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WWE SmackDown results, live blog (Jan. 20, 2023): Contract signing

WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 20, 2023) with a live show emanating from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, featuring the latest build towards this month’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) event.

Advertised for tonight: Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns sign a contract to make their Universal championship match at Royal Rumble official.

Elsewhere on the card: A tournament to determine number one contenders to the SmackDown tag team titles kicks off with a first round match between Banger Bros. and Viking Raiders, additional wrestlers will be named for the Royal Rumble matches, and more!

Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (Note: Links to illegal streams are prohibited. Pics and GIFs are allowed.)


It’s breaking out all over the world and like flies they’re dropping. Invading here would be absurd but once they start there’s no stopping. There’s no use holding your head in your hands, it won’t go away, so I’m gonna liveblog this here pro wrestling show for you, folks.

The show opens with a recap of last week’s Bloodline angle.

Cut to a loading dock where the Bloodline are rolling up to the arena for the night. Handshakes and smiles all around, except for Roman Reigns, who leaves Sami Zayn hanging on a fist bump and glowers at him.

Banger Bros. (Drew McIntyre & Sheamus) vs. Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament First Round Match)

Brawling early, to the floor, Sheamus taking on the Vikings singlehandedly after they take McIntyre out together! Back inside, Beats of the Bodhran, Ivar takes him to the floor and rams him into the corner and we go to break!

Back from commercial, Erik is grinding Sheamus down, and eventually he tags Drew in! McIntyre in hot with belly-to-belly suplexes and jumping neckbreakers, kip-up, fired up! Michinoku Driver on Ivar... NOPE! Up top, jockeying for position, Erik saves his partner for a moment but Sheamus comes over!

White Noise on Erik, spider belly-to-belly superplex on Ivar and we go to break with all four men down and out!

Back from commercial, Ivar hammering Drew with back elbows in the corner, whip across, big lariat from the big Scot! Front kick, underhooks, Future Shock and he kips up! Tags made, Sheamus and Erik trading strikes but the Celtic Warrior hits the powerslam! Fighting the vikings two-on-one, Sheamus gets the edge...

Banger Bros. win by pinfall with a Brogue Kick from Sheamus on Ivar.

Backstage, Sami Zayn asks Roman Reigns for a quick second to talk and the Tribal Chief tells him to sit.

Zayn says he can’t help but notice Roman was acting a little frosty and he wants to make sure everything’s cool. Reigns says he saw how he looked last week and he knows he’s trying to cover it up tonight, so he wants to hear it from him straight. Sami demures but Roman insists.

Sami says he was a little disappointed last week because he took a lot of pride in being put in charge of the Kevin Owens problem and he was about to put him away when the Usos came out, so he felt a little slighted not knowing the Usos were coming out. KO keeps saying he’s being used and in that moment, for a split second...

Reigns tells him to get out, he’s not doing this every week, just get out. It blows his mind that he’s being asked to run his game plan past the honorary Uce. Just go find Kevin and your own Bloodline and stop using him. Paul Heyman tells a stunned Sami Zayn to leave.

LA Knight is walking backstage and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Raquel Rodriguez cuts a promo about how she’s going to win the Royal Rumble in her home state and have the biggest moment of her career.

LA Knight gets on the mic and talks trash at Bray Wyatt’s cryptic waffling and says he’ll turn his switch off at the Royal Rumble.

Greg Jones vs. LA Knight

Collar and elbow, into the corner, Bray Wyatt mind games with the lights and the tron, Jones with right hands, whip across, big lariat takes him off his feet and LA capitalizes posthaste...

LA Knight wins by pinfall with the snapmare driver.

Post-match, we get the Firefly Fun House intro as he dumps Greg out of the ring.

“Abandon all hope who exit here” is written by the door and the Firefly Fun Pals are shown slowly waking up and shaking the dust off.

Bray Wyatt’s plumber’s crack is covered by the moth graphic as he puts the finishing touches by the door and welcomes us to the show.

He says he missed us and he can’t wait to have fun with his friends once again. Ramblin’ Rabbit talks about how LA Knight is like the Miz but with muscles and he’s scared of the dark, so the Pitch Black match is very scary. Bray asks what kind of deranged ding dong names their son Los Angeles Knight before telling Rabbit it’s normal to be afraid.

Things like to hide in the dark, and you should be scared.

The image goes scrambled and Uncle Howdy laughs and laughs, saying he just needs a little push. Back to Wyatt he says he hopes his son is fine and he understands that he opened the door and whatever comes through it is his problem, and he’ll see Knight at the Royal Rumble.

And so we go to break.

Hit Row (Ashante “Thee” Adonis & Top Dollar) vs. Los Lotharios (Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament First Round Match)

Carrillo and Adonis to start, tags made as the feeling out continues and then tags right back to Ashante and Humberto. 540 roundhouse catches Carrillo on the jaw, duck a lariat from Dolla, assisted dropkick takes him out, Lotharios with stereo dives! Back inside, a distraction from B-FAB and Ashante catches him...

Hit Row win by pinfall with a schoolboy from Ashante Adonis on Humberto Carrillo.

We get another Cody Rhodes vignette and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Braun Strowman cuts a promo about how he’s going to win the Royal Rumble.

Charlotte Flair makes her entrance and gets on the mic.

She gives Detroit a “Wooo!” and calls Sonya Deville to the ring.

Enter Sonya Deville.

She says she doesn’t care what this dirty, disgusting city wants, she cares about what she wants and deserves, and that’s a title opportunity. And if you’d get off your high horse you’d see she’s a star every time she walks through that curtain.

Charlotte says she sees it and Sonya is a star and she’s always told her this. But is she saying the other women in the back aren’t stars? What does she thinks makes her special? Flair calls her arrogant and entitled and points out that not only did she call her shot and lose, but she tapped out!

So if she wants the title, get in line and go to the Royal Rumble, but if she wants to fight, she’s happy to go right now. Sonya, of course, does not want to fight...

...unless Charlotte wants to put her title on the line.

Enter Adam Pearce.

He berates Sonya, who immediately clobbers Flair with a forearm to the back of the head and scuttles off!

Backstage with Roman Reigns, he asks Paul Heyman if he can believe this guy, and Paul says he hasn’t liked Sami Zayn since day one, but he supports Roman’s vision for the Island of Relevancy. As his Wise Man, just perhaps if he could take into his ruthless consideration, isn’t it better to keep Sami on-side before defending the title against Kevin Owens.

As it were, to have him inside the castle pissing out, rather than outside the castle pissing in.

And on that delightful analogy, we go to break.

Back from commercial we get another distressingly militarily-oriented Lacey Evans promo.

Brawling Brutes (Pete “Butch” Dunne & Ridge Holland) vs. Imperium (Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament First Round Match)

Vinci and Holland to start, collar and elbow, soon enough Imperium are working Dunne over, in control, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Butch tags Ridge in, big lariats for Kaiser, scoop lift, sprinning him around, Snake Eyes! Charging elbow, Stinger Splash, running powerslam! Back body drop for both Imperium lads, apron moonsault from Butch, double-teaming Ludwig but Giovanni puts Ridge into the steel steps!

Ankle pick, ankle lock, flying armbar, Vinci tags in and gets a nearfall off a double jump moonsault! Dunne with a tornado DDT for some breathing room, tags made! Kaiser with a boot and an overhand chop, off the second into a headbutt, belly-to-belly suplex from Holland!

Ridge with a fireman’s carry, Vinci runs interference, enzuigiri and a boot from Butch takes both of Imperium down but not out and Giovanni catches him off the apron into a sheerdrop brainbuster! Imperium hoist Ridge up...

Imperium win by pinfall with the Imperium Bomb on Ridge Holland.

A dejected Sami Zayn sits alone on a road case when Paul Heyman rolls up to tell him his Tribal Chief would like to see him, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Shayna Baszler cuts a promo where she talks about how she’s going to win the Royal Rumble because she’s gonna break everybody’s arm or something.

We get a Raw XXX promo reel.

Karrion Kross cuts a promo about his match against Rey Mysterio next week and says he usually gets hyped before matches but not this time, because Rey can’t decide if he’s a family man or the greatest in the business, and after he takes him out, he’s gonna win the Royal Rumble.

Legado del Fantasma make their entrance to send us to break.

Legado del Fantasma (Cruz del Toro & Joaquin Wilde) vs. Maximum Male Models (Mace & Mansoor) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament First Rond Match)

Zelina Vega is on commentary for this one.

Wilde and Mansoor to start, Joaquin running hot, low bridge sends him to the floor. Mansoor off the ropes, del Toro runs in, Mace and Mansoor dump him to the floor! Off the ropes, posing instead of diving! Legado back in it with actual dives of their own, arm wringer and a tag to Cruz!

Arm wringer, double suplex into an assisted splash for two. Taking Mace off his feet with a missile dropkick, setting Mansoor up...

Legado del Fantasma win by pinfall with an enzuigiri / side Russian legsweep combination on Mansoor.

Backstage, Sami Zayn returns to Roman Reigns’ office.

Reigns says it’s no secret, he’s got a temper and that’s why he puts people in place like the Wise Man, to counsel that anger. Apparently he wasn’t hearing Sami, who just wanted clear communication, to be part of the game plan, part of the team. He’s a perfectionist, just like Roman, and that’s why they get along and why this works.

A grateful Sami thanks Roman for understanding and admits he walked in here expecting the worst and it means the world to hear that from him. Reigns says that’s on him and he expects the same amount of love, respect, and loyalty that he gives out. Zayn says they all love him, he’s the one steering the whole ship and it’s nothing without him.

Sami says he’ll always put what’s best for the Bloodline and this family first. Any time and anything, just tell him and he’ll do it. Roman tells him to find the Usos and make sure they’re in place, the SUVs are ready, the pilots are ready and the jet’s ready to go so they can get out of here once the contracts are signed.

Zayn says it’s better than done and thanks him again. He offers a fist, Reigns says he owes him one and gives him the bump. Paul whispers a thanks of his own as Sami leaves.

We see the crew dressing the ring for the contract signing and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Adam Pearce is in the ring to oversee the contract signing.

Roman Reigns makes his entrance at some length.

Kevin Owens slides in through the crowd and lays Roman Reigns out with a Stunner! Superkick to Solo Sikoa, the Usos pull Owens out of the ring and they brawl on the floor but Kev manages to take them out with a superkick! Back inside as Reigns starts to recover... POP-UP POWERBOMB THROUGH THE TABLE!

KO signs the contract!

Sami Zayn runs in to confront his former best friend! Kev throws the contract at him and runs, Zayn follows after but Owens gets away through the crowd!

The Usos tend to Roman.

That’s the show, folks.

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