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WWE SmackDown results, recap, reactions (Jan. 22, 2021): Must see TV

SmackDown had its first misstep in a few weeks.

Thankfully, it had nothing to do with the best storyline in wrestling today. We’ll get to the bad later.

This show succeeded in silencing those who were upset to have not seen Roman Reigns be staring up at the lights yet. It happened thanks to the best babyface in the company at the moment.

SmackDown’s best quality aside from consistency, is actually the other thing that WWE gets so wrong with Raw - getting people over. They’re doing that brilliantly with so many people on this show. Owens got the best look here, but even after the beatdown by Bayley, Bianca carrying Otis was an amazing visual. Cesaro, Nakamura, Banks, Big E, and Crews are also getting that good treatment.

It makes me realize more and more that WWE is capable of making shows fun to watch. So… why not do that then? Three hours is too long for a wrestling show, but attempt to make it fun. Most Monday nights so far this year have been YouTube clip shows.

SmackDown is must see TV. Vince, wouldn’t you like to see all this positivity for Raw?

Let’s talk about the main hits and misses of this show. For a full rundown of SmackDown, check out the live blog by Rev. Claire Elizabeth!

Living for the violence

Roman Reigns said that Kevin Owens and Adam Pearce thought they pulled something on him.

We aren’t going to see Owens because he says so. Card subject to change is how losers think. It means people are scared to come to work. It took a pandemic and his health to keep him out of the ring.

Reigns asked what if he was a “puss” (my GOD) like Pearce and said that his body parts hurt, specifically his back because he’s been carrying WWE for years. So Pearce came out and Reigns just tore him a new one. How dare he say he’s in pain and whine about it. Reigns has been the workhorse and always showed up every time.

Heyman was laughing at what Roman was saying, and Pearce called him out. So Reigns gave Paul the mic, and he said that he’s from New York (so am I come at me bro) and he’ll take on Pearce tonight on a verbal agreement. Adam shook his hand and accepted.

Later, Heyman said that Roman was brilliant. Thinking that they pulled one over on Pearce, Heyman was really playing it up, but Reigns said that no he actually now has to face Pearce. That was brilliant, but then we see what was really going on.

Heyman came out in the main event and faked an injury and said “card subject to change.” Bait and switch! Roman came out to face Pearce instead and Roman beat him up all over the ThunderDome. Surprise Kevin Owens appearance and he dominated Reigns for the very first time. He gave Reigns two stunners and a pop up powerbomb through the announce table.

This is the first time since Roman returned that he was laid out effectively and not standing tall to end SmackDown. And it was done brilliantly. I love that Owens got the most babyface fire after the amazing promo he cut earlier, which I’ve talked about in a bit. It was legitimately a good feeling.

I don’t know if Jey Uso’s absence on this show was planned but it certainly made Reigns look a bit weak after all this time. We know that Jey has been the enforcer and the main reason why Reigns is still champion. If Owens was a normal man, he should be deathly afraid of showing up to work next week.

But Owens is not normal. He lives for the violence. It’s lovely.

Reginald’s debut

So I guess this was more of an intergender match than that one with James Ellsworth!

Yo. Reginald is INSANE. Like literally moves like a cruiserweight. Like… better than a cruiserweight even.

He was very cocky and tried giving Sasha Banks a rose and Banks SLAPPED him. He was a perfect jerk here, sliding out of the ring and flipping over the steel steps. Reginald caught Banks trying to do a cross body and went out of the ring again, and she did a meteora.

There was some matrix-esque stuff into another meteora in the ring, and Banks locked in a Bank Statement for the win.

Honestly I thought they were going to bait and switch us again, and I’m pleasantly surprised that we got an actual match. Reginald had less offense and more defense, which worked perfectly. Sasha had her moments and it was great, too. No complaints with this. We know Carmella is going to have another match, and now she has to avenge her tossed champagne.

But like… can we get more of Reginald?

Emotional message

Wow. Okay so I actually teared up watching this promo.

Kevin Owens sent us a message from his car. He showed up for work and was told he wasn’t allowed in the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings. He can’t stay away and can’t stop fighting, because Reigns has yet to beat him like a real champion.

And then it got real personal. He shows his hand tattoo with his grandfathers’ initials on them and says they always had his back all the way and were 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 went on to talk about them having illnesses and I was tearing up through this. It’s probably one of the best promos I’ve heard from Owens.

We must protect Owens with our lives. I’d like to hug him one day. This man can sell me a ticket any time.

The Rest

Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course

Tires, hurdles, boards, basketball, and… Chad Gable. Bayley started by lifting the tire and going through the tiny obstacles and fireman’s carry to Gable. The final basketball shot was taken and all Belair had to do was beat the time of one minute and twelve seconds.

Before she could start though, Bayley decided to “EST” the course with normal hurdles. When Bianca cleared all that, Otis was chosen to be the person she had to fireman’s carry over the line, which she did with ease. She beat Bayley at her own game with time to spare, and then sore loser Bayley attacked her. This actually ended up being really fun. I love Bianca so much and I want her to win the Royal Rumble this year.

Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler

This was a nice back and forth bout. First up, Bryan came out and said he wants to win the Rumble for the first time in his career. Cesaro came out and said that as the first Andre Memorial Battle Royal winner, he’s very experienced and will make sure that doesn’t happen. So instead of fighting Bryan, he issued an open challenge which Ziggler accepted.

Ziggler got a sleeper hold and Cesaro did the swing and it was a real good one. Haven’t seen a really good swing like that in a bit. That led to an awesome pin reversal and then Ziggler hit a desperation Zig Zag he couldn’t capitalize on. Cesaro picked up the win with a Neutralizer. Cesaro’s looking strong! Let’s keep that going please.

Big E vs. Apollo Crews ends in a ref stoppage

The urgency was here yet again as both men exploded to start. Crews did the standing moonsault for a two count. Both men were up on the ropes and Crews drop kicked E. And then Sami Zayn who handcuffed himself to a barrier outside for the whole show up to this point took off the handcuffs and Helluva kicked both Crews and E and ended the match. No one looked bad here, which is a delight. Thinking we may see a triple threat coming out of this!

King Corbin defeated Dominik Mysterio

Corbin delivered a nasty clothesline and dominated to start the match. He went for End of Days but Dominik rolled through. Dominik tried to gain some momentum, but Corbin gave him a stiff punch and succeeded on the second End of Days for a quick win. I would have liked to see a bit more out of this, but I guess this is just to further possible dissension between father and son. Rey was trying to coach his son before this match but Dom said he was confident in his abilities. Welp. Time to listen to Papa!

Charlotte Flair and Asuka defeated The Riott Squad

Alright so, this was a weird one. The past couple of SmackDowns have been ace top to bottom, but this match was the least interesting for a few reasons. What was the point of this match? Why were Natalya and Tamina shown in the back watching? No mention of Alexa fighting Asuka, no mention of the Flair/Lacey Evans stuff. The last time Asuka and Charlotte were together was the night after TLC. That’s very odd. I’m not too happy about Riott Squad losing here either. Just not the best stuff here. Not a bad match, but very little to no consistency with the women’s tag division.

Grade: B+

What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?

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