WWE SmackDown aired live from the ThunderDome in Tropicana Field. Rey Mysterio, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, King Corbin, Daniel Bryan, and Adam Pearce competed in a Gauntlet match tonight to determine who will face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble 2021.
SmackDown Results (1/8)
- Big E def. Apollo Crews to retain the Intercontinental Championship
- Roode & Ziggler def. Street Profits to become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champion
- Adam Pearce def. Shinsuke Nakamura, Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, King Corbin, and Rey Mysterio in a Gauntlet match to earn a shot at the Universal Title at Royal Rumble
Here are the takeaways from this week’s show:
Roman Reigns Threatened Adam Pearce
Universal Champion Roman Reigns came down to the ring with Jey Uso and Paul Heyman. Reigns said that he liked Kevin Owens and he is sorry for what happened last week. Roman said that he wasn’t to blame for what happened and blamed WWE official Adam Pearce for everything. Heyman demanded that Adam Pearce come down to the ring to explain himself.
Pearce eventually made his way down to the ring and asked Roman what can he do for him. Roman rolled a video package of Pearce giving Owens a match against Jey Uso last week. Uso and Reigns attacked Owens after the match and threw him off the ThunderDome and through a table.
Reigns told Pearce that he was done with Owens and wanted to move forward. However, Pearce is friends with Owens and was unable to make the right choice for him. Roman claimed that Owens not being able to provide for his family and that was Pearce’s fault.
Roman bitched about Pearce making a Gauntlet match tonight to determine his next opponent. Pearce stated that he was only trying to put the best challengers in front of Reigns. Roman said that it was starting to sound like Pearce thinks he is stupid and that means he is insulting him. Reigns added that if Pearce doesn’t respect him that means he doesn’t respect his family and there are consequences for that.
Reigns grabbed Pearce’s jacket but Heyman calmed the Universal Champion down. Roman said “my mistake” and that maybe nobody in this ring is stupid and that right now Adam is perfectly safe. Reigns smiled and nodded his head at Pearce to end the segment.
Big E Retained The IC Title
Big E defended the Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews in the first match of the night. Crews caught Big E with a boot to the face right away and went for the cover but the Intercontinental Champion kicked out at two.
Big E dodged a Splash and connected with an elbow to Crews’ face. Crews battled back and planted Big E with three German Suplexes for a near fall. Apollo followed it up with a Superplex and both superstars seemed to go for the cover and the referee called for the bell as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
When SmackDown returned, the referee told Crews and Big E that both superstars’ shoulders were down and the match was a draw. Crews demanded that Big E give him the IC title and slapped him in the face. Big E hit a couple Belly to Belly Suplexes and followed it up with a Splash.
Crews connected with a knee to the face and then hit a Frog Splash off the top rope for a two count. Big E went for the Big Ending but Crews escaped. Big E connected with a massive Uranage and followed it up with the Big Ending for the pinfall victory. Big E is still the Intercontinental Champion.
Adam Pearce Will Be In The Gauntlet Match
Sonya Deville approached Adam Pearce backstage and said she is not proud of the things she has done but wants to put the past behind her. Sonya claimed that she wasn’t bitter about Mandy Rose going to RAW and forming a new tag team. Deville said she was here to help Adam Pearce and wants to learn from him.
Paul Heyman approached Adam Pearce backstage and said that he respects Adam. Heyman told Pearce that his career in the ring would have been different if he was managed by Paul E. Dangerously back in the day. Heyman informed Adam Pearce that he was in the Gauntlet match tonight to determine who will face Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble.
Roode & Ziggler Are The New Tag Team Champs
Street Profits defended their SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler tonight. Dawkins leveled Ziggler with a Dropkick and went for the cover but Dolph was able to kick out at two.
Montez Ford tagged in and flipped onto Dolph for another two count. Roode tagged in and bounced Ford’s face off the turnbuckle. Montez send Roode and Ziggler out of the ring and flipped onto them as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
When SmackDown returned, Dawkins planted Roode with a Suplex. Ziggler tagged in and leveled Angelo with a Dropkick for a two count. Dawkins was eventually able to escape to the corner and tagged in Montez.
Ford hit Ziggler with a Clothesline and then planted Roode with a Back Body Drop. Ford delivered another Clothesline to Ziggler for a near fall. Ziggler blasted Dawkins off the ring apron so Ford couldn’t tag out. Dolph hit Ford with a shot to his injured leg and tagged in Roode.
Roode connected with a Fisherman’s Suplex and went for the cover but Montez was able to kick out. Roode went for the Glorious DDT but Ford countered into an Enziguri. Ziggler and Roode then planted Montez Ford with a Spinebuster/ Zig Zag combo for the pinfall victory. Roode and Ziggler are the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
Carmella Mocked Sasha Banks
Carmella sat backstage with Reginald and sipped on some champagne. Carmella congratulated Sasha Banks on winning Sports Illustrated’s wrestler of the year. Carmella joked that she only won it because she took a vacation this year and that she has more natural talent than Sasha.
Adam Pearce Will Face Roman Reigns At Royal Rumble
Sami Zayn and Rey Mysterio started off the Gauntlet match. Zayn had a camera crew following him and continued to claim that there was a conspiracy going on that took the IC Title from him. Sami told Rey Mysterio that he was going to beat him and everyone else in this match. Rey immediately hit Zayn with the 619 and then the Frog Splash to eliminate Sami.
Rey Mysterio faced Shinsuke Nakamura next in the Gauntlet match. Nakamura and Rey battled to the outside and Shinsuke connected with a knee to the face. Back in the ring, Nakamura went for the cover but Rey was able to kick out at the last moment.
Nakamura perched Rey up on the top turnbuckle and went for a Superplex but Mysterio was able to block it. Rey hit a couple headbutts that knocked Nakamura to the canvas. Mysterio hit Nakamura with a Senton and rolled him up for a two count. Nakamura booted Mysterio in the face but Rey connected with another headbutt. Shinsuke went for a Powerbomb but Rey escaped and hit the 619. Rey climbed to the top rope and went for the Frog Splash but Shinsuke got his knees up. Nakamura applied an Armbar and Mysterio quickly tapped out.
King Corbin attacked Dominik Mysterio from behind and sent him into the steel steps. Corbin Chokeslammed Rey a couple of times as SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, King Corbin was in control and connected with a slam for a two count.
Corbin beat Nakamura down in the corner but eventually Shinsuke was able to fight back. Nakamura dropped Corbin with a kick to the face but Corbin shrugged it off and slammed Shinsuke into the ring post. Nakamura hopped up to the second rope and hit Corbin with a Dropkick for a two count.
Shinsuke went for the Kinshasa but Corbin countered into Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin followed it up with a Powerbomb and went for a Clothesline but Nakamura caught him with the Kinshasa for the pinfall victory. Daniel Bryan was next in the Gauntlet match and went right after Nakamura.
Bryan sent Shinsuke out of the ring and hit him with a Suicide Dive. Shinsuke battled back and went for the Kinshasa but Daniel countered into a Half Crab in the middle of the ring. Bryan transitioned into an Armbar of his own and then into the Yes Lock in the middle of the ring. Nakamura fought through the pain and was able to reach the bottom rope to break up the hold.
Nakamura and Bryan traded kicks and punches in the middle of the ring. Bryan brought Nakamura to the corner and hit him with a series of strikes. Daniel hit two Dropkicks but Nakamura exploded out of the corner with a Kinshasa for the pinfall. Bryan shook Nakamura’s hand as Roman Reigns‘ theme hit.
Reigns, Heyman, and Jey Uso made their way to the entrance ramp as SmackDown went to a commercial break. Reigns and Jey Uso beat Nakamura down in the middle of the ring before Adam Pearce entered. Jey hit Adam with a Superkick and dragged him on top of Nakamura for the victory. Adam Pearce will face Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship.
Opinion: I’m expecting this to change over the next few weeks. I cannot imagine Pearce will actually face Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble. It seems likely that Kevin Owens or another superstar will replace him or at the very least be added to the match before the PPV. I want to see Daniel Bryan face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania so I was glad Bryan didn’t win tonight. Shinsuke Nakamura looked awesome tonight and hopefully that actually leads to something for him. Overall, this week’s episode of SmackDown was an entertaining show and the build towards Royal Rumble should be interesting over the next several weeks.