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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JANUARY 21, 2022
NASHVILLE, TN AT THE BRIDGESTONE ARENA
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a video recap of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns’ altercation from last week. The video then transitioned to a recap of Raw when the Usos attacked Rollins. In the arena, the Usos’ music played and they were in the ring as Michael Cole introduced the show.
-Jey took the mic and said the Bloodline is now in your city. Jimmy said they’re here for one reason only, to celebrate the longest reigning Universal Champion ever. Jey emphasized that it’s been 508 consecutive days. Jimmy said that Brock Lesnar, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins didn’t hold the title that long. Jey then introduced Roman Reigns. Reigns’ music hit and he got a loud mixed reaction. Pat McAfee called Reigns breath-taking and record breaking. Reigns made his entrance. Cole reiterated that Reigns has been champion for 508 days. McAfee told Nashville to soak it in, because greatness has arrived. Cole hyped Reigns’ match with Rollins as they showed a graphic. Cole said that Reigns has never defeated Rollins in the big one. Reigns and the Usos posed with one finger in the air. Many in the crowd did the same. Reigns stood center ring with the Usos and the pyro went off. Cole called Reigns the most arrogant individual in the history of WWE.
-Reigns stood with his hand open. Jimmy finally noticed and ran to grab a mic. Reigns asked Nashville to acknowledge him. There was a loud mixed reaction. McAfee called Reigns the G.O.A.T. Jimmy threw to a video package of Reigns’ highlights from Universal Championship reign. The package was, unsurprisingly, really well done. After the package, Reigns smiled in the ring. McAfee called the package awesome. Seth Rollins’ music hit and he made his entrance. McAfee called him a son of a bitch. The crowd “cheered” Rollins. Kind of. Rollins wore a bathrobe. He took the mic and asked what a party would be like without Seth “Freaking” Rollins. Rollins said they should celebrate the fact that Reigns’ title reign is going to come to an end soon. Rollins said that he told Reigns he isn’t responsible for his own success because everything has been handed to him. Rollins said that Reigns sent the Usos to Raw to do his dirty work for him. Rollins said Reigns should have just texted him. Rollins said we should be celebrating the longest reigning Smackdown Tag Team Champions, the Usos, because they are the cornerstone of the Bloodline. Rollins said that just like himself and Dean Ambrose, the Usos hold Reigns up. Rollins led the crowd in an “U-SO” chant. Reigns laughed, then asked Rollins if he got his promo from John Cena. Reigns said it will be one-on-one at the Royal Rumble. Rollins suggested he should find a partner tonight to face the Usos. If Rollins wins, the Usos are banned from ringside at the Rumble. Reigns thought about it, but Jimmy interjected and accepted. Jey said no one is crazy enough to team with Rollins. Rollins said he’s right, because not too many people like him. Kevin Owens’ music hit and he made his entrance. Owens said he likes Rollins. Reigns said to cut the stupid music. Reigns said that if Rollins and Owens lose tonight, Rollins loses his match at the Rumble and Reigns is going to go on vacation until Wrestlemania. Rollins said that Reigns is on. Cole ran down the stipulations for the match.
(McDonald’s Analysis: The video package was great. I knew it was only a matter of time before Rollins interrupted this. I actually half expected Lesnar for a minute. The interjection of Owens makes sense, but I don’t like all of the cross brand stuff. I really wish they would adhere to the rules of the brand split and keep them as separate as possible. With all of that said, I’m glad we have a main event with stakes for tonight. Based on the stipulations, the outcome is super predictable, but that’s not always a bad thing. The match should be good, and it’s somewhat fresh. I really wish there was a real heel/babyface dynamic here. I think it always hurts the feud when it’s not defined.)
-They showed a graphic for Kofi Kingston against Mad Cap Moss, next. [c]
-Back from break, they showed photos of the Tennessee Titans. Afterwards, they showed a graphic for the new main event for tonight. Mad Cap Moss and Happy Corbin were in the ring. Corbin said they’ve been on a roll lately. Moss told a bad joke about Kofi Kingston. Moss and Corbin laughed hysterically. Kingston’s music hit and he made his entrance. Kingston paused at the top of the ramp, then pointed to the back, Scott Hall style. Big E’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said with the Rumble a week from tomorrow, Raw Superstars can show up.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Maybe they are going to merge the titles since everyone is on both shows now it appears.)
(1) MAD CAP MOSS (w/ Happy Corbin) vs. KOFI KINGSTON (w/ Big E)
Kingston got a waistlock, then a headlock on Moss. Moss fought back and hit a shoulder tackle. Moss whipped Kingston into the corner, but Kingston hit the second rope and hit a dropkick on Moss. Kingston then took Moss down again and hit a Boom Drop. The crowd chanted “New Day rocks”. Corbin distracted Kingston from the apron and Moss took Kingston down. Cole recapped how Corbin became happy. Cole said that Corbin hasn’t lost since becoming happy. Kingston flew off the apron and took out Moss. Corbin went to attack Kingston, but Big E came around the corner and intimidated him. Kingston and Big E celebrated. [c]
Kingston fought out of a headlock and hit a jawbreaker. Moss recovered and hit a huge spinebuster. Moss stomped Kingston in the corner. Kingston moved as Moss ran in and Moss hit the post. Kingston hit a series of strikes, but Moss struck him low. Kingston recovered with a hurricanrana off the top for a near fall. Kingston went for a crossbody, but Moss caught him and slammed him. Moss went for a version of the Razor’s Edge, but Kingston recovered with Trouble in Paradise for the win.
WINNER: KOFI KINGSTON in 7:00
-Big E entered the ring and Corbin begged off. Big E taunted Corbin as Moss stumbled to his feet. Big E hit the Big Ending on Moss as Corbin watched. Big E and Kingston celebrated and taunted Corbin. They showed a graphic for the Royal Rumble, then cut to a video recap of Natalya and Aliyah from last week.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Why do they insist on this 50/50 nonsense? It’s interesting that McAfee went out of his way to put Moss over after the loss. Instead of having him do that, why don’t they just have Moss beat Kofi again. Even if Big E beats up Moss after the fact, it doesn’t hurt Moss too badly because Big E was just champion. If they’re going to go with Moss and give him a push, then they need to commit to it. They clearly don’t care about Kingston, which is fine, I guess, but don’t do this 50/50 booking that helps no one in the long run. Pick a guy and go with it. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried.)
-Aliyah made her entrance to a solid pop. McAfee talked about Aliyah’s world record. They showed a graphic for Aliyah and Natalya in a rematch, next. [c]
-Natalya was in the ring. They introduced Summer Rae at ringside. She was announced as a WWE legend.
(McDonald’s Analysis: They have a really, really, really loose definition of the term legend these days.)
(2) NATALYA vs. ALIYAH
Aliyah went for a roll-up right away and Natalya kicked out. Natalya went on offense and taunted Aliyah. Aliyah went for another roll-up but Natalya kicked out. Natalya got whipped into the corner and Aliyah hit a hurricanrana. Natalya recovered with a discus clothesline for a near fall. Natalya locked on a modified bearhug, but Aliyah got another roll-up for a near fall. Natalya threw Aliyah into the ropes, then stomped her in the corner. The ref counted, but Natalya kept stomping. The ref called for the bell and disqualified Natalya.
WINNER: ALIYAH by disqualification in 3:00
-The ring announcer announced Aliyah as the winner and Natalya snapped. Xia Li’s music hit and she made her awesome entrance. Li entered the ring and hit a spin kick to Natalya’s gut. Natalya rolled out of the ring. Li helped Aliyah up.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Xia Li’s alive! I wonder if her entrance is too expensive to put on TV every week. This was fine for what it was. I’m glad there’s another Women’s Division feud on Smackdown. Aliyah seems ok and it’s a good move to have her work with Natalya. Li did exactly what she needed to do. I hope we get to see her in a real match soon. At the very least, she would be a good person to have make some noise in the Rumble.)
-They showed a graphic for Wrestlemania. Cole said it’s ten weeks away. McAfee freaked out at ringside and read the definition for the word stupendous.
-Los Lotharios’ music hit and they made their entrance. Cole hyped their match with the Viking Raiders as they showed a graphic. [c]
-The Viking Raiders made their entrance. Cole then threw to a video recap of last week’s fatal four way to determine the number one contender’s for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.
(3) LOS LOTHARIOS (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo) vs. VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)
Carrillo started against Ivar. Ivar tagged in Erik and they double teamed Carrillo. Garza tagged in and Carrillo shot Erik into the ropes. Garza hit a dropkick threw the ropes then entered the ring. Garza took his pants off, then tagged in Carrillo. Lotharios hit another double team, but Erik recovered and hit a big knee on Garza. Ivar tagged in and hit a huge crossbody on Garza, then a spinning heel kick on Carrillo. Garza hit a big powerbomb counter for a near fall on Ivar. Carrillo tagged in, and Erik made a blind tag. They disposed of Garza, then hit the Viking Experience on Carrillo for the win.
WINNER: VIKING RAIDERS in 2:00
(McDonald’s Analysis: The match was what it was. They should have had more time. With that said, they’re giving the unbeatable tag team push to the Viking Raiders right now, so the outcome was predictable. The Usos will dispose of them, then maybe, eventually, it will be Lotharios turn and this match will go the same way, but with the opposite outcome. I really like Garza and I think Carrillo has a lot of upside. However, I don’t know if having them team together in a division that means nothing is the best use of their talents. If they cared about the Intercontinental title, these guys could really fill out that division.)
-Cole said that tension has been building between Naomi and Sonya Deville for months. He threw to a video recap of Naomi and Deville’s interaction from last week. It showed Pearce awarding another match to Naomi with Charlotte Flair. Naomi made her entrance. Cole said we still don’t know what Deville’s issue with Naomi is. He speculated that it’s jealousy. Cole hyped the match as they cut to break. [c]
-They showed a graphic for main event and recapped the stipulations. Charlotte Flair made her entrance. Cole mentioned that Naomi and Charlotte are both in the Rumble. Cole said if Charlotte wins, she gets to pick her challenger for Wrestlemania. McAfee said he doesn’t see a reason that Charlotte can’t win the Rumble.
-Sonya Deville entered the ring and talked to the ref. She removed her jacket, then asked Charles Robinson for his referee shirt. Deville asked for the bell to be rung.
(4) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. NAOMI – Championship Contender’s Match
Charlotte hit Naomi with a right hand, then stomped her in the corner. Charlotte taunted the crowd. Charlotte wrapped her legs around Naomi’s head, slammed her head into the mat, then locked in a headscissors, then took her over. Cool sequence. Charlotte chopped Naomi and taunted her. Charlotte mentioned Deville as the ref. Naomi fought back and hit a kick, but Charlotte quickly recovered and locked in a Boston Crab. Naomi reached for the ropes, but Charlotte pulled her back to the center. Charlotte went for a Figure Four, but Naomi shot her off. Charlotte hit Deville, which knocked Deville out of the ring to the floor. Naomi hit a rear view, and had a visible three count, but Deville was on the outside. Charlotte recovered and locked in the Figure Eight. Deville entered the ring and rang the bell immediately.
WINNER: CHARLOTTE FLAIR in 3:00
-Cole said that Naomi never tapped out. Deville held up Charlotte’s hand and declared her the winner. Cole said someone at headquarters needs to do something about this because it’s an abuse of power. Cole said that Deville stinks. Cole said “one of these days for Naomi.”
(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, they are still acknowledging the fact that we have no idea why Deville hates Naomi so much. Which means they ARE aware that they haven’t explained it. At this point, I wonder if they’re ever going to bother to. This match was what it was. Simply a vehicle to move the story along. However, this story is moving at a snail’s pace and I’m losing interest a lot faster than that snail could ever move to the finish line.)
-Kayla Braxton was in the back with Rollins and Owens. She asked why Rollins would put his title opportunity on the line. Owens asked Rollins if he could answer. Owens said that if it wasn’t for the Usos, Owens would be the longest reigning Universal Champion. Rollins laughed and said that Owens’ therapy is working because he’s honest now. Rollins said he knows he can beat Reigns one-on-one.
-Sami Zayn’s music hit and he made his entrance. Cole recapped Zayn’s “rivalry” with Johnny Knoxville. Cole said that Zayn is going to try a stunt that made Knoxville famous. InZayn is next. [c]
-Zayn was in the ring. He had a table set up with various random weapons on it. Zayn said that Knoxville first got famous for putting out a video where he tested self defense weapons on himself. Zayn said he’s going to do the same. He started with a cattle prod. He said at max, it could put down a rhino. Zayn buzzed himself on the calf at level one. Zayn screamed in pain. Then said it was a piece of cake. He said it’s time for level two. He put the prod to his chest and buzzed himself. He screamed in pain again. The crowd booed. Zayn asked why it hurt so much. The Jackass music hit and Johnny Knoxville made his entrance. Knoxville gave out a t-shirt. Knoxville took a mic and said that Zayn is making a mockery of his profession. Knoxville said the weapons seem off. The crowd chanted “Johnny”. Zayn held it up, but Knoxville snatched it out of his hand. Knoxville said the prod is legit, but it wasn’t turned on. Zayn said that we saw him use it on himself. Knoxville said he fixed it, and it’s on now. He buzzed Zayn, who collapsed and screamed in pain. Knoxville helped Zayn up, then dumped him over the top rope. Cole said that if Knoxville does that at the Rumble, Zayn will be eliminated.
-They showed Eric Bischoff in the back with Adam Pearce. Deville entered. Pearce introduced them. Pearce said that Deville’s actions were over the line, and her actions towards Naomi are affecting her job. Pearce said that he is going to suggest that Naomi and Deville have a match next week. Bischoff said “now that, is leadership”.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Good lord. Zayn works really hard, and he’s always entertaining, but this stuff with Knoxville is just terrible. I get that they’re making some money off of this, but at this point, it’s overkill. Knoxville makes more appearances then half the guys they have under contract at this point.
It was really nice to see Bischoff. I always like seeing him around. I wonder if they’re going to do something more with him, considering the fact that he’s been on a couple of the shows lately. I would be all for it.)
-Sheamus made his entrance. They showed a graphic for Sheamus and Ricochet. Ridge Holland appeared and Sheamus put his arm around him as they made their way to the ring. Cole said they’d tell us his story, next. [c]
-Cole said that Ricochet makes an incredible video game character. They then cut to the WWE 2k22 video game trailer.
(McDonald’s Analysis: After how many times this game has been pushed back, it better be good.)
(5) SHEAMUS (w/ Ridge Holland) vs. RICOCHET
Sheamus took Ricochet down, then whipped him into the ropes. Sheamus hit a kick, then went for a hurricanrana, but Sheamus hit an Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus pounded on Ricochet, then Ricochet recovered with a jawbreaker. Sheamus caught Ricochet again with a backbreaker. Cole mentioned that Sheamus has never won the IC title. Sheamus hit the Ten Beats. He followed Ricochet to the apron and tossed him back into the ring. Sheamus pulled Ricochet’s arms behind his back but Ricochet fought back. He knocked Sheamus to the apron then hit a dropkick off the top that knocked Sheamus to the floor. Ricochet went for a suicide dive but Sheamus caught him with a knee. Ricochet fought back to his feet in the ring but Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for the win.
WINNER: SHEAMUS in 3:00
-They showed Reigns with the Usos in the back. They showed a graphic for the main event. Cole ran down the stipulations again. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: I love Sheamus. That match was nowhere near as good as the match they had last week. They didn’t have enough time. But everything they do is crisp. They work well together. I don’t know why Holland was there. It seemed like a waste if he’s just going to stand there. This is how Sheamus should be booked. They should be taking time to build him up. Sheamus and Reigns for the title at Summerslam should be on the table.)
-Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura were in the back. Boogs noticed Jeff Jarrett! Jarrett went to say his name, but Boogs cut him off and finished the spelling for him. Jarrett asked for Boogs’ name and Boogs did his normal entrance voice for himself. Jarrett asked if Boogs could spell it.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Interesting that Jarrett is involved. I wonder if that means anything when it comes to GCW? Maybe I’m thinking too hard about this. Either way, I like Jarrett, so it’s cool to see him here. Also, it looks like Boogs cut his hair, which is interesting.)
-They cut back to the arena and the Uso’s music hit and they made their entrance. Rollins and Owens then made their entrance. Cole hyped the match one last time. McAfee said the Usos are going to win and Reigns is going to take vacation. Cole said he couldn’t imagine not having a Universal title match at the Rumble. [c]
(6) THE USOS (Jey & Jimmy) vs. KEVIN OWENS & SETH ROLLINS
Rollins began with Jimmy. Rollins rolled up Jimmy for a near fall. Jimmy bailed out of the ring and Rollins danced. The crowd chanted “we want tables”. Jey tagged in and put a headlock on Rollins. Rollins rolled Jey onto his back for three near falls. Rollins fought up, but Jey knocked him into the corner. Jey and Jimmy tagged in and out and stomped at Rollins. Jimmy ended up the legal man. Rollins recovered and tagged in Owens. Owens and Rollins cornered Jimmy and double teamed him. Rollins ended up the legal man. He hit a slam on Rollins, then climbed to the top rope. Jey tried to enter the ring, which distracted the ref. Jimmy knocked Rollins off the top. Jey tagged in and the Usos double teamed Rollins in the corner. Jimmy tagged back in and tossed Rollins into the other corner. Jimmy ran at Rollins who jumped out of the corner with a clothesline. Owens tagged in and took Jimmy down then hit a Senton. Owens hit a cannonball in the corner and started to climb to the top. Jey tried to attack Owens, but Owens knocked him down. Owens went back to the top and went for a Swanton Bomb, but Jimmy got his knees up. Jey entered and hit a superkick on Owens. Owens went to the outside and Jey ran around the ring and hit another superkick on Owens that took him down. [c]
Owens tried to tag Rollins but Jey dragged Owens back to the Uso corner. They showed Reigns watching in the back. Jey and Jimmy double teamed Owens in the corner again. Jimmy mounted Owens and punched him. Cole said the Usos could be the greatest Tag Team champions in history. Owens created an opening and tagged in Rollins who got a huge pop. Jey also tagged in. Rollins hit a slingblade then clotheslined Jey over the top. Jimmy tried to attack Rollins, but Rollins dumped him to the outside too. Rollins then hit a suicide dive that took out both Usos. The crowd sang Rollins’ theme song. Jey took over on Rollins and hit a modified pop-up neckbreaker for a near fall. Jey measured Rollins and went for a superkick, but Rollins countered. Rollins set up a bucklebomb, but Jimmy blindtagged in. Jey slipped away, then the Usos hit the Alley-Uce for a near fall. Jimmy went to the top and jumped but Rollins moved. Rollins tagged Owens as Jimmy landed on his feet. Owens hit a pop-up powerbomb on Jimmy for a near fall. Owens went to the top rope, but Jimmy recovered and hit Owens. Jimmy set up for a superplex, but Owens countered with a fisherman buster off the top for a near fall. Rollins tagged in and ran across the ring to hit Jey. Rollins hit a series strikes on Jimmy but Jey hit a superkick on Rollins. Owens entered and hit a Stunner on Jey. Jimmy superkicked Owens. Rollins hit a superkick of his own on Jimmy. The crowd sang Rollins’ theme again. Rollins hit the Curb Stomp on Jimmy, but immediately after he hit it, Reigns hit Rollins with a Superman Punch for the DQ.
WINNER: KEVIN OWENS & SETH ROLLINS by disqualification in 14:00
-The announcer announced Rollins and Owens as the winner by disqualification. Cole said that this means the Usos are banned from ringside at the Royal Rumble. Reigns looked on.
(McDonald’s Analysis: That was fantastic. I really liked that. Four guys that can really work, put in a prime spot on national television, delivered. Rollins and Owens were actually a cool little team. I never thought I would say that, but their movesets actually really compliment each other in a lot of ways. The Usos were great here and seemed to flourish with a new set of opponents. Crazy how fresh matchups can be exciting, huh? The finish sucked, but it works to move the story where it needed to go. Reigns thought he was saving the match, but he ended up getting the outcome he didn’t want. I wish it didn’t make Reigns look dumb, but it is what it is. If they play up the fact that his emotions got the better of him, it will all come out in the wash. I was shocked at the reaction that Rollins got. I really hope the post show has an on-site correspondent so we can find out if the crowd was actually that into Seth, or if it was piped in. I’m still convinced the first pop was piped in.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: That show felt very different than recent weeks. They packed a lot into these two hours, and nothing really felt like a super waste of time. The episode was solid, I just wish some of the matches had more time to be flushed out and deliver more of a story. I wish WWE would understand that a lot of fans would rather have four matches that have some meat to them as opposed to six matches where only one of them gets time. I don’t like all the cross-over from Raw, but with how depleted Smackdown is, it may be a necessary evil at this point. A little foresight during and after the draft would have prevented that, but we’re here anyway. I’m excited for the Rumble. I legitimately don’t KNOW who’s going to win, even though I have ideas. That’s a good thing. The Rollins and Reigns feud feels fresh and interesting, even though it’s slightly rushed. I’m ready to see how they send us to the Rumble next week.
(Author’s Note: If you haven’t already, check out my new PWTorch Dailycast with Patrick Moynehan. We dig into the PWTorch archives to look at an issue from 30 years ago this week. Three episodes in and we’ve already covered some big topics as we get closer to the Royal Rumble 1992. It’s an awesome nostalgia trip for people who watched during the era, and an even better learning experience for those of us that aren’t familiar with the time period. Even if you’re not VIP, you can hear us on the Dailycast feed every weekend. Just look for the PWTorch 90’s Pastcast. With that said, it’s always better to go VIP so you can access all of the awesome content here at PWTorch ad free. Again, that’s the PWTorch 90’s Pastcast. Thanks guys, talk to everyone next week.)