SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JANUARY 14, 2022
OMAHA, NE AT THE CHI HEALTH CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a video recap of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns from last week. The recap ended with Seth Rollins laughing at Reigns. In the arena, they showed a crowd shot and Michael Cole welcomed everyone to the show. They then showed a graphic for Reigns and Rollins face to face tonight. They then showed Rollins laughing in the back. Pat McAfee said Reigns has been champion for 502 glorious nights. They then showed a video package for Lita while Cole hyped her. They showed a graphic for Lita’s return, tonight.
-The Usos music hit and they made their entrance. They got a solid pop from the crowd. Cole said the Usos have been Tag Team Champions 180 days today. Cole then threw to a video package that recapped the Usos victory over the New Day last week. Cole said Xavier Woods suffered a torn calf muscle in the match and is out indefinitely. Jey took the mic and stood mid-ring. He said that they went to war with the New Day last week and beat them, but they respect them. Jimmy said “yeet” after everything Jey said. Jey said they respect the New Day because they’re the only team that pushed them to their limits. Jimmy said they let everyone know “they are the ones.” Jey said they should be celebrating, or they should be helping Reigns with Rollins. Jimmy said WWE is lining up challengers for the Usos. Jey announced a fatal four way tag match to determine the number one contenders. Jimmy did a goofy accent and announced Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo. Jey then introduced Cesaro and Mansoor, he said Mansoor had great hair. Jimmy then introduced Jinder Mahal and Shanky. Jey introduced the Viking Raiders to complete the four way. All four teams were in the ring with the Usos. Jimmy said they went over the rules in the back, but everyone needs to remember the most important rule, “we the ones”. Jimmy and Jey then superkicked Mansoor and rolled to the outside while the teams brawled in the ring. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: So, remember when I said last week that WWE may want Reigns to get cheered against Rollins? Well, this may be yet another sign. The Usos went out of their way to put over the New Day and they were also comical. They really didn’t do anything too heelish here. If heels win this match, it will be very telling.)
(1) VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo) vs. CESARO & MANSOOR vs. JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY – Fatal Four Way to determine number one contenders for Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Carrillo was in with Mansoor. The Usos were on commentary. Cesaro tagged in and hit an uppercut on Carrillo. Erik blind tagged in. Garza tagged in, ripped off his pants, then begged off of Erik. Shanky tagged in and mounted offense on Erik before he tagged Mahal. Mahal got a near fall on Erik, then tagged Shanky back in. Shanky attacked Erik in the corner, then tagged Mahal back in. Erik recovered and rocked Mahal, who tagged Shanky as Erik tagged Ivar. Shanky whipped Ivar into the corner who knocked Cesaro and Mansoor to the floor. Erik tagged in and the Viking Raiders double teamed Shanky. Ivar went to the top but Mahal recovered. He knocked Erik to the floor then battled Ivar on the top rope. Cesaro appeared and they set up Ivar for a superplex. Erik appeared and lifted them on his shoulders and all four men fell to the mat as they cut to break. [c]
Mansoor was in Carrillo but Mansoor tagged out to Cesaro who pummeled Carrillo then hit a Samoan Drop. Ivar tagged in and Cesaro set him up for the Swing. The Usos cheered on Cesaro on commentary. Cesaro got about one revolution before Mahal broke it up. Chaos ensued. Garza and Carrillo hit a double superkick on Ivar, then a dive to the outside. Ivar was about to dive outside, but Lotharios hit the ring and hit a double dropkick. Erik appeared and the Viking Raiders hit the Viking Experience for the win.
WINNER: VIKING RAIDERS in 10:00
-The Usos announced the Viking Raiders as the winners. They then said if the Viking Raiders are going to battle the Usos it will be One and Done.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Despite the Viking Raiders winning, I stand by what I said. The Usos are acting completely different. It’s not a bad thing, but it is noticeable.)
-They cut to a video recap of Charlotte Flair and Naomi from last week. Afterwards, they cut to Sonya Deville in the back, shivering in her office. Naomi appeared. She said that everything Deville says is a lie. Naomi said that she won’t let Deville’s actions last week slide. She said she hasn’t heard one reason why Deville doesn’t like her. Deville said that Naomi can’t touch her while she’s wearing the suit. Deville said that she doesn’t like Naomi because she has “main character vibes” but is really “just an extra”. Deville threatened Naomi with removal from the Royal Rumble or firing if she touches her. Naomi left. Adam Pearce came in and complained about the cold. McAfee said he’s glad the office is cold, just like Deville’s heart.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Can they just get to the pay off already? That’s still not a valid reason from Deville either. Which also doesn’t make sense. Why can’t she just say exactly why she doesn’t like Naomi? We all knew why previous authority figures didn’t like certain wrestlers.)
-Sami Zayn made his entrance. They showed a graphic for “InZayn”, which Cole hyped. [c]
-Back from break, they showed a snowstorm outside the stadium. They then showed a video package that recapped the Shield. They showed another graphic for Reigns and Rollins face to face later on.
-Zayn was in the ring. He complained about the WWE conspiring against him. He then shot to a video recap of Johnny Knoxville’s involvement last week. Cole narrated the video clip. Zayn said it’s great that Knoxville is in the Rumble, because he is also in the Rumble. Zayn said he can’t wait, because Knoxville can’t do what Zayn can, but Zayn can do anything Knoxville can do. Zayn said when it comes to being a jackass, no one is better than Sami Zayn. Zayn hyped the first episode of his show InZayn. Zayn disappeared to the back, then he was wheeled out in a shopping cart by two larger men. He said he’s going to jump the wrestling ring in the shopping cart. They showed a ramp in front of the ring. Zayn stood up and said that the ramp looks small. He said he won’t back out. He then counted to three, but told the men to stop and they need to release him on “go”. Zayn counted again and the two men wheeled him toward the ramp, but Zayn told them to stop before they reached it. Zayn exited the cart and entered the ring. The crowd booed. Zayn said he wants to make sure it’s safe. He said he’s tougher than Knoxville, but he doesn’t want to get hurt over nothing. Rick Boogs appeared. Zayn taunted Boogs, but Shinsuke Nakamura appeared behind him. Zayn turned around and Nakamura hit a kick. Boogs entered the ring and lifted Zayn high overhead. Boogs launched Zayn onto the crash pad at ringside in front of the announcers’ table.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Zayn is hilarious most of the time, and he did the best he could here, but jeez. This was pretty bad. I get that Zayn is an annoying heel, but Nakamura and Boogs just sneak attack him? That’s what I want out of my honorable Intercontinental Champion. Speaking of, when is that match? This has to be a WWE record for number of days without an Intercontinental title match. Someone please, look that up and let me know.)
-They then cut to a graphic for the Royal Rumble.
-They showed Aliyah in the back. Megan asked her if she is nervous about facing Natalya. Aliyah said she’s honored to be in the ring with Natalya. Natalya appeared with a Guinness Book of World Records. Natalya mentioned that she has three world records. Aliyah said that she didn’t know the Guinness Book of World Records was still a thing. Aliyah made her entrance and they cut to break. [c]
-They cut back to Natalya in the back. She said her world records are very important to her and she is a favorite to win the Royal Rumble. Natalya ran down all of her records. She said she is going to set a new world record by defeating Aliyah in less than 3.8 seconds. Natalya made her entrance.
-Natalya attacked Aliyah before the bell rang. She slammed Aliyah into the turnbuckles and into the mat. Natalya stomped on Aliyah as the ref tried to pull her off. The ref checked on Aliyah. The ref told the ring announcer that Aliyah cannot compete. Aliyah begged with the ref to let her wrestle. The ring announcer changed the call. The bell rang.
(2) NATALYA vs. ALIYAH
Aliyah rolled up Natalya immediately and got the win.
WINNER: ALIYAH in a record-setting 3.17 seconds
(McDonald’s Analysis: What the hell was the point of all that? How much did Guinness pay them to do that? And also, are we really supposed to believe that Natalya carries that book around with her everywhere she goes? A Guinness world record has gotten more airtime on Smackdown than the IC title in the year 2022.)
-McAfee said “congrats Aliyah on your Guinness record thing”. They cut to Pearce and Deville in the back, who complained that it is now too hot in the back. They showed another video for Lita and hyped her return, next. [c]
-They showed another Shield video. This time, the turn by Rollins that broke up the Shield. They showed the Reigns-Rollins graphic again and McAfee hyped the face to face for later on.
-Michael Cole was in the ring. He called Lita a gamechanger and an inspiration for an entire generation of Superstars. He introduced Lita and Lita’s music hit and she made her entrance to a great pop. Lita took the mic and said she is home. The crowd chanted Lita. Lita ran down her accomplishments and said that most days, she’s satisfied with her career. She said she never got to compete in the Royal Rumble, because the women didn’t have one. She said she’s got one more run left in her. Lita said she’s going to win the Rumble and main event Wrestlemania. Charlotte Flair’s music hit and she made her entrance. Charlotte took the mic from Cole and said she will interview Lita. Charlotte said she didn’t know it was flashback Friday. Charlotte said she’s entering the Rumble as champion and will pick her opponent for Wrestlemania. She said she will eliminate Lita. Charlotte asked Lita how she’ll handle it. Lita called Charlotte Tonya Harding. Lita asked how Charlotte doesn’t fall over with her giant head. The crowd chanted “giant head”. Charlotte told the crowd she can’t hear them. Charlotte brought up Trish Stratus and said she beat her at Summerslam 2019 and retired her. Charlotte said she will do the same to Lita. Lita went to slap Charlotte, who cowered. When Charlotte looked up, Lita kicked her in the gut and hit a Twist of Fate.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I wonder if this deal with Lita is more than the Rumble one-off. After this, I feel like it might be, but I’m not crazy enough to predict her to actually win. It’s a shame that if we get to see Lita in a feud it will be with Charlotte. I like Charlotte, but I would much prefer to see Lita against Sasha Banks or Bayley. It just feels like a better fit. Charlotte and Trish Stratus made sense. This, not as much. I’m willing to give it a shot though. To Lita’s credit, she basically looks the same after all these years, so kudos to her.)
-They showed a recap of Ricochet breaking the nose of Ridge Holland. They showed Sheamus in the back. Megan asked him about Ricochet. Sheamus told her to save her breath. He said Holland is missing and Ricochet is responsible for it. He said he’s going to put everything right and he’s going to break Ricochet’s nose. Sheamus made his entrance in the arena.
-They showed Ricochet in the back. He said he will break Sheamus’ face tonight. Ricochet made his entrance.
(3) RICOCHET vs. SHEAMUS
Ricochet put a headlock on Sheamus. Sheamus lifted Ricochet but Ricochet kept the headlock on and took him over. Sheamus hit a shoulder tackle. Cole mentioned that Sheamus is in the Rumble. Sheamus stepped on Ricochet’s fingers, then went for a powerbomb, but Ricochet recovered and dumped Sheamus over the top rope. Ricochet then hit a flying dive over the top and took out Sheamus. Sheamus rolled into the ring, then back out. Ricochet reached for him from the apron, but Sheamus recovered and yanked Ricochet to the floor. Sheamus placed Ricochet under the ring and catapulted him into the support beams under the ring as they cut to break. [c]
Ricochet fought back on Sheamus with a jawbreaker followed by a springboard crossbody. Ricochet hit some chops, then a running kick. Sheamus recovered and went for a Brogue Kick but caught himself on the ropes. Ricochet hit a modified Lionsault for a near fall. Ricochet set up Sheamus and went to the top rope. Ricochet went for a Shooting Star Press, but Sheamus moved. Ricochet landed on his feet, and Sheamus hit an Irish Curse for a near fall. Sheamus got the Ten Beats, then clotheslined Ricochet back into the ring. Sheamus went to the top with Ricochet on his shoulders but Ricochet fought back and recovered with a sunset flip powerbomb for a near fall. Ricochet stalked Sheamus and tried to lift him onto his shoulders, but Sheamus recovered. Sheamus went for an Alabama Slam, but Ricochet countered with a roll-up. Ricochet bounced off the ropes and dove at Sheamus, but Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for the win.
WINNER: SHEAMUS in 8:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: This match was really good. These two have great chemistry. It’s a shame that neither one of them has any real direction. Sheamus is one of the best workers on the roster in the last 18 months. He’s shown time and time again that he can work with a variety of opponents and have a great match. Why don’t they use him better? At least with Ricochet, you can say he can’t talk, and other than cool moves, is relatively vanilla. That’s just not true about Sheamus. I wish they would move the IC title to Sheamus and just let him defend the title every week against everyone in matches like this. That would be something Smackdown could have that would be worth watching and looking forward to.)
-They showed a recap of Aliyah and Natalya from earlier. They showed a graphic touting Aliyah’s new record. Pearce and Deville were in the back. They recapped the rules of the Rumble, then complained about the room being hot again. Pearce said he’s going to check with maintenance. Deville removed her jacket, then Naomi entered the room. She commented about Deville not wearing her jacket. Pearce appeared in the middle of the two women. Naomi said that Deville keeps getting in her business and no one does anything about it. Pearce said that Naomi is right and he grants her a match with Charlotte next week.
-Kofi Kingston’s music hit and he made his entrance. They showed a graphic for Kingston against Mad Cap Moss, next. [c]
-They showed a recap of Seth Rollins cashing in the Money in the Bank during the main event of Wrestlemania 31 and beating Reigns to win the title. They again hyped the Reigns and Rollins face to face segment.
-Kofi Kingston was in the ring. He did his terrible accent and read a proclamation from Xavier Woods. He announced that Woods has a calf injury and will miss the Rumble, but Kingston will be in the Rumble.
(McDonald’s Analysis: If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, in person, I would never believe someone telling me Kingston used to be WWE World Champion. I would never buy it. I’m starting to think I dreamed it myself. He won a WORLD TITLE at a WRESTLEMANIA from DANIEL BRYAN and now he’s doing THIS?)
-Happy Corbin’s music hit and Mad Cap Moss and Corbin made their entrance. Corbin said he’s going to eliminate Kingston from the Rumble. Moss and Corbin entered the ring. Corbin said they haven’t been this happy since they destroyed Drew McIntyre. They threw to a video package that recapped the attack on McIntyre at Day One. Moss and Corbin laughed in the ring. Moss told a bad New Day joke. Kingston looked confused, then fake laughed with them. Kingston said he’s going to drop a royal deuce on Moss’ forehead.
(4) MAD CAP MOSS (w/ Happy Corbin) vs. KOFI KINGSTON
Kingston kicked Moss to the gut, but Moss picked him up. Moss went to dump Kingston over the top rope, but Kingston recovered and Moss fell to the floor. Kingston jumped over the top rope and took out Moss and Corbin as they cut to break. [c]
Moss had Kingston in a headlock. Kingston fought out and jumped at Moss but Moss caught him and delivered a fall-away slam. Moss attacked Kinston in the corner. Kingston fought back again and hit a springboard dropkick out of the corner. Kingston then hit a series of elbows followed by a flying clothesline. Kingston hit a Boom Drop and then motioned to the crowd. The crowd chanted “New Day rocks”. Corbin distracted Kingston, so Moss took control, Kingston quickly recovered. Kingston went for a crossbody off the top, but Moss caught him and rolled through. Kingston recovered briefly, but Moss hit the Punchline for the win.
WINNER: MAD CAP MOSS in 4:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: I said it before and I’m going to double down. Someone in the back just noticed that Moss looks like a brickhouse and they’re giving him a push. This is another example of him winning clean with his new finish. Maybe, just maybe, WWE read what I said about the terrible mid-card on this show and is trying to build some new guys. That, or, Vince just noticed what this guy looks like and wants to give him more TV time with his shirt off. Both are entirely possible, I guess. The match wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special. That’s what happens when you have 4-5 minutes and there’s a commercial thrown in.)
-They showed a hype video for Monday Night Raw.
-Seth Rollins’ music hit and he made his entrance to a solid response. They showed the graphic and hyped the Reigns and Rollins face to face segment one more time. [c]
-Roman Reigns’ music hit and he made his entrance to a HUGE pop. There were little to no boos there. Cole said that Reigns will break Brock Lesnar’s record come Sunday. They showed a graphic for Reigns-Rollins at the Royal Rumble. Many in the crowd did the one finger pose with Reigns. Rollins smirked at Reigns. The crowd chanted “Roman Reigns”. Reigns asked the crowd to acknowledge him. There were some slight boos this time, but nothing special. Rollins said this is quite a moment. Some fans chanted “Rollins”. Rollins put his fist in and asked for Reigns to join him. Reigns said he’s above that now. Rollins said we should acknowledge the look on Reigns’ face when Rollins showed up last week. Rollins said that he’s won all of the title matches they’ve had against each other. Reigns said that Rollins is talking about the past and laughed at him. Reigns said that he’s in God mode nowadays. Reigns said he’s the greatest of the generation, no questions asked, and the greatest Universal Champion. Rollins said that he’s there to acknowledge Reigns and his success. Rollins asked Reigns if he could look at himself in the mirror and say he did it all himself. Rollins said he did fine without Reigns. Rollins said he held Reigns’ hand in the Shield. Rollins said that Reigns couldn’t do it on his own because Reigns needed the Bloodline to hold him up. Rollins said he created Reigns and he can destroy him. Cole said that Rollins made good points. Reigns said that Rollins is a waste of his time because Rollins is a clown and doesn’t have the star power of Reigns. Reigns said if he was looking for a superstar, he wouldn’t have chosen Rollins, he would have chosen Rollins’ wife. The Usos appeared and chased after Rollins. Rollins evaded the Usos, then walked up the ramp. Reigns glared after Reigns as Rollins talked trash from the entryway.
(McDonald’s Analysis: The segment was fine. Both guys did some good work but nothing was groundbreaking. Full disclosure, and it’s not like this is a secret, but these are my two favorite stars in the company right now. Well, since they don’t care about A.J. Styles. Anyway, because of that, I’m more interested in this than a lot of people and I love the idea of the feud, even if I think it’s rushed and a bad time to do this. For as solid as this segment was, it came off a little confusing. As I predicted last week, Reigns was cheered like crazy against Rollins, but Rollins also had a small pocket of fans. The ending of the segment with Rollins evading the Usos was clever. They were smart in making Rollins look more intelligent than cowardly there. Overall, we’ll see what happens next week. I’m going to reserve judgment on this for now.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Really not a lot going on here. Solid episode, definitely nothing terrible on this show to complain about, but nothing super serious or important happened. The mid-card still needs a lot of work. I hope the match with Sheamus and Ricochet is a step in the right direction. Same goes for Mad Cap Moss. I wouldn’t have chosen him, but at least WWE is trying something with someone. It’s a shame they can’t make some of these guys more serious characters so we can focus on their in-ring work and the positive parts of their personalities instead of how goofy they appear to be.
Shout out to Zack Heydorn, who brought up the last line in this article last week on the post show. I would like to use this last line to point out that it appears, after tonight, I may have been on to something. The Usos and Roman Reigns came off leaning more babyface than they have in over a year tonight. I’m not saying I told you so, as it was purely speculation, but WWE is at the very least, testing the Bloodline as babyfaces.