WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (1/12): Barnett’s review of Randy Orton, AJ Styles, and LA Knight’s appearances, Bianca Belair vs. Bayley, Grayson Waller vs. Cameron Grimes

By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,273)
Lincoln, Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena
Aired live January 12, 2024 on Fox

Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcomed the TV audience to the show. Grayson Waller’s music hit and he headed to the ring with Austin Theory for the opening match. Graves and Patrick introduced a video package that went over the events of last week’s Smackdown Main Event, and Roman telling Paul Heyman to fix it. As the show returned from the video package, Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa were beating down Cameron Grimes, who was set to face Grayson Waller. 

Sikoa and Waller ran away after the Bloodline got in the ring. Paul Heyman grabbed a microphone and said they weren’t the bad guys here, the bad guy was the villainous James Bond wannabe Nick Aldis at ringside. He complained about Roman being in a Fatal Four Way match at the Rumble, which almost guaranteed a loss by Roman Reigns. Heyman reiterated that they weren’t the bad guys, and pointed the finger back at Aldis. 

Aldis grabbed the microphone and said that the match at the Royal Rumble was a done deal. He said they might have ruined the opening match, but they can’t ruin the main event, because they were in the main event. He said LA Knight, Randy Orton, and AJ Styles will take on Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso, and Roman Reigns. Heyman told Adlis that Roman is not in Lincoln Nebraska, and Aldis said they had until the end of the night to find a partner or it would be a 3 on 2 Handicap match. 

Heyman looked furious while Aldis walked away. After they cleared out, Santos Escobar walked to the ring with Humberto and Angel. A video package aired that showed some highlights from the three men, and they warned the LWO to pay close attention to what happened to Rey and Carlito. Angel and Humberto will face Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro next…[c]

My Take: A solid open to the show. Aldis continues to hold his ground against the Bloodline and Heyman seems increasingly exasperated with the situation.

Heyman comforted Solo and Jimmy backstage over the fact that nobody is going to tag with them. Heyman said he’s had people kissing his ass to get into the Bloodline and he would take care of it. In the arena, Santos Escobar sat on commentary. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro made their entrance with Zelina Vega. 

1. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro vs. Angel and Humberto: The action was brisk early on. Everyone was flying around and Angel and Humberto ended up on the floor. Joaquin and Cruz performed dives to the floor, and then the action came back into the ring. Angel low bridged Cruz del Toro as he hit the ropes and he took a gnarly fall to the floor. Angel then followed up with a running knee strike…[c]

Humberto and Angel continued to double team Del Toro. He eventually escaped and made a tag to Joaquin Wilde. He landed a spike DDT on Angel, but Humberto broke up the fall. Del Toro and Humberto got dumped to the floor, and Wilde went up to the top rope. Angel recovered and knocked Wilde’s groin onto the turnbuckle. Humberto and Angel then landed a double team slam from the top rope. Humberto followed up with a sit out powerbomb for a close near fall. 

Wilde recovered and landed a poisonrana to Angel. Del Toro then landed a Tornillo on Humberto on the floor. Carlito’s music hit, and he attacked Santos from behind as he stared at the entryway. Angel managed to steal a pinfall by grabbing the ropes shortly after Carlito and Santos fell into the crowd. 

Angel and Humberto defeated Wilde and Del Toro at 10:14

After the match, Nick Aldis was speaking to Carmelo Hayes backstage. Aldis said he was impressed with him, and Melo started to talk about the Royal Rumble, but was interrupted by Waller and Theory. After some bickering back and forth, Melo and Theory were booked in a match for later, and Melo told Theory he would be A-Town Down Bad after it was over…[c]

My Take: Seems like Andrade would fit into this program if they want to bring him back on the Smackdown brand. Zelina recruiting him to help the LWO makes sense.

Backstage, Paul Heyman offered Carlito a chance to team with the Bloodline, but he said the only fight he was interested in is Santos Escobar. Patrick and Graved then introduced a video package that recapped Kevin Owens winning the US Title Tournament finals and knockout out Logan Paul. After the package, a Logan Paul pre-tape aired where he said the cast Owens wears on his hand is a weapon, and he would cancel the match and sue him into the ground if he shows up to the Rumble wearing it for their match. 

In the arena, Bianca Belair made her entrance. She will face Bayley up next…[c]

My Take: I guess the cast is going to be a fulcrum for whatever bullshit finish they are going with at the Rumble.

Tyler Bate and Butch were shown sitting down for coffee. Bate tried to point to the fun they had in their tag match, and pointed out that Butch is lost and trying to find his identity. Butch replied that the Brawling Brutes were behind him, and they needed to do their own thing. Bate told him to look inward and remember who he was, and asked him who he was when they were back in Blackpool. Butch stared angrily into space, perhaps contemplating that he used to be Pete Dunne. 

In the arena, Bayley made her entrance with the other members of Damage Ctrl.

2. Bianca Belair vs. Bayley (w/Damage Ctrl): Bayley pulled Bianca’s hair braid and rolled her up early in the match for a two count. Bianca returned the favor and got a one count. Bayley shut down repeated roll up attempts with a lariat. Bianca recovered and taunted Bayley after a front handspring escape. Bianca landed a back body drop and a standing moonsault for a two count. Bayley avoided a charging Bianca in the corner, and then followed up with an elbow drop for a two count. 

The crowd chanted that Bayley sucks, and then Bianca picked her up for a trio of scoop slams. Bayley started talking with Damage Ctrl at ringside, and nearly got caught with a KOD because of the distraction. Bianca dumped Bayley to the floor and then landed a springboard splash…[c]

Bayley took control of the match during the break after Bianca went shoulder first into the post. Bianca escaped a neck vise and rolled up Bayley for a two count. She then followed up with a spine buster and both women were down. Bianca fired up and went on a flurry of offense. She landed punches in the corner, but Bayley slipped out and pulled Bianca to the mat. She then tied Bianca’s braid to the bottom rope and landed more strikes. 

Bianca used the braid as a tripwire to send Bayley crashing into the bottom turnbuckle. She then untied herself and wrapped Bayley around the ringpost. Bayley recovered briefly by pulling Bianca into the post herself. On the outside, Bianca picked up Bayley for a KOD and launched her into the ring post. Back in the ring, she landed as Suplex and landed the dreaded ten punches in the corner. Bayley escaped and grabbed her braid, but got pulled back into the corner. Bianca then landed a backbreaker for a close near fall. 

She then went for a back handspring moonsault, but Bayley got the knees up. Bianca managed to reset and land the move on a second attempt, but only got a near fall. She then picked up Bayley for a KOD, but Bayley escaped and tossed her into the second turnbuckle. Bayley then went up top for an elbow drop, and got a close near fall. She then tried another pinfall using the ropes, but got caught by the referee. 

Bayley then tossed Bianca to the floor and faked an injury expecting her faction mates to give an assist, but got no help. She then expressed some frustration, but got caught with a spear from Bianca for her trouble. She then followed up with a KOD and got the win. 

Bianca Belair defeated Bayley at 16:17

After the match, Bianca Belair celebrated as Damage Ctrl watched on without intervening. A pre-tape from Kevin Owens aired, and my local broadcast was interrupted briefly so I missed a bit of it. He did say that the cast on his arm is an advantage for Paul because of his broken hand, and he invited him to meet face to face on the Kevin Owens show next week. 

My Take: This might be the longest Women’s Televised Smackdown Match in months. A good win for Bianca, and it furthers the story of Damage Ctrl not being there for Bayley in the same way she makes an effort for them. The Rumble will be a telling bit of story for the future of Damage Ctrl. 

An ad for Backlash France was shown. Backstage, Bayley and Dakota had an argument about the lack of help she received during the match with Bianca. Dakota argues she has to win the rumble on her own for her plan to work, and they thought she would have defeated Bianca on her own as well. Dakota said she had a Rumble to win on her own, and they didn’t need to keep arguing.

In the arena, Bobby Lashley made his entrance with the Street Profits and addressed Karrion Kross. He told him if he and his boys have an issue with them, they could sort it out right here right now. On the stage, Paul Ellering pointed at the video screen, and a Karrion Kross video package was shown. Kross said he had found his purpose with Akam and Rezar, and the most sadistic man in the wrestling business Paul Ellering, and they would bring destruction to Smackdown. 

Backstage, Pretty Deadly made a pitch to Paul Heyman to team with the Bloodline. Heyman reminded them the Bloodline only needed one partner, and they sheepishly declined and briskly walked away. We then got a Carmelo Hayes video package. Melo made his entrance after the video. He will face Austin Theory next…[c]

My Take: I feel bad for Bobby Lashley being the guy who has to try and get Kross over at this point after so many failed attempts. It’s a Herculean task.

Paul Heyman made his pitch to Bobby Lashley to join the Bloodline in their tag match later. Heyman reminded him of their long term friendship, but it didn’t help. Lashley said the only time he wanted to be in the ring with the Bloodline was when he was opposite Roman Reigns. Austin Theory made his entrance in the arena with Grayson Waller. 

3. Austin Theory (w/Grayson Waller) vs. Carmelo Hayes: Melo took control in the early going and landed a fadeaway. He then landed a DDT on the apron that took Theory to the outside…[c]

Theory took over during the break and taunted the crowd. He attempted to suplex Melo from the ring to the floor, but Melo reversed and pulled Theory into the ring. He then landed punches and chops followed by a springboard flying lariat. He then landed a spinning facebuster for a two count. Both men traded pinfall combinations and reversals but got nowhere. Melo went for the First 48, but Theory used his power to hold onto Melo and place him in the corner. Theory attempted a leaping Spanish fly of sorts in the corner and it went sideways and both guys landed high on their head and necks. 

The referee called off the match at 8:58

WWE officials checked on both men. The announce team put over Kayden and Katana putting their titles on the line against Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn next week. There will also be a Royal Rumble Title contract signing, and Logan Paul on the Kevin Owens show. 

Backstage, Paul Heyman put on a performance to cover for the fact that no one wanted to tag with the Bloodline. Jimmy said he was worry, and Solo said he wasn’t. Jimmy then said he wasn’t either, no yeet. 

Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event. Solo and Jimmy jumped him on the stage and landed a Samoan Spike…[c]

My Take: An unfortunate ending to Theory and Melo, as the rest of the match was pretty good.

A replay was shown of the attack on Randy Orton. Orton walked to the back. AJ Styles made his ring entrance after the video. He was followed by LA Knight. 

4. LA Knight and AJ Styles (and maybe Randy Orton?) vs. Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso: Knight and Styles couldn’t agree over who would start the match. Jimmy Uso jumped Knight, so he ended up being the guy. Knight landed a neckbreaker and covered for a two count. Styles tagged in and he and Knight landed a double back elbow. Knight tagged back in after a few strikes from Styles and went back to work in the corner on Jimmy. 

Knight landed a splash against the ropes, and tagged Styles back into the match. He hit the ropes and hit a sliding forearm for a two count. Jimmy returned fire with a few strikes, but Styles dumped him to the outside. Solo entered the ring, and both Knight and Styles hit him with chops and sent him to the floor as well. The Bloodline regrouped on the floor…[c]

Solo Sikoa was in control when the show returned. He landed a back body drop on AJ Styles, and then tossed him hard into the corner. He landed some heavy punches, followed by a hip attack. Jimmy took some free shots while Styles was near the heel corner. Jimmy tagged in, and Styles quickly showed some life and knocked down Jimmy with a backfist. Solo went to attack Knight on the outside, which prevented the tag. 

Knight got back on the apron, but Styles was resistant to make the tag because he didn’t see Solo get involved earlier and thought Knight tried to screw him over. Styles and Jimmy Uso collided with a double cross body. Randy Orton returned to ringside and tagged into the match as Heyman was fuming. He knocked Solo from the apron and landed a snap powerslam on Jimmy. He then went for a draping DDT. Orton ate a superkick from Jimmy, but managed to land an RKO a few seconds later and got the pin. 

LA Knight, AJ Styles, and Randy Orton defeated Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa at 12:01

After the match, Solo Sikoa attacked Orton. Styles landed a Phenomenal Forearm to Solo. Knight then landed a BFT, and Orton an RKO. They threw Jimmy into the timekeepers area, and then gave Solo a Triple Powerbomb through the announce table to close the show. 

My Take: Randy played the greatest hits and took it home. I can’t hate, as I’d do the same thing at work if I could get away with it. Overall, this was a wrestling heavy edition by Smackdown standards, and other than the rather unfortunate ending to Carmelo and Austin Theory, things went pretty well. It seems they are saving all the major story revelations for the next couple of weeks, so this show ended up being a table setter. I’ll be back with my audio review for this show tomorrow morning, as it’s been a long week and I need to get a good night’s sleep.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. “Sikoa and Waller ran away after the Bloodline got in the ring.”

  2. Imagine if Tony booked a 3 v 2 handicap match in favour of the faces on Wednesday’s show. I’m sure two of our most vocal people on here would have written a novel by now. For this: crickets.

    Point being is the hypocrisy is absurd.

    I’m glad wrestling is doing well across the board and I’m looking forward to the Rumble.

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