The January 16th edition of WWE SmackDown aired live from the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, TX.
– This week’s broadcast opens up immediately with the New Day coming out to the ring. Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show and says tonight is all about the U.S. Title Tournament. This next match is in the second round of the tournament, and the belt is at ringside. There’s a podium in the ring with a flag on it. They step up to the podium and say tonight the USA’s freedom is at stake when Xavier takes on Jinder. Xavier says he will defend the power of positivity, and the principle of pancakes. They have a plate of pancakes on the podium, and talk about pancakes representing something that can bring the world together. Xavier says Jinder despises everyone in this arena, and asks the fans if that’s the kind of man they want as their U.S. Champion. They try to get a chant going with the crowd, but it doesn’t sound like they have much luck. The Singh Brothers come out to the stage to interrupt, and they introduce the Modern Day Maharaja.
– Xavier Woods vs. Jinder Mahal: The Singh Brothers are at ringside in Jinder’s corner, and Kofi and Big E are at ringside in Woods’ corner. The opening bell sounds and Jinder immediately opens up with a superkick to Woods. Jinder karate chops Woods, then chokes him up against the ropes. Jinder drops some knees on Woods and continues the beat down. Woods fires back with a dropkick and starts to get in the game. Xavier starts gaining momentum, but Jinder shuts him down with a lariat, then drops some knees and stomps on him. The New Day and the Singh Brothers start arguing at ringside as Jinder continues to beat on Xavier. The crowd chants “we want pancakes” as Wood starts hulking up. Woods throws some right hands, but Jinder catches him with a gutbuster, then a knee to the face. Jinder rolls outside and chokes Woods with the ring apron tarp. Jinder rolls back in the ring and Woods follows shortly after at the ref’s 9 count. Woods fights his way up to his feet, then Mahal whips him hard into the corner and drops a knee on him. Woods hits a boot to the face then goes for the Honor Roll, but Mahal blocks it with a jumping knee to the face. Woods comes back with a missile dropkick and starts working over Jinder. Jinder hits a cheap shot to the throat, but Woods keeps bringing the fight to Mahal. Woods keeps control and hits a Shining Wizard. The Singh Brothers get on the apron for the distraction, but Big E and Kofi chase them to the back. Woods hits a German suplex on Jinder, then goes up top. Woods misses the elbow drop, and Jinder throws Woods into the bottom rope. The ref checks on Woods, then Jinder picks him up and hits the Khallas for the three count. Jinder advances to the U.S. Title finals next week.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
– Jinder goes out to ringside and celebrates his win next to the U.S. Title belt.
– The announcers promote the upcoming Royal Rumble PPV, and then we see a selfie video from Baron Corbin. Corbin cuts a promo about how being the Lone Wolf makes him perfect for the Royal Rumble, and anyone who gets in his way will be thrown over the top rope.
– We go backstage, where WWE Champion AJ Styles cuts a promo on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The Champ That Runs The Camp says he’ll leave Royal Rumble with the strap no matter what. AJ adds they will not turn this into the Kevin & Sami Show, because SmackDown is the house that AJ Styles built.
– We see a series of very short, selfie-style videos from all of the women of SmackDown. Each woman’s name appears on the screen before their selfie videos, and Naomi seemed to get the biggest pop from the Laredo crowd. They all cut promos about their 30-woman Royal Rumble match.
– Bobby Roode is out to the ring next.
– Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley: This is the last semi-final match in the U.S. Title tournament. Mojo hits his hand on the ground and charges towards the ring now for his new entrance. They lock up off the opening bell and Mojo powers Roode down. Mojo kicks Roode, and Roode gets up and they stare down. They lock up again and Roode applies a side headlock, then a belly to back suplex. They stare down again and Mojo charges. Roode catches him in another headlock, but Mojo powers Roode into the corner. Roode hits a chop to the chest, and Mojo shoves Roode down. Roode gets back up and drops Mojo, then applies another headlock. Mojo fights out and hits a running tackle on Roode. Mojo argues with the ref to stay out of his way. Mojo puts the boots to Roode in the corner, then headbutts him back down. Mojo beats on Roode some more, then rolls him outside. Mojo follows him out, then hits a running tackle that launches Roode into the barricade. Back in the ring, Mojo boots Roode down. Roode hits some shoulders on Roode in the corner and yells at him. Mojo puts some kind of neck hold on Roode on the mat, and Graves comments that Mojo “may not have the greatest technique but makes up for it with raw strength.” Mojo misses a spear in the corner and crashes into the ring post. Roode comes back with right hands on Mojo, then a flying elbow. Roode hits a clothesline, then a running clothesline in the corner. Roode follows up with a neckbreaker, then waits for Mojo to get to his feet. Roode goes up to the middle rope and hits the Blockerbuster for a two count. Roode goes for the Glorious DDT, but Mojo escapes and picks up Roode in the fireman’s carry. Mojo pushes Roode up in the air, then slams him down in front of him, for a two count. Mojo takes Roode into the corner and lays into him with strikes. Mojo goes for a running big boot, but Roode blocks it with a boot of his own. Roode misses a shot off the middle rope, but he does connect with a spinebuster on Mojo. Roode hits the Glorious DDT for the three count.
Winner: Bobby Roode
– Bobby Roode is now in the U.S. Title tournament finals against Jinder Mahal. After the match, The Singh Brothers run in and attack Roode from behind. They drop Roode and stomp on him, then run off. One of the Singh Brothers appears to have injured his ankle in the scuffle. They head back to the stage, where Jinder Mahal is standing with a mic. Jinder cuts a brief promo about how he will be the next United States Champion as Roode stares him down from the ring. Roode grabs a mic and says we don’t have to wait until next week – why don’t we do this right now. The crowd chants “yes.” Jinder laughs, and says no, they’ll do it when The Modern Day Maharaja decides. Jinder says he wants Roode to have one full week to think about how bad Jinder will embarrass him. Daniel Bryan comes out behind Jinder and bumps into him. Bryan announces that he’s decided – they’ll have the U.S. Title match… tonight! He leads the crowd in a “yes” chant, and Roode is happy. Jinder looks angry and the Singh Brothers try to calm him down.
– We see a promo video for the women’s Royal Rumble, featuring Stephanie McMahon’s original announcement. Next is a “25 years of RAW” video, showing the classic segment of Stone Cold Steve Austin spraying The Corporation with the beer truck in the ring.
– They show a selfie video from Randy Orton standing in the ring in an empty arena. He talks about his plans to win the Royal Rumble, then go on to WrestleMania.
– Charlotte, Becky Lynch, & Naomi vs. The Riott Squad: Charlotte and Liv start off, and Charlotte takes control early on. Ruby tags in and Charlotte drops her, then does the headscissor slam. Becky tags in and continues the offense on Ruby. Ruby turns it around against Becky, then Liv tags back in and hits a bulldog on Becky. Liv pulls the hair and the ref warns her. Sarah tags in now and continues beating on Lynch. Becky takes down Sarah, and Naomi gets the hot tag. Liv tags in too, and Naomi cleans house. Naomi drops Liv with a kick, then hits a series of kicks. Naomi misses a splash in the corner, but follows up with a kick to the face. Naomi hits a springboard cross body and pins, but Sarah breaks it up. Charlotte spears Sarah outside. Ruby hits a cheap shot kick to Naomi’s face when the ref isn’t looking, and Liv follows up with another shot to Naomi for the three count.
Winners: The Riott Squad
– The Usos do an interview in the back where they question why Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin are even a team anyways. They say they’re chumps, and they’re about to say their Uso Penitentiary catch phrase, but Gable and Benjamin jump them from behind. Gable and Benjamin say The Usos will soon be former champions, and they walk off. Referees come to check on the Usos as they get to their feet.
– Tom Phillips promotes the Mixed Match Challenge, which airs free on Facebook after SmackDown. Corey Graves confirms that Roode will be taking on Jinder for the U.S. Title tonight, and Phillips announces that the Singh Brothers have been barred from ringside for the match. We then take an in-depth look at the Styles vs. Owens & Zayn handicap match for Royal Rumble.
– We see a selfie video from Shinsuke Nakamura who says he’ll be the 1 out of 30 who survives at the Royal Rumble. “Let’s rumble.”
– Shane McMahon makes his way down to the ring and high-fives everyone sitting at ringside. Bryan is out next, and they’ll both be sitting at ringside for tonight’s U.S. Title match.
– We see footage of The Fashion Files from WWE.com, where Rusev & English end up challenging The Ascension to a match next week.
– Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal: The U.S. Title is on the line here, and the Singh Brothers are banned from ringside. Graves says on commentary that it looks like Roode is still feeling the effects from his match with Mojo earlier. Jinder backs Roode into the corner earlier on and the ref pulls them apart. Jinder goes for a kick, but Roode blocks it and fires back with punches and chops. Jinder fires back with some strikes of his own, then stomps a mud hole in Roode in the corner. Roode comes back with a shot on Jinder in the corner, then mounts him for ten punches. Jinder comes back with a knee, but then Roode dumps him to the outside. Roode stays in the ring to recover, and is selling his ribs. Roode goes outside, and Jinder rams Roode into the ring apron. Jinder slams Roode into the ring steps, then suplexes Roode onto the top of the barricade right on his ribs. Jinder continues to beat Roode down around ringside, then takes him back in the ring for some knee drops. Jinder is in complete control here and slams Roode down, but instead of pinning he wastes some time taunting the fans. Jinder beats on Roode in the corner and chokes him with his boot. Jinder wastes some more time, and Roode stuns him with an elbow to the face. Roode clotheslines Jinder to the outside, then collapses to his knees selling his ribs. Roode climbs to the apron and hits a flying clothesline on Jinder. Back in the ring, Roode hits a flying cross body on Roode, but Jinder rolls through and pins for a two count. Jinder and Roode start brawling back and forth now. Roode hits a knee to the face, then a running splash in the corner. Roode boots Jinder, then hits the Blockbuster off the middle rope for the two count. Roode goes for the Glorious DDT, but Jinder escapes. They collide with a double clothesline in the middle of the ring, and both men are down. They get up, and Roode slams Jinder down with a spinebuster. Roode goes for the Glorious DDT again now, but Jinder escapes and rolls up Roode for a two count. Jinder grabs Roode and goes for the Khallas, but Roode escapes and hits the Glorious DDT for the 3 count.
Winner: Bobby Roode
– Roode gets a standing ovation from Shane and Daniel at ringside. They get in the ring, and they present the U.S. Championship belt to Roode. Roode holds up the strap and shakes hands with Shane and Daniel and thanks them.