Preview: Tonight's 'WWE: Smackdown' on SyFy

Shield, Wyatts on rampage, taped this week here at DC's Verizon Center. Photo: Rhodes Bros/ WWE

WASHINGTON, January 3, 2014 – WWE wrestling blasted into the Nation’s Capital like an early hurricane earlier this week, bringing its top stars and ongoing feuds to a sold out house at the Verizon Center. The live event was taped for viewing tonight on SyFy’s “WWE: Smackdown” series beginning at 8 p.m. EST. 

Meanwhile, back in the Nation’s Capital, for nearly three wild and wooly hours, championship wrestling aficionados thrilled to a series of live matches interspersed with live interviews and video clips featuring WWE stars in action, pontificating on the sport while denouncing their enemies and previewing key upcoming bouts. 

Making things more fun for this writer and his hot date were the pair of thirty-something would-be commentators seated directly behind us. We should have gotten their names. Their nonatrop hilarious patter - astoundingly well-informed - helped make the evening even more fun. Too bad you won’t hear these clever dudes on SyFy.

Given that tonight’s telecast runs for two hours, not all events seen locally in DC are likely to appear in tonight’s telecast. But there’s no doubt that this week’s main Verizon Center bouts will appear front and center during this evening’s SyFy edition of “Smackdown.” 

WARNING: Spoiler alert. Smackdown results dead ahead.

Sunday evening’s Verizon Center event was kicked off by promo clips and a short preliminary bout, followed by a diatribe by the members of The Shield: Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. All three defended their recent 3-man tag team losing streak, vowing to do better and denouncing “rumors” of dissention in their ranks. Which probably means there’s dissention in their ranks. 


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The Bad Boyz in Black, aka The Shield. (WWE)

Rollins and Reigns then proceeded to engage in a two-man tag team match with the USOs, with whom they were only able to battle to a draw before Dean Ambrose, lurking near the ring, jumped into the fray with a sneak attack on the Shield’s Samoan opponents. But instead of a victory, Ambrose’s underhanded actions handed the USOs a stunning victory-by-disqualification, further digging a hole in the rep of the black clad bad-boy Shield. 

Making matters worse, Ambrose and his buds were ousted by the USOs’ pal, the popular C.M. Punk who dashed out to save the Samoans from being kicked to death by the Shield, setting up a 3-man tag team re-match for the evening’s closing event. 

Relatively speaking, things got back to normal after this early dust-up. If you can call anything that happens in WWE’s squared circle normal. Popular wrestler R-Truth triumphed over tango-dancing Fandango after his gal pals, the Funkadactyls—Cameron and Naomi—distracted the leotarded Lothario with a dance number, allowing Mr. Truth to mount a decision-making sneak attack on his opponent. 

The colorful Funkadactyls had earlier triumphed over a pair of tag team foes. In another girl-on-girl match, one-half of the Bella Twins, Nikki of the six-pack abs, defeated the curvy Aksana after nearly getting pinned herself. We’d have to say, 2014’s lady wrestlers have it all over that early squared circle empress of female wrestling, The Fabulous Moolah, when it comes to pure sex appeal in the ring. 

The bodacious Bella Twins, with Nikki and her six-pack abs to the left. (WWE)

In other action, muscle man Big E Langston, after encountering some early trouble, got a clean pinfall win over Curtis Axel. Possessing fully twice the latter’s muscle mass, Big E has the most massive thigh muscles we’ve seen since early NFL and Cleveland Browns’ hero Jim Brown singlehandedly clomped his way to the goal line with four opponents clinging to each leg before the league decided to get wimpy about just what defined forward motion. 

The fur flew—or maybe it was tufts of beard that flew—in a wild Tag Team Championship match pitting the half-brother team of dashing Cody Rhodes and Goldust against Wyatt Family ruffians Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. 

Big E Langston. Do not mess with him. (WWE)

Looking for all the world like members of the Duck Dynasty family who decided to give in to the Dark Side, Rowan and Harper pulled out all the dirty tricks in the book to steal the championship belts from the Rhodes family, including wreaking havoc on Goldust’s elaborate face make-up. But it was all to no avail. Cody and Goldust took the match and kept their belts. But why do we feel that the Wyatts will be back at this pair soon enough? 

The evening’s Grand Finale, as we’ve already broadly hinted, was a “return” bout between the USOs and all three members of the Shield, with the USOs now officially backed up with third man C.M. Punk. The Punkster and the USOs gave it all they had against the nefarious Shield in a match where the wrestlers often had more air time off the upper turnbuckles than a skilled hang glider catching the perfect updraft on a warm Sunday afternoon. 

That’s served as a timely reminder to those disbelievers out there that, while championship wrestling is indeed colorful entertainment, it’s also a sport—and one your kids shouldn’t try at home. Even though they’ll never listen anyway. 

Happily for the boisterous crowd in attendance, the good guys triumphed once again in this match, making us seriously wonder not if but when the Shield’s story line will encounter a sudden 180-degree plot change. Perfect harmony among the bad guys doesn’t exist for long, generally speaking, and the Shield is overdue for a blowup.

The popular C.M. Punk about to go airborne in an earlier 2013 match. (WWE)

Guess we’ll just have to stay tuned to further events to find out what happens in this latest of WWE’s never-concluded series of evolving plotlines. 

Prior to this concluding 6-man tag team match, that battling Brit, Bad News Barrett—who’d handily whipped a hapless opponent earlier in the evening—returned on a mechanical soapbox preaching to the multitudes in the Verizon Center from a hastily assembled political-style podium. 

Like the bad boy he is, Bad News blustered and belittled the crowd as just another bunch of lazy, paunchy, soft and useless Yanks destined to always live a miserable existence as born losers who would never, ever hold true to even the feeblest of New Year’s Resolutions.

But then, strangely, weirdly, oddly, as the crowd began to depart after the USOs and the Punkster had pulverized the Shield, Barrett rose again on his political platform to deliver the same diatribe again, bewildering the remaining members of the audience until they figured out WWE was, for whatever reason, doing a re-take of this Bad News rant for tonight’s telecast. 

Which means tonight’s viewers will likely see the second version, not the first. 

So who says championship wrestling follows a script? Certainly not this scribe. 

If you weren’t in DC for this event, by all means catch it tonight on SyFy. There’s plenty of smash and grab for all. And you won’t want to get behind on those ever-evolving story lines.

 


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  

 

 

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