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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JANUARY 21, 2022
NASHVILLE, TENN. AT THE BRIDGESTONE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON FOX
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-A video package aired on interactions with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns last week and the Usos running in and attacking Seth on Raw PLUS clips of their past matches years ago.
-Michael Cole and Pat McAfee introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd.
-The Usos stood mid-ring and said they were there to celebrate the longest reigning Universal Champion – 508 days. They listed Kevin Owens, Seth, and Brock Lesnar as former Universal Champions who didn’t hold it as long. Then Roman Reigns came out to his music. McAfee said it’s great to go to sleep all this time knowing he’s at the helm of all of WWE. Reigns took his time and finally said, “Nashville, acknowledge me!”
Jimmy Uso then threw to a highlight video package on Reigns. It went back to him winning the Universal Title in August 2020, then matches against Daniel Bryan, Edge, Cesaro, Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Finn Balor, Big E with a counter showing how many days he’s been champ at the point of each defense.
Back live in the ring, Reigns was smiling wide. Boos rang out. Jimmy applauded. Reigns’s facial reaction then went sour. As he was about to talk again, Seth’s music played and he made his way out onto the stage. Seth said his reign will end soon. He said Reigns also made an honest man out of him, which he said is difficult these days. He said he told him he isn’t responsible for any of his success. He said he meant it in a meta way – that everything has been handed to him – but he took it literally and sent the Usos after him on Raw. He said if he has a message for him, next time text it to him. Seth said the Usos are the cornerstones of his Bloodline and make everything he does possible. “Just like me and Mox did in the Shield,” he said. “So let’s have a celebration for the Usos!” he said. (Interesting he used Dean Ambrose’s AEW name, Mox.)
Reigns called Seth his “little brother.” He said he comes out and makes all the same excuses. “Did John Cena write that promo for you?” he said. “Are you going to say the same stuff.” Reigns told Seth he has his word that their match at the Rumble will be one-on-one. Seth asked if the next words he says are going to be “believe that.” He said his word was once gold. He suggested he and a partner face the Usos, and if he wins, the Usos are banned from ringside at the Rumble. Reigns winced. Jey then said, “Hell yeah, challenge accepted, Use.” Jey said he’s crazy and not many people like him. Seth said that’s true. Kevin Owens’ music then played.
KO walked out and Seth was excited and danced a little. KO and Seth hugged. KO yelled, “I like him!” Reigns said it isn’t final until the Tribal Chief says so. Reigns said, “Let’s raise the stakes.” He said if Seth loses tonight, he loses his match at the Rumble. “And I’m going on vacation until WrestleMania,” Reigns said. “Deal?” Seth thought about it, then smiled and said, “You’re on.” Cole said it’s a big time main event with big time stakes.
-Cole and McAfee hyped Kofi Kingston vs. Madcap Moss in a rematch next. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of Nashville. Cole then said the main event tag match was confirmed.
-Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss were in the ring. Madcap said if Kofi started a Garth Brooks cover band, he’d sing “Friends In No Places.” Boos rang out and Corbin and Moss laughed. The New Day theme then played. Kofi came out. Then Big E’s music played and he walked out to be in Kofi’s corner. (Remember the roster split?) Cole said, “The Royal Rumble is one week from tomorrow night, and that’s why you’re seeing Raw stars here tonight.” (Huh?)
(1) KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E) vs. MADCAP MOSS (w/Happy Corbin)
Cole said Corbin is happy because he lost everything and was living on the streets, but then hit it big in Las Vegas. McAfee said Corbin was eating poop sandwiches when he was broke. Cole said he hasn’t lost a match since he returned as Happy Corbin. Moss took control early and whipped Kofi at the stairs. Kofi leaped over them and knocked Moss down. Big E then threw Corbin into the ringside steps. Cole said Big E was “making Corbin pay.” (For what? Corbin didn’t do anything wrong. He was merely trying to get Kofi’s attention by shouting “Hey!” ) They cut to an early break.[c]
Moss was in control after the break. Cole asked how impressive Moss has been. Kofi made a comeback and scored a two count. Madcap came back with a side slam for a two count. Kofi escaped a Razor’s Edge and then sidestepped a charging Madcap and landed a Trouble In Paradise for the clean win.
WINNER: Kingston in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to that, with about two minutes of action on each side of the break.)
-After the match, Big E had some words for Corbin and took off his jacket and called him into the ring. Corbin jumped down from the ring apron. Big E then gave Madcap his Big Ending.
(Keller’s Analysis: New Day were the heels there, right? Big E attacked Corbin unprovoked, then gave a Big Ending to Madcap after the bell. Seriously, why did Moss and Corbin deserve that? Because their jokes are lame?)
-A sponsored highlight package aired on the Natalya-Aliyah angle and match last week about the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
-Aliyah made her ring entrance. McAfee said in her first singles match on WWE TV, she set a world record. Cole said on Talking Smack last week she said, “What a time to be alive!” Cole said a rematch against Natalya was up next. [c]
-Cole and McAfee hyped the main event tag match and reviewed the stips.
-They showed Summer Rae standing at ringside. She was introduced as a WWE legend and being from Nashville.
(2) ALIYAH vs. NATALYA
Aliyah went for another fast cover, but Natalya kicked out. After some back and forth action, Natalya stomped away at Aliyah in the corner. The ref DQ’d her for not breaking despite the ref’s warnings. McAfee said the official was “stern but fair.”
WINNER: Aliyah via DQ in 2:00.
-As Natalya pounded away at Aliyah after the match, Xia Li made her ring entrance. They used augmented reality effects to simulate her shooting bolts of blue lighting out of her arms as she did karate moves. She entered the ring and kicked Natalya out of the ring. McAfee said Xia Li hates vultures and bad people. Xia Li helped Aliyah stand.
-Cole hyped WrestleMania, which is being called “The Most Stupendous Two-Nights WrestleMania in History.” McAfee read the definition for “stupendous” by listing a series of more than a dozen other similar words. Cole asked if there are still physical dictionaries. McAfee had an actual Webster’s Dictionary. Cole asked if he was going to bring out the Farmer’s Almanac next week.
-Los Lotharious made their ring entrance. [c]
(3) LOS LOTHARIOS (Humberto Carrillo & Angel Garza) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)
The Raiders largely dominated the short match and pinned Humberto after a Viking Experience. Cole said it’s the most impressive they’ve looked in a long time.
WINNERS: Viking Raiders in 3:00.
-Backstage Naomi approached Sonya Deville. Naomi said she’s not wearing her jacket, so she’s not her boss. Adam Pearce (who’s wearing tight t-shirts and showing off he’s jacked the last two weeks) walked in and stood between them as Sonya put her jacket on. Naomi said she deserves a rematch against Charlotte because Sonya was changing rules on the fly. Pearce agreed and said she can have that rematch next week. Naomi told Sonya to “stay in your cage.”
-Naomi made her ring entrance. [c]
(4) CHARLOTTE vs. NAOMI
Cole touted the “big time atmosphere” in Nashville tonight as Charlotte made her ring entrance. Sonya entered the ring just before the bell rang. She told Charles Robinson to give her his referee shirt. He did, but looked disgusted by the order. (Imagine how Sonya felt putting on his used shirt!) Charlotte took a cheap shot at Naomi as the bell rang. Cole said Naomi still won’t get a fair shot against Charlotte. He said they don’t know why she has it in for Naomi, but said it could be jealousy. Charlotte put Naomi in a Boston Crab. Naomi crawled toward the bottom rope, but Charlotte dragged her back to the center. Charlotte shifted to a figure-four attempt, but Naomi kicked Charlotte into Sonya. Sonya fell to the floor. Naomi landed a Rear View and covered Charlotte for three seconds. She got up and yelled at Sonya. Charlotte hit Naomi from behind and then applied a figure-four. Sonya re-entered the ring and called for the bell immediately. Cole said Naomi didn’t even submit. Cole said he’s supposed to be objective, but someone has to do something about this abuse of power. (Being objective doesn’t mean treating both sides as blindly equally valid; it means calling people out when they cheat or try to cheat, but enough about the media’s coverage of U.S. politics.)
WINNER: Charlotte in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: At some point, WWE should get back to having wrestling matches that consist of more than an angle for a finish.)
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Owens and Seth. Owens said it tears him up inside that he’d be the longest-reigning Universal Champion of all-time if not for the Usos. He said he can’t stand by and let them do it to Seth. Seth said the risk is worth the reward tonight. KO laid on thick how much Seth is his friend.
-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside. Sami Zayn’s ring entrance then took place. [c]
-Sami stood in the ring next to a table that had a bunch of “self-defense weapons” on it. Sami said before Johnny Knoxville got famous, he used to test self-defense weapons on himself. He said he’s going to use them against himself to show that anything Knoxville can do, he can do better. Sami held up a Livestock Jolt 3000 which can take down a rhinoceros at the highest setting. He set it to 1 and zapped his ankle. Sami shrieked and collapsed into the ropes. He turned it up to level 2. He said this level incapacitated Knoxville for 15 minutes, but they’d see what it does to a real man. He pointed it at his heart. McAfee called it stupid and told viewers not to try it at home. Sami then zapped his heart. He flew backwards into the ropes and cried out in pain. Knoxville’s music played. McAfee said, “Thank the heavens.”
Knoxville said Sami was worried about him making a mockery of his profession, but it seemed Sami is doing that to his profession. Knoxville took the jolt stick from Sami and said it looks legit, but someone forgot to turn it on. Sami said it was on the whole time because everyone saw him get shocked. Knoxville said it’s on now. He then zapped Sami. They added corny electric zapping noises. Sami collapsed and cried. McAfee asked if Sami “pooped his pants.” (He’s really into poop, or he’s totally catering to Vince McMahon.) Knoxville then dumped Sami over the top rope. McAfee said Knoxville eats tasers for breakfast.
-Backstage Pearce was chatting with Eric Bischoff, who was giving Pearce some advice about true leadership. He said a true leader adjusts the sails. Deville entered the room and said hi to Bischoff. Pearce introduced them. Deville said it’s a pleasure to meet her, but she didn’t know he was coming tonight. Pearce said he and Bischoff have talked about Sonya’s obsession with Naomi, and they agree it’s affecting her ability to lead. He said he is suggesting to management that she have a one-on-one match against Naomi next week. Sonya was okay with it, then left. Bischoff said that was leadership. McAfee said, “82 weeks of knowledge there; thank you Eric Bischoff.”
-Sheamus made his ring entrance. [c]
-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside, who threw to the WWE 2K22 video game preview. They showed footage of wrestlers filming footage for the game. Rey Mysterio, Big E, Riddle, Alexa Bliss, the Street Profits, Drew McIntyre, Paul Heyman, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, and Undertaker were shown at the WWE 2K headquarters. The game features three playable versions of Undertaker. It comes out March 11.
(5) RICOCHET vs. SHEAMUS (w/Ridge Holland)
Sheamus dominated the whole way. McAfee said Door Dash, who sponsored a mid-match replay, has changed his entire life. Sheamus won with a Brogue Kick.
WINNER: Sheamus in 3:00
(Keller’s Analysis: WWE must have some new research data that indicates people who watch WWE on TV aren’t interested in wrestling matches. This is one of the lowest average match lengths I can recall for a WWE TV show.) [c]
-Backstage Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura were walking backstage when they saw Jeff Jarrett. Boogs did his Double J catch phrase. Jarrett said Boogs plays a mighty fine guitar. He asked Boogs’s name. Boogs was upset he didn’t know his name. Jarrett asked if he could spell that for him.
-The Usos made their ring entrance. Then Owens and Seth. They showed Reigns watching backstage. Cole asked McAfee if Reigns seemed nervous to him. [c]
-Cole hyped next week’s line-up: Big E & Kofi vs. Corbin & Moss and Sonya vs. Naomi.
(6) SETH ROLLINS & KEVIN OWENS vs. THE USOS
After a few minutes of back and forth action, KO went for a top rope flip senton, but Jimmy lifted his knees. He then superkicked KO out of the ring and at ringside. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
A commercial for NXT 2.0 next week included hype for Gunther, the former Walter. The narrator called him a 6-4 ring general who commands respect. Back in the ring, KO and Jimmy were down on the mat. Jimmy tagged in Jay, who stopped KO from making the tag. A minute later, Seth got a hot-tag and dove onto the Usos at ringside. Seth scored a near fall on Jey in the ring. Jey rallied and scored a two count himself. After a few more minutes of action, KO caught Jey with a Stunner. Jimmy superkicked KO. Seth then went after Jimmy with an elbow to the back of his neck. Seth played to the crowd and they were singing his entrance theme. Seth then landed a stomp, but Reigns ran into the ring and hit Seth with a Superman Punch. The ref called for the bell. Cole said Reigns knew Seth was about to win.
WINNERS: Seth & KO in 15:00 via DQ so the Usos are banned from ringside at the Royal Rumble.
(Keller’s Analysis: Again, WWE was going for Seth to be seen as the babyface, and this crowd seemed into Seth.)