Date: January 14, 2022
Location: CHI Health Center, Omaha, Nebraska
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
We are just over two weeks away from the royal Rumble and the big match on this side is Roman Reigns defending the Universal Title against Raw’s Seth Rollins. That is likely going to mean Brock Lesnar will be getting involved and I’m curious to see where that is going to go. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar arguing over Paul Heyman, leading to Reigns dropping Lesnar with a Superman Punch. Then Seth Rollins was announced as the opponent in a bit of a weird pick.
Here are the Usos for a chat. They talk about how the only team to ever give them a real fight is the New Day, but they beat them again last week. Instead of helping Roman Reigns against Seth Rollins, we need to have a four way to consider the #1 contendership. Jimmy even handles the entrances, with a special/not so serious voice.
Los Lotharios vs. Viking Raiders vs. Cesaro/Mansoor vs. Jinder Mahal/Shanky
One fall to a finish and the Usos throw in some brief instructions, including remember that they’re the ones. The Usos fire off some superkicks but get sent to the floor so the brawl can be on. We take a break before the bell and come back joined in progress with Humberto diving into an atomic drop from Mansoor.
Cesaro comes in but Erik tags himself in to kick away at Shanky. Mansoor and Cesaro head outside for some reason but come back up to see Jinder beating on Erik in the corner. Erik fights over and brings in Ivar, who is driven into Shanky’s face in the corner. Ivar gets caught on top though and Cesaro/Mahal (weird combination) load up a double superplex. That takes too long though and Erik makes it a Tower of Doom as we take a break.
Back with Cesaro getting the hot tag to clean house, including hammering away on Humberto. Ivar tags himself back in so Cesaro takes him down for the start of a swing. Mahal breaks that up with a Khallas and it’s time for the parade of people hitting each other. Erik gets double superkicked and Los Lotharios dive onto Cesaro and Mansoor. Back in and Ivar cleans house, setting up the Viking Experience to finish Angel at 9:31.
Rating: C+. They kept this one fast enough and had everyone getting in there as fast as they could. The Raiders are the only team on Smackdown that feels like they could be a threat to the Usos so this was the best way they could have gone. If nothing else, it is almost interesting to see who they randomly throw Cesaro with on a given week, as the nothing teams just keep coming.
Post match the Usos get on the announcers’ table and shout at the Raiders, who can’t raid Samoa.
Naomi comes in to see Sonya Deville and wants to know why Deville is holding her back. Deville says when the jacket is on, she is Naomi’s boss and she doesn’t like Naomi’s attitude. Now Naomi needs to get out of here before she loses her Royal Rumble match. This is every interaction these two have had for months now. Naomi leaves so Adam Pearce comes in to talk about how cold Sonya has the temperature in here. Oh I have a bad feeling about where this is going.
We look at some of the history between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, mainly looking at the original Shield run.
Here is Sami Zayn to talk about how the conspiracy against him is finally going to end, but now there is a new cast member in the conspiracy: Johnny Knoxville. We see Knoxville throwing him over the top last week, with Sami saying he is going to show the world that no one can is better at being a jackass than him. After realizing that might not be the best wording, it’s time for the debut of his own stunt show: InZayn!
There is a wooden ramp set up but Sami runs to the back, only to come out in a shopping cart with two guys pushing him. He is going to use that ramp to jump the ring….but it does look kind of far. It’s so far that he changes his mind at the last second. Zayn gets in the ring but here is Rick Boogs for a distraction. Shinsuke Nakamura comes in for Kinshasa and Boogs gorilla pressed Zayn over the top and onto the crash pad.
Aliyah is ready for her singles debut and hopes she doesn’t embarrass herself. Natalya comes in to say there is no shame in embarrassing yourself against her because she has three Guinness World Records. Natalya even has the book, which Aliyah didn’t know was still a thing. The glare sends Aliyah to the ring.
Aliyah vs. Natalya
After Aliyah makes her entrance, Natalya is still in the back to talk about her records: most matches by a woman in WWE history, most pay per view matches in WWE history and most wins by a woman in WWE history. Tonight, she is going to set the record for fastest win in WWE history, breaking the mark of 3.8 seconds. Natalya stomps her down in the corner and unloads before the bell. The referee says she can’t do this but Aliyah says she can….but there is no match anyway. Actually scratch that as the bell rings and Aliyah rolls her up for the pin at 3 seconds. Why yes, that is a new WWE record for a fastest pin at 3.1 seconds.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville think it is getting hot in their office but the thermostat seems to be broken.
More Reigns vs. Rollins history, this time looking at Rollins turning on the Shield.
Michael Cole brings out Lita (looking rather orange) for the first time on Smackdown in nearly 20 years. Lita is glad to be home and is proud of her career. She never got to be in the Royal Rumble in her day though and now she is going to win the match and headline Wrestlemania. Cue Charlotte to interrupt, saying she will handle this interview. Charlotte says this run that Lita is on will be over, with the Wrestlemania dreams being over.
Lita has heard about Charlotte and doesn’t get the flashback Friday Tonya Harding thing. She doesn’t get how Charlotte doesn’t tip over with that giant head. The fans chant GIANT HEAD but Charlotte says she can’t hear it. Charlotte talks about beating Trish Stratus at Summerslam 2019, sending her back into retirement. Maybe Charlotte can do that to Lita too, which causes things to get physical. Lita leaves her laying with a Twist of Fate.
We look at Ricochet breaking Ridge Holland’s nose at Day One.
Sheamus is ready to get some revenge for Holland’s sake.
Ricochet vs. Sheamus
Ricochet headlock takeovers him to start but Sheamus fights up and hits a hard shoulder. Back up and Ricochet knocks him to the floor with a running shoulder of his own. Sheamus heads around the ring and sweeps the leg to drop Ricochet onto the apron. A catapult sends Ricochet face first into the bottom of the ring as we take a break.
Back with Ricochet fighting up from a double arm crank and striking away. The Brogue Kick misses and Sheamus is sent to the apron, where Ricochet gets him tied up in the ropes. A springboard moonsault hits Sheamus’ back for two but the shooting star misses. Sheamus hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and gets rather annoyed. The ten forearms to the chest rock Ricochet so Sheamus goes up, only to get sent face first into the post. A springboard sunset bomb gives Ricochet two and a regular sunset flip gets the same. Then the Brogue Kick knocks Ricochet silly for the pin at 9:57.
Rating: C+. This was getting good near the end and then finished pretty fast. I tried not to convince myself to believe that Ricochet had a chance but he managed to make it work again. He’s so easy to turn into an underdog but for some reason he is never allowed to win anything and it gets a little tiring.
We look back at Aliyah’s record setting win, which is an official record.
Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce are still complaining about the heat so Pearce goes to see maintenance. Sonya takes the jacket off so here’s Naomi to say it’s time for a fight. Pearce comes back in to say not so fast and Sonya puts the jacket back on. To calm things down, Pearce makes Naomi vs. Charlotte again for next week.
We look at Seth Rollins cashing in Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania XXXI.
Kofi Kingston vs. Madcap Moss
Before the match, Kingston reads a proclamation that King Woods is injured and out of the Royal Rumble, but Kingston will be taking his place. Cue Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss to say Corbin will be in the Rumble, which makes them as happy as they have been since they injured Drew McIntyre. We see a clip of the attack on McIntyre, before Moss makes a joke about Kingston being scared of him. Kofi laughs so hysterically that he falls to the mat before knocking Moss to the floor. The big dive connects on Corbin and Moss as we take an early break.
Back with Kingston fighting out of a chinlock but getting planted with a powerslam. Kofi fires off some clotheslines and kicks Moss in the face in the corner. Moss rolls through a high crossbody though, only to have Kofi load up the SOS. That’s countered with a rake to the face though and the Punchline finishes Kingston at 5:40. Not enough shown to rate but this was a short way to build Moss up, because the world needs more Moss.
Here are Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for their face to face showdown. Reigns tells Omaha to acknowledge him but Rollins throws out the Shield fist. Reigns says that’s beneath him but Rollins brings up that Reigns has never beaten him in a title match. That makes Reigns laugh because while Rollins is still in the past, he is the best ever. Rollins says he was climbing the ladder while Reigns was on the bench in the Canadian Football League. Then Rollins turned on him in the Shield and Reigns STILL needed help getting to the top.
Rollins created him and he can destroy him, but Reigns says if he wanted to face a star, Rollins wouldn’t even be his pick out of his house. He would have faced Rollins’ wife, so here are the Usos to chase Rollins off. Rollins says he’ll destroy Reigns to end the show. There were some good lines here but I don’t think we need much to hype up a Rollins vs. Reigns title match.
Overall Rating: C-. I wasn’t feeling most of this one as it didn’t exactly seem like much happened. The Lita appearance was nice and they added a few people to the Rumble, but other than that it was kind of a show that came and went. Naomi vs. Sonya continues to just kind of sit there, and I’m almost scared to imagine them dragging that all the way to Wrestlemania. The good thing is they have most of the important stuff set for the pay per view, but another match or two might be a good idea. Not their best show here, as it felt like a bit of an off week.
Viking Raiders b. Los Lotharios, Cesaro/Mansoor and Jinder Mahal/Shanky – Viking Experience to Humberto
Aliyah b. Natalya – Rollup
Sheamus b. Ricochet – Brogue Kick
Madcap Moss b. Kofi Kingston – Punchline
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