SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JANUARY 7, 2022
UNCASVILLE, CN AT THE MOHEGAN SUN ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a recap of Day One and Monday Night Raw. The recap focused on Brock Lesnar winning the WWE Championship, and Paul Heyman introducing him. In the arena, they showed the crowd and Michael Cole welcomed everyone to the show. Roman Reigns’ music hit and he made his entrance. Pat McAfee said “he has cometh back”. Reigns got a solid pop. McAfee said that Reigns just beat the hell out of Covid. They showed a graphic for the Usos and the New Day in a Tag Team Championship Street Fight later on. Cole and McAfee hyped the match. Cole then explained Reigns’ absence from Day One. McAfee said that Covid tested positive for Roman Reigns, not the other way around.
-Reigns took the mic and sauntered around the ring. Reigns stood in mid-ring and spoke. He asked New England to acknowledge him. The crowd cheered. Reigns asked where he should begin. He said he missed one week and it all fell apart. He said he thought a lot in isolation. Reigns said there was a lot of people he wanted to see, except for Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, who he never wants to see again. Brock Lesnar’s music hit and the crowd popped as he made his entrance alongside his advocate, Paul Heyman. Reigns and Lesnar stared at each other mid-ring. Heyman went to speak, but Lesnar took the mic from him. Lesnar walked up to Reigns and did a Heyman impression. Lesnar introduced himself. Reigns smirked. Lesnar put his arm around Heyman and Heyman said Lesnar was great. Lesnar walked back up to Reigns and asked Reigns to acknowledge him. Lesnar said he got what he wanted on Saturday, the WWE title, and Reigns got what he wanted, so now, they should give everyone what they want. Lesnar challenged Reigns to a title versus title match. Reigns said it’s a good idea, but it’s not his idea. Reigns said this is his show and we do what he says and on his time. Reigns said he won’t do business with someone who does business with trash like Heyman. Heyman asked Reigns how he could talk to him that way. Heyman said Reigns won the title because of him and he protected Reigns. Heyman said he loved Reigns. Lesnar stopped and asked Heyman what he said. Heyman said that while Lesnar was gone, Reigns was all he had. Lesnar told Reigns to shut up. Reigns told Heyman not to talk to Heyman that way. Heyman then told Lesnar not to speak to Reigns that way. Lesnar turned to look at Heyman and Reigns hit him with a Superman punch. Reigns rolled out of the ring and walked up the ramp as Lesnar stared at him from the ground.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Wow. They didn’t waste any time getting to the good stuff. This segment was solid. Everyone was on point here. Lesnar’s Heyman impression was funny. Lesnar’s new face character is such a nice change of pace and it seems like he’s having the time of his life. Reigns was back and just as great as before. The banter between him and Heyman with Lesnar in the middle was interesting. Heyman comes off as an ex-girlfriend who’s still in love with the guy that dumped her. Lesnar being surprised by this was perfect. Clearly, Reigns and Heyman forged enough of a bond that they just can’t forget about each other. I can’t wait to see where this goes.)
-They showed Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura in the back warming up. Cole hyped the Boogs and Sami Zayn match coming up next. [c]
-Back from break, they recapped the previous segment. Zayn was then interviewed in the back. Zayn mentioned that a year after he was screwed out of the Intercontinental Championship, he earned a shot and now Nakamura is ducking him. Zayn smiled and noticed someone in the hallway. It was Johnny Knoxville. Knoxville said he was there attempting to speak to management about being in the Royal Rumble. Zayn said Knoxville is not qualified to be in the Rumble and until he shows him he belongs, he should stay out of everyone’s way.
-Zayn made his entrance. Cole recapped Zayn winning the guantlet match a couple of weeks ago. Rick Boogs made his entrance, then introduced Nakamura as he played guitar. McAfee danced at ringside.
(1) SAMI ZAYN vs. RICK BOOGS (w/ Shinsuke Nakamura)
Zayn backed into the corners repeatedly. He ran at Boogs, but Boogs picked him up and hit a couple of suplexes. Boogs lifted Zayn for a press slam and dropped him. Zayn rolled to the outside. [c]
Boogs toyed with Zayn then threw him down. Zayn rolled to the apron and Boogs went after him. Zayn recovered and snapped Boogs’ neck on the top rope. Zayn hit an elbow to the head off the top rope and got a near fall. Zayn went for a second elbow, but Boogs caught him and bearhugged Zayn. Boogs then transitioned into a stalling vertical suplex. Zayn tried to fight out and Boogs dropped to his knees, then Boogs recovered and stood back up. He finally dropped Zayn. Zayn went to the outside, but Boogs followed him and tossed him back in. Zayn hit Boogs as Boogs’ tried to follow him in. Boogs rolled up Zayn for the win.
WINNER: RICK BOOGS in 7:00
-Zayn watched Boogs and Nakamura celebrate at ringside. Johnny Knoxville ran down the ramp and entered the ring. Knoxville dumped Zayn over the top rope. The announcer came over the mic and announced that Johnny Knoxville has qualified for the Royal Rumble.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I love Boogs’ move set. They do a great job making him look legitimately strong and like a threat, despite the fact that he’s a goof otherwise. With that said, why can’t he win with one of his awesome moves instead of a roll-up? It’s not like Zayn is some strong character who can’t take the loss. Knoxville being in the Rumble is a complete joke. I hate this stuff. Knoxville has lost a ton of relevancy in the last twenty years and he shouldn’t be anywhere near this event. Maybe, if I try hard enough, I can be in the Rumble, too.)
-The New Day was in the back with Kayla Braxton. Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston both did terrible accents. They said they would beat the Usos and be the “actual and factual” WWE Tag Team Champions. They mock laughed at Kayla and handed her some coins.
-Charlotte Flair made her entrance to a solid pop. Cole touted her as the 13 time Women’s Champion. They showed a graphic that featured Charlotte. It said “Flair for the Dramatic” and it’s next. [c]
-They showed a commercial to hype Monday’s episode of Raw.
-Back in the arena, Charlotte stood in the ring. Charlotte said Happy New Year. She said her resolution was to make history. Charlotte said the Royal Rumble changes lives. She motioned to the front and said let’s look at this year’s Rumble competitors. A video graphic ran down the competitors for the Rumble. It only listed nineteen women. Charlotte said she gets to announce someone very special that will be in the Rumble match. Charlotte ran down the competitors’ accomplishments then turned to the entrance way. After a pause, Charlotte entered herself into the Rumble and said when she wins, she can choose her challenger. Naomi’s music hit and she made her entrance. Naomi challenged Charlotte to a match right now. Charlotte said Naomi hasn’t done anything recently to deserve a match with her. Naomi slapped Charlotte. Charlotte ran after Naomi, but Naomi side-stepped her and Charlotte fell to the floor. A ref appeared. Cole asked if we were going to have a match. McAfee said he hoped so as they cut to break. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, that’s interesting. The Women’s Rumble announcement was cool. If you add Charlotte, that makes twenty women even. I would assume some mix of returning stars like Asuka and Bayley, and people not involved in title matches such as Liv Morgan and Sasha Banks will get added to round this out. I really hope someone (Wade) can find out how they got Mickie James. That’s super odd considering she works for another company, and her exit was very public. Charlotte was solid here. I thought there was some credence to the rumor of unifying the Men’s World titles after Charlotte entered herself in the Rumble. It would make sense to unify the Women’s titles too. But, Charlotte said she would choose her challenger. I assume that’s just to round out the Rumble match and she won’t win. She’s right though, Naomi doesn’t deserve a title match. I don’t know if it’s super smart to point that out, even though Charlotte is a heel.)
(2) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. NAOMI – Non-title Match
Back from break, Charlotte and Naomi were in a match. Charlotte attacked Naomi on the outside then rolled her in the ring and covered her for a near fall. Charlotte whipped Naomi into the corner and Naomi jumped over Charlotte. Charlotte hit a backbreaker on Naomi, then kicked at a downed Naomi. Charlotte locked Naomi in a headscissors and slammed Naomi’s head into the mat. Naomi fought back, but Charlotte flipped Naomi over. Naomi recovered and rammed Charlotte into the middle turnbuckle. Naomi went to the top, but Charlotte hit her with a big boot and knocked Naomi to the floor. Charlotte threw Naomi over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area. Naomi recovered with a kick, then hit a blockbuster off the barricade.
Sonya Deville appeared on the entrance ramp and said this match cannot be won by countout. Naomi stared after Deville. Charlotte entered the ring and took Naomi down from behind. [c]
Charlotte had Naomi in a neck vice. Cole and McAfee said Charlotte would have been counted out, but Deville prevented it to screw Naomi. Naomi reversed the backbreaker and got a near fall. Naomi hit a springboard kick for a near fall. Naomi went to the top rope again and hit Charlotte with a cross body for a near fall. Naomi went for the Rear View, but Charlotte countered into a rollup for a near fall. Charlotte locked on the Figure Four, but Naomi got to the ropes. Deville got up at ringside, and said you can’t win the match by disqualification. Deville said you can only win by pinfall or submission. Charlotte stomped at Naomi. Charlotte went to the top rope and hit her fake moonsault, standing moonsault combo for a near fall. Naomi rolled up Charlotte for a near fall. Naomi blocked a big boot, then shot Charlotte off the ropes. Both women took each other out with simultaneous kicks. Naomi hit a sliding kick, but Charlotte grabbed her hair and pulled her down. Naomi slammed Charlotte down with a full nelson slam and got a near fall. Naomi went for a bulldog, but Charlotte shoved her into the corner. Charlotte covered Naomi for another near fall. Charlotte went for a powerbomb but Naomi countered into a really sloppy facebuster. Naomi went for a split legged moonsault, but Charlotte caught her. Charlotte hit a Natural Selection for the win.
WINNER: CHARLOTTE FLAIR in 12:00
-Sonya Deville announced Naomi as the loser.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Despite the stupidity of the Naomi-Deville angle which is well past it’s expiration date, this match was really good. I don’t normally care for Naomi in the ring, but this was the best match she’s had in a while. They got a lot of time and did a great job with what they were given. Their chemistry could be something to build off in the future.)
-Kayla was in the back and she welcomed the Usos. The Usos said they won with the dopest finisher in the game on Saturday. Jimmy said the New Day is going to find out why they call the Usos the ones.
-Happy Corbin made his entrance. They showed a graphic for Happy Talk with a special mystery guest, next. [c]
-They showed a commercial for Bron Breakker. I mean, NXT.
-Cole hyped the Tag Team Championship Street Fight. He then threw to a recap of the Reigns and Lesnar segment from the beginning of the show.
-Adam Pearce was in the back with Deville. Pearce said that Reigns needs an opponent for the Universal title at the Royal Rumble. He said he has to announce it tonight.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Good luck with that. Nobody on Smackdown, that’s for sure. I’m hoping for A.J. Styles.)
-Corbin was in the ring. He said you have to watch your back with Covid. He said Drew McIntyre didn’t watch his back at Day One and Corbin and Mad Cap Moss took him out. Corbin threw to a video recap of the attack on McIntyre at Day One. Corbin introduced McIntyre as his special guest. Mad Cap Moss entered to McIntyre’s music with a small, deflated, sword, a kilt, a neck brace, and a cane. Corbin helped Moss sit down. Corbin asked how he was walking after Day One. Moss did an accent and said he can survive anything after eating haggis his whole life. Moss said that Corbin would kill him in a match. He would soil himself, but still smell the same. Moss said he will never perform again. Moss laughed and got up. He “revealed” himself to be Moss and said he fooled everyone. The Viking Raiders’ music hit and they made their entrance. Cole said the two teams have a scheduled match. McAfee said they lost two million viewers during that segment. [c]
(3) THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. HAPPY CORBIN & MAD CAP MOSS
Moss and Erik started. Corbin tagged in, as did Ivar. The Viking Raiders double teamed Corbin in the corner, which left Erik and Corbin in the ring. Corbin hit a Deep Six but Ivar broke up the pin. Corbin tagged in Moss and they double-teamed Erik. McAfee talked about Moss’ physique. Corbin tagged in and attacked Erik in the corner. Moss tagged in and whipped Erik into the corner, but Erik knocked Corbin off the apron. Moss went after Erik with strikes, but Erik tossed Moss out of the ring. Moss landed on his feet and ran back in the ring. Erik hit Moss with a knee. Corbin pulled Ivar off the apron. Moss hit his finish for the win.
WINNER: HAPPY CORBIN & MAD CAP MOSS in 4:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: So, did they just notice that Moss is built like a brickhouse? Or did Vince just meet him recently or something? This was very heavy handed in his favor. I missed the name of his finish, but it is noteworthy that his move got a name, and he won with it. Clean. This match was what it was. Nothing to show your kids, but it wasn’t awful. And also, at least it wasn’t 30 seconds to a minute.)
-They showed a graphic of Drew McIntyre and they updated everyone on his neck inury.
-Sheamus was in the back. He said no one cares about McIntyre. He only cares about Ridge Holland. They showed a photo of Holland with a broken nose. Sheamus said he’s going to enter the Rumble, which will put a smile on Holland’s face. Sheamus said he’ll be in the main event of Wrestlemania. Cole mentioned that Sheamus won the Rumble in 2012, ten years ago.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Really?!?!? That was ten years ago? This year’s Rumble is a little underwhelming so far. I don’t know what I expected, but jeez, Sheamus is the guy I’m the most excited about. I hope he Brogue Kicks the hell out of Knoxville.)
-The New Day made their entrance. They showed a graphic for the Street Fight, next. [c]
-Reigns was in the back. There was a knock on his door. He said come in. Pearce entered and he said he’s chosen Reigns’ opponent for the Royal Rumble. Reigns said unless it’s Pearce, he doesn’t care, because he’s smashed everyone on the roster already. Reigns said he wants to watch his cousins’ match. Pearce looked at Reigns. Reigns said that means Pearce should leave.
-The Usos made their entrance. McAfee said Pearce is bad at reading social clues. They showed Reigns watching in the back.
(4) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) (c) – Street Fight for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Kingston started with Jimmy. He took Jimmy down quickly and tagged in Woods. They double teamed Jimmy and got a near fall, then Kingston tagged back in. Jey pulled Jimmy to the outside. Kingston went to the top rope and took out the Usos with a Trust Fall to the floor. [c]
Both teams battled to the top of the stage. McAfee said this is what we expected. The New Day tossed both Usos into the LED screens. The New Day dragged the Usos back toward the ring. Jimmy and Jey recovered with right hands. Woods hit a superkick on Jimmy on the outside. Jey tried to drag Woods into the ring, but Woods recovered with a kick, then a tornado DDT for a near fall. Jimmy entered and hit a pop-up Samoan Drop for a near fall on Woods. Kingston entered and the Usos hit an Alley-Uce on Kingston for a near fall. Jey went under the ring and grabbed duct tape. He tossed it to Jimmy. Jimmy duct taped Woods arm to the top rope. Kingston took down Jimmy, then sloppily rolled up Jey for a near fall. Kingston freed Woods from the top rope. The two teams brawled on the floor by the announce desk. Jey tossed Kingston into the ringpost and Jimmy tossed Woods into the crowd. The Usos got the steps and took out both members of the New Day. The Usos posed on the barricade. The crowd chanted “U-SO”. Woods dove off the barricade and took out the New Day. All four men were down as they cut to break. [c]
Back from break, Jimmy set up Kingston for a superplex. Woods came over and perched Jimmy on his shoulders. Kingston fought out and came off the top to take down Jimmy. Woods went under the ring and found a gladiator’s helmet and a breast plate. Kingston attacked Jey and Jimmy with the breast plate while Woods wore the helmet. Kingston got a near fall on Jey. The crowd chanted for tables. Woods got to the outside and grabbed a table. McAfee explained that there was trash on the floor because the Usos used a trash can during the break. Woods went to toss Jimmy into the table, but Jimmy reversed. Woods braced himself. Jimmy then hit Woods with a superkick, then Jey hit Kingston with a superkick. Jey measured Kingston and ran at him, but Kingston moved, then hit Trouble in Paradise. Jimmy broke up the pin at two with the breast plate. Woods climbed to the top rope, but Jey knocked him down. The Usos hit a double superkick on Kingston, who held the breast plate. The Usos hit another double superkick on a downed Kingston. The Usos measured Kingston with the table set up. The Usos hit a 3-D on Kingston threw the table for the win.
WINNERS: THE USOS in 18:00 to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
-The Usos celebrated with the titles. They cut to the back where Reigns was in his chair. There was a knock and Reigns said come in. Reigns stood u as Seth Rollins entered. Rollins laughed maniacally as the show went off the air.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That match was the match that should have been on the “Premiere Event Special”. Instead of typing that out can we just call them PES’s now? Anyway, that was good stuff and much better than Day One. I didn’t care for the helmet and breast plate bit, but otherwise, really solid and hard to find a lot of fault. Rollins and Reigns at the Rumble sounds awesome, but, does this mean that Rollins is back on Smackdown? Probably not, but, couldn’t they find a face to come do this? I’m excited for this match, but I really dislike the heel versus heel thing and the fact that yet again, WWE scrambles, and blows something that could be big down the line when one of them turns face eventually. I really hope WWE realizes that the fans are going to cheer Reigns like crazy against Rollins. Well, maybe that’s what they want, and that’s why they’re doing this.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: With all of the roster problems Smackdown has had since the draft, this show stood out as really well put together and overall, a very good show. They did a good job hiding some of the roster deficiencies, but it really helps when you have the Usos and New Day use twenty minutes to their full advantage at the end. Naomi and Charlotte also got a lot of time and used it well. I wish the Naomi and Deville feud would come to an end already. Also, where is Xia Li? And Shotzi? Li wasn’t even announced for the Rumble, unless I missed something. Brock and Roman had a great moment at the beginning of the show, and I’m really curious to see what happens between them and what comes of the two titles at this point. Since it’s being reported that plans for Wrestlemania have not changed, I assume they won’t be wrestling each other there, even though it sure feels like they will be. All in all, a solid show, and I think next week should see some resets with the Usos, the New Day, and the new Reigns and Rollins feud. Hopefully Sami gets his IC title shot soon. At least then it will make sense as to why the title never gets defended.