It's Friday night and it's time for the Adam Pearce show. WWE Smackdown is here to finish off the pro wrestling week with a week to go before the Royal Rumble, and as usual, we're here to recap it for you. Why? We don't really know. It's just something wrestling websites are supposed to do.
WWE Smackdown Recap – January 22, 2021
After a lengthy recap video that makes us wonder why we bothered to watch the two-hour version last week, Michael Cole welcomes viewers to Smackdown. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman head to the ring for the obligatory opening promo.
Promo: Roman Reigns
Reigns and Heyman are really taking their time to get to the ring, a sure sign that Vince McMahon is still currently rewriting the script backstage and they've got to stall for time. Reigns soaks in the fake boos and piped-in "you suck" chant and finally, about 8 minutes into Smackdown, starts talking. Reigns calls Adam Pearce a "puss" and says he wrestles even when he's injured, just like WWE wants him to. "That son of a bitch," a geriatric billionaire can be heard shouting from backstage. Reigns mockingly implies that maybe he should skip the Royal Rumble because his back hurts.
Adam Pearce comes out before Reigns lays the groundwork for a workman's comp claim. He says things are out of control, but Reigns says it's Pearce that's out of control for that trick he pulled with Kevin Owens last week. He makes fun of Pearce some more, calling him a bitch, and Heyman laughs at Pearce. Pearce stands up to Heyman, prompting Reigns to order Heyman to take care of this because disrespecting Heyman is the same thing as disrespecting Roman.
Heyman says he isn't impotent (TMI, buddy). He's from New York, and he'll whoop Adam Pearce's ass. He challenges Pearce to a match in the main event on Smackdown tonight. Pearce accepts. Cole and Graves are totally flabbergasted by this, not seeing the twist coming from a mile away where Heyman is gonna claim he's injured and needs to be replaced by Reigns or Jey Uso.
Riott Squad vs. Asuka and Charlotte
Sami Zayn, documentary crew in tow, comes to ringside where Sami handcuffs himself to the ringside barrier. He has a #JusticeForSami sign. After a commercial break, Zayn enters himself in the Royal Rumble and then starts complaining about the conspiracy against him when Asuka and Charlotte Flair interrupt. They stroll right past him to the ring, where Riott Squad (with Billie Kay) are waiting.
They have a match, with Zayn chained up at ringside the whole time. Billie Kay does not do an effective job as a manager. Charlotte pins Ruby Riott with Natural Selection in just a few minutes.
Winners: Asuka and Charlotte
Backstage after the match, Billie apologizes for screwing up and costing them the match and their opportunity. Liv and Ruby are done with her, but Billie says every team has these problems and she says she got them into the Royal Rumble match. But Ruby stops her and says she can't be in the Riott Squad.
Promo: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan comes to the ring, stopping to laugh at Sami, who is still chained to the barricade. Bryan cuts a promo on the barber who gave him that awful haircut. Also, he talks about the Royal Rumble and how exciting being in the match is. But Bryan has never actually won one…
Cesaro interrupts. Cesaro says he's the one who's going to win the Royal Rumble match. Bryan challenges Cesaro to a rematch from last week. Cesaro declines. He says he already beat Bryan and issues an open challenge to the locker room instead.
Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler comes out. He talks about his Royal Rumble experience and his stamina. He says no one could go toe-to-toe with Ziggler, other than Cesaro. So Ziggler accepts Cesaro's challenge.
After commercials, they have a match. It's a ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ oh sorry like any time Dolph Ziggler steps in a ring I immediately fell asleep and missed the whole match.
Sasha Banks vs. Reginald
Sasha Banks heads to the ring, followed by Carmella and Reginald. Banks wanted a match with Reginald as payment for giving Carmella a title shot, so she got it. Sasha and Reginald have a match. Reginald doesn't take it seriously. He offers Sasha a rose and then offers his face for her to slap it. She tries, and he catches her arm. So she slaps him with the other one. They proceed to wrestler, with Reginald proving surprisingly acrobatic for a sommelier. Reginald gets more offense here than he should. Well, really more parkouring around Sasha's moves than actual offense because WWE could never do true intergender wrestling. Eventually, Sasha makes Reginald tap to the Banks Statement.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Sasha tosses Reginald out of the ring to Carmella after the match.
Backstage, Roman Reigns says he meant for Heyman to rip Pearce apart verbally earlier. But since Heyman challenged Pearce to a fight, now he has to do it or Roman will look bad. Heyman does not look happy with that.
Big E vs. Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship Match
Big E heads to the ring, stopping to wave his championship belt between his legs like a dick at Sami Zayn, still chained to the barricade. Apollo Crews is already there. They have a match. During the match, Sami finally unlocks his handcuffs and enters the ring, kicking Crews in the face, getting Big E disqualified.
Winner: Big E
Zayn kicks Big E for good measure.
Cole and Graves inform us Roman Reigns has left that Thunderdome. Kevin Owens is also not in the building tonight, but he cuts a promo from his car. Apparently, Roman blocked him from getting in the building tonight. He talks about his tattoos, including his knuckle tattoos, which are the initials of his grandfathers, who died before he got to WWE. He says he'll be the last man standing at the Royal Rumble.
The Street Profits walk backstage with a gift basket. They find Sonya Deville and give it to her to congratulate her on her new office job. They tell her that Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode can't maintain erections and ask for a rematch for the Tag Team Championships. Sonya says they deserve the rematch, but she needs Ford to get his knee healthy first. When he's 100%, they can have the rematch. They agree to it, reluctantly.
Bayley vs. Bianca Belair – Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge
Michael Cole introduces Bianca Belair and Bayley and then Bayley takes over for the obstacle course challenge. There's an obstacle course set up around the ring (big tires, walls to climb, Shorty G, etc). It ends with a basketball net. Bayley says she'll go first. She flips the tire, runs through some tiny hurdles, runs around the walls instead of going over them, and then carries Shorty G a bit and shoots a layup (twice because she misses the first one). It takes her a minute and twelve seconds.
Bayley says they need to EST the course for Belair. The hurdles are replaced with larger ones. Belair easily gets through them and the walls. But when she gets to Shorty G, he reveals she has to carry Otis. Belair does it. Then she dunks on Bayley.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Bayley assaults Belair after the match.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Baron Corbin
Rey and Dominik Mysterio talk before Dominik's match. Dominik heads out alone to face "The Ratings King of Friday Nights." Baron. It proves to be a bad move because Corbin kicks his ass in a couple of minutes.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Adam Pearce vs. Paul Heyman
Pearce gets in the ring and takes his shirt off, ready to go. People pay a lot of money on OnlyFans for that. Heyman comes out and trips on the stairs. Twice. He can't stand back up. "You know what they say? Card subject to change." Roman Reigns's music plays.
Adam Pearce vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns hits Pearce with a Superman punch, sending him rolling out of the ring, where Heyman, now feeling much better, talks some trash. Pearce tries to fight back, but Reigns kicks him in the nuts and tosses him over the barricade. They brawl through the Thunderdome stands. But Kevin Owens runs out and attacks Reigns. They brawl back to the ring and Owens hits a stunner. Pat Buck leads a contingent of referees to put a stop to the beatdown, but Owens can't be contained. He kicks Reigns's ass at ringside and then hits another stunner. Then he powerbombs Reigns through the announce table. The fake crowd goes wild and Smackdown goes off the air with Owens standing tall.
Tonight's show was offbeat, but it had a strong (if predictable) ending. Sometimes the basics work. Smackdown remains the best weekly WWE show.