Hi, and Happy New Year to everyone!

We barely started this evening and The Bloodline are rampaging the scene while Michael Cole welcomes the fans to SmackDown. Apparently Reigns and Zayn are pissed of their loss over KO and John Cena on the last Friday of 2022. So why not interrupt?

Wade Barrett thinks the loss was mostly Zayn’s fault rather than a team discomfort. Ha!

As The Bloodline stand in the ring, the audience chant: “Ucey” to the decorated wrestlers. Reigns wants to give us what we want and that’s Sami’s perspective. The Bloodline are sending a message that 2023 is their year, they’re putting everyone on notice.

Zayn kept glorifying Solo Sikoa and The Usos for their golden moments, but fails to realize that the Tribal Chief and him aren’t the same person because his behavior shows differently. That Sami can’t, or shouldn’t, think about running The Bloodline because that’s Roman’s turf. Roman goes off on Zayn misdirecting his anger on the wrong person. The real problem hasn’t been resolved yet, and that’s Kevin Owens.

Owens appears to conclude that Roman hasn’t dealt with his obvious issue, telling him to calm down. So, he challenges Reigns for the Undisputed titles at Royal Rumble in order to finish this. Kevin also says he’ll see Zayn whenever he can dig his balls out from Roman’s pockets. I cried out laughing so much, I might have shattered my ribs.

Arriving in Memphis, the 14-time SmackDown champion Charlotte Flair will be here later tonight after eight months of pause.


Kofi Kingston vs. Santos Escobar


This match came to be earlier tonight when Escobar showed both respect for Kingston’s legendary Royal Rumble appearances and a back-handed comment saying it’s Legado del Fantasma’s time. That’s only true if Santos wins… sort of.

Kofi has Escobar reeling for help on his skills to remain in this match by pulling out moves that he’s shown during the Rumble. Hand-stands and crossbodies. Kingston manages to flip Santos outside the ring as he almost hits his head against the commentary table.

Santos comes back into the game with a knee to Kofi’s face then follows that with a cover that fails real quick.¬†From the second rope, Kofi drop kicks Escobar out of nowhere.

There has been a lot of trickery preparing for the Rumble as if Santos has shown much stupendousness as of late except for that sudden knee to Kofi’s jaw as he came down from the top turnbuckles.

Escobar had the power as he held Kofi up from his legs, but that wasn’t enough since Kingston surprises us with an abrupt stomp. Everything was going well for Kofi, which angers Zelina, so she starts arguing with Xavier Woods while Joaquin Wilde had a grip on Kofi’s ankle.

The Phantom Driver by Santos came out from his butt for a infilling win. It gave me indigestion. Blegh!

Winner: Santos Escobar


Backstage, Sami tries to convince Paul Heyman to let him in their dressing room to talk to Roman about not wanting to be the Tribal Chief for any reason. Heyman still gaslights Sami into believing that at least he still likes him. Lies. Lies. Lies!

Liv Morgan lives for chaos as the Royal Rumble looms closer. She promises to beat everyone in the ring, so watch her.

After last week’s weird and ominous encounter with Uncle Howdy, LA Knight says that Bray Wyatt’s plans failed because he got dropped by “His goon” according to him. The Pitch Black match will be the opportunity to bring Wyatt down to light that his return won’t be talked about anymore. He’ll fade into obscurity. I think Knight talks too soon.


Karrion Kross & Scarlett vs. Emma & Madcap Moss – Mixed Tag Team match


I haven’t seen mix gender matches in a long while, and the first one I see is with this incredible lot. SmackDown hasn’t seen Scarlett in action, but I have on MLW Fusion. She’s good, and I wouldn’t underestimate her one bit. The entire locker room should be afraid of her.

I thought this match was only going to link Scarlett and Emma in a singular fight because Emma slapped the seductive Scarlett last week because they came for Madcap. But nah, none of that.

Anyway, Moss and Kross start this match up that didn’t last too long before the girls came into the fold. Emma shoves Scarlett face first against the turnbuckles followed by a shoulder tackle.

Emma had most of this fight on lock with a great takedown and a drop kick, but the cover goes nowhere since Kross yanks her from her ankles. She slaps him too as Karrion backs Emma into a corner. Moss quickly tags in to assist.

Madcap rams in Karrion as he slums his body in the corner. Moss was picking up the pace, but I think he was going way too fast. Scarlett grips his leg to trip him up, Emma catches that and intervenes, but ends up crashing against the post. Scarlett goes deeper by throwing Emma over the commentary table. Yikes.

Back in the ring, Madcap tries to ram Karrion again, yet collides with the turnbuckles. Karrion delivers the Kross Hammer that’s immediately followed by the Krossjacket for a swift win. Madcap passed out.

Moss and Emma may be leaning into a relationship, but their connection in the ring needs plenty of work. My God. This was almost too embarrassing to stare at.

Madcap and Emma lost, yes, but Karrion’s attention is quickly turned towards Rey Mysterio, who he’s sure is watching. The clock is ticking for Rey… Tick tick tock. I thought this was finished honestly…

Winners: Scarlett & Karrion Kross


Sheamus and McIntyre go down memory lane on their most extraordinary matches of the previous year. Like the Donnybrook match. That was epic.

I was worried that bar these two were in was going to go up in shambles, but shockingly, it didn’t. Even though, they kept slapping each other on the backs. They’re ready to take down the Usos later tonight for the tag titles. They’re a good team, but I won’t say they’ll be the ones to triumph over The Ones. It takes more than being great friends to beat the twins. Guaranteed.

Charlotte Flair, our new SmackDown Champion of 2023. She’s a lot of things, but she ain’t complacent. When she came back, it was breathtakingly amazing. Just like when John Cena showed up. Flair is ready for anyone to challenge her, but the obstacle we all didn’t see coming was Sonya Deville.

Deville believes that Memphis are a bunch of hillbillies who can’t comprehend the deceit laying beneath Flair’s words. Sonya thinks that Charlotte isn’t supposed to be the champ because she beat a “half-dead Ronda Rousey”. It shouldn’t count, nor be congratulated as a victory. Yet that opinion might eat her alive.


Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Sonya Deville – SmackDown Women’s Championship match


As soon as the bell went off, Sonya lunges at Charlotte, who’s still removing her coat from the surroundings of the ring.

Deville had a hold on Flair’s throat like a pastor has a grip on sinners about to get their asses burned. Charlotte looks to rally with a big boot to Sonya’s face then a clothesline for good measure.

Flair inflicts chop after chops to Deville’s chest before swinging her over with a back suplex and a kip up.

Sonya was about to come down from the second rope to plant a knee to Flair’s face, but she ducks out, does a front flip masked with another clothesline.

Deville kept bidding her time, too much in fact, that Charlotte spears her then makes her tap out using the Figure 4 mixed with the Figure 8 for a retaining win. Those words ate Sonya up real good.

Winner: Charlotte Flair


Ricochet vs. Top Dolla of Hit Row – Royal Rumble Qualifying match


The world of social media is still making jokes about Top Dolla’s failed rope jump. It’s still too funny. Dolla isn’t happy though, his face is scowling. Ha!

Ricochet, as the match starts, relies on speed, but Dolla catches him real quick with a choke slam on the high flyer. Damn. Dolla is pissy. He places a heavy boot to Rico’s face.

Dolla was way too upset, that’s why I think he wasn’t on his game. Ricochet pulls out a new smacking spinning move to plant the big man on his back, so he could climb to the top and deliver the Shooting Star for a win. This was a short match, I thought I had whiplash. Or imagined it. Ha!

Ricochet thought that he and Dolla are fine now since he qualified, inaccurately on his part, Hit Row trap him with a precipitous attack. Ashante Super Kicks Ricochet then B-Fab delivers two harsh boot kicks to his wobbly figure.

Dolla wasn’t done, so he attempts to impose further pain. Flabbergast, Braun Strowman arrives to assist Ricochet like he did with him. Hit Row didn’t just run away, they scurried like life depended on it. It was hilarious.

Winner: Ricochet


Backstage in The Bloodline locker room, Roman finally asks Heyman to call Sami in. Here Zayn thought that he was the one who needs to apologize, thankfully, Roman becomes the bigger person and owns up to his outburst of earlier. Zayn isn’t the problem, KO is.

Roman’s apologize reflected how wrong he truly was for talking to Sami with such disgust on live television, but that suddenly takes a turn for the weird. I wanted a match between Zayn and Owens before last Friday switched into a tag match with Cena included. Remarkably, the way Reigns instructed the fight was slightly selfish. I’m sensing that Roman is a pouty child with the conscious of highly stressed man, who happens to hold gold on his shoulders. That sums it up.

Sami agrees to fighting Owens next week to hopefully close the chapter on this issue.


The Usos (c) vs. Sheamus & Drew McIntyre – Undisputed Tag Team match


During this match, Sami was eating popcorn in their locker room. Popcorn? Ha! I laughed because he thought Roman might want some, and his face was perplexed. Even Paul Heyman looked like he just saw some drunk person sleeping on his thigh for the first time.

Jey took out Sheamus, which left him alone with Drew as he attempts to send him a kick that fails. Jimmy tries to get involved, but receives a neck breaker as well.

Michael Cole was definitely taking a jab at Top Dolla once Drew leaped over the ropes and landed on the twins perfectly. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! This joke won’t stop soon. “Now that’s how a big man flies!”

McIntyre rallies the crowd for Claymore Country beautifully executed for a very close victory that’s intercepted by Jimmy’s rolling body.

McIntyre clashes into a post due to Jey’s dodging skills. Sheamus quickly tags in to inflict pain on the champ, yet his brother tags himself in without Sheamus’ knowledge to send a double Super Kick then the One D that could have granted them the win. So damn close!

Drew gives Jey a headbutt as he wobbles outside the ring near Solo Sikoa. Bad timing. Sikoa grabs onto McIntyre to send a Samoan Spike then his spine against the barricade. As usual, the official didn’t see anything, but Ridge Holland and Butch did. They ran out to beat Solo up. Sikoa had a swarm of human bodies all up in his face. Ha!

Back on the mat, Jimmy delivers a Super Kick to Sheamus, which in turn rebounds with a Bro Kick to win the tag titles, unfortunately for him, Jey pulls his brother out to save them both.

What makes the Usos a grand force to be reckoned with is their impeccable teamwork, something most teams can’t seem to replica, nor surpass. Sheamus has to try to win on his own. He stands at the top to bring both twins down then drags Jimmy back inside the ring.

Sheamus had Jimmy on his shoulders, Jey comes back in, but he gets kicked out. You would think that opens up a win for Sheamus, yet no, it doesn’t. He loses his balance when his legs get caught in the ropes, so Jimmy could roll him up with Jey’s help to retain their titles.

In The Bloodline locker room, Sami is celebrating by sprouting popcorn on the floor as Heyman and Reigns watch him both amazed and flummoxed while also holding bowls of food of their own. They subcommand to Zayn’s popcorn sharing techniques.

Roman’s face expression said “Who the hell is going to clean up this mess? Me? Nah, man.”

Winners: The Usos

 

TOP PHOTO: Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman talking in their locker room. Courtesy of WWE