Date: January 21, 2022
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Pat McAfee, Michael Cole
We have less than two weeks to go before the Royal Rumble and that means it is time to finalize everything else for the show. That can take some effort and hopefully we will be seeing some of it tonight. Odds are a lot of the focus is going to be on Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins so let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s showdown between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, with Rollins having to bail from the Usos.
Here are the Usos to get things going. They are here to acknowledge Roman Reigns, who is now the longest reigning Universal Champion in history. This brings out Reigns, who takes his time getting to the ring. Reigns holds out his hand for Jimmy, who puts the microphone in his hand. After telling Nashville to acknowledge him, we get a highlight package on Reigns’ title reign, including his major title defenses and a count of his days as champion.
Before Reigns can say anything, here is Seth Rollins to interrupt (McAfee: “You son of a b****.”). Rollins says that was a nice video, but now it’s time to end the show. Reigns had to send his cousins to Raw to attack him but all Reigns had to do was give him a call because he has Rollins’ number. Instead, we need to celebrate the Usos, because they hold up Reigns’ title, “just like me and Mox did in the Shield.” Reigns: “Did John Cena write that promo for you?”
Reigns says their match will be one on one, but Rollins wants to beat the Usos tonight to guarantee that they will be gone. Jey points out that Rollins doesn’t have a partner because no one likes him….but here is Kevin Owens to take the spot. Reigns wants to raise the stakes: if Rollins and Owens lose, the Rumble title match is off and Reigns is going on vacation until Wrestlemania. Rollins says he’s on.
Here are Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin to brag about their recent success, along with saying Kofi Kingston has no friends.
Madcap Moss vs. Kofi Kingston
Happy Corbin is here too….so Kofi brings out Big E. to even things up. Moss shoulders Kingston down to start but he comes back with a middle rope spinning dropkick. Kingston gets sent outside, where he jumps off the steps to take Moss down again. Big E. takes out Corbin and we go to a break. Back with Moss hitting a spinebuster but missing a charge into the corner. A top rope hurricanrana gives Kingston two as Big E. continues to look on stoically. Moss plants him again for two more but it’s Trouble in Paradise to give Kofi the pin at 7:42.
Rating: C. I can support anything that involves Moss getting kicked in the face and at least his roll slows down a bit. Moss is someone that WWE seems to want to push at least a little bit, but he isn’t someone who needs to be dominating every match. Kingston slowing him down a big is a good thing, though I could go for less Moss and Corbin in general.
Post match Corbin, who is holding his arm, gets up to stare at Big E., who gives Moss the Big Ending.
Aliyah vs. Natalya
Rematch from last week where Aliyah won in three seconds. Summer Rae, billed as a legend and now with red hair, is watching from the front row. Aliyah rolls her up for two to start but gets suplexed for her efforts. Back up and Aliyah is sent to the apron, where she comes back with a forearm. Natalya blasts her with the discus lariat for two, followed by the over the shoulder backbreaker. With that broken up, Natalya stomps away in the corner until it’s a DQ at 2:10.
Post match the beating stays on until Xia Li remembers that she still works here and comes out for the save.
Commentary hypes up Wrestlemania, with McAfee listing off about two dozen ways to describe how great it is, even busting out a dictionary.
Los Lotharios vs. Viking Raiders
Erik slams Humberto to start and then slams Ivar onto him to make it worse. Angel comes in off a blind tag though and it’s Erik getting jumped from behind. That means Angel can TAKE OFF HIS PANTS and ti’s a double basement dropkick. The standing moonsault misses though and the hot tag brings in Ivar to clean house. Everything breaks down and Erik hits a powerbomb/World’s Strongest Slam at the same time. The Viking Experience finishes Humberto at 2:23.
We recap Naomi threatening Sonya Deville last week, causing Adam Pearce to give Naomi another Championship Contender’s match this week.
Naomi vs. Charlotte
Non-title but a Champion’s Contender’s match, which Cole describes as an opportunity at an opportunity. Hold on though because here is Sonya Deville to be referee. Charlotte uses the distraction to forearm Naomi into the corner so the stomping can ensue. The Figure Four necklock has Naomi in trouble but she fights up for a springboard kick to the face. Charlotte is fine enough to grab a Boston crab, which doesn’t go very far.
Instead Charlotte tries the Figure Four but gets kicked off into Sonya. The Rear View connects but Sonya stays on the floor instead counting. Charlotte goes after the leg and puts on the Figure Four, drawing the bell for the submission at 2:24, before she even completes the hold. McAfee: “What in the Bret Hart is going on?” I’d call it a story that has long since been made clear but we’re still hammering it in because WWE has a problem with getting to the point.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens are ready for the main event, with Owens saying it’s time to take out the Usos so they can’t screw Rollins over again. Rollins says the risk is worth the reward, because he beats Reigns every time.
Here is Sami Zayn for the latest episode of In-Zayn, which will be looking at self defense. Johnny Knoxville once got famous by looking at a bunch of these weapons, and that is what Sami is going to do again here. We’ll start with a stun gun designed to stop large animals, including a rhinoceros. Sami shoots himself in the leg but doesn’t go off his feet. We’ll crank it up to level two, with this one going into his heart.
That one takes him off his feet, but here is Johnny Knoxville to interrupt. He doesn’t think much of Sami mocking his career, and points out that Sami didn’t turn the stun gun on. Knoxville fixes that for him and shocks Zayn down, complete with Mountie shock stick sound effects. Sami can’t stand up so Knoxville tosses him over the top.
Eric Bischoff is in Adam Pearce’s office when Sonya Deville comes in. Pearce isn’t happy with what she has been doing, so he is going to recommend she face Naomi next week, one on one.
Video on the new WWE 2K game.
Sheamus vs. Ricochet
Ridge Holland is back and in Sheamus’ corner. Sheamus knees him down to start and grabs a chinlock, with Ricochet jawbreaking his way to freedom. The forearms to the chest put Ricochet down again, as Cole says the only title Sheamus has won everything but the Intercontinental Title. Or the 24/7 Title. Or the Universal Title. Ricochet knocks him to the floor but his suicide dive is kneed out of the air. Back in and the Brogue Kick finishes Ricochet at 3:18.
Rating: C-. Remember last week when these two had a nice match that got some time? This was almost nothing like that as Ricochet got squashed while getting in very little offense. Sheamus winning a midcard match is fine, but I’m really not sure why they needed to run this back when Sheamus beat him soundly enough last week.
Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura run into Jeff Jarrett, with Boogs knocking how to spell his name. Jeff likes Boogs’ guitar playing but asks if Boogs can spell his name. Boogs looks to have cut his hair and looks quite a bit like Robert/Rick Rude.
Usos vs. Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins
Non-title but if the Rollins/Owens win, the Usos are barred from the Royal Rumble title match. If the Usos won, the title match is off. Rollins rolls Jimmy up for two to start and Jimmy bails to the floor, where he complains of a pull of his tights. Back in and the Usos stomp Rollins down in the corner. Rollins fights up and it’s Jimmy being taken into the other corner for some alternating stomps of his own. A Jey distraction lets Jimmy crotch Rollins though and the stomping in the corner is on again.
That one doesn’t last long either as Rollins is back up with the tag to Owens so house can be cleaned. The Cannonball looks to set up the Swanton but Jey gets the knees up. Owens is sent outside and into the barricade as we take a break. Back with Owens still in trouble but managing an enziguri for a breather. The tag brings in Rollins to clean house, including a suicide dive onto both Usos.
The springboard knee to the face gets two on Jey so Rollins loads up the Buckle Bomb. That’s broken up though and the Alley Us gives Jimmy two. Everything breaks down and Owens gets caught on top, only to hit the spinning fisherman’s superplex for two. It’s back to Rollins to strike away on both Usos until a superkick takes him down. The Stunner hits Jey and Rollins superkicks Jimmy. A forearm to the back of the head hits Jimmy and the Stomp connects but here is Roman Reigns to lay Rollins out for the DQ at 15:03.
Rating: B. I’m guessing the idea is that Reigns is so confident that he can beat Rollins on his own that he doesn’t care if the Usos are there or not, but it doesn’t exactly make him look smart. It can be made better if they explain that next week, though commentary saying something about it this week might have helped a bit. It also doesn’t help that this felt like a last second way out of the Usos losing because time was up. I’ll take the lack of a pin, but explain your story a bit better than that.
Reigns storms off and Rollins smiles to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The main event was good but this felt like a good bit of placeholder matches which didn’t really do much for the Royal Rumble. Ricochet and Naomi lose again and we continue the epic Natalya vs. Aliyah feud. The important part of the Royal Rumble is set, though it would have been nice to build up some other participants instead of focusing on stuff like Moss and Sonya Deville. Pretty much a throwaway show here and not their best effort.
Kofi Kingston b. Madcap Moss – Trouble in Paradise
Aliyah b. Natalya via DQ when Natalya attacked her in the corner
Viking Raiders b. Los Lotharios – Viking Raiders to Humberto
Charlotte b. Naomi – Figure Four
Sheamus b. Ricochet – Brogue Kick
Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens b. Usos via DQ when Roman Reigns interfered
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