WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (1/26): Barnett’s review of the Royal Rumble go-home show, LA Knight vs. Solo Sikoa, Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Kabuki Warriors for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles

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

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,275)
Miami, Florida at Kaseya Center
Aired live January 26, 2024 on Fox

Michael Cole introduced the show as the Kabuki Warriors were shown walking into the building in a split screen Katana Chance and Kayden Carter. Solo and Jimmy Uso were also shown walking backstage. A video package then aired to recap the main event of last week’s episode of Smackdown. Eladio Carrion, a Latin Grammy winning musician and artist that wrote a song called RKO, made an entrance. Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary. 

Eladio made some basic introductions and then quickly brought out Randy Orton. Randy made his entrance and then posed on the ropes with Eladio when he got in the ring. Orton greeted Miami and thanked Eladio for putting him in his music video. He asked the crowd to give Eladio some love, and then said he was there to talk about The Bloodline. Orton congratulated them on one hell of a run, and mentioned Roman had held the title for almost 1300 days. 

He continued and said that nobody can stop Reigns or the Bloodline, except for maybe him. Orton said the only number anyone will care about after the Rumble is 15, because that’s how many times he’ll have been a World Champion. He then said he would defeat Roman and win his 15th Championship with the three most destructive letters in WWE, and that’s RKO. 

AJ Styles walked out onto the stage and complained about being overlooked. He said he asked for a match with Solo Sikoa tonight, but once again LA Knight stepped over his body to take his opportunity. Styles told Orton that he had a receipt coming for the RKO he gave him last week, and he would step over him, Roman Reigns, and LA Knight……who interrupted immediately. 

Knight walked onto the stage and told Styles to quit his crying about everyone stepping over him. He said he didn’t ask for a match with Sikoa, and he has to assume that Paul Heyman politicked to put him in the match because he’s the biggest threat. Knight told Styles and Orton that he would hit Solo so hard he’d start doing his Dad’s dance moves, and then he’d go onto the Rumble and step over whoever it took to get his hands on a World Championship. 

After Knight left the ring, Styles took a couple of cheap shots at Orton and left him on the mat. Cole and Graves recapped the segment and introduced a video package about the feud between Carlito and Santos Escobar. Carlito made his entrance for the opening match…[c]

My Take: A decent opening segment, but it felt like it was rehashing a lot of well tread ground.

Santos Escobar made his entrance with Angel and Humberto. Carlito was joined by Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro, and Zelina Vega. 

1. Santos Escobar vs. Carlito: The match began with Carlito landing some punches and he remained in control for the opening minute. The action spilled out onto the apron, and Carlito was knocked to the floor. Angel and Humberto caused a distraction, allowing Escobar to take over with a dive onto Carlito at ringside…[c]

Escobar landed a hard right hand and covered for a two count. He then shredded Carlito’s LWO shirt, and targeted his shoulder with an arm bar using the top rope as leverage. He then landed a hurracarrana out of the corner and attempted another pinfall for a two count. Santos applied an arm hold, which Carlito eventually broke free from and started his comeback. He landed a lariat and clothesline, followed by a neckbreaker for a near fall. Carlito followed up with a spinebuster and played to the crowd. Escobar managed to land a kick, but Carlito shut him down with a knee lift and lariat. 

After some more interference from Angel and Humberto, a brawl broke out on the outside and everybody was down. Elektra Lopez suddenly showed up and pulled Zelina Vega from the apron, and that led to a roll up from Escobar on Carlito for the win. 

Santos Escobar defeated Carlito at 10:03

After the match, Legado Del Fantasma celebrated on the stage with their new member Lopez. Cole then introduced a video that recapped WWE’s Netflix deal. AJ Styles was shown walking backstage when Jimmy Uso approached him and offered him a deal to take out LA Knight later tonight. Styles didn’t respond, but told the rest of The OC not to worry about it when they walked up and asked what was going on. Solo Sikoa will face LA Knight later in the show. A promo then aired for WWE 2k24. 

My Take: It has been reported during the show that Vince McMahon has resigned from all roles at TKO. Good riddance, and I hope justice is served. It’s good to see Legado del Fantasma look strong. The initial take on the faction was not set up for success on Smackdown.

Newly minted NXT General Manager Ava was shown talking to Nick Aldis. Bobby Lashley and Santos Escobar walked up and grabbed their Royal Rumble numbers out of a giant bingo hopper. A video package aired for Bayley’s story heading into the Royal Rumble, and her grand plans for Damage Ctrl to take over WWE. In the arena, Damage Ctrl made their entrance. The Kabuki Warriors continued to the ring and the others remained on the stage and headed to the back…[c]

R-Truth spun the bingo hopper to get his number for the Royal Rumble. He told “Adam Pearce” Nick Aldis that his hair grew out quickly. He also thought the number on his card meant he had to quarantine. 

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance made their ring entrance to defend their titles.. 

2. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. “The Kabuki Warriors” Asuka and Kairi Sane for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Asuka was isolated by Carter and Chance early on. Kairi tried to get involved, but were both splashed on the floor by Katana Chance…[c]

Asuka and Kairi took control during the break. Chance was in trouble in the ring, but she managed to send Asuka and Kairi to the outside. Carter tagged in and took out both women with a splash from the top rope. She then landed a big boot to the face of Asuka back in the ring. Carter followed up with a springboard leg drop and covered for a near fall. Asuka broke free and made a tag. She then performed a double team codebreaker and neckbreaker combo with Kairi, but Chance broke up the pin. Kairi then went up top for the Insane Elbow, but Carter got her feet up on the delivery. 

Carter landed a facebuster on Asuka, and then tagged Chance for the Kegstand. Kairi was able to scramble back into the ring and break up the pinfall to keep the match alive. They setup for the Afterparty, but Kairi was once again able to break it up. She then took Chance to the outside and landed an Alabama Slam onto the announce table. 

Back in the ring, Carter was isolated and fell victim to an assisted Insane Elbow. Kairi Sane made the pin and got the victory to become new champions. 

The Kabuki Warriors defeated Kayden Carter and Katana Chance to become the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions at 10:21

After the match, Paul Heyman spoke to Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa. He told Solo that there is a difference between solving a problem and fixing a problem. Paul impressed on Solo that he solved a problem last week, but tonight he needed to fix it. Solo seemed to understand. He then gave instruction to Jimmy Uso, and told him he needed to enter the Royal Rumble, win, and bring Seth Rollins World Heavyweight Championship back to The Bloodline. He then intimated that if he was successful, he could find out what it truly means to be the tribal heir. 

In the arena, Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits made their ring entrance for the next match. They will face The Final Testament after the break…[c]

My Take: A really fun match for the Women’s Tag Team Championships. I expected a title change because of the ongoing story with Damage Ctrl, but Chance and Carter had a really great showing in defeat. 

Bayley walked into Nick Aldis’s office to gloat, and ran into Bianca Belair drawing her number. Bianca said she was about to win her second Royal Rumble. Bayley then drew her number, and didn’t look too happy about it. 

In the ring, Bobby Lashley introduced the accomplishments of the Street Profits, and then himself. He then said the people of Miami came to see a fight, and that’s what they are going to bring. He then dared the Final Testament to come out and get some. Final Testament then made their ring entrance. 

They sent Scarlett to the ring, and Lashley called them cowards. Ford spoke up and said they were scared. Ellering responded and said there is no fear in Karrion Kross, who then took the microphone. Kross told Lashley that he’s frustrated and doesn’t feel in control, and he’s not. He then told them that they honored their agreement for a face to face, but they weren’t getting their fight tonight. 

Lashley responded that they were technically face to face, but they lied because they are getting in a fight tonight. Ford and Dawkins jumped the ropes and charged out. Scarlett jumped on Bobby’s back and raked his eyes. Kross then jumped him while AOP took out the profits on the outside. The Final Testament left Bobby and The Street Profits laid out yet again.

Backstage, Jimmy Uso drew his number for the Rumble. Aldis asked him if it was yeet or no yeet, and he said no yeet. Austin Theory then made his ring entrance for the next match accompanied by Grayson Waller. He will face Carmelo Hayes up next…[c]

My Take: Kross actually got booed pretty heavily during his promo, but there’s still something missing from this faction. I have no idea what it is yet and the Final Testament just sounds like a tryhard metal band.

Cole and Graves introduced a video package that recapped Logan Paul’s appearance on the KO show last week. It also showed the brawl that circulated on Social Media from the WWE Performance Center yesterday. Carmelo Hayes made his ring entrance after the video.

3. Carmelo Hayes vs. Austin Theory: Hayes landed a nice dropkick early on, and followed up with some chops. Theory replied with a knee lift. He then attempted a suplex, but Melo escaped and stumbled a bit. He regrouped and landed a springboard lariat, and Theory escaped to the floor. Melo gave chase, but Waller interfered to knock Melo off the apron and take him down to the floor…[c]

Melo fired back with a series of lariats and leaping neckbreaker of sorts. He then followed up with a La Mistica and covered for a near fall. Melo went to the top rope, but Theory pulled him back into the ring and followed up with an “Ataxia” for a close near fall. Theory and Melo got into a rollup battle shortly afterward, and Theory stole the win while grabbing the tights.

Austin Theory defeated Carmelo Hayes at 6:55

After the match, Waller attacked Hayes from behind. As the beatdown started, Trick Williams ran down to make the save. Hayes seemed put off by it, and Trick said he was saving him because they have an important match on Tuesday. Cole and Graves ran down the Royal Rumble Card after Trick and Melo finished up their conversation. 

Eladio was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. He was asked who he thought would win the World Championship on Saturday, and he said his boy Randy Orton. Solo approached and stared him down, and Eladio clammed up. He said he was being respectful, and Heyman called off the dogs and thanked him for being kind of respectful. 

LA Knight made his ring entrance for the main event…[c]

My Take: Not much of a match for Theory and Hayes, but what was there was fine. Trick Williams got a great reaction for his entrance, which was nice to see.

Solo Sikoa made his ring entrance with Jimmy Uso and Paul Heyman. 

4. Solo Sikoa vs. LA Knight: Knight attacked the taped thumb of Solo to start the match. He stomped on it, and then smashed it on the apron, barricade, announce table, and ring steps on the outside. Solo fired back with a strike, but Knight shrugged it off and tossed him into the ring post. He then smashed his hand into the post a few times for good measure. Jimmy Uso got involved by jumping on the apron, which gave Solo enough time to counter a springboard with a a big punch out of the air…[c]

Solo fired off a huge samoan drop for a near fall. LA Knight started a comeback with some punches and stomps in the corner. He then fired up the crowd and landed a running knee strike. Jimmy jumped onto the apron, and Knight knocked him down. Solo tried to take advantage and land a Samoan Spike, but Knight managed to pull off a DDT. The action spilled outside again and Knight slammed Solo’s head on the announce table repeatedly. 

Knight landed another running knee on Solo on the floor, but AJ Styles appeared from behind him and landed a Phenomenal Forearm from the ring barricade. The match was then called off. 

LA Knight defeated Solo Sikoa via DQ at 8:47

After the match ended, Styles tossed Knight into the ring steps. Jimmy Uso grabbed a chair, and set it down in the ground in front of Styles and told him to do what he had to do. Styles picked up the chair as Randy Orton chants broke out. Solo demanded Styles hit Knight with the chair, so he decided to hit Solo and Jimmy with it instead. 

Randy Orton made his way to ringside, and he took down Styles with an uppercut, and Jimmy Uso with a powerslam. He then went to the floor and delivered a back suplex to Solo onto the announce table. Orton then returned to the ring to chase down Jimmy Uso and land a draping DDT. He then did the same to AJ Styles. He then finished off Styles with an RKO. Orton began to celebrate, but then turned around to eat a BFT from LA Knight to end the show…

My Take: I don’t think they’ve created any real sense of tension about a title change. Roman missing the go home show was unfortunate, because I think he would have added something to the show. Overall, I’d say this was a decent go home show but not a great one. There’s very little Smackdown participation announced in the Rumble Matches, so nobody really had much to say about it other than a few people grabbing numbers and looking concerned about it. I’m not any more or less excited about the Rumble than I was coming into the show. 

WWE Friday Night Smackdown Poll: Grade the January 26 Royal Rumble go-home edition

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Readers Comments (10)

  1. I am just going to say it. VINCE WILL ALWAYS BE THE GUY WHO GAVE US IT ALL!!! Ona side note, i’d have several pieces on the side….

  2. That might be the best women’s tag match I’ve seen in WWE in a while. They kept things moving, it was mostly logical, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. That was really enjoyable.

  3. Smackdown has been a pretty disappointing show for a while now : from a lousy tournament, two absentee champions, both men and womens tag champs being on Raw, to a deplorable women’s division – last week’s edition felt like it was straight outta the Vince era – so hopefully they put on a good go home show to a much anticipated Royal Rumble PLE. This is the first time in long time that I can’t really guess who’s winning the men’s rumble match. But as far as the women’s match is concerned, I’ll be pretty surprised if it’s not Bailey I could take a returning Sasha Banks win though.

    • Punk or Cody wins the men’s match, and I’d say it’s about 95% in favor of Punk. Cody wins the Elimination Chamber. Punk vs Seth night 1 of WM and Cody vs Roman night 2.

      • I doubt either of them win. All signs point to Punk vs. Cody at WM. That would leave Rock v Roman and Seth v Gunther. To me that says Gunther is going to win the Rumble, unless Rock enters as a surprise.

  4. I think they need to add a second Bingo ball machine so men and women are not drawing from the same container.

  5. Men’s/Women’s likely winners:
    Rock for men.

  6. Men’s/Women’s likely winners:
    Rock for men.
    Lynch,Belair,Bayley,Cargill for women

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