This week’s WWE Smackdown featured The Bloodline acknowledging the record-setting Universal Championship reign of Roman Reigns and Charlotte Flair faced Naomi in a championship contender’s match.
The main event segment on last week’s Smackdown saw Universal Champion Roman Reigns go face to face with his Royal Rumble opponent Seth Freakin Rollins. The Usos showed up to try to attack Rollins, but Seth avoided them and managed to get away unscathed. Three days later on Raw, The Usos got some payback on Rollins with a double superkick.
From the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, this is Smackdown for episode #1170. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Usos
The Usos were in the ring with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles with Jey telling us that The Bloodline is in your city. Jimmy said that they were there to celebrate the longest reigning Universal Champion ever. Jey said it was 508 days while Jimmy said guys like Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar didn’t hold that title for that long, but Jey said there was one. Jey introduced us to the Head of the Table, the Tribal Chief, the longest reigning Universal Champion in WWE history, their cousin…Roman Reigns. The commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were on hand to call the action with Pat calling Reigns the “GOAT” aka Greatest of All Time.
Roman Reigns entered with the Universal Title with some boos along with cheers as well. It’s a loud reaction for the Tribal Chief, who took his time to get down to the ring as usual. Reigns posed in the ring with The Usos as The Bloodline stood together in unison as a dominant force on Smackdown. Cole said that Reigns was dominant, but also the most arrogant individual in WWE history.
Reigns: “Nashville, acknowledge me.” That led to boos. Jimmy cued up a video package about the dominance of Roman Reigns. A video package aired showing highlights of Roman’s title reign going back to Payback on August 30, 2020 when he won the Universal Title in a triple threat match (hey The Fiend and Braun Strowman). They showed clips of wins over Kevin Owens, WrestleMania beating Edge & Daniel Bryan, Reigns beating Cesaro, Rey Mysterio, Edge and others. They also showed Reigns beating John Cena at SummerSlam, Finn Balor and Brock Lesnar although that one had a cheap finish. The video ended at 508 days. Reigns had a big smile on his face.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance with McAfee saying: “This son of a bitch!” That’s funny. Rollins had on some ridiculous red jacket. Rollins wondered what kind of party it would be without him with Seth congratulating Reigns. Rollins said we should celebrate that the title run will come to an end shortly. Rollins spoke about how Reigns isn’t responsible for any of his success since everything was handed to him. Rollins said Reigns took it literally so he sent his cousins to Raw to send Roman’s message for him. Rollins said if you want to send a message, Roman can text it since Roman has Seth’s number. Seth put over The Usos as longest-reigning Smackdown Tag Team Champions saying they hold up Reigns just like Seth and Mox (Ambrose) did with The Shield. Rollins tried leading a “Uso” chant that didn’t go very far.
Reigns said that Rollins makes all these excuses while wondering if John Cena wrote that promo for him. That was funny. Reigns said that their match at Royal Rumble will be one on one. Rollins wondered if he would say “believe that” after that. Rollins said that he wants to find a partner and if they beat The Usos then The Usos are barred from ringside during their title match at the Royal Rumble. Pat: “Nobody wants that.” Reigns didn’t say anything, so Jey said challenge accepted. Reigns didn’t seem to like Jey accepting the challenge. Jey said that there is nobody crazy enough to team with Rollins in the first place. Rollins said you had a point because not too many people like him, but here is Seth’s “best friend” Kevin Owens to join him. Owens: “I like him!”
Reigns called for that stupid music to stop. Reigns said it’s not final until Roman says so. Reigns suggested they raise the stakes saying when Rollins loses tonight then that means Seth loses his match at the Royal Rumble and Roman is going on vacation until WrestleMania. Rollins: “You’re on.” The fans cheered. Roman stared at his cousins. It was nearly 20 minutes into the show.
Analysis: A long promo segment to start the show to set up the main event. Typical WWE booking to use the opening promo for that. I liked the idea of Rollins/Owens beating Usos to cause Usos to be barred from ringside, but when Reigns said that Rollins loses his title shot if they lose, you’re basically telling the audience that Seth’s team was going to win. It’s just too unrealistic otherwise. There were no faces out there since they are all heels, but the fans liked some of what Rollins said. Good lines by everybody in the segment. It was interesting that Rollins said “Mox” instead of Ambrose. I’m sure that will be considered “news” on some wrestling websites out there. Anyway, at least it’s a fresh matchup for the main event.
Kofi Kingston faces Madcap Moss up next in the first match.
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss were in the ring for a promo with Corbin saying they’ve been on a roll after they took out Drew McIntyre and last week, Moss steamrolled Kofi Kingston. Moss told a bad joke mocking Kofi, so that led to Kofi’s entrance for a rematch from last week. Kofi had his New Day buddy Big E from Raw with him at ringside. Cole said that the Rumble is a week from tomorrow so that’s why some Raw stars are there.
Analysis: That’s the third Raw guy on the show so far. Saying it’s close to the Royal Rumble is WWE’s way to explain it this year, I guess.
Kofi Kingston (w/Big E) vs. Madcap Moss (w/Happy Corbin)
Moss with a shoulder tackle. Kofi came back with a dropkick, clothesline and Boom Drop leg drop. Corbin with a distraction, so Moss hit Kofi in the back. Moss tossed Kofi out of the ring. When Moss tried to throw Kofi into the steel steps, Kofi jumped over the steps and hit a cross body block on Moss. Big E whipped Corbin into the steel steps as New Day celebrated to go to break.
Kofi hit Moss with a jawbreaker, Kofi off the ropes and Moss hit a spinebuster. Moss charged, Kofi moved and Moss hit the turnbuckle. Kofi came back with a dropkick leading to a springboard hurricanrana and jumping stomp to the chest for two. Kofi went for a running attack, Moss caught him and hit a slam for two. Moss tried a lifting move, Kofi slipped out of it and Kofi sidestepped a charging Moss leading to the Trouble in Paradise kick from Kofi for the pinfall for the win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **1/4 Kofi got his win back after Moss beat him last week thanks to Big E’s presence at ringside. They probably should have had Corbin try to cheat more for Moss, but it was just one spot where Big E sent Corbin into the steel steps.
After the match, Corbin went into the ring and Big E stood in front of him to prevent him from doing something. Corbin backed off the apron to the floor. Big E picked up Moss and hit the Big Ending on Moss.
The Progressive Match Flo replay showed Aliyah beating Natalya in the fastest match time in WWE history at 3.17 seconds.
Aliyah made her entrance for a rematch against Natalya.
They showed Grammy-nominated country music artist Jimmie Allen at ringside. I’ve never heard of him. It’s okay Jimmie. I haven’t heard of 98% of country music artists.
They showed former WWE superstar Summer Rae watching from ringside. They called her a “WWE Legend” saying she’s from Nashville. Legend? I’m sure the kindhearted sane folks on wrestling Twitter didn’t complain about that.
Natalya vs. Aliyah
Natalya with a suplex saying Aliyah will learn about disrespecting her. Aliyah kept going for rollups and Natalya hit a clothesline. Natalya sent Aliyah to the apron, then Aliyah came back with a headscissors and Natalya hit a discus clothesline for two. Natalya held Aliyah across her back in a backbreaker submission style move. Natalya sent Aliyah into the ropes and stomped on her until the referee pulled her back. Natalya stomped on Natalya repeated in the corner, so the referee counted to five and Natalya was disqualified. It only went two minutes. Aliyah smiled when she was announced as the winner.
Winner by disqualification: Aliyah
Analysis: 1/2* That was lame. One of the worst kinds of finishes that WWE books. It’s not the fault of the talent. They do what they are told even if it’s a terrible finish like that. It makes Natalya look dumb since she is such an experienced wrestler, yet she got DQ’d over something that every wrestler should know. I get that they want to say Aliyah got another win, but it’s such a dumb way to do it.
Natalya kept on attacking Aliyah after the match, so Xia Li made her entrance. Natalya tried to attack, but Li blocked and kicked her out of the ring.
Analysis: Good to see Xia Li back on the show. I guess Natalya will need to find a partner for a future tag team match.
The announcers plugged WrestleMania tickets on sale, then McAfee had a dictionary and defined what “stupendous” means because that’s what WWE says when it comes to WrestleMania tickets.
Los Lotharios entered for tag team action.
The Viking Raiders entered as the opponents. They earned a Smackdown Tag Team Title match with a victory last week.
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Los Lotharios (Angel & Humberto)
Erik with a body slam on Humberto, then Erik picked up Ivar and slammed him on Humberto. Angel tagged in after getting a shot on Erik, then Humberto ran the ropes and splashed Erik’s back. After Humberto missed a moonsault, Erik hit him with a knee (plus a hard leg slap). Ivar tagged in with a slam on Angel and a running cross body block. Ivar went for a move, but Angel caught him with a Powerbomb. Humberto was back in, Erik tagged in and Erik had a hold of both guys leading to a double slam. Humberto was launched into the air leading to a powerslam from Ivar for the Viking Experience powerslam for the pinfall win. It was a two-minute match.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Analysis: * A quick win to put over the Viking Raiders as the number one contenders to the SD Tag Team Titles. We don’t know when the title match will be at this point.
Naomi made her entrance for a match against Charlotte Flair. There were already two rematches from last week and this is a rematch from two weeks ago.
This Monday on Raw: The Miz throws a birthday party for Maryse and Brock Lesnar/Bobby Lashley have a weigh-in ahead of their Royal Rumble match. That’s the last Raw before the Royal Rumble.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Championship for this non-title match that WWE likes to call a championship contender’s match. Both women are in the Royal Rumble match.
When the match was about to begin, WWE official Sonya Deville showed up and made referee Charles Robinson give Deville his shirt. Deville told Robinson to leave while Sonya put the referee’s shirt on to be the referee of this match.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Naomi
Charlotte with a forearm to the face followed by Charlotte wrapping her legs around the head for the move where she drives the head repeatedly into the mat. Charlotte worked over Naomi with chops, then Naomi hit a springboard kick. Naomi went for a headscissors, Charlotte caught her and went for a Boston Crab submission. Charlotte went for the Figure Four Leglock, Naomi kicked Charlotte into Sonya and Sonya bumped to the floor. Naomi complained about it. Charlotte applied the Figure Four Leglock, Deville called the for the bell even though Naomi didn’t give up and the match was over. It only went about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: *1/2 This was the usual thing they do to screw over Naomi. Nobody seems to care to try to stop Sonya from causing problems for Naomi week after week for many months now.
After the match, Charlotte applied the Figure Eight submission on Naomi for a few seconds. Deville mocked Naomi for the loss while Cole said somebody has to do something about it. Deville smiled about her actions.
Analysis: At some point, this story needs to progress further. It’s been the same thing for a long time.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens were interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Owens said if it wasn’t for The Usos, he’d be the longest reigning Universal Champion of all time. Owens said that the thought of them doing that to Rollins tears him up inside. Rollins said that the risk is worth the reward. Rollins said that there’s a true saying: death, taxes and Seth beats Roman every single time. Rollins left, so Owens went with him.
Sami Zayn made his entrance with some unique dance moves for another “In Zayn” segment.
They showed five-time Grammy winner and WWE Hall of Famer Kid Rock at ringside.
Sami Zayn Hosts “In Zayn”
Sami Zayn was in the ring saying that Johnny Knoxville first got famous for testing self-defense weapons on himself. Zayn said he’s going to test them on himself to prove that anything he can do, Sami can do better. Sami had a livestock jolt in his hands, so he put it against his leg and zapped himself leading to Sami limping around the ring. Sami tried the level two voltage against his chest and Zayn bumped into the ropes after that. The fans booed.
Johnny Knoxville made his entrance and got into the ring with Sami. Johnny said that something seems off here as fans chanted “Johnny” for Knoxville. Johnny wanted to see the weapon with saying the device looks legit, but somebody forgot to turn it on. Knoxville said it was on live now, so he put it low on Zayn and there were some fake zapping noises. Zayn was down on the mat screaming about how much it hurt. Knoxville set up Zayn but the ropes and tossed Zayn over the top to the floor. Knoxville left triumphantly.
Analysis: It was another way to further this ongoing story with Zayn and Knoxville, so you know they’ll interact in the Rumble match at some point. Zayn looks like a fool in these segments. I miss seeing him wrestle more, but this is what WWE loves doing with him because they know he can do strong promos. Knoxville got a strong reaction from the crowd, so that’s good at least.
There was a backstage shot of the WWE Officials office with Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff talking to Adam Pearce when Sonya Deville walked in. Pearce said what Sonya did was completely over the line. Pearce said that they think this issue is affecting Sonya’s leadership ability. Pearce said he’s going to suggest to management that Sonya has a match with Naomi next week. Sonya said okay and let her know what they say. Bischoff told Pearce that was some leadership.
Analysis: Finally some progress for this Naomi/Deville storyline. Good to see Bischoff randomly on the show.
Sheamus entered with Ridge Holland for a match with Ricochet.
The trailer video aired for the new WWE 2K22 with Rey Mysterio on the cover. The video was released earlier in the week and the game comes out in March.
Ricochet vs. Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland)
This is the third match on this week’s show that is a rematch of a match from last week. The other match (Charlotte vs. Naomi) was a rematch from two weeks ago.
Sheamus took control with a backbreaker followed by a headlock, which led to Ricochet hitting a jawbreaker. Ricochet with an enziguri kick, then he charged and Sheamus hit another backbreaker. Sheamus worked over Ricochet with the ten forearms to the chest while Ricochet was on the apron and then Sheamus hit a clothesline to send Ricochet back into the ring. Ricochet with a back kick to send Sheamus into the ropes followed by Ricochet hitting a springboard dropkick to knock Sheamus off the apron. Ricochet went for a suicide dive, but Sheamus kicked him in the ribs to block that. Back in the ring, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win with Cole saying Sheamus looked better than ever. The match went about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: *1/2 A lot of offense for Sheamus and not much for Ricochet. They have wrestled many times in the past where Ricochet looked a lot better than what he got here. They really just tried to put over Sheamus in a big way and that was it. Sheamus will probably do well in the Rumble and maybe even make it to the final four, but I doubt he’s going to win.
Roman Reigns and The Usos were shown in the dressing room talking strategy. The Usos are in the main event coming up.
A commercial aired for the Royal Rumble next week on Saturday, January 29.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs were shown walking backstage where they ran into WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett. Boogs did the spelling of “Jeff J-E-Double F-J-A-Double R-E-Double T” in front of Jeff. That led to Jarrett asking his name, so Rick Boogs said his name and then the camera cut away.
Analysis: There’s the second cameo of the night after Eric Bischoff was on earlier. Jeff Jarrett lives in the Nashville area, so it was a short trip for him to get there.
The Usos made their entrance for this non-title match. Kevin Owens was up first for his team followed by Seth Freakin Rollins. It sounded like a lot of the crowd was humming along with Seth’s catchy theme song. That main event tag team match is next.
Next Friday on Smackdown in Kansas City: Kofi Kingston & Big E vs. Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss and Naomi vs. Sonya Deville.
Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
If Rollins & Owens win then The Usos are barred from ringside from the Reigns/Rollins match at Royal Rumble. If The Usos win then Rollins loses his Universal Title shot against Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
Rollins and Jimmy each went for pinfall attempts on eachother to start the match. Jey tagged in with a side headlock as Reigns was shown watching the match. Quick tags by The Usos as they took turns stomping on Rollins. Jimmy was backed into the corner by Rollins and Owens stomped on Jimmy. Rollins was back in the ring with some kicks to Jimmy as well. Rollins with a body slam, Rollins went up top, Jey with a distraction and Jimmy took advantage to knock Rollins off the top rope. Jey was back in with a corner splash on Rollins. Jimmy sent Rollins into the turnbuckle with Jimmy stomping on Rollins. When Jimmy charged again, Rollins hit a clothesline on Jimmy. McAfee said “Mox” a few times on commentary referring to Jon Moxley/Dean Ambrose. Owens tagged in, he knocked Jey off the apron and hit a cannonball splash on Jimmy. Owens jumped off the top with a Senton Bomb, but Jimmy got the knees up to block. Jey got the tag, left the ring and hit Owens with a superkick on the floor. That led to a break.
The NXT 2.0 commercial focused on how Gunther (former Walter) commands respect.
The main event returned with less than ten minutes left. Owens was legal in the ring with Jimmy, but Jey got the tag and knocked Rollins off the apron to stop a tag. Reigns was shown watching in approval and nodding his head. Owens fought out of the corner by ducking a kick by Jimmy leading to Owens hitting a kick on Jimmy. Rollins tagged in to cheers from the crowd as Rollins hit a Slingblade neckbreaker on legal man Jey. Rollins with a gutbuster, then a clothesline to the floor and Rollins ran the ropes leading to a suicide dive on both Usos on the floor. Back in the ring, the fans were humming the Rollins song and Rollins hit a springboard knee on Jey for two. Jey came back with a lifting neckbreaker on Rollins for two. Jey went for a kick, Rollins blocked and Rollins lifted up Jey, but Jimmy got the tag. The Usos hit the popup Samoan Drop known as the Alley Uce with Jimmy getting a two count. What a great spot for a nearfall that is. Owens made the blind tag, Rollins with a forearm, Rollins with a kick and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb on Jimmy for a two count. Owens went up top, Jimmy met him with a punch along with a leaping kick. Jimmy tried a move, but Owens countered to a Fisherman’s Buster off the turnbuckle for two with Jey was there to break up the pin. Rollins got the tag, all four guys were in the ring for a bit and Owens hit a Stunner on Jimmy, but then Jey hit Owens with a superkick. Rollins with a superkick on Jey and Rollins hit a neckbreaker on Jimmy. Rollins hit The Stomp on Jimmy, but then Roman Reigns showed up and hit Rollins with a Superman Punch right in front of the referee. It was a disqualification finish. That was it after 15 minutes.
Winners by disqualification: Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good tag team match between four of the best superstars in WWE. These guys are awesome. Lots of believable nearfalls in this match. The fans were behind Rollins by the end of the match since they built up the hot tag spot. I didn’t really like the disqualification ending and that’s why the rating of the match isn’t even higher than what I gave it. I liked the story they told, but the ending was a bit weak for sure. I get what they were going for with Reigns wanting to get a cheap shot on Rollins since that’s what Reigns is about.
The win by Rollins means that The Usos are barred from ringside for the Reigns/Rollins match at Royal Rumble.
Reigns left up the aisle while Rollins had a smile on his face because he realized he got the win. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: The Reigns/Rollins match at Royal Rumble is going to be outstanding. I’m looking forward to that.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens
- The Usos/Roman Reigns
- Kofi Kingston
6 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
It was just an average Smackdown this week. The show has been worse since the last draft in October. Having some Raw guys there along with cameos from legends was interesting at least. The main event of Rollins/Owens beating The Usos was easily the best match of the show although they avoided a clean ending there. I liked some of the Reigns/Rollins promo that they did too.
I thought the booking was lazy this week since three of the matches were rematches from last week and the Charlotte/Naomi match was a rematch from two weeks ago. They need to give us some fresher matches. There are so many talented wrestlers sitting in the back doing nothing that could lead to new matches. Instead, we get repeats all the time. Like I said, it’s just lazy.
The next WWE pay-per-view (or Premium Live Event) is the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 29 from St. Louis. Here’s what we know so far:
30-Man Royal Rumble Match – Big E, AJ Styles, Damian Priest, Johnny Knoxville, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss, Sheamus, Angelo Dawkins, Montez Ford, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Austin Theory and more.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match – Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Lita, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Dana Brooke, Natalya, Mickie James, Tamina, Shayna Baszler, Summer Rae, Aliyah, Shotzi and more.
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse
You can watch WWE Royal Rumble streaming LIVE on Saturday, January 29 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on WWE Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.
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