1/15 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell’s review of the Roman Reigns vs. Adam Pearce contract signing for the WWE Universal Title match at the Royal Rumble, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jey Uso, Rey Mysterio vs. King Corbin


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,117)
Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Aired live on January 15, 2021 on Fox

[Hour One] Smackdown opened with a recap of the Roman Reigns and Adam Pearce storyline… The broadcast team was Michael Cole and Corey Graves, and Greg Hamilton was the ring announcer…

Backstage, Roman Reigns was shown reading over a contract while Paul Heyman stood behind him. Heyman said it was a boilerplate contract. When Reigns looked displeased, Heyman said he didn’t like it from the moment he read it. Heyman said the match needs a stipulation that will allow Reigns to teach Pearce a lesson in respect. Heyman took the contract and told Reigns that he could consider the situation handled…

Jey Uso made his entrance. Once in the ring, Uso took a mic and welcomed viewers to “The Bloodline Show.” Uso said he and Reigns run the show, not Pearce, Kevin Owens, or anyone in the WWE Universe. “My family is the one calling the shots,” Uso said. He added that Pearce would find this out the hard way at the Royal Rumble.

Uso said they weren’t satisfied with just Smackdown. He said everyone should be thanking Reigns. Uso announced that he would be in the Royal Rumble match. He said he would win the match, then beat Drew McIntyre or Goldberg or whoever the WWE Champion is at WrestleMania. Uso said his bloodline is the entire WWE.

Uso recalled Shinsuke Nakamura beating Rey Mysterio, King Corbin, and Daniel Bryan in last week’s gauntlet match. He said Nakamura’s run ended because of his family, and Nakamura is lucky that they let him survive. Uso was interrupted by Nakamura’s entrance. Once in the ring, Nakamura told Uso that if his cousin is the Big Dog, that makes Uso his little puppy. Uso tried to charge Nakamura, who dropped him with a kick. Cole said Nakamura would face Uso after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A decent promo from Uso that started to overstay its welcome by the end. WWE piped in cheers for Nakamura, so he’s clearly a babyface now.

1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jey Uso. Nakamura was on the offensive when Cesaro’s entrance music played and he walked to ringside. Nakaura ran Uso into the ring post heading into a break. [C] Cesaro sat in on commentary and announced that he was entering the Royal Rumble match and would challenge Reigns if he wins.

Uso rolled up Nakamura and pinned him while using the ropes for leverage, but referee Charles Robinson spotted it and waved off the pin. Uso bickered with Robinson. Nakamura took advantage of the distraction and ended up hitting the Kinshasa and scoring the pin.

Shinsuke Nakamura beat Jey Uso in 12:20.

Powell’s POV: A well worked match that ended up being a little more back and forth than I anticipated. I thought Nakamura would go over clean and strong to continue the big boost he was given last week. This didn’t hurt Nakamura, but I’m not sure how much it really helped. The broadcast team asked Cesaro why he didn’t help Nakamura last week and he cited the size of the venue preventing him from getting to the ring, so it sure seems like he is going to remain a heel.

Graves hyped Bayley’s new talkshow “Ding Dong, Hello” with guest Bianca Belair…

Backstage, Adam Pearce was talking with Sonya Deville when Paul Heyman showed up with a contract that he presented it to Pearce. Heyman spoke about Pearce getting an opportunity by facing Reigns, then told Deville that her perfume was effective. Heyman told Pearce that the rules in the contract favor Pearce, then told him that it called for a No DQ match. Pearce signed the contract while saying he knew that the stipulation was meant to allow Reigns to injure him. Heyman smiled as he took the signed contract… [C]

Backstage, Uso barked at referee Charles Robinson that he needed to do his job better or he would be fired. Robinson asked him what he meant. Uso told him to do his job…

The broadcast team set up a sponsored ad that recapped Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode beating The Street Profits to win the Smackdown Tag Titles last week…

“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins were interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. She asked if it was wise to defend the tag titles against Roode and Ziggler just a week after they injured the knee of Ford. The Profits said they would run it back and it won’t be a rerun. They still want the smoke…

Backstage, Reigns spoke with Apollo Crews about taking control. Heyman returned with the contract. Crews was going to leave, but Reigns told him he could stay and learn. Reigns said he wouldn’t sign the contract because he never said he wanted a No DQ match. Reigns said he wanted a Last Man Standing contest. He told Heyman to handle the situation and said that he wanted to sign it in the ring…

Cole and Graves hyped previously advertised segments… [C] A Raw commercial listed Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka for Monday’s show…

2. Liv Morgan (w/Ruby Riott, Billie Kay) vs. Natalya (w/Tamina). Natalya’s entrance was not televised. Kay stormed out between Morgan and Riott wearing her version of Riott Squad gear. Kay sat in on commentary and said she’s friends with the Riott Squad. Natalya was dominant early on and put Morgan in a backbreaker submission hold, which Morgan eventually escaped.

Morgan rallied with a series of kicks. Natalya came back with a clothesline and got a two count. Meanwhile, Kay left the broadcast table. Morgan came back with a near fall and then performed double knees to the face of Natalya for another. Kay barked at the referee in front of Tamina, who asked why she was on the side of Riott Squad. Kay tried to enter the ring, which caused Morgan to stop going after Natalya, who then took advantage of the distraction with a rollup win…

Natalya pinned Liv Morgan in 4:35.

Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m not a big fan of the weekly over the top Kay comedy bit. On the bright side, at least they are telling a women’s division story that doesn’t involve the usual suspects.

3. Rey Mysterio vs. King Corbin. Dom sat in on commentary. When Cole spoke about how he’s known Dom since he was knee-high, Dom joked that Cole is getting old.

[Hour Two] Rey went for a 619 a few minutes into the match, but Corbin countered with a Deep Six for a near fall. Both men ended up at ringside. Corbin taunted Dom, who got up and ended up taking a cheap shot from Corbin. Rey kicked Corbin through the ropes. Dom tried to enter the ring to go after Corbin, but his father stopped him. Corbin shoved Rey into Dom, then hit Rey with End of Days and pinned him…

King Corbin pinned Rey Mysterio in 5:00.

Graves hyped Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro for later in the show…

Backstage, Heyman informed Pearce that Reigns didn’t sign the contract. Heyman tried to do the big buildup to the new stipulation. Pearce essentially told him to cut to the chase. Heyman told him about the Last Man Standing gimmick, then told him to take his time because he would inform Reigns of his decision in the ring…

The crew was shown constructing an in-ring set for Bayley’s new talkshow… [C]

Backstage, Dom was upset with his father for making him back down from Corbin. Rey ran through Corbin’s credentials. Dom still wanted to face him. Rey said that he knew just the guy they needed to talk to…

Bayley hosted the “Ding Dong, Hello” talkshow in the ring. There was a door frame, a couch, a stool, and a small table with an award for Bayley’s title reign. Bianca Belair was introduced as the guest. Bayley made her ring the doorbell and enter through the door.

Belair took Bayley’s seat. Bayley had footage air of her win over Belair. Bayley asked her why she calls herself the EST. Belair said it was a name she was given prior to her WWE run. She said she’s unapologetically being herself. Bayley pointed out that she beat Belair, who then challenged her to a rematch. Bayley said she had nothing to prove. Rather, she challenged Belair to run an obstacle course with her next week. Belair accepted the challenge…

Powell’s POV: Bayley is obviously the heel, but they still haven’t found the right approach with Belair’s competitive arrogance.

Daniel Bryan and Otis were being led through drills by Chad Gable when Kayla Braxton approached them. Bryan said the pursuit of excellence with Otis and Gable never ends. She asked if his confidence was hurt by losing to Nakamura. Gable told her no negativity.

Bryan said there’s no shame in losing to Nakamura. Bryan said he respects Nakamura and he assumes Nakamura respects him. Cesaro showed up and said the only Nakamura shook Bryan’s hand was that he felt bad for him. Cesaro mocked Gable’s training. Bryan said he would show Cesaro how well they work…

Cole pointed out that the previous backstage segment was from earlier today, then Bryan made his entrance… [C]

4. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro. Cesaro’s entrance was not televised this time around. Bryan catapulted Cesaro into the ropes. Cesaro sold neck pain and rolled to the floor. Bryan performed a dive from the top rope onto Cesaro on the floor. Bryan threw strikes at Cesaro, who ducked a kick that resulted in Bryan kicking the ring post. [C]

Cesaro put Bryan in a Sharpshooter while selling his own left arm. Cesaro had a cut on the side of his head. Bryan escaped the Sharpshooter and applied a crossface. Cesaro reached the bottom rope with his foot to break the hold. A short time later, Bryan set up for a running knee, but Cesaro hit him with a popup uppercut, then followed up with the Neutralizer and scored the clean pin…

Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan in 12:05.

Powell’s POV: So Gable’s training sucks after all? The usual strong match from Bryan and Cesaro with a surprising finish. I can’t even remember the last time that Cesaro got a meaningful singles match win. Here’s hoping that there’s more to come.

Kayla Braxton interviewed Carmella in the ring set while Reginald stood by. Sasha Banks showed up and knocked Carmella down. Reginald stepped up. Banks told Reginald that Carmella could have her title match as long as she could face Reginald first. Reginald didn’t look happy, but Carmella was all smiles…

Apollo Crews made his entrance… [C] Footage aired of Paul Heyman giving Crews a pep talk on Talking Smack… Sami Zayn made his entrance…

5. Sami Zayn vs. Apollo Crews. Zayn’s documentary crew was with him again. Big E sat in on commentary while lying on a couch at ringside. The wrestlers fought to ringside. Crews performed a moonsault off the broadcast table onto Zayn. Back in the ring, Zayn knocked Crews off the top rope.

A short time later, Crews went for a standing moonsault, but Zayn put his knees up. Zayn tried to hold the tights while going for a pin, but the referee caught him. Zayn performed a Blue Thunder Bomb and then set up for his finisher, but Crews avoided and rolled Zayn into a pin while holding the tights.

Apollo Crews beat Sami Zayn in 3:20.

Afterward, Crews picked up the Intercontinental Championship, which caused E to stand up. Crews tossed the belt back to him. E and Crews jawed a bit while smiling…

Powell’s POV: I wonder if Vince McMahon is in on the joke when it comes to Zayn’s conspiracy theory gag.

Pearce was shown reading the contract. He shook his head negatively while the broadcast team hyped the contract signing segment… [C]

The broadcast team announced Big E vs. Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship, and the Bayley and Belair obstacle course challenge for next week’s Smackdown…

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance along with Paul Heyman and Jey Uso. A contract signing table was set up in the ring. Adam Pearce walked out dressed in a suit and did not have any entrance music. Pearce brought the contract with him and sat down at the table. Reigns walked around the table while Uso stood behind Pearce.

Heyman pulled out the chair for Reigns, who didn’t want that chair. Uso made Pearce get up, then Reigns took his chair, and Pearce took the other chair. “You’re not making for good television,” Heyman told Pearce, who then signed the contract. Heyman pulled out another pen, which Reigns used to sign the contract.

Pearce said he waited all night for Reigns to do that. Pearce stood up and left the ring with the contract in hand while Reigns looked confused. Pearce got to the entrance ramp and started limping. Pearce told Reigns he knows how it goes when it comes to old injuries that flare up. Pearce told him not to worry because all WWE contracts say the same thing. Pearce said he had a suitable replacement, then motioned to the stage.

Kevin Owens made his entrance and joined Pearce on the stage where he signed the contract. Cole said it was official that Owens would face Reigns at the Rumble. Reigns looked down in the ring while Owens smiled to close the show…

Powell’s POV: I must admit that I was looking forward to Reigns vs. Pearce just because it was something unique and the Royal Rumble seemed like the perfect place to do something like that. Pearce hasn’t been in the ring in years now, so obviously Reigns vs. Owens will be the better match. I will be back shortly with my same night audio review of Smackdown for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by voting in our poll below.

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. So only heel Nakamura can have a theme with lyrics?

  2. OK, “Russian Collusion” conspiracy theory man. Tell us more? No matter, I’m sure Beijing Biden will help you when “peaceful protesters” burn down your city again, including your own police station. Again.

    • Hey, it’s the what about game. Only time will tell how Biden does, but I can safely guarantee you that he won’t be taking advice from a crack addict turned pillow pimp.

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