1/28 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: McDonald’s “alt perspective” report on final Royal Rumble hype, Rollins’ message to Reigns, Naomi-Deville

By Alex McDonald, PWTorch Contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
JANUARY 28, 2022
KANSAS CITY, MO AT THE T-MOBILE CENTER
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with the Smackdown video introduction for the first time in what felt like forever. They then showed a crowd shot as Michael Cole welcomed everyone to the show. They showed a graphic for Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns face to face tonight. They then hyped Naomi against Sonya Deville, and Big E and Kofi Kingston against Happy Corbin and Mad Cap Moss.

-Charlotte Flair’s music hit and she made her entrance. Cole mentioned that she won the Royal Rumble two years ago. Cole then explained the rules of the Royal Rumble to Pat McAfee as it’s his first one. They showed a graphic for the Women’s Rumble match tomorrow. Cole hyped the possibility that Charlotte could win the Rumble and choose her challenger. Charlotte said she’s going to do something that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will never do again, bring a championship to Kansas City. She said the Chiefs and the 29 other women in the Rumble will be bruised and disappointed on Sunday. Charlotte said it’s every woman for themselves. She said every woman comes at each other from every direction and do whatever it takes to win. Charlotte said she didn’t have to enter, but that’s not who she is. She said she doesn’t rely on faith or chance, and instead, she takes control. Charlotte called herself the most dominant champion in WWE. She said that she’s going to win the Rumble and choose her own challenger to main event Wrestlemania. Shayna Baszler’s music hit and she made her entrance. McAfee said Baszler scares him. Cole said that Baszler is in the Rumble tomorrow. Baszler took the mic and said that Charlotte is speaking her language. Baszler said that Charlotte is an incredible competitor, but tomorrow, she will snap Charlotte like a twig. Baszler said she’ll make Charlotte a promise. She said if she wins, she will choose Charlotte as her Wrestlemania opponent. Aliyah’s music hit and she made her entrance. Aliyah said she thought anyone could just walk out. Charlotte asked who she was. Aliyah introduced herself and said it’s her first Rumble and she hopes to win so she can compete at her first Wrestlemania. Charlotte said Aliyah doesn’t stand a chance. Aliyah then touted her record victory over Natalya. Natalya’s music then played and she made her entrance. Natalya called Aliyah lucky and then touted her three Guinness World Records. Shotzi’s music then hit and she made her entrance. Shotzi said this a preview for tomorrow night with all of the egos clashing. Shotzi said this is an opportunity for her to sneak in and take the spotlight. Charlotte said this is enough. She said that none of them deserve to be in the ring with her. Sasha Banks’ music hit and she made her entrance to a huge pop. Banks got her full entrance, complete with pyro. Banks took the mic and said that the Boss is back and she’s ready to Rumble. She dropped the mic and stared up at Charlotte as the crowd chanted “Sasha”. Banks slapped Charlotte and the other five women brawled as Banks’ looked on. The brawl ended with Aliyah standing tall, then Charlotte hit her with a big boot. Charlotte stared up the rampway, but Banks stalked her from behind. Charlotte went to kick Banks, but Banks caught her foot. Banks then dumped Charlotte over the top and to the floor. Cole reminded everyone that tomorrow night, that would be an elimination.

(McDonald’s Analysis: I really hate the parade of women. But, this is Rumble season and it’s basically obligatory. Everyone was fine, nothing really stood out for the most part. Banks’ return is huge and a great surprise. I almost wish they had saved it for tomorrow, but I think that means we’re going to get one or more even bigger returns tomorrow. Banks entering changes things somewhat. She has to be considered a favorite.)

-Cole and McAfee sat ringside and hyped the Royal Rumble. McAfee said he can’t wait for his first Rumble. They then threw to a video package of Ricochet breaking Ridge Holland’s nose. Holland and Sheamus were in the back being interviewed. Sheamus said that Holland does everything just like him. He then presented Holland with the facemask that Sheamus wore when he broke his nose. Holland put it on. In the arena, Sheamus’ music hit and he made his entrance alongside Holland. Cole reminded everyone of Sheamus’ broken nose and mask. They then showed a graphic of both men side by side with their masks on. [c]

-Cesaro’s music hit and he made his entrance. Ricochet’s music hit and he made his entrance. McAfee said that Sheamus and Cesaro were the bar, but if they were in a bar together now, they would fight. They cut to a pre-taped promo from Ricochet. Ricochet said he wants to rise above and win the Rumble, but beating Holland and Sheamus tonight is cause for celebration.

(1) SHEAMUS & RIDGE HOLLAND vs. RICOCHET & CESARO

Sheamus started with Cesaro. Sheamus rolled to the outside. Cesaro took Sheamus down with a headlock. Sheamus fought up and pushed Cesaro to the ropes. Sheamus took Cesaro down, then the two ran the ropes before Cesaro got the upper hand and landed a double stomp on a downed Sheamus. Ricochet tagged in and hit an elbow off the top, but Sheamus quickly recovered and tagged in Holland. Holland ran at Ricochet, but Ricochet knocked Holland to the apron, then to the floor. Ricochet then hit a dive off the top and took out Holland as they cut to break. [c]

Back from break, Ricochet fought back on Sheamus. Sheamus hit an Irish Curst backbreaker. Sheamus tagged in Holland. Holland drove Ricochet into the corner, then hit a variation armlock suplex. Holland slammed Ricochet, then hit a knee for a near fall. Holland locked in a standing submission in a backbreaker position. Ricochet recovered and hit a springboard moonsault before he tagged Cesaro. Sheamus also tagged in and Cesaro hit a corkscrew uppercut. He dumped Sheamus over the top rope. McAfee reminded everyone that tomorrow night, that’s an elimination. Cesaro ran at Sheamus and hit an uppercut that knocked Sheamus into the barricade. Back in the ring, Cesaro rolled up Sheamus, but Holland broke up the cover. Ricochet attacked Holland, but Sheamus took out Ricochet with a knee. Cesaro was in control on Sheamus, but Holland blind-tagged in. Holland hit Cesaro with a headbutt with the mask, then a modified suplex for the win.

WINNER: SHEAMUS & RIDGE HOLLAND in 10:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: This was solid. Holland is a little green, but he’s not terrible. It’s interesting that he was the chosen one to get the pinfall with his finish. I know the mask led to a somewhat dirty finish, but they let him wear it? I don’t really have a problem with it. It’s a heel thing to do and it makes him look smart in a way. Sheamus brought it as he always does, but had really limited spots compared to Holland. I’m interested to see what they’re both like in the Rumble tomorrow. Ricochet should be good for a spot or two, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than that. After a good couple of months, Cesaro means absolutely nothing now.)

-They showed a recap of last week’s main event between the Usos and the team of Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens.

-They showed Rollins in the back. Then they cut to a graphic and hyped Rollins and Reigns face to face later on tonight. [c]

-Back from break, Cole asked how McAfee felt about calling the Rumble tomorrow. McAfee stood up and acted excited. Cole threw to the yearly Royal Rumble “by the numbers” video package.

(McDonald’s Analysis: As always, this was super well done. They mentioned the possibility of Bianca Belair winning a second in a row, but left out Edge. I thought that was interesting.)

-Naomi made her entrance. They showed Sonya Deville in the back. She was talking to a referee. The referee cut her off and said he has to call the match down the middle. Deville looked annoyed as the ref walked off. They showed a clip of Deville smacking Naomi. They showed a graphic for the match. [c]

-Sonya Deville’s music hit and she made entrance. The two stood face to face and the ref said he’s going to call it down the middle.

(2) NAOMI vs. SONYA DEVILLE

Deville backed into the corner and Naomi came after her. Deville ducked under the rope and told the ref to get Naomi away from her. Deville repeated this. The two brawled for a bit with Deville getting the upper hand. Deville slammed Naomi’s face into the mat, then locked on a chinlock. Naomi fought up and took down Deville then hit a hurricanrana that knocked Deville to the apron. Deville recovered and hit some knees to the gut of Naomi. Deville hit a clothesline for a near fall. Naomi recovered and hit a slap on Deville, followed by a dropkick. Deville rolled to the outside but Naomi followed her and threw Deville into the apron, then back into the ring for a near fall. Deville rolled out of the ring again. Naomi went for a baseball slide, but Deville caught her and drove Naomi to the floor as they cut to break. [c]

Back from break, Deville hit a spinebuster out of the corner for a near fall. Deville locked in a headlock. Naomi fought up,  but Deville threw her down by the hair. Deville got another near fall.

[HOUR TWO]

Deville went back to the chinlock, and Naomi tried to fight out but Deville took her down again. Naomi kipped up then hit a kick to the gut of Naomi. Naomi took Deville down then hit a modified springboard Stunner. Naomi took Deville to the corner and slammed her face first. Naomi hit a springboard kick then a crossbody from the top for a near fall. Naomi then hit a big standing leg drop for a near fall. Deville countered a bulldog, then hit a modified suplex into a slam for a near fall. McAfee freaked out over the move. Naomi recovered and hit a Bubba Bomb for a near fall. Deville tried to crawl away but Naomi grabbed her. The ref fixed the apron that Deville messed up and as he was distracted Deville raked Naomi’s eyes and got a cover. Naomi kicked out then recovered with a Rear View and a split-legged moonsault for the win.

WINNER: NAOMI in 8:00

-Naomi took the mic and said that Deville threw everything she had at Naomi, but it wasn’t enough to stop the glow. Naomi said she’s going to win the Royal Rumble tomorrow. Naomi told Deville not to slip on her tears, then she led the crowd in singing “na, na, na, hey hey, hey hey, good-bye.” Deville freaked out and said there’s a guest entrant into the Rumble, herself.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, I’m glad we got an actual match and a finish. The two did the best they could, but nothing was great about this. With that said, it wasn’t awful. We got a clean finish and I really hope this feud is over now. Deville entered herself into the Rumble as well, which kind of makes sense. I wonder if this is part of her transition back to being an in-ring competitor.) 

-Kayla Braxton was in the back. She welcomed the Usos. She asked what they thought Seth Rollins’ message to Reigns will be. Jimmy said it doesn’t matter because Reigns will still be champion at the end of the night. The Viking Raiders appeared. The Usos said they stink. Erik said they love a feast, and they do have an odor, but they love their axes. They both pulled out axes. They listed uses for axes, including chopping a championship in half. The Usos walked off and the Viking Raiders rubbed their axes.

-Sami Zayn made his entrance. Cole hyped “InZayn” next. [c]

-Zayn was in the ring with Jinder Mahal and Shanky. The ring was made to look like a podcast or radio set. Zayn said they had to change the show after last week and it is now a live podcast. Zayn said that Mahal and Shanky will be facing the Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs later tonight. Zayn said that Nakamura still owes him an Intercontinental title match. Mahal said it’s an honor to be on the show, but Zayn cut him off and said this is a better show. He said he never wants to hear about Johnny Knoxville again. The crowd chanted “Johnny” and Zayn said he’ll edit that out. Mahal mentioned that himself and Nakamura both of proteges. Zayn brought up Knoxville again and said that Shanky didn’t know who Knoxville was until he showed up on Smackdown. Mahal corrected Zayn and told him that Knoxville and Jackass are huge in India. Shanky said he likes the bungie-cord port-a-pottie. Zayn questioned him and the crowd booed. Boogs then appeared and played Nakamura to the ring. Mahal, Shanky, and Zayn looked on. McAfee freaked out at ringside. Zayn yelled at Nakamura but Boogs drowned him out with his guitar. Nakamura hit Zayn and Zayn bailed out of the ring. They showed a graphic for the tag match, next. Cole then threw to a trailer for WWE 2k22.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Ugh, this was hard to watch. I like Zayn, but I don’t know if Mahal and Shanky are the proper foils for him in situations like this. Other than Shanky’s one-liner and Zayn finding it ridiculous, this was a huge miss. I wish they would have Nakamura defend that title already. It’s almost like he’s holding the title hostage at this point. He’s had it for what? Four, five months? And he’s defended it a whole zero times. That seems totally normal.)

(3) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RICK BOOGS vs. JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY

Boogs was in with Mahal. He slammed him and Shanky tagged in. Boogs lifted Shanky easily and brought him to the corner. Boogs attacked Shanky, but Shanky recovered and took Boogs to their corner. Boogs fought back and went to lift Shanky, but Shanky locked on a facelock. Boogs reversed and stood Shanky up with a big suplex. Boogs went to tag Nakamura but Zayn ran over and knocked Nakamura off the apron. Boogs hulked up and attacked both Mahal and Shanky. He ended up alone with Shanky and hit him with a series of shoulder blocks. Boogs then hit a Boogs Cruise on Shanky for the win.

WINNER: SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RICK BOOGS in 4:00

(McDonald’s Analysis: They’re really making sure Nakamura doesn’t have to do anything in these matches. It’s just as well, Boogs needs the build-up. He looked good. His power spots are cool. Mahal and Shanky are a joke. Nothing else to see here.)

-They cut to Kayla in the back. She welcomed the New Day, Kofi Kingston and Big E. Kayla asked how it felt to have Big E officially back on Smackdown. Kingston and Big E said if one of them wins the Royal Rumble, then they all win the Rumble. Big E said that Happy Corbin and Mad Cap Moss will feel the power. The New Day’s music hit and they made their entrance. Cole said that it’s been 18 months since Kingston and Big E have teamed together. The New Day danced in the ring as they cut to break. [c]

(McDonald’s Analysis: Wait, they said officially back on Smackdown for Big E. Does that mean he got traded and no one’s going to explain it? Or was that just a weird way of phrasing this? I really hope for his sake that he’s not back with The New Day. This was a perfect example of why. Just this promo alone makes me feel like there’s no chance Big E is going to win the Rumble. I thought for sure he’d, at the very least, be in the final four. Now? I doubt they even make a big deal out of him being eliminated.)

-Happy Corbin and Mad Cap Moss made their entrance. They cut to a video package that recapped Moss and Corbin’s attack on Drew McIntyre. They showed a pre-taped interview with Moss and Corbin. Moss told a bad joke about McIntyre and they laughed.

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

Moss began with Big E. Moss took him down quickly, but Big E recovered and hit an elbow on Moss for a near fall. Kingston tagged in and leaped over Big E for a splash on Moss and he got a near fall. Corbin tagged in and threw Kingston into the corner and splashed him. Corbin tossed Kingston into another corner and charged, but Kingston moved. Kingston hit a dropkick, but Moss blind-tagged in. Moss and Corbin got knocked to the outside. Kingston went for a Trust Fall, but Moss and Corbin caught him and threw him into the ring post. [c]

Moss stomped on Kingston in the corner then tagged in Corbin. Kingston scrambled threw Corbin’s legs and tagged in Big E. Big E hit a couple of suplexes on both Moss and Corbin then hit a big splash on Corbin. Big E led the “New Day rocks” chant, then tagged in Kingston. Corbin recovered and hit a chokeslam backbreaker for a near fall then tagged in Moss. Moss hit his version of the Deep Six on Kingston for a near fall. Big E attacked Corbin on the outside and threw him into the steps. The New Day hit the Midnight Hour on Moss for the win.

WINNER: THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston and Big E) in 8:00

-They showed a video package that hyped the match between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble. Back in the arena, Roman Reigns’ music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said that only four men have held a World title longer than Reigns has. They showed a graphic and hyped Reigns and Rollins face to face, next. [c]

-They showed a graphic for Kane on Talking Smack tomorrow.

-Seth Rollins’ music hit and he made his entrance. Cole said that Rollins is confident because Reigns has never beaten him in a big time match up. The crowd chanted “Roman”. Reigns took the mic and asked Kansas City to acknowledge him. Rollins laughed and asked if Reigns thought he was Patrick Mahomes. Rollins said he played Reigns like a fiddle last week. He said their match is how it should be, one on one. Reigns said it was a simple decision. He could either let him beat the Usos and embarrass his family or he could punch Rollins in the face for the same result. Rollins said that if it’s an embarrassment to be pinned by Rollins, then Reigns has been embarrassing his family for a while. Reigns said that’s the past and the Tribal Chief is God-mode now. Rollins ran down some of their history including the cash in and Rollins’ return. Rollins then brought up when he turned on the Shield and “changed the game, forever”. Reigns thought about it. Rollins laughed and said that one stings a little. He said that it was for Reigns’ own good because it would make him a star. Rollins said Reigns should thank him. Rollins said that it won’t be personal when he takes the title tomorrow. He said he will always love Reigns. Reigns shook his head in disgust. Reigns said “chair to my back, breaking up the Shield.” He said he tried to forgive Rollins, but he’ll never forgive Rollins for what he did to “us”. He said he hates Rollins. Rollins called Reigns and the Bloodline a joke. Rollins called Reigns’ family a joke and said tomorrow, it all goes up in smoke. Reigns shoved Rollins and Rollins laughed. Reigns teased leaving, but stopped and went for a Superman Punch. Rollins ducked out of the way and got out of the ring. He walked up the ramp and stared back at Reigns.

(McDonald’s Analysis: Well, well, well. Yet again, it seems that Reigns is the face now. They seemed to go back and forth over the past couple of weeks, but Rollins was clearly more dislikeable here. Reigns seems off his game because of Rollins, which is a new and interesting dynamic. With Rollins essentially getting the upper hand, I think that means Reigns is walking out with the Universal Championship tomorrow. I’m curious where this match will be placed on the card.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, they still haven’t made a serious push for who is going to win the Men’s Royal Rumble. They focused the build on the history of the Rumble matches themselves and the Universal Championship match. That’s fine, I guess. This show was fine, nothing overly special. Reigns and Rollins at the end was a cool change of pace for the Reigns character but this whole program is somewhat confusing because they keep switching sides every week. On the Women’s side of things, Banks’ return opens up some possibilities for the Rumble tomorrow, and hopefully, she’s healthy enough to be a major factor in the Rumble. Naomi and Deville seems to be over finally, even if the ending was a bit anti-climactic. The irony here is that Deville may be returning to the ring and end up higher on the card than Naomi, who “won” the feud. As far as the mid-card goes, they seem to have shifted their attention to Boogs and Holland and somewhat away from Moss as he’s now lost two weeks in a row. I’m interested to track all three of these guys as they move forward and see who turns out.

I made a Rumble prediction on the 90’s Pastcast, but I’ve changed my mind. For the Men’s Rumble, I’m going with Lesnar. If Lesnar doesn’t enter, then I’ll go with Lashley. For the Women’s Rumble, I’m going to go ahead and succumb to the rumors and choose Rhonda Rousey. I really want to pick Bayley, but I just don’t think it’s likely at this point. If Rousey doesn’t enter, I’m going to go with Banks.

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