1/28 WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS: Keller’s report on final Royal Rumble hype, Ricochet & Cesaro vs. Holland & Sheamus, Deville vs. Naomi, Seth message for Reigns

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


JANUARY 28, 2022

Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee


-They began with the Smackdown opening theme, which they don’t often play these days. Then Michael Cole introduced the show as cameras panned the crowd. He hyped the line-up including Big E and Kofi Kingston teaming up for the first time in a year and a half.

-As Charlotte made her entrance, Cole said to Pat McAfee that it’ll be his first Rumble. Cole talked about Charlotte getting to pick her opponent at WrestleMania if she wins the Rumble. They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside briefly. Charlotte stood mid-ring and said she’s proud to do something that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs can’t do and never will – bring a championship to Kansas City. She said there is nothing more unpredictable than a Rumble match. She said they are impossible to prepare for because there are surprise returns and betrayals, her favorite. She said wrestlers come at each other from every direction, doing whatever it takes to throw each other over the top rope. She said she didn’t have to enter the Rumble match because she could have cruised all the way to WrestleMania, but that’s not the kind of champion she is.

Shayna Baszler interrupted and made her way to the ring. She said if it comes down to the two of them again, she won’t hesitate to snap her like a twig, limb by limb. She said after she throws her over the top rope, she won’t waste any time declaring Charlotte as her champion to face at WrestleMania. She said all Charlotte will have to worry about is healing her limbs.

Aliyah then interrupted wearing her new Aliyah 3:17 t-shirt (a reference to beating Natalya in 3.17 seconds; is Steve Austin getting a cut of that shirt?) Charlotte told her she doesn’t have a chance. Aliyah bragged about beating Natalya in 3.17 seconds. Natalya’s music interrupted. She told Aliyah there are a lot of things she’d call her – rude, clueless, delusional, and lucky, “but optimistic isn’t one of them.” (Huh?) She said Aliyah can brag all she wants about beating her, but she’s a three-time Guinness World Record holder.

Shotzi made her way out. “Holy hell, there’s more!” exclaimed McAfee. She said the ring is a preview of tomorrow night with all those egos ready to descend into chaos. She said it’s a perfect opportunity for someone like her to sneak in and seize the spotlight. She then “cartoon villain laughed.” (Isn’t that Sasha’s property?)

Charlotte said she had enough and said none of them have a chance to win the Rumble. Speaking of which, she was then interrupted by the returning Sasha Banks. “It’s Boss Time!” exclaimed Cole. Cole said Charlotte does not look happy. Sasha said, “The Boss is back, baby, and I’m ready to Rumble.” Fans chanted “Sasha!” Charlotte was about to say something snotty when Sasha slapped her. Shayna and Shotzi began to fight as Aliyah and Natalya also fought. Sasha watched from the ring apron. Baszler charged at Aliyah, but she ducked and kicked Baszler out of the ring. Charlotte then gave Aliyah a big boot. She stared at everyone. Sasha entered and stood behind Charlotte. Charlotte turned and kicked at Sasha, but Sasha caught her boot and kicked her and threw over the top rope to the floor. Sasha’s music played to end the segment.

(Keller’s Analysis: That served the function of reminding people who from Smackdown is entered in the Rumble match and gave them some time to make their case and get their personality across, and it ended with the newsworthy return of Sasha. It’s great that Sasha is clearly a babyface again and Charlotte is full on heel.)

-They went to Cole and McAfee on camera at ringside. McAfee said he couldn’t wait to call his first Rumble. They replayed Ricochet crushing Ridge Holland’s nose.

-Megan Morant interviewed Holland and Sheamus. Holland said he can still hear his nose crunching so it’s his turn to return the favor and “crush Ricochet like the parasite he is.” Sheamus said Holland talks and fights just like him. He said he’s going to become a two-time Rumble winner tonight (I assume he meant tomorrow night) and then Holland will celebrate with him.

-The Sheamus and Cesaro ring entrance took place. [c]


Cesaro and Ricochet made their entrance after the break. They aired a soundbite with Ricochet saying winning the Rumble will be the ultimate vindication. A couple minutes in, Holland landed an uppercut on Ricochet. Ricochet threw Holland out of the ring seconds later, then went for a running flip dive. He barely grazed Holland, but Holland bumped for him anyway. Ricochet celebrated as they cut to a break. [c]

Cesaro rallied against Sheamus, shoving him out of the ring by his boot. Cesaro charged Sheamus with a running European uppercut into the ringside barricade. He threw him back into the ring and landed a crossbody. Sheamus rolled through and stood. It looked awkward. Sheamus then small packaged Cesaro for a near fall, broken up by Holland. Ricochet ran in to offset Holland’s presence, but Sheamus caught him with a knee. Ricochet rolled out of the ring after a convincing bump. Cesaro slammed Sheamus and scored a two count. Sheamus avoided a Neutralizer, then set up the Cesaro Swing. Holland, though, had blind-tagged in seconds earlier. He headbutted Cesaro and powerslammed him for the win.

WINNERS: Holland & Sheamus in 10:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: A good dose of action. Neither Cesaro or Ricochet are a priority to protect right now, but with Holland looking for revenge against Ricochet for breaking his nose, I’m surprised that wasn’t worked into the finish.)

-They showed Seth Rollins strutting around backstage. Cole and McAfee talked about their “Face-to-Face” segment later. [c]

-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside. Cole asked how excited he is about calling his first Rumble. McAfee leaped out of his chair with excitement. Cole smiled. They threw to a video package on the Rumble match. The narrator credited Pat Patterson for creating the concept. They showed various big moments over the years including the arrival of A.J. Styles, the return of Edge, Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan squaring off, and Drew McIntyre winning. The narrator then listed statistics, noting there are 31 winners, 19 of whom went on to win a title at WrestleMania, including four of the last five. The narrator said getting position 30 isn’t likely, but it’s not impossible. (I’d venture to estimate roughly a 1-in-30 chance?) They showed moments with Kofi Kingston surviving, Kane and Brock Lesnar setting records for eliminations, and Rey Mysterio setting a record for duration. She noted that if Bianca Belair wins, she’ll join Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and Shawn Michaels as back-to-back winners, which hasn’t been achieved in 24 years. She said Austin is the only one to win it three times. She said “with an infinite number of surprises, it’s anyone’s game.”

-Naomi made her ring entrance. They cut to Sonya Deville telling the assigned referee that he works for her. He told her he has to call the match down the middle. Sonya was upset as he walked away. McAfee said it’s a problem that Sonya expects the referee to favor her. [c]


Deville made her ring entrance with a new entrance video and ring gear. Cole said this is her first official singles match since Summerslam two years ago. McAfee said she looks ready to go. Deville stalled in the ropes early, but then tackled Naomi and pounded on her. Naomi took over and landed a dropkick. When Deville rolled to ringside, Naomi tossed her around ringside a bit. When she threw her back into the ring, Deville rolled to the floor. Naomi went for a slidekick, but Deville grabbed her and slammed her off the ring apron onto the floor. They cut to a break [c]


Deville made a comeback and drove Deville bulldog-style into the middle turnbuckle. She then landed a top rope crossbody for a near fall. Deville landed a legdrop for another two count. Deville came back with an odd inverted suplex into a sidewalk slam that looked like Naomi did the move, but Sonya made the cover. The announcers weren’t sure what to make of it. Naomi came back with full-nelson into a sitout slam for a two count. Sonya tried to crawl out of the ring, but Naomi pulled her back in. Deville raked Naomi’s eyes when the ref wasn’t looking, then rolled up Naomi with a yank of the tights for a believable near fall. Naomi landed a Rear View followed by a split-legged moonsault for the three count. They cut to cheering fans as McAfee said it’s like a Disney movie with a picture-perfect ending.

WINNER: Naomi in 10:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: For a match with this much backstory, there wasn’t much genuine crowd noise. That match was so clunky that it’s all you could think about watching it. Not everything was bad or off, but enough of it felt really labored to keep it from ever feeling like anything but a performance.)

-Naomi celebrated afterward. She yelled, “We did it!” She said Sonya threw everything at her, but it wasn’t enough to stop the glow. Sonya stood near the entrance area and scowled at her. Naomi declared she’s winning the Royal Rumble match tomorrow. She told Sonya not to slip on her tears. She began to sing “Na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye!” Her music then played. Sonya told them to cut her music. She said if she’s so excited to be in the Rumble, she can’t let her enter her favorite match without a surprise. She said she is adding herself as a special guest entrant. McAfee, who ripped on middle management people abusing their positions, said “of course.”

-Kayla Braxton stood in the interview ring set backstage with the Usos. She asked what they think Seth’s message will be for their cousin, Roman. Jimmy said he didn’t care. In walked the Viking Raiders. Jimmy said they’re the team that throws axes and have feasts. The Raiders said they love a good feast, but most of all they love their axes. They held their axes up. Ivar said they’re not just for throwing. Erik held his up and smiled at the Usos. The Usos turned and left.

-Sami Zayn made his ring entrance. Cole said his talk show is next. [c]

-In Zayn: Sami sat in the ring surrounded by his talk show set. Jinder Mahal and Shanky were his guests. Sami said the stunts and pranks got a little out of hand the last couple of weeks, and due to Johnny Knoxville he almost ended up in the hospital. He said In Zayn is now a live podcast. He had a table in the middle with two mics on it. He said they will be in tag action soon against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs. He said Nakamura still owes him an Intercontinental Title rematch. As Jinder began to talk, Sami interrupted and said this version of the show is so much better than it used to be at the beginning. He said he never wants to hear the name “Johnny Knoxville” ever again. Fans chanted his name. Sami “shh’d” them and said he’d edit that part out. He said this is the show where intellectuals talk about smart things with each other.

Jinder said tonight he’ll embarrass Nakamura again in their match. Sami said he owed Shanky an apology because he’s been droning on about Knoxville and he probably doesn’t know who he is. Jinder said that Shanky is a big fan. Shanky said he loves he bungy portapotty. Sami repeated it so it was more clear what he said. Sami told fans not to boo because he’s doing a podcast. He told the fans it will all be cut in the editing room. He was then interrupted by Rick Boogs playing electric guitar on the stage. He introduced Nakamura. McAfee went bonkers and literally stood on the table with one of his boots on Cole’s shoulder. Sami confronted Nakamura over interrupting his podcast. Nakamura kicked him. Sami complained to Cole and McAfee at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]


Sami joined Cole and McAfee at ringside. Sami told McAfee he sees him cheer for Nakamura and Boogs every week. He said he used to like him, but now he’s become a partisan hack. Early in the match, Jinder beat up Boogs in the corner, but Boogs no-sold it and yelled. Jinder backed away and tagged in Shanky. Boogs hit Jinder with an Ivan Putski-style Polish hammer. He did the same to Shanky. Boogs then gave Shanky his Boogs Cruise powerslam. McAfee said it’s like Hogan and Andre. He got the three count.

WINNERS: Boogs & Nakamura in 2:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to it, but the point of it was to show off Boogs’s power.)

-Braxton interviewed Kofi Kingston and Big E backstage. She asked Kofi how it feels to have Big E officially back on Smackdown. Kofi said it feels great. Kofi said when one of them wins the Rumble, they all win the Rumble. New Day then headed to the ring to their music. [c]

(4) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. MADCAP MOSS & HAPPY CORBIN

Madcap said: “What do you call Drew McIntyre when we injured him so badly, he can’t even pee standing up? The Squattish Warrior!” Cole said Drew’s return date is still very unclear. When Moss tagged in early, Kofi dropkicked him immediately out of the ring. Kingston leaped toward Moss and Corbin on the floor, but they caught him and threw him into the ringpost. They cut to an early break. [c]

Back from the break, Moss and Corbin were in control against Kofi. Big E got a hot tag and rallied against Corbin. He landed his running splash, then tagged Kofi back in. Corbin came back with a chokeslam backbreaker. He tagged in Moss, who went to work on Kofi, then threw him toward Corbin who gave him a Deep Six for a near fall. Big E tripped Corbin running the ropes and threw him into the ringside steps. Big E and Kofi gave Madcap for their Midnight Hour double-team finisher for the win.

WINNERS: New Day in 8:00.

-Roman Reigns made his ring entrance. [c]

-Seth made his entrance. Roman asked Kansas City to acknowledge him. Seth said he will acknowledge the fact that last week, he played him like a fiddle. He said since his cousins got DQ’d last week, their match will be the way it should be – one-on-one. Reigns said it was an easy decision to either let him embarrass his family by pinning his Bloodline or punch him in the mouth. He said, “Same result, different math.” Seth said Reigns has brought more shame onto his family than anybody. Roman said Seth is living in the past. He said it’s 2022 and “the Tribal Chief equals God Mode now.” Seth said he’s not living in the past, he’s living for tomorrow.

Seth talked about their past, but said Reigns has never defeated him when it matters most. He said it’s not personal when he takes the title from him, and he will always love him like a brother. He then cackle-laughed. Reigns looked a little shaken and irritated. He paused and paced. Seth asked if the cat’s got his tongue. Reigns then said he has tried to forgive Seth, but he’ll never forgive him “for what you did to us.” He said, “I hate you.” Seth cackled and said, “Oh yeah! I know you do.” He said he’ll hate him more after tomorrow. He said he’s a joke, his cousins are a joke, his dad is a joke, and it all goes up in smoke tomorrow. Reigns angrily shoved Seth, then turned to leave. He tried to land a Superman Punch by surprise, but Seth ducked and left the ring. Cole said Seth claims to know all of Reigns’s insecurities and he’s in his head, but asked will it be enough to end Reigns’s Universal Title reign.

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