(Updated) WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER 1/29: Final Royal Rumble Hype, Last Stand for Kevin and the Head of the Table, Bianca vs. Bayley, Expectations for Other Current Feuds

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JANUARY 29, 2021
TAMPA, FL. IN THE THUNDERDOME AT TROPICANA FIELD
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves

Match Results and Segments from Last Week

  • Adam Pearce confronted Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his council Roman Reigns during their opening promo. It was made known that Roman would not allow his Royal Rumble opponent, Kevin Owens in the building. They set up a match between Pearce and Paul Heyman to take place later in the show. Later, Owens cut a promo talking about his family and love for WWE. When the match between Pearce and Heyman turned into Pearce vs. Roman, an incognito Owens appeared and attacked Roman.
  • Former Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn barricaded himself on the entrance and held up a sign #justiceForSami.
  • Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte & Asuka (Raw Women’s Champion) defeated Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan. Billie Kay was yelling at the referee during a pinfall attempt by Ruby on Asuka. When Billie tried to apologize to Ruby and Liv later, Ruby said there was no “us,” meaning Billie being part of the Squad.
  • Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler, ½ of the current Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
  • Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks defeated Reginald.
  • Big E defeated Apollo Crews via DQ when Sami Zayn got involved to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Sonya Deville advised the Street Profits in so many words to sit things out until Montez Ford’s knee injury is heeled, and then they will get a chance at the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.
  • Bianca Belair defeated Bayley in an obstacle course. Bayley attacked Bianca after the proceedings.
  • King Corbin defeated Dominic Mysterio. Before the match when Dominic insisted on doing things his way. Rey said if things go wrong, they’re doing things his way next time.

Here are the WWE exclusive interviews from last week:

Items Advertised by WWE

Tonight’s edition of Smackdown will be the final episode of WWE television before the Royal Rumble.  In a significant development on Monday, WWE Hall of Famer Edge declared for the rumble.  We’ll see if any more names are entered tonight.  They played a hype video on TV focusing on the feud between Kevin Owens and Universal Champion Roman Reigns heading into their Last Man Standing match for the title slated for the Royal Rumble PPV:

Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns and a War of Words

 This Sunday, Kevin Owens gets one more crack at the Universal Championship by challenging Roman Reigns in a Last Man Standing match.  WWE official Adam Pearce had won a Gauntlet match several weeks ago, with the assistance of Roman and his cousin Jey Uso, to be the initial challenger.  One week later, Pearce backed out and slotted in Kevin utilizing his powers as a member of WWE management.  Refer to the recap earlier in this report for what happened last week.

Tonight’s episode will feature a “war of words” between Kevin and Roman as they get ready for their match on Sunday.  As I’ve mentioned, there is history between Kevin and Roman over the Universal Championship going back to later 2016-’17.  The roles were reversed as Kevin was the heel champion with Roman in pursuit.  Needless to say, things are much different years later.  Here’s a little trash talk from Roman on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis: Greg Parks and I talked about this on Wrestling Night in America. My concern is what’s next for Kevin. He won’t come out of this with the Universal Championship, which is fine, but where does he go? As I said on the show, part of me thinks he will be rewarded down the line having performed so well in this program. Another part of me worries they’ll just forget and park him in the midcard. He deserves much better. What I absolutely love in this program is it seems everyone involved (Paul Heyman, Roman, Kevin, Jey, and Pearce) are 100% invested.

Bianca Belair vs. Bayley

Because of what happened in the obstacle course competition last week, Bianca Belair will go one-on-one with Bayley.  This will not be their first match, as they faced each other shortly before Christmas Because of what happened in the obstacle course last week, Bianca Belair will face Bayley tonight.  This will not be their first one-on-one encounter, as they faced each other shortly before Christmas which saw Bayley come out on top.  On the New Year’s Day episode, Bayley teamed with Carmella to defeat Bianca and Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks.  Another occasion saw Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte Flair & Asuka defeat Carmella & Bayley and Bianca & Sasha in a triple threat elimination match.  The obstacle course was set up two weeks ago on the debut episode of Bayley’s show Ding Dong, Hello.

Frank’s Analysis:  Both women are favorites to win the rumble to me, although them being embroiled in a feud tells me they could cost each other and keep things going after Sunday.  I feel like the winner of the women’s rumble is going to be a surprise, but I don’t feel completely strong.  I like that I don’t know for sure who could be winning. 

Other Expectations and Final Thoughts

I expect follow-up on the other feuds happening:

  • King Corbin and the Mysterios: It looks like we’re headed towards issues between Rey and Dominic, right? Corbin is the guy they’d love to drive the wedge between father and son.
  • Big E, Apollo Crews, and Sami Zayn: I expect all three men will circle around the Intercontinental Championship, currently held by Big E. This has been interesting because I don’t feel Big E’s reign has gotten off to a strong start, no fault of his though.
  • Sasha Banks and Carmella: Carmella will get another Smackdown Women’s Championship match, even though Sasha beat Reginald last week. This reeks of a pre-show match at the Royal Rumble, but I could be wrong. It’ll happen when it happens. I have no strong feelings.
  • The Riott Squad and Billie Kay: I think if Billie dresses up in the infamous Bernie Sanders mittens, she’s a lock to join Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan. It’s a no-brainer.

I hope they emphasize the Royal Rumble is Sunday, and wrestlers talk about what it means to win the event. If I didn’t know any better, I would not have known the show was Sunday until Edge came out and declared. I would think they’d hyped up the show tonight.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!

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