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WWE SmackDown Results – January 22nd 2021

Graphic for Big E vs Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown - SmackDown results thumb

Keep up with all of tonight’s WWE SmackDown results as the show emanates from the WWE ThunderDome inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida with just over a week to go till Royal Rumble!

Check out the results from last week’s SmackDown!

The results from this week’s show were as follows:

  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka defeated The Riott Squad via Pinfall (9:00)
  • Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall (3:30)
  • Sasha Banks defeated Reginald via Submission (3:55)
  • Apollo Crews defeated Big E via Disqualification (2:55)
  • Bianca Belair defeated Bayley in Bayley’s Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge (0:55)
  • King Corbin defeated Dominik Mysterio via Pinfall (2:20)
  • Roman Reigns vs Adam Pearce ended in a No Contest

Reigns Mocks Pearce, Pearce vs Heyman Set For SmackDown’s Main Event

  • We start with a recap of Pearce outsmarting Reigns to have Owens replace him at Royal Rumble before Reigns makes his entrance alongside Heyman. Reigns says we aren’t going to see Owens tonight because he says so and says Pearce’s bait-and-switch was a coward’s way out.
  • Reigns says he’s never missed an appearance and it took his health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away from the ring. Reigns mocks Pearce by saying he hurts all over because he’s been carrying the company for years before Pearce interrupts.
  • Pearce says this situation is spiralling out of control but Roman says what’s out of control is Pearce’s favouritism of Owens. Roman says Pearce has no right to complain about hurting because Roman “busts his ass for this place” before saying it’s no wonder Pearce never made it to the WWE.
  • Pearce says he isn’t taking a verbal tirade from Heyman and Roman tells Heyman to deal with it. Heyman challenges Pearce to a match in the main event and Pearce agrees.

Analysis: Reigns killed it in this opening segment and that’s an achievement because he’s been killing it every night since his heel turn. The Tribal Chief verbally eviscerated Pearce here and it wasn’t even close, even Heyman got in on the action. Pearce vs Heyman SURELY isn’t happening but the suspense of how WWE is gonna get Pearce out of his second announced match is enough to keep me watching!

Sami Zayn ‘Protests’, Charlotte Flair & Asuka defeat The Riott Squad via Pinfall in 9:00

  • After a commercial break, we see Sami Zayn handcuffing himself to the barricade in a form of protest before announcing his entry in the Men’s Royal Rumble. He complains about Crews rolling him up whilst holding his gear before Asuka & Charlotte make their entrance.
  • Charlotte and Riott start the match off, with Charlotte gaining control over her Riott Squad opponent. Charlotte and Asuka tag in and out before Charlotte throws Riott to the outside whilst Morgan gets a blind tag. Charlotte attempts to attack Billie Kay at ringside but this allows Liv to dropkick Charlotte.
  • Riott Squad build momentum by beating down Charlotte in their corner before the Queen takes Liv down with a pumphandle suplex and a snake eyes into the corner before tagging in Asuka.
  • All four women hit each other with big moves before Asuka locks in an ankle lock before transitioning into a german suplex. Liv attempts a rollup but Asuka counters into the Asuka Lock. Liv backs Asuka into the corner, allowing Ruby to tag in.
  • Riott rolls up Asuka for what would have been a 3-count but the referee was inadvertently distracted by Billie Kay. Asuka knocks Liv off the apron before hitting a hip attack/Natural Selection combination with Charlotte to pick up the win.
  • After the match, Kay tries to apologise but Ruby says she cost them an opportunity at the Women’s Tag Team Championships. Kay says they can work this out as she’s got both Liv and Ruby in the Women’s Royal Rumble but Ruby says that maybe Riott Squad was better when it was just her and Liv.

Analysis: Another fun showing from the Riott Squad and a nice way of reminding us that Charlotte and Asuka are the Women’s Tag Team Champions (because RAW sure as hell doesn’t). I just wish Riott Squad and Billie got a little bit more TV time as none of their matches over the last few weeks have gotten more than 2-3 minutes of TV time, being mostly interrupted by commercials. Here’s hoping the three have some sort of fun comedic spot in the Women’s Rumble and we at least get some payoff to this mini story.

Cesaro Offers An Open Challenge, Cesaro defeats Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall in 3:30

  • Bryan builds up the Rumble as one of the most challenging matches you can compete in in WWE. Despite that, Bryan says that the match makes him feel alive because of the reward and that he’s never won a Royal Rumble before Cesaro interrupts.
  • Cesaro says he’s winning the Rumble not Bryan because he has experience thanks to winning the first Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Bryan suggests the two fight right now but Cesaro says Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion before offering an open challenge to anyone already announced for the Rumble.
  • Dolph Ziggler comes out to accept and says there’s no one in the locker room who can step up to him… except Cesaro before telling Bryan “it isn’t 2014 anymore” so he isn’t in consideration. Daniel Bryan joins commentary for the match.
  • The two start with some ground-based grappling which Cesaro gets the better of before executing the Swing for well over twenty seconds on Ziggler for a near-fall. Ziggler retaliates by knocking Cesaro into the corner before rolling up Cesaro for a 2-count.
  • Both men exchange roll-ups which each get a two-count. The two counter back and forth but Ziggler eventually hits a Zig-Zag for a 2-count before locking in a Sleeper hold. Cesaro overpowers Ziggler and transitioning into the Neutraliser to pick up the win.

Analysis: Another great showing for Cesaro in one of Ziggler’s best matches in a long while. SmackDown’s recent turnaround on both Cesaro and Shinsuke has been nothing short of excellent and proves that WWE can believeably build up talent quickly when they want to. It just hope that this isn’t a quick temporary push to build the two up for the Rumble before they both slip back into irrelvancy in the tag division. Both are the hottest they’ve been in years so I hope they take advantage of that after January 31st.

Sasha Banks defeats Reginald via Submission in 3:55

  • Reginald offers a rose to Sasha and asks for a kiss but Sasha hits a vicious slap. Sasha tries for a top rope arm drag but Reginald lands on his feet. Sasha attempts various moves but Reginald dodges all of them before Sasha finally hits a wheelbarrow bulldog.
  • Sasha runs knee first into the turnbuckle and tweaks her knee. Sasha attempts a crossbody off the top but Reginald catches her before Sasha counters into an arm drag to the outside. Sasha delivers a Meteora and slaps some champagne out of Carmella’s hand at ringside.
  • Reginald continues to flip out of Sasha’s offence – including Sasha’s Backstabber – but eventually Sasha transitions a Tilt-A-Whirl into the Bank Statement to pick up the win.

Analysis: Despite not hitting a single move, Reginald had one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in a single match here. He managed to dodge and slide out of every move Sasha attempts with grace and ease that I’ve never seen in all of wrestling, nevermind just WWE. I’d love to see Reginald in the ring more often and I kinda hope he isn’t just laidened as Carmella’s servant for too much longer as his in-ring talents should definitely not be put to waste.

Apollo Crews defeats Big E via Disqualification in 2:55, Big E Retains The Intercontinental Championship

  • We see a recap of Apollo vs Zayn from last week’s show before Big E makes his entrance. Apollo is already in the ring as Sami is still handcuffed holding a sign saying “Not my I.C. Champion.”
  • Big E gains control immediately with an overhead belly-to-back suplex before hitting a splash on the apron. Big E goes for the Big Ending but Crews escapes and hits a Big Boot into the Standing Moonsault for a near-fall. Crews hits two german suplexes but Big E fights out of the third before hitting an uranage for a 2-count.
  • The two move to the outside and Crews hits a moonsault off the apron before throwing Big E back into the ring. Crews goes to the top but Big E joins him and follows up with a superplex attempt. Crews blocks it and headbutts Big E to the canvas as we see Sami escape his confinement.
  • Apollo hits a missile dropkick but Zayn runs into the ring and hits Crews with the Helluva Kick to disqualify Crews. Zayn hits a second on Big E and screams at both of them before leaving with his documentary crew.

Analysis: Another short match that was good for what little action we saw. It looks like, despite Sami announcing himself for the Men’s Royal Rumble earlier in the show, we’re headed for an Intercontinental Championship triple threat at Royal Rumble between Big E, Crews and Zayn! That should be a really fun match and hopefully one that cements Crews as a top mid-card heel going forward, especially if he fully aligns himself with Reigns.

Kevin Owens Claims He’ll Be The Last Man Standing

  • We see a promo from Owens in his car and reveals that Roman barred him from the building. Owens says it’s fine because at the Rumble there are no more strings Reigns can pull. Owens recalls how all his tattoos have meaning and points to his grandfathers’ initials on his left knuckle.
  • Owens says he’s not going to stop fighting because he was inspired by them, which is why he’ll be the last man standing.

Analysis: Great passionate promo from Owens here. He continues his recent character thread of never giving up whilst linking in the emotional tribute tattoos to his grandfathers and how they inspired him to not give up. Even if there’s no chance of Owens dethroning Reigns at the Rumble, this did a great job of making it the potential of Owens beating Reigns believable!

Street Profits Confront Sonya Deville, Ask For SmackDown Tag Team Championship Rematch

  • We see Street Profits talking to Dolph Ziggler before offering her a celebratory basket for her new position as Pearce’s aide. The former champions hint that they want their rematch and Sonya says they deserve their rematch but says she can’t give them it because Ford is injured.
  • Sonya promises she’ll put them back in the title picture whilst Ford’s recovering and says they can put some new teams in the mix whilst he recovers. The Street Profits accept and give Sonya the basket and as she leaves, we see the two stare at each other angrily.

Analysis: This segment, whilst short, achieved two major things. First, we got a subtle hint of Sonya as a future heel authority figure as we saw her talking to Ziggler before the Street Profits interrupted and secondly, it established that the Street Profits will be out of the SmackDown tag title picture for the time being. Personally, I think this is a great move to let some other talents in the tag division thrive, especially considering they’re also down Cesaro & Shinsuke through their current singles pursuits.

Bianca Belair defeats Bayley in Bayley’s Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge in 0:55

  • Cole introduces Bianca and Bayley before Bayley steals the microphone from him. Bayley goes over the rules and how the competitor with the quickest time wins. Bayley cheats and just runs past the wooden panels and misses the basketball shot at the end, getting a time of 1:12.
  • Before Bianca can run the challenge, Bayley makes the course harder – including fireman’s carrying Otis several metres – Bianca still beats her with 17 seconds to spare.
  • Bianca offers to shake Bayley’s hand but Bayley beats down Belair instead, whipping her into the Basketball hoop and seemingly injuring the EST of WWE.

Analysis: This was fun but I felt it was too short for what they wanted to achieve. A positive of the segment’s shortness is that it didn’t overstay its welcome but I think there was room for more shenanigans rather than a quick NXT gameshow era-esque obstacle course before Bayley’s inevitable attack. I assume Belair will get her comeuppance on Bayley in the Women’s Rumble by eliminating her and I hope that concludes their feud.

King Corbin defeats Dominik Mysterio via Pinfall in 2:20

  • Backstage, we see Rey giving advice to Dominik but Dominik says he’s prepared. Rey says they’re doing it his way but if it goes wrong, next time they’re doing it his way.
  • The two lock up early on but Corbin overpowers Dominik. Dominik stuns Corbin with a dropkick before attempting a dive on the outside, which Corbin dodges before hitting a clothesline. Corbin rolls Dominik back into the ring and goes for a pinfall, getting a 2-count.
  • Corbin chokes Dominik on the bottom rope before beating him up in the corner. Corbin goes for the End Of Days but Dominik rolls out before setting Corbin up for the 619. Corbin catches him before finally hitting the End Of Days to pick up the win. Cole notes on commentary that it’s time to do things Rey’s way.

Analysis: Yet another short match on a SmackDown with a surprising wealth of them. Dominik gets some offence is but is ultimately beaten pretty handedly by Corbin, which means the Mysterios will now be dealing with Corbin Rey’s way. I don’t think there’s any clear indication of what that could mean but I’d hope this could lead to the debut of Damian Priest! Corbin would be a great first feud for NXT’s Archer of Infamy.

Roman Reigns Replaces Paul Heyman, Roman Reigns vs Adam Pearce ends in a No Contest, Kevin Owens Attacks Reigns

  • Owens replacing Pearce from last week is shown again before Heyman makes his way to the ring. Heyman trips and seemingly injuries himself before announcing card subject to change as Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring to replace his special counsel.
  • Reigns hits a Superman Punch immediately before taking Pearce to the outside. Pearce gets a few punches in on Reigns but Reigns easily overpowers Pearce before taking him out to the same spot he took out Owens a few weeks ago. Before Roman can seriously injure Pearce, however, Kevin Owens attacks Reigns.
  • The two brawl back into the ring and Owens hits a superkick and Stunner. Reigns rolls outside the ring but Owens follows and throws Reigns into the barricade. Officials come out to separate the two but Owens pushes past to hit a second Stunner on the Universal Champion.
  • Owens delivers a Pop-Up Powerbomb through the announce table, laying out Reigns to close the show.

Analysis: A fun brawl to close out the show where Owens, shockingly, got the better of Reigns. This is the first time we’ve really seen Reigns in any sort of peril since his return and I thought it was a great move! Someone getting the better of the Tribal Chief should be a rarity, almost like Brock, as it instantly brings up the believability in Owens potentially being able to beat him.

And that was the January 22nd 2021 episode of SmackDown!

A good show though definitely not as strong as the previous 3 weeks. Cesaro vs Ziggler & Banks vs Reginald were the highlights amongst various short matches and some experimental segments. Some worked hit big, like Sami’s hilarious ringside protests throughout the first hour, and other not so much, like Bayley vs Bianca in the Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge.

One big criticism I do have is the lack of Shinsuke Nakamura and Jey Uso. After a great showing from both in last week’s opener, neither were anywhere to be seen on the show. This is especially odd for Uso, who’s been on the show every week consistently since his heel turn late last year. It would have been fine if commentary mentioned that the two were recovering from the brutality of their match, but for neither to even be mentioned was a bit strange.

Keep up-to-date with all the fallout from this week’s SmackDown, as well as all the latest WWE news in general, right here at Inside The Ropes.