The John Report: WWE Smackdown 01/01/21 Review

The John Report: WWE Smackdown 01/01/21 Review

Welcome to this week’s WWE Smackdown review. It’s the New Year’s Day edition of Smackdown, so before I begin I want to wish you all a Happy New Year. I think most of us would say that 2020 was a very challenging year in a lot of ways and a boring year too because of all the time we spent at home. Here’s hoping things get better in 2021. I’m trying to be optimistic in this new year.

I wrapped up 2020 with the 12th Annual WWE Johnny Awards (here’s the link in case you missed it) covering WWE as best as I could with 25 different awards. I received a lot of feedback for it, so thank you for that as well. January is one of my favorite months for WWE because of the Royal Rumble at the end of the month (on January 31 this year) and the hope is that storylines will be better with WrestleMania coming in a few months. I sure hope so. Last week’s Smackdown on Christmas drew a huge 9 out of 10 score from me as the best episode of the year, so let’s hope the positive momentum continues.

From the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, this is Smackdown for episode #1115. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Let’s get to it.

There was a graphic shown that said “In Memory of Jon Huber ‘Luke Harper’ 1979-2020.” This is the first Smackdown show since his death last Saturday, so I’m sure it will be a tough night for his friends in WWE. Rest in peace, Jon.

The opening video package showed highlights of the awesome Universal Title Steel Cage Match last week when Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens thanks to Jey Uso handcuffing Owens to the cage. Reigns taunted Owens after his victory.

There was a shot of the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field with Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcoming us to the first WWE show of 2021.

Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns made his entrance wearing his “Head of the Table” t-shirt while carrying the Universal Title. Reigns was joined by cousin Jey Uso and special counsel Paul Heyman. Reigns did a very slow walk down to the ring. Graves said that Reigns is a great leader and Cole mentioned the record amount of people watching last week’s show. It was the highest Smackdown audience since they moved to Fox in October 2019 except for the debut show. After a few minutes, Reigns lifted the Universal Title in the air as some pyro went off. Heyman put the microphone in Roman’s hand.

Reigns said that as the face of WWE, he greeted us with: “Happy New Year.” Reigns said that 2020 was a tough year, but when you’re the head of the table, when you’re the Tribal Chief, you make it work and he looked at Jey. Reigns told Jey that he wears the gold glove because everything he touches turns to greatness. Reigns said that Heyman was discarded, but Reigns saved him and called Heyman the most genuine, honest man he’s ever done business with. Heyman honest? I’m sure some would disagree. Reigns said that Jey is a prime example of what Reigns can do. Reigns said that what’s happened to Jey is he had the best year of his career with main event after main event, barnburner of a match after barnburner of a match and Jey excels now because he acknowledges Roman as the Tribal Chief. Reigns said he knows who Jey is, to others they think “which one are you?” but Roman knows him as Main Event Uso and he’s knocked it out of the park, which is why Reigns loves him. There’s Kevin Owens with the interruption.

Kevin Owens showed up on the stage with Reigns telling Owens we don’t want to hear. Reigns said that Owens is like a roach that won’t go away. Reigns said that Owens experienced the island of relevancy, he was a social media sweetheart for a few weeks and he told him to get out of there. Reigns said he hopes Kevin gave his wife and kids a great Christmas after being in the ring with Reigns. Roman said that tonight is about his family. Roman told Kevin it was Jey’s time and Kevin should quit being selfish.

Owens said that Reigns failed because he tried to take Kevin’s career and tried to end him, but Kevin is still here. Owens said that Reigns should be embarrassed that Jey had to pull him off ladders and handcuff Kevin to a cage. Owens said that the Big Dog is long gone and he’s been replaced by a giant bitch. Owens told Reigns that tonight it is about cousin Jey because he’s there to fight Jey Uso. Owens said because of everything that they have done to him, Jey will pay because of Roman. Owens said he’ll go back there to tell whoever he has to tell that he’s going to fight Jey Uso. Owens told Reigns that when he’s done with Jey, their family will have nothing to celebrate.

Analysis: Good promos from Reigns and Owens there. Reigns did a nice job of summarizing the storyline over the last few months. Reigns did bring Heyman back to relevancy and he did help Jey Uso become a main event player, so Reigns was telling the truth there. Owens has faced Jey on Smackdown recently, but it makes sense that Owens would want to fight him considering Jey cost Owens the Universal Title at TLC and Smackdown. It’s a solid storyline progression. I’m not sure if Owens is out of the Universal Title picture entirely because he has done very well as a rival of Reigns, so I would certainly be okay with the story continuing in the weeks ahead.

Kevin Owens interrupts Roman Reigns and sets his sights on Jey Uso: SmackDown, Jan. 1, 2021

The announcers were shown on camera wishing us a Happy New Year. That led to a Progressive Match Flo about Big E winning the Intercontinental Title from Sami Zayn last week. It was a Lumberjack Match, so Zayn couldn’t run away and Big E got the clean win.

Big E made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion because he’s in action up next.

(Commercial)

King Corbin made his entrance joined by Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake aka the Knights of the Lone Wolf. Sami Zayn was on commentary complaining about the situation saying it was a conspiracy. Zayn is still wearing his “I am the Intercontinental Champion” shirt.

Big E vs. King Corbin (w/Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake)

This is not for Big E’s Intercontinental Title. Big E with an impressive leapfrog into a back elbow while Zayn claimed he was a champion of the people. Corbin with a kick to the chest followed by a clothesline for two. Corbin with an uppercut punch to the face followed by Corbin whipping Big E into the turnbuckle and a back elbow for a two count. Big E sent Corbin to the apron, Corbin came back with a knee to block a charge and Corbin did his slide out of the ring into the slide back in as Big E hit the Big Ending on Corbin. Sami Zayn attacked Big E for the DQ finish after about three minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Big E

Analysis: *1/2 A short match with Corbin getting a lot of offense since they were doing a DQ finish after Big E hit his finisher. My concern was that Big E might lose non-title like champions in WWE tend to do, so I’m glad that didn’t happen.

Post match, Zayn attacked Big E with punches and kicks. Blake and Cutler went after Big E as well. Apollo Crews showed up for the save, he sent Cutler/Blake out of the ring and then tossed Zayn over the top onto the heels. Holla holla holla and summon Teddy Long because it looks like a tag team match, playa.

(Commercial)

This Monday on Raw is Legends Night with stars like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Plus, Drew McIntyre defends the WWE Title against Keith Lee in what should be an awesome match.

The tag team match was official.

Big E and Apollo Crews vs. King Corbin (w/Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake) and Sami Zayn

Crews with a dropkick on Zayn. Corbin tagged in with Crews going to the apron leading to Corbin punching Crews to knock him down. Zayn back in with punches, Corbin tagged back in and hit a corner clothesline. Corbin distracted the referee, so Cutler kicked Crews in the ribs. Zayn sent Crews out of the ring, he distracted the referee and he was mad that Corbin’s guys didn’t touch Crews. The Knights said that they only listen to Corbin. Crews got a hold of Zayn with a powerslam. Big E with an overhead belly to belly suplex on Corbin, then he did it again and a side belly to belly slam by Big E. Running splash by Big E on Corbin. Big E went for the Big Ending, but Corbin escaped and hit the Deep Six slam for a two count as usual for that move. Zayn argued with the Knights on the floor. Crews tagged back in with a leaping clothesline on Corbin, who did a punch and then Zayn tagged in. Zayn nearly hit Corbin with a Helluva Kick by accident, but Zayn stopped himself. Corbin and Zayn argued with Zayn saying that Corbin’s guys should listen to him. Corbin and his Knights left, so Zayn was left alone as Crews hit Zayn with an enziguri kick. Crews with a Toss Powerbomb on Zayn for the pinfall win after about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Big E and Apollo Crews

Analysis: **1/4 It was good for a shorter match. More time would have been nice, but I guess because there was a match before it during the break, this had to be short too. Crews beating Zayn continues the losing ways for Zayn while giving Crews a meaningful win that made sense based on his backstage segment with Big E later in the show. As for Corbin, he was just sort of there.

Big E & Apollo Crews vs. Sami Zayn & King Corbin: SmackDown, Jan. 1, 2021

Later on Smackdown are two tag team matches with Daniel Bryan teaming with Otis against Cesaro/Shinsuke Nakamura, plus Bianca Belair/Sasha Banks facing Bayley/Carmella.

Adam Pearce was shown backstage talking on his cell phone and he said “you know what that means” as a Luke Harper tribute. Kevin Owens showed up to Pearce saying he wanted to fight Jey Uso. Pearce said that he can’t give Kevin the match and he knows why (hinting at Roman Reigns being the reason). Pearce suggested KO can pick anybody on the roster other than Jey Uso, so Kevin said Roman Reigns and Pearce didn’t want to do that. Owens said that Pearce used to be his boss and when he was Kevin’s boss, he would tell Kevin that the only people that mattered are the fans. Kevin once again made it clear he wanted Jey Uso, so Pearce agreed to make it happen.

Analysis: The reason Pearce was reluctant is because the story is that Roman Reigns intimidates him. Owens was great here as a babyface that didn’t quit until he got the answer he wanted. Owens referencing Pearce as his boss was from when they were in Ring of Honor earlier in their careers with Pearce as the booker of that promotion for several years. Most fans don’t know that, but it does show they have a history with eachother.

(Commercial)

Big E was shown talking backstage with Apollo Crews with Big E saying he appreciated him teaming with him. Kayla Braxton showed up asking Big E what can we expect from him as the Intercontinental Champion. Big E did a promo mentioning fans celebrating with him from Rome to Rochester, he mentioned having fans with names like Amanda and Nolan as well. Big E said that they have shown him so much love and affection. Big E said much like the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs, he’ll be a fighting champion. Big E mentioned having an open challenge, so Crews said he accepted since he helped him win the title last week in the Lumberjack Match. They laughed about it.

Analysis: There were a few references to Jon Huber/Luke Harper because Jon’s wife was named Amanda and Huber’s youngest son is Nolan. Big E mentioned Rochester because that is where Huber is from. Another reference was the Toronto Maple Leafs since they were Huber’s favorite sports team. Big E has shared a lot of fun memories of Huber over the last week, so that was cool of him to drop those references in the promo. Anyway, Big E vs. Crews should be a very good match next week.

The Riott Squad were in the ring for a tag team match. Billie Kay made her entrance with a tag team partner Tamina and there was also Natalya. However, Kay was only at ringside for this match while the other women were in the match.

Natalya and Tamina (w/Billie Kay) vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan)

Natalya with a shoulder tackle, then Morgan bounced off the ropes and got a rollup where she landed on top. Natalya shoved Morgan down while Kay did some annoying yelling. Riott tagged in leading to a double dropkick by Riott Squad to knock Natalya down. Tamina tagged in with an uppercut on Riott. Riott kicked herself free out of the corner and Morgan tagged in with punches on Tamina. Riott tagged in leading to a double Russian legsweep on Tamina for a two count. Kay was in the corner of the Riott Squad looking like she was supporting them. Tamina with a kick on Riott that didn’t connect at all, but Riott bumped to the floor anyway. Tamina picked up Morgan, Tamina complained about Kay being annoying and Morgan rolled up Tamina and for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan)

Analysis: * The work was decent, but Kay was so annoying that it took away from the match too much. I realize the point of the match was for Kay to be annoying. It just made me want to turn it off rather than think she was entertaining in her role. I wish Natalya was doing more than this, but sadly that’s all they have for her right now. Anyway, I’m glad that the Riott Squad won because they’re a good team and it would be nice to see them getting a title shot at some point.

Sasha Banks entered for her tag team match. She is the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Sasha won the WWE Slammy Award for female superstar and also my WWE Johnny Award as the best female wrestler in WWE in 2020. Banks had a great year. Banks was wearing a black “Brodie” armband for Jon Huber.

(Commercial)

Bianca Belair entered to join tag team partner Sasha Banks in the ring.

Carmella made her entrance joined by Reginald the sommelier. Bayley was up next as Carmella’s tag team partner as the Baymella team is back together. Bayley also had a “Brodie” armband for Jon Huber, who a lot people called Brodie since he was Brodie Lee in the indies before WWE and when he was in AEW as well.

Bayley and Carmella (w/Reginald) vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair

Belair locked up with Carmella as Graves pointed out that his girlfriend Carmella looks amazing. Bayley tagged in with Belair hitting a dropkick and tossed Bayley out of the ring. Belair knocked Carmella off the apron to the floor. Banks jumped off the apron onto Bayley for a cross body block on the floor. Back in the ring, Banks got a two count on Bayley as they went to break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Belair hitting a boot to the face and then Bayley knocked down Belair with a clothesline. Bayley pulled on Belair’s arm against the middle rope. Carmella worked over Belair with repeated kicks and Bayley was back in with a rollup for two. Belair nearly tagged out, Carmella took her down and Carmella knocked down Banks with a forearm to knock Banks down to the floor. Belair broke free, Banks tagged in and Banks hit a knee lift along with the double knees against the turnbuckle. Banks with the running dropkick on Carmella. Banks with a running knee for a two count as Bayley broke up the pin attempt. Belair tossed Bayley out of the ring. Bayley pulled on Belair’s hair, but then Belair drove Bayley into the steel steps. Belair with a suplex on the floor. Banks was watching that, so Carmella got a rollup for two. Carmella with a superkick. Carmella went for a bronco buster, Banks moved and Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission, so Reginald grabbed Carmella and pulled her out of the ring. The referee saw it and did nothing. Reginald went in the ring, then he flipped out of the ring while Cole said that was like Cirque de Soleil stuff. (FYI Reginald was a Cirque de Soleil performer before his WWE career.) Reginald went on the apron and then did a backflip to the floor. Banks got a nearfall on Carmella after a knee to the face, then Banks punched Reginald off the apron and Carmella hit an X-Factor for the pinfall win. Graves called Carmella’s move a Mella Buster, so that’s the name for it. This match went about 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Bayley and Carmella

Analysis: *** A pretty good tag team match with Carmella taking advantage of the situation to get a pin on the champion, which could lead to another title shot for Carmella. I’m not sure if that’s the plan for Royal Rumble, but it might happen that way. The spot that I had an issue with is that Reginald broke up a pin, which should be a DQ when the referee sees it, yet nothing happens and there’s no explanation. Normally WWE does a better job with spots like that. Bayley and Belair did some good stuff too, but this was more about Carmella pinning the champion Banks, which is one of WWE’s favorite booking moves. Also, I like the Mella Buster as a finisher for Carmella. It can be done to anybody at any time, so it works.

Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair vs. Bayley & Carmella: SmackDown, Jan. 1, 2021

Jey Uso was shown backstage with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman looking at a graphic saying that Jey had to face Kevin Owens. Reigns said that even after everything he does for WWE, somebody actually made that match because they don’t appreciate Roman. Reigns told Heyman to find out who doesn’t appreciate Roman, so Paul left.

The Street Profits made their entrance in street clothes as the solo cups shot onto the stage. They were red solo cups instead of the blue ones we had seen in the past. Does it matter? No, but I like to provide the details for my readers.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage scene where Sonya Deville was shown walking down a hallway in an all-black suit as other superstars stared at her. Nobody really said anything other than staring. Corey Graves said that Sonya has been reinstated on Smackdown.

Analysis: Welcome back Sonya. She was performing at a high level last year when the unfortunate home invasion happened and she felt like it was best to take a break from wrestling. She lost to Mandy Rose in a Loser Leaves WWE match, but now she’s back. In my Johnny Awards last week, I awarded Sonya with the “Most Improved Performer” award because she improved a lot in the ring and especially on the microphone. I’m glad she’s back to further her career.

Street Profits New Year’s Day Smoke-Tacular

The Street Profits were in the ring hosting this New Year’s Day party that has some graphics on the screen. Angelo Dawkins said that 2020 has to get out of here. Montez Ford said that at least they had a great year by winning the Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Titles while also defeating New Day at Survivor Series. Ford also mentioned they won Tag Team of the Year and Breakout Star of the Year in the Slammy Awards. They revealed a drum set that was covered in the ring and Dawkins was decent at playing the drums.

Ford said that they had some 2021 predictions that their “I Was Intercontinental Champion” shirt will be the number one selling shirt of 2021. They showed a clip of last week when they presented that shirt to Sami Zayn before he lost the IC Title. Zayn told them they were not funny.

Ford’s second prediction is that for over a decade, Dolph Ziggler has been stealing the show everywhere he goes. Ford spoke about Ziggler stealing Shawn Michaels’ styles, so Ford said Ziggler will be given the nickname “The Heartache Kid.”

That led to Robert Roode attacking Dawkins from behind and Ziggler was in the ring as well. Ziggler hit Ford with a superkick followed by Ziggler hitting a superkick on Dawkins as well. Good form on that kick by The Heartache Kid. Roode grabbed a chair and hit Dawkins in the back with a steel chair. Roode tossed Dawkins over the barricade. Roode wrapped Ford’s leg around the ring post and Ziggler used a steel chair to hit the leg of Ford. Ziggler actually hit the steel steps without touching the leg, but Ford sold it. Ziggler hit the left leg of Ford with a chair as well, but that was also done in a safe way with Roode hitting the floor rather than the leg. They did it the safe way and that’s the right way. Ziggler and Roode backed off.

Analysis: The champion Street Profits are all about having fun while Roode/Ziggler wanted to show a mean streak as a serious heel team, so that’s what they did here. I thought The Heartache Kid thing was pretty funny. It makes things personal in the feud because Ford/Dawkins made jokes, then Roode/Ziggler attacked, so it feels like a rivalry instead of just two tag teams having a match because there aren’t enough teams in WWE right now. I think this segment was effective in terms of making people care more about this rivalry.

(Commercial)

There were highlights shown of Roode/Ziggler attacking the Street Profits before the break.

Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Ziggler said that The Street Profits have been provoking them for months. Ziggler said that washed up old HBK is not on their level. Roode wondered if The Street Profits are having fun now while noting that the Profits have something that they want and deserve. Ziggler said if you want to know what champions look like now, you are looking at two aces, two dirty dogs and what they demand is a rematch for their Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Ziggler said that they will not stop until they get what they want. They were wearing “Dirty Dawgs” shirts, so I guess that’s their name. It’s not recognized as an official name as far as I know.

Analysis: I really liked that promo from Ziggler while Roode spoke less. What they said made sense from their perspective too. They’re a couple of veteran singles wrestlers that work well together.

UPDATE: On Talking Smack, they announced Street Profits vs. Roode/Ziggler for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles on Smackdown next week. That could be a title change.

Daniel Bryan entered with Otis and Chad Gable to Bryan’s theme song as the “YES” chants were piped into the building. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura were the opponents. There was a video shown of Daniel Bryan training in the ring with Otis and Chad Gable for Bryan’s appearance in the Royal Rumble match. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura talked trash with Bryan saying that they were teaching Bryan to use his hips. Cesaro and Nakamura thought it was hysterical that Bryan thought he might win the Royal Rumble match.

Analysis: They are pushing the idea that Bryan is focused on winning the Royal Rumble match. Bryan was great on Talking Smack when he told Paul Heyman he was coming after Roman Reigns, which makes me think Bryan will win the Royal Rumble or maybe come close to winning. I don’t have an official prediction right now.

Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Daniel Bryan and Otis (w/Chad Gable)

Bryan and Cesaro each had “Brodie” armbands for Jon Huber. Otis is wrestling in a singlet, which is better than just trunks. I’m sure some fans on Twitter complained about it because they want to see shirtless, but I’d prefer not to see it on my new 60-inch 4K TV. Thanks “Santa” for that or the gambling Gods. Same thing to me. Anyway, there was some impressive technical wrestling early on from Bryan and Cesaro, which led to Nakamura tagging in, Bryan grabbed a waistlock and Cesaro tagged in. Bryan knocked Cesaro to the floor, Bryan went for a suicide dive and Cesaro caught Bryan leading to an uppercut. Otis charged at Cesaro, which is when they went to break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Nakamura tossing Bryan over the top to the floor and Cesaro was back in with an elbow drop for two. Cesaro sent Bryan into the ropes leading to a Bossman Slam just like how Luke Harper used to do it and Cesaro tapped on his arm where the “Brodie” name was. A nice tribute to his fallen friend. Nakamura was back in with a kick to the face, but then Bryan threw Nakamura over the top to the floor. Otis tagged in for the first time against Cesaro. Otis with a running forearm, elbow smash and a release overhead suplex. Otis with a discus clothesline (another Harper/Huber move) followed by a corner splash. Otis did the caterpillar into the elbow drop for two and Nakamura broke up the pin. Otis went for the Vader Bomb off the middle ropes, but Cesaro moved and Otis hit the mat. Nakamura charged leading to Otis slamming him face-first into the mat. Bryan tagged back in with a leap off the top into a sunset flip for two. Bryan ran the ropes leading to a jumping kick by Nakamura. Bryan avoided a slam, then Nakamura went for an armbreaker, but Otis saved his partner. Cesaro and Nakamura kicked Otis out of the ring. Bryan with a running knee on Cesaro after Nakamura moved. Nakamura went for a rollup, Bryan kicked out of that and Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock with Nakamura tapping out to give Bryan’s team the win. This went about ten minutes.

Winners by submission: Daniel Bryan and Otis

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good tag team match with Bryan working so well with veterans like Cesaro and Nakamura. I thought Otis would get a bit more offense than he did, but Bryan worked about 80% of the match for the team. The story is that Bryan is building momentum for the Royal Rumble, so it makes sense for him to win. It would be nice if Cesaro and Nakamura had a significant storyline instead of just being used as a team for random tag team matches. Anyway, the match was fine because it furthers Bryan’s push about building momentum to try to win the Royal Rumble in four weeks.

Daniel Bryan & Otis vs. Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura: SmackDown, Jan. 1, 2021

After the match, Bryan looked up with arms extended as if saluting Huber/Harper in the heavens. Bryan led the “YES” chants for this team. After the chants, Bryan, Otis and Gable did some hip thrusts to remind us that it’s all about the hips.

Analysis: I don’t know if Bryan will be aligned with Otis and Gable going forward, but I know Bryan always wants to work with others to try to elevate them. Having Bryan appear in training vignettes with them could be pretty funny although booking Bryan in a serious way is also something I want to see.

There was a backstage scene with Roman Reigns sitting on a leather chair with Paul Heyman telling Reigns that it was Adam Pearce that made this match. Reigns told Jey Uso they’re trying to take away what they have worked for. Reigns told Jey to show them while you’re Main Event Uso. Jey touched Roman’s fist and left for his match.

Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event match.

(Commercial)

This week on Talking Smack on WWE Network the guests are Jey Uso, Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode and Billie Kay. The hosts are Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman.

Next week on Smackdown: Big E defends the Intercontinental Title against Apollo Crews. As I mentioned earlier, they’re also doing Street Profits defending the Tag Team Titles against Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode as well.

Jey Uso made his entrance looking focused while Kevin Owens had a serious look on his face as well.

Kevin Owens vs. Jey Uso

Owens with a double leg takedown followed by punches. That was a smart way to start the match because it’s a rivalry that had become very personal. Owens stomped on Jey against the ropes, so Jey bailed to the floor where he was met with a clothesline from Owens. Owens with a running senton on Jey on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens with another senton on Jey in the ring. Owens with a kick to the left leg of Jey and another kick to the leg while the leg was against the ropes. Owens jumped onto the left leg of Jey while it was against the ropes. Owens told Jey he’s going to pay while reminding him that it’s not even his fault. Jey got in a couple of punches, KO with kicks and he went for a Stunner, but Jey blocked it leading to a superkick that knocked Owens out of the ring. Jey jumped off the steel steps right into a superkick from Owens. KO tossed Jey over the announce table with KO going back in the ring calling for Roman to get out there.

(Commercial)

The match returned with a battle on the top rope, Jey knocked down Owens and Jey went for a splash, but Owens moved. Jey was favoring his left leg since Owens worked on it the whole match. Owens hit a Stunner on Jey for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: **1/4 The match was okay with Owens getting his win after two title losses to Reigns due to Jey’s interference. Owens winning was the obvious result here. I think they could have timed the commercial better because we only got to see about one minute of action after the break.

There were still several minutes left in the show, so the post match attack continued with Owens hitting another Stunner on Jey. Owens grabbed Corey’s headset and he called out Reigns to come to help his family. Owens grabbed handcuffs from under the ring and he cuffed Jey to the top rope, so Owens hit Jey with a superkick. Owens stomped on the injured legs of Jey. Owens kept calling out for Roman Reigns as he continued to beat up Jey. Owens grabbed the key from his kneepad and unlocked the handcuffs. Owens grabbed Jey and tried to walk him to the back, but Jey fought back, so Owens whipped Jay into a part of the arena where the screens were. Owens hit a superkick on Jey. Owens was about to splash Jey through a table, but then Roman Reigns showed up with an attack from behind.

Reigns and Owens were fighting on the part of the arena where they had screens with fans that were part of the ThunderDome. Jey got back into it by bringing two steel chairs for Jey and Roman to use. The cousins unleashed on Owens with chairshots. Reigns told Owens he should have just left while Jey choked Owens with the handcuffs and Reigns did some more chairshots to Owens. Jey rocked Owens with a superkick while Reigns punched Owens and whipped KO’s head against the LED screens repeatedly. Reigns tossed Owens off the staging platform they were on and Owens got sent through a table that was on the ground. Replays were shown of the fall that was about 12-15 feet high. It was like when they would have guys get thrown off the stage through a table, but this was even higher than that. Owens was shown down on the table while Reigns looked down on him. The announcers went silent after Owens went through the table. The show ended there.

Analysis: That was an awesome show ending angle. I really like the chemistry between Owens and Reigns with Jey continuing to get involved to help Reigns in these battles with Owens. It should lead to somebody stepping up to help Owens, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be Daniel Bryan or somebody else. Maybe it leads to Goldberg coming back to set up his eventual match with Reigns? I’m not clamoring for Goldberg to be back at all, but it’s likely coming at some point. Another name is a returning Jimmy Uso, who should be back from his torn ACL very soon, so maybe he is against what Roman/Jey is doing and then he helps Owens. I’m not sure if Jimmy is ready yet. Anyway, I’m glad that they brawled around the arena a bit more too, which could mean a Falls Count Anywhere type match in their future. I don’t think Reigns is going to drop the Universal Title to Owens. I just think they have great chemistry, so I’m glad they are feuding right now.

Kevin Owens vs. Jey Uso: SmackDown, Jan. 1, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kevin Owens
  2. Roman Reigns/Jey Uso
  3. Daniel Bryan

 

The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 9

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good Smackdown episode overall. I thought Kevin Owens was terrific all night long while Roman Reigns/Jey Uso continued to get even more heat with Reigns throwing Owens off a platform through a table. I like that the Reigns/Owens feud is continuing because they have great chemistry together and Owens has done a fantastic job as a fighting babyface that just won’t quit. At some point, somebody has to help Owens against Reigns/Jey, so we should see that soon.

Everything else was solid with the tag team division story between The Street Profits and Ziggler/Roode continuing. They have a title match on Smackdown next week. Big E will face Apollo Crews for the IC Title next week after they won a tag team match here. The women’s division saw Carmella beat Sasha Banks in a tag team match, so the champion lost a tag team match, which is one of WWE’s favorite booking moves. I’m also glad that Sonya Deville is back after four months away. Daniel Bryan’s story about how he is so focused on winning the Royal Rumble (because he’s never won a battle royal before) is intriguing as well. I like a lot of things on Smackdown right now. There wasn’t an outstanding match this week like we got last week, but everything is watchable and easy to get through.

There were several tributes to the late Jon Huber/Luke Harper throughout the show that I tried to point out during the review.

The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 31. Here’s what we know so far:

30-Men Royal Rumble Match

30-Women Royal Rumble Match

Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.

John Canton

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