WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: 'The Fiend' torments Daniel Bryan, John Morrison returns
Bryan is still haunted by 'The Fiend' but he continues to claim he's better for it
Daniel Bryan continuing to deal with the mind games of "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt ahead of their universal title rematch at the Royal Rumble and John Morrison officially setting foot in a WWE ring after years out of the company were just a couple of the highlights from WWE SmackDown from Ford Center Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, on Friday. We also learned of one more match for the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view as the Road to WrestleMania continues in 2020.
Let's take a look now at what went down on SmackDown this week.
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'The Fiend' stalks Daniel Bryan
Bray Wyatt appeared in a new "Firefly Funhouse" segment after the opening match on the show. Wyatt explained that love is special, but not everyone is worthy and singled out Bryan. Wyatt said Bryan has been "naughty" lately and would be in a heap of trouble at Royal Rumble because "The Fiend" just wanted him to remember, and then wanted him to change -- but now, "The Fiend" just wants to hurt Bryan.
Bryan was interviewed later in the show, saying he does remember his time in the Wyatt Family and he has been changed by "The Fiend," but he's better and more dangerous than ever because of it. He also said he's sure he will be hurt when they face off at Royal Rumble, but that he can't be broken. Bryan also said Wyatt doesn't like that he knows the champ can be hurt and can be beat. Bryan was then cut off by a video of Ramblin' Rabbit, who attempted to give Bryan the secret to beating "The Fiend," but was stopped by Wyatt, who informed the puppet that "snitches get stitches." Later, Bryan found the decapitated puppet head in his locker.
It is a strength and a weakness of "The Fiend" character that he doesn't appear on TV every week. Bryan and Wyatt have to carry this feud through solo interviews and video packages rather than regular interaction, and that leads to weeks like this where nothing really happens beyond hitting the same notes that have been hit for two months now. Bryan is the strong personality who couldn't be broken like other Wyatt victims. That's a great spin on the rivalry, but it feels like there needs to be something more than what fans were treated to this week, where ultimately Bryan received a puppet head in his locker as the climax of three separate segments. Grade: C
John Morrison returns to help Miz pull off a win
The Miz opened the show, discussing his "very bad month" on an episode of Miz TV. He tried to brush off his explosive actions toward Kofi Kingston on last week's SmackDown as simply the boiling over of those struggles and then quickly turned things around by introducing John Morrison as his guest on this week's edition of the show. Morrison said he was originally planning to return at Royal Rumble, but "there's nothing more important than being there for your friends." Morrison said he's disappointed in the fans for turning on Miz for having "one bad day." This, of course, led to Kofi Kingston and Big E entering the picture and insults to flow back and forth, with Kingston ultimately saying Miz is changing, which, in turn, makes the fans correct when they chant "you suck." All this led to the planned rematch between Miz and Kingston, with Big E and Morrison on commentary for the match.
The Miz def. Kofi Kingston via pinfall after a Skull-Crushing Finale. Big E eventually got involved with Miz at ringside. Morrison came flying in with a flipping attack after jumping off the ring steps to lay out the New Day member. With Kingston distracted and leaning through the ropes, Miz slid in from behind to hit the Skull-Crushing Finale for the pinfall. Miz was less distracted and much more "on his game" with his friend and former tag partner, an upgrade from the week before when Kingston pulled out the victory.
Morrison's return adds a little spice to SmackDown and certainly helps freshen up Miz, who has felt largely adrift recently. Miz was suddenly Daniel Bryan's protector and family for a few weeks, and it felt a little uneven for his character. But having Morrison back to work as a heel tag team is going to help boost the show and the tag division as a whole. New Day are easy rivals for any heel team, and it was announced Morrison's first match back would be next week when he faces Big E in a sneaky good pairing. Grade: B
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Mandy Rose def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall with a roll-up. Earlier in the show, Sonya Deville was backstage with Mandy Rose, saying she'd be ringside to cheer her on tonight. After she left, Rose pulled a cake box from her locker. She later presented Otis of with an "I'm sorry" cake for having not stopped Dolph Ziggler from stomping on a fruitcake he gave her weeks ago. Deville was ringside with Rose for the match, as promised, while Bliss had Nikki Cross in her corner. It wasn't either second who led to the finish, though, as Otis entered the arena eating the cake Rose had given him, causing a distraction that allowed Rose to roll up Bliss for the win.
- Elias performed a song in the ring where he sang about how Roman Reigns wouldn't win the Royal Rumble if he had anything to do with it, he also took shots at Brock Lesnar for never being around.
- Lacey Evans was set to face Sasha Banks, but the match never occurred. Evans was in the ring but Banks came on the Titantron to say she wouldn't be wrestling her unless contractually obligated. Bayley then mentioned Evans' "snot-nosed kids," leading Evans to charge backstage where Bayley attacked her. Evans bounced back from the attack to beat down and run off the SmackDown women's champ.
- Braun Strowman def. Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall with a running powerslam. Strowman finally got the opportunity to get his hands on Nakamura after getting through Cesaro last week. His power dominated much of the match, but Nakamura got on top for a bit after Strowman went through the ringside barricade. Down the stretch, Cesaro attempted to slide in the ring with a steel chair but was caught by the referee. Sami Zayn slid the intercontinental championship to Nakamura, but Strowman ducked out of the way and hit the running powerslam for the win, moving closer to a shot at the title.
- Roman Reigns cut an in-ring promo saying 2019 was a blessed year but ended on a bad note. He said after being embarrassed by Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, he didn't need the help of friends, he needed the help of his family. He then promised 2020 would be his year and he would win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania for the fifth time, and do it with The Usos by his side. The Usos joined Reigns in the ring and said Corbin failed to realize he didn't just disrespect Roman, but had disrespected the entire family. Reigns then threw down a challenge to Corbin to go one-on-one at Royal Rumble and then he'd also eliminate him from the Rumble match later in the night, which Corbin accepted.
- King Corbin & Dolph Ziggler def. The Usos via disqualification when Roman Reigns speared Corbin at ringside. Reigns left ringside for the match but came back out when The Revival emerged to distract The Usos, but Reigns came out to clean house. That turned out to be the deciding factor as Reigns eventually was enraged enough to spear Corbin at ringside. As Reigns was preparing to put Corbin through a table, Robert Roode returned to make the save. Corbin, Roode and Ziggler took out their foes before putting Reigns through the announce table.
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