’s take a look at how the Blue brand left us waiting not so patiently for Sunday’s exciting PPV. Welcome to the most must-see VultureHound review in history; welcome to… the SmackDown Review.


– Roman Reigns & The Usos defeated King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in a 6-Man tag team match.

– Fire & Desire vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross ended in a no contest.

– Braun Strowman & Elias defeated Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura.

– John Morrison defeated Kofi Kingston.

Bradley’s Best Bits:

The show opened with the continued rivalry between The Bloodline and King Corbin’s Court as they went against each other in six-man tag team action. Early on into the match, Jimmy Uso was taken out of the fray when he seemed to receive a knock on the apron which left him prey to a Zig-Zag into the steel steps.

Legitimate injury or not, Jimmy was taken to the back and things suddenly became overwhelming in the handicap scenario for Reigns and Jey Uso. Corbin’s team took Reigns out, throwing him over the barricade and targeted the remaining Uso until eventually, Roman’s comeback kicked in for the hot tag.

Just as things were looking bleak for the Samoans, Jimmy Uso made a miraculous recovery and returned to the ring to receive a tag. Firing at all cylinders, he took out Roode and Ziggler whilst Reigns brawled with Corbin on the outside to set up a top rope splash for the win. A great way to open the show and keep the momentum going in this fun storyline where Reigns will face Corbin in a Falls Count Anywhere match on Sunday.

An emotional interview with Lacey Evans was interrupted when the Sassy Southern Belle was blindsided by Bayley ahead of their SmackDown Women’s Championship match at Royal Rumble. The pair continued this brawl backstage and became a background distraction themselves whilst Dana Brooke and Carmella were being interviewed.

With the champion and Evans seemingly now separated, we were all set for tag team action between the teams of Many Rose and Sonya Deville against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Only, the backstage brawl spilt over into the ring with all women now involved and taking digs at each other.

Whilst this could be seen as conveniently putting all the women into the same spot for the sake of tv time, it did do well in furthering the tension between Bayley and Lacey Evans heading into their match.

The rivalry between The New Day and Miz & Morrison keeps hotting up as this week, one half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston did battle with John Morrison in a one-on-one setting.

It was Morrison who took control early on, putting on his usual athletic display, but the Shaman of Sexy was matched by Kofi’s agility and pure determination. As the contest grew on, it took some interference from The Miz to ensure Morrison claimed the win. Kofi hit the A-Lister with a Trouble in Paradise on the apron, with his back turned, this allowed Morison to strike and land Starship Pain for the 1, 2, 3.

Daniel Bryan has surely put himself in an unwinnable situation when he takes on The Fiend for the Universal Championship this Sunday. The rivals were set to meet in the ring to sign the contract for their strap match stipulation yet, as we all know, Wyatt likes to do things his way and so he appeared via the Firefly Fun House.

Wyatt questioned Bryan and asked him why on earth he’d want to strap himself to The Fiend. Bryan claimed all that the former Eater of Worlds does is “run from his mistakes” which was rebuffed by Wyatt who made “mistake” the word of the day by the No. 1 contender was the one making a mistake by agreeing to such a match with The Fiend.

With that, the lights dimmed and the demonic figure appeared, attacking The Planet’s Champion with the Mandible Claw and finally signing the contract in what looked like blood. Make what you want of the ‘strap match’ stipulation but this one is shaping up to be one hell of an intense affair!

For Fox Sake:

Whilst it is interesting to see how this develops, the teaming of Elias and Strowman seems makeshift ahead of the Royal Rumble match as they squared off with Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro in the tag team competition. Elias and Strowman were about to perform a duet only they were interrupted by their opponents.

The match itself wasn’t too much of a contest with Strowman eventually landing a powerslam on Cesaro to set up Elias for an elbow drop for the win. We did get to see some of the hard-hitting styles from Cesaro and Nakamura but it was disappointing to see two incredibly talented performers have little energy in the position they’re in, especially as one of them is the Intercontinental Champion.

Royal Rumble Card (as of today):

  • STRAP MATCH FOR THE WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
  • RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka
  • SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP: Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans
  • MEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar (Entering #1), Roman Reigns, Erick Rowan, Randy Orton, Ricochet, Rey Mysterio, AJ Styles, Drew McIntyre, King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Otis, Tucker, Elias, Rusev, Bobby Lashley, Buddy Murphy, Aleister Black, R-Truth, Braun Strowman, Shinsuke Nakamura, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, Big E, Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, The Miz, 3 Participants TBA
  • WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH: Charlotte, Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Sarah Logan, Natalya, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Carmella, 21 Participants TBA
  • UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Andrade (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo
  • FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
  • Sheamus vs. Shorty G

All pics and videos courtesy of WWE

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver

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