WWE SmackDown results (January 22, 2021) – here’s what happened

January 23, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
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There weren’t any real stand-out matches on SmackDown this week, but it’s just such a superior produce to Raw at this point that it’s much more fun to watch.

These WWE SmackDown results for January 22, 2021, contain major spoilers.

There was plenty going on with the Blue Brand this week, with both Royal Rumble build-up to handle and some on-going storylines for the Friday night show to develop. There weren’t any matches that really stood out, but at the same time there didn’t seem to be much asinine filler either, and that’s always a good thing – and not something that can be said about Monday Night Raw. But the storytelling here, while hardly original, is just well done and engaging, with pleasing developments all over the place, and solid workers doing fun gimmicks. It’ll certainly do. Anyway, on with the WWE SmackDown results for January 22, 2021.

Opening Segment

As is standard and expected at this point, it was a promo that kicked things off. But this one, involving Roman Reigns ranting about being deceived last week, took an unusual turn when Adam Pearce came out and found himself beefing with none other than Paul Heyman. I mean, look, it makes Pearce look super dumb to believe that Heyman was actually going to wrestle him, but whatever. It was really more of a showcase for Reigns’ mic skills – he’s such a good heel – and set up for the “main event”, which we’ll discuss later.

The Riott Squad vs. Charlotte and Asuka

Things continued apace in the Women’s Tag Title picture. The toughest sell here is that Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott could beat Asuka and Charlotte Flair at the best of times, let alone with Billie Kay acting like a maniac in their corner, but nevertheless. This time Kay’s attempted interference led to the referee not seeing Riott pin Asuka and resulted in Charlotte hitting Natural Selection for the three-count.

In a later backstage segment, Ruby Riott essentially told Kay that she should make herself scarce, which is probably for the best. The women’s tag picture is thin as it is, and it’s hard to take the Riott Squad even halfway seriously when they’re being used as a vehicle for Billie Kay (even though Kay’s still great, and nobody can tell me different.)

Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler

It’s becoming a bit of a trend that every episode of SmackDown has at least one great technical wrestling match, and you could have predicted this would be it just by glancing over the billing. Daniel Bryan was on commentary at ringside to say nice things about Cesaro, but he made enough of a case for himself on his own by putting Ziggler away with the Neutralizer after a solid back-and-forth technical showcase.

It was a short match and I think a couple of minutes could have been shaved off the opening promo and put to better use here, but you’re not going to see me complain about a Cesaro push. After going cleanly over Daniel Bryan and Ziggler two weeks on the bounce, he’s clearly being positioned as a major Royal Rumble threat, and that’s totally fine by me.

Sasha Banks vs. Reginald

Also totally fine by me – as much Sasha Banks as possible. It’s hard to really figure out what the point of Reginald is, though, given he’s clearly a talented performer of some kind, but he isn’t exactly going to fare well as a solo guy with Banks going over him clean, so that isn’t the intention. It was a nice change of pace for the Banks/Carmella feud, but it was a bit hamstrung by some awkward spots and WWE obviously testing the waters of intergender wrestling since Reginald wasn’t allowed any offense whatsoever and it became really obvious after a while. There’s only so long even I can watch Sasha Banks run into turnbuckles.

Big E vs. Apollo Crews (IC Title)

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I love Sami Zayn as an anorak and flat-cap-wearing conspiracy theorist who rolls with his own documentary crew, and I should note that he spent much of the episode handcuffed to one of the barriers in protest. This was his big moment to intervene, and he took it, ruining a solid match between Big E and Apollo Crews by giving both of them Helluva Kicks.

On the one hand, the match was just getting going when the interference happened, but that’s obviously the point. This is a PPV Triple Threat match if I ever saw one. I imagine we’ll get our official IC champion at the Rumble.

Bayley vs. Bianca Belair Obstacle Course Challenge

As set up last week during Bayley’s ropey new talk show, this obstacle course was intended to determine who was the superior athlete between Bayley and Bianca Belair. As if we didn’t know the answer to that question already, we got a conclusion pretty quickly, despite Bayley’s attempts at sabotage by having Belair clear higher obstacles and have to fireman’s carry Otis rather than Chad Gable. It was a typical comedy segment, really, but it did its job in putting across how much of a super-athlete Belair actually is. Of course, it ended with sore loser Bayley attacking her since she’s never going to beat her in a pick-up game, is she?

King Corbin vs. Dominik Mysterio

Nepotism has always been rife in WWE, and look no further than this match as an example of it. Are we really to take Dominik Mysterious seriously just because he’s a Mysterio? Baron Corbin clearly doesn’t think so and squashed him easily. This will obviously come out in favor of the babyfaces eventually, but I doubt it’ll feel earned. I’d be happy to see Dominik in NXT.

Adam Pearce vs. Paul Heyman

And our main event, ladies and gentlemen… though not really. I must admit that I was howling at Heyman wrapping his hands on his way to the ring, but I, and nobody in their right mind, thought he was going to do anything physical. Lo and behold, he didn’t. Employing the same trick as Pearce did last week – which he should have seen coming, really – Heyman was replaced by Roman Reigns, who came to the ring to batter Pearce as payback. But despite us being told multiple times throughout the night that Kevin Owens wasn’t in the building thanks to Reigns’s string-pulling, he nonetheless turned up to make the save, battering Reigns with a couple of Stunners and eventually hitting the Pop-Up Powerbomb through the commentary table.

There’s nothing particularly original or surprising about any of this, but everyone involved is just selling it all so well that I can’t help but love it. As nice as it would have been to see Heyman get socked in the mouth a few times, this was probably the better outcome, and it’s no surprise that Reigns and Owens are at the top of the brand when they can put over such played-out storytelling as well as this.

These were the WWE SmackDown results for January 22, 2021.

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