Featuring a match between the SmackDown Women’s Champion and a sommelier, this January 15th episode of SmackDown is just super weird.
We start off the show with Roman Reigns, who has another mind-numbingly long entrance. According to Roman, you won’t be seeing Kevin Owens on TV tonight, because Reigns said so. He still doesn’t quite understand that a champion doesn’t have executive power. He criticizes Pearce for backing out because of his leg hurt. Roman says all of him hurts, which is supposed to be cool, but it’s just worrying. Pearce comes out to stop him, saying he’s out of control. Roman says that Pearce is out of control for letting Owens do whatever he wants.
Roman continues to gatekeep injury and bodily pain for another minute, and Heyman laughs at Pearce, who says he’ll take disrespect from Reigns, but not Heyman. Heyman says he won’t take disrespect either, and challenges Pearce to a match in the main event. Pearce accepts. That’s not a typo, the main event is Paul Heyman VS Adam Pearce.
Sami Zayn brings out his documentary crew and a #JusticeForSami sign, and handcuffs himself to the entrance ramp barricade in protest. He says he’s not going to leave until he gets justice for the way he lost to Apollo Crews last week. He is interrupted by the Women’s Tag Team Champions, Asuka and Charlotte Flair, who completely ignore him on their way to the ring.
Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka and Charlotte Flair VS The Riott Squad (w/ Billie Kay)
Ruby Riott starts off against Charlotte Flair, who takes control with a headlock, and tags in Asuka, who charges through Ruby with a shoulder tackle. She tags Flair back in, who drives her opponent into the turnbuckle and chokes her with her boot. She whips her into the corner and hits her with a back elbow. Billie Kay distracts Flair, allowing Liv to tag herself in and dropkick Flair. Liv goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers a flying crossbody for 2 as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Flair is stomping Liv down in the corner, but when she goes for a slam, Liv escapes, tags in Ruby, and delivers a hurricanrana. Ruby slams Flair into the turnbuckles, but only gets a 2 count with the pin. She tags in Liv, and the two deliver a double STO for 2. The two utilize quick tags to punish their opponent, but it backfires when Flair evades a double back body drop and attacks both of her opponents with chops. With Liv as the legal woman, Flair tags in Asuka, who delivers a running knee.
Ruby breaks up the pin, Flair takes out Ruby with a big boot, Liv takes out Flair with an enziguri, but when she tries to do the same on Asuka, the Empress of Tomorrow catches her and delivers a German Suplex. She looks for the Asuka Lock, but Liv backs her into her corner and tags in Ruby. Ruby rolls up Asuka, but Kay accidentally distracts the ref so the pin isn’t counted. Asuka goes for a hip attack, but Ruby dodges and superkicks Asuka. She goes for the Riott Kick, but Asuka reverses it into a knee strike, tags in Flair, and they deliver their Codebreaker/Natural Selection combo for the win.
Winners via pinfall: Asuka and Charlotte Flair
Match Rating: 3.5/5
After the match, Kay argues with the Riott Squad. Liv and Ruby tell her she’s out of the group, and then leave before she can guilt trip them again.
Daniel Bryan comes out and has a chuckle at Sami before grabbing a mic. He talks about how excited he is for the Royal Rumble, and that he enjoys the uncertainty of not knowing what number you’re going to draw. He is interrupted by Cesaro, who says that Bryan isn’t going to win the Rumble, he is. Bryan challenges him to another match, and Cesaro says he has nothing left to prove to him, as he beat him last week. Cesaro instead issues an open challenge, and Dolph Ziggler comes out and accepts the challenge.
Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler
With Daniel Bryan on commentary, the two exchange pins and amateur holds until Ziggler locks in a Sleeper Hold. Cesaro backs Ziggler into a corner and then delivers a running uppercut that rocks Ziggler. He sends Ziggler on a ride with a Giant Swing that lasts amusingly long, and then pins him for 2. Cesaro goes for a spear in the corner, but Ziggler moves and rolls him up for 2. The two trade a truly egregious amount of pins, before Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for a close 2.
He locks in the Sleeper Hold again, but Cesaro maneuvers him into a suplex. Ziggler reverses it and looks for a Famouser, but Cesaro catches him and delivers the Neutralizer for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Cesaro
Match Rating: 3/5
Sasha Banks VS Reginald
Reginald the sommelier, or Reggie, as Carmella calls him, is just wearing what he normally wears. He gives Banks a rose and asks (in French) for a kiss on the cheek, but Banks slaps him. She delivers a springboard arm drag, but Reggie flips and lands on his feet before locking in a waistlock. Banks reverses it and locks in her own waistlock. Reggie escapes it and slips to the outside, but he’s met by a baseball slide dropkick from Banks. She grabs him and tries to throw him into the steel steps, but he flips off of them and then goes back into the ring.
He dodges a monkey flip attempt with a corkscrew somersault, but gets caught by a bulldog from Banks. The champ goes for a double knees, but Reggie moves out of the way. Banks dodges his elbow drop and rolls him up, but he kicks out and sets her up for a powerbomb. Banks reverses it into an arm drag and goes for an attack in the corner, but she gets sent to the apron. She delivers an enziguri, but when she goes for a flying crossbody, Reggie catches her.
She turns it into an arm drag that sends him to the outside, and then delivers a meteora off the apron right in front of Carmella. She slaps the champagne out of her Royal Rumbler challenger’s hand, and goes inside to deliver a backstabber to Reggie. She isn’t able to turn it into the Bank Statement like she usually does, because Reggie lands on his feet off the backstabber. Banks makes him pay with a jumping meteora off of a monkey flip, and then locks in the Bank Statement, forcing Reggie to tap.
Winner via pinfall: Sasha Banks
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Backstage, Reigns tells Heyman that he in no way wanted him to challenge Pearce to a match, but now he’s got to “be a man” and handle his business.
Apollo Crews VS Intercontinental Champion Big E for the Intercontinental Championship
Big E starts off fast, tossing Crews with a belly to belly and hitting him with a Big Splash on the apron. He goes for an attack in the corner, but gets caught with a boot. Crews hits an enziguri, a big boot, and a standing moonsault for 2. The challenger delivers a series of German suplexes, but when he goes for an avalanche, Big E delivers a uranage for 2. Crews goes to the outside, but when Big E tries to send him back in, he delivers a moonsault off the apron.
Crews brings Big E back into the ring and climbs the ropes, but Big E meets him there. He sets him up for a superplex, but Crews headbutts him away and delivers a missile dropkick. Sami Zayn un-handcuffs himself and delivers Helluva Kicks to both competitors, ending the match.
Winner via disqualification: Big E
Match Rating: 3/5
Backstage, the Street Profits deliver a gift basket to Sonya Deville, but it’s really just a bribe to get them a title shot against Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Sonya tells them to wait until Ford’s leg is 100% again, and they regret giving her the basket.
Now it’s time for the obstacle course challenge between Bayley and Bianca Belair. Bayley goes first, flipping a tire, jumping hurdles and running around military walls that she should’ve climbed, carrying Chad Gable a few meters, and sinking a basketball on her second try.
She scores a minute and twelve seconds, and then replaces the tiny hurdles she had to jump over with regular sized ones for Belair. When Belair gets to Chad, it is revealed that she has to carry Otis, which she does easily. At the last challenge, she lets Bayley guard her, and dodges her easily to dunk the basketball and win the challenge with 17 seconds left. As was predicted by pretty much everyone, Bayley attacks her, slamming her into the basketball net.
Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin
Dominik starts off fast, dropkicking the bigger man and tossing him to the outside with a hurricanrana. But when he goes for an attack off the apron, Corbin catches him with a clothesline and then pins him for 2. The King chokes the young Mysterio with his boot and then beats him down in the corner. He whips him into the corner and goes for End of Days, but Dominik reverses it and sets up Corbin for the 619. However, Corbin catches him and hits a knockout punch that gets him a close 2. He goes for the End of Days and gets it this time, putting Dominik down for the 3 count.
Winner via pinfall: King Corbin
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Paul Heyman makes his way down to the ring, but suddenly, his leg begins to hurt. He pulls the same trick that Pearce pulled last week, and Roman Reigns comes down to the ring.
Roman Reigns VS Adam Pearce
Roman strikes immediately with a Superman Punch that sends Pearce to the outside. Roman looks to grab the steel steps, but Pearce fights back with a punch. Roman answers with a kick to the nether regions, and it’s at this point where I realized that this match doesn’t actually have any rules.
Roman looks to bring Pearce over to the area where he tossed Owens off of a few weeks ago, but Owens makes an appearance, attacking Roman. He brings him back to the ring and delivers a Stunner. He brings Roman to the outside and delivers a Pop-Up Powerbomb through the table. Will this be a preview of what we’ll see at the Royal Rumble?
SmackDown January 22
This was a really, really weird and fun show. Reginald had a great performance, the obstacle course was a fun segment, and the women’s tag match was a solid match with a good story. This was a unique show, so the question I have isn’t why they can’t do this every week, it’s just “why can’t they do fun shows like this more often?”