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WWE SmackDown results, live blog (Jan. 22, 2021): Big E vs. Apollo Crews

WWE SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 22, 2021) with a show from the ThunderDome inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Advertised for tonight: Big E defends the Intercontinental championship against Apollo Crews, an obstacle course between Bayley and Bianca Belair, and more!

Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


Arrived at the end of the spiral staircase, at the doorstep to immortality. Not reached the destination of our dreams, decided in the struggle for existence. Life has lost, but me? I’m just here to liveblog this here pro wrestling show, folks.

The show opens with a recap of all of last week’s build that saw five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce cede his title shot for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship to Kevin Owens.

Roman makes his entrance, flanked by Paul Heyman.

He gets on the mic and says we’re not gonna see Kevin Owens tonight, because I said so. He moves on to the idea of “card subject to change”, saying that doesn’t apply to him and it’s only for losers. It took a pandemic to keep him out of the ring and he doesn’t want anybody to ever say that he missed an appearance. But what if he was a puss like Adam Pearce?

Maybe his shoulder would hurt too much, or his back, you know, from carrying this damn company for years now. What if his back continues to hurt until next Sunday. What if he can’t make the Royal Rumble?

Enter five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce.

He says this has gone on too long and it’s spiraling out of control. Reigns scoffs at the idea of Pearce talking about control and what’s out of control is that he would go against him and try to put KO back in the main event. He’s not even doing a favor, he’s just Kevin Owen’s bitch, and that means he must be Roman’s bitch, too. What he really can’t stand is that he’d sit here and talk about how much his body hurts when he’s standing next to the thoroughbred of WWE who does it all every day without complaint.

No wonder Adam never made it to WWE. Heyman laughs and Pearce says he can take this from Roman but he sure as hell isn’t going to take it from Paul. Reigns points out that he’s disrespecting Heyman, and that means he’s disrespecting him, and Paul needs to straighten him out. Heyman reads Adam the proverbial riot act, asking if he has any idea what it’s like to hang out with the Anoa’i family.

He accuses Pearce of thinking he’s impotent as a man, but he’s from New York and he’ll whip his ass for disrespecting his Tribal Chief. He might not be a lawyer, but he goes to a synagogue full of ‘em, and he knows a contract is legal and binding, so tonight’s main event should be Adam Pearce vs. Paul Heyman. Adam accepts!

Commentary hypes tonight’s card up for us.

Sami Zayn makes his entrance and handcuffs himself to the barricade on the entrance aisle to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Sami cuts a promo about being victimized last week in his loss to Apollo Crews.

Asuka & Charlotte Flair vs. Riott Squad (Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott)

Flair and Riott to start, collar and elbow, into the corner, Asuka tags in and drops Ruby before grabbing a side headlock. Quick tags from the champs, working Riott over but she eventually tags Morgan in. Charlotte is distracted attacking Billie Kay at ringside and Liv clobbers her with a dropkick! Diving crossbody for two and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Liv with a blind tag and a Frankensteiner, Riott in, forearms to Flair’s jaw, pop-up knees drive Charlotte into the turnbuckles and she gets a two count off it! Tag to Morgan, double spinebuster gets one, but Flair fights ‘em off two for one! Fallaway slam plants Liv, STO backbreaker into the reverse STO into the turnbuckles, blind tag from Asuka!

The Empress in with a sliding knee... RIOTT BREAKS IT UP! Leg pick, ankle lock into a leg-trap German suplex, a little back and forth and the Asuka Lock is blocked by way of a tag! O’Connor roll, overrotated for like a four-count but referee Dan Engler is busy with Billie Kay! Hip attack knocks Morgan to the floor, reverse the Riott Kick into the Alarm Clock, off the ropes, blind tag, Codebreaker, Charlotte comes in...

Asuka & Charlotte Flair win by pinfall with Natural Selection from Flair on Ruby Riott.

We get a match graphic for Reginald vs. Sasha Banks later tonight and a recap of a Bianca Belair Instagram video of her jumping rope over her own hair to send us to break.

Back from commercial, the Riott Squad are backstage recuperating from their loss.

Billie Kay is falling over herself apologizing and Ruby Riott berates her for costing them a shot at the tag titles. Kay says all the great teams have to overcome obstacles and she has some good news— she spoke to Sonya Deville and got Liv and Ruby spots in the Royal Rumble! She’s happy to start practicing with them right now but Riott says she’s not getting it, there is no us, and the Riott Squad was better when it was just the two of them.

Daniel Bryan makes his entrance in street clothes.

He gets on the mic and starts talking about the Royal Rumble. Even just saying those words at this time of year sends a chill down his spine. The uncertainty of what number you’re going to draw, watching the countdown timer tick, waiting for the buzzer to hit and run down... the exhiliration of competing against 29 other superstars in a match that could go over an hour and it’s every man for himself.

It’s one of the most difficult things you can do in WWE, and it makes him feel alive.

Cesaro interrupts, making his entrance in his gear.

He says he thought he beat some sense into Dan last week but here he is talking about winning the Rumble again. Bryan takes his jacket off and offers him a match, but Cesaro’s sick of doing the same thing every week and since Dan clearly isn’t dressed, he’s offering an open challenge to anyone in the locker room, cleared for the Royal Rumble, and ready to face him right now.

Enter Dolph Ziggler.

He says he’s been in the second most Royal Rumbles of any WWE superstar ever, and his stamina is unmatched, and no one besides his fellow Dirty Dawg Robert Roode can go toe to toe with him... except Cesaro. He apologises to Bryan and says it’s not 2014 anymore, and he’s going to WrestleMania and getting paid. Consider that challenge accepted, brother.

And so we go to break.

Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler.

Mat grappling to start, Daniel Bryan on commentary, Ziggler gets a sleeper hold, Cesaro fights out and gets the giant swing! Trading pins back and forth in the aftermath, both men getting tired, stalemate, blocking strikes, back and forth, Zig Zag connects but can’t keep the Swiss Superman down! Dolph blocks a suplex attempt, off the ropes, Fameasser countered into a powerbomb lift, shift to the Gotch...

Cesaro wins by pinfall with the Neutralizer.

Sasha Banks makes her entrance to send us to break.

Reginald the Sommelier vs. Sasha Banks

Banks with a slap, lucha arm drag but Reginald lands on his feet! Out to the floor, Sasha in control but Reginald flips over the steel steps to get away from her! Back in, off the ropes, drop down, leapfrog, roll over, Sasha springboards, sunset flip blocked, la casadora... BULLDOG FROM THE BOSS! Back and forth, knee from the Boss, diving crossbody caught, reversed into an arm drag and the sommelier goes to the floor!

METEORA ON THE FLOOR! Sasha slaps Carmella’s drink out of her hand and goes back inside, lungblower, Reginald handsprings out of it! Upkicks from Banks, monkey flip for some leverage and then she uses her momentum to hit a Meteora! Satellite into the crossface...

Sasha Banks wins by submission with the Bank Statement crossface.

Post-match, Carmella gets in the ring and squares up with Sasha.

Backstage, Paul Heyman is talking to Roman Reigns, pleased with himself for doing the Big Dog’s bidding earlier.

Roman tells him he gave him the mic so he’d tear him to pieces verbally, like he does best, not challenge him to a match, but since he did, he better go out there, represent him like a man, and handle his business.

And so we go to break.

Apollo Crews vs. Big E (c) (WWE Intercontinental Championship)

E hot out the gates, action to the apron for the big splash! Back inside, boots up in the corner, Crews floats over a slam and hits an enzuigiri! Pump kick follows, standing moonsault, only two! Rolling German suplexes follow, Big with back elbows to get away, big Rock Bottom in the corner... NOPE! Action to the floor, Apollo gets away from him and hits a moonsault off the apron!

Back inside, up top, E cuts him off and climbs to join him. Jockeying for position, headbutts knock Big down and Sami Zayn uncuffs himself from the barricade at long last. Crews perches, missile dropkick connects and Zayn gets in the ring, Helluva Kick, referee Ryan Tran has to call it...

Apollo Crews wins by disqualification, although no finish is announced.

Post-match, Zayn drops E with a Helluva Kick for good measure!

Kevin Owens sends a promo in from his car. He says he showed up for work today only to find he wasn’t allowed in the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings, and that’s fine. At the Royal Rumble there’s no more strings to pull, and they’re going to settle things once and for all. He can’t stay away, he can’t stop fighting, because Reigns has yet to beat him like a real champion.

He shows his fist tattoo with his grandfathers’ initials on them and says they always had his back all the way, his biggest fans. Nothing made them happier than seeing him in the ring, and his biggest regret will always be that he didn’t make it to WWE in time for either of them to see him on the big stage. The mark they left will always be there, he saw them battle illnesses and refuse to quit and because of that he was lucky enough to have many great years with them.

So how can he stop fighting? He’ll be the last man standing at the Royal Rumble.

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial, commentary hypes the Royal Rumble up.

The Street Profits are walking backstage carrying a fruit basket when they run into Sonya Deville, who is chatting to Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler leaves and they give her the fruit basket as congratulations for her new job. They’re not just here for gifts, though, they’re here to talk about their rematch for the tag titles against Entertainment Dysfunction.

She agrees that they deserve a rematch but Montez Ford isn’t healed up all the way yet, so for the time being she wants them to chill out and play hype men while some new teams get opportunities. They hesitate briefly but agree, Montez thanking her for the concern.

We see the ring crew setting the obstacle course up for Bianca Belair and Bayley, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Michael Cole hosts the obstacle course segment but Bayley quickly takes over and sends him back to the commentary desk.

Bayley vs. Bianca Belair (Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course)

Bayley up first, referee Jessika Carr presiding.

She flips the tractor tire with a bit of struggle, jogging down to the hurdles, taking them with aplomb. She sizes up the low walls and sidesteps them in turn. Fireman’s carry on Chad Gable next, she gets him right up and staggers across the finish line, falling to her knees. She dribbles the basket, misses on her first shot but lays it in for a time of 1:12.

Before Belair starts, Bayley wants to EST up the course, and they substitute higher hurdles in.

Bianca on the move, popping the tire up and over with ease, running the hurdles, leaping the walls, fifty seconds left as she gets to Chad Gable, but he introduces Otis Dozovic out from under the ring for her to fireman’s carry. She does so with aplomb, stayong her feet, drippling the basketball, taunting Bayley to do some defense but she sidesteps her, slam dunk... in 55 seconds!

Bianca Belair wins by 17 seconds.

Post-course, Bayley attacks Belair and lays her out over Carr’s complains, putting her shoulder-first into the post of the basketball hoop! Bianca is left writhing on the floor in agony.

Backstage, Dominik and Rey Mysterio are hanging out.

Rey is willing to do things his son’s way tonight, but if it goes poorly, he’s in charge for round two.

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial, we get some hype for tomorrow morning’s edition of Talking Smack.

King Baron Corbin vs. Dominik Mysterio

Collar and elbow, Mysterio ducks a lariat, flurry of strikes, shoved off but he hits an enzuigiri and sends Corbin into the ropes. Whip reversed, bodyscissors takeover sends Baron to the floor! Corbin with a lariat, back inside, cover, only two! Putting him in the corner, choking him over the bottom rope, body blows, short-arm, Dominik floats over, kick to the leg!

619 blocked, double leg, Mysterio lands on his feet but Baron drops him with a right hand! Short-arm...

King Baron Corbin wins by pinfall with the short-arm End of Days.

We see Paul Heyman walking backstage to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Paul Heyman (with taped fists!) makes his entrance but he trips over the steps a few times and can’t get back to his feet. He tells Jason Ayers and five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce that the card is subject to change, and here comes Roman Reigns!

No bell, no match, Superman Punch, Roman goes out and goes for the steps but Pearce cuts him off with a punch! Reigns with a low blow, he dumps Adam over the barricade and draws him up, throwing him into the ThunderDome LED board! Right hands, more tossing him into the LED board, fireman’s carry sets him up on the stage but Kevin Owens makes the save!

Reigns tosses him into the barricades and into the ring, where Owens lands a superkick! Kick to the gut, Stunner! Action to the floor, throwing the Big Dog into the barricade, referees and road agent Pat Buck tries to break it up, Owens hits another Stunner... POP-UP POWERBOMB THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE!

That’s the show, folks.

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