WWE SmackDown aired live from the ThunderDome in Tropicana Field. It was the first episode of SmackDown in 2021. In addition to the takeaways below, Sonya Deville was shown backstage during tonight’s show.
SmackDown Results (1/1)
- Big E def. King Corbin via DQ
- Big E & Apollo Crews def. King Corbin & Sami Zayn
- Riott Squad def. Tamina & Natalya
- Carmella & Bayley def. Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair
- Otis & Daniel Bryan def. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro
- Kevin Owens def. Jey Uso
Here are the takeaways from this week’s show:
Kevin Owens Challenged Jey Uso
Universal Champion Roman Reigns kicked off the show and came to the ring with Paul Heyman and Jey Uso. Reigns said he was the face of WWE and wished everyone a Happy New Year with a grin on his face. Reigns stated 2020 has been a tough year but when you are the head of the table, you make it work. Roman added that he wears a gold glove because everything he touches turns into greatness.
Reigns said Heyman was discarded and he saved him. Roman claimed that Heyman was the most honest man that he has ever done business with. Reigns stated Jey Uso is a prime example of what he can do and that this has been the best year of Jey’s career because he acknowledged him as his Tribal Chief.
Roman told Jey that he has always been main event Uso and he has knocked it out of the park every single time. Kevin Owens interrupted and made his way to the entrance ramp. Roman said nobody wants to hear from Owens and referred to him as a roach that will not die. Reigns added that he was generous enough to give Kevin a big payday but he is done with him now.
Reigns claimed that nobody cares about Owens and this is Jey’s time. Owens stated that Reigns and his family have failed because he is still standing. Kevin told Reigns that he should be embarrassed because he relied on Jey to defeat him and that the Big Dog has been replaced by a giant bitch. Owens challenged Jey Uso to a match tonight and added that when he is done with Jey, Reigns’ family will have nothing to celebrate.
Big E Will Defend The IC Title Against Apollo Crews Next Week
Big E squared off against King Corbin in the first match of the night. Former Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn joined commentary for the match. Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler were in Corbin’s corner.
Corbin controlled the match early as Zayn said he hired a documentary team to investigate last week’s Lumberjack match in which he lost the IC Title. King Corbin connected with an elbow to the face and went for the cover but Big E kicked out at two.
King Corbin kneed Big E in the face and went for a Clothesline but Big E countered into the Big Ending. Big E went for the cover but Sami Zayn attacked Big E to end the match in a DQ. Cutler and Blake joined in on the attack and they all stomped Big E to the canvas. Apollo Crews rushed the ring and sent Cutler & Blake out of the ring. Crews then threw Zayn on top of them as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
When SmackDown returned, it was a tag match with Crews and Corbin battling in the ring. Zayn tagged himself in and beat Apollo down in the corner. Corbin tagged in and sent Crews into the turnbuckle. Corbin followed it up with a Clothesline and sent Apollo out of the ring.
Zayn tagged in and Crews planted him with a Powerslam. Big E and Corbin tagged in and Big E connected with three Belly to Belly Suplexes. Corbin battled back and hit Deep Six for a near fall. Zayn started arguing with Cutler & Blake and Corbin got distracted by it.
Sami tagged in and went for the Helluva Kick but Crews got out of the way. Zayn almost hit Corbin and the two started arguing. Corbin, Cutler, and Blake left the ring and left Sami alone in the ring. Crews hit Zayn with a Powerbomb for the pinfall victory. Later on the show, Big E and Crews were interviewed backstage. Big E issued an Open Challenge next week for the IC Title and Crews immediately accepted. Big E made several references to Brodie Lee and his family during the backstage promo.
Riott Squad def. Tamina & Natalya
Natalya & Tamina faced the Riott Squad tonight on SmackDown. Billie Kay was ringside for the match. Tamina dominated early and leveled Ruby Riott with a Clothesline. Liv tagged in and knocked Natalya off the ring apron. Liv hit Tamina with a series of kicks before Riott tagged back in.
Ruby planted Tamina with a Russian Leg Sweep as Billie Kay kept switching teams she was rooting for. Tamina booted Ruby out of the ring but Liv rolled her up for the victory. After the match, Billie Kay celebrated as if it was her advice that helped the Riott Squad win.
Carmella Pinned Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair faced Bayley and Carmella tonight on SmackDown. Belair hit Bayley with a Dropkick to start off the action. When SmackDown returned from a break, Bayley connected with a slam and went for the cover but Bianca kicked out at two.
Bayley stretched out Belair’s arm around the middle rope and then hit her with a shot to the shoulder. Carmella tagged in and stomped Bianca down in the corner of the ring. Carmella went for the cover but Bianca kicked out at two. Belair rolled up Carmella for a two count and Carmella began taunting Bianca.
Carmella locked in an Armbar but Belair escaped and tagged in SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Sasha kneed Carmella in the face and bounced her head off the turnbuckle. Banks followed it up with Double Knees and then a running knee to the face for a near fall.
Belair launched Bayley out of the ring and sent her into the ring post. Belair planted Bayley with a Suplex on the floor outside the ring. Carmella caught Sasha with a Superkick to the face and went for the Bronco Buster but Sasha countered into the Bank Statement.
Carmella’s assistant Reginald dragged her out of the ring and then got into the ring with Banks. Sasha charged at Reginald but he flipped off the apron. Reginald got back on the apron and Banks smacked him in the face. Carmella capitalized on the distraction and hit the Mella Buster (Facebuster) on Banks for the pinfall victory.
Roode & Ziggler Attacked The Street Profits
SmackDown Tag Team Champions Street Profits for a New Year’s Day celebration. Dawkins and Ford danced around the ring before boasting about winning the tag titles and two Slammy Awards in 2020. Dawkins said that 2021 is going to be even better and then revealed a drumkit.
Angelo played the drums as Montez Ford shouted that it was time for their 2021 predictions. Ford said that not everyone has the skills to become fashion designers but their new “I was Intercontinental Champion” shirt in reference to Sami Zayn will become the biggest seller of the year.
Street Profits then joked that in 2021 Dolph Ziggler will get the nickname he deserves, “the Heartache Kid”. Roode and Ziggler then attacked Street Profits from behind and beat them down. Roode hit Dawkins with a steel chair and threw him over the barricade. Roode then slammed Ford’s leg into the ring post and then Dolph bashed his leg with the chair. Robert hit Ford a couple more times with the chair to end the segment.
Roode and Ziggler were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. They said it is always fun and games with the Street Profits and joked that they aren’t having fun now. Dolph and Roode demanded a rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships and said that they will not stop until they get what they want.
Daniel Bryan & Otis def. Cesaro & Nakamura
Daniel Bryan and Otis faced Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura on this week’s SmackDown. Chad Gable was ringside for the match. Cesaro hit Bryan with a shoulder tackle but Bryan quickly battled back and sent Cesaro flying across the ring. Nakamura tagged in and applied a Headlock on Bryan in the center of the ring.
Bryan escaped and went for a Suicide Dive but Cesaro caught him and connected with a slam as SmackDown went to a break. When SmackDown returned, Cesaro hit Bryan with an Elbow Drop for a near all. Shinsuke tagged in and hit Daniel with a knee to the face for another two count.
Bryan threw Nakamura out of the ring and started crawling towards the corner. Otis finally tagged in and leveled Cesaro with a couple shoulder tackles. Otis followed it up with a Clothesline and then delivered a Splash. Otis hit the Caterpillar Elbow and went for the cover but Nakamura broke it up at two.
Otis climbed to the middle rope and went for a Splash but Cesaro out of the way. Shinsuke tagged in and went for the Kinshasa but Otis got out of the way. Bryan tagged in and Shinsuke greeted him with a boot to the face. Daniel hit Cesaro with the Running Knee and then applied the Yes Lock on Nakamura for the submission victory.
Roman Reigns Attacked Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens faced Jey Uso in this week’s main event. Owens dominated the match early and beat Jey down in the corner of the ring. Owens brought Jey to the outside and leveled him with a Clothesline. Back in the ring, Owens connected with a Senton and went for the cover but Jey was able to kick out at two.
Owens focused his attack on Jey’s leg and slammed it into the ring apron a few times. Kevin launched Jey over the announce table as SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, Owens and Jey were battling on the turnbuckle. Owens went for a Superplex but Jey blocked it and shoved Kevin to the canvas. Jey went for the Frog Splash but Owens got out of the way. Owens then hit Jey with the Stunner for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Owens hit Jey with another Stunner and dared Reigns to come down to the ring. Owens ripped off Graves’ headset and said “Roman, come take care of your family you bitch”. Kevin handcuffed Jey to the top rope and hit him with a Superkick to the face.
Kevin Owens continued to stomp on Jey’s injured leg and shouted “where are you?” but Reigns didn’t come down to the ring. Owens dragged Jey up the entrance ramp and hit him with another Superkick. Owens climbed up to a platform in the ThunderDome and was about to put Jey through a table but Roman finally showed up. Reigns attacked Owens from behind and Jey joined in.
Jey and Roman unloaded a bunch of chair shots to Owens as “you suck!” chants were piped in. Owens tried to battle back but Reigns bashed his face onto the ThunderDome screens several times. Roman then threw Owens through the table below to end the show.
Opinion: This was one of the weaker episodes of SmackDown in some time but was still an entertaining show. I’m all for the rivalry between Owens and Reigns continuing because it has been done so well up until this point.