The John Report: WWE SmackDown 01/19/24 Review

wwe smackdown january 19

This week’s WWE Smackdown featured a big contract signing featuring Roman Reigns and his Royal Rumble opponents, plus Randy Orton facing Solo Sikoa.

The Royal Rumble is just eight days away on January 27th. I’m looking forward to it as always.

From the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, this is Smackdown for episode #1274. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It started with a recap of last week’s Smackdown when the trio of Randy Orton, LA Knight & AJ Styles beat The Bloodline’s Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso. Post match, the babyface trio beat up The Bloodline after the match too.

The Bloodline was outside in the parking lot where Roman Reigns, along with Paul Heyman, reminded Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso that he told them to fix this. Reigns said he would make everything right again. After Roman Reigns walked off, Solo said he would fix everything.

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Royal Rumble Contract Signing

Nick Aldis, the Smackdown General Manager, was in the ring to host the contract signing. There was a table, a contract and four microphones. They had a black carpet in the ring as well. AJ Styles entered first and signed the contract right away. LA Knight was next and he signed the contract too. Randy Orton was third and already in his wrestling gear along with one of his shirts since he’s against Solo Sikoa later in the show. Orton also signed the contract. Orton got the biggest ovation of the three challengers for sure.

Roman Reigns was up next as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, but instead, it was the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman with a microphone. Heyman said that they just arrived and they haven’t had a chance to submit this contract to an attorney, so the fans booed that. Heyman said that Roman Reigns will not sign that contract this evening.

Aldis said that’s absolutely fine. Aldis said that he has three signatures here, so Aldis could make this a match for the vacant Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. That led to Heyman going on the apron to talk to Aldis.

Heyman told Aldis he cares deeply about him and Heyman touched his arm. Heyman said he admired the mediocre job that Aldis has done as the Smackdown GM. Heyman admitted that Aldis looks good in these Paul Heyman custom suits he has been wearing. Heyman claimed that there was no way he could sell this to the Board of Directors or to the people of Atlanta, Georgia. Heyman said there was no way you could sell it to Roman Reigns. Heyman told Aldis that Reigns should be defending the title in a one-on-one match.

Knight told Heyman to shut up. Knight reminded us that Roman’s cousins saved him at Crown Jewel. Knight said that this should be his rematch, but instead, AJ and Randy walk up and get to jump to the front of the line.

Styles spoke up saying that The Bloodline tried to end his career and Knight walked over AJ’s body to get that match with Reigns. Styles told Knight that he lost. Styles told Knight he was lucky to be in this match. Knight said that Styles is the one with a horseshoe up his ass. Knight told Styles to watch the bass in his voice and focus on fighting Roman Reigns. Styles said they are fighting eachother. Knight said he would walk over AJ’s body again. Knight said it won’t be The Bloodline that leaves him laying, it will be the man with everybody saying…crowd said “LA Knight.” Styles punched Knight and they left the ring while exchanging punches. There were more WWE Officials from backstage to break it up. It’s The Hurricane! Plus, other officials and referees as Styles & Knight went fighting to the back.

Randy Orton was still in the ring as he put his hand on Heyman’s tie. Orton said what Heyman is trying to do is not going to work. Orton said he’s going to beat Solo right in the middle of this ring. Orton said he’ll re-introduce the three most dangerous letters in all of sports entertainment to Roman Reigns: R-K-O. Orton’s music played to end it.

Analysis: It wasn’t a usual contract signing since Roman Reigns failed to appear even though he was supposed to be there. I like how Nick Aldis stands up to Paul Heyman because for three years we didn’t see that happen very much. Aldis pulls it off well. The story between Knight and Styles was good in the sense that while they both want to get after Reigns, they also have issues with eachother. Meanwhile, Orton comes across as a big threat to Reigns and I liked how he addressed Heyman at the end. The fans are really on fire for Orton, which is cool to see.

The commentary team of Kevin Patrick & Corey Graves did a rundown of what’s coming up.

Logan Paul, the US Champion, was shown walking backstage.

The LWO’s Carlito, Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro entered with Zelina Vega for a six-man tag team match.


PLUG CITY: Please check out the Too Much To Cover podcast hosted by my good friends Hercules (John V) and Adonis (Justin), who are like brothers to me. It’s new and they are going to reference a lot of my work in it too, so obviously they are intelligent people! It’s available right now on Spotify, Apple podcasts and it should be everywhere else too. Please give it a listen if you support what I do because it would mean a lot to me. Thank you.

Nick Aldis was shown walking backstage where AJ Styles stopped him and said he wanted a match with LA Knight tonight. Aldis said fine. Aldis was standing outside of Roman Reigns’ dressing room with the contract in his hand.

Analysis: That’s another big match for later in the show with LA Knight and AJ Styles.

Santos Escobar entered with Angel & Humberto. They are using the Legado Del Fantasma name that Escobar had with Del Toro & Wilde in NXT.

LWO – Carlito, Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde vs. Legado Del Fantasma – Santos Escobar, Angel & Humberto

It’s 27 minutes into the show as the first match began. Carlito knocked down Angel and Cruz tagged in. Cruz avoided a charging Angel leading to a top rope hurricanrana. Wilde tagged in with a back elbow and an assisted splash. Wilde did an arm drag to Angel and he kicked Humberto out of the ring. Wilde and Cruz each did somersault dives over the top onto Angel and Humberto on the floor.


Humberto was in control of Wilde. Angel tagged in and then Escobar tagged in as Wilde was tossed onto Escobar’s knee. Escobar hit a belly-to-back suplex on Wilde for two. Angel was back in with a running dropkick. Wilde hit an incredible DDT counter, but Angel pulled Wilde’s opponents off the apron. Wilde still broke free and Carlito was back up to make the tag. Carlito hit a running knee lift and clothesline on Humberto. Carlito hit a spinebuster on Humberto for two as Escobar made the save. Carlito was focused on Escobar, so Humberto hit a jumping kick. Cruz broke up the pin, then there was some illegal offense by the other three guys to clear the ring. Carlito hit a spinebuster on Angel. Escobar did a blind tag while Carlito hit a backstabber on Humberto. Escobar snuck into the ring with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Legado Del Fantasma – Santos Escobar, Angel & Humberto

Analysis: *** It was fast-paced for a match under ten minutes. I would have liked the see the whole eight minutes instead of putting a commercial in the middle of it, but that’s what WWE loves to do. I liked the way Escobar approached the match acting like he was scared of Carlito and then Escobar made the blind tag to get the win. I just don’t like the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! as a finish. I understand why it was used, but I don’t love it. Wilde really stood out in this match like most of his matches. That guy is so talented. All of these guys are, but Wilde is really showing off a lot in terms of his aerial skills.

Pretty Deadly was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. They talked about how they were smart boys that had studied Tyler Bate and Butch so they were ready for this match. Pretty Deadly made their entrance.


Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits were backstage somewhere for a promo about The Final Testament group led by Karrion Kross. Montez Ford said if it’s a fight that you want, they are businessmen and all you have to do is ask. Lashley said that when they find them, they will show you what intimidation looks like.

The entrances took place of Tyler Bate and his partner…Pete Dunne. That means the Butch name is gone.

Analysis: This Pete Dunne name change was teased heavily last week, so now it’s here officially. They can go back to calling him the “Bruiserweight” again too.

Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate vs. Pretty Deadly – Elton Prince & Kit Wilson

Dunne nailed Wilson with a clothesline followed by Dunne stomping on the left arm. Dunne did some finger-snapping to Wilson. Dunne stomped on Wilson’s right knee. Bate tagged in with a senton splash on Wilson. Bate did an airplane spin on Wilson and then Bate acted like he was dizzy while Wilson rolled out of the ring.


Wilson tagged in with a running elbow smash along with a tag team move that saw Wilson hit double knees to Bate’s ribs. Bate knocked Prince down and caught Wilson leading to a belly to back suplex. Dunne got the tag with an enziguri kick, snap German Suplex and finger stomping. Dunne kicked Wilson in the head. Dunne kicked Prince in the head and Dunne suplexed Wilson onto Prince on the mat. Dunne stomped on Prince’s face a few times. Prince managed to get a boot to the face. Bate was back in with a punch to the face and Bate clotheslined Prince. Dunne was legal against Prince while Bate hit a dive over the top onto Wilson on the floor. Dunne did some finger-snapping to Prince followed by Dunne hitting a Bitter End slam on Prince for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate

Analysis: **3/4 A good tag team match with the babyfaces getting the win. It was the return of Pete Dunne, so obviously he would get the victory. It wasn’t long enough to stand out that much. I would have liked to see Pretty Deadly get some more offense at least leading to some nearfalls. Like I said, it was more about the return of Dunne. I like Bate & Dunne as a team a lot. They are always going to have entertaining matches no matter who the opponents are.

There was a Progressive Match Flo video showing the story between US Champion Logan Paul and Kevin Owens. Paul complained about KO knocking him out with his cast.

Kevin Owens made his entrance to host the Kevin Owens Show at the top of hour two.


Pretty Deadly was shown walking backstage. Kayla Braxton walked up to them wondering what happened since they said they were ready. Elton Prince and Kit Wilson complained about how they prepared for Butch, but then they brought out a whole new person. That was funny.

Kevin Owens Show with Logan Paul

Kevin Owens was in the ring hosting the KO Show with the black carpet in the ring again along with the “KO Show” signs. Owens thanked the fans for the support. Owens welcomed his guest on the Kevin Owens Show…Logan Paul. KO did not announce Paul as the US Champion.

Logan Paul walked out with the United States Championship and was in street clothes as he walked into the ring with KO. The fans were booing Logan loudly.

Logan trashed Owens for having a bottom-of-the-barrel show. Logan said he is the show and it starts now. Logan said that he owes Owens a proper thank you. Logan claimed that Owens is the reason that Logan is in WWE as the fans asked: “What?” Owens wanted an explanation. Logan had a clip from WrestleMania 37 in 2021 when Owens hit Logan with a Stunner. Logan said three years ago he came to his first ever WrestleMania and Owens embarrassed him in front of 70,000 people (that WrestleMania had about half that due to COVID restrictions at the time). Logan was hit with the Stunner and all the fans cheered. Logan said that was the moment that he had to prove to Owens and the WWE Universe that he could make it here. The fans wanted to see it again.

Owens admitted that he barely remembers doing that. Owens said for him, he’s been doing this for almost 25 years and Logan is just one of many that he has stunned. Owens said that was just another celebrity guest but it turns out that Logan has stuck around. Owens gave Logan credit for being way better at this than anybody thought. Owens said that Logan isn’t one of them like Rey Mysterio, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn and he’s not Kevin Owens.

Logan talked about all the success he has had in his life. Logan said that he is a billionaire (the “B” on paper) and he’s The Maverick. Owens said he didn’t know what any of that meant. The fans chanted “Logan Sucks” at Paul, who held up the US Title. Owens said he has heard Logan about the way he looks and everything else. Owens spoke about how there’s a lot that he can’t talk about. Owens said it’s the same reason why Logan is the US Champion right now – because he’s protected and sheltered. Owens said it’s because of the notoriety that Logan can bring. Owens said that Logan as the US Champion is a joke that has gone on for far too long, so Owens will put an end to that joke at the Royal Rumble.

Logan claimed he didn’t listen to that. Logan said that Owens had a weapon on his right arm and that cast. Logan said that he knocks people out clean. Logan claimed that he has knocked all those guys out. Logan said it will only take him one second to knock out Owens. Owens said that WWE fans know that over the last ten years, Owens can take more punishment than anybody and he always gets back up. Owens said that there is not a punch that Logan can throw that can keep him down for three seconds. Owens said that he’s giving Logan his word that he won’t have the cast on at the Royal Rumble. Owens took the cast off his right arm. When Owens turned around, Logan punched Owens in the face. Logan bragged about it. Owens pulled himself back to his feet. Logan charged, Owens did a double leg takedown and Owens punched Logan a few times. They spilled out to the floor where Logan rammed KO’s right hand into the ring post. Owens was selling the right hand injury while Logan celebrated with the US Title.

Analysis: I thought it was a very good promo exchange. Kevin Owens is one of the best talkers in WWE while Logan Paul certainly holds his own in these types of segments. I like how they touched on history with Logan saying that Owens hitting him with a Stunner three years ago is what made Logan want to be in WWE and prove himself. Owens got back up after the cheap shot from Logan, which shocked Logan, but then Logan got the heat back by ramming the hand into the ring post. I like how that was done.

Roman Reigns was in the locker room talking to Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman. Reigns was yelling at Jimmy about the situation. Solo stepped up to Reigns saying that last week was on him. Solo said you named Solo the Tribal Heir for a reason and Solo said he’ll show Reigns and he’ll fix it. Solo walked off while Jimmy followed him and Reigns said nothing in reply to that.

Kayden Carter & Katana Chance entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions for their title defense.


Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kayden Carter & Katana Chance vs. Unholy Union – Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn

Bayley was on commentary with the rest of Damage CTRL (IYO SKY, Asuka, Kairi Sane & Dakota Kai) standing by. Fyre & Dawn haven’t been featured much on Smackdown, so now they get a title match.

Fyre and Dawn attacked right after the bell rang with Fyre hitting a running kick to the chest. Dawn tagged in for a superkick into a back suplex combo for two. Chance tagged in with a headscissors on Dawn followed by a running clothesline. Carter tagged in, Fyre went in illegally to break up a double team move and then Chance did a hurricanrana on Dawn onto Fyre on the floor. The challengers took control briefly as Fyre sent Carter into the ropes and Dawn hit Carter with a forearm. Fyre got a two count on Carter. Chance took out Dawn on the floor. Carter hit an impressive counter on Fyre that saw Carter hit a Destroyer out of nowhere. That was wild. Chance tagged in leading to the Keg Stand double team move as Chance splashed Fyre for the pinfall win. It went five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kayden Carter & Katana Chance

Analysis: ** It was okay for a shorter match. Carter hitting that Destroyer on Fyre was very impressive. The Keg Stand finishing move does get a reaction from the crowd, so that’s a good thing. Fyre & Dawn didn’t get much of a reaction due to how rarely they are on television. I hope they get utilized better in the future.

After the match, the Kabuki Warriors team of Asuka & Kairi Sane walked into the ring with the Women’s Tag Team Titles. The champions got their titles back. Bayley and Graves pushed the story that the champions agreed to a title defense.

Analysis: I think it’s only a matter of time for Asuka & Sane to win the titles. Carter & Chance are fine as champions, but Asuka & Sane are part of the Damage CTRL group that is pushed more, so I can see there being a title change soon.

There was a brief mention of the late, great WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, who created the Royal Rumble match. Today was Pat’s birthday.

The OC’s Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & Michin were shown talking backstage. AJ Styles walked up to them. Gallows said that they still have AJ’s back. Styles left for his match.


The Final Testament group of Karrion Kross, AOP, Scarlett & Paul Ellering were shown in some darkened room for a promo. Kross talked about how they aren’t interested in playing games. Kross said they’ll meet them in the ring next week and we’ll see who the All Mighty really are.

Analysis: It set up an altercation for next week, but later in the show we found out it was not a match.

There was a replay of Austin Theory & Carmelo Hayes having a match last week that ended with a referee stoppage due to Theory hitting his head on the mat.

Carmelo Hayes was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Hayes said that in the heat of battle, these things can happen, but they managed to walk away. Melo said that he didn’t win, but he didn’t lose. Melo said, “I am him.” Austin Theory and Grayson Waller walked in with Theory complaining about Hayes talking trash in Theory’s city. Hayes challenged Theory to a match next week and Theory said no, but then Waller said that Theory accepts. Hayes said that’s good, so he’ll go talk to GM Nick Aldis about it. After Hayes left, Theory told Waller he should stop doing that.

Analysis: There’s another match for next week. Maybe they won’t try the springboard Spanish Fly spot in that match.

AJ Styles made his entrance for his singles match with LA Knight after the break. Yeah.

This Monday on Raw: Cody Rhodes and CM Punk go face to face, plus Drew McIntyre faces Damian Priest and Seth Rollins kicks off Raw with an update on his future as World Heavyweight Champion.


Next week on Smackdown:

* Carlito vs. Santos Escobar

* Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits go face to face with The Final Testament

* Carmelo Hayes vs. Austin Theory

* Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kayden Carter & Katana Chance vs. Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane

LA Knight vs. AJ Styles

They exchanged punches to start the match. Styles applied a side headlock while Knight hit a belly-to-back suplex. Styles held onto the headlock as Knight sent Styles into the middle turnbuckle. Knight hit a running splash on AJ’s back followed by a suplex. The fans chanted for both guys. They exchanged strikes, Styles hit a back fist to knock Knight down and Styles kicked Knight in the chest. Styles hit a backbreaker. Styles choked Knight across the middle ropes. Knight came back with a powerslam for two. Knight stomped on Styles against the turnbuckle. They left the ring with Styles hitting a running knee while on the apron. Styles whipped Knight into the barricade. Knight lifted up Knight and sent him into the barricade. Knight rammed AJ’s head against the hood of the commentary table. Jimmy Uso walked out to ringside while the fans booed him. Knight saw Jimmy, so Knight warned Jimmy. Styles hit Knight with an enziguri kick. Solo Sikoa showed up at ringside where he hit Knight with a Samoan Spike to the throat. It went about five minutes.

Winner by disqualification: LA Knight

Analysis: **1/4 A match where the disqualification was expected. I don’t think WWE wanted to have one of these guys take a loss going into the Royal Rumble and look weak because of it, so they opted for the DQ finish. Jimmy provided the distraction, which led to Solo’s cheap attack as revenge for last week.

Solo Sikoa whipped Styles into the steel steps. They went into the ring and Solo hit a Samoan Spike on Styles. Solo said two down, one to go. Solo called for Randy Orton to get out there now.


Nick Aldis, the Smackdown GM, was at ringside with the Royal Rumble match contract in his hands.

Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event.

Solo Sikoa vs. Randy Orton

Solo punched Orton in the jaw leading to a knockdown followed by Solo hitting a running hip attack against the turnbuckle. Solo rammed Orton’s head into the top of the commentary table. Solo sent Orton into the steel steps. They went to a break.


The action continued with Orton suplexing Solo onto the commentary table. They went back into the ring with Orton hitting the hanging DDT. Orton set up for the RKO, but Jimmy Uso was back again. LA Knight nailed Jimmy with a punch. AJ Styles showed up and he punched Jimmy as well. Styles sent Jimmy into the LED screens by the entrance. Solo was back up teasing a Samoan Spike, but Orton nailed an RKO on Solo. Orton pinned Solo to win clean after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: ** It’s tough to rate it highly since they only got six minutes and we only saw half of it, which again makes me frustrated a bit because of the commercial in the middle of the match. It’s rare to see Solo Sikoa lose cleanly in a match like that. I thought there would be a DQ finish or something cheap. Instead, it was a clean win for Orton to give him some more momentum.

After the match, Knight nailed Styles with a clothesline. Orton grabbed Knight and hit him with an RKO. Styles was stumbling around, so Orton nailed Styles with an RKO as well!

Roman Reigns finally entered the ring and nailed Orton with a Superman Punch. It was a cheap shot because Reigns snuck up behind Orton and hit him with the Superman Punch. Reigns was handed the Royal Rumble contract from GM Aldis. Reigns signed the contract to make the match official for the Royal Rumble. Reigns dropped the contract on the floor rather than handing it to Aldis. Orton was selling that Superman Punch for a long time, but maybe he was playing possum. When Orton turned around, Reigns charged and Orton hit Reigns with an RKO! That was a great counter. The fans popped huge for it.

Randy Orton celebrated while also putting the contract in front of Reigns, who was on the mat. Orton’s celebration continued as the show ended there.

Analysis: It tells the viewer at home that Orton can drop Reigns with an RKO at any time and if Orton does that at the Royal Rumble, could Orton leave with the Undisputed WWE Universal Title? Maybe, but I think Reigns retaining is the most likely scenario. Orton has been built up as by far the biggest threat to Reigns ahead of Styles & Knight, who are just kind of there. They are not going into the Royal Rumble with a lot of momentum while Orton has looked strong nearly every week. Great RKO by Orton and Reign sold it very well as usual.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Randy Orton
  2. LA Knight
  3. AJ Styles


The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2024 Average: 7.33


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

This week’s Smackdown was good with a lot of star power since champions like Roman Reigns and Logan Paul were there. The opening segment featured top guys while the last 30 minutes were all about the main event scene as well. I thought Randy Orton was booked very well again as he hit the RKO on multiple people, including Roman Reigns. Orton beating Solo Sikoa clean was a bit of a surprise considering how Solo is booked.

I liked the Kevin Owens-Logan Paul segment as well. They are opposites in a lot of ways. The fans love KO while they hate Logan, so both guys played off that. Also, it’s nice to see the Pete Dunne name back officially as we say goodbye to the Butch name for good.

It was the second week in a row where none of the men on Smackdown talked about winning the Royal Rumble. On Raw, we hear talk about it from CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Shinsuke Nakamura and others while on Smackdown, it’s as if the Men’s Royal Rumble doesn’t matter. It’s supposed to be a big match. I know the Royal Rumble sells itself and a Raw guy winning is obviously very likely, but we should be hearing from some of these guys on Smackdown too.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is the Royal Rumble on January 27th in Tampa. Here’s the lineup so far:

wwe royal rumble 2024 poster

* 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles vs. LA Knight

* 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match

* United States Championship: Logan Paul (c) vs. Kevin Owens

You can watch the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 27, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport